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Seniors and Pets

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Pets are great no matter what your age! But you need to be especially cognizant of those at very young or very old ages having pets. Pets provide great benefits for seniors such as companionship, routine, and a sense of purpose. But they can also be hard to manage if you have physical disabilities, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

Let’s go over the types of petsĀ and how you can help a senior take care of their pet.

Types of Pets for Seniors

This really all depends on how much attention and care you can provide your pet. Pets like dogs will require regular walks, bathroom time, playing, and feeding. While cats and fish are generally independent and require minimal care like feeding and cleaning.

Bunnies
These cute little animals are becoming more and more popular as pets. They don’t require walks or going outside, and can be taken out to hold or play with and put back into a safe container. They’re great companions!

Cats
Cats are independent and, depending on the one you get, can be sociable or aloof. It’s important to find a cat with the right energy for their new owner. A kitten may be too much work for a senior with some limited physical ability, but an older cat may be just right. The main requirements are regular feedings and cleaning up the litter.

Dogs
Dogs are on the end of the physical needs spectrum. They require going out at least 2-3 times per day no matter the weather. They also need lots of exercise and walking time. Dogs are great for seniors who still feel confident going out and being active. Try for an older pet, as puppies will require even more effort, not to mention training.

Best dogs breeds for seniors

Fish
Fish are perfect for those seniors who want a little added routine to their life. The fish need regular feedings and cleanings, and are very easy to take care of.

How to Help Seniors Take Care of Pets

For seniors that currently have a pet, certain things that used to be easy to do may now become more difficult as they age. Regular morning walks may now be a struggle. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your pet.

  1. Figure out the need: Once you figure out exactly what the issue is (lack of walks, hard to bathe the pet?) you can find a solution. Try dog daycares, have someone in the neighborhood walk the dog or change the litter. Have a mobile groomer stop by.
  2. Get a vet that does house calls: This will make it easy for seniors who aren’t able to drive or don’t feel comfortable taking their pet in the car.
  3. Meals on Wheels: This program often offers free dog and cat food to seniors in the area. Check to see if your area does!

 

Don’t let age get in the way of having your little buddy around for as long as possible.


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How to relieve your stress

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April is Stress Awareness Month! Yes, it’s a favorite April holiday that we all love to celebrate…oh wait I’m thinking of Easter.

Stress Awareness Month doesn’t get as much publicity as awareness holidays like Breast Cancer Awareness or Heart Month, but it’s still just as important. Stress, when left unchecked, can lead to huge health issues like anxiety, depression, and heart attacks. It can also show itself visibly as acne or canker sores, as well as loss of sleep, digestive issues, and weight problems.

It’s surprising that more focus is not put towards relieving stress. But we have some ideas to help you conquer your stress.

What causes stress?

The main causes of stress in our lives is family, work, and health. There are tons and tons of reasons why people can feel stressed, and some can impact us more than others. As a kid, if you forgot your homework at home you likely felt stressed about the implications (a 0 for that assignment). The stress from forgetting your lunch at home when you go to work is likely a lot lower than the stress of hating your job.

Here are some common sources of stress broken down by category:

Life & Family

  • Divorce/Marriage issues
  • Getting married
  • Death
  • Moving
  • Taking care of a loved one
  • Birth of a child

Jobs & Money & School

  • Losing a job
  • Being unhappy at your job
  • Unfriendly coworkers
  • A new project
  • Harassment
  • New financial responsibilities
  • Getting a bad grade
  • An upcoming test
  • A presentation

How to treat stress

Now, as of this writing, there still is no cure for stress. Stress affects people of all shapes and sizes in different ways. For one person, losing a job is a financial nightmare, for another it’s a blessing in disguise so they can work on their new business.

It’s nearly impossible to create a treatment for stress that can help every single person. Here are some ideas that may be able to help you.

  1. Exercise: This is a great distraction from your stress. You’ll also feel great after a good workout.
  2. Talk to people: Spending time with people can help some relieve stress. It also might help to seek out a therapist who can listen to your problems.
  3. Get some sleep: Rest is important because lack of sleep can cause even more stress and make you irritable. Try exercising before bed to tire your body out. Remove screens for an hour before bed to give your eyes and mind a rest.
  4. Yoga or meditation: Find a way that you can take your mind off things and relax. Meditation is a skill you need to develop but it can help you find a few minutes of relaxation.

 


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Top Health Concerns for Seniors

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As we age, not only do we feel older mentally, but physically as well. For seniors, health conditions follow age, and the older we get the more susceptible we become. Fortunately, modern medicine has extended the average life span of humans in many developed, and non-developed countries.

In order to know what to look out for you need to be aware of the potential risk for disease as you age. We’re going to list the top health concerns for seniors and then talk about how you can lower your risk for certain diseases.

Health Concerns for Seniors

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the biggest health concerns for older people. At least 50 million US adults have some form of arthritis, most commonly among women and the elderly.

If you want to learn more about what arthritis is and how to treat it, check out our article on managing arthritis.

Cancer

Cancer is not just affecting the elderly, it affects us all. As of 2014, it has been the second leading cause of death for those over 65 based on CDC data. It’s important to schedule regular checks and screenings to catch and treat early forms of cancer.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is typically known for affecting seniors. It’s a chronic condition that affects cognitive functioning and it’s still hard to diagnose correctly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 9 people over age 65 and a 3rd of those over 85 have Alheimer’s.

How to spot the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

Osteoporosis

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has found that 54 million Americans have this condition. The disease is caused by multiple factors such as cancer, medicine, genes, age, and sex.

We have another article just on Osteoporosis, the types, and prevention methods.

Falls

Slips and falls are more likely and more dangerous as we age. A typical fall for a teenager may end with bumps and bruises, and it could mean broken bones for a senior. According to the NCOA, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for those over 65.

6 Steps for Preventing Falls Among Your Older Loved Ones

Pneumonia and the Flu

Seniors are not only more susceptible to catching the flu and pneumonia but also are more at risk of death due to them. It’s recommended that you get an annual flu shot and see your doctor for any flu like symptoms.

Shingles

The National Institutes of Health has found that one in three people over age 60 will get shingles. It can cause severe pain, rash, and blisters on one side of the body. There is a vaccine available so ask your doctor if it’s right for you.

What can I do now to lower my risks?

First off, you need to quit smoking. “But it’s just one cigarette every now and then.” This is a common excuse for those who say they’re not addicted to cigarettes. But why not just quit altogether? More and more research is coming out about just what cigarettes can do to our bodies….and it’s not looking good.

Second, get yourself in the healthy lifestyle mindset. Don’t just diet for a few weeks and say it’s not for you. You need to find a healthy medium that allows you to eat right, exercise, and eat the foods you enjoy every now and then. One of the leading risks of health disorders is being overweight. If you can catch it early and correct it, you’ll save yourself from the complications that come with being overweight or obese like diabetes, gout, certain heart diseases, and more.


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How to Snack Right

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Snacking, we love and hate to do it. We love the salty chips, the sweet candy, but we hate the feeling we get after finishing a whole bag of the things. What if you could snack without the guilt?

Now, it’s not completely possible, because too much of anything really is not a good idea. But you can start moving in the right direction when it comes to what you’re eating and what you’re buying at the store to keep on hand.

The problem many of us have is temptation and the ability to resist. We all know that going to the store hungry is not the best idea. But what if you’re getting a craving for chips and decide to just get a bag to last the month? You know what will happen during that next movie night, the chips will be gone!

There are a few solutions to this, which we’ll discuss below.

Limiting Your Quantity of Bad Snacks

Bad snacks are all the ones we love to eat: chips, Oreos, cookies, candy, donuts, gummies, Pop Tarts, etc. You know the ones I’m talking about. The problem isn’t that you’re eating them, it’s that you’re eating too much. If you eat out of the whole bag of chips, it’s impossible to know exactly how much you’ve eaten. There was a study about giving people at a movie theater a big container of popcorn and giving others a smaller container. Who do you think ate the most popcorn? Those with the big container. These people even ate more stale (14 day old) popcorn when it was given in a big container!

We can use the results from that study to help us limit our bad snacking, but still get to indulge every once in a while. Instead of eating from the bag, put the chips or cookies on a plate and only eat that amount, no more. Once you can see what you’re eating, you’ll slow down so you can savor the flavor.

Eating More of the Right Stuff

If you need to snack in order to quell your appetite, you need to be eating the right stuff. This means vegetables, fruits, nuts, granola, yogurt. This is all stuff we don’t think of as fun snacking. But if you want to snack smart, especially at work or on the go, start making your on snack packs. This will prevent you from allowing yourself to get chips or a candy bar from the vending machine because you’re hungry. Now there’s no excuse because you have your own snacks with you.

We don’t eat enough healthy snacks because the flavors don’t excite our brain as much as unhealthy snacks do. Bring a variety of snacks with you when you’re on the go and keep them in your pantry. Having a variety means you won’t get tired of eating the same celery sticks over and over.

Here are some ideas:

  • Celery and nut butter
  • String cheese
  • Beef jerky
  • Protein bars
  • Strawberries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Bean or kale chips
  • Dark chocolate
  • Mixed nuts

Snacking doesn’t have to be hard. You just need to make the conscious effort that you’re going to stick with the healthy stuff and that you can indulge every once in a while with portion-controlled amounts.