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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

Top health concerns for seniors - Just Like Family Homecare

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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Health tips for the always on the go nurse

Nurses are a busy bunch. Not only are they out all day taking care of others, but many come home to take care of their own families as well. It’s a draining day to say the least. It’s no wonder that many nurses find it hard to exercise and eat healthy when they’re always on the go.

In this article, we want to give nurses, home health aides, and other medical professionals some ideas on how to get in a little extra exercise and healthy eating into the day.

Take Care of Your Mind

Your mind is as valuable as your body, yet how many of us exercise our minds as regularly as we exercise our bodies? There’s no “gym” for the brain, but there are activities that can help strengthen your mind and keep it sharp.

The best activity is developing a love of reading. You may have grown to hate reading after being told what to read in school, but there are thousands and thousands of books and there is sure to be one that will grab your attention.

“But I don’t have time to read”. Of course you do! Even just 5 minutes before bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, get rid of the screens at least 30 minutes before bed and get a book in your hand, it will help.

Listen to stimulating audiobooks or podcasts during your commute or chores. This is a great way to pass the time and learn a little in the process. You may actually enjoy your commute once you find a great audiobook you can’t wait to finish.

Prepare Better Food

We all succumb to the fast food drive thru when it’s been a long day at work and we’re starving. Start using your days off to prepare your next week’s worth of meals. Create healthy dishes and put them in tuperware. So now you have no excuse to go to the rive thru when you know you have food ready to eat when you come home.

Carry around healthy snacks at all times. We get cravings, but if you have an apple, nuts, or a Clif bar, you’ll eat that because it’s there. Avoid the vending machines!

Meal Prep Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

10 Minutes of Exercise Before Work

You may feel like you have absolutely no time to work out before work. Get up 10 minutes earlier and do bodyweight exercises. Try push ups, sit ups, pull ups (get a bar that goes in the doorway), and squats. Just 10 minutes, that’s all you need! You can get up 10 minutes earlier, can’t you?

10 minute workout ideas

Resources

How to be a healthier nurse

Keeping nurses healthy, safe, and well

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™


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Water exercises and why they work

Water aerobics are a big thing in Florida. Nearly year-round we can hop in the pool and not be met with freezing water. That invites many homeowners and communities to install pools, which guests and residents enjoy using for parties, swimming, and exercise.

It’s well known that water aerobics is a great way for the elderly to get their exercise in. If you wanted to get into this exercise movement, what exactly should you be doing? And why does it work so well?

Why Water Aerobics?

These exercises are great because not only does the water help hold you up, providing you balance, but the water also provides resistance.

When you do dumbbell curls without anything, you don’t feel much. But when you add a weight in your hand, you are adding resistance that your arm must now deal with.

The resistance from the water is just the right amount for seniors who don’t feel comfortable just yet to go to the gym and use weights or machines.

Types of Water Aerobics Exercises

Water Walking
Just walking in water can be a challenge. Start in water shallow enough that you can comfortably walk and hold your head above water. Keep moving deeper and deeper to add more resistance.

Kick and Punch
As easy as it sounds, just practice kicking and punching through the water. Go as slow or as fast as feels comfortable.

K- Tread
This exercise targets your butt, abs, chest, arms, and back. In the deep end, you’ll want to tread water. Lift one leg straight in front of you and hold for 5 seconds. Then switch legs, and do this for 30 seconds.

Hand Webs
Add even more resistance to your workout by using hand webs, gloves meant for water exercise.

Water Weights
Specialized weights have been developed for water. These are foam barbells that help add extra resistance to your under water workouts.

Kickboard
Practicing your kicks by utilizing a kickboard to go around the pool only powered by your legs.

Resources

Aquatic exercises | Mayo Clinic

Slim Down in a Splash: Pool Workout


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How to be a healthier nurse

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Nurses! It’s time you take care of yourselves! Here at Just Like Family Homecare we know how hard our caregivers work to provide for their patients. But it’s equally important that you, as a caregiver, find time to take care of yourself both in mind and body.

Yeah, it’s easy to say and tough to do. But we will give you some easy routines you can implement into your day to start getting on track to living a healthy life so you can continue to do what you do best: care for others.

Body

Snack right
Snacking is often where our diet can go wrong. We get a little hungry during the workday and want something quick to munch on. So we reach for the Sour Patch Kids or the Twix. Instead, carry around healthy snacks in your lunch like trail mix, nuts, fruit, vegetables with hummus, plain Greek yogurt.

Less sugar
This one is difficult for many of us because sugar is such a big part of our diets. Try going for one week without any sugar (that doesn’t include natural sugars like in fruits). See how you feel. There are often stories from those that cut out sugar that they feel happier and more energized. Here’s a story from a family that cut out sugar for a whole year.

An easy way to cut out unnecessary sugar is to stop drinking soda. Not sure what to eat? Here’s The No-Sugar Diet Plan from Livestrong.com.

Drink more water
This one is easy! Start carrying a water bottle everywhere. Get a nice stainless steel one that you can continue to refill. You want to always have it with you so you’re not tempted to purchase a drink out somewhere. If you’re thirsty, water is the best thing for you. Avoid buying other types of drinks like bottled tea or coffee, soda, fruit drinks.

Do a 15 minute morning workout
This doesn’t need to be a sweat-filled workout. But you should do it before your day begins to ensure you get it done. You can do bodyweight exercises like situps, pushups, pull ups (get a pull up bar for your door frame), squats.

Mind

A healthy mind is a huge part of being in overall great shape that many of us tend to neglect.

Meditate
If find that your mind is running and running with thoughts all the time, try learning to meditate. Now, it can turn some people off to hear the word meditation, but there are tons of very successful people that constantly recommend it to others. That’s not saying it works for everyone, but it’s worth trying out for a few weeks. If you’re not sure how to start, use apps like Calm or Headspace to guide you.

Read more
When was the last time you read a full book? If you can’t remember then it’s been too long. Carry a book or Kindle with you in the car, to appointments, to work. Instead of grabbing your phone to check Facebook or play a game, pick up your book. The key is kinding a great book that keeps you entertained.

Sleep better
You can improve your sleep by doing a few things. One includes an hour of screen-free time before you plan to go to sleep. This means turning off the phone, TV, and computer. During this time, wind down by reading (which often puts many people into a sleepy mood). Don’t drink caffeine anytime before bed either, this means 4 hours or less before bed. Here are some other helpful tips from the National Sleep Foundation.


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How to Be Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, get the association?

Heart health is an important issue that many of us aren’t exactly sure how to deal with. How exactly do we become heart healthy? That’s a question we’re going to dive into today.

What does “heart healthy” mean?

Heart healthy refers to living a lifestyle where your heart is being taken care of. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, a poor diet and lack of exercise are big factors in developing a heart-harming condition.

It’s best to start on your healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. This means monitoring your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and correcting course in your diet and exercise to combat high numbers.

What can affect heart health?

A poor heart is usually one that is plagued by atherosclerosis. This is when cholesterol rich pockets develop inside the arteries restricting blood flow. This is how heart attacks and strokes occur.

Cardiovascular disease is anything that affects the heart and blood vessels. This includes atherosclerosis and also heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems.

The American Heart Association breaks the risk factors into three categories:

Major risk factors
Research has shown that these unchangeable factors significantly increase the risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

Modifiable risk factors
Some major risk factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle change.

Contributing risk factors
These factors are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but their significance and prevalence haven’t yet been determined.

How do we become heart healthy?

The best way to prevent cardiovascular disease is to learn more about the risk factors and how you can slow down your risk.

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Source: Health Grades

The American Heart Association has a special section just about managing cholesterol.

They also have a section on how to get your high blood pressure under control, with types like taking a brisk walk each day to lower your levels.

Some of the most important things you need to do involve changing your lifestyle:

  • Quit smoking: This can affect your cholesterol level and tobacco is not good for your heart.
  • Become more active: 40 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week is enough to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Heart healthy diet: Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy. Avoid sugary food and drinks, and red meat.
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Take medications: If your doctor sees you at risk for high blood pressure, they’ll likely prescribe you medication.

Resources

The American Heart Association

Heart Health | Harvard Medical School

 


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How to prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is on the rise, especially here in the United States. In 2014, the CDC released a report that 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population at the time) had diabetes. And about 8.1 million of them were undiagnosed. Now that’s an alarming number!

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Source: CDC.gov

In this article, we want to take you through the two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Then we’ll let you know the factors that can lead to getting diabetes and finally talk about prediabetes and how to know if you’re at risk.

The Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)

Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)

Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)

Risk Factors of Diabetes

For Type 1 Diabetes, the common risk factors are:

  • Family history
  • Infection or illness
  • Disease of the pancreas

This is the type of diabetes that is not generally something you can control, as opposed to the risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes.

To put it simply, there are 4 major risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Overweight
  • Family History

Other major factors include:

  • Ethnic background
  • Age
  • Insulin resistance
  • Impaired glucose tolerance

    inforgraphics-prediabetes

    Source: CDC.gov

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition when someone has a higher blood sugar level than normal, but
not high enough to diagnose them with diabetes. This person is considered prediabetic because of this high level.

If this person also has several other risk factors like they’re over the age of 45, are overweight, have a family history of the disease, etc. they really need to consult with a doctor about what they can do to prevent diabetes.

According to the CDC, if you have prediabetes, doing two things can help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Lose 5-7% of your body weight
  • Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week