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Harvard’s Happiness and Health Study Results are In!

Starting in 1938, the Harvard Department of Psychiatry initiated the Grant Study in order to uncover the key to happiness and healthy longevity by tracking the lives of 724 men for 75 years. Participants shared their social histories, answered written surveys every other year, participated in face-to-face interviews every fifteen years, and completed physical examinations every five years along with brain scans, video interviews and more.

The participants included 268 sophomores from Harvard College and 456 teenage boys from the poorest neighborhoods in Boston’s inner city. They were interviewed about their school, work and home lives. Some would go on to become bricklayers, lawyers, schizophrenics and alcoholics; one even went on to become President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

So what did the researchers find? Robert Waldinger, the fourth-generation director of the study, recently shared their findings in a TEDx talk: good relationships keep us happier and healthier. We have long known that being social is correlated with elated moods and longer lifespan. Both our Cognitive Therapeutics Method™, an in-home activities program to promote brain health, and our Balanced Care Method™, a holistic approach to healthy aging, promote socialization along with a healthy diet, exercise, mentally-engaging activities and a sense of calm for healthy longevity.

Maintaining Senior Nail Care

Nail care remains an important part of personal grooming for seniors. There are many methods and tools that can be used to keep nails looking their best, though Dallas senior home care providers should use the following to keep their loved one’s nails healthy.

Detergents and soaps encountered when bathing, doing the dishes or other household chores have a tendency to dry the nails and causes splitting. Wearing gloves helps protect the hands and nails. When nails darken, applying and massaging lemon oil into the affected nail often reverses the problem. 

As with the rest of the body, a proper diet remains essential for healthy nails. Fresh fruits and vegetables consumed daily provide the required amount of enzymes, minerals and vitamins needed to maintain nail health. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are alternatives that offer calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B and zinc, which all work together to ensure strong nails. 

While the nails on the hands are the most visible, the toenail health is equally important. Regular pedicures keep toenails from cracking, breaking or splitting. Keeping toenails clean, dry and trimmed also prevents various diseases. Unlike fingernails, toenails should be cut straight across without curved edges. If nails are cut too short, painful ingrown toenails may occur.

Women often enjoy having polish applied to nails as part of routine manicures. While there are many products available, some nail polishes are specifically designed to offset dryness in addition to adding strength. Nailtiques and Rejuvcote are products that contain natural ingredients that include aloe vera, collagen and jojoba. 

If finger or toenails develop fungal infections, there are a variety of commercial and home remedies that help resolve the issue. However, seniors should not expect complete healing before six to 12 months. Home remedies include soaking the nails twice daily in a baking soda and citric acid solution. After soaking, apply tea tree oil to each affected nail. 

Nail care is one of many personal care options offered by Home Care Assistance of Dallas. We provide numerous in-home services including Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia care Dallas seniors need to assist them with activities of daily living. These include but are not limited to safety monitoring, medication reminders, and personal care assistance. Call (214) 253-8784 today to speak with a knowledgeable Care Manager and schedule a complimentary consultation.

Refreshing Pool Exercises for Seniors to Enjoy

Despite your loved one’s physical limitations, there are safe and effective exercises he or she can enjoy. With help from dedicated Dallas live-in caregivers, seniors of varying abilities can have fun and get into shape during the spring and summer months doing the following pool exercises. 

Standing Push Ups

To do a standing push-up in the water, seniors should stand in the pool with their hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on one edge of the pool. Then they need to bend their arms and pull themselves towards the wall and push back. Seniors should keep repeating this exercise until their arms start to feel slightly tired. Water push-ups are an effective way for seniors to build arm and shoulder strength without putting excess pressure on their joints. 

Leg Swings

For this exercise, seniors need to stand by the side of the pool in water that’s deep enough to reach up to their lower back. Then grab the edge of the swimming pool and swing their outside leg forward as far as possible, making sure their leg is kept straight. They then need to hold that position for five seconds and swing their leg behind them and hold it in place for another five seconds. Legs swings will help make the muscles in their upper legs stronger. 

Water Jogging

Seniors can also simply jog through the water from one end of the pool to another. If seniors have physical limitations that make jogging in the water difficult, they can either march in place or walk at their own pace through the length of the pool. All variations of this exercise will get the blood flowing throughout the body while getting the heart rate up.

Leg Lifts

For this pool exercise, seniors should stand in a swimming pool and lift one of their legs out to the side and back down again. Seniors can repeat this exercise until their leg feels tired, then repeat with their other leg. Leg lifts will make their legs stronger while also strengthening their core and improving their balance. This is particularly useful for those who receive Alzheimer’s care in Dallas as cognitive disorders often disrupt balance and coordination.

Even if you aren’t always available to assist your loved one with these exercises, there are plenty of Dallas at-home care agencies that can help. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of live-in and hourly home care that enables seniors to age in place while acquiring the tools they need to enjoy longevity and wellbeing. Highly trained caregivers are available 24/7 to help your loved one prepare nutritious meals, exercise regularly, and effectively heal from illness and injury. Call (214) 253-8784 today to speak to a knowledgeable Care Manager who will answer your questions, explain our services, and schedule a free consultation.

4 Common Reasons Your Senior Loved One Gets Night Sweats

Though anyone can sweat at night, night sweats are somewhat less common and they are far more severe. An episode of night sweats is characterized by an increased heart rate, a feeling of chilliness, and repeated sweating at night that completely soaks nightclothes and bedding. There are many potential causes of night sweats, but a few are more common among seniors. The following are some common causes hourly Dallas caregivers should watch out for.

1. Menopause

Though most women go through menopause in their 50s, some symptoms of menopause can continue to last for years. Night sweats among postmenopausal women occur because fluctuating levels of estrogen confuse the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature. This is particularly common among women who are using some sort of hormone therapy regimen. 

2. Medications

Certain common medications that seniors take can include night sweats as a side effect. Drugs that may cause night sweats include antidepressants, drugs that lower blood sugar, and nitroglycerin. Any medication that lowers fevers, such as aspirin or acetaminophen, can cause seniors to have night sweats.

3. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and one of the early warning signs of this condition is night sweats. Being over the age of 55 is a huge risk factor for developing Hodgkin’s lymphoma, so it is important to see a doctor if your senior loved one is experiencing other symptoms, including weight loss, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, itching, and fevers.

4. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common causes of night sweats. For a long time, seniors were not diagnosed with anxiety disorders because they did not show the psychiatric symptoms of the condition. However, doctors are learning that anxiety disorders among the elderly are more likely to manifest physical symptoms instead. Even if your elderly loved one does not seem upset, they may still be living with an anxiety problem.

If you notice your loved one has developed night sweats, schedule an appointment with his or her doctor. A medical professional may recommend any number of solutions depending on the underlying condition. He or she may even suggest Dallas, TX Home Care Assistance to monitor your loved one throughout the night. We provide flexible live-in and hourly home care that meets each client’s individual needs. Whether your loved one requires safety monitoring throughout the night or more permanent live-in assistance, our dedicated caregivers are always available to help. Schedule a no-obligation consultation over the phone when you call an experienced Care Manager at (214) 253-8784 today.

Stem Cells Can Grow You a New Heart

Since scientists discovered stem cells more than 30 years ago, their value in the field of medicine has been very promising for both medical professionals and home care agencies in Dallas. It’s true most of the advantages that come with stem cell research are merely speculation today, however, scientists have already begun doing amazing things with their research. One important breakthrough involves the growing of healthy human hearts for those awaiting necessary transplants.

Most of the studies on stem cells so far have been limited to animal testing and have found to be able to aid in the regeneration of living tissues. This is because stem cells are considered to be our body’s building blocks and are capable of adopting the functions of other types of cells. There are several different types of stem cells known today, each with their own unique abilities:

  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Adult stem cells
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells

Embryonic stem cells appear to be the most promising type of cells due to their ability to transform into any cell within the body. These stem cells are extracted from young embryos called blastocysts and can be manipulated into adopting the functions of any other cell. More importantly, they have demonstrated the ability to repair damaged tissues and even form new organs such as hearts.

Adult stem cells, when harvested from bone marrow, have the ability to become other types of cells such as cells of the heart. Recently, a team of researchers was able to create a viable beating heart in their laboratory using stem cells and a structure of a donated human heart. Although we are not able to begin transplanting these lab-grown hearts quite yet, studies of the regenerative properties and potential to grow new organs are very promising. With a little luck, transplant recipients and their Dallas caregivers will have new hope for a successful surgery.

Heart disease is a common illness among seniors that can significantly change the way they manage daily life at home. To make these tasks a little easier for your loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Dallas. Our comprehensive services are designed to help seniors recover from illness and injury by offering daily medication reminders, prescription pick-ups, and motivation to eat healthy and exercise. Learn more about our Alzheimer’s, dementia, and post-stroke at-home care in Dallas when you call (214) 253-8784 to schedule a free consultation today.