Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds

A smiling senior man with a tabletWe feel compelled to share with you an uplifting video interview with three British centenarians that we came across. The names of the interviewees are Clifford Crozier, born in 1915, Emilia Tereza Harper, born in 1913, and John Millington Denerly, born in 1914. These endearing 2 gentlemen and a lady give us a glimpse into their lives and share their life lessons. Even though the entire interview is filled with love for life and can be an inspiration to all of us as a whole, we highlighted just a few of our favorite moments below:

I. TENACITY

Their resilient mindset deserves admiration. This idea of keeping going would be a great recipe for a long happy life on its own! – All kinds of things happen around you and to you, but you persevere. That’s how, in their own words:

– “You keep going. A 101 is only a number, and you live for the day.” Cliff Crozier

– “Keep right on to the end of the road. – …I stay put!” John Millington Denerly

II. POSITIVITY

We could not help but notice a feeling of positivity permeating their entire being. These seniors knew how to make themselves happy with simple things like humor, optimism, and …shopping! Here is how they talked about it:

– “Everything makes me happy. I like talking to people, I like doing things, I like going out shopping. Once I go out shopping, I don’t want to come back.” Emilia Tereza Harper

– “I’ve got beautiful memories. I can live happily forever after because of my lovely memories.” Emilia Tereza Harper

– “I am always optimistic…” John Millington Denerly

– And how about a healthy shot of humor about the impact of their long life on the government? – “It always pleases me though that I can keep robbing the government with my pension.” Clifford Crozier

III. CONNECTEDNESS

Finally, they were giving us an impression of people who were not frozen in time. All three show great mental flexibility:

– “Life goes on. You get healed (but you never forget)”, – shares Tereza who was devastated by the loss of her twins

– “You’ve got to keep up with the times. So, what was good 80-90 years ago, doesn’t work these days”, says John, who received an iPad as a gift and uses it actively.

– And Cliff points out something we believe and support the most due to the nature of our home care company: “Be as independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you think you need it.”

 

What were your favorite moments?

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Parents Are Caring For Themselves

A senior couple looking contentIf you’re an adult with parents who are getting older, you realize, before your parents would, that their need for support is growing. Sadly, it’s not always easy to figure out the best way to provide support. Your mom and dad might feel that an increased level of support is a sign of them giving up their independence. Often children are not sure what would be best for their parents – to take full responsibility over their needs and schedules despite their objections, or do the opposite and allow them complete autonomy until they realize they need help on their own.

Of course, a better approach is probably a happy medium, at least at the beginning.  While you work on gradually introducing more occasions when you take care of them, you still need to give them an opportunity to feel independent and take care of themselves. But how can you know they are doing it well?

Here are 3 ways to help you make sure your parents are caring for themselves.

1. HELP WITH AN EASY ROUTINE THAT LEADS TO A FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT

Creating a weekly routine is one of the best ways to make sure your parents are taking care of themselves. It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated. It can be a consistent time that allows them to get things done without worrying whether they will have time the next day or not because they know they have a regular time that they can look forward to. For example, it can be as simple as taking the evening to do some housework. Having a regular time for tasks that don’t require extra effort but can still provide them with a sense of purpose is a great feeling.

2. ENCOURAGE THEM TO STAY SOCIALLY ACTIVE AND INVOLVED

Our social environment is what keeps us going as we wrote earlier. And once established social connections get lost when your older parents retire, are widowed or divorced, it’s easy for them to start feeling lonely or excluded. There is nothing wrong with staying at home, but it’s important for you to encourage them to find new ways to stay connected to friends, family, and community. Encourage them to create social circles, join clubs or volunteer for activities that are meaningful to them. These are all great ways to stay active and connected. Another option to consider is to have a home care agency like ours arrange for a caregiver who would provide companionship and socialization and usually become a dear friend.

3. ENSURE IT’S EASY FOR THEM TO STAY HEALTHY

A disciplined approach to health care makes a big difference as your parents get older. It’s possible for seniors who are left to their own devices to get overwhelmed with their illness or forget about doctor’s appointments, etc. That’s why it’s important to make sure they have an easy system to take care of their health. Check if they have medication they can take without anyone’s observation. Encourage them to get a medical organizer book to not only keep track of their appointments but also to make any notes about what they should prepare ahead of time or bring to the appointment. And most importantly, help them stay safe by ensuring they have access to a phone to call you or another dedicated caregiver at any time.

Once the three aspects we discussed above are addressed, it will be easier for you to have some peace of mind about your parents for a while. However, there is one last piece we need to add to the puzzle, and that is to check on them frequently. If everything goes well with your mom and dad’s independent routine, it will just show them that you are in their life and you care. If something goes wrong, it will give you a chance to notice it quickly and arrange for help.

Most Important Factor to Live Beyond 100

north oakland caregivers - smiling face-to-face young woman and elderly womanThe ultimate treasure we all can agree on is a human life, and we are always looking for ways to make our life and the life of our loved ones long, healthy and fulfilled.

We try to watch what we eat, we go to the gyms to stay fit, we reduce the number of glasses of wine we get each week, we hope our genetics will help where our lifestyle fails to be up to par. However, more and more research is pointing toward a different factor that will ultimately define how long we will live, how healthy we will stay, and how happy we will feel.  Can you guess?

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a researcher at Brigham Young University, ran an extensive study that involved tens of thousands of middle-aged men and women to understand what reduced their chances of dying the most. Then she ranked top predictors strongly associated with longevity. It turned out that health-related factors like being lean vs. overweight, exercising or not, etc. are important but they didn’t make it to the top of the list.

Top 2 strongest predictors involved interaction with other people: close relationships that support you in bad times, and – surprisingly – daily social interactions, both personal and casual, like the corner store owner you get your snack from, or the woman walking her dog on your street every day.  But here is the key – it only counts if it’s a face-to-face contact, so frequent texting with your loved ones will not be a good substitute. But “simply making eye contact with somebody, shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five”, as Susan Pinker states in her well-known TED talk about longevity, is enough to increase your trust and lower your stress. It even triggers a release of dopamine, a body’s natural high that can reduce pain!

Modern society leaves little opportunity for seniors to stay socially connected, especially if they are home bound. So, what if you do not live close to your elderly parents and cannot see them often enough? You can give them a gift of that essential social interaction via regular visits by a caregiver while you are away. Call us at North Oakland Caregivers to discuss your situation, we can help.

New Year’s Resolution Tip On Senior Home Care – Starting Small

Senior Home Care with North Oakland Caregivers - smiling senior mother and daughterMany families are entering the New Year with resolutions on their mind. It just seems easier to create a new habit, make a big change for the better, reinvent yourself at the beginning of a new year! So many people will use January as an inspiration to start something significant, something that will make a lasting impact on their lives. But this may also be the right time to make a lasting impact on the life of your elderly family member. We mean making a step towards planning for the future of your older mom or dad who may need assistance in their activities of daily living.

The idea may feel daunting at the beginning, like many changes do. We know some seniors may not be immediately open to the idea of having a caregiver coming into their home to help them.  Great long-term benefits can be overshadowed by a perceived fear of loss of independence or a temporary anxiety of having a “stranger” in the house.  Seniors can respond with resistance in many different ways. Frankly, family members might have their own concerns about how this new arrangement might work.

We understand. Every change requires an adjustment. Our experience has shown that slowly easing into this new “caregiver” scenario is often all it takes to relieve the concerns of starting a home care routine for your senior loved one.  Maybe having a caregiver come into their home once or twice a week just to give them an idea of what it’s all about might help alleviate their anxiety.  Maybe one 8 hour day a week will do the trick. Maybe 4 hours a day, 2-3 days a week will help set a comfort level.  The key is starting small and adjusting to what the future needs will be.

Having a senior home care provider that is flexible enough to allow time to find the perfect routine for your senior loved one is a great solution.  North Oakland Caregivers at Clarkston, MI, has been doing it for 26 years. We are waiting for your call. Are you ready to make the first step towards the New Year’s resolution that will make a lasting impact on the future of your family?

Healthy Aging: 5 Practices to Include in Your Routine

Practices of Healthy Aging - a smiling senior couple in a parkNational Health Education week will be officially celebrated third week of October, and we are jumping at the opportunity to contribute! Our expertise lies in the area of senior home care, so, it is only fitting that we will focus on helping you be knowledgeable in the area of healthy aging.

So, what can you do OR what can you do for your senior family member or friend to make aging as healthy as possible?  In addition to your physician’s recommendations* related to your specific situation ask yourself “Am I being mindful of these 5 things?”:

  1. Keep mentally and physically active: Remember the old saying “use it or lose it”! Simple things like regular reading, doing puzzles or playing games help keep the mind working.  Likewise, regular physical activity to increase flexibility, strength and stamina are an invaluable bonus – it’s proven to help you live a longer and better quality life.
  2. Eat healthy foods: A strong connection between a healthy diet and a healthy body has been established long ago. While every person has their own dietary needs, there are some established heroes like vegetables and omega-3 fats that among other benefits help you keep your heart healthy and reduce inflammation. So, keep a list of your favorite dishes that include lots of veggies, fish and olive oil handy and use it often.
  3. Establish a healthy sleep pattern: Sleep has more health benefits than most people realize. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems.  Make sure you go to bed at the same time to help your body switch to a rest mode easier. Take a walk after dinner and avoid watching TV if you want to fall asleep faster.
  4. Reduce Stress: It is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. So, make sure you listen to your body and slow down if needed, take a minute or two to breathe deeply, find time in your day to meditate.
  5. Interact with others! Studies consistently show that individuals with the highest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to live longer. But what if you find yourself in a socially limited situation? This is an area where North Oakland Caregivers has been helping seniors in their home OR residing in nursing homes via companionship. Our caregivers provide support by visiting, taking you to a movie or just staying in and having a friendly conversation.

These are just a few of the many things that may only take a SHORT part of the day, but may enhance your chances for a LONG healthy aging future. Why not start incorporating them into your routine?

* Always check with your physician before changing anything in your diet or activities of daily living or lifestyle.