Promoting Self-Actualization among Elders

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a motivational theory in psychology, is comprised of a five-tier model of human needs; one’s most basic needs must be satisfied before achieving full potential. Before we can encourage our elders to venture into new creative activities, we must first secure their basic safety, social, and self-esteem needs.

Many  senior living communities are focusing more on building a supportive environment for their residents. Facilitating lifelong learning activities and encouraging companionship from friends and family are effective practices for empowering seniors. Promoting the well-being of any one individual ultimately benefits the well-being of the entire community. Once an individual has taken care of their lower tier needs, it gives much more room for them to indulge in higher tier activities and promote self-actualization. 

Some activities that seniors can dive into include volunteer work, art classes, and playing musical instruments.. As Maslow describes in his original thesis, creativity is a facet of self-actualization. Senior living communities are introducing creative classes for seniors to learn new skills. Painting and piano classes are only a few examples of ways seniors can obtain effective cognitive exercise and share their new skills with loved ones around them.

Other assisted living facilities are expanding their communities to provide volunteer opportunities to senior residents. Reading at daycares, cooking for the homeless, and rallying for campaigns are all examples of activities seniors are participating in to connect with their communities. Senior living homes based in Los Angeles believe these opportunities not only give back to the community, but also provide for the love and belonging needs of seniors.

Senior living communities can provide any levels of care along with a supportive community of peers and caretakers. While finding the right senior care home can be a daunting task, WellPath Partners can assist you in finding the right senior living option for you or your loved one. Our plethora of resources can connect you with the right community tailored to your specific needs.

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By Prithvi Chauhan

Stay Safe at Home!

“Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!” We all remember this famous line for the emergency response brand Life Alert. For many older adults, this mere commercial line becomes their reality. According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide and adults over the age of 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in the United States, 1 in 4 older adults fall, but less than half tells their doctor. Although most falls do not cause injury, 1 out of 5 falls cause a serious injury such as a head injury or a broken bone. Some things that can increase the risk of falling include:

  • Weakness in your lower body
  • Lack of Vitamin D
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Taking medications that affect balance (make you dizzy or sleepy)
  • Problems with vision
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Home hazards (Broken steps, lifted carpet)

Not only do falls put us at risk for injury, they also cost a lot of money. According to the CDC each year, approximately 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures and 95 percent of hip fractures due to falls are caused by falling sideways. On average, the cost of treatment of falls is $30,000 and that cost increases with age. Medicare and Medicaid covered more than 75 percent of the $50 billion of medical costs for falls in 2015. These expenses will continue to increase with the older adult population unless the necessary intervention methods are taken.

Falls are an abnormal part of the aging process and they can be prevented with help from our doctors, nurses, and physical therapists. The following are ways to lower the risk of falling:

  • Having a physician evaluate the risk of falling and reviewing any medications that may increase falls
  • Exercising
  • It has been reported that exercise can reduce the rate of falling among older adults.
  • Tai chi and aerobic exercises are great ways to get active
  • Getting annual eye exams and updating eyeglass prescriptions when necessary
  • Making home modifications  
    • Installing grab bars in the tub or near the toilet
     
    • Putting railings on both sides of stairs
     
    • Removing carpet that is lifting and
     
    • Investing in additional lighting for rooms that are hard to see in

Falls can not only be dangerous for older adults, they can be fatal as well. However, with the appropriate resources and knowledge, falls can be prevented.

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly form more content and public health discussion.

By

Prithvi Chauhan

This Year, Make Your Fitness Resolution Stick

While many of us are trying to commit to more active lifestyles, our busy everyday schedules often direct our wellness goals in the wrong direction. Colder weather and holiday leftovers certainly makes it difficult to follow through with your new year’s resolutions. Full time jobs, kids, and other responsibilities often push exercise time out of the question. Here are a few tips for get moving and stay active through this winter season:

1. Make It Social

2. Make It Fun

3. Consider an Incentive

4. Commit to a Date-Specific Goal

5. Just Keep Moving!

Remember, the most important key to making a New Year’s resolution succeed: commitment. WellPath Partners can help you plan out your retirement plan so you can dedicate your time to your own personal wellness. Our plethora of resources can help you sort out your path to wellness to make sure your retire correctly and in the right home.

Learn more about these tips for active living and more here:

nytimes.com/2017/12/19/well/move/this-year-make-your-fitness-resolution-stick.html

Benefits of Video Games for Seniors

While video games are most traditionally enjoyed by young people, some video games have incorporated advanced learning systems in use by students worldwide. Even more interesting, the new wave of video games has influenced not only millennials, but also seniors! According to research, there is apparently a large population of senior gamers.

A study done by Big Fish Games in 2015 found that more than a quarter of all gamers are now adults aged 50 and older. Some seniors have even organized their own video game tournaments in order to connect with others in the community. The majority of older adults state that they play video games in order to keep themselves mentally sharp, reduce boredom, to be challenged, and to have fun. Since they can be enjoyed by people of all ages, video games are a fun activity for the whole family.

Not only are video games fun, they can also be healthier than you think. Research out of the University of Montreal found that people who regularly engaged in playing video games had decreased cognitive impairment, and that gaming might even help to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. Engaging in online fun can also be an easy way of keeping one’s mind active and engaged. Group games are also a great way to stay connected with friends and family. While most people assume gamers can be socially awkward, most online games involve lots of active interaction to form friendship through teamwork.

Fun video games can provide engaging stimulation to exercise one’s mind similar to how working out exercises one’s body. There are many unique gaming styles and worlds to explore ranging from racing, shooting, flying, or even doing online chores. Other games can also be more educational or mentally exercising activities for people of all ages. Even for our less tech-savvy friends, video games can be a great introduction to the digital world. With varying complexities and difficulties, there is surely an option for anyone and everyone!

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By Prithvi Chauhan

Planning for Your Future Retirement?

What does the ideal retirement mean to you? While most individuals have different dreams as to how they wish to spend their retirement, most will agree on the goal of financial independence. Most of the time, this means being able to pay for one’s expenses without having to work. Even if they do continue working, it is because the work is rewarding: they work because they want to, not because they have to.

How to achieve this ideal? Life always favors the prepared and retirement is no exception. In order to make your retirement goals a reality, you’ll need to make retirement planning a priority. Here are a couple elements to focus on while assembling your plan:

  • Debt reduction/management
  • Risk management/insurance
  • Income sources
  • Estate planning
  • Savings
  • Expected expenditures

Don’t feel overwhelmed! Retirement is such a significant stage of our careers and lives. Understandably, there are a lot of factors to oversee for a successful  plan. WellPath Partners can provide personal assistance to all retirement related services and needs.

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By Prithvi Chauhan

Is Assisted Living Your Solution?

There might come a time in a senior’s life when they find it difficult to perform routine actions in their daily life. These actions, known as activities of daily living, or ADLs, include basic activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking, etc. When ADLs become a hassle due to reasons such as disability or chronic illness, one of the best options an individual could seek is an assisted living facility.

Assisted living facilities are housing communities tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals requiring assistance with ADLs. They typically consist of private or semi-private units that are staffed by a team of full-time professionals who are trained to assist with ADLs as well as responding appropriately to emergencies. In addition to ADL assistance, assisted living staff handles everything from meal preparation, laundry, basic housekeeping to security and supervision.

Assisted living is a great option for individuals who can no longer live independently, yet do not require the 24-hour medical care of a nursing home. The communal-based housing provides ample opportunities for socialization, while the presence of on-call staff meanings that simple medical services are readily available. With their household responsibilities handled by staff, assisted living residents are empowered to spend their free time taking part in social activities, fitness programs, and off-facility trips (with transportation provided).

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By Prithvi Chauhan

Iatrogenesis: How Treating a Condition with Medicine Can Cause More Problems

When it comes to health and wellness, it is quite human to make mistakes. I have made plenty of bad decisions when it comes to my own health. When disease takes over the body, it is the norm to turn to medicine to alleviate symptoms. However, sometimes medicine can cause more harm than good. Recently while jogging, I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and scraped my knee. To alleviate the pain, I rubbed some anti-itch cream and Neosporin on the area; however, soon I became increasingly itchy all over my body.  Even though my knee was the only injured area, I felt like a walking rash. After some on-line research, I found out that Neosporin can cause contact dermatitis, the explanation for more itchiness. Talk about a double whammy! I actually discovered the name for this is a real medical condition—Iatrogenesis—is, an unintended adverse drug reaction typically from a seemingly harmless treatment. Iatrogenic conditions don`t always result from allergic reactions. They can also occur from; multiple chronic diagnosis, medical errors, human error, back to back drug interactions, missed or high dosages of prescribed medicines, or equipment failure.

Actually, iatrogenesis is rather common and prevalent among the elderly. This is especially bad news for my grandfather, who takes several daily medications. Recently, my grandfather complained of a bad muscle cramp in his leg after he took a diuretic to remove fluid from his body, a bad headache followed, which he treated with a Tylenol. Most medications used to address symptoms of chronic conditions can be toxic to some degree and can cause damage to other parts of the body. For instance, a diabetes medication can be damaging to the liver. These issues are problematic because iatrogenic conditions can increase drug dependency for pain management.

Unfortunately, there are no sure ways to prevent iatrogenic conditions from happening. The best way to prevent an iatrogenic occurrence is a consultation with a medical professional about risks factors and medications. Since my grandfather takes numerous daily medications he and other elderly men and women need information that fully educates them about iatrogenic conditions. Optimal health involves maintaining a healthy balanced diet, drinking lots of water, exercising daily, avoiding multiple drug use, adhering to a strict drug schedule to prevent missed dosages, and maintaining a close and honest relationship with a physician.

Justene Gibson

BA in Health Science from California State University, Fullerton.

13 Games That Can Be Beneficial For Seniors

“Life is more fun if you play games” -Roald Dahl.  Most of us have a dusty cabinet in our homes with a neglected stack of board games. It may just be time to bring a box over to your aging loved one to reinforce bonds and reignite the spirit of competition. Seniors can especially enjoy board games as they offer low-risk challenges and friendly competition. 

Playing games often include side-effects of laughter. Laughter helps in producing endorphins (a chemical that gives the feeling of happiness) and that naturally help muscles to relax and blood to circulate which will evidently lower blood pressure. Laughing together and having fun can keep seniors happy and healthy. More importantly, sharing time playing board games can always be a great opportunity to reconnect with your aging loved one. Socialization is especially crucial for seniors as many often disconnect from social ties. We may not realize the importance but for them it’s quality time and a priceless gift.

Patients of Alzheimers and Dementia have also found many positive results of creative indoor games as they can help seniors improve cognitive functioning, retention, and speech formation. Keeping the mind of seniors active, exercises their brain, building it stronger. A stronger brain has lower risks of losing its power and thus reduces the risk of cognitive decline, associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Creative Indoor Games:

1) Card Games -Card Games such as bridge, rummy; pinochle etc. can stimulate the brain and help memory loss.

2) Board Games – Seniors can enjoy board games like scrabble, carom, ludo, dominoes, world safari, monopoly, bingo etc.

3) Mahjong – This game involves tile matching. The players simply locate matching tiles and remove them in pairs until they can’t go further or they clear them all.

4) In my suitcase (memory game) – In this game, one person lists an object and the next person has to repeat the previous names and then add his or her own, and so on.

5) What’s That Saying – This game includes hundreds of well-known sayings.  Players are given clue words to figure them out.  Be the first to guess the correct saying!

6) Reminiscing – Sharing with friends and family the most memorable events, favorite holiday, best advice received, best advice given, funniest moment, favorite memory etc

7) Guess the song – One person plays songs, shares lyrics, or gives clues and the rest guess which song it is.

8) Computer Games- The Internet can provide an unlimited variety of creative games. Find solo and interactive gaming options ranging from adventure, puzzle, and strategic games. Educational games are also a great option not only for children, but also seniors.

9) Crossword Puzzles and other interesting word games like Spellathon, make words, weave a story etc.

10) Pictionary- Challenge your creativity and artistic ability with the guessing game for the humble artist.

11) Dumb Charades- One of the funniest games ever. Guaranteed to promote laughter, reduce stress, and strengthen bonds.

12) Chess- The age old game has always put even the greatest minds to the test. The ultimate game of strategy and precision can be a productive challenge for seniors, especially when pursued more professionally.

13) Checkers- Similar to chess, also helps improve rhythmic processing and strategic thinking.

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By Prithvi Chauhan

Know the FAST Signs of Stroke

Of the many health threats faced in old age, stroke is one of the most prominent and detrimental to long-term wellness. While strokes can be a threat to anyone at any age, your chances do go up as you get older; they double every decade after age 55. Ischemic strokes are particularly common where a blood vessel that takes blood to your brain gets plugged. It happens when fatty deposits in arteries break off and travel to the brain, or when poor blood flow from an irregular heartbeat forms blood clots. This lack of blood flow to the brain immediately kills brain cells and disrupts brain function. Fast action is essential to treating stroke. In order to do so, however, one must know the FAST signs of stroke to identify early signs and take early action:

Face- Due to lack of blood flow, faces of people undergoing stroke begin to droop. Asking the person to smile can make this droop extra apparent.

Arms- Asking the person to raise both arms can also be an effective droop test. If one arm tends to drift downward, this could be due to lack of essential blood flow brought on by a blood clot.

Speech- Slurred speech is also a key indicator of stroke. Brain damage brought on by insufficient blood flow can immediately affect cognitive functioning making it difficulty to complete sentences.

Time- If any one of the above symptoms persists, there’s a high probability that the person is having a stroke and needs medical attention as soon as possible. Call 911 or get to a hospital fast! Brain cells are dying.

Recovery time for seniors is especially difficult and prolonged as recovering brain activity is difficult while also experiencing degenerative diseases.

Other medication being taken for other illnesses like heart disease can raise your chances of stroke. For instance, blood-thinning drugs, which doctors suggest to prevent blood clots, can sometimes make a stroke more likely through bleeding. Hormone therapy, used for menopause symptoms like hot flashes, and low-dose estrogen in birth control pills may also increase risk for stroke. Speaking with a doctor about the side-effects of stroke prevalence may be advisable when being prescribed new medication.

WellPath Partners is your senior resource referral guide. Follow us on ALL social media platforms and join us weekly for more content and public health discussions.

By Prithvi Chauhan

The Aging Process: Understanding How the Body Changes

As people grow older, it is normal for the body to undergo changes. They could enjoy their bodies more by understanding the natural process of what is and what is not normal. The clock cannot move backwards. But with patience, care, and healthy lifestyle changes, people could make the most of their bodies through the process of aging.

People seeing my grandparents grow older is quite strange.  However, aging is a natural part of life that must be endured. Seeing my grandparents’ age is also scary because it is a sign that I am getting older, too. This realization prompted me to research age-related changes on the body to better understand what my grandparents are going through. Clearly, it is important to raise awareness about these changes to better prepare seniors for what the future holds.

The heart begins to work harder during the aging process. Blood vessels and arties get stiff, making high blood pressure and heart problems a higher risk. It’s important to manage stress, get enough sleep, and stay active to reduce these risks. Since my grandparents both have high blood pressure, I suggested that they implement moderate daily exercises like walking or swimming while maintaining a diet that is plentiful in fruits and vegetables to reduce their blood pressure.

Seniors should be aware of other changes that might occur:

  • Skin may begin to feel dry and less supple. This is because the skin produces less fatty tissue, oil and sweat, which over time can result in wrinkles, age spots, and skin tags. Applying moisturizer daily, sunscreen often, wearing protective clothing and avoiding hot showers can prevent additional skin problems.
  • If it becomes increasingly difficult to focus, hear or see, it may be time to get frequent hearing and vision checks or a prescription for eyeglasses.
  • Bone and muscle mass may weaken and become less dense, increasing fracture risks. Adding more calcium and Vitamin D enriched foods like dairy and vegetables.
  • Difficultly with bladder control can lead to urinary incontinence. Some conditions and medications might cause constipation. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sodas, and foods high in acid and eat plenty of high fiber foods and exercise to avoid constipation. If the urge to go is frequent, consult a physician.

Preparing for possible changes in our bodies will lessen anxiety and fear. After all, we should never shame ourselves or anyone else for things we cannot control. Everyone can live as healthy and peacefully as possible if they arm themselves with knowledge to truly understand the normal processes of aging.   

Justene Gibson

BA in Health Science from California State University, Fullerton.