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The Cottages Blog

Valuable Information for Caregivers and Loved Ones

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6 Tips for Heart-Healthy Living for Seniors

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and the older we get, the higher our risk. February is American Heart Month, a month set aside to focus on heart health awareness and how to live a heart-healthy life, no matter your age. Science also points to a strong connection between heart health and brain health. If your heart isn’t pumping well, the cells in the brain will struggle to get the food and oxygen they need, which can impact cognitive function. Taking steps to live heart-healthy can truly impact every aspect of your life. Here are 6 tips to live heart healthy at any age: Know your risk. A number of factors may increase your risk for developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack or stroke. Age, gender and family history are a few factors we have no control over. Other risk factors, such as weight, tobacco use, physical activity and diet/nutrition are within our control. Know your numbers. Cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels are all numbers that impact your heart health. Knowing your numbers can help you stay on track toward your healthy living goals. Here are some target numbers from the American Heart Association: Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL HDL (good) cholesterol 50 mg/dL or higher LDL (bad) cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL Triglycerides 150 mg/dL Blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg Body Mass Index less than 25 kg/m2 Waist circumference less than 35 in. Exercise daily. Keeping your body moving is essential, but as we age, getting in regular exercise can... read more

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia: What’s the Difference?

  The terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are often used synonymously, but they aren’t the same. Knowing the difference between the two can help you better understand your loved one’s diagnosis and how to provide the best care. What is Dementia? Dementia is a broad term used to describe various symptoms that can impact cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning, one’s ability to perform daily activities and communication. Dementia is considered a syndrome, but is not a disease itself, and can occur due to a number of degenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and, most commonly, Alzheimer’s disease. According to the World Health Organization, about 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia. Symptoms of dementia are often mild at first, often beginning with episodes of forgetfulness, difficulty keeping track of time and becoming disoriented or lost in familiar settings. As dementia progresses, symptoms worsen and forgetfulness and confusion become more obvious. Other signs of dementia can include repeatedly asking the same questions, poor hygiene and poor decision making. People may have more than one type of dementia, a state known as mixed dementia. In these cases, people with mixed dementia have multiple conditions that contribute to dementia. This diagnosis can only be confirmed in an autopsy. With the progression of dementia, one’s ability to function independently lessens and the individual living with dementia becomes unable to care for him or herself. Behaviors may even turn into depression and aggression. Dementia is a major cause of disability in aging adults and can be both emotionally and financially burdensome for families and caregivers. Although dementia most often occurs in... read more

3 Tips to Help You Be a Healthy Caregiver

Caring for your loved one living with dementia is a labor of love and can often be overwhelming and exhausting. We understand how difficult caregiving can be. From our experience coming alongside families as they provide care for their loved ones with dementia, here are a few tips to help you as a caregiver.

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Falls Prevention Awareness Day: How to Protect Your Loved One

  Falls are the leading cause of injuries for adults over age 65. For senior adults, falling down can result in hip fractures, broken bones and head injuries. A history of falling may also cause your loved one to become too fearful or depressed to maintain an active lifestyle. Today is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, set aside to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. There are a number of things that can cause a senior adult to fall. Some of the most common causes of falls include: Loss of coordination, flexibility and/or balance Vision or hearing loss Side effects of medications, such as dizziness, dehydration or interactions with other meds Environmental factors, such as tripping hazards around the home Chronic conditions such as diabetes, stroke or arthritis If you are a caregiver for a loved one, the National Council on Aging recommends taking these six simple steps to help prevent falls and keep your loved one safe and healthy as long as possible: Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay active. Ask your loved ones if they’re concerned about falling. Many older adults recognize that falling is a risk, but they believe it won’t happen to them or they won’t get hurt — even if they’ve already fallen in the past. Encourage your loved one to discuss any concerns about falling, dizziness or balance with their healthcare provider. Assess their current health condition. Is your loved one having trouble remembering to take their medications — or are they experiencing any side effects of those medications? Is it becoming more difficult for your... read more

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Watching loved ones get older and experience the changes that come with aging can be tough, especially if your loved one is showing signs of memory loss or dementia. It can be even more difficult for the individual experiencing those changes. Knowing when to get checked can make a big difference in helping yourself or your loved one maintain a high quality of life as mental changes take hold.

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