Exercise For Life

  1. Scientific research confirms that exercise is one of the most important factors in determining life expectancy.
  2. Studies show that no group in our population benefits more from exercise than seniors.
  3. Lack of physical activity and poor diet are the second largest underlying cause of death in the US.
  4. Exercise improves mood and relieves depression.
  5. Regular exercise can help prevent or delay certain diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
  6. Physical activity reduces the incidence of constipation.
  7. All seniors should consult with their physician prior to undertaking new activities. Call your doctor and stop exercising if you exhibit any of the following: Chest pain, or pressure, trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath, difficulty with balance.

Given the beneficial nature of exercise, we recommend a series of exercises that most seniors can handle.



When to Take Away the Keys?

This is an ongoing question and one of the greatest fears of our senior population. It signals to them the beginning of the end, the loss of independence, the loss of some of their identity. It can also present a hardship on the family as they must make arrangements for Mom or Dad to get them where they need to go, arrange to have supplies in their house, and limits the kind of time that they now spend with Mom or Dad. Many if not most of our senior population attests that there are no issues with their driving, that they have taken and passed the DMV tests and there is NO PROBLEM with their driving and commandeering a 2000 lb. vehicle on our public roads and highways is not an issue. So how do you know when it is time to take away the keys?

Try asking a few pertinent questions both to the senior and to yourself.

1)Would you want your 88 year old mother driving your 2 year old grandchild to day-care?
2)Do you believe that they can stop a vehicle in case of an unforeseen event as quickly as they could have some years earlier?
3)Can they maintain a healthy distance between cars, yet not slow down the traffic flow as to create a backup.
4)Would you feel safe with them driving you to a Doctor’s appointment?
5)Can they turn their head so as to see behind them clearly when backing out of driveways or other places?
6)Do you think that they actually check their blind spot on changing lanes?
7)If they refuse to give up the keys, who is responsible if a tragedy does occur?
8)Would you want them driving on our highways with other faster vehicles, and would you feel safe with them driving slowly on the highway?
9)If, as they say they are OK to drive, would you want your elderly father driving your mother to an appointment or vice versa?
10)If they absolutely refuse to give up the keys, what can you do?

So if you have issues on any of these above questions, you do need to consider the possible actions that you might take in order to prevent an accident or worse a tragic situation for someone you love. You can consider the following;
1)Talk to the senior and allow him or her to arrange an alternate method of transportation, perhaps take the senior van, or arrange for transportation service to take them places and assist them with this process.

How to Encourage Choices for Care

There comes a time when all families must deal with what Mom and Dad NEED rather than what their parents think they need. Often this comes about suddenly because of a medical situation. Sometimes it is much more gradual and not as apparent. Usually, the adult sons and daughters know that Mom or dad need some help yet the parents are completely reluctant to accept any help unless it comes directly from their children or grandchildren. As much as we all would like to help our wonderful parents, it is not always possible to quit work and care for an aging parent.

As people age, they are usually less physically capable of handling many areas of everyday living, such as driving, bathing, grooming and just managing a household. Yet most do not want to leave their home of many years and want to insist they can handle the duties. Sometimes the seniors actually delude themselves and twist the truth to their children, saying they are managing quite well. It is often their adult children who must take on the reverse role of caring for parents or insisting that they get help. How do you do this when they are reluctant to accept anyone’s help other than you?

There are a couple of suggestions. Talk often and casually about the possibilities for assistance out there. There are many options including independent retirement living, assisted living, board and care homes, and in-home care. Take them to various places to consider and talk to people who can guide you and them in making the correct decision. It is usually different for each person. We are happy to set up an in-home visit to discuss options with families at no charge.

It may start as simply someone to come in to drive them to appointments or shopping assistance and home chores. The important part is to consider the options out there before there is a crisis situation. Most important is to first make the call and then get help with your choices. The key factor is to have a positive experience with their first choice. Making a good match and good choice for their first experience is critical.

Judy Horvath, CSA, Certified Senior Advisor, is the owner operator of Tender Heart Home Care. Tender Heart is headquartered in the Danville, San Ramon area and provides Seniors with in-home care. For further information, please call 925 838 4444 or email judyh@atenderheart.com.