Senior education and lifelong learning provide a wealth of benefits.
Remember how that first day back to school felt? Wearing a new outfit, cracking open a new textbook to Page 1, writing that first word with a perfectly sharpened new pencil? The anticipation of learning something new can – and should – resound with us for a lifetime. Maintaining a lifestyle of learning throughout aging can impact older adults in a variety of significant ways, making it worth exploring with the seniors in your life.
For one thing, finding meaning and purpose in life is crucial for us all, and especially vital in our senior years, when we need to reshape our identity after years of a fulfilling career, taking care of family, and engaging in hobbies and activities that may no longer be appealing or possible due to health conditions or the general effects of aging. It can be a helpful exercise to sit down with your senior loved ones and ask something like, “If there was one thing you wish you knew more about, what would it be?” or, “If you could have studied something different in school, what would you have wanted to learn?” With that information in hand, you can explore opportunities to make that dream a reality!
We also know that lifelong learning raises a senior’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth, while creating new opportunities for socialization – something that is imperative to overall health and wellbeing, and often a problem for older adults who feel isolated and lonely. Whether learning is in-person or online, seniors gain a sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people with a similar interest, fostering the chance for friendships to blossom.
And while seniors may at first balk at the idea of becoming a student once again, believing that all of the other students will be so much younger, research shows that 40% of students in a study of ten courses were actually over the age of 56.
Once a senior is on board with the idea of pursuing educational opportunities, a simple Google search will reveal classes that are available either in your local area or online. Then, let our team of aging care specialists help!
At Nightingale Homecare, the leaders in senior home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, we’re always available to help older adults set and achieve new goals in a variety of ways:
Transportation to in-person classes
Help with setting up and accessing online learning programs
Companionship to offer motivation and encouragement
Even taking care of housework and meals so seniors can study!
Contact our senior care team at (602) 504-1555 to get started on a brighter future for a senior you love!
Oh, the long, hot days of summer! In Arizona, it starts early and goes late. Often, our elders remain indoors during most of the summer months, and more recently, with COVID-19 lurking, seniors with underlying conditions are stuck inside even more so than usual.
It may be a nice time to discover a new activity, or reacquaint with an old hobby! Here are some ideas to either do on your own, with a friend or neighbor, or to encourage an elder loved one to consider to allay boredom and the same old thing every day.
When you add an activity to your day or to the day of a senior you love, you might consider this approach:
Focus on enjoyment, not achievement.
Determine what time of day is best for the activity.
Be flexible and patient with yourself if it’s something new.
If you choose an outside activity, make sure it’s early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid extreme temperatures. Outdoor activities can be relaxing and fulfilling. It’s always great to get a change of scenery and enjoy fresh air.
The following are ideas for outside activities:
Plant some flowers or herbs in small pots.
Pull old plants and weeds from the garden.
Take a walk and identify the flowers and plants with a book on plants along the way.
Check on your garden daily for new sprouts or ripe vegetables. This can also lead to other activities such as picking and preparing what has grown in the garden.
Put a birdbath and feeders out in the yard, so you can watch the birds out the window.
Have your meal or snack outside.
Read a book or poetry in the shade outside.
Play a game of horseshoes.
Sit on the porch noticing all the activity, colors, and scents. Wave to the neighbors!
Sew something for a friend.
Take up embroidery or knitting.
Call an old friend who would be surprised to hear from you, and catch up.
Learn how to Zoom or FaceTime, and suggest a family “gathering.”
Read a new book indoors in a quiet spot, with a nice cup of tea.
Find a poem or prayer you’d like to memorize and spend several minutes a day reciting it.
Pull out old music and listen and reminisce.
Find a new radio program or podcast you’d like to listen to.
Pull out your old photo albums and just reminisce, or reorganize them.
Gather together some paints or colored pencils and create some artwork.
Write a letter to an old friend or family member.
Make a memory book or a personal scrapbook.
Organize drawers or cupboards.
Find a new recipe and make something special.
Get a handbook for dice games and play.
Pull out a once-loved board or card game and play…or learn a new one!
Watch an old musical.
Make apple pie or cobbler from scratch. See who can peel the longest unbroken peel!
Soak and massage your feet, or a friend’s. Paint your toenails if desired!
Plan a happy hour for yourself with music and salsa and chips and margarita mix.
Put up maps of the state, country and world and mark all the places you’ve been and where you’d like to go.
Write down your family timeline and history….births, deaths, moves, marriages,
Write down your favorite childhood memories, your memories as an adult and things you have learned about life.
Polish and shine your shoes.
Make birthday card collages for friends from old magazines and photos.
Put on some favorite, irresistible music and MOVE! (You don’t have to call it dancing!)
Sing favorite hymns and carols.
Blow up an inflatable punch ball and use it as indoor balloon volleyball.
Learn simple exercises you can do in a chair.
Experiment with aromatherapy and essential oils. Try new ones and notice what they do to your mood. Remember, don’t apply them directly to your skin. Always use in lotions or diluted in infusers, and don’t use for extended periods. Here are some ideas on essential oils to influence mood.Invigorating: Peppermint, rosemary, lemon
For more recommendations of fun activities for seniors, call on the aging care pros at Nightingale Homecare! We’d love to provide the friendly companionship for older adults, along with plenty of creative and engaging ideas that make each day the best it can be. Call us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about how our experts in home care in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding area can help a senior you love.
Get the facts on mesothelioma and asbestos from Nightingale Home Care.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions regarding mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive disease caused by asbestos exposure. Some people ask, “Is mesothelioma contagious?” Others believe the disease is linked to smoking.
These incorrect assessments range from how people develop mesothelioma to where the disease forms within the body. Other mesothelioma myths include the demographics affected by mesothelioma, the amount of asbestos exposure needed to develop the sickness and the legality of using the substance in the United States.
Below are some common myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma and asbestos, as well as the realities of the disease:
Myth 1: Smoking Is Linked to Mesothelioma
Smoking is not linked to mesothelioma. The act does not cause or increase your risk of developing the disease. The disease forms along the mesothelium, which is a lining that covers three specific areas of your body: the lungs (pleura), abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and heart (pericardium). Inhaling harmful smoke causes lung cancer specifically. While mesothelioma can spread to and affect one or both of the lungs, it does not form in the lung.
Myth 2: Mesothelioma Is a Lung Cancer
Pleural mesothelioma shares the closest resemblance to lung cancer, but even this form of mesothelioma is not lung cancer. The disease forms in the pleura, which is a protective membrane that separates the lungs from your chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma can metastasize to the lungs but does not form there, which excludes it from being considered lung cancer.
Since mesothelioma and lung cancer share similar traits — and can appear in the same areas of the body — some doctors may misdiagnose mesothelioma as lung cancer.
Myth 3: Mesothelioma Only Affects the Lungs
Mesothelioma affects much more than just the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the lining around the abdominal cavity, which includes many organs. Your diaphragm, heart, appendix, intestines, colon, pancreas, gallbladder, liver and testicles may also be at risk when mesothelioma forms.
Myth 4: Mesothelioma Is Contagious
Mesothelioma is not contagious. It cannot spread from human contact or germs. The only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma is exposure to the mineral known as asbestos. Therefore, if you are a mesothelioma patient, you do not need to worry about coughing and giving the disease to others.
Myth 5: Mesothelioma Only Affects the Elderly
Mesothelioma is not limited to a specific age — or any demographic. However, the disease does have higher incidence rates in older people. The latency period, which is the amount of time a disease takes to develop, is between 20 and 50 years for mesothelioma. Therefore, the disease doesn’t manifest until people get older.
Myth 6: You Must Work With Asbestos to Develop Mesothelioma
Occupational exposure to asbestos is the most likely way to develop mesothelioma. However, there are other avenues to ingesting or inhaling the mineral.
You could live near an asbestos mine or asbestos processing plant. These instances are known as environmental exposure.
You also could have consistent interaction with someone who worked with asbestos. Maybe you were the wife of an insulation worker and regularly washed his work clothes. Asbestos fibers can stick to shirts or pants, putting anyone who touches the clothes at risk. This is an example of secondhand exposure.
Another possibility is exposure due to using cosmetics or beauty products. Even household appliances such as hair dryers included asbestos for many years.
Myth 7: The Larger the Amount of Your Asbestos Exposure, the More Likely a Person Is to Get Mesothelioma
There is no proven correlation between the quantity of asbestos exposure and the risk of developing mesothelioma. A person who works one day in a construction or insulation job — both industries which relied on asbestos for much of the 20th century — could find out 30 or 40 years later they have the disease. The only variable is whether or not asbestos fibers entered your body, were not expelled, lodged into the mesothelium and caused cellular mutation.
Myth 8: Asbestos Is Banned in the United States
Asbestos is not banned in the United States. As of June 2019, only the state of New Jersey has banned the sale and use of asbestos in products — and the state’s government only recently passed the law. Politicians and activist groups have tried to get asbestos banned in the U.S., but the Environmental Protection Agency only has restrictions in place currently.
Myth No. 9: Mesothelioma Only Affects Men
Mesothelioma does affect men more than women, but that’s largely because men are more likely to work in jobs that include asbestos. Most people who have pleural mesothelioma are men, but the gender divide for peritoneal mesothelioma is close to a 50-50 split.
Myth 10: Mesothelioma Is Untreatable and Always Has a Poor Prognosis
Mesothelioma is treatable. The options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The recommended strategy involves a combination of two or all three, which is called a multimodal treatment approach. Surgery is the most effective treatment method as it removes most or all of the tumors from the body.
While mesothelioma is aggressive, the prognosis isn’t always discouraging. Depending on the type of the disease and stage, some patients live up to five years following their diagnosis. Early detection usually leads to a longer life expectancy — because the tumors are more likely to be removed when the cancer has yet to spread far from the point of origin.
In short, there is hope if you have mesothelioma. Treatment methods are improving, more specialists are emerging and additional information is made available with each year.
Use this COVID-19 self-assessment tool from the home care team at Nightingale.
Nightingale Homecare is dedicated to ensuring our patients’ safety and good health during the COVID-19, or “coronavirus” pandemic. Anyone can get the virus and may have mild or severe symptoms. However, if you are an elder adult with underlying conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, hypertension or diabetes, you are considered to be at higher risk for developing more severe complications from the virus, and need to be particularly cautious.
Of course, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, so it is important to stay away from people who are sick, or may unknowingly have the virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person who are in close contact, or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
People with pre-existing conditions are encouraged by the CDC to stay home whenever possible and to go out only for medical care. If you do venture out, do so with a cloth face covering, avoid crowds, and stay at least six feet from others at all times. It is especially important to use hand sanitizer while out and to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being in a public place.
While home, you should pay special attention to your hand hygiene, especially after blowing your nose or coughing, and avoid touching your face, nose and mouth. It is also important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily: tables, counters, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, and light switches.
Anyone who does come into your home should always self-screen, and not come in if they are feeling sick, have a temperature, or have been recently exposed to anyone with, or suspected of having, COVID-19. In addition, your guests should wear a cloth face covering, practice good hand hygiene, and stay at least six feet from you at all times.
All of Nightingale’s patients are asked to self-screen for the virus daily. To self-screen effectively, you must know the symptoms associated with COVID-19. The following is a list of known symptoms of COVID-19:
· SORE THROAT
· SHORTNESS OF BREATH
· NEW CONFUSION
· LOSS OF TASTE/SMELL
· CHEST PAINS
· BLUE COLOR IN LIPS, FACE OR EXTREMITIES
· TEMPERATURE > 100.4
· SHAKING WITH CHILLS
· MUSCLE ACHES
At Nightingale Homecare, we ask all our patients to go through the following self-checks daily. We use a tool called a stoplight self-assessment, and patients are asked to evaluate if they are in the GREEN, YELLOW or RED ZONE.
THE GREEN ZONE
If you can affirm all of the statements below, you would be considered to be in the GREEN ZONE, and would not need to do anything other than monitor for symptoms that may develop and continue taking precautions.
I am breathing easily.
I have no fever or chills.
I am not coughing, wheezing, or experiencing chest tightness or shortness of breath.
I do not have a sore throat.
I am able to maintain my normal activity level.
I am alert without confusion or unusual fatigue.
I have no loss of smell or taste.
I have no diarrhea or stomach upset.
I have no color changes in my face or extremities.
THE YELLOW ZONE
If you note any of the following symptoms, you would be in the YELLOW ZONE, and you would need to contact your health care provider right away.
I am coughing more than usual, or have a sore throat.
I have a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit when taken orally (or a tympanic recording), or 99.4 under the arm (or temporally).
I have loss of smell or taste.
I have diarrhea or vomiting.
THE RED ZONE
If you affirm any of the following statements, you would be in the RED ZONE and would require immediate, emergency medical attention:
I am experiencing unrelieved shortness of breath.
I have a persistent cough.
I have a fever over 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit when taken orally (or a tympanic recording), or 100.4 under the arm (or temporally).
I have a change in the color of my skin, nails, or lips to gray or blue.
It’s best for older adults who are more vulnerable to avoid high-traffic areas such as grocery stores.
Experts say that people should avoid crowded places because of COVID-19, and the CDC is asking that elders with underlying health conditions stay home entirely. This can make it a challenge when seniors are in need of groceries. To help, we’ve provided details on several helpful solutions; and know that Nightingale caregivers are always available to assist our clients in getting necessary items.
The following grocery and meal-delivery services are available to assist anyone in getting their groceries by ordering online, including:
Even if a grocery store or warehouse is thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, the delivery person needs to take the same precautions to prevent the spread of a virus to you. While these companies might recommend that deliverers wash their hands often, practice other hygiene measures, and stay home when they’re feeling sick, they can’t monitor whether drivers are actually taking those precautions. So, follow these steps when ordering deliveries:
Avoid a direct hand-off.Arrange to have the items delivered to your doorstep instead of handing them off inside your home.
Tip electronically.One benefit of ordering deliveries online or via an app is that you don’t have to hand the delivery person money. Opportunities to tip the delivery person are included in most of the delivery apps and online ordering systems.
Wash your hands and countertops. Follow the instructions below for unpacking and preparing your food.
Order earlier than you usually do.Though it’s not a direct health or safety issue, you may find that you have to wait longer for the items you need, so plan in advance for those items.
Picking up Pre-Packaged Groceries
The steps are basically the same for this option as for delivery. If you’ve ordered your groceries and go to pick them up and are having someone put the groceries in your car in a parking lot, consider opening your car door or trunk yourself rather than having the person touch the door handle. If you can pay and tip on a supermarket’s app, do that rather than handing over cash or a credit card. Be sure to wear a mask if you step outside your car or come within six feet of the delivery person. Use your hand sanitizer if you are touching any surfaces and wash your hands immediately upon returning home.
Buying Groceries in the Store
Only shop if you absolutely need to, and never go out if you are feeling sick. If you must go out to get groceries, keep yourself safe and follow these tips:
Wear a mask. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering while you are out. Avoid touching your mask and make sure you sanitize your hands immediately after removing it.
Avoid touching your face. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from all other people at all times. Most stores have outlined these distances in check-out lines. If someone coughs or sneezes, do not walk through the area where they coughed or sneezed. Remember while you are shopping down the aisles, always keep your distance.
Go shopping at a time that’s less busy.If you look online and type in the store’s name and location in a Google search, a box will pop up showing when foot traffic there is highest. Many stores now offer times when only elders can enter the store, avoiding younger people who may unknowingly carry the virus. You must still keep your distance from others while shopping, staying at least 6 feet away at all times.
Disinfect your shopping cart. Most grocery stores have disinfectant wipes available, or have procedures to disinfect the carts before and after use. Shop only at stores that observe these precautions.
Take germicide and hand sanitizer with you.Be prepared to use your own disinfectant if the carts are not routinely disinfected. Use hand sanitizer after paying and after leaving the store. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you return home.
Reusable bags.If you use reusable grocery bags, it is recommended to leave them in your car or the garage for at least a week, or wipe them down thoroughly with a germicide before re-use.
Use a credit or debit card. Avoid handing over bills or receiving change into your hand. Also, use your own pen to sign receipts. If you can, use a virtual payment system like Apple Pay so that you don’t have to open your wallet at all.
Unpacking and Preparing Your Food
Once you have your groceries inside your home, you must take precautions when putting them away and preparing them. Contact with food packaging and food isn’t thought to spread the virus, so there is no need to carry out any special disinfecting procedures on the food or packaging, but following these steps is important:
Drop your groceries at the door. Once you arrive home, drop your groceries at the door and go directly to wash your hands. Then, move them to your counter to unpack them. After unpacking, wash your hands again.
Wash your produce. Don’t use disinfectants on food, as this can pose other health risks. Instead, rub your fruit and vegetables under clear, running water, and scrub those with hard skin. This can help remove not only pesticides, but also potential viruses.
Wash counters, and other surfaces you’ve touched. Use a disinfectant wipe or spray to clean all surfaces.
Eating your food. Currently, there is no data to show that COVID-19 is spread by consuming food, so the risk of getting the virus from your food is considered low.
The ideal way to keep seniors safe at home, however, is by partnering with Nightingale Homecare. As the top providers of Phoenix care at home, our professional caregivers are trained and experienced in safety procedures to reduce the risk to seniors of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses. Let us take care of running errands such as grocery shopping for a senior you love! Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our trusted home care services in Phoenix and the surrounding areas .
A Nightingale representative would be happy to answer your questions or help you arrange for home care that is custom-fit to your needs.