How Can Occupational Therapy Help Me?

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The month of April is known as “Occupational Therapy Month,” designated as an opportunity to shine a light on the benefits that are available from these services. Occupational therapy can be helpful for people of all ages, particularly aging adults.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Age or disabilities can limit a person’s ability to complete everyday tasks. Occupational therapy practitioners enable patients by helping them function despite a disability, illness, or injury. Sometimes these services are used for children with disabilities or people recovering from accidents. Other times, practitioners help older adults who are working through cognitive and physical changes.

Occupational therapy services start with an evaluation to determine the person’s goals. A physician order is required for health insurance to cover the assessment and ongoing OT services. After the assessment, a custom treatment plan is put together to assist the person in reaching those goals. Ongoing therapy is adjusted based on outcome evaluation, with the practitioner making changes as needed. Finally, cooperation with family members, caregivers, and other professionals is necessary to ensure the long-term support to help the person as needed.

Maintain Independence in Retirement

If you are planning to remain in your home in the later years of life, then occupational therapy might be a good solution. The normal aging process can make it challenging to keep up with personal care, housekeeping, and yard work. An occupational therapist can support your goals by designing a plan that increases independence while maintaining safety at home.

There are times when family members might need to encourage support of aging parents. If you can see that your parents are finding it difficult to keep up with tasks in the home, then it is time to start the conversation about options that are available. Occupational therapy services are always customized to the person’s environment, skills, needs, wants, and budget.

Many times, families don’t know where to turn when these life changes are occurring. Instead of navigating the challenges without assistance, consider the support of our team. At Windward Life Care, we are experienced in helping individuals and families find the care and services that are needed. Our team is here to help you find an occupational therapist or other supportive professionals based on your situation. Call to learn more about the ways that we can help.

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Healthy Aging Conference Presented by the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club

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Windward Life Care is proud to be a Bronze Sponsor for the Annual Healthy Aging Conference presented by the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center.

The event will take place at the beautiful Fairbanks Ranch Country Club on April 27.

 

You can find the details here on the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center website.

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How to Reduce Medication Risks by Working With Senior Care Pharmacists

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Advances in the healthcare industry have uncovered treatments that can be used for most health concerns. As people grow old, it is common to use regular medications to help with the management of chronic conditions. Do you use prescriptions on a daily basis? Do you have a family member that uses medications regularly?

Older Adults and Medication Use

While the medications can be helpful, they aren’t effective if the patient doesn’t take the right pills. Aging adults often find it difficult to keep track of the dosages and frequency. Medications are more difficult to manage when a person is working with multiple doctors. The taking of multiple medications, known as polypharmacy, could result in serious side effects and drug interactions. The best solution is to talk to a Senior Care Pharmacist who can offer personalized recommendations.

What is a Senior Care Pharmacist?

A Senior Care Pharmacist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the management of medications and lifestyle for seniors. The interest of the patient is the highest priority, and the pharmacist works in concert with the prescribing physician to find the best solutions for the patient.

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is an evaluation that can be used to determine the effectiveness of the medications. A Senior Care Pharmacist will put together a plan that outlines the most appropriate, safe, and effective use of prescribed medications. The goal is to ensure that the patient is using the drugs correctly, avoiding as many side effects and interactions as possible.

Working with a Senior Care Pharmacist

Why should you consider working with a Senior Care Pharmacist?

Sarah Lorentz, PharmD, APh, Director of MTM Services at UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, explains. “Studies have shown that although people over 65 years old make up 15% of the population, they account for over 49% of hospital readmissions due to medication side effects.  Pharmacists are trained healthcare professionals who can help prevent hospital readmissions, especially in the senior citizen population, by reducing polypharmacy and ensuring that older adults are taking the safest, most effective medication therapy,” says Dr. Lorentz.

At Windward Life Care, our team is focused on the health resources that can improve your lifestyle. We are proud to partner with UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy, giving our clients access to the services that are available from a Senior Care Pharmacist. Contact us to learn more about the services that are offered.

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A Growing Problem: Substance Abuse in Older Adults

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According to the US Census Bureau, it is estimated that there will be over 72 million people over the age of 65 by the year 2030. Not only is the large Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age, but medical advances are increasing the average lifespan of people in the United States.

Older Adults and the Risk of Substance Abuse

As the population of older adults expands, so do  concerns for their health. Historically, there haven’t been high rates of substance abuse in this age group, though it is thought that past rates may have been under-reported. Research is showing substance abuse to be a growing public health concern for people 65 and older. It is now estimated that more than a million people past retirement age abuse alcohol, drugs, or both. As a result, many families are facing the challenges of caring for an aging parent while managing substance abuse issues at the same time.

Why is Substance Abuse a Growing Concern?

The numbers vary depending on the reports that you read. But, there is no question that the incidence of substance abuse is growing in all age groups, including older adults. What is causing the increased risk?

One potential cause lies in the change in attitudes about the use of drugs and alcohol. For example, Baby Boomers have had more exposure to illicit drugs in their lifetimes and thus may normalize the use of substances that past generations have avoided. Unfortunately, this may also increase the Baby Boomers’ likelihood of experiencing the negative effects of drug use such as health issues, family issues, and overdose.

Another issue is that the use of prescriptions is growing in the United States, and some of these medications can lead to addiction. It is common for people to look for a “cure” in medications, resulting in an increase in drug use. Older adults suffer more physical ailments than younger adults, and tend to use more prescription medications. These can interact with each other in a harmful way, as well as produce negative effects with mixed with alcohol and illicit drugs. Older adults also metabolize certain substances like alcohol, more slowly, making them more susceptible to intoxication. This can lead to falls and injury.

Finally, older adults face life changes that can lead to increased use of substances, such as the death of a spouse or partner; loss of independence; and social isolation.

Professional Assistance for Substance Abuse Problems

Older adults can benefit from treatment, so family members and professionals should not be afraid to bring up their concerns. If you suspect that a family member is struggling with an addiction, then it is essential to find the right treatment program. Talk to us at Windward Life Care, and we will support you in finding the services that best meet the needs of your family.

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Heart Health for Men: Four Ways to Keep Your Ticker Ticking

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February is a time when people often discuss matters of the heart. Instead of only focusing on relationships this month, it might be a good opportunity to learn more about cardiovascular health as well. Your daily choices play a big role in heart health, and these lifestyle habits might be the life-or-death choices that impact your cardiovascular system.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men. As men go through the aging process, it is necessary to make cardiovascular health a higher priority. Not only do you need to learn more about heart disease, but you also need to watch for symptoms that could indicate a need for medical care.

Tips to Protect Your Heart

You can manage your risk of heart disease by implementing a few important health tips:

  • Increase Fiber Intake: Instead of loading your plate with processed carbohydrates, fill up with high-fiber foods. Enjoy whole grains, vegetables, and fruit to reduce your risk of heart disease and manage your blood sugar levels at the same time.
  • Cut Back on Saturated Fat: There is a reason why saturated fat has earned a bad reputation. These “unhealthy fats” play a role in the development of heart disease. Limit your fat consumption to 20 – 35 percent of your caloric intake, and focus most of those calories on unsaturated fats. These fats come from almonds, walnuts, avocados, and olive oil.
  • Boost Your Heart Rate: Regular exercise is important to get your blood pumping and strengthen your heart. It is best to start a new exercise plan under the supervision of a doctor. Start with basic exercises, then increase the intensity and duration over time.
  • Maintain Preventive Care: You still need to visit the doctor, even if you aren’t feeling sick. Men don’t go to the doctor for annual checkups as often as women. But, these appointments are essential to check heart health by measuring blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Stay consistent with regular checkups with your doctor.

Following these tips will not only reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, but they will help to improve your overall health. If you need help finding the right medical services, then you are invited to talk to our team at Windward Life Care for more information.

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Get Fit in the New Year: The Best Exercises for Older Adults

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When many people talk about fitness, they are often thinking about exercise for weight loss. While it is important to maintain a healthy weight, you shouldn’t overlook the other benefits that are available to improve your health.

It is common for older adults to slow down as they age. But, getting older shouldn’t be a reason why you stop moving your body. Exercise is essential to balance hormones, reduce the impact of chronic disease, support circulation, and improve balance and flexibility.

If you are setting New Year’s goals to improve your fitness, then you should consider some of these exercise options:

  • Smartphone Exercise Integration: We live in a world of technology, and many tools can be used to support your fitness goals. Try using these smartphone apps to put together the right exercise plan.
  • Senior Fitness Classes: Enjoy double benefits by building friendships while you are working out. These aging adult fitness classes provide exercise plans that are catered to your skill level while creating a fun place to meet friends and build your community.
  • Walking: Simply getting out of the house can be the catalyst to boost your health efforts. There’s no need to run a marathon! Instead, walk the dog, talk to the neighbors, or take a stroll around a nearby park.
  • Interval Training: It is easy to get stuck with a fitness plateau if you aren’t shaking things up. Consider interval training to have the most impact on muscle development and endurance.

Customizing Your Exercise Plan

Keep in mind that it is always best to work with your healthcare provider to put together a good exercise plan for your fitness level. You need to ease your way into the activities so that you can prevent injury. Also, make it a priority to plan time for warming up and cool down periods to prevent discomfort and injury.

Our team at Windward Life Care is focused on supporting your health goals by connecting you with the right medical and fitness options in your area. Call us for more information about how these services can help with your new goals for the year.

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