Commonwise is fully-staffed and prepared to serve new home care clients. We are taking extra precautions to protect our clients and caregivers from COVID-19, and our experienced nursing team is ensuring our compliance with all CDC guidelines as they emerge. In these uncertain times, the safest place to be is in your own home. We can help.

The Best Senior Care in South Carolina and Virginia

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

June 27, 2020


Based on recent census data, roughly 17.7% of South Carolina’s population is 65 years of age or older. In that same year, it was reported that about 15.4% of Virginia’s population is 65 years of age or older. In both cases, this percentage is expected to continue to grow. For many families, it is time to start looking for senior care in South Carolina or in Virginia. The question is, how do you determine which care service is best?

In the past, there weren’t many senior care alternatives outside of traditional nursing homes. Now, at-home care offers alternatives to nursing homes and continuity and independence to seniors who prefer to remain at home.

Read on to learn more about the best South Carolina and Virginia home care services and what to look for when searching for the right match.
 

Is At-Home Care Right for You?

When you’re looking for the best senior care in your area, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is between at-home care or live-in nursing homes. If you are the family member of the individual in need of senior care, include them in this conversation. After all, it concerns their day-to-day life! Keep in mind that there are alternatives to assisted living and nursing homes.

Most seniors are active in both mind and spirit. The biggest change is often physical as they find that daily chores and personal maintenance tasks become more difficult due to mobility issues. Needing a little help around the house does not mean that seniors are no longer fit to live at home!

In some cases, opting for the complete upheaval of moving a senior into a nursing home can create more problems than it solves. For example, the lack of familiarity and loss of privacy or independence can cause mental health issues to worsen. With at-home care, your loved one’s life can improve–without drastically changing.
 

What to Look For In At-Home Care Services

A good at-home care service should never be one-size-fits-all. No two seniors age the same way and, subsequently, their needs will differ. That’s why at Commonwise Home Care locations in South Carolina and Virginia, we offer a variety of services and packages to address each senior’s individual needs. 

For example, we understand that there is a vast difference between hospice care and respite care. Hospice care is a service we offer to create ease and comfort for seniors who have reached the end of their medical care journey. Respite care is a service we offer for seniors who have a primary caretaker, often familial, who needs a temporary break.

When you’re searching for an at-home care service, seek out organizations that offer personal care, home care, and companionship services. Ideally, this organization should be both flexible and transparent in the services they provide on a daily basis.
 

Personal Care, Home Care, and Companionship

Personal care includes services such as bathing, grooming, toileting support, and feeding. These services focus on basic health and hygiene for seniors who find it difficult to take care of themselves in this way.

Home care covers specialized needs for clients who have, for example, Alzheimer’s or dementia or are recovering from surgery. Specialists design a care regime to assist with both cognitive and physical functions.

Companionship is a crucial part of all at-home care. Caregivers break up feelings of social isolation some seniors may feel while living alone. They also enable seniors to maintain their independent living by helping with basic tasks such as cleaning, pet care, transportation, and meal preparation. 

At-home caregivers can also assist with maintaining proper medical and physical care. While they are not nurses, they can help coordinate doctor’s appointments and transportation to the doctor’s office, provide medication reminders, and more. Our caregivers also assist with physical activities that promote a wider range of motion, balance, and strength. 
 

Flexibility and Transparency

A good at-home care service will offer flexible schedules that can be adjusted depending on a senior’s changing needs and offer retirement home alternatives. For example, some of our clients require assistance for a few hours a day while others are more suited to a 24/7 assistance program. As we mentioned earlier, we do offer respite care services that can be started and stopped at the primary caregiver’s discretion. 

We also believe that it is important for close family members to know exactly what is happening in their loved one’s household. We make our schedules, logs, and services performed available to select family members. This enables open communication, coordination, and adjustment. 
 

Best Senior Care in South Carolina

If you need at-home care in Charleston, South Carolina, consider Commonwise Home Care. We are highly rated by our clients and their families. We also offer our services to the counties surrounding Charleston in order to better serve the elderly population of South Carolina. 
 

Senior Care Richmond VA; At Home Care Charlottesville

If you need at-home senior care in Richmond, Virginia, or Charlottesville, Virginia, Commonwise Home Care is headquartered in both of these cities, as well. We pride ourselves in being ahead of the senior care curve in both cities and work with the best caregivers in the business. We also offer our services in the counties surrounding both Richmond and Charlottesville in addition to the cities themselves.
 

Commonwise Home Care Is At Your Service

Whether you’re looking for senior care in South Carolina or Virginia, Commonwise Home Care is available to serve you and your loved ones. 

If you’re interested in our caregiving service, take a closer look at our overview. To contact us, scroll to the bottom of our website and select the location near you. There you will find the phone number for our 24/7 hotline that will put you in touch with the representatives who can answer any questions or schedule a consultation.  

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

How to Avoid Boredom at the Hospital

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

June 20, 2020


Did you know that between 2015 and 2050, the number of people 60 years and older will rise from 12% to 22%? Are you looking for fun activities for seniors with limited mobility? In this article, explore fun activities from word games for seniors to therapeutic activities. Read on to discover how to ensure they’re keeping active in the hospital.

 

Word Games for Seniors

When you’re looking for word games for elderly citizens, there’s plenty to choose from. From hangman to rhyming ball this list has you covered. 
 

Hangman

Hangman is great when you’re looking for word games for the elderly. To play hangman, you can take a pencil and a piece of paper. Draw the hangman on the paper and have the seniors guess the word.

Hangman is a great example of word games for dementia patients since they can guess any letter in the alphabet and not feel discouraged. 
 

Rhyming Ball

Rhyming ball is another great option. This will have them using physical coordination along with thinking quickly. To play this, you just need a soft and small ball. 

You’ll have seniors in a circle and give the ball to the starting player. The person who begins has to think of a word before they pass it to another. Next, the person who catches it must think of a rhyming word. 
 

Crossword Puzzles

Word games are a great way to increase their self-confidence. This will also improve their quality of life when they’re having fun with others. Crossword puzzles are a favorite among seniors since it allows them to keep their minds sharp while having fun. It helps their memory and language skills as well. 

If the puzzles are too hard in books or newspapers for them, you can create your own puzzles for them that are easier. 
 

Elderly Therapy Activities

Interactive games for senior citizens are important parts of therapy. There are plenty of therapeutic activities they can do even with limited mobility. From scrapbooking to painting, there’s something for everyone.
 

Scrapbooking

Memory lane activities for senior citizens include scrapbooking. This is a great way to enjoy letting their creativity shine while having fun. It’s a great way to exercise their mind as well since they’ll be trying to remember different events and experiences.
 

Painting

Painting is a great way to express yourself and show how you feel. It’s a great way for seniors to feel more confident in themselves and improve their hand-eye coordination. 

They can try out oil painting, watercolors, and acrylics. They don’t have to stand while painting either if you’re looking for sit down games for senior citizens. 

Researchers discovered that creativity leads to reduced depression, stress, and anxiety. You’re also able to express how you feel such as showing positivity or sharing grief. 
 

Name That Tune

Another option is a musical game called name that tune. Players will have to guess the name of the song that’s being played. They’ll want to guess as many songs as they can for scoring points. 

Whoever has the most points at the end is the winner. It can also be played as one-player game where you quiz them to see how well they know music and give them a prize at the end.
 

Get Moving

Exercise is still a great option for those with limited mobility. They can try chair yoga or different seated exercises. 
 

Seated Exercises

Chair exercises are workouts that are done while they’re seated. You’ll want a chair that’s steady and won’t fall while they’re seated. 
 

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is another great option since it can be relaxing and fun. Even seated, chair yoga is a great way to stretch muscles and get moving. 
 

Board Games

Board games and other games are a great option when you’re looking for seated activities. From Monopoly to Chess, they’ll not only work seniors’ minds, but they’re fun activities as well. 
 

Monopoly

This is one of the older board games that many have played at least once. Many seniors become nostalgic playing this game and reminisce about the old times. 
 

Chess

Chess is another classic game that has been around for a long time. This will get them to practice their thinking and logical skills. 
 

Bingo

Many seniors enjoy bingo since it’s easy to play and is great for socializing too. You’ll have one person draw numbers and then players will try to find that number on their board. If they have that number they’ll put down a playing chip until they can announce bingo. 
 

Solitaire

You can have seniors play solitaire even online (if they’re comfortable with that) or in person. This will train them to increase their memory and notice patterns in the cards. 
 

Video Games

Some video games can be easily played from the comfort of a bed or chair. There are many games to choose from, and a popular one among seniors is bowling. 
 

Enjoy Television

Whether you’re watching a movie or a couple of TV shows, television can be educational. They can watch the Travel Channel or Food Network to learn about different destinations and cooking. The idea is to watch limited TV and not have them be glued to it all day. 
 

Exploring Word Games for Seniors and Other Activities

When you’re looking for word games for seniors and other activities, there are so many to choose from that there’s something for everyone. 

Whether you’re looking for at-home personal care or companionship services, we have you covered. Contact us today. Our phone lines are open 24/7, and we’d love to help you find the right care for your loved one.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Snack Ideas for Seniors

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

June 13, 2020


According to the government, elderly people should pay special attention to certain areas of their diet and ensure that they are getting good amounts of vitamins and minerals like calcium and B12. Food is often a huge part of our cultural background and our daily habits. Making major changes can be difficult, which is why it’s important to make incremental changes that we can actually stick with!

Looking out for what we snack on is a great way to adjust to a healthier diet. Our team at Commonwise Home Care put together a list of healthy snacks for elderly people that will boost your daily vitamin and mineral intake and get you on the right track to a healthy diet!

Read on to learn more about the healthy foods to reach for when you’re in a snacking mood!
 

Why Is a Healthy Diet Important for Seniors?

In an ideal world, we’d all eat a healthy diet every day! Nutritious foods boost our mood, our energy, and give our bodies all the tools they need to function throughout the day. 

For seniors, in particular, a healthy diet is important because of the increased health risks seniors face. For example, eating fewer red meats and replacing high-fat foods with lean proteins and nutrient-rich vegetables can lower your chance of developing heart disease. Healthy snacks for seniors can make a big difference.

Some seniors find it difficult to change their eating habits because of their medication. It is not uncommon for certain medications to disrupt our appetite, cause nausea, or increase our lethargy, which may cause cravings for high-carb, high-sugar foods.

Some seniors may find it difficult to prepare nutritious recipes for their elderly-friendly diet due to mobility issues. If this is the case, you may benefit from working with an at-home caregiver who can assist you with the day-to-day activities that have become difficult with age! 
 

Healthy Snacks for Elderly People

We tend to reach for empty carbs, sweets, or foods that are high in sodium content when we want to fulfill our snacking cravings. If you want to alter that habit, it’s important to find healthy alternatives that meet some of the criteria of your favorite snacks but without all of the bad stuff. Nutritious recipes for elderly parents can offer a tasty way to engage with good food. Read on for some of our suggestions for healthy snacks based on what you might enjoy now.
 

Crunchy Snacks for Seniors

If you’re a fan of crunchy snacks, you may turn to high-sodium snacks like potato chips or pretzels. The goal is to replace these unhealthy snacks with something nutritious that still provides that satisfying crunch!

Consider pairing raw, crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, or cauliflower with hummus. As long as you make sure you’re sticking primarily with the veggies as your hummus vessel, you can throw in a small handful of baked tortilla chips, salt-free pretzel flats, or reduced-fat pita chips. Even plain, unsalted popcorn is alright as long as you eat it in moderation!
 

Soft Foods for Elderly People

If you have sensitive teeth or gums, crunchy snacks may not be the best option for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of soft foods you can eat that are packed with vitamins and nutrients!

Mix up a bowl of greek yogurt and cut peaches to boost your calcium and Vitamin C intake. Hardboil a few eggs at the beginning of the week and snack on those for a soft, high-protein option–remember, you can season them with pepper, garlic, or even onion powder! If you have a blender, use some almond milk and a few of your favorite fruits to get some potassium, Vitamin E, and more.
 

High-Protein Snacks for Seniors

If you need an energy boost between meals, you may want to reach for a natural source of protein! As we mentioned earlier, the body has a tendency to crave sugar and carbs when we become accustomed to the rapid rise in blood sugar they provide. The problem is that both carbs and sugar lead to a quick energy crash, which can make us feel lethargic and even a bit sad or anxious.

Stock your fridge with low-sodium turkey slices to pair with your veggies and hummus. If you’re a vegetarian or simply want to lower your meat intake, consider eating a handful of raw almonds or cashews when your energy levels drop. If you need something with a little more substance, spread some tuna fish on five or six whole wheat crackers!
 

Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth

When it comes to adjusting our diet, giving up sugary treats like cookies and ice cream can be the hardest part. The best way to overcome that craving is to reach for a snack that provides a bit of natural sugar!

If you prefer fruit-flavored sugary snacks, it’s time to replace them with the real thing. Fruits like oranges, clementines, and berries are a great option. If you’re missing the gummy texture of your favorite candy, try natural fruit leathers or dried mango slices.

If you’re more of a chocolate lover, we have some good news for you. Dark chocolate, in small portions, is actually a heart-healthy option! You may also find that pairing apple slices with natural peanut butter or almond butter will also hit the spot!
 

Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Changing your eating habits all at once is difficult. Starting with little changes, like filling your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks for elderly individuals, can set you on the path to a healthy diet! Evening snack ideas can help prevent late night unhealthy eating.

Sometimes, we need a little help in making healthy choices and living an active life. If you live at home and need an extra hand around the house, take a look at the at-home care services we offer at Commonwise Home Care or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Self-help for the Elderly

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

June 6, 2020


Did you know that the term “self-care” didn’t become mainstream until 2016? Wellness and a healthy lifestyle aren’t new ideas, but the concept of self-care introduces another layer. The underlying belief is that you can’t adequately take care of others without also taking care of yourself.

Many seniors have spent most of their lives taking care of other people, including their children and grandchildren. Self-care or self help for the elderly can be challenging because they’re used to putting the needs of others first.

Can you relate to that? If you’re a senior who wants to thrive in your golden years, basic self-care activities are a must. Keep reading to learn more!
 

Self-Care for the Elderly: 5 Activities to Try

Not sure what’s involved in self-help or self care activities? Don’t worry—you don’t have to go on a month-long yoga retreat or limit your diet to kale salads.

Here are 5 simple self-help suggestions that are ideal for seniors.
 

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

The aging process is easier for some than others. Seniors who struggle with ongoing health problems or financial concerns may feel disheartened and pessimistic.

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” is a healthy way to combat those negative thoughts. Even in situations that are out of our control, it’s always possible to find something to be thankful for. Feeling grateful for the good things in our life (no matter how small) will lead to greater happiness and better health.

Keep a notebook by your bed and start a nightly routine of writing 3-5 things you were grateful for that day. Remember, these don’t have to be major life-changing events. It could be something as simple as a beautiful sunrise or a phone call from the kids. 
 

2. Spend More Time in Nature

People who spend too little time in natural settings are more likely to experience poor health and dissatisfaction with life. Seniors especially may struggle to spend an adequate amount of time outdoors each week.

The benefits of immersing ourselves in nature are many. Breathing fresh air into our lungs or feeling warm sunlight on our skin gives us a mental boost we simply can’t get anywhere else. Even the simple act of petting a dog can lower your blood pressure and reduce stress hormones.

Going for a walk in the woods or along the beach should be a regular part of your self-care routine. Sit on a bench beside a river or the sea and listen to the sound of the water. If you’re stuck in the city, seek out a quiet park or garden to help you stay connected to nature.
 

3. Try Natural Remedies

Many seniors grew up in an environment where “alternative” remedies were ignored or dismissed. In recent years, however, scientists have discovered countless benefits of treating our ailments naturally.

Instead of reaching for the pain pills the next time you have a headache, why not try a neck massage pillow? Rather than relying on prescription drugs to combat anxiety, have you tried diffusing essential oils that naturally help you feel calmer? Did you know that drinking a cup of ginger tea is a natural way to lower your blood pressure?

Of course, you’ll want to check with your doctor before you add any herbs or supplements to your diet. But you might be surprised by the number of conditions you can treat with natural remedies.
 

4. Reconnect With Old Hobbies (Or Start New Ones)

What did you enjoy doing in your younger years? Were you a painter? A golfer? A musician? A writer?

It’s only natural for some hobbies to fall by the wayside during our working years. Now that you’re older and have more free time, why not take up some activities you used to love? Set aside dedicated time each week (or even each day) to reconnect with your younger self and your favorite hobbies.

Another option would be to start a new hobby. Have you been meaning to join a book club, try gentle yoga, or sign up for a photography class? Finding a new activity you love could be the perfect jump-start in your self-care routine.
 

5. Make Weekly Plans With Loved Ones

Loneliness can affect us all, and it can be a real challenge for many seniors. The best way to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation is to schedule weekly plans with friends and family members.

Start by making plans with those who live nearby. Invite them over for dinner or make a reservation at a restaurant you enjoy. If you feel more energetic during the daytime, swap the dinner idea for a lunch date or a morning coffee at the park. Write it down on your calendar to make it official.

What about your loved ones who live far away? Thanks to technology, you can stay as connected and socially active as you like. Schedule time each week to get together virtually through Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.

The great thing about these platforms is it’s not just an auditory experience. You can enjoy seeing everyone through the video features too. If you need help setting up your computer or phone, don’t be afraid to ask the grandkids for help!
 

Self-Help for the Elderly: Make It a Priority

Seniors who have spent their lives taking care of others may find it a challenge to set aside time for themselves. In today’s increasingly stressful world, though, all of us need to make time to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves. If you’re not sure where to start, refer back to this list of self care activities for adults and seniors.

Keep in mind that this won’t require a radical lifestyle change. All it takes is setting aside time each day to do something good for you!

Self-help for the elderly is a great goal, but what about seniors who also need practical help from others? Click here to learn more about our at-home personal care services for seniors or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Name Something You Gain as You Grow Older

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 27, 2020


As of 2017, there were nearly 50 million Americans in the age group of 65 and older. As you approach your older years, it’s important to look past the trials and tribulations of age related changes and search for the positives of how to embrace aging.

The more you get into the habit of identifying life’s joys, the easier it becomes to do on a daily basis!

Staying positive and finding joy in our age-related changes is the key to aging gracefully and maintaining a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Read on to learn more about how you can embrace the different stages of aging and what you gain as you get older.
 

Reflect Upon What You’ve Learned

One of the greatest benefits of old age is wisdom. Much of what we need to learn in life comes with experience, not through reading pages in a book. 

Think of everything you’ve learned in life and how you learned it. In these moments, allow yourself to reflect on both the good and the difficult. Remember that some of life’s hardest moments end with a greater understanding of ourselves and others. 
 

Focus on the Independence You Have Maintained Throughout Your Age-Related Changes

The majority of America’s aging population continues to live in a single-family home, including 68% of people who are 80 years of age or older. For previous generations, continuing to live in their own households and make medical and financial decisions was not always an option. 

Now, with the help of at-home personal caregivers, more seniors are able to maintain the lifestyle they prefer in spite of any physical changes during the aging process, and can still focus on healthy aging. For example, it may become more difficult to perform tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, or running errands. However, working with an at-home personal caregiver means that you don’t have to give up your independence in the face of these changes in your day-to-day abilities. 
 

Keep Track of the Life Stages Your Loved Ones are Going Through

One of the biggest things we gain as we age is a widening of our inner circle. From neighbors to grandchildren to members of our religious or social groups, we continue to connect with more and more people as time goes on! 

Keeping up with our loved ones is an important part of our emotional and mental wellbeing. Pay special attention to your younger loved ones, as you’ll soon come to recognize yourself in moments you’ve experienced with them in their lives! You never know when they may need a piece of experience-based advice or simply the reassurance that they are not the only ones to go through life’s ups and downs. 

When we help others or provide emotional support, we, in turn, help ourselves. Proving that you’re a reliable sounding board for your loved ones means that you’re bound to get more phone calls, more visits, and more shining moments of shared joy!
 

Retire from Work, Not Fun

What is one of the biggest things we gain in our old age? Time! 

After retirement, you’ll find that you suddenly have tons of time on your hands. Rather than finding this frustrating or disconcerting, use this extra time as an opportunity to explore the things you didn’t have time to explore in the past.

Set aside some money to take a trip to another state or country you’ve always wanted to visit. Be sure to invite a loved one who will help you enjoy your travels even more than you would on a solo trip! 

Take up hobbies (or revisit old ones) that keep your mind and body busy. Cultivate a beautiful garden, learn to paint with watercolors, or grow familiar with the fish in your local watering hole! Do the activities that bring you happiness and fulfillment. The art of aging gracefully can be fun!
 

Get to Know Your Body

Improving your physical health is both a positive opportunity and a necessity for aging with grace. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of the snacks and treats you’ve always loved. Instead, take the time to understand what your body needs to achieve a good balance.

Not a fan of vegetables? That simply means that you need to find new ways of cooking them! Perhaps you’ve been, for example, boiling and steaming your veggies your whole life when what you’d really enjoy is the golden brown crispiness of a roasted vegetable!

Not a fan of exercise? Remember that staying in shape doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym several times a week, go for a run, or lift weights. 

Use free, online resources like YouTube to find video exercise classes for seniors. Don’t be afraid to try out different routines like aerobics or Tai Chi. The goal is to find activities that get you moving and allow you to work on your range of motion, balance, and flexibility–that you also enjoy!
 

Positivity Is Limitless

It’s easy to get caught up in the difficult parts of our age-related changes. It’s no secret that we may encounter aging issues from time to time that make us feel a little blue.

However, when faced with things we can’t control, we must focus on our reaction! When you look for the positive, it will change your life drastically. In fact, you’ll find that there’s no limit to your own positivity!

If you or a loved one need a helping hand, consider Commonwise Home Care a resource. Take a look at our service overview to see if it’s right for you or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Range of Motion Activities for the Elderly

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 20, 2020


Are you an elderly person struggling with your mobility? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in five elderly adults struggles with mobility issues. Luckily, if you’re struggling with your mobility, there are things you can do to improve it.

Check out this guide to discover how to increase mobility in the elderly. 
 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to improve your mobility as a senior. 

Having a high level of mobility depends on having healthy legs. Certain conditions such as obesity can weaken your legs and in turn, weaken your mobility. This is why maintaining a healthy weight is so essential. Here are some tips you can implement to maintain a healthy weight:

  • Get at least 75 minutes of intense exercise per week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or a combination of both)
  • Drink plenty of water to improve your energy, prevent headaches, and detox your system
  • Eat healthy, whole foods
  • Get plenty of sleep each night and try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day

By implementing these tips, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall mobility. 
 

Stretch Regularly 

Stretching can also be a great way to increase your mobility. Here are some simple stretches you can do to increase your mobility:
 

Quadricep Stretch 

Your quadriceps are large muscles that allow you to do the activities you love, like hiking and biking. To stretch your quadriceps, grab your foot and gently pull it towards your rear until you feel a stretch in your side. If you need to, you can use your other hand to hold onto a chair for balance. 

Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds before switching sides. 
 

Hamstring Stretch 

Hamstrings also play a very important role in carrying out daily activities. To stretch your hamstrings, place the heel of your foot on a chair. Keep your elevated leg straight and bend forward until you start to feel a stretch on the back of your thigh. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. 

Again, if you need added stability, you can grab another chair to place your hand on. 

You can also lie on the floor to stretch your hamstring. For this stretch, lie on your back and lift one leg straight up in the air. Wrap your hands under the back of your knee, then gently pull your leg toward your body. Don’t worry about keeping your leg completely straight, as you can still get a good stretch by bending your knee. 
 

Ankle Flexion 

A lot of seniors deal with weak ankles, which is why it’s so important to do what you can to keep your ankles strong and mobile. 

One great stretch to do is the ankle flexion, in which you sit on a chair and reach one foot as far out as you can. Rest your heel on the floor, and then point the toe forward, and then back up to the ceiling. Keep doing this for about 30 seconds before switching sides. 
 

Lower-Back Rotation 

Your spine is the control center of your body, as well as the source of strength for many activities. To improve the mobility of your back, sit on a chair in an upright position with your feet flat on the floor. 

Then, twist your body so your shoulders rotate to the right side. Hold for 30 seconds, and then twist your body the other way so your shoulders rotate to the left. 

Before you engage in a stretching session, make sure your muscles are warmed up, otherwise, you risk pulling something. To warm up your muscles, you can go for a brisk walk or light jog. 
 

Do the Right Exercises/Range of Motion Activities for the Elderly 

In addition to stretching, certain exercises can also help you improve your mobility through balance and mobility therapy. Here are some of the best exercises you can do for mobility that capitalize on the benefits of movement training:
 

Single-Leg Stand 

A single-leg stand is a great way to improve both mobility and balance. To perform this exercise, all you need to do is stand on one leg with the other leg slightly bent. Try to hold this position for one minute, and hold onto a chair for balance if you need to. 
 

Chair Squats 

Squats are great for building strength throughout your legs. To perform a chair squat, sit on the edge of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle, then stand up from this position. Then, slowly sit back down, keeping your back straight the whole time. 
 

Bridge 

The bridge exercise can help strengthen the back of your legs as well as your lower back. Lie on your back with your feet firmly planted on the ground and your hands at your side. Then, thrust your pelvis into the air and try to maintain this pose for 30 seconds. 
 

Plank 

Plank exercises are great for strengthening your core. Lie face down and place your knees and elbows on the ground while keeping the rest of your body elevated. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. 
 

Wall Push-Ups 

To perform a wall push-up, place your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart against a wall. Then, bend at the elbows while keeping your back straight. Lower towards the wall until your nose almost touches it, then return to the start position. 
 

Invest in Mobility Devices 

In addition to following the above tips, you may also want to consider investing in a mobility device to make moving around easier. Some of the mobility devices you may want to look into include:

  • Canes
  • Scooters
  • Wheelchairs
  • Stairlifts
  • Crutches

You can talk to your doctor about which mobility device is right for you. 
 

Increase Mobility: Are You Ready to Improve Your Mobility? 

Now that you know these tips to increase mobility in the elderly, it’s time to put them into action. With these tips, your mobility should improve in no time. 

Also, be sure to check out this guide to learn about the best indoor activities for the elderly. 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

CDC Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 13, 2020


According to the CDC, physical activity can aid seniors in getting better sleep, lowering stress levels, and managing serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Unfortunately, an estimated 28% of seniors aren’t getting enough exercise right now. As a result, they may be losing the range of motion, balance, and flexibility that makes day-to-day activities easier and keeps them as healthy as possible.

As we age, we may find that we’re no longer able to engage in the same kinds of physical activities we once did, which can be discouraging. The trick is to look for activities for seniors that are catered to your specific physical abilities that are still highly beneficial. Age appropriate activities for elderly can offer fun and benefit one’s health.

Read on to learn more about the CDC exercise guidelines for seniors so that you can stay active as you age!
 

How Often Should Seniors Exercise?

We took a look at the CDC physical activity age chart to break down exactly how much people who are 65 years of age or older should exercise per week. These guidelines are exactly that–guidelines. Each individual senior should adjust this rate based on their physical ability.

Ideally, seniors should get 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Two days of the week, seniors should practice muscle-strengthening activities that target different areas of the body. Throughout the week, perhaps once every other day, they should practice activities that utilize balance.
 

Why Is Physical Activity Important for Seniors?

As we mentioned earlier, the CDC notes a number of physical and mental benefits of a regular exercise regimen. Overall, staying physically active will increase your ability to maintain some level of independence as you age!

Of course, we can’t always prevent the loss of certain daily activities for seniors, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up our current lifestyle. Whether you need help with housekeeping, running errands, or working in the kitchen, working with an at-home caregiver will prolong the amount of time you can spend living at home!
 

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activities for Seniors

When we refer to moderate-intensity physical activity, we mean exercises that get your heart pumping. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go for a run to accomplish this kind of physical activity!

A good example of moderate-intensity exercise is walking. When you walk for exercise, push yourself to walk a little faster than you would when walking around a store or to the mailbox. If you can, pump your arms with each step so that you get the blood flowing all over your body–this can also help you to keep up a steady pace and maintain your balance.

If you have trouble with aching joints, you may want to consider something like water aerobics. Moving through the water is great exercise and comes with all of the benefits of walking but without the added stress on your joints and bones.

Even pushing the lawnmower, dancing to some upbeat music, or performing a step class for seniors can help boost your heart rate. If you have limited mobility or health problems that make aerobic exercising difficult, consult your doctor to find out which kinds of moderate-intensity physical activities are right for you.
 

Muscle-Strengthening Activities for Older Adults

As we mentioned earlier, the CDC recommends that seniors incorporate low-impact strength training into their exercise regimen at least twice a week. Oftentimes, strength training doesn’t just increase our muscle mass–it comes with the added bonus of working on our range of motion. 

The trick is to avoid straining your muscles by moving incrementally to bigger weights or increased repetitions. If you stick with the same routine without moving up a notch here and there, that’s okay, too! Just keep up with your muscle-strengthening practice and you’ll reap the rewards.

While you can use small hand weights, you can also use your own bodyweight to build muscles. For example, if you are comfortable standing, try doing three sets of five to ten squats. Hold on to the back of a chair or put your arms out to your sides or front in order to increase your balance.

If it is better for you to exercise from a seated position, try some half-leg lifts. With your arms out to the side, place one heel on the ground with your toes facing up. Lift your heel three to six inches off the ground in three sets of five to ten–don’t forget to do both legs! 
 

Balance Training and Activities for Elderly Adults 

Balance is one of the most important things for a senior to work on regularly. Practicing balance will decrease the chances of having a fall-related accident or injury!

Once a day, practice your balance by standing on one leg or walking backward and then from side to side. If balance is something you know you struggle with, make sure that you only practice these activities in the presence of a caregiver or during an activity group for seniors. Many exercise classes are designed around age-appropriate activities for elderly clients!
 

Stay Consistent to Stay Healthy

If you want to follow the CDC guidelines for physical activities for seniors, remember that these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. The goal is to get as close to the CDC guidelines without over-taxing yourself or causing injuries. The most important thing is to stay consistent in your exercise routine so that you can stay healthy!

Are you aging at home and feel like you could use a little help? At Commonwise Home Care, we offer customizable services to suit each of our clients’ needs. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Coping With Demanding Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 6, 2020


Why do elderly parents become mean sometimes? Physical and mental health problems that lead to cognitive change also often lead to behavioral changes. This is due to the loss of neurons in the brain, and the way it affects an elderly person’s behavior depends on where this neuron loss is occurring.

Whether they have dementia or are just expressing more frustration in their old age, dealing with demanding elderly parents can put a large strain on the relationship you have with them or lead to caregiver burnout. Sometimes, it is just hard to figure out how to deal with irrational elderly parents.

Fortunately, you’re not alone in coping with your demanding elderly parents. Read on to learn more about how to deal with angry parents and challenging behavior in the elderly.

Schedule Regular Doctor’s Visits

As we age, our bodies become far more sensitive to ailments like poor nutrition and dehydration. Some evidence links a poor diet to a faster or earlier onset of Alzheimer’s or, at the very least, a rise in Alzheimer’s symptoms. 

If the demanding behavior seems to come on suddenly or ebb and flow, you may not understand where it’s coming from. Both physical and cognitive problems can cause your elderly parent to lash out. You may need to treat the ailment with a balanced diet, therapy, or medication in order to lessen the bad behavior!

Look For the Trigger of Bad Behavior

Do you find that you only have to ask yourself how to deal with challenging behavior in your elderly parents on occasion? Does it feel like they’re fine one minute and angry or frustrated the next? 

Difficult elderly parents can make caregiving a challenge, but search for patterns in their behavior. What was being discussed just before their mood took a turn? Was there something they couldn’t accomplish on their own or something you asked them to take care of?

Finding out the trigger of bad behavior can open the door to directly addressing the problem. You can either start a discussion about it and come to a conclusion together or you can set ground rules, as we’ll discuss below.

Set Ground Rules

In some cases, dealing with demanding elderly parents can put us in stressful, embarrassing, or even dangerous situations. We might find that our parents are exhibiting bad behavior in front of our children, causing a scene in public, or resorting to abusive behaviors at home. Coping with demanding elderly parents can challenge caregivers; setting ground rules can help.

Make it clear that you are not going to tolerate this behavior. Consider setting ground rules that come with a strike system. For example, you could say that if they cause a scene at the grocery store three more times, you will do their shopping without them. 

Keep in mind that setting ground rules works primarily when the parent is purposefully reverting to childish behaviors in order to get what they want. If you’re dealing with aging parents with dementia or another cognitive disease that affects memory, these ultimatums and ground rules may not sink in. In this case, consult your parent’s doctor and get in touch with a behavioral specialist who can give you some advice. 

Encourage Exercise and Socialization

It’s possible that your parent’s demanding and difficult behavior is stemming from depression or frustration with their loss of independence. Many elderly individuals have a tendency to become more sedentary and asocial if they lose certain physical abilities and have their driver’s license revoked.

Ask yourself, “Does my parent get outside and exercise? Do they still talk to neighbors and friends? Are they still attending church or club meetings like they used to?”

If the answer is a resounding “no,” you may need to intervene. Both exercise and socialization release important neurochemicals in the brain that are responsible for feelings of happiness, contentment, and more. Taking walks a few times a week and meeting friends or family members for lunch every Saturday may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Enlist Professional Help

At Commonwise Home Care, we’ve encountered numerous familial caregivers who tell us that while their parents need help, they don’t want their help. This can be frustrating for both the child and the parent, especially if neither knows how to fully express their feelings. Sometimes it can feel impossible to figure out how to deal with challenging behavior in the elderly, especially your own parent.

The truth is that your parent may be exhibiting bad behaviors because they are embarrassed or ashamed. It is not easy for them to see the roles reverse in any way and they may worry about putting that strain on you. 

If this is the case, it may be time to hire professional at-home caregivers. Having a third party around to take care of things like housekeeping and grooming can ease your parent’s mind. We are flexible and meet your scheduling needs, offering everything from respite care to 24/7 care. 

One of the hardest things for a familial caregiver dealing with demanding elderly parents is the loss of a personal relationship. You and your parent may come to realize that your visits have become necessary rather than social, which can cause both emotional pain and resentment. Bringing in a professional caregiver can give you back the relationship you need and deserve. 

Avoid Dealing with Angry Elderly Parents Alone

Dealing with demanding elderly parents is manageable as long as you have professional help. Make sure your support team includes other reliable members of the family who can ease your burden. More importantly, make sure your support team includes medical professionals and trained caregivers.

Take a look at the services we offer at Commonwise Home Care and scroll to the bottom of the page to find our contact information. We look forward to helping you and your parents settle into a happier, healthier routine. 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Brain Health: How to Support Your Brain in the Aging Process

For the inaugural event of the Commonwise Living Long and Well Speaker Series, Dr. Alexandra Geneser will present Brain Health: How to Support Your Brain in the Aging Process on Monday, May 11th at 12:00 PM via Zoom, exclusively for Farmington members.

Have you ever wondered:

  • How early in life signs of dementia might appear?
  • How poor hearing and vision can negatively impact brain health?
  • How gut health affects the brain?

During this online event, Dr. Geneser will discuss the common types of dementia, risk factors, and how to best support your brain during the aging process. The presentation will include Q & A, with Dr. Geneser answering your questions on brain health.

Click Here to Register

 

About the speaker

Originally from South Texas, Dr. Geneser holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Denison University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. Her training is in clinical psychology, and she specialized in neuropsychology. She came to Charlottesville in 2013 to do her 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Neurology Department at UVA.

Dr. Geneser now divides her time between neuropsychology private practice, UVA’s Neurology Department (clinical trials for dementia), and the Student Disability Access Center (helping students with disabilities get equal access to academics). She also volunteers on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Planning Committee.

Click Here to Register

Core Exercises For Older Adults of All Ability Levels

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 27, 2020


While maintaining a strong core is essential to your overall health and stability, explore the best core exercises for seniors no matter your level of mobility.

A recent study found that core strengthening for seniors actually produced positive results for their overall balance. 

Unfortunately, one in four American seniors get injured in a fall each year. Core exercises for seniors is a great place to start for improving balance and, thereby, preventing elderly falls.

The question is, “how do seniors with limited mobility or physical abilities strengthen their core?”

To help answer this question, we put together a list of core exercises for seniors of varying mobility and physical ability.

Read on to find out more about core exercises for seniors.

 

The Importance of Core Strength

In addition to improving your balance, there are a number of benefits to strengthening your core as you age.

 

Poor core strength can lead to a worsened posture.

Poor posture puts a great deal of strain on your back and sciatic region. Your core protects your spine, ribs, pelvis, and shoulder blades. Improving core strength can lessen this pain and decrease the need for over the counter pain medication – and its unwanted side effects. 

 

Good core strength can increase overall strength and improve range of motion. 

Many core exercises involve a set of repetitive motions that can loosen up your joints. You may also find that in doing these exercises, you’re engaging other muscles in the body that you normally do not. This means you’re working more than just your core!

Ultimately, improving your balance, strength, and range of motion can increase an older adult’s independence. Like working with a team of in-home caregivers, this can give you the freedom to age at home without worry. 

You may even find that a fitness routine will improve your mood and boost your energy, unlocking the door to all sorts of fun activities.

 

Good Core Exercises for Seniors

In order to make geriatric core exercises as accessible as possible, we have included variations for performing them standing, sitting, or on the floor.

PLEASE NOTE: When you first begin these exercises, please do so under the supervision of your in-home caregiver or professional fitness instructor. They can help you navigate these new techniques and ensure that you are safe in the process. 

 

Standing Exercises

One of the best standing, inner core muscle exercises that works both your abs and legs is the traditional squat. 

Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your back straight. Now, bend at the knees with your arms stretched out to the front holding onto a chair for balance.

If you can, try to bend your knees until your calves and thighs make a 90-degree angle. This may take some practice. Only go as far as you can without causing strain. Remember to engage your core muscles by squeezing in your navel to your spine; keeping a nice, straight back.

You can do squats in sets of 5, 10, or 15. 

 

Seated Exercises 

There are plenty of chair exercises for stomach muscles that will strengthen your core without coming into a standing or lying position. 

Knee Lifts

Sit with your back straight, your feet planted firmly on the ground, and your knees a few inches apart. Raise one foot at a time so that your knee comes straight up from its resting position.

Try to raise your foot three to ten inches off the ground. Repeat this exercise 5 to 15 times with one leg and 5 to 15 times with the other. As you raise your foot, concentrate on using your abdomen to take on some of that resistance.

Seated Side Bends

Assume the same starting position you did for your knee lifts. This time, hold one hand behind your head and extend the opposite arm straight out to the side. Lean to the side as though you are reaching for something with the outstretched hand. 

The goal is not to touch the floor, so don’t push yourself too far. Contract your abdominal muscles as you rise into an upright position once more. 

Repeat this exercise in one direction 5 to 15 times. Then, switch arms and do another set of 5, 10, or 15 while bending in the opposite direction. 

 

Floor Exercises

Floor exercises may require some assistance for seniors. If you have trouble rising from such a low position, consider sticking to the standing and seated exercises. Alternatively, consider trying modified versions of these exercises while resting comfortably in bed.

While lying down, you can perform an exercise that is similar to the knee lift we discussed earlier but is a bit more challenging. 

Leg Lifts

Lay flat on your back with your legs extended and your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your leg straight, lift one heel a few inches off the ground. Repeat this exercise 5, 10, or 15 times with each leg. 

Make sure that you are not straining your lower back in the process. One way to avoid this is to contract your abdominal muscles so that resistance is transferred to your core muscles.

Opposite Leg and Arm Lifts

For this next exercise, roll over to your stomach and extend your legs straight back and your arms straight forward. Lift your head and neck, but do not strain or overarch your neck. Now, lift your right hand 2 to 4 inches off the ground and lift your left foot the same amount, keeping both extended straight.

With this exercise, you may want to alternate. In other words, lift your right arm and left foot, hold it for a few seconds, then lower them to the ground. Then, lift your left arm and right foot and repeat this process until you do 5, 10, or 15 lifts on each side.

This last exercise is also a great hip strengthening exercise for seniors. We hope this list of dynamic core stability exercises for seniors helps you stay active this year.

 

Strengthen Your Core to Maintain Your Independence

Core exercises for seniors are great because they allow older adults to maintain their strength without causing pain or muscle damage. You can practice them at home for 20 minutes a day a few times a week and you’re sure to see results.

Strengthening the core for seniors is all about providing them with a stronger, more stable body. This gives seniors a better sense of independence when they can walk, lift, and move freely.

Another great way to maintain independence is to work with in-home caregivers. At Commonwise Home Care, we assist seniors with day-to-day tasks, help them stay on top of their medication schedules, provide companionship, and more! 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

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