7 Ways to Help Mom and Dad Get the Rest They Need

As we age, our bodies begin to experience physical changes that affect everything in life, including our sleep patterns. Many necessary medications may also have side effects that can negatively impact your sleeping schedule. That’s why so many seniors struggle to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re looking for ways to help out mom and dad to get the rest they need to maintain optimal health, try these seven solutions for a proper rest.

1.    White Noise

If your parent’s bedroom is heavily impacted by interrupting sounds from the outside, you might want to try using a device that creates white noise. White noise drowns out and absorbs peripheral sounds that can prevent people from falling asleep. This simple addition can drastically improve the quality of sleep, without being awoken by surrounding noises.

2.    Melatonin

Your body naturally produces the chemical melatonin, which works to set your body’s circadian rhythm. But as one grows older, melatonin production declines and doesn’t deliver the same impact it once did. An over-the-counter melatonin can help to reset their sleep patterns and promote sleep, but always speak to the doctor before use.

3.    Tryptophan

If you’ve ever been tired after eating turkey, it’s the tryptophan to blame. Tryptophan is an amino acid that promotes serotonin - a chemical that works to regulate your sleep. So, assist your parents to stock up on tryptophan-rich foods that they can eat at dinner or as a snack before bed. Eggs, nuts, seeds, and tofu are a few options.

4.    Block Out Light

Your body’s sleep patterns are regulated by the exposure to light and darkness. When there’s light present, your brain signals to the other parts of the body that it’s time to feel awake. If you switch out your parent’s blinds to black out curtains or simply provide an eye mask, their brains will signal to the rest of the body’s functions that it’s time to sleep.

5.    Soothing Bath

Running a hot bath with Epsom salts will soothe and relax otherwise aching and jittery muscles that might be keeping them up at night. Plus, the hot water will also work to increase their internal body temperature so when your mom or dad gets out of the water, they’ll experience a quick decrease in temperature that’ll assist them in getting to sleep easier.

6.    Alter Medications as Needed

Many seniors take medication that has side effects that can impact their sleep. If you suspect it’s the medication that’s the problem, take the initiative to talk to their doctor. They may be able to change the dosage, or suggest an alternative medication or approach.

7.    Increase Daily Exercise

Try setting up an exercise program for your mom and dad that ensures they get 30 minutes a day of light aerobic exercise. Believe it or not, aerobic exercise has been proven to improve sleep patterns.

Sleep is important to maintain optimal health, especially in your later years. If you notice your mom and dad are struggling to get a proper night’s rest, try these easy to implement solutions, and talk to a professional who can help you better understand their needs.

At Assurance Home Care, the health and safety of your loved ones mean everything to us. Get in touch to learn more about senior health tips!

-          Stephen Bleeker

Why Declutter

A homeowner holding folded laundry

Guest Blog by Bobbie McGowan of RE/MAX Affiliates Geoff & Bobbie Realty Ltd.

As the years pass, we collect mementos in our homes. Some have tremendous sentimental value, whether it’s your grandfather’s war medals or the snow globe from your last vacation. Other items simply seem to collect with no thought or objective, from magazines to old clothes to mismatched flatware. When the time has come to downsize from the family home, it becomes time to say goodbye to many of these items, some more treasured than others.

There are many situations that call for decluttering. Are you getting ready to downsize and need to pare down your possessions? Are you sick of storing junk in the basement and want to turn it into a hangout zone for the grandkids? Has an accumulation of stuff has started to affect the enjoyment and comfort of your home? Here are some convincing advantages of decluttering your life:

Cleanliness

When you begin hiding stuff inside other stuff, or shoving things out of sight for cleaning purposes, it’s time to address the real problem of hoarding too many items. As thing begin to pile up, it can quickly turn any surface or space into an unclean environment. Dust mites and allergens for example, can build up and settle, contributing to a stuffy environment. Decluttering is necessary to keep your home nice and clean. Especially as the years pass and it becomes harder to bend down and clean in those tiny crevices, leaner is cleaner.

Safety

For some people who experience a more intense level of hoarding, this can actually place themselves and loved ones at a greater risk when it comes to safety concerns.

In extreme cases, clutter can start to cause a safety concern. Is clutter blocking access to a doorway or window? Is there junk in the way of the furnace or electrical panel or blocking ventilation? This makes it difficult to get out quickly in an emergency situation and increases the risk of a fire. 

In addition, dust naturally clings to clutter –whether it’s old furniture, clothing, or books. And of course, dust contributes to poor air quality, which exacerbates symptoms for those with allergies, asthma, or other lung difficulties. Decluttering clears the air – literally.

Peace of Mind

When you spend the time tossing out items that you no longer use and organize your living space, it means that you can spend less time having to look for items and deal with a disorganized environment in the future. Thus, you get more time for yourself to relax. Many studies have proven that when you organize your living environment, it directly benefits your emotional and mental state of mind. It boosts your ability to focus, along with concentration and even creativity.

Makes Downsizing a Breeze

Do you have too much home now that the kids have moved out? Are you tired of paying money to heat and cool such a large house? Is going up and down the stairs becoming a challenge? When it’s time to downsize and you need to fit your life’s worth of stuff into a smaller space, decluttering is a must. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your new apartment or condo is bursting at the seams with belongings that bring you no joy. By spending time sifting through, tossing away, and donating your excess items to those in need, you can help yourself and others, while making the downsizing process much easier.

Don’t let clutter stand between you and your best life. This spring, reward yourself by decluttering.

Dealing With Alzhiemers as a Family

Once the diagnosis comes through, it can be quite shocking for those affected by Alzheimer’s. Not only is it a debilitating and fast-acting disease for Mom or Dad, but it is also very challenging for the family members and close friends. There is no simple way to deal with the disease, but there are steps to ease the burden as things progress.

Go to Support Groups

There are plenty of support groups available for both those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and their family members who are party to the disease. The support groups provide much-needed information and guidance for dealing with the new way of life. Support groups also provide a safe space to voice how you are dealing with things and relieve some of the stress that is undoubtedly built up.

Have Frequent Visits by the Same People

Whether you use a care providing company such as assurance home care or you commit yourselves to frequent visits, it’s important that your loved ones experience companionship. Familiarity with the visitors is always a helpful thing as the disease progresses. So if you choose to use assurance home care in a companionship role, be certain to introduce them at an early stage so that they are comfortable with the companion as the stages continue to grow.

Know The Stages

It’s important to educate yourself and the members of your family on how Alzheimer’s will affect their loved one’s memory and actions. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease that can manifest itself in people differently, but it is never an easy battle to fight. As a caregiver, it’s important to be as educated as possible so you know what to expect and can prepare your family for what is coming in the future. If Mom and Dad want to know how the disease will affect them as it progresses, it’s important to provide them with the information they seek. Knowledge is power and even though Alzheimer’s is an uphill battle, knowing what you’re dealing with can help to ease some of the pain.

 

Dealing with Alzheimer’s as a united family will be challenging, difficult but most of all helpful for the one with the disease. A strong support system and unconditional love and acceptance will make the challenging days ahead seem easier to endure. Always remember you are not alone in the journey as many people are diagnosed with this disease every year. If you are willing and able to, help and Alzheimer’s care is available.

 

  • Stephen Bleeker

6 Ways for Mom and Dad to Stay Social

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As many people grow older and enter their senior years of life, the world around them can begin to grow into a lonely place, and that goes for your parents as well. As they slowly begin to lose the friends and family they grew up and grew close with, meeting new friends and maintaining any aspect of a social life can become a challenge. This sad reality is only made more difficult if your parents are no longer together, or one parent has since passed.

As many studies have shown, staying social is imperative to our mental health and emotional well-being. If your parents are struggling with isolation or loneliness, here are five ways to help encourage Mom and Dad to stay social. 

Seniors Fitness Class

Senior fitness classes can be found just about anywhere, provided by numerous gyms and facilities. And of course, staying active should be an essential part of every senior’s daily routine. So what better way to encourage them to keep up that active lifestyle than by meeting news friends at the same time? It’s the perfect way to boost both physical and mental health. The City of Ottawa has a range of recreation programs for seniors, from dance classes to swimming lessons to outdoor activities like hiking and snowshoeing.

Seniors Cruise

Cruise ships have long been a favourite go-to activity for seniors, and with the increasing comforts they remain one of the most exciting ways to add some adventure, new sights, and new friends, all wrapped up in the convenience that is tailored specifically for seniors. It’s also a great way to escape the harsh winter months in Ottawa, when icy roads and knee-deep snow can be a further cause of social isolation as it is difficult or dangerous for Mom and Dad venture outside.

Book Clubs

Who doesn’t love to curl up with a good book to pass the time? If your parents are avid readers, encourage them to get out and get social while sharing their love of reading with others. Book clubs can combine that much-needed social factor for those senior bookworms.

Companion Care

Have you considered companionship services? A companion is carefully selected to mesh well with Mom or Dad’s personality, interests, and needs. Whether it’s playing cards, chatting about last night’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, or simply reminiscing about the glory days, companionship care can help bridge the gap and avoid social isolation.

Take Advantage of Tech

The wonderful world of the Internet makes connecting with others so simple. Facebook is a great way to access a network of people. If your parents don’t already know how to access this, spend some time showing them how to use and take advantage of the online world. On Facebook, they can find and join various groups, and even find and reconnect with old friends. If Mom and Dad have smartphones or tablets, they can connect with the grandkids via FaceTime or Skype, or catch up with friends and family halfway around the world with a click of a button.

Gardening Clubs

Get your parents outside and breathing in that fresh air and warm sunshine by participating in a gardening club. They can get their dose of vitamin D, while making friends and getting a little messy in the garden. Why are we talking about gardening in December? Even in the cold winter months, Mom and Dad can start an indoor herb garden!

No matter what club or activity it is, the point is to encourage your parents to get social by finding what their particular interests are. So whether it’s gardening, dancing, swimming, or hopping on a Caribbean cruise – the best way to get them to stay social is by connecting them with something that they will enjoy. So if you’re searching for a few ideas, use these five tips to get you started!

- Stephen Bleeker