Livity Life Care Blog

5 Tips for Caregivers

Tawana Johnson - Friday, May 19, 2017

Livity Life Care In Home Care Provider in MarylandCare giving for an aging parent or loved one can seem daunting but it can also be extremely rewarding. Whether you are a licensed, contracted caregiver or a family member taking care of your loved one, here are some tips to help you stay positive and create a comfortable environment for everyone:

1. Act from love, not from a sense of duty.

Caregiving is about one person helping another. Caregivers often feel obligated because their parent took care of them—but providing care is a choice. Let go of your guilt, recognize you are not perfect and do your best. And if you lose your temper, let it go. Tomorrow is another day.

2. Educate yourself about health conditions.

This makes it easier to understand their actions and advocate for them. Accompany them to appointments, do research online, talk to a care manager and contact your local Area Agency on Aging for resources.

3. Take time to listen.

This will help you fully understand your loved one. Consider recording and preserving their memories. A scenic drive can be another opportunity to have a heart-to-heart and get outside. And don’t forget to laugh together over a good joke or humorous situation. Find the funny side of care giving. Believe me, it’s there.

4. Care for yourself.

Staying healthy helps ensure that you can remain calm and compassionate. Slow down, breathe deep, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods and make time for yourself to rejuvenate.

5. Honor your loved one’s spiritual needs.

A connection with a higher power can be important in the healing process, and attending weekly service can provide social interaction. Take your loved one to their favorite church or place of worship on a specially selected day of the week. 


Summer Activities for Your Loved Ones

Tawana Johnson - Friday, May 12, 2017

After being stuck indoors for months, enduring frigid temperatures and the same four walls, it’s finally summer! That means it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the sun, warmth, and activities that are made for this time of year. And doing all these things is just as important to the older adult in your life as it is to you. It may take some extra precautions and planning, but all of it is very worthwhile. Read on for some great summer activities for seniors.

Take a walk- Walking around outside can be a great experience for older adults, provided they do so according to their level of stamina and ability. If independent mobility is an issue, make sure they have someone to accompany them.

Picnic, anyone- Picnics are a classic summer tradition. Enjoy good food and drink while people-watching at the park or beach.

Take a dip- Enjoying the water during summertime can be as simple as putting your feet up in a kiddie pool. If an older adult wants something more robust, they can swim laps or even stretch or aerobicize in the pool.

Go fish- Fishing is a great summertime activity for older adults. It’s ideal for those with extremely limited mobility, because ambulating is not required.

Bird Feeding- A bird house, bird feeder, or bird bath are terrific additions to any backyard. For older adults, it means enjoying watching wildlife every day, as birds and other animals are more active in the summer.

Take your loved one to a ball game- If your loved one is a sports fan, now’s the perfect time to attend that ballgame, or even watch the grandkids play soccer.

Take a holiday- If a full-blown vacation isn’t in the works for your loved one, there are still plenty of holidays to celebrate right at home. From the Fourth of July fireworks until Labor Day barbecues, your community is probably full of events such as concerts and outdoor movies that are sure to satisfy.

Take it outside- Do things you’d normally do indoors, but do them outdoors! This can include watching videos (using a laptop), eating on a deck or screened-in porch, playing cards, or just socializing. See if other activities your loved one enjoys can be brought outside as well.

Plan for a senior’s summertime needs

Seniors have different needs during the summer than other age groups. For example, they are at increased risk of dehydration and sunburn. If you’ll be enjoying outdoor activities with a senior this year, be sure to take the following precautions:

  • Plan outside activities during cooler hours (between ten and four are generally the warmest).
  • Have your loved one drink plenty of fluids (or as much as is recommended by their doctor). Non-alcoholic and caffeine-free beverages are the most hydrating.
  • Replace any lost electrolytes and potassium. Electrolytes can be found in sports drinks, and many fruits and vegetables contain potassium.
  • Be aware of signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Apply (and re-apply) sunscreen as needed.
  • Wear insect repellent, if necessary.

Also, certain medications don’t mix well with the sun, so talk to your loved one’s physician to see if prolonged outdoors activities are safe. They may want you to take extra precautions, such as making sure your loved one has plenty of shade, or wears a floppy hat.

Summertime activities for seniors have more advantages than just blowing your loved one out of a winter funk. Increased sunlight lets them absorb more vitamin D, which is essential for brain, bone, muscle, and possibly cognitive function. In addition, the increased socialization that often occurs is sure to be mentally uplifting as well. With benefits like these, there’s no reason not to take advantage of everything summer has to offer!

Tips for Enjoying the Summer As An Elderly

Tawana Johnson - Friday, May 05, 2017


The summertime is a time of fun and relaxation for most people. But for seniors, the heat and sun can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren't taken. Here are some great tips that the elderly, as well as their caregivers, can use to make sure they have a fun, safe summer.

  1. Stay Hydrated
    Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people because they lose their ability to conserve water as they age. They also can become less aware of their thirst and have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Remember to drink water often, and be sure to pack some for those long summer drives.

    Dr. William Greenough, of Johns Hopkins Geriatric Center, says that caregivers should make sure seniors are drinking sweat replacement products (that contain salt and potassium) to replace water they lose during the summer.

  2. Talk to Your Doctor
    Check with your medical team to make sure any medications you are on won't be affected by higher temperatures -- especially if you don't have air conditioning in your home. Some medications are less effective if stored at temperatures higher than room temperature (approximately 78 degrees Fahrenheit), and the last thing anyone wants is a preventable medical condition to become aggravated due to high temperatures.
  3. Keep Your Cool
    Even small increases in temperature can shorten the life expectancy for seniors who are coping with chronic medical conditions. Shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries provide welcome, cool spaces if a senior’s own home isn’t air conditioned. They also afford a great opportunity to get out of the house and get some exercise, without the exhaustion of the heat. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to inquire if there are any programs to assist seniors with fewer resources to get air conditioners. "Seniors are much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature," shares Dr. Lubna Javed of HealthCare Partners Medical Group. "Some chronic medical conditions and prescription medications can impair the body’s ability to react efficiently to rising temperature."
  4. Stay in Touch
    High temperatures can be life-threatening, so communication plays an important role in ensuring the safety of the elderly. For seniors, you should let friends and family know if you'll be spending an extended period of time outdoors, even if you're only gardening.

    "Caregivers should check on the health and welfare of their loved ones at least twice a day," suggests Dr. Javed.

  5. Meet Your Neighbors
    Get in touch with those who live in your neighborhood and learn a bit about them and their schedules. If you are elderly, see if a younger neighbor -- perhaps even one of their kids -- can come by and check on you occasionally to make sure everything is all right. The extra company and friendship that can result is a bonus!
  6. Know Who to Call
    Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and place them in an easy to access area. This way, the right people can be called to help quickly preventing any further issues or preventing medical problems from getting worse.
  7. Wear the Right Stuff
    Everyone, including seniors, should dress for the weather. When it's warm out, some people find natural fabrics (such as cotton) to be cooler than synthetic fibers. Stock your summer wardrobe with light-colored and loose-fitting clothes to help feel cooler and more comfortable.
  8. Protect Your Eyes
    Vision loss can be common among the elderly, and too much exposure to the sun can irritate eyes and cause further damage. Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and preserve your vision.
  9. Know the Risks of Hyperthermia
    During the summer, be particularly cautious about abnormally high body temperatures -- a condition known as hyperthermia. Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia that can be life-threatening. Make sure to know the warning signs and get medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms:
    • Body temperature greater than 104 degrees
    • A change in behavior, such as acting confused, agitated or grouchy
    • Dry, flushed skin
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Headache
    • Heavy breathing or a rapid pulse
    • Not sweating, even if it's hot out
    • Fainting

    "Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated and their bodies have more difficulty regulating their temperatures," says Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic says. "As a result, they are more prone to heat stroke."

    If you (or an elderly loved one) start to feel any of these symptoms, ask for medical help and then get out of the heat, lie down and place ice packs on your body.

  10. Rub on Sunscreen and Wear Hats
    Everyone, young and old, should wear sunscreen when outdoors. The elderly especially need the extra sun protection to help keep them healthy. Caregivers, family and friends can help by gently reminding loved ones about applying sunscreen and helping to put it on when necessary. Hats are also a great idea, especially for those with light colored hair and those with only distant memories of a full head of hair.
  11. Apply Bug Spray                                                                                                             The elderly is particularly prone to West Nile Virus and encephalitis, Dr. Factora notes. If you live in areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes and where West Nile Virus is present, and if you spend a lot of time outdoors (particularly at night), use mosquito repellent to help reduce the risk of getting bit by a mosquito carrying this virus.
  12. Exercise Smart                                                                                                                     If you enjoy outdoor activities such as walking or gardening, make sure to wear the proper clothing and protective gear. It is also important to keep track of time. Do not stay out for long periods and make sure to drink even more water than usual when exercising. Also consider getting outdoor exercise earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not at its peak.

Job Ideas for Seniors

Tawana Johnson - Friday, April 28, 2017

Retirement is changing. People are working past 65 and many seniors are staying in or returning to the workforce, either full time, part time or as consultants or independent contractors.

According to a study from the Families and Work Institute, this change is largely because people want to earn more money to retire more comfortably or because they believe they would be bored by not working.

This can be a great opportunity for you or your loved one to keep your mind engaged and challenged and stay active in the community. If going back to work makes sense for your situation, here are some job categories that may be a good fit:

  1. Consulting
    This type of work allows you flexibility, but, depending on the work, can also mean long hours. That said, the benefits and money you earn are directly proportional to the amount of time you put into the position. There are many retired individuals with a particular skill or license that's in demand, such as in law, engineering, health care, telecommunications, management, bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, etc.
    The best way to determine if your skills can be turned into consulting work is to market them. Do some research about consulting in your field. Access your networks at your last company -- you may already know someone willing to hire you as a consultant. You can even create a company or an LLC and market your skills to other businesses. Someone out there may need your skill set.
  2. Child Care
    Probably one of the more popular ways for seniors to earn income is to go into child care. Whether you take care of a family member's child or get a job as a part-time nanny or babysitter, your services will be in demand.
  3. Non-profit and Charity Work
    If you've always wanted to make a positive impact on your community, try working for a non-profit or charity. Whether you choose a religious institution, a local cause, a human rights campaign, a civil liberties union or some other initiative, most non-profits don't necessarily rely solely on unpaid, volunteer work. Many also have a paid workforce for day-to-day operations. Non-profits may hire part-time workers to alleviate costs, and if you have the necessary skills, you could be a great candidate. Companies such as Goodwill even offer job training for seniors.
  4. Higher Education
    Universities and colleges, such as community colleges and for-profit colleges, have a diverse array of job opportunities available to senior citizens. Consider working as an adjunct professor, teaching students about your area of expertise. Many universities are expanding to online programs, so you could even teach from your home. Or look into teaching continuing education classes at your local community college, senior center or adult education program.

    You could also find a part-time job as a tutor, librarian, department office assistant or student advisor.

  5. Schools
    Private schools, preschools or elementary, middle or high schools may also have a use for your services. They employ people like librarians, tutors, teacher's assistants, administrative workers, cafeteria help, bus drivers, bus monitors, crossing guards, etc.
  6. Call Center Consultants
    Many companies are bringing some of their call center sales, customer service and collections activities back to the United States. Call center reps are always in demand and seniors who can use a computer and phone system may be perfect. Call center representatives can work onsite, but some companies (such as Hilton Hotels and American Airlines) allow reps to work from home. You could get a job doing everything from answering billing questions to taking reservations to troubleshooting issues.
  7. Health Care, Fitness and Wellness
    As the senior population continues to get bigger and people are challenged with health problems, entering the fields of health care, fitness, nutrition and wellness can be a great way to earn an income. Consider working at hospitals or medical clinics and get experience in areas that don't necessarily require a nursing license or doctorate. Some jobs may require a nurse's aide or medical assistant certification that you can get from your local community college. You may qualify in other areas too, such as administration, housekeeping, maintenance, legal or communications.

    Or, if you enjoy caring for other, get a job as a home care aide. You'll help elderly people with everyday things like cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.If you have a passion for a particular fitness program or nutrition program, get your certification or license to teach classes at a local gym, hospital, community center or college.

  8. Government Work
    Ever thought about working for the government? Check the websites of your local, city and state governments to find career opportunities in your own backyard.

    Give tours through the National Park Service or venture into the numerous federal government jobs available at's even an organization called Encore that connects senior citizens with peers, training and jobs. It has fellowship programs that hire the valuable resources for senior citizens.

  9. Freelance Writing
    If you lived it, you're an expert at it, and more than qualified to write about it. The Internet has made it easier to distribute information. As a freelance writer, you can earn money by writing about what you know. You can write for online publications and get paid for your expertise. As you become more popular, you can then begin to submit your articles to print publications such as newspapers and magazines. You can even go on to produce your own book!
  10. Hospitality, Event Planning and Travel
    Consider a job in hospitality and tourism. As many retirees hope to travel after retirement, you can become a key component to their travel plans. Become a travel coordinator and specialize in planning group trips with particular specialties. Get a travel agent's license from organizations such as the Travel Institute and start your own home-based travel agency. You can also work at car rental agencies, hotels, motels, airports, cruise ships, airlines, ticketing and a host of other hospitality-related occupations. There's also work available in reservations, security, food service, guest services and a host of other positions.
  11. Unions and Journeyman Trainers
    Have you considered training and educating others in a non-traditional setting? If you were part of a union, look into training apprentices. Whether it's carpentry, sheet metal, electrical, plumbing or other types of trade, your expertise is very important. If you were in trucking, but tired of driving interstate roads, consider another career training other drivers.
  12. Community Experts and Local Historians
    Become a community expert in a variety of different settings. Museums and other historical associations require experts to guide tourists and residents. If you're an expert in your community, start a website to share everything you know about the community and offer tours of the area. Publish your own tour guides and books about your community and market these to travel agents or sell them on the web.

There are a lot of great ideas for senior citizens to earn additional income and engage in the community after retirement. The key is putting forth a path and a plan toward doing things you know you will really enjoy.

Important Checklist to Supply to Your Caregivers

Tawana Johnson - Friday, April 21, 2017

Livity Life Care - In Home Care Providers in Maryland

We hope we'll never need the information, but if there is an emergency with your elderly parent or relative, having this checklist readily available will make your life easier. Emergencies with our elders can often become complicated by the sheer number of medications, doctors, insurance coverage and degree of chronic or acute illness(es) involved. Below is a comprehensive list of information and documents to keep on hand, so you'll be prepared.


Senior Care Emergency Checklist:

    Doctors' names, their specialties, and phone numbers.
    List of all medications being taken and what the prescriptions are for (as medications may change frequently, be sure to keep the information updated).
    Medical insurance and prescription plans and identification numbers.
    Social security number - many insurance companies won't talk to anyone without the patient's social security number.
    A durable power of attorney - a legal document that gives someone the authority to handle legal and financial issues if your parent or elderly relative becomes incapacitated.
    Health care proxy - a legal document that gives someone the authority to make medical decisions for your parent or elderly relative.
    Specification of your elderly parent's or relative's wishes about resuscitation orders. Do you know their wishes? Knowing this information before a crisis can be crucial to the way in which you handle the crisis.
    Basic financial records - a list of assets, account numbers, names and contact information for financial advisors or bank representative.
    Names and addresses of people to notify in case of an emergency - such as children, grandchildren, close friends and neighbors who might be able to help out.
    Names and contact information for local clergy, if your parent or elderly relative has a preferred religious affiliation.

This information should be placed in the home in an easy-to-find location, such as the kitchen counter or on the refrigerator, as well as given to another family member, caregiver or friend who agrees to keep a copy of the information for you.


Helping Your Elderly Loved Ones to Move

Tawana Johnson - Friday, April 14, 2017


A survey by the Mental Health Association of America states that moving is one of the top five stressors. This stress is even bigger if you're an aging adult who isn't sure you want or need to move. Even if the house no longer meets needs, change can make seniors feel vulnerable, isolated and unsure.

Here are ten things to make the process easier for both you and your loved one.

  1. Decide Together
    Help your parents come to the conclusion that it's time to move and help them decide where to move. Your role is to help them figure out what's best for them. Offer choices. Be honest about your concerns. Let them waffle a bit (it's part of the process). Expect them to talk to other people and get other opinions.
  2. Settle Before Selling
    Encourage them not to rush into selling their home and car. Let them get settled in their new digs and not feel pushed into letting go of their old life too soon.
  3. Be Involved, But Sensitive
    This is their journey, not yours. Some people want help moving, packing, sorting, and decorating their new place, others would not enjoy that type of attention.
  4. Get Help
    Senior Moving Companies can be a great resource and can provide tactical assistance to prepare for and execute a move.
  5. Ask When You Can Visit
    Get a feel for whether they'd like weekly visits at the same day and time, something they can look forward to, or if they'd enjoy you stopping by whenever it's convenient for you.
  6. Find New Ways to Stay in Touch
    Smartphones, laptops, emails, texts, care packages, books or audio books to share, Facebook, online photo inventive and stay in touch!
  7. Expect Highs and Lows
    Don't be surprised if the first weeks are a bit tough or a romantic high. Don't let this upset you, or think either extreme will last. Give it time. Some people love change and meet everyone in the first week, and sign up for every outing and class available. Others like to nest first and dip one toe at a time into the social pool. Resist trying to push them. Let them find their own way.
  8. Practice Active Listening
    No one likes being in the "interrogation spotlight." Hang out and allow your conversation to be a natural give and take. Some people open up when they're walking or washing dishes, others are more honest on the phone when they don't have to be in the room with you or they may want to talk to someone else about what bothers them.
  9. Schedule an Upcoming Visit
    Do something together, like let them show you the new grounds, fold clothes, or help them hang their pictures. Listen while you work. If they're feeling lost and unsure, resist the urge to try to fix it. They simply want you to be their sounding board. If you have a thought or suggestion, see if you can lead the conversation in a way that they feel they've come up with this great idea themselves.
  10. Don't Ignore Complaints
    Even if your loved one tends to gripe, don't dismiss legitimate concerns, such as depression, abuse, or neglect. Stop by at odd hours when the night or weekend staff is there. Find someplace out of the way and quiet where you can blend into the wallpaper and simply observe. See if medications are delivered on time. See if the staff gets annoyed. See if calls or requests are handled promptly. It's easy to become complacent, to visit less, to feel they're taken care of and don't really need you. Most care home abuse and neglect happens to those don't have regular visitors. You may not be their primary caregiver anymore, but you're always their care advocate.


Combatting Loneliness in the Elderly Community

Tawana Johnson - Friday, March 31, 2017

The age group most affected by the phenomena of loneliness is undoubtedly the elderly. They sometimes live alone or suffer from a lack of meaningful relationships. Many seniors are also put into the care of assisted living facilities, nursing and group homes, etc which can be a very stressful and debilitating experience.

Livity Life Care - lonely elderly

Here are a few ways you can help alleviate loneliness in your elderly loved one:

  • Listen and observe: "We often don't listen enough to the people we love," laments Tina Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of "The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty." According to Tessina, "saying ‘tell me more' is a gift you can give from your heart." Encouraging a senior to express themselves can help you discover what interests and passions lay dormant, just waiting to be rekindled in your loved one. "You've got to really dig deep and find out what their interests were before and get them to try and awaken those forgotten activities," Smith says.
  • Develop a strategy to defeat seclusion: Once you know what your loved one loves to do, you can use this information to develop a personalized loneliness eradication plan for them. Smith cites several simple examples from her own experiences as a caregiver: While caring for an elderly couple who refused to leave their house, Smith found out that they loved to cook and garden. So, she asked what the couple's favorite meals were, cooked them and invited a few people they trusted over to the house for a dinner party. Also, because neither spouse could go outside to garden, Smith brought the flora inside and helped them rediscover the extensive collection of gardening manuals that they had forgotten about. While caring for an angry 91-year-old man who was reluctant to communicate, Smith discovered that he had a passion for singing and photography. Walking down the hall with him one day, she began to belt out a few bars of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." The man responded by singing right along with her and grudgingly admitting, "You're OK." Today, he sings for the community and is part of a club of retired photographers that Smith helped him contact.
  • Let them teach you: Smith encourages caregivers to connect with their loved ones by allowing them to pass a portion of their vast store of hard-earned knowledge on to you. "I learn something new every day because I am being taught by the best," she says. The key is to let the senior's passions guide the lesson plan. For example, if you're caring for your mother who loves to embroider, ask her to teach you how to do it. This not only has the potential to be a great bonding experience, it also can help add a bit of balance to the child-parent dynamic that may have been upended when you started caring for her.
  • Bridge the generation gap: According to Smith, caregivers can play a vital role in fostering a relationship between a senior and their youngest relatives. Too often, she says that grandkids see their grandparents as either crazy or boring, when they should be viewing their elders as sources of wisdom. Try to come up with ways to help the oldest and the youngest generations of your family to spend time together. "That's an absence in so many elderly homes. They need to share stories. There's a wealth of knowledge that can be passed on to the younger generation," Smith says. Karasu also points out that seniors have the potential to contribute a lot to their families—if they are allowed to remain engaged. He says this is doubly important in light of the fact that research has shown that an unengaged elderly adult will experience cognitive decline at a much faster rate than a senior who is mentally stimulated by interactions with other people.
  • It's the thought that counts: Another piece of advice from the pros: urge other family members to reach out to an elderly loved one. It doesn't have to be a grand, time-consuming gesture. Something as simple as sending a card, dropping off a little present of their favorite food, or calling for 30 minutes a couple of times a week can go a long way to making a senior feel loved and connected to the rest of the family.

Friendships in Old Age

Tawana Johnson - Friday, March 24, 2017

Livity Life Care - elderly friends

Having a few good friends — or many — has always been golden. And as you age, those friendships may become even more important. If you're in your sixties or beyond, friendships aren't just the social glue and glitz of life: As you get older, good friendships can dispel loneliness, improve your health, boost your sense of well-being, and even add to your years.


They Can Be Lifesaving Too Loneliness stemming from having too few friends doesn't just potentially spiral you into a state of depression: It could even shorten your lifespan. adults over 60, loneliness seems to increase the risk of dying earlier, according to a 2012 study in JAMA Internal Medicine that followed more than 1,600 men and women enrolled in the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. Researchers defined loneliness as lacking companionship and having feelings of isolation or not belonging. Those who reported loneliness were nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to die during the six-year follow-up. In addition, people who were lonely were less likely to be able to do simple daily tasks and activities, such as walking around the block, dressing, and showering, and carrying objects as light as 10 pounds. Friendships Keep Your Brain Sharp If you're not the type to have many friends, be assured that quality may be more important than quantity, says Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D., alumni distinguished professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, and an expert in human development and aging.

If you have at least one person who understands you — a friend you feel you can tell anything — that's enough to contribute to your feelings of well-being, she says. Other research suggests that the feeling or perception of loneliness, rather than isolation, may be the thing that increases the risk of cognitive problems like dementia later on. Researchers from the Netherlands tested which had a greater impact on the risk for getting dementia: social isolation (defined as living alone, being unmarried, or without social support), and feelings of loneliness. The Dutch team found that those who felt lonely were about 1.6 times more likely to get dementia, while those who were socially isolated but not lonely had no higher risk than others, according to the 2012 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neuropsychology & Psychiatry.

Social interaction, regardless of how many friends are ideal for you, helps keep your thinking and cognitive skills sharp, Dr. Blieszner says. "People who are socially isolated and not stimulated are the ones who tend to have a lower cognitive ability in old age." Besides keeping your mind sharp, friends can help with your physical health, too. "Friends encourage you to eat well, to get your check-ups and exercise, and to go to the health club or play with your dog," Blieszner says. "There can be a connection between the health habits you're making and how that might be influenced by friends," she says. If they're healthy and encourage you, you gain benefits. Friendships May Change With Age As the years go by, not everything stays the same. These three facts about friendships, and how they (and you) may change with age, can be helpful in navigating twists and turns along the way: You may become more tolerant of quirks.

If you've got long-time friends, Blieszner finds, you're likely to hang onto them. "Older people seem to be more tolerant of idiosyncrasies," she says. Suppose a friend has an annoying habit, like eating with her mouth full. Younger people might ditch that friend quickly, she finds, but older adults may be more likely to look at the whole picture, reasoning that the friend has many redeeming qualities. You can expect to be dumped or to dump. Norman Abeles, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing and a former president of the American Psychological Association, tells older adults to be aware that the friends who met your needs in your thirties, forties, or fifties may have different interests and needs now. "The other person may outgrow you," Dr. Abeles says. And that's okay.

After all, you can draw on your by-now honed skills at developing friends. "You don't necessarily have to have all-lifetime friendships," he says. Friendship is a two-way street. "It's important to maintain friends, but it doesn't have to be equal all the time," says Abeles. He warns against becoming overly invested without getting enough in return. Likewise, he says, it's crucial not to lean too much on one friend. "Reciprocity is a very important factor," he says. A big difference in the balance of give-and-take in the friendship is not ideal. "You can't be waiting for the other person to call you and they don't call you. Have a scope of friends," he recommends. "Don't depend on just one or two."


Happy and Healthy Aging

Tawana Johnson - Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Healthy Aging - Livity Life Care

Getting older involves change, both negative and positive, but you can enjoy aging if you understand what’s going on with your body and take steps to maintain your health.

Many different things happen to your body as you age. Your skin, bones, and even brain may start to behave differently. Don't let the changes that come with old age catch you by surprise.

Here are some of the common ones:

  • Your bones. Bones can become thinner and more brittle in old age, especially in women, sometimes resulting in the fragile bone condition called osteoporosis. Thinning bones and decreasing bone mass can put you at risk for falls that can easily result in broken bones. Be sure to talk with your physician about what you can do to prevent osteoporosis and falls.
  • Your heart. While a healthy diet and regular exercise can keep your heart healthy, it may become slightly enlarged, your heart rate may lower, and the walls of the heart may thicken.
  • Your brain and nervous system. Getting older can cause changes in your reflexes and even your senses. While dementia is not a normal consequence of old age, it is common for people to experience some slight forgetfulness as they get older. Cells in the brain and nerves can be damaged by the formation of plaques and tangles, abnormalities that could eventually lead to dementia.
  • Your digestive system. As you age, your digestive tract becomes more firm and rigid and doesn't contract as often. This change can lead to problems such as constipation, stomach pain, and feelings of nausea; a better diet can help.
  • Your senses. You may notice that your vision and hearing aren't quite as sharp as they once were. You may start to lose your sense of taste — flavors may not seem as distinct to you. Your senses of smell and touch may also weaken. Your body is taking longer to react and needs more to stimulate it.
  • Your teeth. The tough enamel that protects your teeth from decay can start to wear away over the years, leaving you susceptible to cavities. Gum disease is also a concern for older adults. Good dental hygiene can protect your teeth and gums. Dry mouth, which is a common side effect of many medications that seniors take, may also be a problem.
  • Your skin. With old age, your skin loses its elasticity and may start to sag and wrinkle. However, the more you protected your skin from sun damage and smoking when you were younger, the better your skin will look as you get older. Start protecting your skin now to prevent further damage, as well as skin cancer.
  • Your sex life. After menopause, when menstruation stops, many women experience physical changes like a loss of vaginal lubrication. Men may experience erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, both problems can be easily treated.

Many bodily changes are a natural part of aging, but they don’t have to slow you down. What’s more, there's a lot you can do to protect your body and keep it as healthy as possible.


Keys to Aging Well

While maintaining your physical health is important to healthy aging, it’s also key to value the experience and maturity you gain with advancing years. Practicing healthy habits throughout your life is ideal, but it's never too late reap the benefits of taking good care of yourself, even as you get older.

Here are some healthy aging tips that are good advice at any stage of life:

  • Stay physically active with regular exercise.
  • Stay socially active with friends and family and within your community.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet — dump the junk food in favor of fiber-rich, low-fat, and low-cholesterol eating.
  • Don't neglect yourself: Regular check-ups with your doctor, dentist, and optometrist are even more important now.
  • Take all medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and cut out smoking.
  • Get the sleep that your body needs.

Finally, taking care of your physical self is vital, but it’s important that you tend to your emotional health as well. Reap the rewards of your long life, and enjoy each and every day. Now is the time to savor good health and happiness.



7 Tips for Surviving Nursing School Stress

Tawana Johnson - Friday, July 22, 2016



Surviving Nursing School Stress

1. Practice an after-class-recap

“No matter how many times faculty tell students NOT to do marathon study sessions- they simply do not listen,” says nurse educator Marilyn Stoner, RN-BC, PhD. She believes consistent, short periods of study beats cramming any day.

“Cramming for exams creates more stress,” says Michelle Katz, LPN, MSN. “To avoid getting stressed, I would review my notes right after class and a little every day.”

Find an interim time after class to get in the habit of a quick review. Pull your notes out for a few minutes on the bus, waiting in line at the grocery store or even on a bench outside your classroom. Katz cut cramming from her routine this way and was able to get a good night’s sleep instead.

2. Find a solid study group

“One of the things that kept me sane during nursing school was my study group,” says RN and nurse recruiter Ashleigh Taylor of Tailored Healthcare. Taylor met with a study group every week to compare notes, demonstrate skills and practice NCLEX-style questions. This routine of reviewing and studying kept the information fresh.

“Studying with a group was the only way to keep me on track, and it was fun,” Taylor says. “I actually looked forward to getting together every week!” She advocates the importance of having other students to lean on through nursing school.

“It’s a crazy time in your life when you laugh, cry, scream and cry some more,” she adds. “You find out what you’re made of. I met some of my best friends in nursing school!”

3. Mix exercise into your study sessions

When you feel your stress levels spiking, get moving! While exercise has long been proven to help relieve stress and anxiety, it also boosts your ability to retain the information you’re studying. Harvard Medical School credits regular exercise for the memory-enhancing release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Katz picked up on these perks early on. She and her friends used to take study breaks to discuss notes for their exams while walking or jogging. If time or space limitations make running or walking problematic, Katz also suggests jumping rope.

4. Begin a study session with simple meditation

Devoting some time and deliberation to the little things can pay dividends. Nursing students find a lot of solidarity in the collective stress they feel, and taking steps to abate that stress together will only increase camaraderie.

Stoner suggests beginning study sessions, whether alone or in a group, with a simple meditation like Stop, Breathe & Think to increase your focus and mitigate stress.

5. Journal before bed

If you catch yourself lying awake at night, frantically reviewing everything you have to do the next day, give journaling a try. Nancy Brook, Stanford Hospital nurse practitioner, mentor and author, recommends taking just a few minutes before bed to jot down your thoughts, experiences or concerns in a journal.

“It has been shown to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety,” Brook says. And all those little things your brain suddenly remembers at night? Write them down and dismiss them for the night. You can sleep easier knowing you don’t have to remember everything thanks to the record of reminders on your bedside table.

6. Figure out what enhances your mood

Even when you feel like you’re rocking nursing school, bad vibes from a colleague or a negative interaction can quickly ruin your mood. And since nursing is such a people-oriented field, learning what brightens your bad days will come in handy after graduation as well.

For Katz, it’s aromatherapy and her favorite tea with a splash of milk. “I used to have lavender plants in my back yard and would cut a bouquet for myself during the most stressful times in nursing school,” she explains. “The scent alone had a calming effect on me and looked beautiful in my living room.”

Figure out what your preferred mood boosters are and incorporate them into your daily life for a more optimistic (and less stressful) routine.

7. Eat well & nurture your body

Nursing school is a marathon, not a sprint. While your health and sanity might be able to endure a short period of exhaustion, caffeine and on-the-fly meals, your performance will plummet as the months add up. “The single most important thing nursing students can do is to care for themselves physically, mentally and spiritually,” Stoner says.

She says eating well is crucial, encouraging students to arrange healthy potlucks when they gather to study. If you feel too strapped for time to put a healthy dish together, think of it as part of your studies. You study for good results on your tests, and investing time in your health will also lead to good results on your tests. It will help you bring your best game, sustainably, throughout nursing school.