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Archive for category: Seniors Health

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Tech Support: Learning Made Simple

In the digital age we live in if you are not fluent with the latest technology you can get left behind or struggle to keep up if you don’t know how to use it.  Those with cognitive difficulties and older adults who do not frequently use technology may find themselves needing some extra assistance to learn to use helpful apps and software.  Our colleagues at Lawlor Therapy Services have launched a series, Tuesday Tech Tips, providing how-to videos on some of the most frequently used and helpful pieces of technology.  If you could benefit from extra assistance maximizing the use of your computer, tablet or smart phone, this series is for you!

Lawlor Therapy Services:  Tuesday Tech Tips Series

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Solutions for Managing Passwords

Online security experts recommend creating strong passwords with a mix of special characters, numbers and letters which are different for each application you use.  However, remembering one simple password is often hard enough!  Especially for applications you don’t use often, it is recommended you keep a log of each password so you can easily retrieve it when needed.  This is particularly helpful for seniors, or anyone dealing with cognitive issues, who may have difficulty remembering passwords, or have trusted family members and/or caregivers who may need access to these.

Use our printable Password Keeper to record these important online passwords and user names, and keep it in a safe place for future use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more helpful tools please visit our Printable Resources Page.

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Work Smarter — Not Harder!

Energy is like a currency, we only have so much of it and need to spend it wisely throughout our day. Conserving energy during small tasks throughout the day helps to save needed energy for important, meaningful daily activities.

Physical, psychological, and emotional difficulties can make everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, or working seem nearly impossible due to the level of energy required to perform them.

If energy is a precious resource to you or someone you care about, the tips included in the following OT-V Episode, Conserving Energy Everyday, will help you conserve as much energy as possible throughout your day.

 


You can also try our printable energy conservation planner to help you plan your daily, weekly or monthly activities for optimal conservation of energy.

 

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Aquatic Therapy: Is it Right for you?

Guest Blogger: Carolyn Rocca, Student Occupational Therapist

Water has long been associated with health and healing, making it an excellent tool for rehabilitation. Aquatic therapy, also referred to as pool therapy or hydrotherapy, is one way in which water can be used for therapeutic purposes following injury or illness.

Aquatic therapy refers to water-based treatments or exercises aimed to enable physical rehabilitation, fitness, and relaxation for therapeutic purposes. Treatments and exercises are performed while floating, partially submerged, or fully submerged in water, usually in specialized temperature-controlled pools. The key difference between this form of therapy and land therapy is that movement is facilitated by the physical properties of water, particularly it’s density and specific gravity, hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, viscosity, and thermodynamics (Becker, 2009).

Due to the specific facilitating properties of water, aquatic therapy can have several benefits for people who have loss or restriction of joint motion, strength, mobility, or function as a result of a specific disease or injury. Aquatic therapies are beneficial in the management of musculoskeletal issues, neurological conditions, and cardiopulmonary problems. More specifically, there is evidence to support that people with fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, and chronic pain, as well as people who have undergone surgeries such as total knee and total hip replacements, can significantly benefit from aquatic therapy (CARI, 2014).

The benefits of hydrotherapy will depend on the purpose of why it is being used in your rehabilitation plan, what it is aiming to target, and the type of exercise being completed in the water. In general, there is evidence to support that within a wide range of ages and abilities, hydrotherapy may help people to increase their endurance and strength, improve balance and postural control, reduce perceived pain and muscle spasms, reduce joint pain and stiffness, aid in gait retraining, and improve functional mobility. Additional benefits can include the facilitation of relaxation, improved quality of life, as well as providing opportunities for socialization (CARI, 2014).

A key to the success of many aquatic therapy procedures is the constant attendance and guidance provided by a trained therapist. This can be any rehabilitation professional, such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, PTA/OTA, etc., who has taken additional and specific training in basic or advanced aquatic physical therapy. The rehab professional’s expertise will be able to match your abilities with the appropriate properties of water to achieve an optimum balance between facilitation and challenge. By adjusting the immersion temperature, type and intensity of activity, level of resistance, use of equipment, and treatment duration the therapist will be able to assist your recovery by gradually increasing the amount of challenge to eventually help you to transition to land exercises.

An added bonus to the therapeutic benefits of aquatic therapy is that it can help to introduce or re-connect you to a leisure interest, and can offer a social outlet. For example, a current client of mine has recently begun pool therapy following injuries sustained in a motor-vehicle collision. Not only will this help in her recovery while she begins to regain strength and function in her legs, but will also re-connect her to her passion for swimming, as this was something she loved to do with friends prior to her accident. Additionally, there is evidence to support that infants and toddlers with mobility impairments that engaged in aquatic therapy can experience significant functional gains in mobility compared to children who solely received land therapy, and that their parents noticed an increase in their socialization and enjoyment while in the pool. In this particular study, the children’s parents then reported an increased willingness and comfort in bringing their children to community pools following aquatic therapy (McManus, & Kotelchuck, 2007), therefore further increasing their future leisure and social opportunities.

Thus, aquatic therapy has the potential to improve physical function, as well as increase community involvement, socialization opportunities, and participation in physical activities. Additionally, this form of therapy can be appropriate and beneficial for all ages and abilities. If you feel that aquatic therapy may be a great addition to your rehabilitation and recovery, speak to your rehabilitation professional about some of the opportunities available in your community.

 

References & Resources

Becker, B. E. (2009). Aquatic therapy: scientific foundations and clinical rehabilitation applications. PM&R, 1(9), 859-872.

Canadian Aquatic Rehab Instructors (CARI) website: http://www.aquaticrehab.ca/

Canadian Aquatic Rehab Instructors (CARI) website link to research (2014). Retrieved from http://www.aquaticrehab.ca/research

McManus, B. M., & Kotelchuck, M. (2007). The effect of aquatic therapy on functional mobility of infants and toddlers in early intervention. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 19(4), 275-282.

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Cognition and Aging – Use it or Lose it

Our brains are made of billions of neurons, which interact with each other to complete specific tasks. Signals are sent from one neuron to another along neural pathways, and these determine our thoughts, emotions, insights, and so much more. Each task relies on a different neural pathway, so the pathway for reading a book is different than the pathway for putting on our shirt. The more we use a pathway, the stronger the connection becomes.

These neurons have the ability to physically change themselves when faced with new and difficult experiences. This ability is called neuroplasticity. As we are exposed to new areas, tasks, information or experiences, neural pathways are formed and existing ones are reshaped. This will continue throughout our entire lives as we learn. As we have experienced through practicing a musical instrument, memorizing our shopping list, or recalling a friend’s phone number, if we consciously focus and train our brains in a certain area, they will become faster and more efficient at performing those tasks.

So, how can we use this knowledge to try and combat age-related cognitive decline?  Check out our latest episode of OT-V:  Cognition and Aging – Keeping the Mind Sharp to learn some proven strategies. 

 

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Older Adults and Financial Stress

In a previous post, Solutions for Disability-Related Stress, we discussed how clients who are ill or who have been injured almost always deal with financial stress, and provided some solutions an Occupational Therapist can offer.

Other sources of financial stress can stem from aging.  Our senior population faces increased healthcare bills, long-term living expenses and more which can all create a great deal of anxiety.   Take a look at the following guide care of Reverse Mortgage Alert (not a mortgage broker) to learn more about Senior’s financial stress and to find some coping strategies.

Reverse Mortgage Alert:  Financial Stress Coping Guide for Seniors

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Recognizing Elder Abuse

As the population ages the issue of elder abuse is becoming much more prominent.  The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as:  “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.

The following from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal discusses how to recognize signs of elder abuse.  Take a look further into their four-part series to learn more about the issue of elder abuse and how to help someone in need.

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal:  Elder abuse just next door! Part 1: What is elder abuse?

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Take Heart– OT’s Provide Solutions for Living with Heart Disease

February is Heart Month and while many of our blog posts will focus on prevention through good health habits, we want to also provide you with some tips for recovery.

Heart disease has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. It can lead to discomfort or chronic pain, activity limitations, disability and unemployment. “An estimated 345,000 Canadians aged 35 to 64 reported living with heart disease. More than a third (36%) of these reported needing help with household tasks or personal care” (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 1999). Heart disease requires lifestyle changes to prevent progression of the disease, further cardiac events and activity restrictions.

An occupational therapist, in conjunction with other team members, will help you determine what activities you can safely perform and how to modify activities to decrease the amount of energy required.  Learn more about the solutions an Occupational Therapist can provide in the following infographic.

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Can Distraction be Helpful for the Mind?

Distraction is everywhere…

up-squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… Back to our post.  While it’s important to avoid life’s distractions and focus on the task at hand, a new study is showing that some distraction can benefit older adults with creativity and problem solving.  Learn more about the study and its findings in the following from CTV News.

CTV News:  Aging brain benefits from distraction: study

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Solutions For Conserving Your Energy

Energy is like a currency, we only have so much of it and need to spend it wisely throughout our day. Conserving energy during small tasks throughout the day helps to save needed energy for important, meaningful daily activities. If energy is a precious resource to you, planning ahead with the help of the following checklist will help you conserve as much energy as possible throughout your day.

The following FREE printable will help you to identify which activities have high, medium and low energy costs and can help you to plan your days and weeks to balance your overall energy expenditure.

energy-conservation-checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more helpful tools please visit our Printable Resources Page.