Bath Tips for Seniors

January is National Bath Safety Month.  At home, the highest rate for injuries to seniors “in or around the tub or shower”, so we’d like to share with you some reminders of how to stay comfortable and safe at bath time.

  • Add grab bars that are easy to see on the side of the bathtub and near the toilet.
  • Keep towels and other trip hazards off the bathroom floor.
  • Use nonslip mats and strips in the tub.
  • Utilize nonslip rugs or add double-sided tape to keep rugs secure.
  • Make sure that the bathroom and hallways have bright lighting.
  • While hot baths are beneficial overall, soaking in a hot water bath raises a person’s heart rate.  For those individuals with cardiovascular concerns, it is best to check with their doctor about using a hot soak for health benefits.

While these tips are important to help ensure safe bathing, they should not scare people off of hot baths, which can have many beneficial effects for seniors.  They can provide stress relief and tranquility, and offer many other positive outcomes.

  • Baths can lower blood sugar even more effective than exercise.
  • They can soothe aching muscles and joints, providing an anti-inflammatory benefit.
  • Hot baths lower blood pressure and improve circulation.
  • Adding bubbles, oatmeal, or essential oils can improve skin health, especially for eczema sufferers.

We hope all these tips help make bathtime enjoyable for seniors.  Let us know any other benefits or suggestions you come across!

Do Brain Games Work?

Between 2014 and 2016, scientists argued whether brain games actually improved (or help prevent the decline of) cognitive functioning.

Despite the growing popularity of apps designed to sharpen the mind, such as Lumosity, scientists conclude that these brain training puzzles fail to deliver claims of improved memory.

The Brooking Park team learned of this story from NPR’s Jon Hamilton, who often covers brain-related stories. You can find Hamilton’s article here or visit SAGE journals to read the full findings (abstract).

Brain training is appealing in part because it seems to provide a quick way to enhance cognition relative to the sustained investment required by education and skill acquisition. Practicing a cognitive task consistently improves performance on that task and closely related tasks, but the available evidence that such training generalizes to other tasks or to real-world performance is not compelling.
(Source: SAGE)

In conclusion, as much as we’re rooting for technology to drive medical advances, the answers are not always neatly wrapped up in a fun app. Make sure you’re staying intellectually, physically, and socially active!

What is Dementia?

Portrait of a senior woman on a walk in the park in late springDementia and Alzheimer’s disease may seem like similar conditions, but there are some key differences between them that affect diagnosis and treatment. Alz.org has put together an informational guide on dementia and explains how it is different from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Here are a few facts:

Serious mental decline such as dementia is NOT a normal part of aging.

Dementia is not a specific disease, but a collection of symptoms that affect core mental functioning. For dementia to be considered as a diagnosis, at least two of the following mental functions must be impaired:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. Damage to brain cells can affect the functions that take place in that part of the brain (such as memory or language).

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.

There is no single test to determine if a person has dementia.

For more information, see the full article at Alz.org.

If your family member is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s, we are here to help. Contact Brooking Park Memory Care today at (314) 576-5545.