Seniors & the Shift in America’s Demographic Balance

 

America is facing a demographic shift that has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of elderly individuals. In fact, seniors are living longer and enjoying more active and comfortable lives than they have at any previous point in America’s history. At San Francisco Home Care Assistance, it is our mission to help seniors live happier, healthier lives in the comfort of home.

 

The number of elderly individuals, defined as men and women who are 65 years of age or older, has shown a sustained and increasing rate of growth. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2000 the elderly population in America stood at nearly 40 million, in comparison to about 12.7 million in 1950. In fact, as the baby boomer generation continues to age, it is estimated that there will be over 70 million senior citizens living in America by 2030.

There are a number of reasons for this increase in the elderly population, but the most important is the improved life expectancy stemming from better medical care and the demographic surge created by the postwar baby boomer generation. Improvements in medical care have both increased the life expectancy of the elderly and their ability to live a satisfying and comfortable life. For example, many conditions that would have once resulted in death or permanent disability can now be treated on an outpatient basis. Furthermore, new care options such as home care in San Francisco are helping to extend and enhance the live of seniors.

The aging of the post war baby boomer generation, defined as all individuals born between 1946 and 1964 is the second factor in this demographic shift. The rising prosperity of postwar America resulted in a massive surge of births and with the first members of this generation already passing 67, this surge will translate to a drastic growth in the elderly population.

Ultimately, this demographic shift brings both benefits and challenges. It benefits the American people by allowing the elderly to enjoy lives that are both healthier and more active. However, it also demands that the American people understand that eldercare services and effective estate planning for senior citizens is now more important than ever before.

If you are the adult child of an elderly parent or loved one, take the time to sit down and discuss their future in regards to long term care. While the sensitive subject can be difficult to discuss, it is crucial to help prepare your elderly parents and loved ones for the future. If finances are a concern, read our article about four ways to pay for long term care or contact a Care Manager today for more information.

Caregivers on the Run

Did you know that today, June 5th, is National Running Day? Even if you can’t go out on a three-mile jog or run the 100-yard dash, physical activity isn’t the only kind of running that you do. Here are some of the “running” situations in which our professionally trained caregivers can help:

  • Running around doing errands. Caregivers can provide transportation services all over town: to the grocery store, to a doctor’s appointment, and to a social engagement. This is a much-needed service, as many seniors no longer feel comfortable or safe behind the wheel.
  • “My nose keeps running.” Caregivers operate around-the-clock or on an hourly basis – they’re trained to identify the symptoms of a cold or the flu. They can take home care clients to the doctor, cook healthy meals to boost the immune system and take care of household duties while clients recover.
  • Running from your worries. Beyond the meal preparation, mobility assistance and transportation services, our caregivers truly serve as companions for our clients. We match each client to a caregiver, instead of cycling through many caregivers, in order to build a long-term client-caregiver relationship. Caregivers are sounding boards and support systems for their clients.

Not all of San Francisco Home Care Assistance’s services and benefits have to do with running. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method combines physical activity with mental stimulation, calmness, social interaction and healthy eating to promote overall wellbeing. To learn more about our philosophy for healthy longevity and our care options for San Francisco seniors, click here or give us a call today.

The Benefits of Being Frugal in Your Retirement

At Home Care Assistance San Francisco, we know how difficult it can be to manage finances in retirement. Even if you have saved a lot over the years, you never quite know how much you’ll need and Social Security is designed to replace only about 30 to 40 percent of your pre-retirement income. But, fear not! There are ways to cut down expenses after you stop working.

Have more than one car? You might consider selling one and carpooling with your spouse or significant other or replacing it with a used, more modest model. There are also car-sharing services like Zipcar, which are much more affordable than car payments. Another suggestion is to eliminate your landline if you have good cell reception at your house. Landlines can be significantly more expensive than cell phones.

To assist in savings, dine in often. This can also be a great way to spend time with your partner or other loved ones. You might even consider planting your own garden—many of our San Francisco home care clients enjoy gardening and using the fresh ingredients they’ve grown in their meals!

You might also consider downsizing. While leaving your home can be emotionally taxing, a smaller living space may not only be more financially practical but may also be more conducive to aging in place (e.g. one-floor living space). You can save time and money by reducing maintenance requirements.

Cheers to a happy retirement from San Francisco Home Care Assistance!

Seniors on the Silver Screen

Have you noticed that there are more and more films featuring older adults these days? From “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” to “Amour,” Hollywood is finally starting to address a topic that we don’t discuss enough in the United States: aging. At Home Care Assistance San Francisco, we’re constantly inspired by our San Francisco home care clients and all the amazing things they do—older adults have a lot to teach us all.

That’s why we’re particularly excited about the 3rd Annual Legacy Film Festival on Aging at the Coppola Theatre in San Francisco. From June 7th through June 9th the festival will screen over twenty films on a variety of different topics including housing choices, individuality, physicality, creativity, memory, and love. We’re especially looking forward to “Aquadettes,” a short film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. “Aquadettes” focuses on a group of senior synchronized swimmers in California. We encourage all San Franciscans to check out this wonderful film.

The festival is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State. If you haven’t heard about the OLLI, you’re missing out! Founded in 2003, OLLI is for adults aged 50+ who love to learn. OLLI offers three-week long classes especially for seniors taught by SF State professors, as well as interest groups and fun events like museum tours. Joining the OLLI is a great way for San Francisco seniors to keep their minds sharp and to meet new people with similar interests.

We’re here to tell you that seniors who live rich, purpose-driven lives are not just the stuff of movies. For more information on how our San Francisco caregivers can help you or a loved one live a happier, healthier life, give us a call today.

Just Add Honey

Home Care Assistance San Francisco suggests a simple switch for improved health: make honey your every day sweetener.

As we age, we are more likely to experience sensory deficits, which affect the way we interact with the environment. For many seniors, disruptions in smell and/or taste can result in poor dietary choices such as using too much salt or sugar to flavor foods. To help regulate blood sugar levels in the body for improved health, San Francisco Home Care Assistance suggests substituting honey for processed sugar.

Unlike processed sugar, honey is absorbed slowly and does not cause a violent spike in blood sugar. Maintaining blood sugar levels puts less pressure on the organs involved in metabolism, especially the pancreas. The body also breaks down honey rather than storing it as fat the way it does with processed sugar. The best honey is raw or unprocessed and can be found at specialty food stores like Whole Foods or local farmer’s markets.

In the morning, rather than putting sugar in your tea try swirling in a teaspoon of honey or try honey with a touch of cinnamon and butter on toast. Starting your day with artificial sweeteners or sugary jams is sure to make you crash later on. In addition to sweetening tea and oatmeal, honey can easily be substituted for white sugar in baking recipes.

The benefits of making this easy swap include a slimmer figure, less salt cravings as your body will not overcompensate for too high sugar levels, and overall improved health. Our San Francisco caregivers encourage many of our San Francisco home care clients to satisfy their cravings for sweets with fruit and honey instead of donuts and sugar.

Fall Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among those 65 and older. Specifically, 87% of all fractures and 25% of all hospital admissions for seniors are due to falls.

There are various precautions you can take to reduce your risk of falling at home. Small throw rugs can be hazardous as you can easily trip or slip. If you do not wish to remove them, make sure they are placed securely under furniture or to the floor using nonskid double-sided tape. Also, consider wearing shoes in the house at all times. Doing so will reduce the chances of catching a toe on a corner of furniture or slipping on tile/wood floors. Adequate lighting is very important. Sensor-activated lights are an energy efficient alternative for hallways and stairwells.

If you do fall, make sure emergency phone numbers are written down, you have a neighbor or other emergency contact that lives nearby and your phone is accessible from the floor. Medical alert necklaces or bracelets are also options to consider as you can wear them at all times and call for help immediately if needed.

Before reaching for the phone after a fall, take a minute to breathe. Your adrenaline will be high and you may feel a little dizzy. Take time to slowly return to an upright position because you may not immediately be aware of injuries. Not all injuries hurt right away; even if you don’t feel pain anywhere, it is a good idea to report the fall to a doctor.

If you live alone and are concerned about fall safety, consider hiring an at-home caregiver from Home Care Assistance San Francisco. We provide professional and reliable San Francisco live-in care and San Francisco hourly care.

Reevaluating Older Employees in the Workforce

In today’s economy, unemployment is a hot topic. Perhaps less discussed is the fact that older Americans are worse off than their younger counterparts when it comes to finding a job and this is largely attributed to ageism and the mistruths that come along with that. At Home Care Assistance San Francisco, we take a positive, balanced approach to aging and as such would like to dispel some of the myths associated with seniors in the workplace.

  • Seniors are mentally and/or physically unsuited for the workplace. Actually, the average health of older works is about the same as that of younger workers. In addition, various surveys evaluating perceived health and happiness have found that adults over 65 report greater health, lower levels of depression and higher levels of happiness than younger counterparts.
  • Seniors only work out of necessity and will thus be less engaged. The US Census Bureau has noted a trend in increasing retirement age and data suggests that older adults are continuing to work by choice, because they are satisfied with their jobs, not because of necessity. Satisfaction translates to engagement which in turn results in greater productivity and loyalty.
  • Seniors are set in “old” ways that are no longer relevant in the modern workplace. Because they’ve had more years of experience, older employees often bring more emotional and social knowledge (wisdom-related thinking) and thus, an enhanced ability to make sound decisions. They often bring unique skills and outlooks that can prove greatly beneficial.

Working into old age not only offers benefits to companies but also to seniors. Maintaining a sense of purpose has been linked to longevity and as a result is something our San Francisco caregivers and San Francisco Home Care Assistance in general emphasize and support.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Incontinence Symptoms

San Francisco home care clients and the community at-large, do you suffer from urinary incontinence?  At Home Care Assistance San Francisco  we know that this can be a distressing and common problem—one that can have a significant impact on quality of life.  The good news is that there are various treatment options available and behavioral changes you may consider to reduce symptom severity. Here we list five things that can aggravate incontinence issues:

  • Too Much Sugar: Though not well studied, some evidence suggests that foods containing honey, corn syrup, and fructose can aggravate your bladder.  This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate sugar entirely—experts say eating a balanced diet is key.
  • Citrus Fruits: This might be the most surprising part of the list.  Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits can irritate the bladder.  It’s the acidity that worsens incontinence symptoms.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it promotes the production of urine, and irritates the bladder. Try to avoid caffeine as much as possible—this means limiting coffee, tea, soda and chocolate.
  • Alcohol:  Alcohol, like caffeine, is a diuretic. Even moderate consumption of alcohol can make incontinence worse.
  • Unbalanced Fluid Intake: Drinking too much liquid, unsurprisingly, can worsen incontinence. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily drink less throughout the day–lack of water can cause dehydration and other side effects. Try to follow the recommended balance—eight 8-oz. glasses per day and avoid drinking too close to bedtime.

If you or a loved one suffers from incontinence and needs assistance with the activities of daily living, consider contacting an expert San Francisco in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance San Francisco.  We provide professional and reliable San Francisco live-in care and San Francisco hourly care.

Alzheimer’s: Fastest-Growing Global Health Problem

At Home Care Assistance San Francisco, we believe knowledge is power and thus make education a priority not only for our San Francisco in-home care clients but also for our communities. A new report, conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, has attempted to quantify the number of total years lost due to premature death, as measured by years of life lost, in 187 different countries; the report found that, in the United States, Alzheimer’s is the fastest-growing cause of premature death.

Though Americans are still more likely to die from diseases caused by behaviors like smoking, poor diet, and high body-mass, Alzheimer’s is up 392% as a cause of premature death in the last 20 years.

With so many people diagnosed each day, Alzheimer’s is steadily becoming the next major health epidemic, making treatment and prevention paramount. Some experts estimate that the number of Alzheimer’s patients in the US will triple to 13.8 million in the next four decades.

The report offered some hope in the area of global health as the rate of HIV infections seems to have peaked.  The report attributes this trend to the increased availability of antiretroviral therapy. In addition, the rate of death from interpersonal violence fell by 26% from 1990 to 2010.

If you or a loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, San Francisco Home Care Assistance can help.  Our professional San Francisco caregivers are experts in San Francisco Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Three Healthy Ethnic Food Choices

Living in San Francisco gives us the opportunity to easily sample cuisine from across the globe. But as home care San Francisco clients know, some of the most tempting ethnic food choices aren’t so healthy.  Home Care Assistance San Francisco put together a list of some of our favorite healthy ethnic dishes to keep in mind on your culinary adventures:

  • Indian- aloo gobi:  Many Indian curries are packed with butter and cream, but this dish offers all the flavor of traditional curry without the heavy calories. Made with cauliflower and potatoes, the dish is hearty and sure to satisfy. Cauliflower contains numerous antioxidants, like Vitamin C and manganese, as well as fiber.
  • Mexican- protein plate or bowl: Those nachos probably look tempting, but they’re packed with fat, and not much else.  Healthier alternatives are protein-packed options such as a grilled chicken plate, beef burrito bowl, or fish entrée.  Try to enjoy your meal with as little cheese and sour cream as possible—this is where Mexican food can really pack the calories.
  • Thai- tom yum:  Tom yum is often made with a protein, like shrimp, so you’ll feel full and satisfied without packing too many calories.  The soup is also made with a special blend of herbs and spices that have strong antioxidant properties. 

At Home Care Assistance San Francisco, healthy diet is part of our Balanced Care Method.  If you or a loved one needs San Francisco in-home care, our professional San Francisco caregivers can cook you delicious and nutritious meals in addition to assisting with a variety of other needs.