All Posts in Category: Lifestyle

Safe Proofing a Home for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Safe Proofing a Home for Seniors – A Caregivers Guide!

Many Seniors today are staying at their homes longer with the help of caregivers or they are moving into their Children’s homes!

If you’re a caregiver and are preparing your home or your Parents home for a Parent to live safely, then you’ll need some advice on what essential safe proofing steps you may need to take to make sure they are safe from serious injury. You can talk with your Doctor and a mobility specialist at any local Home Health Supply store, they will be able to guide you in the right direction regarding specific equipment needs and installations. We have a store called Sunshine Mobility, and the Main office is located at 3089 Forest Glade Dr, Windsor, ON N8R 1W6. Our staff would be more than happy to assist you with questions or needs.

Start with Decluttering & Clearing Paths

Many of us leave our possessions around the living room, hallways, staircases and bedrooms and think nothing of it. Unfortunately, a Senior can trip and fall or misuse these items very easily. It can be much more severe for a senior to experience an accident. Start by clearing and decluttering the home so that your Parent has a safe pathway to walk or use their wheelchair or walkers and not bump into dangerous items lying around. You may wish to place locks or gates on rooms that may be unsafe, for instance, the basement,  stairwells, garage, balconies etc.. Many families rent storage lockers to place extra items that are currently cluttering the home or place them in garage sales or send them for donation.

Remove Sharp Edges

While your Parent may want to keep that beautiful night table, if it has sharp edges on it, or the drawers fall out easy, it can be a safety hazard. You can simply clear out hazardous furniture, or you can put on plastic or rubberized guards. You may consider removing glass tables and replacing them with safer furniture. Glass can be really heavy and very dangerous.

Bathroom Safety

Use carpeting where possible in bathrooms to reduce slippery floor surfaces as much as possible. Don’t leave items like hair dryers or shavers laying on the countertops. Install grab bars for toilets and bathing areas as well as a shower chair. Use a bath mat or tub stickers to reduce slip and falls you can also get a faucet cover for additional protection. Reduce the water heaters overall temperature to make sure your Parent will not be burned.

Kitchen Areas

If your Parent is able to prepare themselves a meal make sure they are able to reach items easily. You may want to consider lowering the microwave as well to a manageable height on a counter. If water taps are out of reach you could get a water dispenser or look at refrigerators that have water and ice on the doors. Make sure you don’t have a gas stove or sharp knives laying around as they could be dangerous.

General Support

A Senior who is having difficulties walking may need to occasionally hold onto the walls or furniture. This is the time to consider if they should have a cane, walker, or wheelchair chairlift. But it’s also vital that furniture is secure if they are holding onto it for support. If there is a shelving unit in their bedroom, you don’t want them to grab onto it, only to have it fall on them. Shelves and bookcases can be attached to walls easily. Your local home health store or hardware can sell you special brackets. Make sure there are railings attached to the walls of stairwells. Some homeowners place a railing on both sides for maximum support. A chair lift may also be a good idea to help them get up or down the stairs.

A Way to Contact Family or Help

Medical alert devices are helpful for quick emergency situations when no one is around. Also make sure your Parent has a list of phone numbers and easy to reach telephone that can be charged easy if its cordless. A bell is also handy to alert someone in another room that assistance is needed.

Ensure They Have Comfortable Private Space In Your Home

Your Parent should have a room that they can call their own. This can be a place for them to retreat to and relax. There should also be a closing door for privacy, but no lock is recommended. As a caregiver, you’ll need to have quick access to their room for countless reasons and safety in general.

It may seem daunting having to change your home to suit your Parent’s needs, but remember all the sacrifices they made to bring you up when you were a kid. The time, effort, and expense will be well worth it when you get to spend a few quality time with your loved ones.

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The Importance of Children Getting Daily Physical Activity

The Importance of Children Getting Daily Physical Activity

Remember when you were a kid, riding your bike to the corner store or playing baseball with a group of friends?

Humans were not meant to sit around watching TV or playing video games all day long. Early humans were always on the move to hunt and gather food, escape predators, and to build shelter and make new creations for their well-being and survival. In the past few decades, we have been introduced to modern conveniences that help us lead a sedentary lifestyle. Today more than ever there are so many reasons why you need to encourage your children to get outside for daily activity and have them sign up for school and local sporting activities.

1. Helps with cognitive function. A brain that isn’t encouraged to grow and think can have a difficult time in school. Physical activity encourages the growth of receptors in the brain, and can also help with cognitive function so your child can do better in school and personal development.

2. Prevents diabetes. Being overweight can lead to type II diabetes. Then type II diabetes can lead to type I Juvenile diabetes. These are life-changing severe diseases, especially for a child. Its essential for youth to be active, eat a healthy diet, and even have a good exercise program growing up to help prevent diabetes.

3. Decreases the risk of heart disease. Heart disease can affect all ages. Daily exercise can help to strengthen the heart and prevent heart attacks and strokes in children. Teaching children to be active as children will encourage them to continue exercising into their adult years. It can also decrease the chances that they’ll suffer from heart disease when they’re seniors. Exercise also lessens the physical impact on the body, helping to reduce cortisol levels in the brain that can lead to heart and circulatory diseases.

4. Decreases stress & anxiety. Children can suffer from stress and anxiety from school, friends, and family. Having the ability to work through the stress with daily exercise will help your child to learn how to cope with stress much better.  Your child will know that they can head out for a walk around the block, go for a jog or do yoga poses, to work through any stress.

5. Decreases chances for substance abuse. Unfortunately, children have access to illegal substances in school nowadays. The child that has a healthy focus on life is less likely to want to experiment with toxic chemicals. They’ll also be happier and healthier, and less likely to reach for illegal substances.

You should slowly increase your child’s activity levels by about five or ten minutes each week. The following month, encourage one full hour of outdoor play or vigorous physical activity. Let them be as noisy as possible and don’t scold them for being active.

After a while, you’ll see a difference in your child. They’ll be happier and healthier, sleep better and be less irritated at minor things. The importance of children getting daily physical activity isn’t so much an option but rather is a necessity.

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The Future of Virtual Doctor Visits With Mobile Devices!

The Future of Virtual Doctor Visits With Mobile Devices!

Medical care could look like something out of a sci-fi film like Star Trek.

Typically people call to make an appointment or visit a walk-in clinic, drive down to see the doctor and wait for an hour or two in a waiting room. That has been the standard practice for as long as we can remember. As technology emerges and reshapes all industry, this could take a sharp turn in the near future. There is already evidence of this with Telehealth clinics where there is no doctor present in the facility and only a nurse to aid the Doctor via two way communication screen. There are clinics like this popping up everywhere, and there is probably some already in a town or city near you. In fact, we have a Telehealth clinic located at 1909 Tecumseh Rd E, Windsor, ON N8W 1C9

The next step in this advancement may be live appointments using a mobile phone or tablet from anywhere. They may be instantaneous, or you may have to prebook a virtual appointment. This, of course, won’t work with emergency situations or where a Doctor or nurse will need to assess you to make a diagnosis, but it will be useful for routine check-ups and more basic assessments. It’s also possible that health devices could work in tandem with this system. These may include blood pressure or heart rate, monitors, blood sugar monitoring devices and more.

The millennial generation is quite open to technology, so this might be the avenue for them to visit the doctors more often. You have to admit it would be very convenient and save a tremendous amount of time and since it is so convenient, we may also opt-in to see the doctor more often. Not only would this be a game changer it could open us up to specialists around the world for greater health care options and other points of views not readily available to us.

Employers would love this because staff members could see a Doctor while on lunch or break rather than taking the entire day off. People who work often push Doctor visits aside even know they need to see one because its hard to get the time off. This could help us be healthier overall. Doctors could order blood work based on the virtual assessment and then revisit in a follow-up appointment when the results come in to discuss the next steps.

What would this look like? How will it work?

Simply log into a secure app and book your appointment. List or check off sections to help the system measure the severity of your needs and after all points are measured it would let you know if your eligible or not for the virtual appointment. This is where artificial intelligence would come into play to make this assessment. Depending on availability you may be connected instantly, or you may have to wait a set amount of hours. You would be notified with a reminder before the appointment starts then you’ll be able to interact with each other, much like a Skype call. Your Physician will ask you questions. If your health condition is visible like a rash, they may ask to see it on screen and may prescribe you medications, order blood work or book you in with a specialist.

As this becomes, more mainstream the pharmacies and blood labs will also adopt new technologies that will assist this new way to conduct virtual visits that make their services integrated as well. Your virtual Physician would also be able to determine during a virtual visit whether you may need extra care so local clinics and emergency rooms could also be equipped with seamless technological integrations to make sure you are cared for in a timely manner and they know you are on the way with some data already handy from the virtual Physician and a spot or bed set aside for your arrival.

Virtual doctor visits can free up waiting rooms in clinics, Doctors offices, and emergency rooms and efficiently handle all the minor aches and health concerns. This approach could ultimately save more lives and free up time for everyone.

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Lessons Learned from My Mother

Lessons Learned from My Mother

By Frank Murgic President & CEO of Sunshine Drugs.

Several years ago, I drove to my mother’s place to pick up a dinette table she no longer needed. The table was in good shape; the only reason she wanted to replace it was because the edges were too pointy, and she was worried the grandkids might get hurt by bumping into it.

When I went to pick up one end of the table, I realized how heavy it was and that it would require a few guys to move. Not only did this table have sharp edges, it also had a tabletop made of thick tempered glass. However, before I could even turn around to tell my mom that I would get some guys to help me, she had picked up the other end and said, “Come on, let’s go!”

“Holy cow!” I said to her as we began to move the table. “You’re strong!”

“It’s not about the strength,” she replied. “You have to have the will.”

I will never forget those words. “You taught me a lesson today,” I told her.

That’s my mom. She never went to the gym, never went on some wacky diet, never jogged, never swam, and never biked, but what she did do was always stay very active. Throughout my life, she has constantly been doing something. As an example, she would wake up at 5 am and, by 7 am, she had already prepared all the meals for the day and gone for her morning walk. Later on in the day, she would garden, mow the lawn, meet with her friends, eat a healthy meal, and go do some more walking with a friend. She was always active.

This past March, my brother found our mother unconscious on her bedroom floor. She had been lying there for more than 15 hours. We soon learned that my mother had suffered a massive stroke on the right side of her brain, which affected the entire left side of her body. At the time, we all thought mom was a goner, that she would never recover. I will never forget seeing her on that gurney, helpless and unconscious.

At the hospital, the doctor showed me the CAT scan, and it was not good. A large portion of the right side of my mother’s brain had been affected, and chances of a full recovery were not in her favour. How could this happen to my mom, a 77-year-old woman who, up to that time, was still climbing up trees to prune them?!

Ultimately, Mom was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). I have to thank the emergency medical technicians who helped discover the condition. Basically, her heart would sometimes skip a beat here and there, which would cause her blood to pool. Eventually, it led to the stroke.

Doctors started my mother right away on warfarin, a blood thinner, and modified her existing heart and blood pressure medications. Those first few days showed little improvement, but, slowly and surely with the help of the rehabilitation team – and with great will and determination – she started to recover. Within a few weeks, she was slowly starting to move her left arm, hand, and fingers. Soon, she was on her feet with the assistance of a walker. Mom’s cognitive function was starting to improve as well, and she was eventually healthy enough to be transferred to a dedicated rehabilitation clinic, where she endured more rigorous therapy. Mom, never being one to complain, adopted the attitude that she would be back to where she was before; she embraced the rehab with 100% effort.

One day, the attending physician, a senior doctor who was also of Eastern European descent, examined my mother and gave her the best possible advice. He realized the type of woman my mother is. The best way to recover, he told her, is when you get home, get back to doing what you were doing. You love to cook, so start cooking. Work that left hand and those fingers by kneading that dough when you’re baking bread or strudel. Get back to gardening and force yourself to use that left side, using the shovel and other utensils in that left hand.

Eventually, my mother was improving dramatically to the point where the rehab clinic would give her weekend passes. What do you think my mother wanted to do? Go cook! She wanted to make sarma (Croatian cabbage rolls). Well, I think she made enough sarma to feed the whole neighbourhood.

I must admit that my mom is an excellent cook. I can still recall from my boyhood the pleasant aromas of my mom’s cooking coming from our home; she would feed all my friends when they came over. While those first few meals my mother prepared after suffering the stroke were not her greatest, she did her best. Later, I started to gauge her improvement by the taste of her food. Eventually, she was released from rehab and got back into her normal daily life.

Today, Mom goes regularly to her family doctor and makes additional specialist appointments. She gets her INR checked at our pharmacy, and she gets her meds delivered in our OnePac system.

I would like to thank all healthcare professionals who have helped my mom on her road to recovery: the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, rehabilitation specialists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and family and friends. Thank you all.

Most importantly, thank you, Mom, for doing your part! One of my favourite quotes is from the entrepreneur and motivational speaker Keith Cunningham. It relates to my mom and what she has been doing her entire life: “Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results.”

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