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The Six Game Changers #5

Posted On 04/08/2015
Q:

What is the fifth "Game Changer" that can prevent seniors from staying in their home?

A:

Ambulation:

Many reasons may inhibit you from being physically active.  These reasons may be due to stiff joints, illness, boredom, lack of energy, weather, etc.  The problem with being inactive is that it causes an overall deterioration in one’s health. Things like obesity, strokes, hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions are all side effects of a sedentary, inactive lifestyle.  Risks for these diseases increase dramatically if a person sits still for more than 5 hours per day on a regular basis.

Movement supplies the body’s tissues and organs with oxygen and improves muscle flexibility. Physical activity keeps lymph fluid circulating and boosts the immune system to fight infections. More rigorous exercise produces perspiration, which rids the body of toxins. Consistent activity also fuels mood-elevating hormones that sharpen thinking and decrease depression. Seniors who keep moving also lower their number of doctor visits and reduce healthcare costs.

Ambulation & Exercise Benefits Include:

  • Strengthening of abdominal and leg muscles
  • Joint flexibility, especially that of the hips, knees, and ankles
  • Circulation, which helps prevent the risk of blood clots
  • Prevents constipation due to movement of abdominal muscles
  • Prevents Osteoporosis by not losing mineral content from sitting too long
  • Appetite stimulant
  • It helps prevent urinary incontinence and infection
  • Relieves pressure on the body and skin, helping to prevent pressure ulcers
  • Improves self-esteem and the feelings of independence
  • Great way to go out and socialize with others

Hygiene:

Personal hygiene may vary to some extent but as a general rule, that bathing daily, a good dental care regimen at least once a day, and proper grooming are all important components of good personal hygiene. Sometimes a person’s concept of personal hygiene suddenly changes; this can be caused by many factors, here are a few examples. 

  • Fear in the bathroom, hard surfaces and slick floors
  • Decrease in ability to smell or poor vision   
  • Depression
  • Discomfort
  • Unable to reach some areas of the body
  • Medications

Apart from the social impact of poor personal hygiene and being isolated from friends and families, there are also the medical consequences caused by poor hygiene. Poor personal hygiene can lead to skin infections with bacteria. This can be transmitted to others in close contact with the person.  The consequences are not isolated to the outside of the body.  Unclean hands, utensils and crockery can increase the chances of diseases like gastroenteritis and food poisoning.

If you or someone you know has changes in grooming or hygiene there could be underlying reasons that need to be addressed. In the case of a loved one, you may need to speak with them or look for someone to assist them with grooming and bathing.  Be candid but sensitive and understanding in your discussions when having this talk. Despite your best efforts, your friend or loved one may need professional help. You should encourage them to see their physician if their personal hygiene doesn’t improve.

 
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