Daily Meditation Can Lower Depression and Reduce Cellular Aging

Caregivers are discovering that daily meditation can be extremely helpful in lowering depression, improving cognitive functioning, and even reducing cellular again caused by stress. In a study by UCLA and reported in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, meditation did a better job of lowering depression than relaxation music CDs.

The results were surprising: One group learned meditation techniques, while a second listened to music in a quiet place. 65% of the meditation group showed a 50% improvement on the depression scale versus 31% for the CD group. 52% of the meditation group showed a 50% improvement in mental health and cognitive functioning (compared to 19% of the CD group).

The real surprise was that meditation slowed cellular aging. An enzyme called telomerase is associated with health risks and diseases that can be regulated by stress. By reducing telomerase activity, cells divide and the telomeres die. The group practicing meditation saw and 43% improvement, while the relaxation group scored on a 3.7% improvement.

Bathroom Safety Tips for the Elderly

Falls are the source of most injuries in bathrooms. In one year, 234,000 people 15 and older visited emergency rooms due to injuries suffered in bathrooms. Most of these injuries were caused by falls. Older adults who live independently are at higher risk and falls can be especially dangerous for them. Here are some suggestions to help make the bathroom safer.

Install Grab Bars
Grab bars, also known as assist bars, are installed to help an individual easily and safely exit or enter a shower or bathtub. Though most commonly used to help those who are disabled or elderly, grab bars are useful for any shower/tub situation that is particularly slippery or steep. A grab bar is always mounted to a wall, not a glass shower door. It’s engineered and tested with quality fasteners to safely support about 350lbs, without pulling away from the wall.

Add a Shower Chair
A shower chair sit in the tub or shower and allows a person to take a shower while in a seated position rather than standing on the slippery bottom of the tub or shower.

Use Hand-Held Shower Wands
Hand-held shower heads work in concert with the shower chair making it easier to reach all parts of the body.

Install Non-Slip Shower/Tub Decals and Appliques
These decals and appliques come in all shapes and sizes and are easy for anyone to install … it is usually as easy as peel and stick. Also called shower safety treads or tub tattoos, these items can be found at almost every hardware store.

Replace Faucets
Less mobile adults and seniors can have difficulty with shower or tub handles. Replace them to make it easier to turn on and adjust the settings.

Adjust Water Temperature
Set the water temperature on the water heater to a safe range (both to kill bacteria and for human comfort), so that even if the temperature gets bumped to the highest setting, there is no danger of scalding. Unfortunately, this is tricky. The ideal water temperature is 140 degrees in order to kill bacteria in the water, however, at that temperature, it takes only 5 seconds for a nasty scald at maximum temperature. Many experts recommend installing at water mixer. This is a device which permits water to be heated to a desirable 140 degrees F that will kill harmful bacteria, but sets a lower maximum temperature to be distributed to faucet taps.

Remove Area Rugs and Other Obstructions
Area rugs have a nasty tendency to slide on hard surfaces. To prevent slips and falls, remove area rugs from the bathroom. Foot stools, magazine basket, chairs, towel rack, anything that might potentially might cause a slip or fall should be removed.

First Aid Equipment for Caregivers

If you are a caregiver for a loved one — or you have an in-home caregiver service, like Angels For Life — you know that accidents can happen, no matter how much care and attention you lavish on the loved one. That means you should have adequate first aid supplies on hand to treat small injuries or triage larger ones until help arrives. You can find first aid kits in any pharmacy, but there are some additional items you should consider purchasing for emergencies — items that may not be found in a first aid kit. The first aid kit should not be made of metal and have no sharp edges.

  • Surgical scissors — surgical scissors are extremely helpful in cutting surgical tape and bandages, these have a funny lip that help cut tape.
  • Gauze — a first aid kit often includes a few gauze pads, but for bleeding wounds, more than a few is often necessary. None sticky gauze pads are available.
  • Cloth Bandages — as we age, our skin becomes much more sensitive … bandages with adhesive often cling to and tear fragile skin, so cloth bandages are preferred.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide — is not included in first aid kits but is fabulous for cleaning out wounds with little or no sting.
  • Antibiotic Cream — some type of antibiotic cream is most helpful when dressing wounds. While some kits do provide a small tube, larger quantities are often necessary.
  • Cortisone Cream  — is extremely useful for treating skin rashes, and isn’t typically included in a first aid kit, although some people can be allergic to this type of cream
  • Colpak Ice Packs — these nifty items wrap around knees, elbows, ankles and neck to help with swelling, arthritis pain, joint injuries, etc.

Many of these items can be picked up at the nearest pharmacy and the items you see on television are available at places like Bed, Bath & Beyond. There are also places, including many pharmacies that you can rent equipment for temporary needs (walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, etc.).