Ways for Older Adults to Find Happiness During The Pandemic

It’s a well-known fact that people – especially older adults – fare better emotionally and physically when they’re engaged in socially and mentally. They’re happier, healthier, and live longer, according to research.

The trouble is that remaining active and social is hard at the best of times for a demographic that’s more likely to be dealing with chronic illness, mobility issues, and loss of a partner. The ongoing social isolation due to the pandemic only makes it worse.

Learning strategies to help older adults find joy by way of meaningful activities and social connections is more crucial than ever.

Let’s go over some tips that can help.

Maintain a daily routine

It may not sound all that exciting, but keeping a routine and some sense of predictability can provide a sense of security in these very uncertain times.

Studies show that older adults thrive when they keep to a routine. Following a routine reduces stress and anxiety, and improves sleep.

Scheduling daily phone calls or video chats with family and friends, activities, or visits from a senior care provider can provide this.

Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet is about more than just what you eat. Being involved in the selection and preparation of foods, and sharing a meal with others is enjoyable and good for the soul.

Placing online grocery orders is helpful for those unable to get out to a store. Make a list of recipes you enjoy or want to try and create a grocery list so you can partake in the process even if family member or in-home care professional is doing the shopping and meal prep.

You can continue to enjoy good conversation over a meal safely during the pandemic by coordinating mealtimes with friends and family so you can dine together over Zoom or Facetime.

Shopping and meal prep can also be performed by a professional caregiver who also makes for wonderful mealtime company!

Tackle home projects

Is there anything more gratifying than decluttering a space or finally getting around to tackling a home project you’ve always wanted to? Cleanout a closet and set aside items to donate and/or throw out. Organize your kitchen drawers or cabinets (we ALL have a junk drawer!). What better time to do those things you’ve been putting off than when you’re home during a lockdown! Your caregiver can lend a helping hand.

Keep your mind stimulated

The old adage “use it or lose it” is good advice when it comes to our brains. You may not be able to leave the house and see others, but there are enjoyable ways to keep your mind stimulated at home. Games like chess are a great way to do this and the magic of the internet lets you do it with others while remaining safely apart.

Reading is another activity that can keep the brain sharp. Share your love of books with likeminded people by joining or even starting an online book club.

Our caregivers are a happy to engage in stimulating games and activities, too. Play cards or board games or work on a puzzle or other hobby with your caregiver.

Learn a new skill

There’s evidence that learning and participating in a new activity improves memory function and cognitive function in older adults.

Fortunately, there are hundreds of new skills you can learn or hobbies you can take up in the comfort and safety of home.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Painting or drawing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Writing or poetry
  • A new language
  • Musical instrument
  • Sewing or quilting

You can find support – and supplies – online thanks to virtual workshops, classes, and groups. Your local library is also a great place to check for workshops.

Your caregiver can run errands and help with anything that you can’t order online or have delivered.

 

Article sources

  • Contribution of Routine to Sleep Quality in Community Elderly. Zisberg A, Gur-Yaish N, Shochat T. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/33.4.509
  • The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project. Park DC, Lodi-Smith J, Drew L, et al. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613499592
  • Social participation and the health and well-being of Canadian seniors. Gilmour H. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2012004/article/11720-eng.htm

Does Your Elderly Loved One Have A Care Plan?

How an elderly care plan helps the care recipient and the entire family

Having a care plan in place for an elderly loved one is an important tool that you can use when planning your loved one’s home care, whether that care is temporary following a hospital stay or long-term.

What is an elderly care plan?

A care plan is a document that lays out the care needed for your loved one at home. It ensures that everyone involved in your loved one’s care understands his or her needs and coordinating all aspects of the care so that these needs are met by all involved, be it a professional caregiver, family members, and medical professionals—or all of the above.

Getting started on home care plan

Many family members come up with their own informal care plan based on their own observation and familiarity with their loved one. For those only requiring basic assistance rather than more involved care or advanced home care for medical conditions, this type of informal plan may be sufficient. If, however, your loved one requires more assistance that you or your family can provide, a care plan should be created with a professional.

This begins with an in-home assessment by our Director of Care RN (registered nurse) who will identify your loved one’s needs.

While your loved one’s health-related needs take top priority, their emotional, social, and spiritual needs are also taken into consideration, along with your loved one’s personality and preferences.

With all of these considerations, the RN will determine which home care services needed and work with you and the care recipient to fine tune the care plan, ensuring that all bases are covered.

The importance of involving the care recipient when creating a care plan

In order to help preserve their dignity and autonomy, it’s important that the person receiving the care take part in the creation of their care plan if they’re able.

Well-meaning family members often dismiss the opinions or recommendations of their elderly loved one because they believe they know what’s best. While this usually comes from a good place, it’s important to allow their voice to be heard and respect their decisions and wishes as much as possible.

How a professional determines what’s included in an elderly care plan

If you enlist the help of a professional, such as our Director of Care RN, to help create a care plan for your loved one, the following are things that will be taken into consideration:

  • The current state of the care recipient’s physical and mental health
  • Whether your loved one needs medical assistance, such as medication administration or dressing changes.
  • The amount of assistance required with day-today chores, such as meal preparation and housekeeping.
  • Assistance needed with activities of daily living, like bathing, feeding, and toileting.
  • Any mobility issues inside the home, such as trouble climbing stairs or moving from one room to another.
  • Any assistive equipment or devices your loved one needs, such as a wheelchair or lift.
  • Other caregivers involved, including you or other family members or friends, medical professionals, etc.
  • Whether home care services required on a short-term or long-term, live-in or live-out basis.

On a more personal level, our RN will also take into consideration other things that will help not only your loved one, but the rest of the family maintain the best quality of life, too.

Our RN will want to know:

  • What does your loved one believe she/he needs help with the most to be able to live as independently as possible?
  • What do you and your family members want for your loved one’s care?
  • How much care can you or your loved one’s provide without overextending yourselves?
  • Does your loved one have friends that visit or other social activities they miss or would like to keep up, such as going to senior center?
  • Do they attend a place of worship, such as church, synagogue, or mosque?
  • How can we help your loved one maintain their social connections?

Once a care plan has been determined, the next step will be to choose the best caregiver for your loved one.

Our in-home assessment helps find the caregivers with the experience and personality needed to best meet your loved one’s needs and preferences.

Based on your needs, we select two or three caregivers to visit your home so that the care recipient and/or family can make their selection for the best possible match.

If you would like to book an in-home assessment with our RN, give us a call. We’re here to help.

Winter and the Second Wave of COVID Doesn’t Have to Mean a Second Wave of Loneliness for Seniors

A study that looked at the effects of the pandemic on seniors confirmed what many of us already knew: social isolation took a physical and mental toll on seniors.

Not surprisingly, it also found that many experienced a significant improvement in their wellbeing once warmer weather came, bringing with it the opportunity to get outside for exercise and to connect with others.

With winter on our doorstep and the second wave of COVID-19 upon us, many older adults fear a return to the loneliness of last winter, during which many seniors reported feeling trapped.

Keeping Seniors Spirits Up During a Pandemic Winter

Spending time outdoors walking and gardening, and participating in hobbies and online classes are just some of the things that helped seniors stay positive. Connecting with friends and family through window or physically distanced visits outdoors also had a positive impact.

Studies like this one show us that there are things we can all do to help older adults remain positive while riding out the cold Canadian winter and the continuing pandemic.

The key is to help them keep their social connections and encourage them to remain engaged and active even when icy sidewalks make it getting out challenging.

This may not be easy for everyone depending on your circumstances. Work and other responsibilities can make it challenging to help your ageing parent as much as you’d like to. There are also COVID-related challenges, such as restrictions and concern over the possibility of bringing the virus into the home.

In these cases, hiring a caregiver can be especially beneficial. A professional caregiver can help your ageing loved one maintain social connections and remain active and engaged, safely.

Here are some things that you and/or a caregiver can help your older loved ones this winter.

Physical activity indoors

Exercise – even just a little – has been shown to improve a person’s mood, boost positivity and energy levels, and improve immune function.

Even if they can’t get outdoors, seniors can still keep their activity levels up by walking around their home. Seniors living in an apartment can take advantage of the long corridors in their building by taking a stroll. A caregiver can accompany them while implementing safety measures like masks and distancing.

Online exercise classes for seniors are another fun option that combines activity and the opportunity to connect with others virtually.

A mini stationary bike, which can be purchased for very little online or rented from some mobility device retailers, is another great option that provides a seated workout for the legs or even the arms when placed on a tabletop.

Outdoor activities

Don’t let the colder temps keep you or your elderly loved ones from getting fresh air. A connection with the outside world – even for a minute – can make all the difference.

A caregiver can help you or your parent get outside for a short walk or a physically distanced visit with family or friends. This means ensuring that they’re properly dressed for the weather, following public health guidelines such as masks and distancing, and helping them get in and out of the house safely whether they’re just a little unsteady on their feet or have more significant mobility issues.

Indoor gardening

Many find gardening to be cathartic and good for the soul. Caring for plants has been shown to be especially beneficial for seniors, offering the opportunity for care recipients to enjoy the benefits that accompany nurturing—a role reversal that many welcome. It’s also been linked to a reduced risk of dementia.

While winter in Canada doesn’t allow for getting our hands in the dirt outside, older adults can still enjoy some gardening inside by way of potted plants and flowers, and indoor herb gardens.

Puzzles and games

Puzzles and games are a fun way to keep the mind sharp and help pass the time when going out isn’t possible.

Joyful companionship is another one of the in-home care services we offer and our caregivers are happy to partake in puzzles or provide seniors with some friendly competition when playing cards or board games.

Games can also be played with friends and family online using platforms like Zoom or FaceTime.

Taking advantage of all the library has to offer

Books, DVDs, and music can all be borrowed from the local library for free and reserved online or by telephone and picked up by a family member or caregiver for seniors who can’t (or don’t want) to brave the cold or risk being around others.

For computer savvy seniors – or their family or caregivers – libraries also offer online content, including eBooks and audiobooks, digital movies and music, digital magazines and newspapers, and more.

And since it’s never too late to learn something new, it’s also worth looking into what eLearning and online workshops your local library system offers. What better time to pick up a new language or learn how to use Zoom?

Connecting with others, COVID-style

We know how hard it is to not be able to get close to those we love right now. Our hearts aches for our clients who miss being able to hug their loved ones. While nothing replaces the joy of being able to wrap your arms around your family and friends, don’t underestimate the power of connecting from a distance.

Tea with a friend, reading the grandkids a bedtime story, or sharing a meal together can be enjoyed virtually thanks to the telephone or internet.

Window visits or even distanced porch or yard visits – with coats and blankets – can also help seniors stay connected through the colder months.

Our caregivers can work with a senior’s family and friends to arrange regular communication and quality time together that’s safe for all.

Article sources

  • The Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Donna Wang D. & MacMillan T. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942
  • Health and well-being benefits of plants. https://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/
  • An Indoor Gardening Planting Table Game Design to Improve the Cognitive Performance of the Elderly with Mild and Moderate Dementia. Tseng W -W, et al. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051483
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic researchers study impact of COVID-19 on seniors. https://educationnewscanada.com/article/education/level/colleges/2/863389/saskatchewan-polytechnic-researchers-study-impact-of-covid-19-on-seniors.html

You Have A Social Routine -Let the Caregiver Help!

Age-related changes may make life a little more challenging, but it doesn’t have to take your social life!

A caregiver can help you stay on top of your social game – or golf game – by taking on some of the grunt work.

Here’s an example of what a social senior’s week might look like and how a caregiver can help.

  • Monday – Attending the tennis and golf club; caregiver drives and carries your equipment
  • Tuesday – Hosting a bridge game at your home; caregiver prepares and serves the food and drinks
  • Wednesday – Having birthday lunch with a friend; caregiver picks up a card and gift and drives you to and from the restaurant
  • Thursday – The grandkids are coming to visit; caregiver prepares and serves snacks and tidies up when they leave
  • Friday – Going on a nature walk with the walking group; caregiver prepares a healthy breakfast before you go, packs snacks for you to take on your walk, and drives you to the meeting point and back
  • Saturday – Attending a wedding; caregiver takes you shopping for a gift, picks up your suit/dress from the dry cleaner, and drives you to the wedding and back
  • Sunday – A day of rest and catching up with old friends by phone and mail; caregiver tidies the house, helps you arrange the coming week’s activities, and assists with correspondence

The Health Benefits of Being Social

Maintaining a strong social network as we age has been shown to have numerous benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing.

These benefits include:

  • happiness and greater positive moods
  • increased energy
  • higher levels of physical activity
  • improved immune and cognitive function
  • lower risk of depression, anxiety, and loneliness
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower risk of diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers
  • a longer lifespan

Don’t let age-related changes slow you down and keep you from spending time doing what you love or enjoying the company of others. Consider a enlisting the help of caregiver – who are great company, too – to help you maintain your social calendar.

We’re here for you 24/7, 365 days of the year. Give us a call at 1.855.483.CARE (2273) or send us an email to info@LAServices.ca.

Article resources

  • Broader social interaction keeps older adults more active. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/broader-social-interaction-keeps-older-adults-more-active
  • Social participation and the health and well-being of Canadian seniors. Gilmour H. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232607486_Social_participation_and_the_health_and_well-being_of_Canadian_seniors

The Throne Speech Has Got People Talking About the Future of Home Care

The pandemic has been difficult – to say the least – and especially so for seniors. The one good thing that has come from the COVID-19 crisis is that it has opened the conversation about aging in place.

More and more adults nearing retirement are reconsidering where and how they want to live and looking to home care to help them stay at home for as long as possible.

The conversation is also happening within our Government who are now shifting the focus to home as the first solution for keeping seniors safe and healthy.

Most Canadians prefer to age in place

Our oldest baby boomers are turning 75 this year and the number of Canadians aged 85+ will more than triple in the next three decades. Aging in place is no longer just what the majority of Canadians want – it’s necessary due to the number of people who will require long-term care in the coming years.

How the Canadian Government is making home care a priority

The Speech from the Throne highlighted the importance of improving senior care and announced that the Government will be taking action to support seniors and help people stay in their homes longer.

To help seniors stay safe at home, the Throne Speech said that Government is committed to:

  • Increasing Old Age Security once a senior turns 75
  • Boosting the CPP survivor’s benefit
  • Looking at targeted measures for PSWs who provide an essential service and invaluable contributions to our society in helping to care for older adults

While the plan was somewhat vague, increasing benefits for seniors will certainly make in-home care even more affordable for seniors and their families.

Making the case for aging in place

Given the current climate, a significantly lower risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other contagious illness is the most obvious benefit to home care over a long-term care family or retirement community.

Other benefits to aging in place and in-home care have been identified, however, including:

  • Personalized care. In-home care services can be catered to your unique needs with one-on-one care provided by a skilled and experienced caregiver.
  • Fewer hospitalizations. Research shows that home care reduces hospitals stays and improves health outcomes. For seniors who are hospitalized, home care during recovery results in faster healing.
  • Reduced stress for seniors and their families. In-home care services can help care recipients and their families avoid stressors. The care recipient is able to maintain their routines and remain in the comfort and familiarity of home and avoid change, which can be stressful, especially for those living with dementia and other health conditions. For families, a professional caregiver provides peace of mind and assurance that your loved one is receiving the care they need. It also provides family caregivers with a break from caregiving responsibilities, reducing stress and the risk of caregiver burnout.
  • Improved socialization and lower risk of loneliness. Isolation and loneliness have serious implications for health, especially in older adults. Aging in place makes it easier for seniors to continue with their social activities and caregiver can help you continue to get out by providing transportation and escorting you. That said, isolation in the home setting is still possible. Caregivers are able to provide companionship and can identify signs of loneliness and isolation, should it occur.
  • Improved quality of life and lifespan. According to reports, older adults who receive home care are more satisfied with their quality of life and have been shown to live longer. This isn’t all that surprising given that reduced stress, access to better care, and lower risk of isolation and loneliness have all been proven to benefit a person’s overall health.

 

Article sources

  • 2020 Speech from the Throne. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/speech-throne/2020/speech-from-the-throne.html
  • Effectiveness of home based support for older people: systematic review and meta-analysis. Elkan R, Kendrick D, Dewey M, et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC56889/

Long Term Care Homes Are Not Ready For a Second Wave of Covid-19

How we can help you stay safe at home

Ontario’s long-term care sector announced that it’s not equipped to handle a second wave of Covid-19.

This news comes as case counts are already starting to climb in the province and flu season is approaching.

More than 1,800 long-term care residents have died since the start of the pandemic. With facilities not prepared to handle the expected increase in cases, the death toll is expected to keep rising.

Top health officials warned months ago that long-term care homes lacked the basic resources needed to combat an outbreak of the virus that is especially dangerous for older adults.

Staffing shortages and infection prevention and control deficiencies have yet to be rectified, increasing the likelihood or more outbreaks in homes and subsequently, more resident deaths.

More Seniors are Staying Safe at Home

There is an increasing interest for in-home care solutions that allow our clients to stay safe at home while getting the assistance they need. In most cases, this can eliminate the need to move to a long-term care facility.

These services, like the ones offered to Living Assistance clients, range from help with non-medical needs to daily living tasks like grocery shopping and errands. Seniors in need can stay physically distanced and avoid exposure to others.

For families who are caring for an elderly parent or grandparent at home, a caregiver can help limit the number of family and friends coming into the home by taking on some or all of the caregiving duties. This can help protect everyone in the household!

Speaking of protecting the household, here are some other ways that a skilled caregiver can help reduce the risk of infection:

  • By helping to maintain a clean and sanitary environment.
  • Assisting with proper personal hygiene.
  • Ensuring proper nutrition through healthy meal planning and preparation, which boosts the immune system.
  • Picking up prescriptions to help you stay on top of your health.
  • Providing RN-supervised care for to manage other existing conditions.
  • Our caregivers also provide companionship, which has been shown to help boost immunity and mental health, and lower the risk of illness in seniors.

In-home care provides the personalized one-on-one care that isn’t possible in long-term care homes, many of which are understaffed.

To learn more about the services we provide, give us a call at 1.855.483.2273. We’re here for you.

Article sources

  • Ontario long-term care homes warn they are not equipped to handle second COVID-19 wave. Robyn Doolittle. Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-long-term-care-homes-warn-they-are-not-equipped-to-handle/
  • Ontario not acting on calls to improve infection control in long-term care facilities as COVID-19 second wave looms. Robyn Doolittle. Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-not-acting-on-calls-to-improve-infection-control-in-long-term/

Why do Retirement Community Residents Hire Caregivers?

Living in a retirement community certainly has its perks. You no longer have to deal with the hassles and costs of gardening and other home maintenance, and all the amenities you need are on site or easy to access.

As wonderful as this way of life is, like many other retirement community residents, you may find that you still need a bit of extra help.

Hiring a caregiver when living in a retirement community

Hiring a caregiver through an in-home care agency is a cost-effective way to get help with the things you need. The array of services a caregiver can perform can be tailored to suit your specific needs, even if you’re independent and only need a little bit of help.

Surprised? You’re not alone. It’s a common misconception that in-home care is for people who are unable to care for themselves or require round-the-clock assistance. That’s not the case!

As a matter of fact, many people who enlist the help of a caregiver do it to ensure their ability to live independently. Helping you live independently for as long as possible is precisely the point of in-home care and our primary goal.

A caregiver can help you with tasks like:

  • grocery shopping
  • pharmacy pick-ups
  • a variety of other errands

They can also drive you to appointments and social engagements outside of your community if you don’t drive or just don’t feel like driving. (Hello Canadian winters!)

Your caregiver can also take on some of the chores that you find difficult or just plain don’t enjoy, such as:

  • laundry and ironing
  • meal prep
  • help with unpacking if you’ve just moved in
  • walking or cleaning up after your pet

As you can see, a caregiver can take on as much or as little as you need help with so that you can really enjoy all that retirement community living has to offer.

We can help with your loved one’s care at home or in a retirement home.

Call us at 1.855.483.CARE (2273) or send us an email to info@LAServices.ca.

Driving and Meds Don’t Mix

According to CAMH, adults in Canada aged 65 and older consume 20 to 40 percent of all prescription meds and 25 percent of all over-the-counter meds. As we age, we’re also more likely to take more than one medication at a time. While medications help you manage your illnesses and symptoms, many cause side effects that impair your ability to drive.

Common Medications That Restrict Your Ability to Drive

Medications can cause a whole slew of side effects that can make it impossible for a person to drive safely, including:

  • drowsiness/sleepiness
  • unsteadiness
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness
  • slowed movement and reaction
  • trouble focusing or concentrating
  • fainting

As we get older, many of these effects can be even more pronounced because ageing affects the rate of at which our bodies absorb drugs. If you take more than one type of medication, the possibility of drug interactions is higher and can result in enhanced effects of one or more of the drugs.

Medications known to impair driving include:

  • narcotic pain relievers
  • anxiety medications
  • some antidepressants
  • anti-epileptic drugs (anti-seizure drugs)
  • sleep aids
  • products containing codeine
  • antihistamines
  • cough and cold medicine
  • muscle relaxants
  • medicines used to treat nausea

Getting Around Safely

Driving and meds don’t mix, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up your car and fuss with taxis or be at the mercy of public transit schedules. You can hire a caregiver to drive your car wherever you need to go.

By hiring an in-home caregiver to drive you, you not only get reliable transportation, but also have the added benefit of having help with errands such as shopping, someone to accompany you to appointments, and more.

A caregiver can help you or your ageing parent maintain independence, making it possible to go anywhere. This as well as other in-home care services, if needed.

To learn more about hiring a caregiver to drive you where you need to go or about any of our other in-home care services, reach us anytime at 1.855.483.CARE (2273).

Article sources

  • Medications and Driving. Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). https://www.caa.ca/seniors-2/medications-driving/
  • Medication Use in Older Adults. CAMH. https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/guides-and-publications/medication-use-in-older-adults

A Day in the Life of A PSW

PSWs have always been heroes in our books. They dedicate their lives to caring for older adults, who are among the most vulnerable in our community.

Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and even more so since the shortcomings in Canada’s long-term care facilities were brought to light, more and more people are finally appreciating these unsung heroes. Still, it’s important for us to provide a true picture of just how difficult this job is.

To do this, we would like to introduce you to Marie and take you through a day in her life as a PSW.

Marie’s day starts at 5:00 AM. This gives her less than an hour to get ready for work and kiss her sleeping children goodbye so she can catch the 6:00 AM bus to the subway in order to make it to her client’s home at 6:45  to begin her 12-hour shift at 7:00 AM.

Unlike corporate employees who stop at Starbucks for a latte, Marie can never be late, so waiting in line for coffee is out of the question. Her client is bedridden and not only relies on Marie’s help with bathing, feeding, her morning medication and breakfast, but also her company. For a few years now, Marie is often the only face that the client sees anymore.

Taking care of a person who is bedridden is physically demanding. As with other bedridden adults, this client is overweight, which makes it especially difficult to lift them.

Marie begins her shift by talking to the client and asking how her night was and listens intently as she begins gathering the supplies, she will need to get the client bathed.

She helps the client sit up in bed using pillows to prop her up, before helping her brush her teeth and hair, all while continuing to engage her.

Next she undresses her client to bathe her and has to lift and balance the client while she washes her and changes her incontinence pad and bedding. It’s difficult, but not doing these things properly can lead to bed sores and infection, so she takes her time and is thorough.

Once the client is dressed in a fresh gown; Marie props her up and turns on her favorite TV program before moving onto the next important task, which is feeding and walking the client’s beloved dog, Jo-Jo.

Jo-Jo takes his place next to his owner while Marie helps her eat breakfast.

Over the course of the day, Marie will prepare two more meals for her client…and Jo-Jo. She decides to take her own lunch in the room with her client. Normally Marie eats her lunch while writing out the grocery list or sorting through junk mail, but the client seems a little down and like she could use some cheering up.

Some more friendly conversation over a sandwich does the trick and her client is in much better spirits by time her quick lunch break is over.

Throughout the rest of the day, Marie does laundry, washes dishes, and vacuums and dusts the dog hair that settles throughout the house. She also picks up and puts away groceries, and takes care of her client’s toileting several more times.

Before heading home, Marie goes through the entire hygiene process again, ensuring that her client is clean, dry, and comfortable for the night, and gives the client her final dose of her medication.

By the time she takes Jo-Jo out for his final potty break, it’s already 7:15 PM and just past the end of her shift.

She pops into the client’s room one more time to make sure she has a glass of water and the remote control within reach, and anything else she needs for the night.

Marie finally heads home, tired but happy knowing that her client was feeling more joyful than at the start of her day.

By the time she walks in the door it’s already 9:00 PM and her children are already asleep. She ends her day the way she started it and sneaks into her children’s rooms for a quick goodnight kiss.

She will start this over again the next morning.

Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep

You’re not doomed to toss and turn every night. Consider simple tips for better sleep, from setting a sleep schedule to including physical activity in your daily routine.

Think about all the factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep — from work stress and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive.

While you might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep. Start with these simple tips.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you’re tired. Repeat as needed.

  • Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

  • Create a restful environment

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.

  • Limit daytime naps

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.

If you work nights, however, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.

  • Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however.

Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.

  • Manage worries

Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.

  • Know when to contact your doctor

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

 

Source: Mayo Clinic