Statins and Its Side Effects

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Statins Image Design 1 1024x562 - Statins and Its Side EffectsFor many years, Statin drugs have been used to lower the cholesterol levels in the blood. This method, has in fact shown to reduce several health risks including heart attack and stroke. Many individuals were given these drugs to help reduce issues that may lead to a heart attack and stroke.

The Results of Statin Drugs

In recent studies, many people have had their risk of heart attack, stroke, and death reduced by 25 to 35 percent. For recurring heart attacks and strokes, these numbers have increased to 40%.

Who Can Take Statin Drugs?

Statin Drugs were designed with the purpose of lowering cholesterol in the blood. With many take these drugs to lower their risk of heart attack, stroke, and the increased possibility of death from these causes. More than 15 million American people are taking Statin drugs to reduce their risk for a heart attack. Along with this number, usp to 20 million people should be taking the drug based off their tested results for heart disease.

How Do Statin Drugs Help Prevent Heart Disease?

Statin Drugs work in the sense that they act as a shield and block the liver enzymes responsible for making cholesterol. If too much too cholesterol builds up in the blood, it starts to stick against the artery walls. If this keeps occurring, eventually, the artery walls will become narrow and thin. Because of these thinning arteries, blood begins to clot, which can result in a heart attack or a stroke.

This is when Statin comes into play. The Statin drug can lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood which can prevent any cholesterol from attaching to the artery walls. This drug can also play a role in stabilizing the plaques in the arteries. While there are several side effects that can take place while taking Statin, you can try to maintain a healthy lifestyle while taking the drug.

A few things you can do include getting enough exercise, eating healthy, monitor and reduce your alcohol intake, and it is also best not to smoke.

The Side Effect of Statin Drugs

With each person, they have a different experience when taking Statin drugs. One person may have a bad experience, while another may end up perfectly fine. Some people may experience some side effects while taking this drug. The most common side effects associated with Statin drugs include difficulty sleeping, flushing skin, headaches, diarrhea, rash, constipation, drowsiness, and a few other subtle side effects.

Some of the more intense side effects that result from this drug include high blood confusion, type 2 diabetes, mental confusion, and memory loss.

Statin also may contain a few rarer, but severe symptoms. These include mitosis, which is the inflation of the muscles, increased CPK levels, or Rhabdomyolysis, which can cause extreme muscle inflammation and damage.

Who Should Not Take Statin Drugs

There are several people that may benefit from Statin drugs, but there are also some that should not take the drug and should notify their doctor of any condition before taking the drug. These people include those who are experienced unexplained muscle or joint point while taking Statin drugs. If this occurs, the individual should contact their doctor immediately, they should not stop taking the drug unless the doctor tells them to. If you are pregnant or have any type of liver condition, you should not even consider taking Statin drugs. You also need to notify your doctor of any other pills you are taking, whether it is a vitamin, medicine, or any other pill.

Other factors that would prevent someone from taking any Statin drugs would be if you are already taking any other cholesterol lowering drugs, if you are a female, if you have a smaller body frames, being age 65 or older, pre-existing liver problems, or if you drink too much alcohol.

What Statin Drugs May You Be Prescribed?

If your doctor is considering prescribing a Statin drug for you, there are a few that you may be prescribed. These include Lipitor, Livalo, Mevacor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol, Crestor. These Statin drugs are approved for the US. An estimated 17 million people have been prescribed this medicine since the drugs initial arrival into the US market.

Specific Statin Drug Side Effects

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Along with the side effects mentioned above, a few more side effects users may experience could include muscle pain and damage, which could potentially be a lifelong effect that users must deal with. Another effect could be liver damage, this occurs when the drug increases specific enzymes that cause the liver to inflate. This symptom is a rare one, but your doctor should request a liver function test after you have been taking the Statin drug to ensure that your liver is working properly. It is possible that a user can also develop type 2 diabetes which is a rather serious issue to develop. This is possible due to the blood sugar levels increasing as the Statin drug is being taken. For those that already have diabetes, the drug can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. This drug may also cause significant neurological conditions that can affect memory. Any worrisome symptoms should be noted by your doctor immediately to prevent anything from becoming worse.

Beverages and Other Drugs That May Cause Side Effects

There are several pre-existing and physical conditions that may cause effects from Statin drugs, but some food and beverages may also cause effects. Some include grapefruit juice because of a chemical that interferes with the enzymes.

Some drugs that should be avoided while taking Statin drugs are Amiodarone, Gemfibrozil, Invirase, Biaxin, and Gengraf.

What Causes a Statin Side Effect?

These side effects can be caused by various reasons. Your body makes the necessary cholesterol it needs when digesting food. This process is slowed by the Statin drug and when your body’s natural production is slowed down, things may not go as planned. Instead, your body begins to take the cholesterol it needs from the food you eat. So, Statin can affect the liver or it could also affect the enzymes within the muscle cells, which is why the drug may cause muscle pain. Which needs to be addressed to a doctor immediately.

Relieving the Pain from Statin Side Effects

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If the Statin drug does happen to bring side effects and pain, there are ways to cope with it. These include switching drugs, temporarily stop taking the drug with your doctor’s permission, try a supplement, or change the amount of the drug you take. These options need to be considered with your doctor, so the best decision can be made.

The Evidence in Side Effects from Statins

A recent study showed that for every 10,000-people taking Statin, 300 of them had cataracts, 23 experienced acute kidney failure, and 74 had liver failure. Another 30% experienced muscle fatigue, while others were diagnosed with cancer and diabetes.

Alternative Options

While there are several options you can choose from rather than Statin, this needs to be discussed with your doctor. If they believe that you can benefit from Statin, but you don’t particularly like the idea, discuss other options. There are several other cholesterols- lowering drugs in the market that may suit an individual better, but they must be aware of what each drug does and how it may affect their health. If drugs are not something that interest an individual with heart disease or with the risk of developing heart disease, there may be other natural options such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise often, and practice other healthy habits daily. These can include reducing the amount you smoke, drink, or consumer certain foods.

Taking Statin Can Increase the Need for Supplements

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Someone that is taking Statin may need a supplement, this supplement is called CoQ10. This is used to provide energy within every cell of your body. If this is reduced within your body, the results could be very negative and cause a lot of problems. While Statin is prescribed with the intention of reducing the risk of heart disease, by depleting the amount of CoQ10 in your body, it is doing quite the opposite. So, it is recommended that Statin users take CoQ10 to prevent this from happening. Many users are unaware on the additional steps they may need to take when taking this drug. It is not as simple as taking the drug and going on with your daily routine. You may also need to add supplements, monitor your health, and keep track of your exercise and eating habits throughout the day to make sure nothing counteracts the medication, and that you are helping yourself and not hurting yourself. It takes a little bit of effort on the user’s part to make sure this drug works properly. While side effects often happen without any notice or reasoning, they could be a result of a poor lifestyle.

Another supplement that users may consider taking is Vitamin K2. This vitamin is essential in protecting your arteries from becoming clogged. For those that are deficient in this vitamin, it may leave them with worse arteries. The plaque will fill the arteries much quicker. So, while Statin is trying to prevent the arteries from clogging, by depleting vitamin K2, it is reversing this effect. Therefore, Statin users may want to take K2 if they are taking the drug to prevent this from happening.

These two vitamins are essential in Statin users. While the doctors may or may not tell the user this, it is important that anyone does the necessary research before taking any drug to be aware of any potential side effects and conditions that may occur.

Often, users will simply ignore their side effects and disregard them, but it is important that the user reports any unusual or different changes in their body immediately to prevent anything severe or permanently damaging from happening.

Deciding What Statin Drug Is Best for You

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This part is mainly up to your doctor and can be based off your current health, along with any other factors that may play a role. While there are many drugs to choose from, they are individually different in their own ways and each drug should be prescribed specific to the user. Often, doctors choose to prescribe the most common type of Statin because they know that the drug has had proven affects. This may not work for everyone and in certain circumstances, the drug may need to be changed if the user is having any issues with it such as side effects or failure to see any results from the drug. Switching drugs is usually a simple process. The doctor will likely have a follow- up to determine whether the drug is having any effect on the patient or not, whether it is positive or negative.

For those interested in taking Statin drugs, it is essential to know about Statin drugs in general and their side effects, as well as each individual drug and what that drug can do to you. It is important to ask any questions you may have, and be aware that not all doctors are completely educated on every drug. You may have to share some knowledge with your doctor if they may not be aware. It is important to the user’s health that they know what to look for and what they are putting in their body to prevent any further complications or side effects from occurring. It is also important to remember that just because one person has a good experience with the drug does not mean that every user will have the same good experience.

Statin has complication with other food, beverages, and drugs that can potentially affect the way the drug works, this is something that users should always take into consideration.


The Importance of Physical Therapy for Seniors

Physical Therapy For Seniors1 211x300 - The Importance of Physical Therapy for SeniorsPhysical therapy can help seniors retain their independence, whether they are managing a long-term illness or just want to improve their general health and mobility.

The goal of physical therapy is to help restore and improve functionality, reduce pain and increase mobility for better strength and balance.

Falls are the major reason seniors require physical therapy.

As people age, they tend to lose flexibility, strength and often their balance, so maintaining the desired level of fitness becomes increasingly challenging.  Loss of these functions could lead to a fall that could cause serious injury.   Physical therapy helps improve these functions.

Osteoporosis, which is a progressive bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density, can lead to an increased risk for fractures.  It is often the cause of many falls. Physical therapy and a regular exercise program help control the effects of this condition.

Strength training and exercise provided in physical therapy can also help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.  People with arthritis can benefit from physical therapy because it provides exercises to help preserve the strength and use of the joints.   Physical therapy also teaches therapeutic methods to relieve discomfort through both physical techniques and activity modifications.

Physical therapy is prescribed in many cases following a hospital stay.  Skimping on post hospitalization therapy can cause serious repercussions.

Potential consequences of seniors skipping physical therapy, especially following a hospitalization:

  • Falls – After a hospital stay, many are weak and more prone to falling. Failing to have therapy after hospitalization could potentially lead to a re-hospitalization due to an injury from a fall.
  • Infections- Without active movement because of weakness that could have been improved with physical therapy, there is an increased risk for pneumonia. There is also increased potential for skin problems, such as ulcers, which may develop because of lack of movement.
  • Reduced Long Term Strength and Endurance- During recovery, physical therapy can influence your strength and endurance level that you will have long after you finished your sessions.This can also cause increased blood pressure and heart rate and decreased oxygen saturation levels, which can lead to stroke, blood clots and heart attacks.
  • Reduced Education- Education through physical therapy shows ways to complete activities of daily living in a more efficient way to help improve physical and mental well being and quality of life.
  • Increased Pain- If you’re not moving because you are not taking physical therapy, joints tends to get stiff. Decreased mobility leads to more pain.

Physical therapy for seniors has a variety of benefits which can include not only gaining strength and balance, but also providing a renewed sense of confidence.  Physical therapy can give seniors back their independence and make daily tasks easier.

Working with a physical therapist will not only reduce pain, but it will also help improve overall strength and ability and reduce the risk for injuries, helping you maintain a higher quality of life.


Occupational Therapy for Seniors has Many Benefits

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FOR SENIORS 300x211 - Occupational Therapy for Seniors has Many BenefitsOccupational therapy is a treatment that involves helping people live more independent and productive lives by incorporating meaningful activities to promote participation in everyday life.  It is focused on improving life skills which can lead to better quality of life.

Over one-third of occupational therapists work with seniors after they have been affected by illness, memory loss or injury.  They are often elder-care advocates, working to help seniors maintain their independence. One of their most important roles is promoting self-reliance among their patients.  This means helping them overcome their physical challenges or limitations, enabling them to return to a normal life at home where they may continue activities of daily living (ADLs), including cooking, feeding themselves, dressing and grooming. Occupational therapy for seniors takes a somewhat unique stance by focusing on what the person can do.

Occupational therapy is also key during the early stages of memory loss.  Therapists are trained to assess a patient’s cognitive ability and use behavioral modification to help address change in their personalities. Occupational therapists can also help adapt a patient’s home for safety, allowing them to maximize their remaining skills to help them maintain their independence.  They also educate the family caregivers and connect them with support groups or respite care such as that provided by American Senior Communities for the emotional assistance they may need. In later stages of memory loss, the therapist can focus on simplifying activities or providing sensory stimulation like soothing music to help improve quality of life.

The Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

1)      Overcoming daily life challenges.   Occupational therapy helps seniors compensate for some of the challenges they face each day, whether it be dressing, feeding themselves, home management or participation in social activities.

2)      Preventing falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, and occupational therapists can help them to problem-solve the best way to stay active while avoiding falls.

3)      Home environmental modifications. Occupational therapists can help seniors acquire devices like a bathtub bench or grab bars to make their lives easier. Seniors can learn how they can optimize their homes to promote full participation in activities of daily life.

4)      Better health and wellness. Occupational therapy can have a positive influence on mental health and life satisfaction. Therapists provide a unique educational approach to help seniors redesign their lives to experience greater quality of life, promote longevity and a healthier lifestyle all around.

5)      Working with caregivers. Occupational therapists can assess a family’s loved one to help the caregiver make better decisions about their loved one’s daily care needs.  They alleviate some of the pressure a caregiver might feel when helping their loved one, which will allow them to separate themselves from core care-giving and maintain their own life.

Occupational therapy, while beneficial to those of all ages, is especially helpful to seniors who are regularly faced with physical, mental or psychological challenges.  Therapists collaborate with both the senior and their caregivers to ensure a plan is set that works for everyone and allows all involved to reach their own individual goals.


Preventing Falls and Accidents Among Seniors

preventing falls in seniors 300x200 - Preventing Falls and Accidents Among SeniorsFalls can occur anytime to people of any age.  However, a fall can be especially dangerous to seniors because a senior is more likely to break a bone in a fall.  And a broken bone in a senior can lead to a long recovery period and loss of independence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people age 65 or older.  One out of three people in this age group falls each year, and more than 90 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling.

Tips to Prevent Falls

First off, knowing the reasons why people fall can help you learn how to prevent such an accident from happening to your loved one.  Most falls occur because of:

  • Slipping as a result of loss of traction from improper footwear
  • Balance issues
  • Slow reflexes and reduced muscle strength
  • Prior illness
  • Poor vision
  • Medications or excessive use of alcohol

Also, personal factors like age, lack of activity or exercise, bad habits (like smoking or drinking alcohol), and poor diet also increase the risk for falls or accidents.

American Senior Communities therapists offer advice on steps you can take to ensure your aging loved one’s safety in the home. Walk through the house room by room and note where modifications are needed – the bedroom, bathroom, hallways and main living areas should be given the most attention.

Room by room, here are some of the changes needed to help prevent falls:

  • Bedroom
    1. Install night lights for a clearer route for nighttime trips to the bathroom.
    2. Keep the floor clear of clutter and arrange furniture to allow for an unobstructed pathway.
    3. Make sure the bed is easy for your loved one to get in and out of; install rails if there’s risk of falling out of bed at night.  Use non-slippery bed linens.
    4. Arrange clothes and shoes in the closet so they are easily accessible.
    5. Keep a phone and flashlight near the bed.
  • Bathroom
    1. Use non-slip rugs or mats in the shower and on the floor.
    2. Install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet.
    3. Utilize night lights.
    4. If necessary, use a raised toilet seat as well as a sturdy seat in the bathtub if your loved one is unsteady while showering.
  • Hallways/Stairs
    1. Place handrails in hallways or entryways as needed.
    2. Clear a path; keep stairs and hallways free from boxes, excess furniture and clutter.
    3. If stairs are not carpeted, put non-slips treads on them.
    4. Remove any area rugs from the top or bottom of staircases.
  • Living Room
    1. Move low-rise furniture such as coffee tables, ottomans, magazine racks or plants out of the way.
    2. Keep cords to electronics tucked away, but do not put them under a rug.
    3. Remove raised rugs or area rugs, or secure them with slip-resistant backing.
    4. Make sure light switches are easily accessible at each room entrance to keep your loved one from walking around in a dark room. Or, put lights on a timer so they turn on automatically in the evening.
    5. Keep a cordless phone near your loved one’s favorite chair or spot on the couch so there’s no need to jump up and rush to answer a phone call. Having a phone nearby will also come in handy if a fall does occur.

Falls cannot always be prevented, but just by taking a few easy steps you can help reduce the risk of them. These precautions will help give you peace of mind that your loved one is safe, too.


Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy

Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy 300x200 - Occupational Therapy vs. Physical TherapyWe know that both physical therapy and occupational therapy offer many benefits to those who need it. Both help people maintain their independence, maximize their function and lead to healthier, active lives.

Sometimes both therapies are prescribed for a patient. However, the two therapies are often confused, yet they complement each other and work together.

Differences Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Let’s first look at occupational therapy.  In general, the goal of occupational therapy is to enable patients to maximize their abilities to perform activities of daily living.  These activities include dressing, bathing, cooking and other common household and work-related tasks.

Occupational therapy focuses on helping people live as independently as possible. Occupational therapists assess a patient’s living and work environments and may recommend adaptive equipment and provide training on the use of these devices, such as reachers, dressing aids, special computer equipment, splints and braces. They also create home exercise programs designed specifically for the patient. Occupational therapists also offer assistance to caregivers.

People who need occupational therapy are frequently those who have had a sudden serious health condition like a stroke, and are mentally or physically impaired in some way, developmentally disabled, or the person has suffered an injury.  Occupational therapy also helps those who suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis.

While occupational therapy focuses more on helping people get back their independence and successfully carry out activities of daily living, physical therapy aims to treat the injury itself and help prevent future injuries.

The goal of physical therapy is to fix the impairment and promote mobility, functional ability and improve quality of life. Physical therapy focuses on helping people recover from their injury and eliminate as much of their pain as possible.

Physical therapy involves manual therapy techniques that focus on the area of the body that experienced trauma, like a torn ligament or broken bone. These techniques help improve mobility, decrease pain and increase function.

People who need physical therapy are those who are recovering from an injury or are suffering from a long-term health problem, like chronic back pain or osteoarthritis. Physical therapy can help a person regain their mobility to move in a pain-free manner. Once the patient has recovered, a physical therapist will recommend a fitness program beneficial to the patient’s needs, whether it is cycling, swimming, walking, etc.

Both occupational and physical therapies are extremely important for helping patients through their recovery period.

At American Senior Communities centers, occupational and physical therapist are part of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers and others working together to return patients home able to live life on their own terms.


The Importance of Speech Therapy for Seniors

bigstock Medical Exam 37296100 300x200 - The Importance of Speech Therapy for SeniorsSpeech therapy for seniors is often necessary when recovering from the debilitating consequences of a stroke or dementia.  It may also be necessary after a head injury.

The ability to communicate effectively is important at any age, but for seniors it can be absolutely vital. If a senior cannot successfully describe what they need, where they hurt, or what is wrong in general, an emergency situation can easily occur.

If your loved one is having difficulty communicating, there are a number of consequences to ignoring these speech and communication issues.  You may need to consider speech therapy services if your loved one:

  • Has problems requesting items and responding to questions
  • Experiences difficulty managing their own financial, personal or medical matters
  • Shows an inability to avoid injury or potentially dangerous situations

After a comprehensive speech therapy evaluation is done on your loved one, the speech-language pathologist can determine if the problem is language-based and how to best address it. Other factors also need to be looked at to rule out medications, depression, dehydration, etc. as part of the problem.

Speech therapy for the elderly can help with speech issues due to the natural aging process.  As one grows older, vocal cords can become less elastic and larynx muscles can weaken, making it difficult to talk in a manner they are accustomed to. Speech therapy for seniors can help them re-learn how to speak, using vocal exercises to help them communicate effectively once again.

Speech therapy is also often necessary following a stroke. This type of language impairment is called aphasia, which is a communication disorder impairing a person’s ability to use and comprehend language. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, over 700,000 people suffer a stroke in the United States every year. One in four stroke survivors experience aphasia following a stroke and require rehabilitation. Recovering speech after a stroke is possible, especially if treatment is started immediately.  If symptoms last longer than six months, it is unlikely the patient will recover completely.

A speech-language pathologist is trained to focus on speech, language, voice, cognition and swallowing problems within the geriatric population.

Treatment for the elderly after a stroke can include:

  • Art therapy
  • Melodic intonation therapy (singing words they cannot speak)
  • Group therapy and support groups
  • Visual speech perception (associating words with pictures) therapy
  • Constraint-induced language therapy (creating a scenario using spoken words only, with no visual cues like body language, etc.)

American Senior Communities offers extensive therapy programs through the Moving Forward Rehabilitation Program.  The goal of speech therapy for seniors is to increase functional communication, cognitive skills and teach safe swallowing by introducing diet modifications and special feeding techniques. ASC’s speech therapy programs may include muscle retraining, compensatory strategies and use of communication devices.


Treatment Option for Dysphagia

bigstock Man With Hand On Throat 67313761 200x300 - Treatment Option for DysphagiaThe medical term for difficulty swallowing is called dysphagia. Swallowing problems in the elderly is common due to the weakening of throat muscles. The condition easily worsens and can lead to a dysphagia diet that includes only pureed foods and thickened liquids.

Occasional difficulty swallowing usually isn’t cause for concern and may simply occur when you eat too fast or don’t chew your food well enough. But persistent difficulty swallowing may indicate a serious medical condition requiring treatment.

If you experience symptoms on a regular basis like pain while swallowing or not being able to swallow, feeling as though food is getting stuck in your throat, chest or behind your breastbone, coughing or gagging while swallowing, hoarseness or frequent heartburn, it’s important to see your doctor and seek some treatment options for dysphagia. Difficulty swallowing can lead to malnutrition and dehydration as well as respiratory problems.

In early stages of muscle decline, the person could have trouble swallowing pills.  More than one in 10 people over age 75 has some form of dysphagia.  As the condition advances, the weakened muscles could allow liquids and food to escape or aspirate into the windpipe and lungs. In these cases, tubes are needed to help the victim breath and receive nourishment.

According to experts, stroke, disease and neurological disorders are often the causes of more severe forms of dysphagia, which can lead to a variety of health complications, including death.  Over 60,000 Americans die each year from complications caused by swallowing difficulties, according to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

A treatment option for dysphagia is neuro-muscular electrical stimulation therapy, which involves using electrical impulses to strengthen the throat muscles.

What is Neuro-Muscular Electrical Stimulation Therapy?

In neuro-muscular stimulation, a small amount of electrical impulses are delivered through electrodes placed on weak throat muscles to increase strength and agility.  The neuromuscular electrical stimulation causes the muscles to contract, which exercises and strengthens them. Tests have shown that the results last, allowing many people to return to normal diets and a higher quality of life.  The therapy is used in conjunction with traditional dysphagia treatment methods. After a few weeks of therapy, the patient should begin to experience improvement in his or her ability to swallow.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation is a safe and effective treatment for people suffering with difficulty swallowing.  The treatment is a non-invasive, external electrical stimulation therapy that helps the muscles used to swallow function.

To treat dysphagia, several American Senior Communities locations use the VitalStim Therapy System, which was approved as a neuro-muscular stimulation therapy system by the Food and Drug Administration.

Treatment may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance.  The therapy is provided through the facility’s Moving Forward Rehabilitation program.


The Benefits of Therapy Animals for Seniors

bigstock Elderly Woman With Younger Wom 6786053 200x300 - The Benefits of Therapy Animals for SeniorsAnyone who has ever stroked a dog’s soft ears or felt the gentle rumble of a cat’s purr knows the calming feeling an animal can offer. A pet companion presents many health benefits to their owners, like lower cholesterol levels and can even prevent heart attack and stroke.  They can also help fight depression.

For these reasons, more and more often animals are being utilized for therapeutic purposes at senior facilities. Therapy animals are used to promote health and healing for seniors of any age range or health condition, whether they are depressed, chronically ill or have ongoing disabilities.

Pet therapy for seniors, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, is a technique that uses animals to interact with seniors for numerous reasons to help improve their quality of life. Studies show that just fifteen minutes spent bonding with an animal promotes hormonal changes within the brain. Stress levels drop as the brain produces serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone), along with prolactin and oxytocin. This is why therapy animals are good companions for seniors, because they offer so many amazing health benefits.

Pet Therapy for Seniors

Some assisted living facilities are offering pet therapy because of the numerous benefits interaction with animals offer to seniors.  American Senior Communities are among such facilities.

Seniors suffer from depression usually as a result of loneliness or isolation, either because friends and family members cannot visit on a regular basis, or they aren’t as active as they previously were.   Perhaps a loving spouse has passed away. Contact with therapy animals can bring some withdrawn seniors out of their shells, making them happier and more communicative.

Studies show that seniors who are active and always around others, or who own a pet decline in health far less rapidly than isolated or depressed seniors.

Physical, Emotional and Psychological Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

  • Seniors with heart conditions who own pets tend to outlive those who don’t.
  • Walking a dog provides much-needed physical exercise, which leads to improved mobility and a healthier lifestyle overall.
  • The ability to have something to pet or touch can result in lower blood pressure, normal heart rate and reduced stress.
  • Pets provide emotional stability during stressful situations, helping to reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Caring for a pet helps increase a senior’s self-confidence and self-esteem, providing them a way to feel useful and responsible for something.
  • For dementia patients, animals can be soothing to those who have difficulty using language.
  • Feeding and grooming can help increase seniors’ physical skills and help them become more active.
  • Animals can help improve socialization- they listen without judgment and give unbiased affection, especially when a senior may desire to share the thoughts they may not be comfortable telling family or friends.

Having an animal in a senior’s life can help improve their well-being and give new meaning to their life. Due to the numerous health benefits therapy animals provide, many assisted living facilities are starting to include pet therapy in their regular senior care programs. Being around animals makes people feel better, healthier, and happier.


Music Therapy for Seniors

bigstock Man Listening to Music 70294591 300x200 - Music Therapy for SeniorsYou don’t have to be a professionally-trained musician to appreciate the feeling you get when you hear your favorite song. Music has the ability to take us back in time, to evoke memories and feelings from the past. Hearing a tune you love can offer comfort and cheer during times of sadness, and can even turn a bad mood around almost instantly.

The majority of adults between the ages of 65 and 85 are known to have at least one chronic condition, whether it be heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and so on. The aging population can also experience a variety of age-related changes to their physical, mental and emotional well-being. This is why music therapy for seniors and their caregivers can be so beneficial.

The Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy has been proven to help some seniors restore and maintain their health, as well as help them recall memories and fight depression. The Older Americans Act of 1992 defined music therapy as “the use of musical or rhythmic interventions specifically selected by a music therapist to accomplish the restoration, maintenance, or improvement of social or emotional functioning, mental processing, or physical health of an older individual”.

Music therapy for seniors helps with issues such as:

  • Cognitive skills: Music can help seniors process their thoughts and maintain memories. Many people associate music with past events, and just hearing a song can evoke a memory even many years after an event. For dementia patients, music from their childhood or young adult years has proven to be effective in obtaining a positive response and involvement, even when the patient can no longer communicate.
  • Speech skills: Music therapy has been proven to help older adults answer questions, make decisions, and speak clearer. It can help slow the deterioration of speech and language skills in dementia patients; studies have shown that even when an Alzheimer’s patient loses the ability to speak, they can still recognize and even hum or sing their favorite song.
  • Stress Reduction: Some caregivers have difficulty managing their aging loved one’s stress and agitation. Playing music they enjoy can help relax and ease the aggressive behaviors. Slow songs like ballads and lullabies can help prepare your loved one for bed or deal with changes to their routines that may cause agitation.
  • Physical Skills: Music can inspire movement in seniors. With music comes dancing, after all. Music and dancing promote coordination and can help with walking and endurance. Even if your loved one is not mobile, music can inspire toe tapping and clapping, thus getting the blood flowing once again.
  • Social Skills: Increased social interaction with caregivers and others is another benefit music therapy can offer seniors. It encourages bonding with others, which in turn can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression.

The key is finding the music that resonates with your aging loved one.  Talk to them about their favorite artists or musicians from their past, and start introducing music into their daily routines. It’s worth testing, especially if it can help improve the overall quality of life of your loved one.


Art Therapy for Seniors

bigstock Working On His Painting 258414 300x200 - Art Therapy for SeniorsFor some people, creating artwork is a full time job and lifelong dream they’ve worked hard to fulfill.  For others, art is simply a hobby they enjoy doing from time to time.  Using paint, clay, pencils, etc., is a way to express themselves and create something from nothing, a satisfying experience to see through from start to finish.

Regardless of the motivation behind creating artwork, art also has long been known to have therapeutic benefits, and can be especially beneficial to older individuals.  Recent studies have shown that seniors who participate in art programs tend to visit the doctor and use medications less, as well as experience less depression.

Art as Therapy

The benefits of art as therapy for seniors are numerous and help improve overall quality of life. Some of the ways art as therapy can benefit older individuals include:

  • Promoting self-awareness and self-expression. Expressing oneself through art is a powerful, meaningful way to share our lives with others. Art also can help the memory-impaired access long-forgotten memories and increase self-esteem.
  • Facilitating socialization and communication. Those who have difficulty expressing themselves or communicating with others find using visual means to be extremely helpful. Art provides another way to connect with those around you, which can help lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Improving cognitive skills and providing intellectual stimulation. Discussing art creations with others offers not only a way to communicate, but also intellectual stimulation and promotes memory health. Challenging aging individuals to create art allows them to expand their minds and look at things in a way they might not normally consider.
  • Reducing boredom. Art is a recreational activity and offers a fun and fulfilling way to spend free time.
  • Improving physical/motor skills. Creating artwork helps benefit coordination through small, purposeful movements, leading to less pain and even an enhanced immune system.
  • Decreasing stress and depression. Tapping into the emotions needed to create artwork allows for open expression of feelings, helping to relieve stress, anxiety and confusion.

Certified art therapists are specially educated on all the ways to use art to improve quality of life for certain individuals.  They will create programs using many different mediums to allow their patients the therapy they need. Utilizing things like paints, pens or markers, collage, watercolors or even clay for sculpture and flower arranging are all ways for seniors to express themselves through art. While not every art session will conjure a dramatic memory or involve an emotional breakthrough, it will still provide a fun and interesting way for seniors to relax and express themselves.

It’s never too late to start expressing yourself through artwork creations. Grab a paintbrush or even your grandchildren’s crayons and get creative! You might be surprised to find how much your spirits are lifted after you finish a special art project.