Proper gardening boils down to good body mechanics

Being outside in the fresh spring air, enjoying the birds and plants in our gardens is something to look forward to.  A truly rewarding type of exercise is gardening.  As with any exercise, gardening can be stressful on your body.  Through proper body positioning and techniques, you can reduce pain and injury from gardening.

First, as you would with any sport, stretching your muscles in the upper and lower body is important both prior to and after gardening.  By staying flexible and limber, it makes gardening tasks easier to handle and light stretching when you are done can prevent stiffness later.

Second, be realistic.  As we age, we may not be able to do as much as we used to do.  A majoriy of injuries occur from doing too much too quickly.  Spread out your tasks throughout the week.

Third, use proper body mechanics.  Avoid using your back when lifting. Bend your knees, keep your back straight and use your legs to carry the weight as you hold the object close to your body.  When shoveling, dig, lift and turn your whole body before you empty the contents.  Avoid lifting, twisting and throwing, especially heavy or wet materials.  Refrain from bending forward for long periods of time which puts pressure on your back and knees.  Instead, sit on the ground or a stool.

Fourth, take a break.  Alternate the use of different muscle groups and minimize repetitive muscle and spine movement.  Take a break every 30-60 minutes, drink water and stretch as you decide what needs to be done next.

Fifth, know your boundaries.  Most injuries happen when you do one last thing.  Stop before you become fatigued, stiff or sore.  If there is pain, put ice on it for 15-20 minutes.  Depending on the severity, contact your health care provider.

Lastly, use ergonomic garden tools.  These tools allow for a safe, productive and injury free gardening experience.

Happy Gardening.

Maplewood Sauk Prairie reveals the benefits of gardening.

Gardening days are not gone forever just because you are growing older.  In fact, research has proven that gardening provides a lot of benefits for seniors.  The rewards are the same whether it is container or land plot gardening.

Gardening is dual purposed being both relaxing and therapeutic.  Various tasks that keep the mind sharp are part of the gardening process.   Another contributor to a keen mind is the simple act of being outdoors; it reduces stress, irritability and depression – all things contusive for a restful sleep.   Also fresh air improves focus and concentration.

A University of Arkansas study found that weight-bearing activities done during the gardening process increased bone density and reduced the risk of osteoporosis.  Digging in the dirt, lifting a watering can and pulling weeds help build motor skills.

A sense of purpose and accomplishment can be found by nurturing and caring for another living thing.  It is rewarding to see the fruits of your labor in the form of scrumptious fruits and vegetables or beautiful blossoms.

Maplewood Sauk City provides a snippet about Parkinson ’s Disease

Nearly one million Americans are affected by Parkinson’s disease which is a chronic and progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

Dopamine is the chemical produced in our brains that plays a crucial role in controlling movement and coordination.  As Parkinson’s progresses, the amount of dopamine the brain produces declines, leading to the outward signs of the disease such as: tremors in the legs, arms, jaw and face; slow movement, stiffness in the trunk and limbs; and impaired balance and coordination – though symptoms vary from person to person.

Early signs for this slowly progressing disorder may be mild or go unnoticed.  Early symptoms of Parkinson’s include:  tremor or shaking, smaller than usual handwriting; loss of smell; sudden movements during sleep; trouble moving or walking; blank facial expression and dizziness or fainting.  Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean that you have Parkinson’s disease, but if you experience any of them, discuss the matter with your physician.

The cause of Parkinson’s remains unknown and there is not cure for the disorder, yet symptoms can be treated with medication, physical therapy or surgery.  Parkinson’s is found most often in middle-aged to older adults.

Go to  www.PDF.org  for more information.

Maplewood Strives to Keep Loved Ones Illness Free

Influenza has been widespread throughout the state and has been known to be in the community as well.  At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, we strive to keep loved ones free from illness by utilizing infection control practices and encouraging vaccinations for both residents and staff, including the influenza vaccination.   We realize your loved one is looking forward to your visit.  By applying these basic principles of infection prevention, it will make you a “good visitor”.

Tips provided by APIC:

Stay home.  Do not visit your loved one if you are sick or had any symptoms of illness within the last three days including: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, uncontrolled cough or rash.

Wash or sanitize hands frequently both before and after visiting your loved one.  Clean your hands after touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, after using the restroom and both before and after eating or drinking.  Use your sleeve to cover your cough or sneeze, do not sit on the resident’s bed or handle the equipment.  Help residents with hand hygiene before eating and after using the restroom.

Every one to two hours, disinfect high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, toilet handles, bedside trays, etc.

Wear surgical masks if requested by staff.  Remove the masks when leaving resident care areas. If you touch the mask, replace it.

Recognize if you’re coming down with an illness.  Be honest about how you feel and realize if you are coming down with a respiratory illness, you are MORE contagious during the first 24-48 hours than you are at the end of the illness – after your immune system has had a chance to fight the illness.

Gastrointestinal illness (stomach bugs) caused by viruses can spread like wildfire through long-term care communities.  Norovirus causes severe and prolonged nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Influenza (or “the flu”) can cause severe illness and sometimes death in long-term care residents.  The onset of symptoms is normally quick, including fever, chills, body aches, headaches, tiredness and runny/stuffy nose.  Everyone over the age of 6 months should receive the flu shot every year – recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Human Metapneumovirus and Adenovirus are the cause for everything from a cold to pneumonia.  They are spread when a person coughs or sneezes and has contact with others.  The Adenovirus can cause death in older adults and very young children.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus causes severe influenza-like illness in older adults and young children.  It is spread when someone coughs or sneezes and has contact with others.

Use common sense before visiting a loved one.

Source:  APIC, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

 

Kidney Care

The month of March boasts National Kidney Month.  At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, we’d like to share tips about kidneys and how to keep them healthy.

Many functions are performed by the kidneys including removing body waste, balancing the body’s chemicals and fluids, regulating blood pressure, producing red blood cells and helping bones to remain healthy.

Chronic Kidney Disease, CKD, is something that affects millions of Americans.  CKD is manageable, yet if undetected can worsen over time.

Anyone can be struck by CKD, yet factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes.  Symptoms are not always noticeable, but may include nausea, swelling in the feet, hands or face, back pain and unusual looking urine.  A simple test done on blood and urine can let you know if you have kidney disease.

Common kidney problems include kidney stones and kidney infections.  Though they are less serious, if left untreated, they can develop into a real problem.  An inherited disorder that can lead to kidney damage is polycystic kidney disease.

Key factors in preventing kidney problems include managing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.  There are also benefits to keeping kidneys healthy through reducing sodium in your diet, exercising regularly and controlling cholesterol.

Go to www.kidney.org for more information about kidney health.

 

Deciding where to retire is an important decision, that you need to weigh all your options. Do you want to retire where your relatives are close or where  the cost of living is less expensive. According to the website TopRetirements.com, these are the top 10 worst  states to retire in and why?

1) Illinois                       Poor fiscal health

2) California                  Expensive, and its finances are in disarray

3) NewYork                    very high taxes including property taxes

4) Rhode Island.            Worst-off state in the Northeast from a financial viewpoint; high

Taxes

5) New Jersey                 highest property taxes in the U.S.: Has pension funding issues

6) Ohio                             High unemployment and cold winters

7) Wisconsin                   high property taxes and frigid weather

8) Massachusetts            High cost of living and high property taxes

9) Connecticut                  Taxes Social Security and has high property taxes

10) Nevada                         foreclosure  capital of the world

Check out TopRetirement.com on these states or others that you may be thinking of retiring in. You can also check at the website Money-Rates.com to check the 10 best sretire for retirement.

The month of March boasts National Kidney Month.  At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, we’d like to share tips about kidneys and how to keep them healthy.

Many functions are performed by the kidneys including removing body waste, balancing the body’s chemicals and fluids, regulating blood pressure, producing red blood cells and helping bones to remain healthy.

Chronic Kidney Disease, CKD, is something that affects millions of Americans.  CKD is manageable, yet if undetected can worsen over time.

Anyone can be struck by CKD, yet factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes.  Symptoms are not always noticeable, but may include nausea, swelling in the feet, hands or face, back pain and unusual looking urine.  A simple test done on blood and urine can let you know if you have kidney disease.

Common kidney problems include kidney stones and kidney infections.  Though they are less serious, if left untreated, they can develop into a real problem.  An inherited disorder that can lead to kidney damage is polycystic kidney disease.

Key factors in preventing kidney problems include managing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.  There are also benefits to keeping kidneys healthy through reducing sodium in your diet, exercising regularly and controlling cholesterol.

Go to www.kidney.org for more information about kidney health.

Stress Management

With the changes in government programs and the health care  system the need for more care  given by non-professional care givers will be a reality.  Even if you are a strong resilient person, the stress of being a caregiver can take a toll on your health and well-being.  Stress management techniques will be an important part of your daily routine.

Some of the signs of stress that you may not even notice because you are concerned about those you are caring for are:

  • tired all the time
  • overwhelmed and irritable
  • either sleeping too much or not enough
  • losing or gaining weight
  • loss of interest in activities

There are a variety of things that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver.  If someone is willing to help, accept the offer.  If they want to pick up some groceries, cook for you, stay with the person you are caring for or even take them for a walk, allow them to provide help.  It will be a wonderful way to give you a break.

As a caretaker, it is normal to feel guilty about many things.  Focus on those things you can control and remind yourself that you are doing the best you are capable of.  No one is perfect.  If you recognize a need for help, you will want to seek it out.  There are many organizations, associations and support groups to help with specific ailments.    These affiliations can offer encouragement and advice.

You will want to make time for yourself.   Get out and socialize with friends and family members.  It is important to maintain a strong support system to help manage the stress associated with being a caregiver.  It’s also important  to stay healthy.  Walking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are all things that promote good health.

Utilize respite care.  Respite care found at a nursing home, such as Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, has become a great option for both the one receiving care and the caretaker.  Though families take great joy in allowing their loved one to remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial strain for the caregiver can be overwhelming.  The family may choose to have their loved one stay at a nursing home where emergency access and professional assistance is provided for a few day or a few weeks.   It allows the caregiver to get a break, go on a much needed vacation or attend a function that would normally restrict them from attending.

Taking time for yourself actually makes you a better caregiver.  It’s hard for you to provide quality care for others if you are not caring for yourself.

Comedian’s Take on Love and Marriage Through Laughter

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and antibodies, which improves your resistance to disease.  With Valentines Day approaching, we at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, thought we’d share thoughts about love and marriage through the words of comedians.

“Marry a man your own age; as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.”  Phyllis Diller

“Marriage has no guarantees.  If that’s what you are looking for, go live with a car battery.”  Erma Bombeck

“Love is a lot like a backache.  It doesn’t show up on x-rays, but you know it’s there.”  George Bruns

“I was married by a judge.  I should have asked for a jury.”  Groucho Marx

“My wife gets all the money I make.  I just get an apple and clean clothes every morning.”  Ray Romano

“Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are attached.”  Anon.

“In my house I’m the boss, my wife is just the decision maker.” Woody Allen

“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Isn’t “I do” is the longest one?” George Carlin

“I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.” –Sigmund Freud

“A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.” Anon.

Singing has a wide range of physical benefits, relieves stress and even helps you sleep better.  For years, scientists have been studying the therapeutic effects of music.  Even the simple act of listening to music has been shown to reduce anxiety, such as during a hospital stay.  Yet, research shows that actively participating in music by singing has even bigger health rewards.

Singing can be a form of aerobic exercise.  As you breathe in and out, you increase your lung capacity and strengthen your diaphragm and abdominal muscles.  Singing also improves posture and coordination, which lowers the risk of falls.

Your body releases endorphins when you sing, which not only reduces stress, but also relieves physical pain.

Circulation is stimulated and antibodies that boost the immune system increase when singing.  Even though you may not feel like singing when you have a cold, the act can clear your sinuses.  Regular singing protects your vocal cords as well.

Additional significant benefits for seniors have been found when singing.  Singing stimulates the brain, enhances memory function, concentration, alertness and speech.  Music is commonly used to encourage reminiscing; a familiar song can bring back memories and spark conversations about the past.

No matter what you sound like, singing is good for you!