The word cancer can evoke fear for most individuals. While the medical field continues to conduct research and develop treatments, there are still no absolute indicators on why some people develop certain cancers, while others do not. What we do know from medical research is there are multiple factors that can impact whether a person gets cancer. Certain risk factors such as age and family history can’t be avoided but there are steps one can take or lifestyle changes that can be incorporated to help improve overall health and prevent the risk of cancer. In this blog, you will find seven cancer prevention tips to consider adopting: 

1. Get regular screenings

Perhaps the most obvious but nonetheless important health care practice is getting regular screenings. It is essential to an early cancer diagnosis and to minimize serious risk and maximize treatment options and efficacy. Visiting your primary care physician for an annual physical is a good first step to getting a thorough health evaluation, assessing your risks and getting recommendations on what screenings you should receive. Here is a quick check list of screenings to consider:

  • Yearly mammograms for women 50+
  • Prostate cancer testing for men 50+
  • CT scan for lung cancer; especially for current and previous smokers
  • Colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer for 45+
  • Skin checks with the dermatologist yearly, depending on risk for skin cancer

2. Increase physical activity

Physical activity and regular exercise are just plain good for you. From your heart health to your mental health to reducing your risk of cancer, the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle is a simple yet effective way to stay healthy. The American Cancer Society recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Moderate exercise can include playing golf, practicing yoga, going for a walk or a bicycle ride. As you age, your ability to perform certain activities changes so be sure to check with your doctor to identify activities that best suit your ability and health goals.

3. Stop smoking

If you smoke or use tobacco, quit. Eliminating tobacco use is one of the best health decisions you can make. And it is low hanging fruit when it comes to cancer prevention. Tobacco use is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer and is a contributor to mouth, throat, cervical, and bladder cancer. If you think it’s too late to quit, it’s not. Your body will begin recovering from tobacco use almost immediately after you quit and will significantly reduce your risk of cancer.

4. Minimize stress

Few people recognize the effects that stress has on our health. An overwhelming level of stress can and does impact the body and/or the brain, which contributes to health issues. It is unclear if stress has a direct correlation to cancer, but we know that when the body experiences stress, neurotransmitters like norepinephrine are released, which stimulate cancer cells and can make existing cancer spread faster. Consider spending some time reflecting on what might be causing stress in your life and evaluate how to limit it or omit it altogether. A professional counselor or mental health practitioner can be very helpful in conducting this evaluation. Exercise, yoga and meditation are also helpful tools for reducing stress. 

5. Eat a balanced diet

Although what you eat can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it can definitely reduce your risk. Consider these options when evaluating how your dietary habits can impact your health:

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Being over or underweight is one of the most common risk factors for a variety of health issues including cancer. In fact, obesity is linked to a higher risk of getting 13 kinds of cancer including: breast, colon and rectum, kidney, liver, thyroid and others as listed by the CDC.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

We’ve all heard people recommend filling the plate with produce rich in color. Consuming three balanced meals a day is a key factor to a healthy diet. This means including an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plants such as whole grains and beans as well as lean meats and fish for protein.

  • Limit alcohol intake

The Mayo Clinic states that the risk for several types of cancer can increase based on alcohol consumption and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly. Consider limiting daily alcohol intake or stopping altogether to decrease your risk of cancer.

  • Limit processed meats

Processed meats are meats that are preserved by smoking or salting, curing or adding chemical preservatives. Examples include deli meats, bacon and hot dogs. Processed meats increase your cancer risk because when these meats are preserved, cancer-causing substances form and that are ingested when you consume the meat. 

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and yet one of the most preventable. To minimize your risk of skin cancer, incorporate these tips:

  • Use sunscreen daily
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible
  • Avoid strong rays during the hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Cover exposed skin as much as possible

Cancer is a leading cause of death, taking the lives of over 10 million people worldwide in 2021 according to WebMD. Thanks to innovations in health care and research, today we know more about the causes of cancer, how to prevent it, and how to treat it. Beginning by following the tips we’ve shared is an important step to protecting your health and boosting your immune system to help prevent cancer and other diseases.

Adobe Care & Wellness is committed to helping its members live a healthier quality of life by providing proactive case management services and conducting at home assessments and visits. We take a holistic approach and utilize healthcare technology innovations to help individuals incorporate tools that protect against injury, prevent illnesses including cancer, and improve overall health. To learn more about Adobe Care & Wellness and the services and resources it provides its members to live a healthier, better quality of life, please contact us.

fall prevention

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths in adults over the age of 65? Death rates in the U.S. resulting from falls increased 30 percent from 2007 to 2016 in older adults.  If the rates continue to rise, the CDC states that we can anticipate seven fall deaths every hour by 2030. Fall prevention in seniors is challenging but with the right action and measures implemented, we can lessen the risk of a detrimental outcome.

What makes a senior more likely to experience a fall?

There are many risk factors at play that contribute to falling. Here is a list of the most common ones:

  • Vision issues and/or problems: Poor visibility is a big risk factor for many seniors. It can cause a lapse in concentration or an inability to properly navigate obstacles or depth while walking.
  • Home hazards: Hazards can be categorized as uneven surfaces or broken steps, throw rugs, and clutter in the home.
  • Medications that effect balance: Medications that can impact balance include antidepressants, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers. In addition, some over the counter (OTC) medications can cause dizziness. Always consult a pharmacist before starting a new prescription or taking a pill that you have never taken before.
  • Poor footwear: Ill-fitting shoes can contribute to a variety of conditions such as ingrown toenails, bunions, and hammertoe. Many of these conditions can also affect balance and cause complications or difficulties that often set a senior up to experience fall.
  • Vitamin D deficiency: Can lead to a loss of bone density, which can cause osteoporosis and contribute to fractures and/or broken bones. Vitamin D levels are also linked to sleep quality. Supplementation is the main treatment for adults over the age of 65.

Understanding the side effects of falls in seniors

When a senior experiences a fall, it doubles the chances of falling again, according to a study that looked at risk factors for falls and injurious falls among the community dwelling elderly. Not all falls result in injury, however those that fall and don’t experience a breakage or injury, often become afraid of falling again, which results in the person becoming less active. This too has detrimental effects including loss of independence, muscle weakness and depression.

If a person falls and breaks a hip, leg or arm, they may be hospitalized and need to spend time in a rehab center until they are able to move with minimal assistance. This too can lead to a weakening of muscle strength and difficulty returning to normal daily activities.

A more serious injury to the head can be particularly worrisome for a person on blood thinners. It’s imperative that an older person who experiences a fall and hits their head consults their healthcare provider immediately and rules out a brain injury.

4 tips for preventing falls in seniors

  1. Speak with your healthcare provider – A risk evaluation should be conducted if you believe you or a loved one are at an increased danger of falls. Consult your physician and discuss specific things you can do to prevent the probability of falling.
  2. Prioritize strength and balance exercises – Join a senior fitness class or practice exercises at home that focus on building lower body strength and balance. The benefits of exercise as you age are far-reaching.
  3. Make your home safer – Remove trip hazards and clutter to create clear pathways in the home. Have safety rails placed in bathrooms, stairways, or other parts of the home where access may be trickier, and safety is compromised.
  4. Schedule annual eye doctor appointments – It is recommended to have a complete eye care exam yearly to assess your risk of serious conditions that can cause changes in vision.

Adobe Care & Wellness is committed to helping its members make their homes a safe place to live by conducting at home assessments and visits. We take a holistic approach to our case management services and utilize healthcare technology innovations to help prevent illness and injury and improve overall health. While acute settings are critical to care, chances of hospitalization can be reduced when steps for prevention are taken. To learn more about Adobe Care & Wellness and the services and resources it provides its members to live a healthier better quality of life, contact us here.

 

social determinants of health

Globally, there is strong evidence that people who are impoverished and/or lacking education are more likely to have health issues and die earlier than those who are more affluent and have greater access to education. Social determinants of health can be grouped into 5 categories and are considered to be the conditions in which people are born into, grow, live, work and age.

The five key areas or categories as outlined by healthypeople.gov include:

  1. Economic Stability
  2. Education
  3. Social and Community Context
  4. Health Care Access
  5. Neighborhood and Built Environment

How Adobe Care & Wellness positively impacts the lives it touches

The combination of proactive care and case management with the use of innovative healthcare solution, allows the Adobe Care & Wellness team to identify and address social determinants head on. This begins with providing better access to health care for members that are at risk and/or live in rural communities. It begins with utilizing technology to determine the risks and adding the human touch to monitor and aid, addressing both social and physical issues.

In our mission to help individuals live a healthier quality of life, Adobe Care & Wellness developed a number of resources. First, is our software application called Maslow; aptly named after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We also apply a risk stratification tool designed to help identify social determinants that can put individuals at risk. Our team also uses a proprietary electronic record keeping system built on Salesforce and a program called CareSync.

 

What is Maslow?

To help better understand, the app is designed to identify specific needs around social determinants and then provide users with access to resources that will help address an individual’s particular needs. The user is tasked with answering a brief questionnaire to help detect gaps and social barriers to health. As per the users’ responses, the app will search its extensive database and geolocate resources in the users’ locale which help provide access to food, shelter, transportation and more.

 

What is Risk Stratification?

Adobe’s Risk Stratification tool is an algorithm allowing its team to proactively isolate members within new populations to prevent future hospitalizations. For example, if an individual was recently released from a hospital stay or if they have a chronic health issue that puts them at greater risk of being hospitalized, the case management team will recognize this and provide access to information and/or care. The algorithm has been extremely effective in decreasing health care costs due to hospital readmits, additional medical care requirements and medications, while helping to improve overall health and well-being.

 

Electronic Records provide valuable data points

Adobe Care & Wellness takes a comprehensive approach to managing and tracking records. It allows its technology experts to capture, store, track and analyze data that ultimately improves the efficiency of care. The gathering of this information uses the data points for generating the reports needed to conduct evaluations, determine and deliver care and measure outcomes.

 

How does CareSync work?

CareSync is a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) in-home program specifically designed by Adobe Care & Wellness to provides both in-home extended services and a 30-day episodic care program. You can learn more about what each care plan offers here.

 

A voice for the underrepresented

Our CEO & Founder, Jayme Ambrose is passionate about improving health outcomes for the members that Adobe Call & Wellness serves. She is a voice for those that face adversity,  economic insecurity and a lack of access to quality care and services. Most recently, Ambrose appeared as a guest on The Game-Changing Women of Healthcare podcast. In the episode, Ambrose discusses a meeting she had with a nephrology group whereby she asked: “How often do you ask your patients if they have enough money for food?” The group’s response was that they never thought of it but should. The social determinants dilemma is so often overlooked in the health care community. Ambrose and the Adobe Care & Wellness team have a great deal of hope that delivery of care is going to change. The goal is to make the Adobe Care & Wellness model the model for health care throughout the U.S.

Ambrose says, “Instead of a prescription for a medication that may or may not work, I get a prescription for quality of life that allows me to live as healthy as possible. I mean, that’s what we should be doing for everyone.”

To learn more about the population health solutions Adobe Care & Wellness delivers and its innovative technology contact us here. We work with many insurance companies and healthcare companies in the state Arizona and have plans to deliver our model of care on a nationwide basis

Sun exposure provides a valuable dose of vitamin D, but too much time in the sun can pose risks to a variety of health risks including skin cancer, heat stroke, and vision loss. In addition, the high summer temperatures can be especially dangerous for seniors. To help protect yourself and your loved ones, we have put together 6 summer safety tips for seniors to put into practice as they age.

1. Check medications

Before going out in the summer sun, check with your doctor or pharmacy to understand any side effects your medications may have related to sun exposure. Many don’t realize that medications can contain ingredients that make you more sensitive to sunlight, causing severe sunburns, blistering, or toxic or allergic reactions. These include antibiotics, some over-the-counter medications and some diabetes and blood pressure meds. The heat can also reduce the effectiveness of some medications, making it important to store in a cool place. If you are unsure or have any concerns, it is best to speak with your physician directly to ensure your health is protected during the warm summer months.

2. Stay hydrated

Hydration is always important, but when summer hits, staying hydrated is more difficult and  many people don’t realize the health risks dehydration can cause. Seniors are especially susceptible to dehydration as they lose their ability to conserve water as they age. Some seniors can become less aware of their thirst and forget to drink water or other hydrating liquids throughout the day.

3. Protect your skin and eyes

While the summer sun can cause health issues, it’s especially dangerous to your eyes and your skin. Vision loss is already a risk to the elderly and excessive exposure to the sun can irritate the eyes and cause further damage. Wearing sunglasses can protect your vision by shielding your eyes from harmful UV rays. For your skin, it is important to wear sunscreen, a hat, and thin long sleeve clothing to shield from harmful UV rays and protect against skin cancer.

4. Exercise with caution

If your daily exercise usually involves outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, or swimming, you should consider making adjustments to your workout routine during the summer to avoid potential health risks from the heat. Consider taking that morning walk or swim earlier before the sun is overhead and the temperatures are high. Another option is waiting until evening after sunset or exploring new indoor activities such as a stationary bike. If you are outdoors and moving, remember to bring your water. If you are unsure if an activity is safe for you to take on as you age, consult your physician or nurse practitioner.

5. Know signs of heat related illnesses

Heat related illnesses such as dehydration, heatstroke, hyperthermia, heat exhaustion, etc. can be fatal if not caught and treated quickly. To lower your risk, know the signs to look for such as dry skin, headache, lethargy, disorientation, a flushed face, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness, confusion and high temperature. If you feel any of these symptoms while outside during the summer, call 911.

6. Have emergency contacts

If you are planning to spend an extended period of time outdoors in extreme weather (hot or cold), it is wise to let friends or family know. Even if you’re just gardening or going for a neighborhood walk, keep your mobile phone nearby. Most importantly, prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and have them handy in a place that’s easy-to-access. While summer brings longer and often more relaxing days, taking steps to keep yourself and loved ones safe and healthy from the heat and sun is vital. Yes, it’s the season for vacations, time with family and friends, and enjoying activities outdoors, but for aging individuals it is important to keep summer safety tips for seniors top-of-mind. Remaining healthy and injury free is the best way to enjoy the summer months.

Adobe Health & Wellness is dedicated to helping individuals live a healthier, more active quality of life as they age. To learn more about our case management services and innovative technology for health care visit adobecw.com

Alzheimers Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and a good time to educate yourself on the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s disease.  Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and the most common form of dementia. Its most common symptoms are memory loss, cognitive decline and a decrease in reasoning skills that significantly interfere with daily life. Although most individuals experience a change in brain function as they age, severe cognitive decline is not a normal part of aging. Read on to learn more about steps you can take to help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease:

Tips for prevention

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.

  • Regularly exercise

Exercise plays a vital role in the prevention of cognitive decline. Incorporating both physical and mental activities into daily life can help combat the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Incorporate activities that exercise the brain:

  • Learn a second language or playing a musical instrument
  • Play board games and cards with friends and family.
  • Try solving the daily crossword, sudoku or jigsaw puzzle
  • Read a book, write a story or poem or take a class

Add brain food to your daily diet. What you choose to eat can fuel your brain and help improve function as you age. In fact, diet is shown to be a pivotal factor in helping to preventing Alzheimer’s. The National Institute of Aging recommends the Mediterranean Diet or the MIND diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fish, and other seafood. It recommends low amounts of red meat, eggs, and sweets. The MIND diet is similar as it focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention. Check out the 10 healthy food groups to eat from on the MIND Diet here.

Love your heart. Taking care of your heart health also helps to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. High blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all health issues that can put you at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For decades, researchers have found an undeniable connection between cardiovascular issues and dementia. These include heart failure, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, and vasculopathy.

Protect your head. It goes without saying that you should protect yourself from head trauma. You can protect your head by:

  • Always wearing a seatbelt
  • Using a helmet when riding a bike or participating in sports
  • Safety proofing your home from falls by minimizing clutter, loose rugs and poor lighting 

Treatment and care for Alzheimer’s patients

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the prevention steps we’ve discussed are still good for helping to slow cognitive decline. In addition, a physician can provide medications and other guidance to help combat or slow down the effects of disease. Here are a few options to help care and treat someone with Alzheimer’s:

  • Reduce frustrations

A person with Alzheimer’s may become agitated when simple tasks become difficult for them to do by themselves. To avoid challenge and frustration:

  • Establish a daily routine
  • Allow time for completing or tackling activities
  • Give them choices and involve them in daily life activities
  • Provide simple instruction
  • Limit napping
  • Minimize distractions
  • Remain flexible

Over time, an individual with Alzheimer’s will become more dependent on their caregiver. It is best to be flexible to help minimize frustration. For example, if they insist on wearing the same outfit every day, perhaps buy a few identical outfits to keep them clean.

Alzheimer’s patients can exhibit different symptoms and progress at different rates of decline. To provide the best care, try to customize care to the individual’s unique needs at any given time. It is difficult for both the individual and their family members but try to be patient and flexible when interacting and providing care.

Take care of the caregiver

Caring for an individual or loved one with Alzheimer’s can be very taxing and stressful. To be the very best caregiver, it is vital to first care for yourself. Caregivers need to remain physically and mentally fit to care for the patient. Burn out is common. Be aware of the symptoms and consider options when you might need to take a step back and take a break.

The bottom line is incorporating healthy habits through diet, exercise and socialization is key to healthy aging. Establishing these practices and minimizing stress can make a significant difference. Lastly, visiting your doctor for regular health screenings is important to assess and minimize your risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Visit adobecw.com to learn more about the services and technology provided by Adobe Health & Wellness. We are dedicated to helping individuals live a healthier, more active quality of life as they age.

stroke awareness month

A stroke can happen to anyone at any age, but as you advance in age, the risks increase. To better understand the risks and what you can do to reduce the chance of stroke, it is important to know the facts.  Every year, there are nearly 795,000 Americans that experience a stroke, which is the fifth leading cause of death. In addition to risks of fatality, strokes cause more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Read on to learn 4 things you need to know about strokes. 

  • What is a stroke?

A stroke most often occurs when blood flow to the brain is restricted because it is blocked by a clot. When this happens, the brain cells in the area begin to die due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients needed to function.

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot is obstructing the flow of blood to the brain while a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and prevents blood flow. An individual can also have a “mini stroke” when there is a temporary clot. 

  • What disabilities can result from a stroke?

A stroke is the leading reason for disability in the U.S. When blood flow to the brain is restricted, the brain loses function for some time and it can have trouble regaining function. Because the brain is the command center of the entire body, the damage can affect all areas- resulting in mild to severe disabilities. These often include paralysis, cognitive function issues, problems with speech and emotional issues.

  • What does a stroke look like?

If someone is experiencing a stroke, the key symptoms are: 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Brigham Health Hub shares “Think FAST” face, arms, speech, and time. The most common signs of a stroke are difficulty smiling, lifting your arms, and speech difficulties. Be on the lookout for these in yourself and your loved ones.

  • What should you do?

Because strokes cause injury to the brain and can limit its function, sometimes causing confusion, you may not realize that you are experiencing a stroke and neither will those around you if they do not know what signs to look for. You may not be able to call 911 on your own. That’s why everyone should know the signs of stroke – and know how to act fast. If symptoms of a stroke are suspected, don’t wait for things to worsen, call 911 now. The decision to call immediately for medical help can be essential to avoiding a lifelong disability.

The good news is that studies show nearly 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. The key to prevention is identifying and reducing your risk factors which include: high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, diabetes, atherosclerosis, circulation issues, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. 

Improving your health begins with learning what you can do to take better care of yourself. Let Stroke Awareness Month be a reminder to better understand the risks, the symptoms, and what you can be doing to prevent a stroke. Changes in diet, increasing physical activity and taking action to reduce stress are all good steps to take on your own. Visiting your doctor for regular health screenings is also important to assess and minimize your risk of stroke. 

Visit adobecw.com to learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness, its case management services and healthcare technology innovations. We are dedicated to helping individuals live a healthier, more active quality of life.

healthy vision month

May is National Healthy Vision month which is a good reminder of how important it is to monitor changes in your vision and eye health, especially as you age. As we get older, both near and far sight is likely to decline and you become more susceptible to disease that can impact vision. Some eye conditions, if left untreated or undetected early can cause vision loss and even blindness. Read on for 6 steps to help protect your vision health: 

  • Get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams

One of the most important steps you can take to properly manage your vision health is to schedule regular eye exams. When you do, the doctor check for any changes in vision and for signs of any eye-related diseases. It is best to visit your eye doctor (an optometrist or ophthalmologist) annually or at least every two years. During a regular exam, the doctor will run a variety of tests checking for health issues such as glaucoma, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. The doctor will put drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils, which enables them to do a more thorough examination and detect any signs of disease or degeneration. They will also check your medical history to determine if you are at higher risk for disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure, poor nutrition and other factors can impact eye health.  

  • Eat right to protect your sight 

A healthy diet is key to healthy aging. Good food choices not only help to prevent obesity and other related diseases, but also to care for your eyes. Foods that specifically promote vision health are dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale and fish that are high in omega-3’s such as tuna, trout, salmon, and halibut. Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower blood pressure, which supports better overall health.

  • Know your family’s eye health history

Go through your family’s medical history and check if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition. Some eye conditions can be hereditary and put you at higher risk. Sharing this information with your physicians can help ensure you are receiving proper preventative care.

  • Grab the protective eyewear 

When engaging in physical activity or doing yard work, gardening, home repairs or painting, consider protective eyewear. Wearing goggles or safety glasses will decrease the risk of injury during sports or from harmful debris or chemicals getting in or near your eyes when doing household projects or hobbies like carpentry. 

  • Stop smoking

While we are well aware of the negative impact smoking can have on health, smoking can also be damaging to your vision. The New York Department of Health states, “Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome.” 

  • Wear sunglasses 

Sunglasses protect your eyes by acting as a barrier that reflects UV rays. Think of sunglasses as sunscreen for your eyes. Experts recommend that your shades protect your eyes from at least 99% of UV rays. 

Studies show that people with vision problems are more at risk for heart issues, high blood pressure, lower back pain, increased risk of falls and depression. Caring for your vision health also benefits your overall health. 

In honor of National Healthy Vision Month we encourage everyone use it as a reminder to schedule regular health screenings including an eye exam. 

Visit adobecw.com to learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness, its case management services and healthcare technology innovations. We are dedicated to helping individuals live a healthier, more active quality of life.

pet therapy for snioers

The companionship of a pet can be life changing for people of all ages, but it can be especially beneficial for seniors. Many seniors struggle with loneliness, isolation, and depression.  A pet can bring comfort and joy to a senior living alone or with other family members. Spending time with a dog or cat has also shown to promote overall health. If you do not have a dog or cat, pet therapy is an available option. For seniors living in a retirement, assisted living community, rehab center or in hospice, there are individuals and organizations that will bring therapy pets in to visit with residents. If your senior is being cared for at home or living independently, pet therapy is still available.  To learn more about the benefits of pet therapy for seniors, read on. 

Physical health benefits of pet therapy 

As we age, our bodies become more fragile and prone to health issues and injuries. These physical challenges can make exercise difficult for seniors. Pet therapy provides a mix of physical health benefits including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduction in physical symptoms of anxiety (i.e., trembling, sweating)
  • Improved mobility 
  • Increased energy to exercise

Pet therapy can be combined with other therapies to help seniors begin an exercise regime and build physical strength. For more information on exercising as you age, check out our blog post on the topic.

Emotional benefits of pet therapy for seniors

Sadly, it is common for seniors to experience loneliness, which often brings on feelings of anxiety and depression. Pet therapy helps combat these feelings. Simply having a dog or cat to sit with and interact with brings about feelings of joy, peace and reduces negative feelings from being alone. Organizations offer opportunities for individual pet owners to certify and register a pet as an emotional support animal. If you secure proper approvals and certifications for a pet, they can visit hospitals and retirement homes, accompany owners on airline flights and, in some cases, live in an apartment free of charge.

A few of the major emotional benefits of pet therapy include:

  • Reduced feelings of loneliness feelings
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Increased social skills
  • Increased confidence and self- esteem
  • Increased feelings of compassion and peacefulness

Mental benefits of pet therapy for seniors

A study by the National Library of Medicine revealed that spending as little as 15 minutes with an animal initiates hormonal changes in the brain which can lower stress levels and increase serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone). Here are a few other mental benefits of pet therapy:

  • Improved sense of purpose in life
  • Stimulates memory
  • Calming behaviors 
  • Mental stimulation

Not only do pets bring a sense of comfort but caring for a pet also requires a level of responsibility for a senior which is good for their overall health and daily life. 

It is important to note that pet therapy alone is not a cure for health issues. We recommend speaking with a medical professional about the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of innovative therapies like pet therapy discussed in this blog. If you are caring for an aging loved one or considering options to benefit your own overall health, various supplemental therapies can make a difference.

Visit adobecw.com to learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness and its case management services and healthcare technology innovations that help its members live a healthier, more active quality of life.

music therapy for seniors

Advanced research on health therapies reveals the positive impact of innovative treatments such as music therapy. Overall, there are various therapeutic methods that can be helpful in improving motor skills, mobility, balance, coordination and cognitive performance in seniors. In this blog, we will focus specifically on music therapy and how it can be effective for seniors as they age.

The Cleveland Clinic defines music therapy as the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals such as reducing stress, improving mood and self-expression. It can also help with memory retention, lowering blood pressure, increasing motivation, improving self-esteem, managing pain and increasing joy. Fortunately, you do not need a background in music to reap the benefits. 

There are 4 types of music therapy that a therapist can utilize. A therapist that is well versed in using music therapy will determine what method is most beneficial for the patient. Below we explain the various therapy options and their benefits:

  • Receptive 

During receptive music therapy, the individual listens to music, while they sit quietly and relax or the therapist might have them meditate while the music plays or draw to the beat of the music. Receptive music therapy is used for relaxation, to reduce anxiety, encourage memory and help patients develop auditory skills.

  • Improvisation 

This method of music therapy has patients make music using their body (i.e. clapping or whistling) or their voice. The therapist will then listen to and interpret the client’s mood from their actions.The benefits of improvisation music therapy include encouraging connection with another individual through music and using music to communicate. This is especially effective for patients that have difficulties using words/language to communicate how they are feeling.

  • Composition

A patient can be tasked with composing their own music. This form of music therapy encourages creativity and fun, which can serve as an effective stress reliever for seniors, especially for those feeling down. Creativity is also good for the brain and can combat cognitive decline.

  • Re-creation

Re-creation therapy involves having a patient listen and recreate music. This can be done with instruments or singing. A therapist will play music for a patient to recreate. This therapy method promotes social skills and human interaction, as well as self expression and creativity.

In addition to the benefits discussed, studies show that music therapy has proven to be beneficial for combating Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. It’s shown to be effective at reducing agitation, improving behavior and allowing those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to communicate and connect more with their loved ones when verbal communication has declined. It also helps relax seniors struggling when their routines change; which can often be a trigger for agitation or anger in those with cognitive impairment.

Music therapy is just one of many innovative therapies for seniors. While alone it is not a cure for health issues, the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive benefits of music therapy are important to consider what is best for a loved one and their continued health. 

To learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness and other healthcare technology innovations utilized to help members live a better quality of life visit adobecw.com or contact us to learn more.

exercising as you age

As we age, life might start to slow down but that doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. It is common for energy levels to decrease with age, making it even more difficult to stir up the motivation to exercise. Fortunately, moving your body more will help increase energy both physically and emotionally. While you may no longer be able to run long distance or participate in high intensity training, aging does not mean it is time to take exercise out of our health routine. In fact, the benefits of exercising as you age are abundant. Here are a few:

Boosts Immune System, Helps Prevent Disease

Unfortunately, age is a risk factor for many illnesses. Thankfully, one of the significant benefits of exercise is a boost your immune system. Research has shown that regular exercise, as little as 30 minutes a day, supports the immune system. In fact, exercise can help protect against diseases such as colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other illnesses. In addition, exercising daily can help combat memory loss issues and cognitive decline. The health benefits of exercise are endless!

Preserves Bone Density and Relieves Osteoarthritis Pain

As we age, our bodies become a little less agile and a little more fragile. Bone health is especially important to manage as we get older because oftentimes our bones weaken and can develop into a condition known as osteoporosis. Fragile bones can also lead to an increase in falls and the injuries associated with falls can become a serious health issue. Regular exercise and strength training keeps your bones strong and slows bone density loss.

Improves Mood

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. Feeling a little down? One of the quickest ways to start feeling better is to get outside and move your body. You will be amazed at how much it can help. 

The benefits of exercise sound great, but before jumping in it’s important to know what exercise programs are safe for you to do as you age. Here we have identified exercises that are good for seniors and shared some of their specific benefits:

    • Yoga– Yoga helps you build muscle, improve your flexibility, and strengthen your bones without straining your joints and minimal risk of injury.  
    • Pilates– with a lot of focus on your core, Pilates uses slow movements to work on your balance and stability which can be very helpful as you age.
    • Strength training– while strength training might sound intense, it doesn’t have to mean you are lifting heavy weights. Strength training can mean light weights (1-2lbs), resistance bands, or using your body weight to do squats, stair climbing, etc. These exercises help to gain muscle and burn body fat.
    • Aerobics– Swimming, walking, riding a stationary bike, and rowing are all examples of aerobic exercises which are good for your cardiovascular health, help increase energy and support your heart and lungs.

If the thought of exercising as you age is overwhelming, we encourage you to visit the resource section on our website.