Summertime Skin Protection: Sunscreen is Not Just for the Young

guest July 9th, 2014, 7:54 AM
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Adults and seniors need sun protection too. Wear sunblock!This guest blog was written by Jennifer Morales, an acute care nurse in Queens. She has been with VNSNY for eight years and specializes in wound and geriatric care. She’s currently pursuing her master’s degree in administration at Adelphi University.

We are out in the sun a lot in the summer. My kids go to summer camp; we go to the parks, the pool and the beach; and I always make sure I am slathering my children with sunscreen to protect them from getting too much sun or a sunburn. But…

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Natural Ways to Help Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

admin June 19th, 2014, 7:35 AM
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By Amelia Muir, BSN, RN-BC, Behavioral Health Nurse, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

Recently, I’ve been working with a patient to manage his depression and anxiety symptoms. I suggested to Mr. B. that he try taking 15- to 20-minute walks two or three times a week with his home health aide as an experiment to see if this would help to improve his mood. Mr. B. decided to try my suggestion, and over the next few weeks I started to hear a real shift in how he described his life.

By…

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Dealing with Chronic Pain Without Drugs

guest June 2nd, 2014, 6:10 AM
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Arthritic HandsThis guest blog was written by Jennifer Morales, an acute care nurse in Queens. She has been with VNSNY for 8 years and specializes in wound and geriatric care. She’s currently pursuing her masters degree in administration at Adelphi University.

Dealing with chronic pain is not an easy task. Chronic pain is defined as pain that last longer than six months. It affects over 100 million Americans and can take both a physical and emotional toll on patients, so many patients also suffer from depression. Common causes of chronic pain are joint…

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Bridging the Generations: A Winning Strategy for Family Caregivers

jsantamaria January 29th, 2014, 5:02 PM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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We often refer to the difficulties faced by the “sandwich generation” — those in their 40s and 50s who find themselves caring for elderly family members while they still have children at home. Worrying about driving your elderly mom to the doctor can be especially stressful when you also need to cook a healthy meal for your growing teen. But sandwiched caregivers, take heart: While no one can diminish the stresses you face in caring for both older and younger family members, this may be an opportunity for multiple generations…

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Seniors Have Roomies, Too.

jsantamaria January 17th, 2014, 8:33 AM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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roommatesHave you ever considered combating loneliness by sharing your living space with someone else?  Brain studies prove that the more social we are, the longer we live—and the better quality of life we enjoy.  In one study, researchers at Harvard Medical School followed nearly 45,000 people who had heart disease or were at high risk of developing it. The four-year study found that those who lived alone were more likely to die from heart attack, stroke or other heart-related problems than those who lived with others.

Many seniors live alone after divorce or…

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Good News: Family Caregivers Live Longer

jsantamaria November 18th, 2013, 10:13 AM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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long_lifeFinally, some good news about family caregiving—and right in time for November, which the Obama administration has declared National Family Caregivers Month.  The news?  A recent study found that, contradicting long-standing  wisdom, people who care for a family member live longer than similar people who aren’t caregivers.

Now let’s be clear—caregivers who are feeling strained in their responsibilities face a number of physical and emotional health risks, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, chronic illness, and even stroke.   But according to the Johns Hopkins-led study published online in the American Journal of…

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7 Ways Caregivers Can Increase Physical and Emotional Intimacy with a Spouse

jsantamaria August 29th, 2013, 2:25 PM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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Photo: adwriter / flickr

As a spousal caregiver, you may find that the reduction of intimacy between you and your spouse is a major cause of the loss you are feeling.  Caregiving changes roles and expectations and the emotional attachment that was once the catalyst for intimacy and romance may suffer.  For example, certain illnesses and medications can affect a person’s sexual functioning or a caregiver may worry that someone with psychological conditions such as dementia cannot properly consent to a sexual relationship.

Sometimes, reasons for loss of intimacy are less cut-and-dried. …

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Hot Weather Safety: Six Essential Tips

jjue July 19th, 2013, 12:37 PM
Jeffrey Jue, PT, Rehabilitation Consultant
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egypt-21157_1280[1]Rising summer temperatures are not only a source of discomfort but can cause heat related illnesses especially in the elderly. Before you head outdoors stay safe by following these essential safety precautions.

1) Check the latest local heat advisories

2) Avoid walking between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — generally the hottest time of the day

3) Begin your daily walk at a slow pace to prevent exhaustion and retreat to a cool place if you start to feel uncomfortable

4) Wear light colored and loose fitting clothing

5) Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to stay adequately hydrated and pack…

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Why Caregiving Can Lead to Depression

jsantamaria May 1st, 2013, 1:37 PM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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Family caregivers face a higher risk of depression than do non-caregivers. In fact, estimates show that between 40 to 70% of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.[i] And rates of depression increase as the health status of the care recipient decreases[ii] — higher levels of depression are seen in people caring for someone with a disorder that requires a great deal of hands-on care, such as dementia. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 30 to 40% of dementia caregivers suffer from depression and emotional stress. 

What are some of the reasons family caregivers…

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Sexuality and Aging

dstricoff April 15th, 2013, 7:56 AM
Debbie Stricoff, Dir., Adult Day Care Services
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An important component of the VNSNY CHOICE Adult Day Center is offering health education to our seniors. We want to provide our members with information to help them live safe and healthy lives at home, as long as possible.

Last week, we had a terrific speaker from the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults (JSPOA) present on Sexuality and Aging. The speaker, who’s an RN and a senior herself, helped our members get comfortable with the topic while educating them. She spoke about living a healthy, sexually active life regardless of…

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