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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Five Ways to REALLY Help a Family Caregiver

jsantamaria April 12th, 2013, 4:37 PM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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Almost all of us know someone who is a family caregiver—someone  who provides  frequent or even daily assistance to a family member, friend of neighbor.  We know this is a hard job, which often leads to feelings of stress, fatigue and isolation.  We want to help that person, and many of us even offer.  We say, “Please know that I’m here for you.  Call me if there’s anything I can do.”  But they don’t call.  Are they so in control of the situation that they don’t need help?

           Chances are…

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When Your Loved One Resists Treating Hearing Loss

jsantamaria April 1st, 2013, 2:16 PM
Judy Santamaria, MSPH
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As a family caregiver, your goal is to help your family member hear as well as possible so they can remain vibrant members of their community and connected to the life around them. While there have been many improvements in hearing assistive technology, and many people report that a hearing aid has greatly improved their quality of life, the reality is that many elderly people still resist any mention of their hearing loss, never mind getting treatment for it. And to be honest, many users of hearing aids report that “they’re…

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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Easy Cooking Tips

jjue March 27th, 2013, 9:19 PM
Jeffrey Jue, PT, Rehabilitation Consultant
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MealThose living with Rheumatoid Arthritis often have difficulty with daily activities and cooking is no exception. This chronic condition causes inflammation at the joints and surrounding tissues. This can affect your ability to use a cutting board, open jars, carry pots and stand for long periods of time.

But by using certain kitchen tools and modifying your kitchen environment, you can decrease the amount of stress placed on your joints. If you or a loved has Rheumatoid Arthritis, follow these tips to make cooking easier.

Use Adaptive Kitchen Tools

  • Speed up and reduce prep work with a food processor
  • Decrease…
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