Podcasts for Seniors

They’re not just for computer geeks anymore. Last year, more than 112 million Americans said they listen to podcasts, and that was an increase of 11% over the previous year. Podcast Insights reports that nearly 44% of us have listened to at least one podcast, and nearly half of us do so at home.

As we age, many of us experience problems with vision. Reading is something we sadly have to give up. A growing number of seniors are discovering they can still keep up with what’s going on in the world by listening to podcasts. The main benefit is that these audio recordings can be stopped and started, repeated – and even slowed down.

Why podcasts appeal to seniors

Podcasting has many benefits, including psychological ones that are fine tuned for older adults. A recent Atlantic article explains that there’s an emotional appeal to listening. Older adults listening to podcasts are able to create their own versions of what they hear in these stories. Their brains become more active because information is processed at the pace it’s played.

Unlike books or television, podcasts are not visual. So our brains are engaged differently. These different areas of the brain help seniors with cognitive health. The best part about podcasts is that nearly all of them are free. FastCompany recently estimated that there are over half a million podcast shows, which have generated over 18.5 million episodes.

Amazing variety

Here’s a list of podcasts that have become popular with older adults:

Good Job, Brain! Seniors enjoy this podcast because it’s filled with trivia and includes an interactive quiz show.

Lux Radio Theater. Some older adults may recognize this title as a radio show that was produced in the 1930s through the 1950s. The original radio show adapted state plays and films for radio, and they included big name actors from Judy Garland to John Wayne. The podcast is available on iTunes, and it’s just as good as the original.

Planet Money. Some people think the name alone is a big yawn – but most listeners get hooked after just a single podcast. It’s produced by NPR, and each episode is humorous. You’ll laugh out loud as you learn what’s going on with the economy.

This American Life. Nearly 3 million people listen to this podcast weekly. It’s been running since 1995, so there are plenty of past podcast episodes.

All you need to listen to a podcast is an internet connection!

Technology Upgrades Residential Senior Care

It’s estimated that one in five adults in the United States now have access to a smart speaker. There are nearly 50 million of these voice-powered devices now in use. Alexa could very well be the most spoken name in the world.

These devices can offer more than quick ways to find out the temperature outside or order something from Amazon. They’re helping seniors and their care providers. Providers like Libertana Home Health and Bayada Home Health Care are using Amazon’s Echo technology to deepen access to medical assistance and use Alexa’s artificial intelligence to be a digital and entertaining friend that can reduce feelings of loneliness.

The pace is accelerating

We’ll see technology continue to interact with seniors and caregivers as manufacturers find more ways to inject artificial intelligence into the home setting. For older adults, this means an increasing ability to maintain independence because of the digital assistants like Alexa and even Apple’s Siri.

We’re already familiar with the term “smart home.” Now we’ll see this technology migrate to help older adults living residential care facilities. There are already shining examples of technology-enabled homes that are focused on helping seniors popping up across the nation. This model home in San Diego is outfitted with an impressive array of technology that encourage greater independence for seniors, as well as helping caregivers with their responsibilities.

It’s a shared goal, and entire innovation centers are opening around the country that are showcasing technology-powered support for older adults. The Thrive Center is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro, as well as companies such as CDW Healthcare, Samsung, Intel, Ergotron, Lenovo and HP/Aruba. Senior health care providers, including Kindred Healthcare and major skilled nursing provider Signature HealthCare are also involved.

Connecting seniors with healthcare professionals

Our desire for digital assistants in the home is extended to the healthcare industry, too. Congress and federal regulatory agencies are working with startups and well-established companies to make telehealth more accessible to seniors. The foundation was put in place to make this happen several years ago with governmental actions such as the 21st Century Cures Act. This legislation calls for ways to help seniors make better use of telehealth opportunities.

We’ve heard about IoT – the Internet of Things – and smart speakers are ushering this digital assistance into residential care homes for seniors to create opportunities for older adults to have richer and more independent lives, while still being connected to safety and instant assistance.

Bed and Seating Aids

You don’t have to be a senior citizen to experience difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. An exercise injury can reward you with a stiff joint, giving you a taste of what might be waiting for you as you get older.

Bed and seating aids help older adults remain independent with daily activities like getting in or out of bed, or sitting in a chair. They make these everyday actions easier and safer.

Useful and easy

Aging and living with chronic conditions can increase the amount of time we spend at home, which makes it important to make that environment comfortable and safe. Mobility aids, especially in the bedroom, living room, and bathroom, make it easier for older adults to get around independently.

On an average, we spend a third of our lives sleeping. We spend so much time there that it’s important to focus on the needs of older adults for assistance in mobility. Bedroom aids such as a bed rope ladder or a fitted bed rail help older adults rise to a seated position when they awaken. These aids provide safe support with getting on or off the bed.

Bed rails can be easily installed and safely secured. Some can slide out of the way when not in use, while others also act as a protective guard to prevent falling out of bed during sleep. See the FDA Guide on Bedrail safety to help find the most appropriate device for your needs. https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BedRailSafety/ucm20038764.htm

For those with greatly reduced body strength, there are also electric profiling beds that greatly reduce the effort. An overbed table might be the solution for those who prefer to read or do other activities in bed.

Help with sitting and standing

While there are plenty of aids to help an older adult get in and out of a chair, often one of the most simple and effective solutions is a quality chair cushion. It raises the overall height of the seat, so older adults don’t have as far to lower themselves when sitting – or to rise when standing.

Risers that attach to the legs of furniture are another inexpensive way to adjust the height of a sofa or chair, making it easier for an older adult to be seated or stand. They are typically sold in packages that offer the ability to raise a piece of furniture three to four inches. The bottoms have non-skid pads to protect flooring.

It doesn’t take much to return a sense of independence with these bed and seating aids, and many are relatively inexpensive purchases.

Older Adults and Feeling Cold

It might sound like a stereotype, but medical science won’t argue if you say that many older adults often complain about feeling cold. It’s a fact that as we age, some of us find it harder to tolerate cold, especially in hands and feet.

Increasing sensitivity to told temperatures may be the sign of a medical problem such as diabetes or hypertension. It’s also common for medications like beta blockers prescribed to older adults to decrease the heart rate, which can reduce the circulation to our hands and feet. Calcium channel blockers may be prescribed for seniors living with hypertension. The drug works by relaxing blood vessels, and that can contribute to the feeling of being cold. High blood cholesterol and thyroid conditions can also impact our ability to regulate body temperature. For these reasons, it’s important to consult with a medical professional if an older adult complains about constantly feeling cold. If it’s not related to a health condition, it’s likely just a consequence of age.

Colder than it used to be

Healthy older adults may find that they do actually feel colder than they used to. It’s not psychological. One of the most common reasons is a decrease in circulation. As we age, the walls of our blood vessels lose their elasticity. There’s also a thinning of the fat layer under the skin, which helps to conserve body heat. Both of these can contribute to feeling cold.

Metabolic responses also slow down as we age. Our body has a built-in body temperature regulator. The vasoreceptors responsible for this regulation may not be as quick as they used to at directing the body’s blood vessels to constrict in order to raise our body temperature. 

On top of this, science shows that older adults tend to have slightly colder body temperatures. Most of the time, an older adult who feels cold is in no danger. It’s important to understand that hypothermia is a possibility. Hypothermia is a real threat for older adults, and the condition sets in when body temperatures fall below 95 degrees.

While you might associate hypothermia with freezing conditions, seniors with lower metabolism caused by medications or chronic health conditions can get hypothermia in temperatures as warm as the mid-70s.

Feeling cold all the time is a natural condition and part of aging. Once an underlying medical condition is ruled out, warming up is often as easy as putting on a sweater. Scarves and hats aren’t outdoor fashion accessories for older adults, they’re necessities. A warm drink can help a senior shake a cold spell – but keep in mind that adding alcohol to it actually can trigger heat loss.

Stuck In the Elevator with Gail

 

Our More Interesting Version of ‘Meet the Staff.’

Grace Homes Housing manager

Grace Homes Housing Manager, Gail Hoch

Gail Hoch

Each month we are going to introduce to a member of our office staff.  Instead of the same ole ‘meet the staff’ with a picture and bio we wanted to make it more fun and personal.  Ours is called Stuck in the Elevator with ________.  This month you get to meet the employee who has been here the longest.  She knows this company like the back of her hand and thank goodness because I don’t know where I’d be if I weren’t able to call Gail. We are all a little sad that she isn’t in the office every day as she used to be. She has been made the House Manager of our Residential Care Homes for seniors, Grace Homes. Because of this, she has a new office in our Oakridge Home in Hopkins, MN.  Don’t let this make you think we don’t see her.  We still manage to come up with enough stuff for her to have to come back over to the offices and get us all in line.

She’s the “it girl” of Matrix.  She’s been with Matrix for 22 years.  Her seniority in the company is not what makes her unique, she has earned every bit of her status by being really good at and actually caring about her job and the clients we care for. If you have a question, you go to Gail. I followed Gail for several weeks when I first began, and my head was spinning at all of the things she was taking care of and keeping in order.  She remembers everything and still even to this day, thank goodness,  will remind me of something I am supposed to remember, and for this I am thankful. She doesn’t do it undesirably, it’s more of an older sister has your back kind of way.  Gail has a warmth to her that makes everyone feel comfortable, respected, and appreciated.

Gail earned an Associates in Applied Science degree in Office Administration and Medical Office Assistant degree from the Minnesota School of Business.  She has over 22 years experience working in the office setting.  Prior to accepting the position as Housing Manager at *Grace Homes in July 2018 Gail was the Operations Manager at the Matrix Home Health Care Specialists corporate office managing day to day operations including client intake and management, maintaining and auditing clinical records, maintaining and auditing policies and procedures, part-time staffing, creating and maintaining forms, billing, accounts receivable, and marketing.  In her new position, she is still doing much of the same with managing resident intake and admissions, house tours, resident records, staffing, and billing.

 

 

HOW DID YOU FIND MATRIX?

GH: Job placement program through college.

 

WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?

GH: Coffee!!

 

WHAT IS THE MOST RECENT APP YOU DOWNLOADED AND WHY?

GH: Messenger – the facebook app.  I did not have it downloaded yet on my new phone and someone sent me something so I had to download the app to open it.  Nothing exciting, however, the video that was shared was of two elderly women dancing to ‘Watch Me’ (whip/nae nae)… worth the download!

 

WHAT IS SOMETHING FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?

GH: I’m going to be a grandma!

 

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

GH: Depends on the day – honestly, lots of people.  My children definitely – they inspire me to be a better parent and a better person.

 

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?

GH: Being alone.  Okay… and spiders, centipedes, and generally all creepy – crawly things.

 

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED LAST WEEK?

GH: I was reminded that things are not always what they seem and never judge a book by it’s cover.

 

WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE MATRIX?

GH: Compassionate, Experienced, Professional

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE  YOUR 13-YEAR-OLD SELF?

GH: Slow down – you don’t have to grow up so fast!

 

WHAT IS SUCCESS TO YOU?

GH: Being able to find the perfect balance in life – still working on it and I will let you know when I find it.

 

AT WHAT AGE DID YOU BECOME AN ADULT?

GH: Hmmm, interesting question… 20 maybe?

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT MATRIX?

GH: After 22 years with Matrix, there have been many things through the years that have kept me here- it is a company that has evolved and grown with the times, adapted and overcame.  One thing has not changed is the passion to provide the best care we possibly can and be a company that people want to work for.

 

IF YOU HAD TO EAT ONE MEAL FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE EVERYDAY WHAT WOULD IT BE?

GH: Oh my … just one… I can’t do it!  Does salad, steak, crab legs, spaghetti, lasagna, and cheesecake count as one meal?

 

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO OR PERSONAL MANTRA?

GH: Finding Balance 🙂

 

WHAT IS AN ABILITY YOU WISH YOU HAD?

GH: Go back in time.

 

YOU ARE THE HAPPIEST WHEN

GH: Spending time with the people I love.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE SENIOR CARE INDUSTRY?

GH: I hope more people find passion in caring for the elderly – it is such an important job!

 

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

GH: I can’t think of any one person… I can think of lots of people that would be interesting to meet but no one person in particular.  I know my daughter would really like to meet Tyler and Josh with Twenty One Pilots – so I would want to meet them so she could meet them….(you’re welcome Maddie!)

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST EXPERIENCE THAT HAS MADE YOU A STRONGER PERSON?

GH: Losing a beloved family member has taken tremendous strength and resiliency.

 

That is our second edition of “Stuck in the elevator.”  Next month we will have the Q&A with our RN Keeley Nanry.  Thanks for reading and if you are thinking you might want to be a part of this team check out the details below?

 

To learn more about joining our team and providing compassionate care services:

 

 

  • Apply by submitting an application via fax:  952-525-0506 Attn: HR Manager

 

 

 

Please direct any specific inquiries to Elizabeth, our HR Manager,  by calling 952-525-0505

 

 

“We’re there for you”

Matrix Home Health Care Specialists & Grace Homes

What is Person-Centered Care and How To Distinguish It

I think it was my 2nd staff meeting, during the section where we are getting updates on each client ’s care and their well-being I heard someone say person-centered care. I perked up because I wasn’t sure what they were talking about but I could tell that I was going to like it. I asked them to back up and explain to me what person-centered care meant. After they explained that person-centered care is at the center of all that we do at Matrix and is the core of every resident plan of care. Person-centered care means, everything we do for the client is based upon THEIR specific needs, desires and is what best fits them, not us.

 

Core Characteristics of Person-Centered Care are:

  • Resecting and Valuing the individual as a full member of society
  • Providing individualized emotional and physical spaces for care that are in tune with people’s changing needs
  • Understanding the perspective of the person in all care and activities
  • Providing supportive opportunities for social engagement to help people live their life and experience well-being.

 

Going over this material brought a quote to mind, so I looked it up and found out who said it. I think it describes the essence of person-centered care.

 

“A good physician treats the disease; a great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” – Sir William Osler

 

It is more than knowing how to care for someone who has a specific illness. Understanding the person and the context of their illness. It is taking into consideration the whole story. Each and every one of us is more than a specific illness or disease and what is right for one of us may not be what is right for the other. Understanding this is person-centered care.

Person-Centered Care Language

When speaking to our clients or residents caregivers need to be mindful of the terms used not to be dehumanizing. Here are some examples:

 

 

Here is a chart that makes it easy to discern what type of care you or your loved one is receiving.

 

 

Is person-centered care the norm?

The answer no but on a more positive note, it is becoming more available. Even though the term is relatively new in the industry, it embodies a way of thinking and a value system that is as old as humanity, even if it is not the most common practice. It is simply about doing things with people and not to them.

We here at Matrix/grace homes are dedicated to creating environments that become places where elders can continue to live and, most importantly, make their own choices and have control over their daily lives. This kind of care not only enhances the quality of lives of our residents or clients but also for our staff. It promotes a more intimate, empathetic approach that overall increases a sense of community and spirit of love for everyone involved.

 

To learn more about joining our team and providing compassionate care services:

 

  • Visit the employment page of our website www.matrixhomehealthmn.com
  • Apply by submitting an application via fax: 952-525-0506 Attn: HR Manage
  • via email: eengeldinger@matrixhomehealthmn.com
  • use this link http://bit.ly/work4matrix
  • Please direct any specific inquiries to Elizabeth, our HR Manager, by calling 952-525-0505

 

“We’re There For You.”

MATRIX HOME HEALTH CARE SPECIALISTS + GRACE HOMES

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