Pottery and Our Health

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Today is all about the benefits of pottery for our wellbeing.

  1. Pottery is creative: There are physical and mental benefits to pottery. Pottery allows you to express yourself by what you create with the clay. And as an added bonus, you end up making something for yourself and this gives you a sense of self achievement.
  2. Pottery provides outlets: Pottery has been known to provide a person with outlets for grief and spontaneity. It allows you to find self-identification and self-expression. It also boosts self-esteem and confidence.
  3. Reduce stress: Pottery keeps the hands busy and the sense of touch is important. The need for focus is high and this keeps the mind busy so that outside distractions are ignored and this in turn reduces stress, and anxiety.
  4. Pottery and focus: pottery improves your focus. The important need to be focused on your creation, helps the brain to keep focused on one thing and this helps the mind to relax and expand aiding in future ability to focus on one activity at a time.
  5. Pottery and pain: Pottery helps to reduce stress which is usually cause for pain.
  6. Arm to finger exercise: The movement needed to create with clay strengthens the arms, wrists and hands. It is usually a gentle, fluid and calm movement and the movement has been known to benefit those suffering with arthritis in the hands.
  7. Improve life quality: Just like all hobbies and crafts, pottery is important in boosting self-esteem, self-exploration and self-worth.



Simple Activities

What does one give to someone with dementia to keep them busy and occupied? What is easier enough to keep the hands active?

I have tried and seen these activities to be effective for people with dementia.

If your Mother used to knit in her younger days, then try this activity:

Give the person thick brightly coloured wool to wind into a ball. If prefer you can wind it into a ball and let them unwind it. Ribbon or cord will be just as effective as wool. If you are able to knit a sample piece and leave it on the needles, give it to the person to ‘knit’ over your work or let them pull it all off. The activity is to keep the brain stimulated and the hands busy. It doesn’t matter if the work is messy or knotty, let them have a go at it.

For men who used to work with wood, on cars or in workshops: give them a box of unsorted odd nails and screws. Let them sort it for you into 2 or 3 containers. Let them know that they are doing you a great favour and that you need this to be done for them. Men need a little more encouragement than women as they need to feel that they are not doing something silly or insignificant. If the man used to work with paints let them paint. There is ‘safe’ paint on the market. Finger paint will be a great type to use. For severe dementia persons, the small items will become dangerous as it might be a choking hazard. So for those cases, try hitting a few nails, screwing down a few hinges or bolts onto a wooden panel and let them ‘fiddle’ with all the bits while sitting at a table.

Ladies who used to sew can be given something similar like for the men with a wooden panel, but in material with the ‘fiddly’ bits sewn on them. This will keep the hands and fingers busy.

There are a few more ideas that one can adapt for an adult with dementia. Just never make the person feel like they are playing with children’s ‘toys’. Always let them feel that they are important and that they are the helping you out with every task they attempt.

This article is based on my experiences with working with the dementia people. If you don’t find any of the above listed activities helpful or if you have ideas of your own, please let me know. I am always interested to learn more.

Music Magic

We all have our favourite music genres, artists, and bands. The elderly also have their favorites. They might have dementia or be frail, but don’t underestimate the power of music.

I have witnessed late stage dementia patients sing word for word of their favourite golden oldie song. It amazes me how they can remember all the words and even the tune to the song, but they can’t remember basic daily routines. It is amazing how the brain can still remember the music and it is able to put the words together with the tune to make the full song.

Play your parent’s or your charge’s favourite songs on regular occasions. Listen with them and sing along (if you know the words) to stimulate the brain.

Music tempos can also have an effect on a person. Playing upbeat songs will liven the mood. If the person is feeling down and sad, play light, happy music to encourage happy feelings. The music may or may not have lyrics, but that doesn’t affect the benefits of the music on the soul.

Instrumental music playing in the background daily can encourage positive feelings in all the people in the room.

When a person is struggling to fall asleep, play soft classic music in the background. This will help the brain to relax and the person will slowly drift off into a good sleep.

Go ahead and try experimenting with music. It can be instrumental, rock ‘n roll or anything that your elderly person likes. It will have amazing results.

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Hacks and Tips for all

The elderly sometimes struggle with the basic everyday activities, equipment and routines. It is very frustrating to not to be able to do what you need to do and to not be able to do it in a reasonable time frame.

There are a few things that one can do or use to make life a little easier for the person involved.

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Zippers: Zippers can be very fiddly and small. This makes it difficult for people with arthritis or shakes to close and open them. If you thread a piece of twine through the zipper easier to grab. You can also use can opener rings or a keyring.

Canes: Keep a cane or walking frame in every room in the house. This might sound strange, but people who need a walking stick or frame, forget that they are needing the aid to move around safely. Keep the cane or frame in a noticeable spot by the door.

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Notices: Keep a white board in a prominent place in the house. On the board, you can write the day’s agenda or important events that are to happen during the day. Keep the information simple and straight to the point, put the date and times next to relevant information and use clear font.

Dressing: If the person is still able to dress themselves, but seem to have a problem getting the order of the clothes right or leaving off garments, here is a tip. Put the clothing out the night before and put it in the order that one will put them on to dress. Also leaving sticky notes with numbers on for the order of dressing, will be very helpful.

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TV remotes: All those little buttons are very confusing to the elderly. Mark the buttons that are needed to change the sound, channel and power button with a marker. Or you can do it in reverse and mark the buttons that are not needed to change channels, change volume or power on or off.

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Drinking glasses: Glass or plastic drinking cups can be very slippery to hold. This problem can be solved by using a few rubber bands. Put 2 or 3 rubber bands around the glass and this will help with the slipperiness of the cup.

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Doorknobs: Round doorknobs are not easy for arthritic hands to grab. They can make opening and closing doors very hard and frustrating for those people who have limitations to their finger joints. Try using foam tubing and a cable tie to improve the grip of the doorknob.

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Clothing Hangers: Clothing hangers can be a little tricky for those who don’t have their full balance or if they are a little on the shorter side. Hang a hanger on a hanger in the cupboard. It is not the neatest way to arrange your cupboard, but it will make it easier to take a hanger down and then re-hang it.


Basic Lifting Advice

All of us have to at one time or another needed to lift or transfer a person. Whether we have had to move a person up in the bed, transfer from the bed to a chair, we are going to need to lift the weight. Don’t lift alone if it can be helped. But sometimes we do need to lift and we are alone. I am going to give you some tips on how to lift in the correct way and not hurt yourself.

First things: If the person is very heavy, being uncooperative or in a difficult position, don’t try to lift alone. Ask a neighbour to help or a friend.

Right, let us start on the lifting techniques:

Always lift with your knees.

Don’t bend at the waist.

Don’t ever twist your spine when lifting or carrying a person.

Your feet need to be kept shoulder width apart.

The leg muscles are the best muscles to use when lifting or pulling.

Keep the person who is being lifted close to your body.

How do you sit a lying person up in bed? Let me explain:

Bend the knees of the laying person. Place the crook of your arm in the armpit of the person you are wanting to lift. With the other hand, support behind the head. Let the person hold onto your arm and then slowly sit the person up and pop a pillow in behind the back and neck.

How do you transfer a person from the bed to the chair?

Sit the person on the edge of the bed so that their feet are flat on the floor. Place your one knee in between the knees of the person you are wanting to lift, and you other knee on the outside of the knees of the person you are lifting (it will be 1 your knee, 1 patient knee, 1 your knee and then 1 patient knee). Ask the elderly person to hold you around your neck with both of his/her hands. You need to hold the elderly person around the waist and interlock your fingers at their back. Remember not to twist your spine! Bend at the knees and lift the person up and slowly swing them until they are directly in front of the chair they are going to sit on. Slowly let the person sit down.

There are a few equipment that will make lifting and transfers easier for you. And some can be found in the house.

Transfer boards – a board that is smooth, thinner wood and has a grip on the ends. This board allows you to slid a person from one piece of furniture to another with minimal lifting.

Lifting/transfer belt – this belt takes the weight of the person being lifted, off your body.

Hoists are a little pricey, but these aid in lifting a person from almost any position and it can also be useful with bathing a lame person.


Visiting times

Hello to all my readers

I hope that you have all had a wonderful Heritage Day this September 24th. I unfortunately wasn’t well, but on the bright side I got plenty of sleep and rest.

I hope that you all enjoyed time spent with family and that the elderly ones in your lives had a great time too. It is not always easy to participate in family gatherings and include the elderly. We can sometimes exclude them without intending to do so. They are not able to always keep up with your conversations or even participate in them.

There are ways that one can work around this problem. Let me give a few suggestions:

  • Speak slower to each other.
  • Keep sentences shorter and include some explanations if needed.
  • Try avoid slang and abbreviated words.
  • And talk one at a time.

If you were wanting to stay and visit with family for a long period and couldn’t do that because the elderly person wanted to go home, here are some ideas that might help for the next family visit:

  • Bring a favorite book on the next visit.
  • Let them watch TV while you visit with the rest of the family in the same room or next room (depends on the severity of the dementia).
  • The elderly find animals to be therapeutic and this might encourage a calm, relaxed and happy state of mind of the elderly person allowing you to have a great time visiting with your friends or family.
  • Bring their favourite hobby on a visit. For example: knitting, crochet, crosswords, colouring pens, or anything else that is travel friendly.

If the person is in the advanced stages of dementia, and you were wanting to stay late into the night, I would suggest that you don’t keep them up so late. It is very unsettling for them and the elderly sleep a lot more than younger people. I know it is frustrating to have to leave the party so early. If a family member is willing to leave earlier, let them take the elderly person with them. Maybe taking turns to stay out late will be the best answer in this situation.

Whatever plans you make in regards to visiting with friends or family, please don’t leave the elderly persons unattended and alone. Accidents can happen in a blink of an eye.

If you think of any ideas that could be added to the list of ideas on what to do to make visiting easier on the elderly, please leave me a comment and I will include it in my post. You will be named as a contributor to this post.



Tissue Salts

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Have you heard of tissue salts? Have you wanted to give them a try, but you are too unsure of the effects is might have on your body? Or are you scared it will interact with your other medications? Let me explain tissue salts to you and you will be amazed. Please note that even though tissue salts may be harmless and not dangerous in anyway, everyone is different and it is always safe to consult a homeopath or doctor before starting any treatment.

Firstly, what are tissue salts? Well, they are simply minerals. The very same minerals that are found in rocks and in the soil. These minerals are present in our bodies and they need to be in perfect balance in order for us to be in top health. We should be getting our minerals from our foods, but unfortunately agricultural crops aren’t always grown in mineral-rich soil.

Are tissue salts safe for everyone? Oh yes they are safe for all ages. Babies and the elderly have a different dosage than that of the younger people. But I will explain that as we go along.

Can I overdose on tissue salts? NO, you cannot overdose. The concentration is so microscopic – 1/1 000 000. Always consult your doctor before treatment of tissue salts.

As there are so many tissue salts – 12 to be exact, I am going to just list them in this post and in the posts following this post, I will go through each one on it’s own. And hopefully by the last salt, you will be willing to give them a try or at least you will understand how they help the human body. I will also list, if possible, the dosages for the different age groups should there be changes.

Here are the 12 tissue salts:

  1. calc. fluor
  2. calc. phos
  3. calc. sulph
  4. ferrum. phos
  5. kali. mur
  6. kali. phos
  7. kali. sulph
  8. mag. phos
  9. nat. mur
  10. nat. phos
  11. nat. sulph
  12. silica

I use tissue salts and I have never been disappointed.

In the next post I will be discussing Calc. Fluor.