Art therapy

art therapy
noun
  1. a form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modelling, used as a remedial or diagnostic activity.

I love art therapy! I actually love anything that is considered creative.

Sounds silly? Well it is a very important for all ages – especially the elderly.

  1. Art therapy can positively improve a person’s mood.
    The elderly sometimes feel frustrated by their loss of mobility, hearing, or the physical changes due to the aging process. Taking time to do some art therapy can relieve the feelings of anxiety and stress.
  2. Art therapy can be a new form of expression for the elderly with difficulty in verbal communication or for those who have difficulty in writing. Those with memory loss will also benefit from art therapy. Art allows for a new way of communication and expression.  It opens up a whole new world for the elderly with limitations.
  3. Art therapy can reduce the feelings of depression.
  4. Art therapy has been known to assist in encouraging socialization in the elderly. It is hard to think of topics to talk about if you are not learning anything new, if you can’t read or even speak. Art therapy makes opportunities for talking and discussions.
  5. Art therapy gives the person a increased feeling of self – esteem. They are proud of their latest creation. People will admire and discuss the latest handiwork.
  6. And lastly, art therapy will reduce the feelings of boredom. It will help the day to pass in a short time. Sitting all day and looking at the 4 walls of the room can really be boring and depressing. I can say from the experience of being in hospital a lot of my childhood, the walls can start to feel like they are getting closer and closer. It is not a pleasant feeling. Don’t forget to display the finished project in the best possible way. It can be on the wall, on a bed or couch, or even hung up to move in the breeze from an open window. Please make sure that the art is visible to the creator.

The types of art therapy:

  • painting
  • line drawing
  • collages
  • pastels
  • chalk
  • stenciling

Art therapy can also benefit you as the primary caregiver. It gives you time to connect to your creative side. And art therapy can help relieve the stress that caregiving brings.  And you don’t need to be highly gifted to participate in art therapy. If I may, I strongly believe that if you can paint or draw lines, you are creative. There is no manual to creativity. Give it a try, you are creative in your way.

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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.

 

Multiple Sclerosis

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Have you ever heard of MS?

Well, today I am going to give you some information on this autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune diseases are diseases that attack the body and damage the tissues. There are so many autoimmune diseases.

With multiple sclerosis, the body attacks the nerves. This will cause you to feel dizzy, numbness, tingling, and have muscle spasms. You might also experience vision problems, imbalance, loss of muscle control which will also affect the bowel and bladder continence and you could also have slurred speech.

No one really knows the exact cause of this disease, though it might be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Oh and it is not contagious!

The treatment that can be given for this disease will not cure it, though there are experimental treatments that are still in the trial stages, it will only help with the symptoms and relieve the discomforts of the disease.

The treatments might include medication, homeopathic or natural treatment. Physical therapy will also alleviate some of the pain or strengthen the muscles. Helping aids will be needed in the future, as these will promote a close to normal lifestyle.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned at the beginning of my article, there is no known cure.

Who is at risk for MS? Having relatives with MS will increase your risk of developing MS and if you have diabetes type 1, thyroid disease or inflammatory bowel disease you are at a high risk. But if you are experiencing any of the symptoms, you should not think you have MS, go to the doctor and let him diagnose you correctly.

But don’t let that stop you if you are suffering from MS, try your best to do what you can and stay positive (this is hard to do but it can happen).

 

Tissue Salt no.4

I have been slow with continuing with the tissue salts and the benefits of using them.

But I am determined to complete them all this year…

Here is tissue salt no. 4 – Ferrum Phosphoricum.

This is an iron tissue salt. Iron is very important for the human body.

Iron is important for the treatment of many ailments.

The Head

Ferrum Phos. will bring relief if you are experiencing: headaches, dizzy spells, fevers, feel faint, have a high temperature, experiencing congestive headaches, or have nose bleeds.

Infections

Ferrum Phos. carries oxygen and this makes it important when illness, injury or disease is present.

Eyes

Ferrum Phos. will relieve eyes which are tired, bloodshot or inflammed.

Digestive system

Do you experience nausea, diarrhoea, haemorroids, undigested stools or multiple food allergies? Ferrum Phos. will be the answer to the problem.

Skeleton

The elderly tend to be the people who suffer with joint pains, stiffness, skeletal complaints and rheumatism. Ferrum Phos. can be very effective to relieve the symptoms.

For the care-giver: When you start feeling panic, irritable, depressed, restless sleeping or have bouts of insomnia, take the tissue salts no. 2, 4 and 6.

There is many more useful benefits of taking tissue salt no. 4. But I will leave it for another time….

Information taken from:
Tissue Salts for healthy living by Margaret Roberts
https://allisone.co.za

Laughter is a Medicine

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I love the sound of people laughing and being happy. I can’t go through my day without laughter. Laughter is the best medicine in the world for the human body and the best thing about it is that it’s free. The human body cannot distinguish between a real laugh or a fake laugh. Laughter stimulates the motor region of our brain to become active and that produces the physical reaction – the sound of laughing.

Laughter has many health benefits:

Laughter boosts our heart rate.

Laughter boosts the production of certain antibodies that are responsible for boosting our immune systems.

Laughter reduces stress hormones – cortisol and epinephrine

Laughter releases endorphines which are responsible for relieving the body of physical pain.

Laughter protects the human heart by improving the function of the blood vessels and increasing the  blood flow. This will lower your risk of a heart attack and other heart problems.

Laughter can burn unwanted calories. 13 minutes of laughter burns around 40 calories.

Laughter can calm anger. It is the hardest benefit of laughter as one needs to laugh when they feel angry and that is not easy. Great news about the human body: it can’t distinguish between a real or fake laugh. So when you feel angry, fake laugh and you will start laughing for real and the anger will subside.

Laughter is great medicine for cancer victims. It has been noted that those suffering with cancer who laugh are able to cope better with pain and it provides them with a better sense of wellbeing.

 

Resourses:
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm
https://www.medicalbag.com/lifestyle/laughter-therapy-shown-to-boost-immune-function-in-cancer-patients/article/472627/
https://www.sciencealert.com/watch-here-s-what-happens-to-you-brain-when-you-laugh

 

 

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.

 

Pressure sores

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Pressure sores (bedsores), are the 2 words I hate hearing in my line of work. Pressure sores mean poor nursing care for health-care trained persons. Though not all cases are due to bad nursing, but rather indicate that a person hasn’t been educated about them. I fully understand if you are new to the home care situation and a pressure sore formed on your elderly patient. I am going to walk you though how pressure sores form and how they look and how to avoid them.

Firstly what are pressure sores? Just like the name – pressure sores form when pressure is applied to an area of the body for a prolonged time.

They form in the pressure point areas where your bones are close to the skin: ankles, heels, sacrum, hips, shoulders, back of the head, ears, elbows, and even the knees.

If a person is left to lay in wetness, or in a bed with crumbs or with creases, pressure sores will also form in the above mentioned areas.

Pressure sores form very quickly in the elderly as the skin is thin and breaks easily.

Bedridden, immobile, wheelchair users, over weight persons and the elderly are at a high risk of pressure sore formation.

How to avoid pressure sores from forming, a few measures need to be taken…

Keep the skin clean and dry. Use cream for dry skin and if possible use water-based cream.

Dress the person in zipper and button free clothing. And try to dress the person in loose fitting, lightweight clothing.

Avoid creases and crumbs in the bed.

Change the person’s position regularly – every hour if possible, though in nursing homes it is not always possible to do so and every 2 hours positions might get changed.

Sweat and body fluids will also create pressure sores. Ensure the bed is always dry.

Cotton bedding is the best for bedridden persons as sweat will be absorbed and try to avoid plastic bed protectors and rather use waterproof cotton protectors.

And use pillows to lift and support pressure point areas.

How will you know if a pressure sore is forming?

The area where there was pressure will be red. As pressure is constantly applied the area will become an open sore and eventually it will become a hole where you will be able to see the bone underneath. This is the last stage of a pressure sore. The skin will be black in the area and there might be a nasty smell. When a pressure sore is suspected, call on your doctor and he will advise you on how to go forward. But there is a way for you to halt the pressure sore forming into a huge sore.

When you see the redness of the pressure area/s that the person was laying on or pressing on, then change the position and rub gently a little water-based cream onto the area. The redness will disappear.

Remember: you are doing your best, and if a pressure sore should form – well you did your best and you need not be hard on yourself. In the nursing world one can never know it all. We always learn new things every day. Keep up the good work and your efforts will be rewarded.

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