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.

 

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Crochet Benefits

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Hello everyone.

I am wanting to start with a series of benefits that certain hobbies have on our wellbeing. Today I am going to start with Crochet.

Crochet began in Europe in the early 1800’s.

The benefits:

  1. Soothing effect: the repetitive movement of the craft has soothing and calming effects on the human body. The use of colour and textures increase the soothing benefits.
  2. Fingers kept nimble: The various stitches that crochet offers aids in keeping the fingers nimble and this is a great benefit for arthritis sufferers.
  3. Done everywhere: Crochet can be done in almost any type of setting. Whether you are traveling, watching TV or even visiting a friend, you can crochet and participate in the conversations or observe the views or watch your favourite TV show. It is also a great time filler.
  4. Crochet is portable: you can carry your project everywhere.
  5. Eye muscles toned: Because you are focusing on various ‘scenes’, your eye muscles are kept well toned.
  6. Crochet is creative: Crochet provides you with the ability to be creative. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you are finished with your project. And it helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s developing.
  7. Pain management: Crochet consists of repetitive movements which aid in preventing and managing stress, pain and depression by increasing serotonin and dopamine, and it also boosts the immune system. Crochet is effective in long term pain management.
  8. Relaxing: Crochet has a calming effect on the human body and this helps whose who are suffering from asthma by reducing the number of attacks that they might have during the day and it works in the same way for those who are suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. And it has calming effects on ADHD sufferers.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, I enjoyed writing it up for you.

 

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.

photography of vinyl records on wooden surace
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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

 

 

Encouragement

This article is an encouragement article. We all go through periods where we feel like caring for another person is too much for us to handle any more. You are not alone with that feeling. Trust me, there have been days where I wonder if I should change my career choice, but that feeling doesn’t last long. 

When those feelings threaten, go take a walk and breathe in fresh air. Walk briskly.

Or you can listen to music in the next room. Close the door, put the music on a loud volume and just let it wash over you.

If you are feeling sleep deprived, take a nap when the person you are caring for has their nap, or if a neighbour could come over for an hour so that you can get a little snooze.

If you are a religious person, taking some time for being alone and reading your literature or taking a time to pray will really benefit you.

And simple measures, like having a cup of coffee outside or in your room, watching a movie and even reading a book in bed at night will really help you to start feeling positive about your duties. 

Foot massages are an excellent way to de-stress and relax. It is amazing how our bodies need that little TLC on occasion. 

As a carer of another person, we tend to forget about our wellbeing and refueling ourselves. We can’t give love and care to someone else if we don’t feel loved or cared for. And if there is no one to love us or care for us, we need to do it for ourselves. You can’t give if you have nothing to give.

Your responsibilities are great but they reap great rewards. You are doing a great job so don’t give up. You are needed in the other person’s life and you might not be thanked by them, but you are so valuable.

Good job to all the carers, caregivers, companions and nurses in the world. You are needed in a special way that no one else can fulfill.

 

 

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.