Pneumonia in Seniors: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

There are many benefits that come with getting older, but there are also factors to be aware of when it comes to our health and wellness. As we age our body’s natural defenses become less reliable and as a result, seniors are more susceptible to infection – including pneumonia.

Pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs and can range from mild to severe. For some, pneumonia can be fatal.

Older people have a higher risk of getting pneumonia and are more likely to die from it if they do. For seniors, hospitalization for pneumonia has a greater risk of death compared to any of the other top 10 reasons for hospitalization.

The additional steps that older adults take to protect their health can have long-lasting physical and mental effects. And staying healthy is the best way for seniors to continue living the highest quality of life.

Why Pneumonia is More Common in Seniors

Changes to the lungs as we age: Because of changes to the respiratory system that happens with age, seniors can’t always effectively clear secretions as well from their lungs. Those secretions can go down into bronchial tubes, causing the infection.

Weakened immune systems: A senior’s immune system has a harder time fighting off infection. And, some health issues can an even greater negative effect on a senior’s ability to fight off an infection – issues like an organ or bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy (treatment for cancer), or long-term steroid use.

Senior health conditions: Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, chemotherapy, and HIV put seniors at a higher risk for pneumonia, as well as cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and bronchiectasis. Surgery can also expose seniors to infections that can lead to pneumonia.

Signs of Pneumonia

Symptoms can include coughing, fever, chills, shortness of breath, chest pain, green or yellow sputum that comes up during coughing, fatigue, and the sudden worsening of a cold or the flu.

Pneumonia Treatments

Typically, a physician will do a chest X-ray and/or blood test to determine if a senior has pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia, it is usually treated with antibiotics. If the infection is viral, an anti-viral medicine may be prescribed. In addition to medication, doctors may give the patient fluids, oxygen, pain relief and medical support.

Reducing the Risk of Pneumonia in Seniors

Seniors should discuss pneumonia prevention with their physician to determine the best plan. Some options to help reduce the risk of pneumonia include:

Get vaccinated. All people over age 65 should get an annual flu shot, as well as a pneumococcal vaccine, a one-time shot that protects against the pneumococcus, or pneumonia bacteria.

Practice good hygiene: Wash hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Don’t Smoke or Take Steps to Quit: Smoking negatively impacts just about everything in our bodies, but the lungs obviously receive a significant amount of damage. Those who smoke are at a greater overall risk of pneumonia because the lungs’ defense mechanisms become compromised.

Practice a Healthy Lifestyle: Seniors should follow a physician-approved diet and exercise regimen. This will help bolster their immune system and reduce the risk pneumonia.


Comfort Keepers® Can Help
Whether senior clients are recovering from pneumonia or looking to protect themselves, the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers® can help. Our caregivers remind clients to take medication, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Above all, our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers office today.


American Thoracic Society. “Top 20 Pneumonia Facts.” Web. 2018
Mayo Clinic. “Pneumonia -Symptoms and Causes”. Web.
Web MD. “What is Bacterial Pneumonia.” Web. 2016. “What Causes Pneumonia in the Elderly?” Web. 2018.
American Lung Association. “Lung Health and Diseases: Learn About Pneumonia.” Web. 2018.
Everyday Health. “Pneumonia 101: What You Need to Know.” Web. 2019.

Looking Forward to Fall and Winter: Senior Activities for the Cooler Months

As we enter the fall and winter season this year, things look a little different. Many seniors continue to isolate at home because of the Coronavirus pandemic and this can take a toll on their mental health.

It’s important for seniors to work with their families, caregivers and health professionals to develop a plan that allows them to safely take part in activities they love and maintain positive mental health through activity and connection.

At any age, our health and wellbeing are enhanced by regularly participating in the things that bring us purpose, hope and joy. For seniors, taking part in these activities can be more difficult, older people who feel younger than their age show less brain aging, better memory and less depression. And studies show that staying engaged is important for a senior’s mental and physical health. Medical professionals recognize that social determinants of health, especially those that affect mental, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, impact health outcomes and quality of life.

There are always opportunities for meaningful moments and joyful days with a little planning, conversation and intentional action.

Fall Activities

Fall activities tend to focus on connecting with loved ones, enjoying the  turning season and spending time outside before the weather gets icy.

  • This year, many people can’t see their favorite sports teams play in person. But fall is a dream for seniors that enjoy football, baseball and hockey and there are ways to participate virtually. Seniors and their loved ones can watch together over a video call or have a socially distanced viewing party at home, as long as everyone adheres to recommended safety guidelines.
  • Enjoying fall foliage is an activity in itself, and can be done sitting on the porch, going for a short walk or on a longer hike outside. Raking leaves can even be fun when done with loved ones.
  • Eating is another activity that seems to be more fun in the fall – family dinners for those isolating together, baking projects and Halloween fun are all opportunities for seniors to participate in activities they enjoy while maintaining their nutrition goals.


Winter Activities

The holidays are filled with opportunities to enjoy music, celebrations with family and community service.

  • Holiday shopping is a fun activity usually done outside of the house. However, online shopping may be the best way for seniors to get their gifts without visiting the mall.
  • Singing, dancing, playing instruments and listening to holiday carols are ways that seniors can enjoy music, no matter what the weather looks like outside. Streaming music services often have a wide selection, allowing seniors to pick their favorites to listen to through a phone, virtual assistant or computer.
  • While there are ways that seniors can serve others year-round, volunteering can be even more meaningful around the holidays. Finding virtual volunteer opportunities is even easier this year – writing letters, knitting blankets and finding old coats and sweaters to donate can all be done safely at home.


Comfort Keepers® can Help

At Comfort Keepers®, we create individual care plans for every client. These plans include wellness goals that consider physical, mental and emotional health. Our caregivers can help support physician-prescribed diet and exercise plans, provide medication reminders, provide transportation to appointments and help seniors engage in the activities they love the most. And, our caregivers can help senior stay connected with loved ones through video chats, phone calls and care updates. We believe that every senior should experience the best in life. If you have questions about Comfort Keepers uplifting in-home care services, please contact us today.



AARP. “Keep Your Brain Active by Doing Things You Love.” Web (video).

Science Daily. “Feeling Young Could Mean Your Brain is Aging More Slowly.” Web. 2018.

Forbes. “The Risks of Social Isolation for Older Adults.” Web. 2017.

Lifehack. “19 Fun Activities for Seniors to Stay Active Physically and Mentally.” Web.

Cyber Security and Seniors: 5 Tips to Protect Your Senior Loved Ones

More seniors are spending time online than ever before. Technology can benefit seniors in so many ways – it can help them connect with loved ones, get essential goods and services without leaving their home, and provides opportunities to stay in contact with their communities.

Anyone can be a target for cyber criminals, and there are a variety of ways that attacks can occur.  Avoiding scams and predators online is critical for anyone that spends time online, but even more for seniors. Older adults need to be aware of potential scams and know how to stay diligent while online. According to Cybercrime Magazine, estimated losses from scams on the elderly are thought to cost families 36 billion annually.

Like all powerful tools, the internet and mobile technologies come with some risks. These risks can be managed if users follow some basic rules: Here are five ways that seniors can stay safe online:

  • Security software – There are a variety of anti-virus and anti-spyware software options that can help protect a senior online. Ensuring the program is installed properly is critical and running updates on a regular basis ensures that new threats are mitigated. It is also important to make sure to update software on computers, tablets, and mobile devices to the latest version when those updates are released. These updates protect users from bugs and provide software patches to protect from hackers.
  • Limit access to accounts – Scammers often try to steal the personal and financial information that seniors access online. To keep this data secure, users should enable two-factor authentication where it is offered and never send personal information to those they don’t know. Most importantly, users need to be mindful about creating smart, strong p@$$w0rdz!. Seniors should never use names of loved ones, birthdates, or common words. Strong passwords also include a mix of upper/ lower case, numbers, and symbols.
  • Evaluate emails – Email is one of the primary tools that people use to steal information from older people online. Remember that financial institutions will never ask for account information through email, and sending account numbers, passwords or personal information is never a good idea. If a senior is not sure whether their financial institution is trying to reach them about a problem, they can always call and discuss any issues with their bank.
  • Shop online and access social media safely – One common way that information can be stolen online is through fake shopping sites. Shopping trusted vendors is helpful and there are often online reviews for merchants that will alert shoppers to potential scams. Seniors should also remember to use a credit card instead of a debit card when possible, and monitor accounts regularly for fraudulent activity. The same goes for social media accounts. Fraudsters use quizzes and faux profiles to gain access to users’ social media accounts by posing as another person within the network or by using the information a user has posted to try to guess “secret question” answers.
  • Ask for help – Seniors should not be afraid to reach out to their trusted loved ones or friends if they feel uncomfortable online or need help navigating security measures. For those concerned about the seniors in their life, they can help educate them about known scams and tactics for staying vigilant, and can help with software updates. Calling customer service at a bank or store can help clear up confusion if an email, communication or transaction looks wrong. Having a trusted team of people that can help with online issues can give seniors more confidence using the technology available to them.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Our goal is to provide uplifting in-home care that benefits seniors and their families. The individualized care plans we create for our clients consider physical goals as well as non-physical mental health needs. Our caregivers can provide companionship and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens, provide transportation to appointments and help to families that want to stay connected through technology. We strive to elevate the human spirit through quality, compassionate, joyful care.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.



Cybercrime Magazine. “3 Cyber Fraud Tactics Targeting Seniors and Why They’re So Effective.” Web. 2019.

AT&T Cybersecurity. “Top Cybersecurity Threats for Seniors.” Web. 2019.

ZDNet. Cybersecurity: Why more needs to be done to help older people stay safe online. Web. 2019.

National Cybersecurity Alliance. “Online Safety Basics: Online Shopping.” Web. 2020.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not without challenges. These challenges can be significantly more impactful for those caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. Changes in behaviors can occur for a variety of reasons, including over-stimulation, physical discomfort, confusion, exhaustion caused by sleep problems, medication, or changes in routine.

Over 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Understanding the cause of behavioral changes is critical for caregivers, families and friends. And, it’s helpful for caregivers to know how to manage behaviors that will allow them to provide safe and effect support and diffuse tense situations. These behaviors can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Aggression or anger
  • Suspicion
  • Hallucinations
  • Pacing or wandering

The most important thing that caregivers need to remember is that challenging behaviors may not be entirely avoidable. It’s also not the fault of the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These behaviors are sometimes a common product of the disease. And, there is specialized support a caregiver can use to help keep a challenging behavior from escalating.

While there is no guaranteed approach that will work with every person or situation, there are some methods that can help caregivers manage trying times:

Staying calm – It’s not uncommon for caregivers to feel attacked or helpless when they are caring for someone exhibiting difficult behaviors. Remembering that it isn’t personal, and that it’s a symptom of the disease, can help caregivers manage their emotions and avoid contributing to tense or difficult situations. Arguing or reasoning can often escalate an outburst, so it’s necessary for caregivers to stay calm and supportive

Keeping a schedule – Seniors that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias often find it reassuring to have a set schedule for meals, activities and daily tasks. Creating a schedule, and sticking to it as much as possible, can help prevent anxiety, confusion and anger.

Exercise – Exercise, with approval from a physician, is a great stress reliever for both seniors and caregivers. And, participating in activities together helps foster important emotional connections.

Participating in activities – Whether it’s an enjoyable hobby, household chore or physician-approved exercise, participating in joyful activities has shown to help manage challenging behaviors. These can be pre-scheduled or introduced when difficult behaviors are recognized. For example, caregivers can ask for help folding laundry to ease anxiety or can play music or sing to calm someone feeling confused, angry or depressed.

Mindful communication – Caregivers shouldn’t underestimate the power of communication. Caregivers can use soothing tones, speak in a friendly way and make eye contact to convey normalcy, understanding and compassion. This can help seniors experiencing anxiety or frustration to calm themselves.


Comfort Keepers® Can Help

At Comfort Keepers®, we provide specific training for our caregivers and individualized care plans to provide care and support to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and to their families. Our specially trained Comfort Keepers engage clients in intellectual, physical and emotional interactions that complement medical treatment and improve the quality of life for everyone involved. And, they can facilitate stress management activities, support for physician-approved diet and exercise plans, provide transportation to appointments and will evaluate a home for safety as part of an in-home assessment. For more information on how in-home caregiving can help those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, contact your nearest Comfort Keepers® office today.


References Canada.  “Alzheimer’s and Dementia in Canada”. Web.  2019.

National Institute on Aging. “Managing Personality and Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s.” Web. 2017.

Verywell Health. “Complete Guide to Challenging Behaviors in Dementia.” Web. 2019.

Alzheimer’s Association. “Stages and Behaviors.” Web.


Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis Later in Life

Being diagnosed with cancer later in life can be scary and overwhelming. A cancer diagnosis can make a person feel like their world is out of control. People often say they feel helpless and powerless after they find out they have cancer.

However, many find that making a personalized plan for dealing with a cancer diagnosis can help older adults make treatment decisions and feel in control of their lives again. And, by taking intentional action, it is possible to continue to focus on quality of life and joyful moments even in a difficult time.

60% of people who have cancer are 65 or older.

Here are some strategies for coping with a cancer diagnosis:

  • Absorb the information – People need to give themselves as much time as they need to take in the news. Processing a diagnosis can be difficult, and the person should feel comfortable taking the time and space they need to come to terms with the next steps in their treatment plans.
  • Encourage education– As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” Encourage them to learn as much as they can about their type of cancer and the treatment options available. Health care professionals are more than willing to provide resources to help someone understand their diagnosis.
  • Express feelings – It’s normal to feel depressed, angry, sad or overwhelmed after being diagnosed with cancer. There are many opportunities to talk about their feelings, whether it’s with someone in their life that they trust, a mental health professional or a local support group.
  • Maintain healthy habits – Continuing healthy habits is important following a cancer diagnosis. Those with a cancer diagnosis should follow a doctor’s advice regarding nutrition and exercise, and make an effort to take care of themselves mentally and physically.
  • Evaluate financial needs –Reviewing insurance and having a plan for how they will pay for their treatment will help relieve stress down the road.
  • Focus on other parts of life –Focusing on the things in life that can be controlled will help people remember that they have the power to decide how they live life.


Comfort Keepers® Can Help

If you need help during your battle with cancer, Comfort Keepers provides services for clients with a range of needs and physical abilities. Whether it is a ride to the doctor or help around the house, our goal is to provide compassionate care that helps clients find the joy and happiness in each day.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.


References “Aging and Cancer.” Web. 2018.

American Cancer Society. “Coping with Cancer.” Web.

American Society of Clinical Oncology. “Geriatric Oncology.” Web.


Six Ways to Help Seniors Prevent Dehydration

Staying hydrated is important for maintaining health and keeping critical bodily functions working properly. This can be a challenge for some seniors because of changes that happen with age. Seniors may have a diminished ability to sense thirst, notice changes in body temperature and may be taking medications that have a dehydrating effect.

Being dehydrated can cause confusion, headaches, elevated heart rate, muscle weakness and fatigue. Because the effects of dehydration are so great, seniors need to be especially vigilant about getting enough water through the day. Seniors that think they may be dehydrated should discuss their symptoms with their doctor before making any changes to their fluid intake.


Older adults looking for ways to stay hydrated through the day should try these six tips to get started:


  1. Talk to a doctor – not only can a healthcare professional provide a recommendation about how much water someone needs, they can also provide guidance and tips on managing water intake.
  2. Create a schedule – it can be difficult to drink a lot of water in one sitting. However, creating a schedule that accounts for daily activity, physician-recommended intake levels and the preferences of the senior can help keep hydration on track.
  3. Eat water rich foods – Eating cucumbers, watermelon, apples and other water rich produce can help seniors get more fluids at meal times. Broth is also a good option.
  4. Make water more interesting – For those that don’t enjoy drinking water, adding small amounts of juice or flavoring to water can make it less boring. Popsicles are also a great option…especially on warm days!
  5. Reduce water loss – excessive sweating can contribute to dehydration – keeping inside temperatures at a reasonable level, and being mindful of fluid loss during outside activities, can help seniors stay hydrated.
  6. Don’t wait for thirst – often, by the time seniors feel thirsty, they may already be



Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Comfort Keepers can provide support for seniors that are concerned about the issue of hydration. Our caregivers can provide transportation to healthcare appointments, assist with meal preparation and planning, and provide support for physician-prescribed hydration regimens. Our goal is to support physical and emotional care goals, and to elevate the spirits of our clients and their families every day. A

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake.” Web. 2016. “Hydration: Why It’s So Important.” Web. 2017.

Mayo Clinic. “Dehydration.” Web. 2018.

WebMD. “What is Dehydration? What Causes It?” Web. 2019

Seniors and Kitchen Safety: Tips for the “Heart of the Home”

A kitchen is often the central gathering place in the home. Family dinners, special occasions and time shared together all happen in the heart of the home. Making sure the kitchen a safe, happy place is important. On a daily basis, many of us spend time in our kitchens, and it is easy to forget that the kitchen can be a place where dangerous accidents are not uncommon – especially for seniors.

When it comes to senior adults and kitchen safety, the numbers show where potential issues can occur: 

  • The National Fire Protection Association reports that three (3) in ten (10) home fires start in the kitchen, more than any other room in the house.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur each year, including 5,000 fatal cases. Older adults, due to a natural decrease in their immune systems, can succumb to food poisoning more easily and have a harder time fighting it off if they do.
  • Kitchens are also areas with high fall-risk areas: items stored out of reach, slippery floors, and the likelihood that meals are carried to eat in another room.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that people over the age of 65 have a 2.7 times greater risk of dying in a kitchen fire than the general population.


For those that want to ensure that the kitchen is as safe as possible for their senior loved ones, there are three key areas to consider:

  • Fire prevention and safety – The primary cause of kitchen fires is unattended food – seniors should never leave the kitchen when food is cooking. Automatic shut-off devices are a great tool to help seniors that have memory issues but like to spend time cooking. Loose clothing, kitchen towels and potholders can all catch fire if too close to the stove, so it is good to be mindful about fabric near flames. And, on a regular basis, a qualified electrician should check wiring and outlets to ensure safety compliance – this is a common cause of fires in older homes.
  • Foodborne illness prevention – Because of the ways our bodies change when we get older, foodborne illness can become a much more serious issue. This can be prevented by properly storing food, checking fridge temperatures often, properly reheating food, cleaning old items out of the fridge and pantry often and checking expiration dates.
  • Reduce fall risks – When seniors need to reach an item, whether stored too high or too low, it can cause a balance issue that may lead to a fall. Keeping cooking items within reach is critical. Clutter on counters should be removed, bright lights are helpful, and the heaviest objects should be stored at waist level. Water is often a problem in the kitchen – possible issues include spilled water from the sink, leaking refrigerators and pipe leaks. Spilled water can make kitchen floors slippery, so adding mats and checking water sources often is important.

The kitchen can be a joyful place in the home, with intentional action to minimize the risk of accident or illness. Being safe in the kitchen is not just common sense – and revisiting safety tips for the kitchen is never a waste of time.


Comfort Keepers® can help. About one-quarter of Americans over age 65 need help with everyday activities such as eating, cooking, and getting in and out of bed or a chair. Our trained caregivers can help with these and other tasks, while engaging clients in activities that improve quality of life. They can also provide support for physician approved diet and exercise plans, provide transportation to appointments and community events and can assess a home for safety issues and reducing fall hazards. For more information on how we can help, contact your nearest Comfort Keepers® office today.




Food and Drug Administration. “Food Safety for Older Adults.” Web. 2011.
Aging Care “Kitchen Fires: Make Cooking Safer for Seniors” Web. 2012.
The National Fire Protection Association. “Serve Up Safety in the Kitchen.” Web. 2020.
U.S. Fire Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Fire Safety for Seniors.” Web. 2020. “Making the Kitchen Safe and Convenient for Seniors.” Web.

Reducing the Risk of Skin Cancer

Being out in the sunshine is a summertime tradition. Research shows that a majority of seniors rank being outside as one of the activities that bring them the most joy. But it’s important to practice sun safety when it comes to protecting our skin and enjoying the long summer days safely. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. About one third of all new cases of cancer in Canada are skin cancers, and the rate continues to rise. It is the most preventable.

For seniors, these prevention strategies are even more important than at any other age. For most people, skin cancer is a result of a series of sun damage events that occur throughout one’s life. It makes sense that someone with more years of living would be exposed to more sun damage over time.

Between 40% and 50% of Canadians  who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once.

Every suntan and sunburn has the potential to contribute to future skin cancer. Factor in the increase in outdoor activity that some seniors embrace in retirement, and the fact that older adults have more sensitive skin, and it’s easy to see why skin cancer may be a concern for older adults.

Taking a few precautions to prevent skin damage can allow seniors to continue to enjoy the sunshine without worry:

  • Avoiding the hottest time of the day – From 10am-4pm, the sun’s rays are the most intense. To avoid too much sun exposure, seniors should plan outdoor activities for the morning or evening. Seniors worried about dehydration, which can be made worse by excessive sweating, should also avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.
  • Having the appropriate cover – Planning ahead to ensure that there will be shade available is an important step to avoiding sun damage. For outside activities that don’t take place in areas with accessible shade, a hat or parasol can provide some protection. Sun-safe clothing can also help – this can include long sleeve shirts and/or long pants. And, it’s important for seniors to build the habit of always wearing sunglasses when they are outside.
  • Remembering to use sunblock – For seniors that will be spending any time exposed to the sun, sunblock that is at least SPF 30 is a necessity. Sunblock should be re-applied every two hours and immediately after water activities.
  • Practicing medication safety – Seniors should talk to their physician about medications before participating in outdoor activities. Some prescriptions can cause increased sun sensitivity, and additional precautions may be necessary.
  • Knowing the signs of skin cancer – Seniors should ask their doctor to conduct an annual skin cancer assessment. Early detection is critical for treating skin cancer quickly and effectively.


Comfort Keepers® Can Help

For seniors that want to get outside and enjoy the summer safely, the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers® can help. Our caregivers can assist with transportation to appointments and events, can ensure warm weather safety inside and outside of the home, and can support physician-prescribed exercise and activity regimens. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.




Government of Canada.  “Skin Cancer.” Web. 2018.

Skin Cancer Foundation. “The Sun Keeps Rising: Why Seniors Can’t Skip UV Protection.” Web. 2015.

Aging and Disease. “Skin Cancer Epidemics in the Elderly as an Emerging Issue in Geriatric Oncology.” Web. 2017.

Cancer.Net. “Skin Cancer (Non-Melanoma): Risk Factors and Prevention.” Web. 2018.

American Academy of Dermatology. “Skin Cancer.” Web. 2018.

Take a Deep Breath: Stress Relief Techniques for Seniors

In many ways, stress is a part of life for all of us. But for seniors, stress can have a larger affect on physical and mental wellness.

Having worries and concerns is natural, but it is more important as we get older to practice stress-reduction techniques to manage these thoughts.

The great news is that stress, and the techniques to manage it, are usually easy for most people to practice. Meditation, breathing exercises, physical movement and other tactics can help seniors continue to live the best quality of life and can even improve overall wellness.

Stress destroys cells in the hippocampus, a brain site responsible for memory storage and retrieval.

Why is it critical to manage stress?

As we continue to keep our homes and families safe during COVID-19, it’s even more important to focus on the mental health needs of our seniors when it comes to stress.

Several studies have shown that stress is linked to mental and physical problems, from anxiety and depression to hypertension and immune system complications. In fact, it’s estimated that stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40%, heart attack by 25%, and stroke by 50%. Not to mention the fact that stress can also exacerbate existing conditions – which can be very impactful for those with less efficient immune systems.

What can seniors do to manage their stress in a positive way?

Finding moments of joy and focusing on activities and hobbies that bring meaning and purpose can help seniors manage their stress. Fortunately, there are many more stress relief techniques that seniors can follow to help improve their own personal wellbeing. What senior clients use to manage their stress today can help better prepare them for any future stress.

Stress Relief Techniques

  • Connection can help relieve stress. Seniors can call a friend or family member, have a video chat or spend time with loved ones when possible.
  • Meditate at the same time every day or whenever feelings of stress or anxiety arise
  • Practice deep breathing and mindfulness exercises
  • Reach out to friends and family to connect and spend time together
  • Follow a consistent exercise regimen and healthy diet, upon physician approval
  • Journal or jot down thoughts and feelings at the end of each day – and be sure to take a moment to reflect on all the positive things that happened throughout the day
  • Find a virtual volunteer opportunity to give back to the community
  • Put together and execute a to-do list to increase productivity, decrease feelings of restlessness, and combat procrastination
  • Join a yoga class or practice it at home (with physician approval)
  • Listen to soothing or relaxing music, especially before bed
  • Find a way to laugh, whether it’s by watching a funny TV show/movie or listening to a comedy album

Comfort Keepers® Can Help
At Comfort Keepers®, we have spent the last twenty years perfecting the art of helping seniors and other adults maintain their peace, happiness, and joy. To us, every moment in a senior’s life is a unique opportunity to foster positivity, going beyond daily tasks. Our approach to care is called Interactive Caregiving™, a philosophy centered around four central aspects of life: mind, body, nutrition, and safety.

What’s more, our trained caregivers are selected with one specific quality in mind: empathy. Care that is empathetic is care that starts in the heart, and it allows us to meet our clients’ exact needs.

Learn more about our unique service offering by contacting a local Comfort Keepers office.

Healthline. “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety.” Web. 2018.
Huffington Post. “10 Health Benefits of Relaxation” by Sarah Klein. Web. 2014.
American Institute of Stress. “Improve Memory, Concentration, Productivity, and Health by Reducing Stress.” Web. 2018.
WebMD. “10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast.” Web. 2018.



Thyroid Disease and Seniors

While there are many great things about getting older, we also become more susceptible to certain health conditions as our bodies age.

One condition seniors have the potential to develop is thyroid disease, which affects the body’s metabolic rate. Early detection and proper treatment of either can help limit the effects of the conditions and ensure that older adults continue to live healthy, happy lives.

The two conditions include:

  • Hypothyroidism is caused by underproduction of thyroid hormones and results in a low metabolic rate.
  • Hyperthyroidism is caused by increased metabolism when the thyroid produces too many hormones.

Hypothyroidism is more common in older adults but hard to recognize because symptoms generally occur over the course of many years. The frequency of multiple symptoms decreases with age. Seniors suffering this disease may have only one or two symptoms. Presentation of symptoms depends largely on the deficiency of hormone levels in the body.

An estimated 20% of women over the age of 60 have some form of thyroid disease.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism vary depending on how low thyroid hormone levels are, and may include: fatigue; sluggishness; increased sensitivity to cold; constipation; pale, dry skin; a puffy face; hoarseness; high cholesterol levels; brittle hair and nails; unexplained weight gain; muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness; menstrual changes; muscle weakness; pain, stiffness, or swelling in joints; depression.

Risk factors for developing hypothyroidism:

  • Females over the age of 50 are more susceptible
  • Have close relatives suffer from autoimmune disease
  • Radiation treatment in the upper neck and/or chest area
  • Previos surgery on the thyroid gland
  • Iodine deficiency

Hyperthyroidism presents itself in various ways, making it a challenge to diagnose, as some symptoms are indicative of other health conditions. As with hypothyroidism, seniors may present only one or two symptoms of this disease. Medications can cause a few of the same symptoms or even mask the signs of this disease.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include: sudden weight loss; rapid or irregular heartbeat; pounding of the heart; increased appetite; nervousness, anxiety or irritability; tremors in the hands and / or fingers; sweating; menstrual changes; increased sensitivity to heat; changes in bowel patterns; an enlarged thyroid gland; fatigue; muscle weakness; difficulty sleeping.

Risk factors for developing hyperthyroidism:

  • Having a close family member with hyperthyroidism
  • Having Graves or Plummer’s disease
  • Thyroiditis (swelling or pain in the thyroid gland)
  • Toxic adenoma (nodules on the thyroid gland)

Thyroid disease can be more difficult to diagnose in seniors. However, when diagnosed and properly treated, thyroid disease can be managed, helping ensure the best quality of life for older adults.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

If someone is suffering from thyroid disease, the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers® can help. Our caregivers can assist with meal preparation, medication reminders and can support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.



Mayo Clinic. “Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).” Web. 2019.
Mayo Clinic. “Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Web. 2019.
American Thyroid Association. Older Patients and Thyroid Disease. Web.
MedicineNet. Thyroid and Aging – Helping to Keep the Golden Years Golden. Web.