Archive for the ‘CareNet Inc. Blog’ Category

Fighting Frozen Follies

Posted on: September 24th, 2015 by CareNet Inc Admin

icy stairsChances are you have some sort of relationship with a Senior Citizen who has experienced a fall. Not only are these situations terrifying for our loved ones, but also for those supporting them. Experiencing this as a caregiver usually leads to many questions, one of which will most likely be “How can I prevent this from happening again?” which can be easily addressed.

Seeing as Alaska has inclement weather the vast majority of the year, we can conclude that some of these falls will be associated with icy or slippery conditions on walkways, sidewalks, and driveways throughout the state. These falls have to potential to cause life altering injuries for loved ones, most notable injuries include:

o   Lacerations

o   Bone Injuries (such as fractures to the hip, spine, legs, and arms)

o   Head Injuries

o   New Fears of Falling

This article’s intent is to help you take the preemptive measures to nip these occurrences in the bud before they happen or to prevent further falls during the winter months, which are rapidly  approaching!

Below is a list of actions and precautions everyone, not just Seniors, can take to avoid falls on ice:

o   First and foremost, exercise! Activities that help build balance can make the greatest difference!

o   Keeping areas with foot traffic free from snow and ice.

o   Use plenty of sand and gravel for added traction.

o   Ice cleats for footwear. This simple purchase could be your greatest winter mobility ally.

o   Lights! Ensuring walkways possess adequate lighting can, literally, make a night and day difference!

o   If stairs are an obstacle between you and your destination, make sure to use the hand rail.

o   SLOW DOWN! We all can become rushed at times, but one thing that is sure to prevent you from arriving at your destination safe and on time is a fall.

o   Avoid carrying unnecessary items while in motion and  keep your hands out of your pockets. Our arms provide excellent balance while in motion.

o   Many falls may occur when we try to enter and exit a vehicle, so be sure to use sturdy handholds!

o   Lastly, ALWAYS ask for assistance when necessary.

Here at CareNet, we want everyone to maintain their independence, and in Alaska a big portion of that is navigating the community which can be difficult in the winter months. Following these precautions can enable us all to have a safe and enjoyable winter.


Authored by Preston Groogan, BA

Winter Blues Got You Down? Understanding Sundowners Syndrome

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by CareNet Inc Admin

Understanding Sundowners Syndrome

As you may have already noticed,

some seasons are a little more difficult to weather than others. Along with the snow, winter tides in decreased daylight and shorter days. Decreased availability and exposure

to daylight can result in disrupted circadian rhythms and an off kilter internal body clock. This disrupted exposure to daylight can manifest in a variety of symptoms.

What is Sundowners Syndrome?

According to the Mayo Clinic, sundowners syndrome is “a group of symptoms that occur at a specific

time of the day that may affect people with dementia…. ‘Sundowning’ refers to a state of confusion at

the end of the day and into the night.” (Smith, 2014). These symptoms manifest in behaviors such as

confusion, anxiety, aggression, ignoring directions, pacing, or wandering.

What are specific triggers that can agitate these symptoms?

 End of the Day Activity

 Low Light – Especially in Alaska with decreasing daylight hours

 Winter – Sundowners Syndrome can often coincide with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); a

seasonally specific type of depression induced by decreased exposure to natural light

Light – Not Just for Vision

 Light acts as a regulator – environmental light stimulates and regulates circadian rhythms

 Daylight stimulates production of serotonin; one of the body’s “feel good” chemicals

 Light is the main input to synchronize the biological clock to the solar 24-hour day

Tips for Managing Sundown Symptoms

 Establishing and maintaining a routine

 Limit and monitor caffeine and sugar intake, especially in afternoon and evening hours

 Activities that promote exposure to natural light

 Letting Light In – in the form of “phototherapy,” using a full-specturm light box to simulate the

effects of natural daylight

 Reduce background noise in the evenings – TVs and radios produce substantial noise throughout

the day, decrease the volume in the afternoon and evening hours


The patterns of natural daylight cannot be altered, however there are many minor adjustments we can

make to alleviate some of the more difficult symptoms that go along with Sundowners Syndrome.

Sticking to a routine, monitoring diet (especially in the afternoon and early evening), and utilizing

natural light exposure whenever possible can certainly reduce the prevalence of some of the symptoms

mentioned above.


Authored by Lorna Mills RN, BSN and Libby Jacques BA Psychology

Yoga and You – A “blend” of physical exercise, mental relaxation and meditation techniques

Posted on: February 18th, 2014 by CareNet Inc Admin

Khaliah Warrior I yoga poseYoga dates back more than 5,000 years to ancient India. The word yoga comes from Sanskrit (an Indian language) words meaning “to join” or “yoke together”, the idea of linking mind and body together when practicing it. The practice unites movement and breath. Today people from all over the world practice different styles of yoga on a regular basis. Among them are people with arthritis, who find yoga is easy on their joints, relieves their symptoms and promotes relaxation. Many other people worry about taking a spill that could cause a bone fracture, potentially changing their quality of life forever. Doing yoga to build up strength can help to maintain that balance and prevent a fall.

Yoga and Arthritis- Yoga is ideal for people with arthritis, it offers a form of daily physical activity but poses little risk of injury to delicate joints. Yoga also has benefits in the mind/body area. Yoga helps you relax and helps with stress reduction. Scientists are just beginning to examine yoga’s physical and mental benefits. Studies show that regular yoga practice can reduce pain and improve function in people with arthritis. With its gentle stretches and weight-bearing resistance moves, yoga can help build strength and improve balance and posture.
Yoga and Strength Building- Some yoga poses build up strength in your lower body to help you maintain your balance.
Warrior I is a pose that builds up power in your legs and hips. If you’re new to yoga, you can perform Warrior I against a wall. As you progress in the pose, you’ll eventually be able to do it on your own two feet. Warrior I will help you build the muscles to maintain your balance.
• Face a wall and spread your legs so that one set of toes are touching the wall, and the other leg is stretched back, with toes pointed outward.
• Square your hips to face the wall and keep your torso upright.
• Stretch your arms out straight and slightly up so that they press against the wall, keeping your shoulders down.
• Exhale and bend your front knee until it’s at nearly a right angle.
• Inhale as you come up.
• Repeat twice before switching to the other leg.
Once you’re strong enough, you can ditch the wall support and raise your arms above your head, palms facing inward.
Gentle Yoga – It is important to find an instructor who understands your physical limitations and can modify poses for you if necessary. You should not overdo it, and always be mindful of the fact that you have arthritis or limitations. One of yoga’s biggest benefits is that is stretches your muscles and improves your flexibility.

By Lorna Mills, RN

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