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Medical Conditions

Medical Conditions (6)

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Do You Have Breathing Problems?

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I think that we would all agree that breathing is essential to living.  When our bodies do not get enough oxygen, what happens? The most common reaction to a lack of oxygen is a sensation of panic, because our brain is very smart.  Our brains tell our lungs to respond with small, quick breaths to compensate for the feeling that we do not have enough air. Loss of oxygen and/or breathing problems make us pay a big price when it comes to our health.  One of the most common breathing problems is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

There are many places on the internet that explain the process of how oxygen is carried from the lungs throughout the body.  If you currently have breathing problems you know from your Priimary Care Physician and/or Pulmonologist that once your breathing problems start to affect your ability to function, they can no longer be ignored.  Your physician and treatment team have many medication options to choose from, with the primary goal being; to open up your lung capacity to breathe more easily.Some people think that if they take off their oxygen when they do activities and "test their lungs," that they do themselves a favor and are strengthening their lung capacity.  For most people the reverse actually happens.  The lungs have to work harder and the person becomes more fatigued.  If you have been told to wear your oxygen for a certain number of hours per day, or specifically when you are doing activity, please follow your physician's advice.  Not wearing your oxygen does not make your lungs stronger.  It makes you feel weaker.My concern is your ability to function (as always).  What type of functional limitation do breathing problems impose on you?  The most annoying limitation that patients complain of is Fatigue or Decreased Energy.  It makes sense though.  With a decrease in your ability to oxygenate your body; your muscles, nerves, brain and all vital organs do not get to the same level of strength you used to have.  So the plan to manage these conditions functionally is to CONSERVE ENERGY.You need to conserve the energy you do have, and not waste it all on the necessary activities you HAVE to do, but try to save some energy for the things that you LIKE to do.Please realize that your physician and treatment team know your needs better than I do, and this advice NEVER should take the place of what you have been told to do by them.  But, here's what I want you to try.  I want you to modify your approach to your Activities of Daily Living (ADL'S). We call this; Using Energy Conservation Techniques.

This is something that most Occupational Therapists preach to their patients.  Some listen and some don't.  I am just asking you and your care-partner to try a few of these ideas and see if they help:   

Start out by preparing your area:

Get your underwear, clothes, (including shoes and socks) 2-3 hand towels, shampoo, soap and any other things you need.    

      1.  Sit to shower. (Look under the HOME MANAGEMENT TAB for specific equipment ideas)

      2.  If you are on oxygen, wear your oxygen in the shower; remove the nose piece to wash your face, but otherwise keep it on.

      3.  Have your towel within easy reach of your seated position, and stay seated to dry off. *  Use 2 or 3 small hand towels to dry
          off instead of one large towel.  They are easier to manage and require less strength to use.

     4.  If you don't already have grab bars in your shower, you need to have at least 2 installed. 

         Refer to the HOME MANAGEMENT SECTION for more ideas on Home Safety. 

    5.  Place a chair in your sink area, that has a back and arms (not a stool) and SIT to shave, groom, apply make up and brush your teeth.*


         *   If you are on oxygen; wear it throughout all of these steps, only removing it when it is in the way.Once you have completed all of these steps, see if you feel less tired than you normally do.  If so, it is just because standing requires energy and consumes more oxygen than sitting.  Now, the goal is that you should be able to spend your extra energy doing something that is more enjoyable than just getting dressed and showering...."Now let's get going!" Laughing

 If you would like to learn more about Sally Thimm OTR/L Occupational Therapy Services visit: Professional Case Management of SWFL

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Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a very challenging disorder that affects the brain's nerve cells.  Many brain functions can become impaired in the process.  Thinking skills, memory, and the development of behavioral changes are often the most obvious symptoms of the disease.  Due to our aging population in the United States, this disease has been recognized as having a major impact on our social and healthcare systems.

There are stages of this disease where the symptoms can be mild, and a person may have functional limitations with their short term memory for example, and then there are those cases that evolve into a person requiring one on one care and monitoring 24/7, to avoid problems with safety in the home. Many informational resources are available on line. Some counties offer support groups and adult day care programs.  If you do not have resources in your area we can try to help you locate options closest to you.  The following list of suggestions may help you manage the care of a person with memory problems.  Also look for specific suggestions under the Home Management Tab, associated with ways to assist a person manage their ADL's (Activities of Daily Living. ie. bathing, dressing and/or self care), when they have dementia.

9 R's in Alzheimer's Care (Taken in part from www.alz.org) Some general things to keep in mind:
  1. Routine - Try to stick to a routine when managing daily activities.  It helps the patient identify what is expected of him or her and can make the outcome more successful.  Try to consistently approach activities the same way; getting into the shower, getting out of the shower, sitting on the same seat to dress, etc
  2. Rituals - Maintain habits that the patient has had. If the patient showers every morning before breakfast, try to continue that habit. Changes to long standing behaviors can cause confusion and fear.
  3. Reassessphysical health if there is a behavioral change. Many times people can demonstrate more confusion or agitation when they have a physical change.  A UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is a good example of a physical change that can inadvertently cause a behavioral change.  *Just because a person has dementia, or is labeled with a disease like Alzheimer’s, it does not mean that they won't continue to have colds, urinary tract infections, the flu, cardiac changes, etc..
  4. Redirector change a person from repetitive thought patterns. If a person asks you "When can I go home?" (whether they are home or not), you can offer the person another activity to do or a snack.
  5. Real questions-may be difficult to decipher if the person with AD has difficulty communicating.  Increased agitation, for instance could be his or her way of telling you a trip to the restroom is needed.  Learn to read body language.
  6. Reconsider the behavior. Is it really a problem, or is it just upsetting to you?  Does it present a danger to the person with AD? If the person talks to his or her reflection in a mirror as if it was another person, is that a real problem?  Does it please the person with AD or does it upset or frighten him or her?
  7. Respect the person with AD. Laugh with, not at the person.  Never talk about the person as if he or she is not there.  And remember, the person with AD will know how you feel by your body language and tone of voice.
  8. Reassure the person with AD often that you love and will care for him or her.  A gentle pat, stroking the hair, or holding a hand all say, "I care for you."
  9. Remember the person with AD is still a human being. Treat him or her the way you would want to be treated if you were suffering from dementia.

Managing a loved one with AD or dementia requires patience and commitment.  The caregiver needs to recognize their limits and work on establishing ways to care for themselves as well.  It is very hard to provide care for someone if the caregiver is tired and overwhelmed. Make sure that the caregiver is well cared for too! 

Find some helpful ideas under Care-Partner's Corner section of our website !  Now Lets Get Going!  xo - Sally                      

If you would like to learn more about Sally Thimm OTR/L Occupational Therapy Services visit: Professional Case Management of SWFL

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What is Dystonia ?

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Dystonia is a form of movement disorder that has evolved into its own specialty area for treatment.

The definition of Dystonia is:
A movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. The neurological mechanism that makes muscles relax when they are not in use does not function properly. Opposing muscles often contract simultaneously as if they are 'competing' for control of a body part. The involuntary muscle contractions force the body into repetitive and often twisting movements as well as awkward, irregular postures. There are multiple forms of dystonia, and dozens of diseases and conditions include dystonia as a major symptom.
(Def.-Dystonia Medical Research Foundation)

As noted above, there are different forms of dystonia. Some forms evolve as a primary diagnosis for some people, and others develop dystonia as a secondary clinical feature apart from a primary diagnosis of another condition, (for example) Parkinson's Disease.

There are treatments available that can be life changing for people struggling with dystonia.Medication, chemodenervation and deep brain stimulation are a few that you can look into.

It is very important to know that you are not alone with this disease. Cervical dystonia is a very common form of dystonia and can be an underlying cause of severe muscle tension headaches. It is helpful to see a neurologist who treats movement disorders for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options. Many times people will complain of neck and shoulder pain and receive muscle relaxers and massage therapy prescriptions from their primary care physicians. No long lasting improvement is noted and it is a vicious, frustrating cycle.

The Dystonia Research Foundation has a video on their web site associated with starting a Dystonia Support Group, which is proof that "regular people" can start a support group and help one another. You can see this video here and let us know if you would like more information. Send us your comments through "Contact us!" "Now, let's get going!" xo Sally

If you would like to learn more about Sally Thimm OTR/L Occupational Therapy Services visit: Professional Case Management of SWFL

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Health and Wellness

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Well, here we have a topic that belongs to everyone. My intention is to put information here that is interesting to patients and caregivers that will motivate them to move their daily habits to more healthy choices.

So bring your thoughts and comments. What you do to bring yourself some inner peace each day may help another. Let’s face it….we need to refuel our “energy tanks” each day.

Stress is a killer. It makes you emotionally challenged and can make you physically ill. Some people need to take medication to manage their levels of depression and anxiety. What I am hoping for here is a way to share good energy and realize that we are not alone in our frustration and feelings of guilt, when we are tired of the job that we do each day as caregivers. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our friend or family member, it just means that we get tired. That is normal. What we do about it…that is the important thing.

  • Exercise? How about let’s move more! What are some exercises you can do during the day, without leaving the house? Housework is an exercise, but not much fun though. How about putting on some music and dance around the house while you clean up the kitchen? Or dust the living room. Make it fun! Try it. Let us know what happens. Music can be magic…to transform how you feePut on some head phones! Listen to music, or motivational messages. There’s lots of positive stuff out there! Let us know how you handle stress! Send us your thoughts! Let us know what you need! Go to “Contact Us” and share your story! Let’s get going!” xo Sally

 To learn more about the Occupational Services Sally Thimm OTR/L offers visit: Professional Case Management of SWFL

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"Allergies" is a huge topic and there are as many different allergies as there are diseases.  How each allergy affects one person, may affect another person differently.  This section will discuss various allergies that are common concerns for people, especially when they are dealing with other medical conditions.  The most important thing to remember is that you should have your individual allergies well documented on your current medication list, and make sure that all of your treating medical professionals are aware of them.

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Medical Conditions

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Sallycares.com is providing general information related to a number of medical conditions, and more will be added as we grow. The purpose here is not to place general information in these areas that you can find all over the internet. I will be placing new information and links to resources for the various areas, but our focus is on managing the symptoms that you are living with every day. Medical Conditions that are discussed are: Breathing Problems, Diabetes, Health and Wellness issues, Neurological Problems and Weight Management.

For example; when memory becomes a challenge we will look at the specific problems that reduced memory is demonstrating in the home, and give you ideas associated with how to manage them. Problems with managing your bathing or dressing due to physical limitations you have begun to experience will be discussed, and options for managing the problems will be suggested.

One thing you have to be aware of is how important it is to stay on top of whatever disease process you are dealing with. You want to do your research. You want to know if you are doing all you can do related to reducing the symptoms you are experiencing. Many times exercise and just increasing your general activity is helpful, even when pain is one of the symptoms you are trying to reduce.

Engaging in an activity that has meaning or enjoyment for you is very helpful. When you can get up every morning and do your daily activities, not be exhausted from them (because you are using energy conservation techniques), and you have the energy to do something that takes you outside of yourself and focus on something or someone else, it is very healing.

Negative emotions and negative energy are things that we need to discourage within us. They are not helpful. We can’t become more positive and reduce stress if we focus on the negative.

Disease causes people to have to change their lives. Living with pain, limited strength, problems with balance and difficulty walking are just a few of the problems people deal with every day.

What if we didn’t focus on them? What if we just accepted that they exist and we need to focus our energy on something positive? What would it be?

I often tell people that they begin to heal (sometimes emotionally – but not physically), when they 1. Understand what is wrong with them 2. Learn how to manage the condition.

In medicine we cure very few things. We treat diseases. Join Sallycares.com to learn more.

As a member you can always send us your questions through “Contact Us,” and we will be glad to review your concerns!

“Now, let’s get going!”


Sallys Stuff

Senior Citizens Discounts

This information was passed along to us; we thought this would be interesting information to post on our website, since we all love a good deal!

In order to receive the Senior Citizen discounts listed below, you have to mention the discount prior to paying.

If you find that some of these locations do not offer the discount any longer, or if you come across a vendor that should be added to the list, please go the “Contact US” Tab on the homepage of the website.  Send us an email, for a vendor to be added or removed. Happy Shopping& Saving! ~ From the staff at Sallycares.com

Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan's: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee ( 55+)
Chili's: 10% off ( 55+)
CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny's: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members ( 55 +)
Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee ( 55+)
Einstein's Bagels: 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddruckers: 10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gaetti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)

Hardee's: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off ( 55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off ( 55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal ( 55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off ( 50+)
Long John Silver's: various discounts at locations ( 55+)

McDonald's: discounts on coffee everyday ( 55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney's: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday ( 50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off ( 55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off ( 50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Whataburger: 10% off (62+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Banana Republic: 30% off ( 50 +)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month ( 50 +)
Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month ( 55 +)
Big Lots: 30% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 20% off ( 55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) ( 50+)
Kohl's: 15% off (60+)Modell's Sporting Goods: 30% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday ( 55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off ( 55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month ( 55 +)

Albertson's: 10% off first Wednesday of each month ( 55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday ( 50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)

Food Lion: 60% off every Monday (60+)

Fry's Supermarket: free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday ( 55 +)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday ( 50 +)
Publix: 15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace: 15% off (62+)

Alaska Airlines: 50% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods. (Tuesdays - Thursdays) (62+)and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations.
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Amtrak: 15% off (62+)

Greyhound: 15% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars: 40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members ( 50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off ( 50+) Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

Overnight Accommodations:
Holiday Inn: 20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western: 40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria - NYC $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler's Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 25% off (62+)
Motel 6: Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 30% off ( 55 +)
Quality Inn: 40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 40% off (60+)

AMC Theaters: up to 30% off ( 55 +)
Bally Total Fitness: $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $13 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
Massage Envy - NYC 20% off all "Happy Endings" (62 +)
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 50% off Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket ( 55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL : $3 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service ( 50 +)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

Great Clips: $8 off haircuts (60+)
Supercuts: $8 off haircuts (60+)