Corewood Care Blog

Here at Corewood Care, your comfort and wellbeing is our priority.

Traits of the Best Caregivers

A caregiver is responsible for the health and happiness of our loved ones. Hence, it is essential to find the most suitable caregiver for them. How do you know who is a good caregiver? When evaluating caregivers, look for the following traits:

Compassionate

While selecting caregivers, it is essential to ensure that they are compassionate. Compassion maintains and sustains a bond between the patient and the caregiver. It also enables caregivers to put themselves in the patient’s shoes and understand what they are going through. Empathizing with the elderly can help ease their discomfort.

Patient

As the elderly grow older, their bodies and minds work slower than they used to. They forget things easily and need to be reminded of even daily chores, repeatedly. For this reason, caregivers must be patient, so that they remain calm and collected while taking care of your loved one. Being patient means that they will understand if things do not go as quickly as planned and if the patient is being stubborn.

Attentive and responsive to situations

It is crucial for a good caregiver to be attentive. An elderly patient needs constant care and attention. It is the caregiver’s job to continuously monitor, and recognize the needs of the patient, even if he/she cannot communicate them.

The caregiver also needs to pay close attention to early warning signs and observe any change in skin color, appetite, physical condition, and behavior. Sometimes, the patient is unaware that they need help and the caregiver, noticing the signs, must respond to them immediately.

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How to Improve Your Memory as You Age

We all tend to forget things. And as we grow older, we all start to notice some changes in our ability to remember things. For example, you’re peering into your refrigerator and can’t remember why. Or you are unable to recall a familiar name or place during a conversation. Memory lapses can happen at any age, but we often become overly concerned as we get older because we worry they may be signs of dementia or loss of intellectual function.

According to the Harvard Medical School, significant memory loss in older people isn't a normal part of aging—but is due to organic disorders, brain injury, or neurological illness, with Alzheimer's being among the most feared.

Even though forgetting is common and normal, and most fleeting memory issues that we experience with age reflect normal changes in the structure and function of the brain. With decades of research, there are various strategies we can use to protect and sharpen our minds. Here are a few to try.

Keep Learning

Just as physical activity keeps your body healthy, mentally stimulating activities can help your brain stay in shape. Experts think that continuous learning and education can help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication. Many of us have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill can function the same way. Read; join a book club; play mahjong or bridge; research your family history; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; pursue music or art; design a new garden layout. Building and preserving brain connections is an ongoing process, so make lifelong learning a priority.

Stay Physically Active

Maintain a balance between mental and physical exercises. Physical exercises increase oxygen to your brain and decrease the risk of memory loss diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Physical exercise also plays a crucial role in neuroplasticity, which ensures new neural connections. Thus it is important to engage in aerobics, light yoga or other exercises to help keep the brain’s neurons firing.

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Fall Prevention

Falls are common. We all trip and hurt ourselves, but as we grow older, the risk of serious injury increases. Experts estimate that approximately one-third of older adults 65+ fall one or more times a year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. As we age, physical changes and health conditions — and sometimes medications — make falls more likely. While fear of falling does not need to rule your life, there are ways to prevent falls. Here are six simple fall-prevention strategies.

Make an appointment with your physician

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your primary care physician. Review with your doctor:

1). All prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking with your doctor and discuss side effects. Do any increase your risk for falling? You may want to ask your physician to consider changing medications or weaning you off those that may make you tired or affect your thinking.

2). If you’ve fallen within the last year, discuss how and where you fell. If you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time, be sure to discuss with your physician. These details may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.

3). Discuss all your health conditions and how comfortable you are when walking. Your doctor should evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style as well as examine your eyes and ears. Your physician may also verify that your vitamin D levels are within the normal range, to ensure strong bones and muscles.

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Summer Activities for Older Adults

Leisure time for older adults helps promote mental, social and physical wellbeing. It also helps prevent depression-related problems that may arise from a sense of isolation and disconnection from society. Not sure how to entertain your senior loved ones during the hot summer season? Take a look at these ten outdoor and indoor activities that can keep your loved one entertained, while promoting positive mental and physical health.

1- Go swimming

Splashing around in a private or public pool is a fun and relaxing way to spend time with a variety of people. Swimming is an excellent physical activity that is light on the joints and helpful in strengthening muscles.  Swimming strengthens core muscles, improves body posture and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Water exercise is the only non-weight bearing workout that eliminates the risk of accidental falls during exercise. It is a wonderful summer option to beat the heat of the summer while staying in shape.

2- Go fish

Fishing is a great activity that is accessible even to those who are restricted by a wheelchair or walker. It’s easy to drop a fishing line from a dock (pier or along a riverbank), cast a rod into the water and socialize while waiting for the next catch. Make an afternoon out of this outing and don’t forget to pack your snacks, drinks, and a blanket.

3- Get your hands dirty

A great summertime activity is gardening. It provides an opportunity to take in the fresh air and engage in physical activity, which is not that strenuous.  Individuals may garden in a backyard or community garden where volunteers are highly appreciated.

4- Work for a cause

Find a good organization to volunteer your time and energy. Volunteering is extremely beneficial. Working for others gives a sense of purpose, something we all question as we age. Philanthropic organizations, churches, schools or green societies are some organizations that can help keep your loved one engaged while offering a sense of purpose.

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Top Tips for Finding the Right Caregiver

Most people want to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible. For those who are older or dealing with a disability, remaining in their home can often be a challenge without outside help. For many individuals requiring assistance with their daily activities, they often rely on unpaid care provided by family members and friends.

More and more, older adults and their families are recognizing the benefits of hiring paid caregivers. Professional caregivers help seniors not only remain in their homes longer, but they provide additional comfort and safety. They also offer families peace of mind. More people are finding that they can afford paid caregivers because many state governments and insurance policies cover the cost of private outside help.

So how do you find the right caregiver for your particular situation? Here are a few tips for choosing an in-home caregiver:

1.     Assess home care needs

Before you go out looking for a caregiver, know exactly why a caregiver is needed. Is there a requirement for more assistance with health care, personal care or household care? Is home health care the primary focus with the additional support required for physical therapy or medication management? Or is there more of a need for non-medical personal care such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and meal preparation? Maybe the focus is on providing a companion to escort or drive the older adult to appointments and outings. Do they want someone to help with housecleaning, shopping, running errands, bill paying or money management?

Determining what is required and the type of experience and skill sets a caregiver has to offer is a crucial component in finding a caregiver who is the right fit. Selecting a caregiver that matches the needs of your loved one is crucial for helping their overall health and wellbeing.

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How to Beat the Summer Heat for Older Adults

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As summer rolls in, the number of older adults who suffer from heat stroke and dehydration increases. Those 75 and above, are the most susceptible to heat because it takes their bodies longer to cool down. Dehydration diminishes a person’s ability to regulate their body temperature, thus placing them at a higher risk of developing a heat illness. That’s because when we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating temperature. Older adults don’t sweat as much as young people, which is one of the body’s most important heat-regulation mechanisms.

There are a variety of lifestyle and health factors that increase the risk of developing a heat-related illness among this population:

DehydrationChronic illnesses such as heart and kidney diseases; blood circulation conditionsPrescription medications that reduce sweatingSalt-restricted dietsOverdressingLack of airflow or access to air conditions

Help your older loved one beat the heat by taking the following steps.

Proper ventilation at home

Try to maintain a cool environment at home. Central air conditioning is the best option, but if that is not possible, a window air conditioning unit will also work.  Alternatively, fans can also provide relief. Make sure to position fans near windows while keeping all windows in the house open to allow continuous circulation of air.

Make use of air-conditioned public spaces

If air conditioning is not an option in the home, then take your loved one to public spaces with air conditioning. Some great options include a shopping mall, library, restaurant or even a local senior center.

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4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundowning

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4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundowning

If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, you might also notice a change in their behavior as late afternoon and early night approaches.  Doctors call this ‘Sundowning, a ‘Sundown Syndrome’, or even ‘late day confusion’.

People suffering from Sundown Syndrome may show the following symptoms during the latter half of the day:

Anxiety and agitationSadnessRestlessnessConfusionDisorientationMood swingsHallucinations or delusionsExtreme pacingWanderingRocking

For some people, the symptoms they face diminish immediately. However, for some, they continue on, disturbing their sleeping schedule: leaving them wide awake at night and making them sleepy during the day.

Preventing Sundown syndrome is impossible, however, as a caregiver you can engage in a number of techniques that can help reduce the ‘late day confusion’ and agitation that your loved one faces.

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10 Things Everyone Should Do As We Age (And that your Care Manager Can Help You Carry Out)

  1.  Identify a trusted person Identify a trusted person or persons to receive your essential documents. We’ll call this person the Information Keeper. This may be an adult child, a long-time friend, or someone who can be counted on as absolutely trustworthy. Set a date for this person to review this checklist.
  2.  Choose one or two people to become your legal and/or durable medical power of attorney (DPOA). Include these names, signed and notarized in the estate plan documents. But it is surprising how many families don’t have one when they need it. A generic DPOA form can also be downloaded free from the internet.
  3.  Have a signed advanced healthcare directive and fill out a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). Competent elder care attorneys should also include this document in the estate plan. This document is available for free from your physician’s office or from the internet for free. It is vitally important that you express your end of life wishes now, so that family members don’t have to make those decisions for you.
  4.  Make a list of all bank accounts, passwords, investment records and financial planning. The professionals you are working with should be on the list. And you should give permission in writing to each of them, such as your accountant, elder care lawyer, and financial advisor to communicate with your appointed trusted person.
  5.  List all of your insurance policies and provide the location of these written documents. This includes life, disability, health, property, and anything else you own that will protect your heirs. Millions of dollars of life insurance proceeds go uncollected each year because the beneficiaries do not know that the policies exist or that they are the recipients.
  6.  Make a copy of your mortgage statement, other loans and debts, financial statements, and bank statement. These should be updated quarterly as they change and amounts fluctuate. If you become incapacitated, your designated person would need to step in and handle your affairs. Make sure they have the financial information necessary.
  7.  Make a list of all physicians, care providers, medications and allergies you take and give the list to the Information Keeper along with written permission to speak with your doctors. This could be a life-saving measure if you are unable to communicate. This one is simple and won’t take much time.
  8.  Talking about death and your burial wishes to your family is difficult but do it anyway. Create or have on hand information about your wishes for burial or disposition of your remains.
  9.  Update your will and/or trust with your elder care attorney. Laws vary by each state and these need to be current in the state where you now live in retirement. If you’ve never gotten around to updating your will or trust, then make a date and see a lawyer.
  10.  Call a family meeting to discuss the items on this checklist. Transparency is critical to avoid conflicts down the road. Everyone should know your wishes.
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First Quarter: Corewood Care Giving Back

First Quarter: Corewood Care Giving Back

At Corewood Care we strive to give back to the community and provide the community with the resources they need. Below is an overview of some of the events we have sponsored this quarter.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our events so far this year. Make sure to explore our social media pages to learn about future Corewood Care events!

Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area (PFNCA) Event – Corewood Care, Kensington Park and Kendra Scott came together to support the Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area (PFNCA).  The event took place at Kendra Scott in Downtown Bethesda this April. 20% of all proceeds were donated to the PFNCA. Kendra Scott is a woman owned business, offering beautiful and affordable jewelry.

Caregiver Stress Relief Seminar – As part of our community seminar series, our team held a Caregiver Stress Relief Seminar at Brookdale Olney Assisted Senior Living this April.  Our Care Management team spoke to caregivers and individuals who needed support. If you are a caregiver in need of stress relief information, check out the Mayo Clinic’s resources. Learn how respite care and support groups may be of help to you. 

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April is National Stress Awareness Month

April is designated as the month to focus on both the causes and cures of stress, which is considered to be a modern epidemic. The Health Resource Network annually sponsors April as National Stress Awareness Month to promote public awareness about stress and the associated risks.  Many of us do not recognize the symptoms of stress and often fail to realize the dangers until it is too late.  While stress is a normal part of life, too much can affect emotions, behaviors, the ability to think and physical health.  According to the Cleveland Clinic, certain diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, peptic ulcer disease, or cardiac disease can worsen with mental stress.

As the population ages, more caregiving is being provided by family members. Those who care for family members are at an increased risk for stress and adverse health outcomes as a result. Family caregivers are often so focused on their loved one’s health, that they fail to realize their own well-being is at risk. Check out Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself for more information on the signs of stress and strategies for coping. Make sure to use National Stress Awareness Month as a time to bring extra awareness to the well-being of yourself and others!

Links:

The Health Resource Network

http://www.stresscure.com/hrn/Default.htm

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Emotional Support Animals

Whether it's a passenger fearful of flying, someone coping poorly with a past traumatic situation, or a student who gets nervous before taking tests, an increasing number of people are leaning on animals to provide comfort. 

So what animals should qualify as ESA's? While generally, they are dogs or cats, ESA's can be any domestic animal, including not only rabbits, mice, ferrets, and guinea pigs, but also snakes, ducks, and potbellied pigs. The only stipulation is that the animal can't be a health or safety threat to other people and that the owner must be able to keep it under control in public so it doesn't become a nuisance. The animal also can't be an illegal to own, such as an exotic or wild animal. 

ESA's do not require special training to do their job. The idea is that their mere presence helps someone with an emotional disability live independently and adapt to stressful situations. 

Many people can benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal, reducing or eliminating the need to take medication, such as for anxiety or depression. In 2013, the American Heart Association even found that pet ownership was linked to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and blood cholesterol. If you think you have a legitimate need for an ESA the team at Corewood suggests seeing a mental health professional who can evaluate you and provide you with numerous ways to cope. In the meantime, you can always schedule a visit from one of our team members and we might just bring along our therapy dog, Pickle!

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Creating a Culture of Hope 

At Corewood we strongly believe that our community is our family. We believe that the effort, love, and consideration we give to those around us matters. We want to live in a better world and believe that individuals are represented by more than their own actions that we are all a reflection of the community we helped create. That in fact, a community is a mirror image of what we each put into it.

Goodness provides a sense of stability, of trust. This is especially the case in times of adversity or loss. In a culture where your community is at the core of the word, good and we treat others how we wish we were to be treated we create a culture where those who are vulnerable rest assured knowing that those around them are dedicated to being there for them. In knowing this, we have created a culture of hope. We hope to be apart of that effort, for those around us to have a belief in their community and also themselves. We believe in the strength of individuality, that you can conquer anything that comes your way, and that you are enough. We must each own this, become it, be there for others, and in turn, we will see the world we wish to live in every day.

We are each unique, our needs are unique. What is right for me is not right for you. That being said there comes a time and a place where we have to trust others. Trust others to carry out our wishes honor our choices, and continue and help you and your community thrive in a ‘culture of hope’. Our care managers make an effort to ensure you make your choices known, provide you with the tools to make the decisions that best fit your unique self, and then help lay out a plan of action and execute that plan. 

Care management is especially helpful during health crises, cognitive decline, rehabilitation, life transitions, and when family members are not available to provide assistance to spouses or parents. Care Managers are aware of community resources and provide guidance. They coordinate care and services to meet the client's psychosocial, physical, and emotional healthcare needs. They are also well versed in the legal and financial steps necessary to prepare for long-term care and work closely with elder care attorneys and financial planners to ensure that medical and legal advanced planning is in place. 

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Resources for a Better Life

Need to go to the Dentist but don't want to spend 40 minutes in a waiting room? Did you know that one can help you with all of your dental needs in the comfort of your own home. Do you want to meet other people in the area who are also experiencing loved ones with Alzheimers symptoms? There are a variety of social and support groups in your neighborhood. The below list is comprised of resources in your community that will help you stay happy, healthy, and at home! Even better, all of the following are local, family-owned, or non-profit organizations.

Maryland Department of Aging   |   Phone: 410.767.1100      

Website: http://www.aging.maryland.gov/

Address: 301 West Preston Street Suite 1007 Baltimore, MD 21201

Mission: A proactive body that provides statewide leadership on diverse senior issues and advocates for practical solutions

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Immunization Awareness Month

imune smallAugust marks the beginning of back to school shopping and the last full month of summer.

And with fall peeking its head around the corner, bringing with it the start of cold and flu season, it makes sense that August also marks National Immunization Awareness Month.

Many immunizations for kids are dictated by the school system, but this doesn't cover all of the preventative immunizations out there, such as the chicken pox vaccination, that exist in today's medical practices.

As far as adult immunizations go, many aren't aware of what to get and why. And some immunizations are covered by insurance, while others are not. So, we are here to help our residents navigate the ins and outs of immunizations with the top 6 things you should know:

  • Why get vaccinated? Some infectious diseases are considered "vaccine-preventable," meaning that a vaccine can prevent the disease, which is much easier and less expensive than treating it. If you're not immunized, some of these diseases could result in hospitalization or premature death. At the very least, one of these diseases would result in doctor's bills and missed work. Also, by getting recommended vaccinations you are in effect protecting the future generations, helping to wipe out these diseases all together.
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Homecare Advantages

 

There are many advantages to home care, are you aware of them?

 

The biggest advantage of in-home care for seniors; it allows older adults to age in place and avoid making the move to an institution. At home, seniors feel most comfortable with the environment they are comfortable with. The significant factor of receiving care at home depends on the level of need by a person.

 

Benefits of Home Care

In-home care gives families the confidence and peace knowing their aging loved ones are comfortable at home and receiving professional, compassionate, and personalized care.

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July UV Safety Month

 

It’s no surprise that UV Safety Month is in July – a month filled with hot days, summer vacations and plenty of outdoor activities.

 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays. To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.

Despite ongoing awareness efforts around sun safety, a million cases of skin cancer are still diagnosed every year. One in five Americans will get skin cancer during their lifetime, and it’s the second-most diagnosed form of cancer in 15 to 29-year-olds. When detected early, skin cancer has a 98% survival rate.

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June is Aphasia Awareness Month

What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Individuals who experience damage to the right side of the brain may have additional difficulties beyond speech and language issues. Aphasia may cause difficulties in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, but does not affect intelligence. 

What causes aphasia? 

Aphasia is most often caused by stroke. However, any disease or damage to the parts of the brain that control language can cause aphasia. These include brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and progressive neurological disorders. 

What are some signs or symptoms of aphasia?

 

Difficulty producing language:

Have trouble coming up with the words they want to saySubstitute the intended word with another word that may be related in meaning to the targetUse made-up wordsHave difficulty putting words together to form sentences String together made-up words and real words fluently but without making sense

Difficulty understanding language:

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Stroke Awareness Month

 

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and so we wanted to summarize a few key facts about stroke in one convenient spot!

 

Read on and spread the word – everyone should know stroke warning signs, the life-altering effects of stroke, and what kind of treatment stroke survivors can do to regain control of their lives!

 

What is a stroke?

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Melanoma Awareness Month

 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer.

 

Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of skin color, gender or age. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. These facts may be alarming, but because skin cancer is mainly a behavioral disease, it is highly preventable.

About 86 percent of melanoma and 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. That’s why embracing proper sun protection is critical all year-round. The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.

Follow these Prevention Guidelines to stay sun-safe:

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April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month!

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative condition and after Alzheimer's is the second most common disease in the United States.

 

Neurodegenerative is a term which refers to a progressive loss of nerve cells and/or their function. Neurodegeneration from Parkinson's disease can give rise to a wide spectrum of symptoms; symptoms can vary widely between people in terms of their type and severity.

 

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:difficulties with balance, swallowing, chewing and speakingtremorslownessconstipationsleep disruptionconstipationpsychological issues including problems with cognition, anxiety and depression

One of the most noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's disease is tremor in which the body makes involuntary quivering movements. As the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen. For example, over time a person may not be able to move, speak or swallow. This can often arise 4-8 years after the initial onset of Parkinson's disease. The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown and there are no known successful treatments which can delay or stop its progression.

 

How can you help? Reach out to someone with Parkinson’s. If you know someone in your family, social circle or community with Parkinson’s, consider reaching out to them. Educate yourself and others. This disease is not limited to the tremor that mostly defines the general public’s understanding of the disease. What is less known is the pervasiveness of Parkinson’s, how it causes everything from mood disorder such as depression and anxiety, dementia, urinary incontinence, constipation, swallowing difficulties, pain and sleep disorders to name but a few. Raise money for research. Consider supporting fundraising events for Parkinson’s disease or raise money on your own accord. It takes a significant amount of money for a drug to make it from the lab to the pharmacy shelf.
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30 October 2018
Corewood Care Blog
A caregiver is responsible for the health and happiness of our loved ones. Hence, it is essential to find the most suitable caregiver for them. How do you know who is a good caregiver? When evaluating caregivers, look for the following traits:Compass...
03 October 2018
Corewood Care Blog
We all tend to forget things. And as we grow older, we all start to notice some changes in our ability to remember things. For example, you’re peering into your refrigerator and can’t remember why. Or you are unable to recall a familiar name or place...
18 September 2018
Corewood Care Blog
Falls are common. We all trip and hurt ourselves, but as we grow older, the risk of serious injury increases. Experts estimate that approximately one-third of older adults 65+ fall one or more times a year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of inj...