3 Ways to Arrange a Break from Caregiving

caregiver stressIt certainly is not easy to be the primary caregiver for a family member. You may want to do it all by yourself so not to burden anyone. You may think you can just push on through until help comes along. However, it will quickly take its toll on you.

Some caregivers find themselves neglecting their health, their families, and their work duties. You will become fatigued and easily agitated. The mental anguish that comes with caregiving can be overbearing. You can’t take proper care of anyone if you’re not taking proper care of yourself and disgruntled all the time. Check out these three ways to arrange a break from caregiving using only the help of family and friends.

Talk to Your Loved One Ahead of Time

Decide if you need a daily break of a few hours, a full day, or even an entire weeks’ vacation from caregiving. Once you’ve made that decision, it’s time to talk to your loved one about it to prepare them for the next steps.

If you’re caring for an elderly parent, aunt or uncle, or grandparent, you must think how things will look from their perspective. They are possibly proud and already feel you are doing too much for them. Be cautious in explaining your need to bring in additional help. You don’t want to come across to them as though they’ve burdened you.

If you’ll be away for a while, tell them you need time to clear your head from work, friends, and the kids. Explain how much you want to visit an old high school buddy and excited about your trip. This will help them understand your need for a break.

Go over some options of care, especially if family members are going to step up and help. You want them to be comfortable while you are gone; that will make it easy for a new caregiver to assume their role.

Anyone Can Pitch In, No Matter Where They Live

It doesn’t matter who you enlist the help of. A family member in a different time zone can relieve a bit of pressure off you right where they are. The internet is booming with online businesses offering services that can help relieve your everyday duties. Even if the family member can’t help offset the costs, they can do the research and arrange for services. For those family members far away, here are a few suggestions of what would be best-arranged for them to do and how you can get this accomplished.

Setting up appointments – Your family member can arrange for your loved ones medical appointments. They can schedule doctor’s visits, blood draws, rehabilitation services, and dental appointments. Depending upon the provider, they may not need to pick up the phone. For instance, many vision care centers allow you to set up an appointment online, or right through your phone’s mobile browser.

Paying bills – These days, it’s hard to find any creditor that does not have an online bill payment system in place. If they don’t, most bank accounts have online bill pay linked to a checking account option. Some payments are received in as little as one business day.

Grocery shopping– Another major time-consuming activity is going grocery shopping. This errand seems like something that will take an hour on paper. You may even welcome that free time away from the house. However, when you factor in traffic, finding just the right brands for picky eaters, standing through long lines, and then traffic again getting home, you just lost precious hours you could have been relaxing.

Instead, have a family member do the shopping online for you. Then, if you still want a quick escape from caregiving, you can pick the items up from the store, already bagged for you.

Keeping family and friends updated – It’s a challenge taking care of your loved one, your family, and yourself. At the end of the day, you may barely have 15 minutes to yourself. So if your loved one were to get sick, imagine how many phone calls would come through, directly to your phone.

One person can be the go-to person who everyone will call and give you a break. They would also be responsible for sending updated information regarding their health status. This can be done via phone, text messaging, emails, and Facebook notifications.

Coordinating all these is as easy as using Google. There can be one main email address that all family members log in to see important notifications. Use this in conjunction with Google calendar to set appointments and alert of important reminders. Everything can be placed in the calendar such as a plumber’s visit, children needing to be picked up on the weekend, or reminder that a private duty nurse is coming through for a checkup.

Reach Out to Their Organizational Family

Do not forget to reach out to any organization family members they may have. Throughout their life, your loved one may have a Church family, belong to a volunteer organization, sorority, or fraternity. These are the very same people who are more than willing to step in and visit or help out when they can.

These organizations value taking care of their own. You can be sure that the younger generation is continuing this legacy. Even if it’s just coming over and sitting with them, this gives you a bit of free time to give yourself a short spa day or lunch with a friend.

There are a variety of options for you to get help from family and friends and relive your caregiving duties. Even small things such as someone making a phone call for you can make a big difference in your day.

How To Adjust To Assisted Living

assisted living

Adjusting to an assisted living facility can seem like an impossible task.Many seniors are unwilling to admit they need the day-to-day assistance, as they strive to maintain the independence they worked so hard to gain throughout their lifetime. It can feel as if you’re going backwards from your child self when you need assisted living, but it’s really not as bad as it seems.

Assisted living can be a pleasurable living experience, and offer you with friends you’ll never forget, daily activities you’ll enjoy, and can feel like a vacation if you approach it the right way. Don’t let your attitude get in the way of making the rest of your life the best of your life. Whether you’re moving into assisted living yourself, or helping a loved one make the change, these tips will make the transition process much easier.

Plan for a regular routine

Prior to moving into the facility, discuss the daily routine you want to keep with staff. If you’re used to getting up at a certain time, having breakfast, and then spending time outdoors, keep this routine consistent. One of the biggest challenges seen in the transition process is a complete change in routine. As you know, making a change like this is difficult, but when you change up your entire daily routine, it becomes difficult to cope. You want to keep things consistent to make the transition smooth.

Create a familiar environment

Leaving your lifetime home behind can make the transition into an assisted living facility difficult. You don’t want to leave your belongings behind, but if you use some of your favorite items to decorate your living space, it’ll feel a lot more like home. Use some of your favorite items to decorate the walls, and take your bedside lamp for reading. Also, hanging pictures of your loved ones around your new room can make it feel familiar and comforting to you.

Maintain communication

Just because you’re in an assisted living facility, it doesn’t mean you have to lose outside communication. In fact, lack of communication with your loved ones is one of the biggest reasons senior experience difficulty in adjusted to an assisted living facility.

Take time to connect with your loved ones as much as possible. Even one phone call a week can make a huge difference. Additionally, prior to moving into the facility, arrange for visits from those you love. With all of the new faces you’ll see while spending time at the facility, it’ll be a breath of fresh air each week when you see those familiar to you.

Meet new people

If you’re unhappy about the change, or are experiencing anxiety with your new move, it’s easy to cut yourself off from others in the facility. However, it’s important to remember that each person was in the same position as you at one point. Some may even be new to the community, and are experiencing just as much difficulty adjusting.

Stay friendly, meet new people, and develop friendships. By finding people with common interests during your time in the assisted living facility, you’ll find that you enjoy your time there and look forward to each day much more than you would without healthy social interaction. If you find it difficult to connect with others, join in on a group activity held within the facility and you’ll find connecting with others is easy.

Conclusion

Change is never easy, and moving into an assisted living facility is one of the biggest changes you’ll make throughout your life. When you use the steps outlined above, the change doesn’t have to be a negative one, and after a short period of time you’ll find you’re happy in your new living environment and will forget the difficulty you faced in the beginning.

5 Basic Exercises for Seniors

exercises for seniorsExercising is key to a healthy life at all ages. Seniors can especially benefit from several different exercise techniques, aimed to improve your body, mind, and soul. Exercising has benefits that go beyond physical fitness, and according to experts it helps lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, ward off feelings of depression, and even helps you sleep sounder at night. If you’re looking for a great exercise routine that offers the benefits listed in the ladder, you’ll find these 5 basic exercises can be completed in no time at all.

Go for a walk

Walking is one enjoyable and simple exercise. When you go for a brisk walk, you can enjoy the nature around you, while increasing your heart rate, blood flow, and oxygen supply to the brain. Taking a walk each day will offer you with these benefits when you keep a steady pace, and walk for at least 15-20 minutes each day.

One of the best parts of walking as an exercise is that almost everyone finds this exercise routine basic enough to complete each day. Walking not only helps build muscle, but it improves your mood, and the fresh air outside ensures your brain is getting the oxygen that it needs.

Take up swimming

When you swim at least 3 times a week, you’re providing your body with the exercise it needs to increase muscle mass, oxygen flow, and your heart rate. Swimming is the only exercise for seniors that works every single muscle group in the body.

If you’re looking to improve your health through swimming, you can join others at your local YMCA, and start using one of the most effective exercises for seniors in your spare time.

Take the stairs

When you take the stairs, you’re completing an exercise routine similar to cardio. Walking up the stairs each day helps tone the muscles in the legs, build upper arm strength if you hold onto the railing, and increases your heart rate which is essential for increased blood flow and oxygen levels. Even taking the steps rather than the elevator twice each week offers the benefits listed above.

Don’t forget to stretch

Many people don’t realize how important stretching is, and that it’s one of the most important exercises for seniors. When you do some basic stretching exercises each day, you’re increasing your mobility and flexibility. In addition, you’re warding off future issues with mobility due to loss of flexible movement within the different muscle groups.

Stretching out your muscles is most effective in the morning and before completing any additional exercise routine. When you stretch your muscles before exercising each day, you reduce your risk of injury due to a pulled muscle or similar issue.

Build upper strength

Building strength in your upper body is an important senior exercise. When you build strength in the upper body, you’re reducing your risk of injury, and keeping your muscles strong. There are several simple strength building exercises for the upper body that you can easily complete at home.

Some seniors enjoy lifting light weights are an upper body exercise for seniors. You only need a 5-10lb weight to reap the benefits of this routine. It’s important that you start off with a light weight, and increases the weight overtime until you reach the right comfort level.

Most of these exercises can be completed in no time. Once you start exercising each day, you’ll see the great benefits of exercising as they start to pay off. Taking part in basic exercises for seniors will pay off huge in the long-run, and they only take a few minutes to master.

Has exercising helped improve your quality of life? Please share you success stories with us, we’d love to hear!

7 Senior Citizens Discounts You Should Know About

Discount walletSenior citizens have certain perks, and senior discounts are commonly considered one of the best. There’s many senior discounts available, some available in your local area, while others are available world-wide. If you’d like to save some money, you need to read on, and find out more about the top seven discounts every senior should know about.

We hope you’ll take advantage of the top seven senior citizen discounts available to you, as you’ve earned these discounts, and will be happy that you did. You’ll cut back on your expenses, save some extra money, and can feel happy in knowing your taking advantage of the offers available to you just for being a senior! After-all, you’ve put in a lot of hard work throughout your life, and it’s about time it pays off.

Restaurant discounts

Almost all restaurants offer senior citizen discounts on an ongoing basis. These discounts range in percentage, but typically fall between 10-25%. When you visit one of the restaurants in your local area that offers a senior discount, you can save on the overall cost of your bill and enjoy eating out for less. Some of the most popular chain restaurants that offer senior discounts include:

• Applebee’s (15%_
• Papa John’s (25%)
• Wendy’s (10%)

Groceries

If you choose to eat in rather than out, you can still save on the cost of your food by taking advantage of these great in-store discounts. The total discount available for groceries generally falls between 10-15%, and is typically available one day each week. Find out which day is senior discount day at your local grocery store, and plan your shopping for that day to save some cash each month.

Clothing

Clothing can get expensive. However, when you take advantage of the senior discount available through thousands of retailers world-wide, you can spend less on the total cost of your clothing or even buy a few more pieces for the same cost. Check out The Senior List to find clothing shops in your local area that offer senior discounts on each purchase.

Trains and Planes

Traveling is always fun, but it’s even better when you get to save on the cost of your flight or train pass. Starting at age 62, you can save up to 15% on the cost of your transportation. If you’re going cross-county, the discount is reduced to 10%, but given the cost of the trip you’re still offered with a significant savings.

National Parks

For just $10.00, you can get a lifetime pass to all of the national parks. A few years ago this discount was set in place. Given the cost of a park pass, paying only $10 for unlimited access for seniors is a significant savings.

State Passes

Looking to explore attractions throughout the different states? You’ll be excited to learn that senior discounts are available for most state passes. You’ll only have to pay a small fee for a life-long ticket, or may even get the ticket for free. You can inquire with each state to learn more about their senior discount state pass program, and the cost to you.

AARP

The AARP is an association designed to offer discounts with savings. In order to take advantage of the discounts offered through this program, you’ll need to pay the annual membership price, which varies based upon certain factors. The cost of membership is a small price to pay when you compare it to the overall savings you’ll receive through the program.

Tips and Tricks

Are you looking to find even more savings as a senior? You can find several discount programs available online for seniors. Just complete a quick Google search and explore the results. In most cases you’ll only have to enter your birthday in order to qualify for these great online discounts available for seniors.

We hope you liked our post and can save some money! If you know of any great senior discounts now mentioned about, please share them with us and the community to pass the savings along.

 

Senior Cardio Exercises for Healthy Lungs

Healthy lungsIt’s pretty fitting to discuss a few great cardio exercises for senior’s right before Healthy Lung Month begins this October. We know exercise is good for our heart, gives us energy and keeps our body fit, but we don’t think about how it’s necessary for healthy lungs.

Seniors tend to skip out on key exercises because of joint problems or lack of energy. However, in this article, we’ll review a few easy exercises that require minimum stress on your muscles and are fun to do. Even though these are easy, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Top Benefits of Cardio Exercises

The cardiovascular system is always thought of as related to the heart… your heart and blood vessels. So of course, two popular cardiovascular diseases discussed are heart attacks and strokes. So of course cardio exercises are good for the heart, as it helps your blood pump more efficiently and faster through your vessels.

However, cardio fitness is more than just for the heart. While your blood circulates through your body, it carries oxygen through your system and removes carbon dioxide and wastes as well. Through cardio exercises or aerobic (with oxygen) exercises, you can control your breathing and how much oxygen makes it through your entire body, especially the muscles. And, what better muscle to receive oxygen than the lungs?

Cardio exercises are proven to improve your lung function. Once your body and lungs are more accustomed to working out, you’ll notice an improvement in your respiratory system, such as being able to climb stairs without feeling so winded.

Cardio exercises are also proven to help your body rid carbon dioxide and other wastes faster from your cells. A buildup of these harmful wastes leads to respiratory failure.

Factors against You

As a senior, there are a few factors weighing against you in an effort to perform cardio exercises. These factors include:

• Osteoarthritis
• Failing kidneys
• More prone to pull a muscle
• Lung capacity may have declined due to smoking and inhaled pollution over the years

However, there are ways around these factors.

How Often You Should Exercise

You don’t have to exercise every day. In fact, it’s recommended to have at least one rest day, even for frequent bodybuilders. A good workout regimen is to work out three to four times a week, for 20-30 minutes.

Easy Cardio Exercises for Healthy Lungs

When most people think of “cardio” exercises, they think of strenuous workouts to get the heart pumping. However, think about your body; you could be out of breath and heart racing from climbing a few flights of stairs. So the below three exercises are considered easy cardio exercises and are great for the lungs. Just remember to control your breathing as you perform each.

Walking

The easiest and safest exercise for cardio workouts is walking. Every major muscle is used and your heart and breathing rate both increase. There is no better workout, especially for seniors. Your joints will thank you on this minimal impact workout routine. It’s best to walk on flat terrain, so you don’t trip up. You can do this activity in so many places:

• Your backyard
• Around the neighborhood
• Trail at the park
• Local high school track field
• The mall

You can walk slow or fast, just walk at your own pace. If you aren’t very active, just start out with 10 minutes a day, then gradually work your way up to 30 minutes a day. If you want to get 30 minutes in a day, but are not quite ready to go strong the entire time, break it up into three 10-minute intervals. To add some intensity to your workout, grab a 1 to 3 pound hand-weight during your walks. Have your friends join up with you for social time!

Light Jogging

The next step up after walking is jogging. Start each day with a brisk walk and ease into jogging. This gets your heart pumping and oxygen flowing through your body. Implement the same steps as you would for walking.

Water Activities

Swimming is such a great cardio exercise to get healthy lungs. It’s a full body workout. If you don’t know how to swim, taking lessons will help you. During the class, you’ll learn a few different breathing techniques which are best practices in and out of the water.

If you aren’t that interested in swimming, taking water aerobics classes is the next best thing. It’s less joint impact when compared to exercising on land. The Aquatic Exercise Association states that water aerobics is a great exercise regimen for seniors with diabetes, cardiovascular issues, arthritis, and back ailments.

Another way to get water aerobics in without the class is just to walk the pool. Grab yourself a pair of water shoes and get in; just walk near the edge of the pool to grip the sides for stability. You can walk faster to add more resistance or stop and stretch your legs backwards, forwards, and out to the sides.

Other great cardio exercises for healthy lungs include stationary or outdoor bicycling, jumping rope, skating, hiking, dancing, and kickboxing.

So get out there and fight for your healthy lungs. It’s a simple process and can be done with family and friends.

How to Care For a Senior Citizen At Home

Senior CitizenYou want the senior citizen in your life to get the best care possible, and when you care for a senior at home, you can provide them with just that. There’s a process for caring for a senior citizen at home. It requires time, patience, and the ability to understand their unique needs and meet them accordingly. By caring for a senior citizen at home, they can maintain their independence while staying in the comfort of their home and spend time each day with those closest to them.

Decide where the care will take place

The first step towards providing in-home care is deciding where the care will take place. Some people move a senior citizen into their own home, while others provide in-home care at the senior’s current residence. The best location for care is the one that’s most convenient for you, and where the senior citizen feels most comfortable.

Determine the need for medical care

While caring for a senior citizen at home, you’ll need to ensure their medical needs are met on an ongoing basis. You can hire medical professionals to care for a senior at home. They may come to the home on a daily basis to administer medication, take vitals, and provide similar as-needed medical treatment. If the need for consistent medical treatment isn’t present, the medical care may be provided out of home. You can determine the need for medical care and treatment with the senior’s current doctor to create an effective plan that ensures their medical needs are met.

Look into programs in your state

There are funding programs available that provide funds to those caring for senior citizens. The type of funding available, and the amount provided to the caregiver vary according to state. In order to find out more about the program available in your state, you’ll need to inquire with your local care agency. Some agencies have a waiting list, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible to guarantee funding for care.

Determine personal care needs

Some senior citizens require personal services if they’re unable to care for themselves. You may need to provide baths, showers, assist with going to the bathroom, dress the senior, and complete similar tasks. By determining areas of need for personal care, you can create a care schedule to make the process structured.

Create a meal chart

Creating a meal chart with the senior citizen prior to starting care will help you plan for buying groceries and making meals each week. You can include the senior in meal planning to involve them in the care, and choose meals that suit their individual taste. The meals you choose to make should be well-rounded and include all areas of the food chain.

Household Services

If you are caring for a senior citizen within their own home, providing household services is part of the care you’ll need to provide. Keeping up with the household duties ensures the house remains clean, and the services needed are dependent upon the homes activity level. General household services include; laundering clothing, doing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, wiping off counters and similar household chores.

Consider a live-in aid

In some cases you may want to provide your friend or loved one with at-home care, but may not have the time needed to provide them with the with one-on-one care they need. In this care, you can consider the use of a live-in aid. This type of aid doesn’t belong to the medical field in most cases, but can offer the services outlined above on an ongoing basis. The aid will provide complete care for a senior citizen, outside of medical care, unless certification is present. If the senior qualifies for funding, the entire cost of an at-home care aid may be covered.

Conclusion

Some people feel more comfortable in knowing they are the ones caring for a senior citizen, or are overlooking all areas of the seniors care. The process of caring for a senior citizen at home can be simple with the right schedule, structure, and ongoing routine.

What have you found most rewarding when caring for a senior citizen at home?

Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Cold Weather SeniorsThe seasons bring in many changes, including increased safety risks for seniors. The safety risks present while the seasons change are serious for seniors, more so than the general public. The higher risk level is due to higher injury rates and the prolonged healing process. There’re specific tips seniors can utilize during the hot and cold seasons to ensure their safety and protect them from injuries that could pose a risk to their health. By learning more about these safety tips, you can pass them along to those in need and may even save a life by providing valuable safety tools.

Cold weather tips

The cold weather brings in a lot of safety risks. The cold temperature, ice, and snow can make life challenging for the whole community. Senior citizens are especially susceptible to danger during the cold weather months, as slippery sidewalks and freezing cold weather create risks for both injuries and illnesses. By using the following tips you can reduce your risk, and enjoy the cold weather months without worrying.

Watch out for ice

Ice is one of the biggest dangers in the winter months for people of all ages. Seniors are even more so at risk due to balance issues and frail bones that can break with only a short fall. According to one doctor at Stanford Hospital, falls are the most common cause for injury for seniors and the risk is doubled during the cold weather seasons.

To avoid slipping on ice, you need to wear shoes with the right amount of traction. You also want to use non-skid soles to prevent slipping. You can purchase winter shows with special rope-like grips to help prevent falls in the winter, and they are comfortable enough to wear throughout the season.

Dress warm

Frostbite and hypothermia are more common than many realize. The CDC released information regarding these two conditions and stated that over half of hypothermia-related deaths during the cold weather months were in people over the age of 65. Even if you plan on going outside for a short time, you need to dress warm. Wearing layers, socks, a hat, gloves, and a scarf offers the protection you need to prevent the conditions noted in the ladder. The main goal is to keep your bodies internal temperature about 95 degrees.

Deal with depression

Seasonal depression is a common condition that’s caused by lack of vitamin D. During the cold weather month’s people spend less time in the sun, and the sun’s rays aren’t as strong. When seasonal depression occurs, it can bring on feelings of sadness, loneliness, and create isolation. These symptoms can cause a lot of damage to your overall well-being, and need prompt treatment to prevent progression.

Keep cool in the summer

While the cold weather months offer their own dangers, the hot weather poses serious risks for people of all ages- most importantly seniors. By learning about the common dangers present during the warm weather months, you can take the steps needed to reduce your risk of injury and illness from excessive heat exposure.

Dress for the heat

While dressing warm during the cold months is important, light clothing that allows for breathing and perspiration is crucial during the hot weather months. When you dress too warm, you’re not only building up your body’s core temperature, but you’re also increasing your risk of dehydration.

Stay hydrated

60% of the human body is made up of water. According to researchers, when your internal hydration level falls just slightly below that level, you’re increasing your risk of dehydration and the serious risks that can occur with this condition. In order to prevent dehydration, you need to drink 6-8 8oz glasses of water per-day. If you’re spending more time outdoors than usual, you want to add a half glass for each hour spent outdoors.

Keep cool indoors

Seniors can experience fluctuations in body temperature due to different health conditions and the medications used to treat the conditions. When you’re experiencing a rapid shift in body temperature, it’s easy to forget how warm it actually is indoors. Even if you don’t feel too hot, it’s important to keep your indoor environment cool to ward off conditions like heat stroke. To keep yourself cool while spending time indoors you can utilize the following:

Keep the lights turned down when it’s bright outside. The lights inside of your home can build up the indoor temperature faster than you think.

Keep your windows cracked during the warmest time of the day. Even if you have air conditioning running, allowing for circulation during the hottest time of the day will keep the air cooler than AC alone.

Plan shopping trips or errands for early in the day. As the day goes on, it becomes warmer outside, and the risk for conditions like heat stroke rises.

Stay cool outdoors

Senior citizens need to pay attention to how they feel while spending time outdoors. Often, seniors get outside during the day to socialize or take part in activities. However, noticing the signs of heat-related illness can prevent serious complications during the warm weather months. Signs of heat stroke include:

• Feeling faint
• Sudden thirst
• Feeling dizzy
• Loss of touch with reality

The second these symptoms occur; you need to seek help from a professional. A medical professional may not be available on the spot, but explaining your symptoms to someone else can get you the care that you need.

Conclusion

Don’t let the weather keep you cooped up indoors. Pair up with other senior citizens for some fun outdoor activities, and use the tips outlined above to keep stay safe during the changing seasons while you enjoy time with your loved ones.

Make sure to check out our Facebook page and get in on the conversation!

5 Stages of Breast Cancer

breastcancer3As you know, breast cancer develops and can spread rapidly through the body. In order for doctors to make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan, they must know which stage of breast cancer you are in. This process is called staging, of which the doctor can determine how large the tumor is and how far it has spread. Once the doctor has performed a biopsy of the tumor or lymph node, they can start making the determination. Let’s review how breast cancer spreads through the body and its five stages.

How Cancer Spreads Throughout the Body

The process of cancer spreading throughout the body is called Metastasis. When cancer reaches another part of your body and form a tumor, that new tumor is called a metastatic tumor.

A metastatic tumor is not a new type of cancer in your body. If you have breast cancer and the cancer cells spread to your lungs, it’s not lung cancer, it’s still breast cancer. You just have breast cancer cells in your lungs. When you put the cells under a microscope, they will look like the cells in your breast. The same holds true if it travels to your liver, stomach, ovaries, prostate, or any other area of your body.

Once cancer cells break away from the tumor, the cancer spreads through the body in three ways: via the tissue, the lymphatic system, or the blood.

1. Tissue – When the cancer cells spread in the local area, it travels via tissue.

2. Lymphatic system – Cancer can spread from its place or origin and get into your lymphatic system. This system is responsible for fighting infections in your body. So, this system carries your cells everywhere.

3. Blood – Your blood circulates throughout your entire body. Cancer cells can get into the blood and travel via your blood vessels.

The 5 Stages of Breast Cancer

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) recognizes breast cancer as having five main stages, stages one through five. However, they are generally written in Roman numerals, 0 through IV. Once your cancer spreads or gets worse, it is progressing. Staging consists of the three combinations of the following classifications:

1. The tumor’s size (T)
2. The number of lymph nodes found (N)
3. How far the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body (M)

Stages 0 through IV are considered the early forms or stages of the disease. Stages III and IV are considered advanced stages of breast cancer.

Stage 0

Stage 0 breast cancer is considered noninvasive. There is no threat that the cells will grow or spread.

Stage I

Stage I is invasive breast cancer. The tumor is smaller than 2 cm (about the width of your finger). There are two subcategories for Stage I breast cancer: 1A and 1B.

• 1A – The cancer cells have not spread outside the breast
• 1B – The cancer cells have traveled outside the breast into the lymph nodes. There may or may not be a tumor present in the breast.

Stage II

Stage II is invasive breast cancer. This stage also has two subcategories.

• 2A – The tumor is smaller than 2 cm, or there is no tumor found in the breast. However, cancer cells may be present in the lymph nodes. Breast cancer may also be considered stage 2A if the tumor is between 2 cm-5 cm and the cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

• 2B – The tumor is between 2 cm-5 cm, and the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. Breast cancer may also be considered stage 2B if the tumor is larger than 5 cm, but the cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage III

In stage III, the cancer is now locally advanced. This means the cancer has spread to other tissues in the breast or the lymph nodes; however, it has not made its way throughout the body to other sites. Stage III breast cancer has three subcategories.

• 3A – The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to one, two, or three lymph nodes. The tumor could also be of any size, but has spread through multiple lymph nodes.

• 3B – The tumor is of any size and has spread through breast tissues, the chest and skin muscles, and there may be signs in the lymph nodes in the breast or underarm.

• 3C – The tumor is of any size and has spread to more than 10 underarm lymph nodes. Alternatively, the cancer may be found in the lymph nodes around the collarbone, in the breast, and/or under the arm.

Stage IV

Stage IV is considered metastatic breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. The cancer has spread beyond its origin point. It’s not localized anymore. This is when the lungs, brain, liver, and other sites are affected. At this point, treatment can extend a patient’s life; however, the cancer is incurable.

Once your breast cancer stage has been identified, you and your doctor will discuss treatment options. As you can see, knowing the early signs of breast cancer may prevent you from reaching stage IV breast cancer.

5 Signs of Breast Cancer

breast cancerBreast cancer can attack anyone, at any age. According to BreastCancer.org, 1 in 8 women in America will develop invasive breast cancer, and 1 in 1,000 men will develop it. Breast cancer is the second most fatal cancer for women in the United States. The earlier the cancerous cells are detected, the better your chances for survival. Here are a few of the common signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

The Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

There is no one pin-point reason for having breast cancer; however, there are common signs and symptoms exhibited in men and women. The most common signs of breast cancer in women are breast pain, discharge in the nipple, and lumps in the breast. For men, they will experience a non-painful mass, generally below the nipple.

Breast Pain

As stated above, breast pain is one of the most common signs of breast cancer… that’s noticed. This is usually a later symptom, not exhibited in the beginning stages of breast cancer. Due to women not performing self-breast exams often or not having a regularly scheduled mammogram, the earliest symptom, breast lumps, goes unnoticed. So women see their doctor once the pain develops.

Not all types of breast cancers cause pain, and in fact, the majority of the time a woman experiences pain in the breast, it is not caused by breast cancer. These pains can be recurring or non-recurring. If it’s a recurring pain lasting more than a few months, it’s advised to see your doctor. If the pain concerned is focal (just one spot in the breast) and the pain progresses, this is an indication to see your doctor.

The tricky part about breast pain in women is that it’s very common. The female body goes through many changes. This is just a few days before they start their menstrual cycle, lasting the entire cycle. It’s also common for premenopausal women. During those changes, the breast area can become sore. Other times, there may be a benign lump in the breast causing pain. A benign lump is one that is not cancerous. Breast pain can also be associated with pregnancy or trauma.

Nipple Discharge

Another common symptom of breast cancer is nipple discharge. Discharge can be normal, so it’s important to understand the difference in your discharge. If you squeeze your breast and have a discharge, this is normal. Even having a milky or green colored discharge is considered safe, since women produce milk. A few causes for concern include:

  • If your breast discharges without you disturbing it (squeezing it)
  • If your discharge is clear or bloody
  • If it’s an excessive amount of discharge and you’re not breastfeeding or haven’t recently
  • If the discharge is just from one spot on your nipple as opposed to multiple spots

Lumps in the Breast

The most noticeable cause of breast cancer in its early stage is the development of lumps in the breast. A breast is naturally lumpy, making it difficult to distinguish a cancerous lump. As women become somewhat familiar with their body, they tend to learn any masses in their breasts. However, they may not perform their self-exams frequently or not at all. The new developments of lumps are the cause for alarm. The women that are committed to performing their breast self-examinations are the ones that save their own lives.

Changes in the Breast

Watch out for changes in the breast. If you notice your breast has enlarged, or your nipple has retracted, this is something you want to talk to your doctor about. A sudden appearance of veins on the breast also should be checked out. This is not always cause for alarm though. If your breast enlarges, your tissue grows as well. So your veins will also grow.

Other changes to watch out for in your breast is if your skin starts to dimple. These are visible depressions in your breast, of which you can see best if you lift your arm straight in the air. If your breast’s texture changes, such as to that of an orange peel, or starts to peel, scale, or flake, you need to schedule an exam.

Issues with Other Areas of the Body

Signs of breast cancer are not always limited to the breast area. Rapid weight loss and lumps or swelling in the armpit area are also signs of breast cancer. Cancer cells can eat away at your body’s energy, making you lose weight rapidly. Losing 10 pounds or more is cause for concern.

Breast cancer can spread throughout the body. It spreads to the lymph nodes, and the closest occurrence is the lymph nodes directly under the arm or around the collarbone.

A breast exam with your doctor is the best way to diagnose if you do, in fact, have cancerous cells in your breast. This is determined by a mammogram, biopsy, ultrasound, or sometimes an MRI. These tests are not always conclusive, so you should visit your doctor a few weeks later if you are experiencing increased symptoms.

5 Reasons Why Seniors Are Going Back To School

Senior Life is an ongoing learning process, and for senior citizens, the need to go back to school and continue your education is more popular than ever. While senior citizens previously believed that school was only for the younger generation, new information has become available, and there are several important reasons why returning to school as a senior citizen is a great idea.

If you or a loved one are considering furthering your education, you may want to read below and learn about five big reasons why senior citizens are advancing their education. If you haven’t considered enrollment in a college program, the information outlined below can be enough to convenience you to enroll in a new course this upcoming year.

1. Reduces memory related conditions

In order to reduce memory problems due to dementia and related conditions, exercising your brain is an important process that needs to continue throughout your entire life. When you provide your brain with new information, such as that gained through an educational program, you’re offering it with new activity that wards away memory related conditions by stimulating the brain. According to researchers, exercising your brain is the most important step you can take to prevent cognitive dysfunction. When you enroll in an advanced education program, even for an hour a week, you’re providing your brain with the tools it needs to stay strong.

2. You can learn for free

According to recent information, this upcoming fall, many senior citizens will be returning to school because they can- free of charge. Several colleges are offering senior citizens the chance to return to school without footing the bill. If they’d like to enroll in a class, all they have to do is sign up and there’s no fees involved in most college programs. This free admission program applies to anyone above the age of 55, and is available at select colleges.

3. Creates diversity

According to statistics, senior citizens already make up more than 13 percent of the U.S population. By allowing senior citizens to take part in classes for free, it’s creating diversity for both the senior citizens and the students. Senior citizens and new students have very diverse opinions, and when everyone is brought into the classroom together creates more discussions and a better learning experience.

4. Various perspectives

Bringing people of different generators offers different perceptions that can shed new light on topics. The people of the same generations have similar options, so when you bring new ages into the classroom you’re creating the opportunity for even more learning. The generational differences are the main reason behind the free tuition for senior citizens, as colleges see the learning opportunities that are presented when diversity is created.

5. New activities

Senior citizens can become bored when they’re not presented with new activities. Colleges offer a wide-variety of learning activities they can take advantage of. College subjects range from foreign policy, music, art, philosophy, current event, cooking, and several others. The learning opportunities are endless when senior citizens enroll in a college class.

Conclusion

Enrolling in a new class this coming fall is a simple process. If you’re enrolling yourself or helping a senior citizen, you know enroll, you’ll need to fill out an application and see which courses are being offered for free. Some colleges offer the ability to enroll in classes that aren’t filled by paying students, while others offer free enrollment for all classes. You’ll need to inquire with your local college to learn more about their enrollment process and the classes available to you this upcoming semester. Most colleges and universities have clearly outlined guidelines for senior enrollment and will be happy to provide you with this information once you make a call into the admissions office.

Are you considering enrollment in a new college class this upcoming fall? We’d love to hear what classes you plan to enroll in, and what sparked your interest in that particular subject.