We’re excited to present the second installment of our new question and answer series. We hope that you continue to find this series helpful and that you will share questions with us for our next post! Please use the hashtag #AskPremierHHC on Twitter, or share a question with us in the “Comments” section on our Facebook posts. Thanks to all for your feedback and questions.

1. What are dark spots and how do you get rid of them?

It’s important to note that while skin changes as we age, becoming thinner, bruising more easily and showing signs of wear and damage, these changes can also signal health issues. Annual screenings to monitor the condition of our skin is critical. Seek medical help when there’s a noticeable difference in skin color or texture, or a birth mark has changed.

Home health aides from Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. can help clients with day-to-day tasks such as applying sunscreen, moisturizing and general grooming to help maintain healthy skin. Any skin care plan your dermatologist recommends can also be managed with your Premier Home Health Care team.

Dark spots specifically can be a sign of stress our skin has endured. Jolene Edgar of Allure magazine interviewed several dermatologists who explained that whether it’s sun exposure over time, the breakdown of skin from age, the effects of hormones and blemishes, or even excessively gritty facial scrubs, dark spots can appear. And as our skin becomes more delicate with age (and has had more exposure to potentially damaging effects), dark spots can become more prevalent with age.

David Bank, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University/Presbyterian Hospital, stated in the Allure article, that not only should we wear sunscreen daily, but we should look for mineral sunscreens. He explained: “Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are the only ones that protect against the full spectrum of light.”

Recommendations for how to get rid of these spots (known as hyperpigmentation) abound – from magazines to online sites. The most commonly recommended products contain retinol or spa treatments that involve peels. Some include home remedies with simple ingredients (such as cinnamon) in a paste. But we strongly urge you to speak with a health care professional before trying any product or recipe to avoid possible allergies or interactions with current medications.

Another helpful practice to keep your skin healthy skin is to maintain a healthy diet. The Mayo Clinic explains that while there is still more research that’s needed to pinpoint which foods are best for healthy skin, there is evidence to show that foods rich in antioxidants can help combat skin aging and damage.

Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts and leafy greens. Reader’s Digest reports that red graphs have 2,016 total antioxidants per serving, and raisins have 2,490. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants (with 9,019 per cup), but wild blueberries contain even more than the farmed variety. Eating one cup of wild blueberries provides 13,427 total antioxidants (which is about 10 times the USDA’s recommendation).

Diets to maintain healthy skin and overall wellness can be difficult to maintain for those who struggle with health challenges. Your Premier Home Health Care home health care team can ensure that nutritious meals are prepared with fresh foods that are packed with antioxidants.

  1. Is it better to visit my grandfather with my kids for the social benefits of the visit even if the children have a cold, or is it best for them to stay home?

Writing in LiveScience, author Fred Cicetti noted his own personal physician had explained that, children “…come up with new germs older people haven’t developed antibodies for.” He also reported that according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the number of colds per school-age child “can be as high as 12 a year.”

The common cold leads to a significant number of sinus infections and upper respiratory infections in adults each year, and the threat to older adults and adults with pulmonary conditions (such as asthma or COPD) can be serious. In 2015, Pharmacy Today reported: “Consider this: researchers studied 191 patients with pneumococcal pneumonia…Forty-eight patients (52%) had RVIs before developing pneumonia, and about 10% of those infections were rhinoviruses. Having a preceding RVI doubled the likelihood of developing severe pneumococcal pneumonia.”

While the benefits of a fun family visit are very important for overall wellbeing, the risk of an elder family member catching a cold can be serious. Our immunity gradually depletes as we age. For those who have existing conditions, the risk from a cold can be serious.

If anyone is sick, consider rescheduling that family visit when everyone is feeling better. In the meantime, schedule time for phone calls or video calls (such as through Skype or Facetime).

If contact cannot be avoided, try to avoid direct contact. Instruct children to cough and sneeze into their elbow. Wash hands and wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes. Your Premier home health aide can help with housekeeping and the monitoring of clients during and following exposure to colds. Our team will also help manage care in the event a client becomes ill with a cold or other illness.

  1. My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her doctor recommended she put together puzzles regularly. Can this really help?

Research does point to a connection between brain stimulation and better functioning. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that, “…research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells.”

Playing games, attending intellectually stimulating activities (such as lectures, continuing education classes, or going to plays), gardening, reading, writing, crossword puzzles and other kinds of puzzles are recommended. Adult day care centers can offer an array of these activities. Adult day care and home health care can work beautifully together to provide therapies, classes and social interaction to keep the mind active.

Puzzles can be a fun way to create something beautiful and stimulate the mind. Games and puzzles can create opportunities for adults and children to play together, keeping both engaged and stimulated. The AARP also offers an array of online games that can be fun and challenging.

Thank you for your questions, and please keep them coming! To learn more about Premier Home Health Care, please call 1-866-648-5119.