‘Health & Wellness’ Posts

Osteoporosis and Arthritis Affect The Life of Many Seniors

May 27th, 2017 by Doris Bersing

Also known as the elderly disease, osteoporosis is a chronic disease that affects the bones. Several of the most serious consequences are fractures; in senior people, these have a detrimental effect on their general wellbeing. Osteoporosis affects the quality of one’s lifestyle, and even though there are preventive treatments that one can opt for, there’s no definitive treatment.

 

An undertreated disease

Many seniors don’t take osteoporosis seriously, and they undergo treatment when the disease is too advanced. There are things you can do to prevent its onset. For example, you should quit smoking and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Including healthy foods in your daily diet, and exercising is extremely important. Furthermore, a physician may recommend supplementation and vitamins to help strengthen the bones and restore mobility.

Why aren’t older seniors receiving proper treatment for osteoporosis?

Most seniors don’t get proper treatment because the symptoms are misleading. In other cases, they might even receive the wrong treatment. Some don’t want to consult with a physician, and choose to take supplements or vitamins at random. With a complete set of blood tests, it’s literally impossible to keep the condition under control.

In time, osteoporosis can severely affect your lifestyle. Sadly, the system is faulty and it needs to improve. There are seniors who can’t afford medical insurance, and even if they do, oftentimes prescription medication to keep the condition under control is not discounted. This discourages the elderly from buying them.

Preventive measures

If osteoporosis is spotted in time, it can easily be supervised. However, without a change in lifestyle and diet, there’s really not much you can do. It’s crucial that you convince your aging parent to eat more dairy products, vegetables, lean meat and fruits. Proper nutrition matters because it strengthens the bones and keeps the whole body feeling strong and vigorous. Also, it’s equally important to take walks and engage in mild exercise. Vitamin D matters just as much as best source of the power of the sun. In senior adults vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. Bone cartilages become extremely weak as people age. To prevent bone loss, supplementation might be required. However, seniors are not advised to take supplements at random. Visiting a physician is recommended, to make sure you are given the right type of treatment.

Is your mom or dad losing a lot of weight?

Do you feel that your mom or dad is losing a lot of weight, too fast? Osteoporosis is the kind of disease that doesn’t always present clear symptoms. It can be tough to tell that your parent has weak bones. In some circumstances, the symptoms may come too late. The good news is there are things you can do to make things better.

Take mom to the doctor’s office and get a bone density test. The most popular type of test is the DEXA. It’s a painless test that only takes a few minutes, and it is extremely accurate. Following the results, you should start the treatment. You shouldn’t wait because things can get worse, and you wouldn’t want to see mom struggle to get out, walk or get out of bed.

Misdiagnosis

Whether we like it or not, we have to mention that oftentimes physicians make mistakes. Older adults don’t get the right treatment because their condition is misdiagnosed. Osteoporosis must not be confused with arthritis.  To begin with, osteoporosis is a chronic disease that affects bone density. Basically, fractures occur more often when you suffer from osteoporosis. In the US, over 53 million older adults suffer from this condition. The side effects are acute: back pain, height loss and evident changes in body posture. Bone tissue is lost, and your parent’s physical condition may be severely affected triggering impairment and the inability to perform daily activity, such as walk or lift heavy items.  Bottom line is the body becomes extremely fragile with age. As a last resort, you may be compelled to consider care homes or assisted living facilities where professional caregivers will be with your parent every step of the way, providing treatment and extra care. But if you start treatment ahead of time, you have the best chances of postponing the onset of osteoporosis.

Age-Associated Changes in Metabolism

March 22nd, 2017 by Doris Bersing

How our bodies process the food we eat

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow your metabolism is between the ages of 10-30, you’ve probably heard that it’s a slippery slide into obesity past that point. Aunts and moms are generally those who love sharing nuggets of wisdom such as, “enjoy it while you can” and “after 30 it’s all downhill”. Based on that, we could conclude that there is some magical change that happens at the exact moment we celebrate our 30th birthday, causing the body’s metabolism to suddenly slow down to a crawl. Though it’s true that metabolism slows down with age, there’s no single turning point or cause why that happens.

We cannot deny that our metabolism has its ownups and downs. However, there’s no reason to fear any particular birthday more than any other when it comes to the way the body functions. The metabolism slows down as we age. That happens because it goes hand in hand with hormonal changes that happen over the course of years and decades.

Hormonal changes and a slowing metabolism are fundamental parts of aging, but there are ways to stave off both, if only for a little bit. Read on to find out what experts have to say about the process of metabolism slowing down and what healthy habits help curb that.

Metabolism is the speed with which the body turns calories from food into usable energy

No matter what we’re doing, our bodies are hard at work doing things such as extracting oxygen from the air, healing damaged cells and pumping out hormones. For all that, the body uses calories, and their combined worth in a single day is called “basal metabolic rate” (BMR). This differs from one individual to another, and a way to find out your BMR is to have your doctor check it for you or use an online calculator.

You will spend more calories when jogging, doing pushups or sprinting, but your BMR value tends to remain constant, since it’s controlled by your hormones. Genes, gender, body type and age also affect the BMR. As we grow older, the hormones within our bodies begin to change, affecting the way our bodies burn calories and store fat. When hormones are released in different quantities, our basal metabolic rate begins to fluctuate.

Biggest metabolic rate changes are related to menopause

The metabolism tends to grind to a halt way after 30, and generally around menopause. The average women see their metabolisms change is at the age of 50, when they get into menopause. The most notable hormone responsible for metabolism is estrogen. When it starts decreasing, the metabolism takes a big hit. Harvard Health also mentions the human growth hormone (HGH), released from the pituitary gland. It also slows down to a trickle as we grow older, since it regulates our muscle mass and fat burning. Muscles tend to grow slower as we age and break up faster. Since muscles are more metabolically active than fat cells, they are a huge factor in whether your BMR will slow down or speed up.

Post-30 weight gain is mostly due to lifestyle changes

People’s metabolisms slowly decline throughout 30s and 40s, but the weight gain is mostly caused by general lifestyle changes that you might not be aware of. We love to exercise in our 20s, but as we age and get to 30, we lose interest because we’re too focused on our careers or kids.

The silver lining: Faster metabolism is related to more physical activity

You can’t escape your genes, but you can take care of your body to make a difference. Even if someone has good genes and has looked skinny their entire life, a lack of physical exercise and proper dieting may trigger weight gain. It’s very important to try and restore muscle mass.

Eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and working out can help the metabolism get back on track. Why wait for your body to break down, when you can look and feel amazing at 50? Sure there might be lots of nursing homes near me just waiting for seniors to jump in, but if you eat right and exercise, you can live alone at home and be healthy. That’s the definition of a fulfilled lifestyle!

Health And Safety Tips For Seniors Living With Dementia

October 24th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Managing DementiaDementia can affect a person in any number of ways, so it’s important to take care of the mind, body, and spirit in equal measure after a diagnosis of the disease. Although it is associated most closely with memory loss, there are physical and emotional tolls as well. It is most commonly caused by changes in the brain brought on by Alzheimer’s disease or more than one stroke and can bring on violent behavior, problems with language skills, and trouble with day-to-day activities.

For individuals who have not been placed in assisted living but need help in their day-to-day, there are many things for loved ones to think about concerning their safety and wellbeing. It’s helpful to go around their living space and assess any possible dangers or hazards; upgrades may need to be made in order to keep them comfortable, happy, and safe. Jim Vogel, offers here few of the best tips on how to do just that.

Encourage cognition: It’s important for sufferers of dementia to keep their minds active, so encourage them to play word games or simply tell stories about their life. Remembrance is a good thing, even when it involves a sad memory, because it keeps the individual in the present and helps them focus.

Keep them social: Loneliness can quickly lead to depression, so it’s important to make sure your loved one stays active and social. Help them find a group activity or club to join, such as a book group that meets once a week. Finding something they love and can stay active in will help immensely with mood and cognition, and it will give them a goal as well as something to look forward to.

Daily exercise is a must: Daily exercise is great for the body, but it’s good for the mind and mood, too. Activity can boost brain function and help stimulate positive feelings, so help your loved one get out and get moving. Daily walks in sturdy shoes are perfect, as is swimming, golfing, gardening, and anything else they might enjoy that won’t put a strain on them physically.

Safety measures: It’s important to know what your loved one’s specific needs are before assessing their living space. If dementia has progressed to a certain point, you might consider implementing safety measures such as door alarms and personal emergency alarms. Look around every room and check for properly installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, adequate lighting, and trip hazards such as slippery rugs, clutter, or furniture. Bathrooms will need to be checked for safety hazards as well; non-slip rubber mats should be placed on the floor and in the tub, and handrails or shower seats are always advisable. And if you’re loved one takes any medication, take control of their daily doses. Doing so will help them avoid becoming addicted to medications, such as opioids, and dangerous side effects from incorrect dosage.

If the dementia diagnosis is linked to Alzheimer’s, it’s important to understand the side effects of both, as they may differ from person to person. Alzheimer’s can cause physical issues such as vision loss and balance problems, so it’s imperative to make sure your loved one’s home can accommodate them safely. Stairs may be a problem to navigate; make sure the handrails are in good shape and the stairwell is well lit.

Lastly, keep up good communication with your loved one and make sure they know you’re there for them. Help them keep in touch with other family members and friends and offer to assist them with doctor appointments; every little thing helps.

 

Can the Health Care Reform Really Help with Long Term Care?

October 24th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

healthcare reformThe health care system plays a very important role for every country around the world. Through well-established rules and laws as well as a good health reform, the long term care can and should be constantly improved. This way, every citizen of every country might benefit from the best health care conditions no matter the situation. There are numerous factors that add up to the equation. All of these highly influence the overall results of the quality of national long term care. Let’s analyze this more in detail below.

The Effects of the Well-being of the Families on the Stability of the National Economy

A good, effective health care system is first of all good for the citizens of any country or better said for any human being on Earth. We all need medical care sooner or later and a perfectly established system can only prove to be beneficial for us. Moreover, when families in a certain state are doing well from this point of view as well as others, this is also highly beneficial for the overall quality of the national economy.

All these factors go hand in hand. As a result, when all details are carefully considered, the end-results are noticeable and beneficial both for the citizens and the country they live in. The nation’s economic stability highly depends on the well-being of its inhabitants. Moreover, it is also influenced by proper support systems ensured for people dealing with health disabilities. These focus on offering them the chance to integrate well in society.

The state in itself could not help with long term care better than by imposing effective health reforms. These should be developed for the citizens and by keeping their needs and requirements as the main concern and focus. The factors involved in this case are numerous and varied. However, proper care for patients should always be on top of the list. As a result, every new rule and any new system should come accordingly.

A Good Health Reform for Restoring National Prosperity

The reality is that many people are skeptical when they hear about the health reform. Their concerns are not necessarily related to the existence of the health reform but rather to how effective it might actually be for the overall national well-being.

There is nothing wrong with the concept itself. However, it is more than important to make sure that the rules will ensure the well-being of the country and its citizens. Moreover, such changes should not bring any negative effects or leave any type of needs uncovered. The purpose is to restore prosperity for families as well as the national economy and the fiscal health.

A well-established health reform developed by specialists with both theoretical and practical experience is essential. Furthermore, it will ensure affordable health care for everyone. Moreover, it is also vital for slowing general price growth in the case of health entitlement programs

expenditure

Focus on the Needs of People Who Need Long-Term Care

When it comes to long-term care, a health reform becomes even more important and necessary. Why is that? Because these people need a perfect system to ensure that their needs are fully covered the entire period of time they need proper care. It is not about going to the doctor for a single visit or treatment in their case. They need constant assistance, proper medication availability and prescriptions. They also need people specialized in offering them the support they need.

Furthermore, the need for long-term care is not just limited to people reaching their senior age. There are also numerous adults and young people dealing with health issues that require long-term care. A health reform should include all these situations and establish the perfect conditions for all citizens. No need to just encourage families to plan ahead. These people need serious, realistic solutions that will be advantageous both for them and the national economy system.

A Serious National Concern

All in all, the great majority of Medicaid spending goes for appropriate services for long-term care patients. A good health reform could target such needs of the population. This would allow it to strengthen the healthcare requirements of the citizens thus ensure a stronger Medicaid system for the future.

There arealso certain Medicaid post-acute type of care services that could find place in the system. These could fill-in for certain long-term care needs that might be uncovered at the moment due to system breaches. There are effective solutions to find and adopt such as good care homes in London but this is only possible through a well-established system like the national health reform.

Social connection is key for senior well-being

August 24th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Visiting your eldersWhen talking healthy aging, we need to stress the fact that social connection is key for senior’s well-being. Loneliness and isolation can have serious consequences for seniors’ physical and mental health.

Social isolation and loneliness go hand in hand with poor health outcomes. Numerous side effects have been connected to social isolation in the elderly, including dementia, loneliness, and severe depression. Aging parents want to feel included in the lives on their loved ones; sadly, very few have the time to come visit. To make sure our beloved mothers and fathers stay happy and help preserve their general health, it is important to include them in our lives. Edward Francis from Forest, an eldercare village, gives us some tips on how to reduce elders’  loneliness and some ways to help them reconnect with family and friends.

Make transportation accessible

The main cause of social isolation in aging parents is lack of transportation. Most seniors are not in the capacity to drive, so it is important to help them get around in order to socialize and make independent choices. If your parents leave someplace where public transportation is not available, it might be a good idea to call them and ask if they need a lift. Do this twice a week. If you can’t, ask a friend or send them a taxi. Some seniors don’t even know they have public transportation in the area; make time to visit and teach them how to use the bus or the train. It will make them feel more independent, and even prevent a sense of loneliness.

Give aging parents a sense of purpose

Seniors who have hobbies or a sense of purpose are less likely to become isolated. Apart from making seniors find meaning in life, interests and hobbies are social activities by nature. Playing bridge or chess, cooking classes, exercising are all excellent activities aging parents should do to stay entertained. Local senior centers have all sorts of events planned out for seniors; checking those out might also be a great way to meet new people and interact. Doing some volunteering work is an excellent way of expressing and preserving a sense of purpose as well. Encouraging aging parents to stay active and engaged keeps them away from becoming lonely and isolated from the rest of the world.

Encourage your parents to get a pet

Research has demonstrated over and over again that the mere act of caring and nurturing relieves feelings of depression and social isolation. Getting a pet for example, is a great way of staying engaged, feeling more secure and having motivation to use time in a constructive way. Animal companionship fosters relationships with neighborhoods. It is a social stimulant, an icebreaker that gives seniors a serious reason to wake up in the morning and do fun things. Prior to recommending your parent to get a pet, you need to make sure that they can take care of it.

Boosting self-esteem

Many seniors don’t want to socialize because they have a poor image of themselves, particularly of their bodies. Those who lack confidence are prone to being lonelier than those that do choose to interact and have a social life. For instance, overweight seniors feel embarrassed and ashamed; they don’t like to engage because they fear that people will judge their physical appearance. Positive comments and compliments can go a very long way; they help boost self-esteem and prevent seniors from freaking out over their weight and physical appearance. It might be a good idea to encourage your aging parent to adhere to a healthier lifestyle; not just to lose weight, but also to feel better and more self-assured in their own skin.

Recommend vision and hearing tests

Seniors suffering from untreated or undiagnosed hearing or vision issues may want to stay isolated because of their inability to communicate properly. In this case, it might be a good idea to take your parents to the doctor; have them checked out and treated so that they can be back on their feet. A hearing aid can help them overcome their fears of social interaction. Vision tests are equally important because they will allow older people to see better and thus pay more attention to the things happening around them.

Senior parents who refuse to socialize usually have a very good reason for their behavior. It’s up to you to find the root cause of their depression; then you can work together on a solution. In most cases, it’s all about boosting their self-esteem and convincing them that they can have friends and be happy even if they’re in their 70s or 80s.

 

Summer Skin Care Tips For Seniors

June 4th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

summer skin care

Ruth Folger Weiss (a writer for the New Eastwood Rehab and Healthcare Center, a nursing home in Easton, PA. shares with us, valuable skin care tips for seniors to practice this coming summer.

For many, summer is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, but the sun rays can potentially be dangerous to all ages and skin types. Because aging skin is so delicate, it is highly susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays and the most at risk. While it’s important to be conscious about caring for and protecting your skin, that doesn’t mean it has to ruin your summer. Discover the secrets of caring for aging skin and create a summer skincare regimen that’s right for you.

  • Make moisturizing part of your routine. Seniors are more at risk of dehydration in the warm weather, so it’s important to moisturize. Find a lotion or ointment that you love and use it around the clock to prevent your skin from drying out throughout the day.
  • Blast away bugs with repellent. Bug bites aren’t fun for anyone, but a senior getting bit can be a tremendously irritating experience. Not only are bug bites pesky and itchy, but you also have to consider the diseases bugs carry. To prevent these issues, apply bug spray every day.
  • Shield with sunscreen. Sun protection is the most important step in a senior citizen’s skincare routine throughout the summer. The sun is harmful to all skin types no matter what age, but can be extremely damaging to the elderly. Apply sunscreen every day as a precaution. If you plan on being out in the sun for an extended amount of time, apply sunscreen liberally and often.
  • Wash away dirt and grime. Washing your face before going to bed is a great ritual to help combat dry and flakey skin. Remember to use face cleanser that contains moisturizers to help prevent dry skin. Using soap alone can strip away the natural oils that your skin produces, doing more damage to your skin than good.
  • Avoid overexposure! Spending too much time in the sun can cause major damage to your skin. Even if you apply sunscreen every hour, you are still at risk for sun damage. If you know you’ll be in the sun for a decent chunk of time, apply sunscreen and wear protective gear, like a wide-brimmed hat or light-weight clothes that conceals as much skin as possible.

You only get one set of skin, so make sure you do everything that you can to prolong its natural beauty. While the summer season certainly presents its challenges for seniors, it doesn’t have to determine whether or not you enjoy the warm weather. Follow this senior skin care regimen for making the most out of your summer!

4 Things to Remember to Promote Positive Mental Health in Your Golden Years

May 21st, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Living Well Senior Care in San FranciscoJim Vogel (*) shares with us 4 things to remember to promote mental wellness in seniors. He says maintaining mental health in your golden years is an important component of overall well-being. Seniors are at risk for memory loss, depression, suicide, and mood disorders. Activities that promote an active body and mind can help prevent these ailments and improve the overall quality of life. As you approach your golden years, there are a few important things to keep in mind that will keep you on the path to wellness.

  1. Retirement isn’t for everyone.

It’s becoming more and more common for seniors to take on part-time jobs as a way to get out of the house, socialize, and earn some extra spending money. Working two days a week as a cashier provides a way to make friends in the form of coworkers and also keeps your brain working as you count back change and help customers with their purchases. It also guarantees that you have a reason to get out of the house regularly.

Working part-time can be hugely beneficial in fighting depression as many seniors find themselves staying home and becoming isolated, whether due to mobility challenges that prevent them from leaving the house, or simply not having a good reason to get out and get moving. On top of these mental benefits, most part time jobs require some physical activity whether it be standing, walking, or lifting. Being physically active even a few days per week ensures the body will stay healthy as well as the mind.

  1. Morning Walks Are a Great Start

Exercise is hugely important to mental well-being as well as physical. Exercise has been shown to have positive impacts in combating the symptoms of anxiety and depression – two common mental health issues which a disproportionate number of seniors suffer from. Rather than paying to join a gym or purchasing a home workout video, simply take a morning walk. Morning walks serve a number of purposes beyond exercise. They coax you to get out of bed every morning, they provide an opportunity to socialize with neighbors, and they guarantee you some fresh air. Starting your morning by greeting your neighbors, admiring gardens and flowers, and breathing the morning air is a great start to a positive day.

  1. Hobbies, new and old, never hurt.

Hobbies stimulate both body and mind and can also create opportunities for socialization. The local senior centers are a wonderful place to find (or teach) craft classes which allow you to enjoy a relaxing activity and also socialize. Attending craft classes let you meet like-minded people who enjoy the same hobbies. What’s more, most senior centers offer access to transportation services, so you don’t have to worry about driving your car or taking public transportation, particularly if mobility is a challenge for you.

Hobbies have been shown to reduce stress, even if done in the comfort of your own home. Things such as knitting, quilting, and crocheting are rising in popularity for their utility. A year of making hats, blankets, and scarves means you can save money on Christmas shopping, too, offering beautiful handmade items with a personal touch.

  1. Seniors get free college.

A number of schools in the United States have free programs for seniors who are returning to school whether or not they are degree-seekers. Lifelong learning keeps the mind sharp and attending college courses has even more benefits. Returning to school part-time or simply taking a class or two that interests you provides an opportunity to socialize with your classmates, plus you have a reason to get out of the house and explore your local college campus.

Furthermore, if you were unable to get the degree you always wanted in your youth, acquiring a degree can bring feelings of accomplishment and pride. Even if your local colleges don’t have a senior plan, many will allow you to sit in on classes for free. It’s never too late to cross things off your bucket list.

Becoming a senior comes with a new set of challenges. Maintaining mental health and physical fitness is a top priority which can become more difficult with age. Though most people consider retirement to be a nice, quiet part of life, it may be in your best interests to stay active. Getting a job, exercising, learning a new craft, or going back to school – all of these things enable a relaxing, enjoyable retirement that’s also healthy and active.

(*) Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.

Thank you Jim and Caroline for your insight. It takes a village to care for our elders.