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Seniors and Pet Ownership: Tips in Caring for Our Four-Legged Companions

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Whether you enjoy the company of dogs, cats, or even iguanas, pets have been proven to benefit seniors in plenty of ways. For many, they have become an integral part of the family. In fact, assisted-living facilities have adopted a few animals from shelters to keep residents company and uplift their spirits. Pet ownership has helped so many seniors by keeping them physically active, providing emotional support, and even improving cardiovascular health.

 

However, keeping up with your pet’s needs may not be as easy as it was when you were younger. Elderly individuals may be at a disadvantage when matched with highly-energetic pets. The costs of pet care are also a big consideration in this situation, especially when you have your own care costs to contend with.

To keep all the hassles and stresses at bay, we have listed a few tips in living a happy life with your beloved pets.

  1. Care providers who include pets

Many care providers include pet care in their list of services. This may consist of dog walking, pet sitting, boarding, grooming, and even training. So check with your care providers if they can also accommodate your pets.

  1. Maintain a regular schedule for feeding and walking

Schedules and routines do not just benefit the animals; these also can help you maintain a good quality of life. Create a schedule for you and your pets to eliminate surprises and memory lapses that could possibly come with old age.

  1. Set a spending limit and sticking to it

Though pets undeniably cost money, these expenses can be cut down to affordable amounts. Many veterinarians offer senior discounts, so check if yours provides any for special rates.

There are also various pet-care support programs, like selected Meals on Wheels, which help seniors in providing food for their pets. Low-cost clinics are also a great option for individuals on a budget.

  1. Create an emergency plan

Individuals get affected by emergencies, which is why they plan and prepare for it. This is also true for our pets. As their caretakers, it is your duty to ensure their safety before, during, and after an unforeseen incident.

Using Ready.gov’s list of steps to take, you will be able to safeguard and care for your pets through pet and animal emergency planning. Through this, you get to rest soundly knowing that they are protected even when you are not present.

ALTCP.org provides free long term care information, resources, long term care insurance quotes and expert planning advice for seniors and adults. Our mission is to raise awareness and promote self-education on the need to plan for long term care and buy long term care insurance.

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By | 2017-06-25T18:04:33+00:00 June 26th, 2017|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Seniors and Pet Ownership: Tips in Caring for Our Four-Legged Companions

Guest Blog: 4 Legal Documents Every Senior Needs

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Before your loved one has a health scare, it’s important to have these legal documents ready to protect them and your family. Start the conversation early about your loved one’s healthcare wishes and end-of-life care. Learn what legal documents every senior needs by reading on!

1. Last Will and Testament

Having a will ensures your loved one’s wishes for their estate are properly carried out after their death. If a person doesn’t have a will, state law determines what happens to their assets. It’s recommended that your loved one update their will every five years to keep up with changing circumstances in day-to-day life.

2. Advanced Directive

If your loved one is ever unable to make decisions for themselves due to memory loss or a serious health condition, the family is left to make decisions for them which could lead to disagreements about your loved one’s wishes. An advanced directive, also know as a living will, is a document used to specify your loved one’s health care decisions ahead of time. They can accept or refuse certain types of care (e.g. feeding tube, oxygen administration, life support, etc.) depending on what their wishes are.

3. Power of Attorney

By granting power of attorney to a trusted and responsible family member (proxy), this allows them to make decisions on your loved one’s behalf in case they are unable to. A standard power of attorney allows the family member to pay bills and write checks—while a durable power of attorney for medical care can make healthcare decisions for your loved one.

4. Do-Not-Resuscitate Order

A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) is a legal document that instructs health care providers not to provide life sustaining treatment if a patient’s heart stops or they stop breathing. If your loved one is nearing end-of-life care or terminally ill, they may not want to be resuscitated in a medical emergency. Only the patient or their health care proxy can sign a DNR order.

You can download a free starter kit from The Conversation Project to help guide the conversation with your loved one about their end-of-life care. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

 

About the Author: Peter Kang is a writer for eCaregivers. He is inspired by his caregiver experience with his late grandfather and role model, a Korean War veteran, to help families find affordable care for their loved ones. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.

By | 2017-06-10T09:07:39+00:00 June 10th, 2017|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 4 Legal Documents Every Senior Needs

Guest Blog: How to reverse the over-40 eye syndrome

If you’re past your 40th birthday, you’ve likely noticed some subtle signs of aging despite your best efforts to eat right and exercise regularly.

One of the most common signs of aging is changes in our vision. The eyes gradually lose their elasticity as we age, leading to a variety of vision problems, including difficulty reading and seeing things up close.

Fortunately, many of these issues can be corrected, with corrective lenses or laser eye (LASIK) surgery.

Common eyesight problems for people over 40

There are more than a dozen vision problems directly related to aging. Some of the more common issues include:

  • Dry eye syndrome — As we age, we have fewer tears in our eyes and they can become dry and irritated as a result. This problem is especially prevalent in women. You can combat this problem by using artificial tears.
  • Changes in light and perception — Aging also affects the eye’s ability to adapt to darkness. This problem is particularly common among African-Americans. Prescription eye drops usually help ease this condition.
  • Presbyopia — Presbyopia is the gradual hardening of the eye’s lens as we age. This usually results in difficulty reading or seeing things at close range. Reading glasses are generally prescribed to correct this problem.
  • Cataracts — Cataracts are a cloudiness on the retina that affects vision. More than 22 million Americans are affected by this vision problem. In fact, more than half of Americans will develop this problem by the time they reach age 80. When vision becomes so cloudy it affects a person’s quality of life, cataracts are treated by eye surgery, a common and safe operation.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — AMD is the leading cause of irreversible eye damage in those over age 50. This condition destroys the sharp, central vision needed for things like driving and reading. Lasik surgery can help prevent further damage to the eye, but can’t restore vision that has been lost.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy — Diabetes affects more than 4.5 million Americans over the age of 40. This chronic condition affects the blood flow to all parts of the body, including the eyes, resulting in blurred vision and “floaters.” Lasik surgery is usually performed to correct this problem.

How to prevent, reverse and/or retard eyesight problems related to aging

There are many things that you and your eye doctor can do to help you keep your good eyesight well into your golden years. Proper eye care is not just your doctor’s responsibility. Some of the things that you have control over include not smoking, eating eye-healthy foods full of vitamins C and E, exercising regularly, protecting your eyes with UV-rated sunglasses when outdoors and breathing clean air. In addition, it’s important to keep your regular, annual eye exams, so your doctor can identify and treat any problems early.

Lasik surgery and eye problems due to aging

Lasik surgery can help treat a number of vision issues associated with aging. In fact, more than 11 million Americans have had some sort of LASIK eye surgery since it became widely available in 1991. LASIK can help to improve vision in patients who are near-sighted, far-sighted and/or have an astigmatism. This type of eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea and is effective in improving vision in more than 96 percent of patients, according to WedMD.

Sources:

http://cvw1.davisvision.com/forms/StaticFiles/English/Over40_01ys.pdf
http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/lasik-laser-eye-surgery
http://bmctoday.net/crstodayeurope/2013/02/article.asp?f=ndyag-treatment-of-epithelial-ingrowth

 

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By | 2017-06-07T14:27:05+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to reverse the over-40 eye syndrome
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