Jim

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CFO - Senior Care Central, LLC

Guest Blog: How to Choose the Right Mattress for Seniors

When you’re a caregiver for a senior citizen, you know how critical it is to find chairs, beds, and couches that are comfortable for your patients. Choosing the right mattress is especially crucial for the elderly. People in the 65+ age range often suffer from chronic pain related to sore, tender muscles, arthritis, and old injuries that have worsened as the years have passed.

A poor mattress can make even a teenager wake up feeling sore and tired, but for seniors, the effects of a poor mattress can cause debilitating pain and worsen inflammation. Senior citizens need a supportive mattress that cradles sensitive areas that are prone to soreness and stiffness, such as the hips, neck, shoulders, and the lower back. It’s also a good idea to choose a mattress with a comfortable top that cushions the heels and elbows, which will lessen inflammation and irritation.

There are tons of different mattress materials, thicknesses, and designs to choose from, but how do you know which one is going to give your senior patients a comfortable night’s rest? Below, we’ve broken down the different types of mattresses and how they can help seniors sleep well and wake up free from discomfort and pain.

What types of mattresses are the most comfortable for seniors?

When searching for a good mattress for an older individual, manufacturers won’t advertise that it’s the best for senior citizens. What you’ll need to do is look for certain traits and design features that will most likely work for an elderly sleeper.

Typically, seniors need a bed that will retain minimal body heat and will sleep cool. Beds that minimize and isolate movement or motion transfer, and are quiet are usually the best choices for seniors, too. You’ll also want to purchase a bed that is supportive and won’t sag or compress too much. Mattresses that are too soft don’t support spinal alignment and can cause someone to wake up in the morning with a sore back and hips.

Most importantly, a mattress for senior citizens needs to support arthritic joints. As people age, the cartilage that naturally cushions and supports the joints wears away, so seniors need a little more support from their beds than a younger individual.

Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Gel memory foam mattresses are some of the most popular choices for seniors. Gel memory foam is denser and more supportive than traditional memory foam, offering a slightly firmer bed that does an excellent job of supporting the joints and the spine. In mattress lingo, gel memory foam is also referred to as Tempur foam. Gel memory foam mattresses are also cooler than a regular memory foam mattress. Loom and Leaf is one of the more popular gel memory foam mattresses this year.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam is a mattress favorite, and it’s been around for decades. First used by NASA, memory foam is a high-quality material that offers superior comfort and cushioning. While memory foams aren’t typically as supportive as a gel memory foam mattress, some models are firmer than others.

Memory foam mattresses cradle and cushion the body, so elbows and heels aren’t resting on a surface that can cause skin irritation. Seniors who are side sleepers can most benefit from a traditional memory foam mattress. Memory foam cradles the shoulder joint and allows it to rest comfortably while keeping the shoulder disk in proper alignment.

However, if a person has never slept on a memory foam mattress, the new bed may take some getting used to. Memory foam beds have a particular and distinct feel to them. Also, be sure to check the bed’s cool rating. Memory foam beds tend to run hot. Nectar memory foam beds are some of the highest rated bed-in-a-box mattresses.

All-natural Latex Foam

A natural, latex foam mattress is an excellent alternative to memory foam mattresses for older sleepers. Latex is a springier material than either gel or memory foam. Latex doesn’t cradle the body, so for sleepers who switch positions a lot, a latex mattress can be ideal. However, all natural latex mattresses are sometimes too soft for people with severe arthritis. A high-quality all natural latex foam mattress for seniors is the Santa Cruz Natural Mattress.

What about innerspring mattresses?

Innerspring mattresses don’t always offer enough consistent support for seniors who need cushioning for aching joints. But adding a pillowtop to an otherwise decent innerspring mattress can offer enough softness and support for senior citizens. Boxtop and pillowtop mattresses are suitable for sleepers who are light or medium weight. But these mattresses won’t provide enough support or last very long for heavier sleepers.

Can you choose a mattress that uses different types of materials?

It’s possible to find a mattress that uses different technologies. For example, manufacturers who specialize in innerspring mattresses often have products that use a top layer of natural latex foam, or memory foam for added support and comfort. If you’re worried that your senior patients won’t be able to get used to a full memory foam mattress, an innerspring memory-foam hybrid can be a good compromise.

As always, it’s essential to thoroughly research different mattress types, product ratings, and what’s going to work best for an individual patient.

By |2019-03-13T17:28:27-05:00March 14th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Choose the Right Mattress for Seniors

Guest Blog: Seniors and Broken Bones: The Long Road to Recovery



From a slight fracture to an arm to a full break in the shin or fractured hip, broken bones can be serious and result in months of therapy for recovery. When the injured person is a senior, the situation can be even more serious. They may be unable to remain in their own home and care for themselves, and in some cases, they are never able to return to their former level of independence.

Causes of Broken Bones

Falls are the main cause for broken bones in the elderly. They may also suffer a fracture due to a medical condition. It’s important to determine the cause so it can be prevented in the future and medical issues treated.
If the break occurs in either the legs or arms, hands or feet, the injury site may be placed in a cast and the limb immobilized. Some injuries are serious enough to require surgery. The patient may need pins or rods installed for the bones to stay in place until they heal.

Life After the Break

After the senior receives initial treatment for the break, the next step will to figure out care requirements. Depending on the location and severity of the break, the person may not be able to stay by themselves. They may have limited mobility and require assistance for daily tasks.
Even a minor break can sideline a senior more than someone younger. They may tire out easier, especially if the break requires them to move around on crutches.
An assisted living center is one option for seniors until their broken bones heal. Another option which might appeal more would be for them to hire an in-home caregiver. Even though family may want to help out, they have their own responsibilities. In certain situations, they may be able to be a paid family caregiver, which could ease the financial burden on the family and provide the assistance the senior needs until they’re back on their feet.

The Recovery Period

The senior will need to take certain steps to ensure their recovery is successful, and they can get back to their active lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, getting enough rest, and attending physical therapy and doctor appointments as recommended.
While enduring a broken bone for a senior can involve a lengthy recovery process, they can become independent once again with the right care.

By |2019-03-01T17:03:57-05:00March 12th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Seniors and Broken Bones: The Long Road to Recovery

5 Places for Seniors to Get Fit and Make Friends

Aging Baby Boomers want fun, creative exercise that not only keeps them active, but also provides an avenue for making friends. Luckily, programs across the country are stepping up to meet this growing demand. Here are five innovative places and programs that are keeping seniors active, independent, and social.

SilverSneakers

SilverSneakers is a unique senior wellness program that gives older adults access to over 13,000 fitness centers and classes across the country, all free of charge through qualifying health plans. Organizations that participate in SilverSneakers offer senior-centric fitness classes like low-impact circuit training, yoga, seated exercise, water aerobics, and fall-prevention fitness. More than just an exercise program, SilverSneakers emphasizes the value that friendship and social support bring to senior health. In fact, 74 percent of active SilverSneakers members report they’ve made friends through the program.

The YMCA

The YMCA and YWCA offer a wide range of fitness programs designed for seniors. Whether you’ve just hit your senior years and want to stay fit with Zumba, or you’re limited to chair exercises but still want to get out and stay healthy, your local Y has a senior fitness program for you. Most Ys also have pools, which means that seniors of all ages can enjoy low-impact water exercise to build flexibility and endurance without straining arthritic joints. Seniors can make friends in class and join senior group outings led by YMCA staff.

Multigenerational Community Centers

Senior centers are becoming a thing of the past, and multigenerational centers are taking their place. The new multigenerational centers mix the therapeutic recreation typically found in senior centers with social activities, fitness classes, and recreational sports that appeal to all ages. By creating a place where active people of any age can come together — without neglecting the unique needs of aging adults — multigenerational centers let seniors stay healthy side-by-side with friends of all ages. And since interaction across ages has been shown to be more beneficial to senior mental and cognitive health than senior-to-senior socialization alone, multigenerational centers can help keep seniors stay fit in more ways than one.

Ageless Grace

Ageless Grace combines physical and mental fitness to keep seniors healthy in both body and mind. With lessons that range from memory recall and imagination exercises to upper body strength and joint mobility, Ageless Grace takes a holistic approach to senior fitness. The classes are taught by independent instructors and can be found in churches, retirement homes, schools, and community centers around the country. Since Ageless Grace lessons incorporate both physical activity and mental games, they provide ample opportunity for seniors to interact and make friends. Ageless Grace participates in the SilverSneakers program, so qualified seniors can access their classes free of charge.

Senior Sport Leagues

Nothing promotes bonding quite like team sports, and senior sport leagues are a great option for active older adults who want to meet friends while staying fit. Seniors can access established programs like Granny Basketball, Senior Softball, National Senior League Wii bowling, or the National Senior Games Association. There may also be team sports for seniors available through local community and recreation centers. And if there’s no established league in your town? Enterprising seniors can start their own social league by advertising through existing fitness and community centers.

Staying active in your later years does more than keep you fit. In addition to helping you retain flexibility, improve your balance, and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, staying active can also be an excellent way to maintain a vibrant social life. And socialization comes with its own health benefits, from a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia to better physical mobility. With such a diversity of programs available, there’s a way for every senior to stay active and social.

Image via Flickr by sima dimitric

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By |2019-03-07T15:44:51-05:00March 7th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on 5 Places for Seniors to Get Fit and Make Friends