Boomer’s Blog

Boomer’s Blog2018-05-18T08:58:16-05:00

Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

Each week, Dr. Kristen Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

Dr. Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, FAAN

Guest Blog: Romance can spark retirement planning

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Romance is an exciting prospect to pursue during the retirement years. In fact, a study conducted by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave revealed that 69% of retirees find romantic activities a priority during the golden years.

Of course, proper retirement planning is needed in order for couples to make time for love. It can’t be stressed enough that 70% of people age 65 years and above is expected to receive some form of long term care in the future. And a long term care insurance (LTCI) basically covers that particular need.

Now, the great thing about planning early for long term care is that not only will partners be able to receive care when they need it. Couples preparing together can also strengthen their relationship. A stronger bond with each other effectively prevents any arguments that spouses may encounter in the future. Planning, in a way, sets one’s hopes and expectations for the romantic ride in the next couple of years.

As a couple, setting your sights on some romantic retirement activities can be a motivational tool for you both to prepare for your tomorrows. Here are some suggestions you may want to do together:

Travel

Experience unforgettable moments by exploring new places. It doesn’t need to be far – the important thing is you’re together in a strange and exciting place!

Higher Education

Bring back the wonders of school romance by pursuing higher education. Aside from having the chance to pass love notes in class, the knowledge gained from school can be used for possible business opportunities during retirement.

Movies

Retirement means more time with each other. So grab some popcorn and enjoy watching some romantic movies together.

Cooking

Food is the way to a man’s (or even a woman’s) heart. Enjoy whipping up some meals for each other.

Health

Keeping fit is better when done with a partner. Even something as simple as walking together in a park should keep you and your date fit and happy.

Go on a Date

Even single retirees can join in the fun.  Retirement can be a good time to meet, mingle, and spend time with a new and special friend.

And the list goes on. No matter which activity you and your spouse may want to do, an LTCI will grant the security in case something dire happens. Make sure to get a suitable LTC coverage for your romantic retirement getaways today.

Author Bio: Violet Swenson is the Online Content Director at LTC Global Agency, a reliable provider of long term care insurance since 2002. Our strong partnerships with top companies across the country help us deliver the most competitive products in the industry.

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By |November 3rd, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Romance can spark retirement planning

Guest Blog: Addressing Senior Malnutrition

When it comes to consuming sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals, turns out many seniors aren’t. Chronic disease, dietary restrictions, limited income and access to food, reduced social contact, and other factors can increase a senior’s risk for malnutrition. There are simple solutions however for addressing the problem – don’t miss this quick guide:

Should Seniors Take a Multivitamin?
While the research on the need for multivitamins in the average American adult’s diet goes back and forth, when it comes to senior health specifically, experts can agree on some things. With older age often comes diminished appetites, decreased digestive functioning (which can affect nutrient absorption), as well as less energy, bone loss, and reduced muscle mass.

While seniors should invest in core diet staples like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and lean proteins, they may also want to talk to their doctor about nutritional supplements like multivitamins.

Multivitamins for older adults can vary. Some multivitamins with added calcium and vitamin D are ideal for active women over 50, for example, while others may come with herbal ingredients that offer memory or energy improvement.

Easy Ways to Boost Nutrient Intake
While it might seem like nutrition shakes are the simplest solution for undernourished seniors, there are also fairly simple ways to incorporate more whole foods into a daily diet.

A high-powered blender is the ultimate nutritional tool a senior has at their disposal. These hi-tech devices process food at super speeds, helping to easily blend even the toughest ingredients like nuts and seeds. They are especially handy if you are a senior who struggles with dysphagia, the inability to safely swallow foods.

  • High-power blenders allow you to mix loads of healthy ingredients like fresh fruits, veggies, beans, greek yogurt, nut butters and more into smoothies, shakes, soups, stews, and dips. This simplifies the process of putting a meal together and is a much healthier alternative to processed, packaged and frozen meals.
  • Recruiting help from a care network can also help boost a senior’s nutritional intake, ensuring regular round-the-clock meals that offer variety in addition to nutrients. Free, online tools like CaringBridge.com and TakethemAMeal.com allow family caregivers, neighbors, or simply friends to coordinate a digital calendar where people can sign up to help a senior with meals.
  • Local nonprofit services may be an alternative as well if a substantial care network is not in place. Meals on Wheels, for example, has chapters nationwide that deliver daily meals to seniors in need, and free senior transportation services are available in many regions and can help seniors get to the store to buy groceries or pick up food.
By |November 2nd, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Addressing Senior Malnutrition

Bladder Cancer Risk Factors and Treatment

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Background

This type of cancer occurs mainly in older adults, with an average age at diagnosis of 73 years, with 9 out of 10 cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in persons over age 55. The American Cancer Society (ACS)(2012) reported that over 73,000 cases were diagnosed in 2012 and that this diagnosis rate has been relatively stable over the last 20 years. Men are three times as likely to get cancer of the bladder as women (American Foundation for Urologic Disease, 2008) and the incidence increases with age.

Risk Factors

Risk factors include chronic bladder irritation and cigarette smoking, the latter contributing to over half of cases. Male gender and age are also risk factors.

Warning signs

The classic symptom of bladder cancer is painless hematuria (blood in the urine). Older adults may attribute the bleeding to hemorrhoids or other causes and feel that because there is no pain, it must not be serious.

Diagnosis

Assessment begins with a thorough history and physical. Diagnosis may involve several tests including an intravenous pyelogram (IVP), urinalysis, and cystoscopy (in which the physician visualizes the bladder structures through a flexible fiber-optic scope). This is a highly treatable type of cancer when caught early. In fact, the ACS (2012a ) estimates that there were more than 500,000 survivors of this cancer in 2012.

Treatment

Once diagnosed, treatment depends on the invasiveness of the cancer. Treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy (ACS, 2012). Specifically, a transurethral resection (TUR) may involve burning superficial lesions through a scope. Bladder cancer may be slow to spread, and less invasive treatments may continue for years before the cancer becomes invasive or metastatic, if ever. Certainly chemotherapy, radiation, and immune (biological) therapy are other treatment options, depending on the extent of the cancer.

Immune/biological therapy includes Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) wash, an immune stimulant that triggers the body to inhibit tumor growth. BCG treatment can also be done after TUR to inhibit cancer cells from re-growing. Treatments are administered by a physician directly into the bladder through a catheter for 2 hours once per week for 6 or more weeks (Mayo Clinic, 2012a). The patient may be asked to lay on his/her stomach, back, and or sides throughout the procedure. The patient should drink plenty of fluids after the procedure and be sure to empty the bladder frequently. In addition, because the BCG contains live bacteria, the patient should be taught that any urine passed in the first six 6 hours after treatment needs to be treated with bleach: One cup of undiluted bleach should be placed into the toilet with the urine and allowed to sit for 15 minutes before flushing (Mayo Clinic, 2012a).

If the cancer begins to invade the bladder muscle, then removal of the bladder (cystectomy) is indicated to prevent the cancer from spreading. Additional diagnostic tests will be performed if this is suspected, including CT scan or MRI. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be used in combination with surgery. When the cancerous bladder is removed, the person will have a urostomy, a stoma from which urine drains into a collection bag on the outside of the body, much like a colostomy does. Bleeding and infection are two major complications after surgery, regardless of type, whether a TUR or cystectomy is performed. Significant education of the patient related to intake/output, ostomy care, appliances, and the like is also indicated.

For more information on Bladder Cancer, visit National Cancer Institute at:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/bladder/

Adapted from Mauk, K. L., Hanson, P., & Hain, D. (2014). Review of the management of common illnesses, diseases, or health conditions. In K. L.
Mauk’s (Ed.) Gerontological Nursing: Competencies for Care. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

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By |November 1st, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Bladder Cancer Risk Factors and Treatment

Be informed about Stroke

May is National Stroke Awareness month, so this is a good time to reflect on stroke prevention and treatment. Consider these facts about stroke from the American Stroke Association (2013): Be informed about stroke.

• Nearly 800,000 Americans annually suffer a new or recurrent stroke.
• A stroke occurs about once every 40 seconds. About every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
• Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 137,000 people a year.
• Risk of stroke death is higher for African American males and females than for whites. Females have a higher rate of death from stroke than males.
• In 2010, Americans paid about $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

Stroke is simply defined as an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. It is most often caused by a clot that either originated in the brain or traveled from another part of the body. Warning signs of stroke include (National Stroke Association, 2013):
• Sudden weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, speaking or understanding
• Sudden changes in vision
• Sudden dizziness, incoordination, or trouble walking
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Do not delay. New medical treatments may be able to reverse the effects of stroke, but time is critical. Note the time that the symptoms started so that you can inform the medical professionals who are providing treatment.
The effects of stroke depend on the area of the brain that is damaged. Some common results of stroke are weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, difficulty walking or dressing oneself, aphasia, trouble eating or swallowing, bowel and bladder changes, cognitive changes such as memory problems, and emotional issues such as depression and mood swings. Stroke affects the entire family, so be sure to seek out resources and support in your community if a stroke has touched your family.

For stroke survivors, treatment in an acute rehabilitation facility with an interdisciplinary team approach is highly recommended and results in more positive outcomes. The rehabilitation team works together with the survivor and family to accomplish personal goals and achieve the highest level of function possible. Although some of the effects of stroke may be long-lasting or permanent, there is hope of continued progress and good quality of life after stroke.

By |October 31st, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Be informed about Stroke

The 6-Step Process of Stroke Recovery

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According to the CDC, nearly 800,000 persons in the United States have a stroke each year. This is about one every 4 minutes, resulting in over 130,000 deaths annually. Stroke is simply defined as an interruption to the blood supply to the brain and is caused by a clot or hemorrhage. It can be a devastating problem for survivors, resulting in changes in mobility, cognition, speech, swallowing, bowel and bladder, self-care, and general functioning to varying degrees.  Some people recover completely after a stroke, but others experience lifelong challenges.

The good news is that there is hope and quality of life after stroke. In my research with stroke survivors, I discovered 6 phases that survivors reported as they made the journey through rehabilitation towards recovery. These steps can be used to see where a person is in the recovery process, help us understand how they may be feeling, and help guide the way we interact with them.

Agonizing:  In this first phase of the process, stroke survivors are in shock over what has happened to them. They can’t believe it, and may even deny the warning signs of stroke. The important task during this time is survival from the stroke itself.  Call 911 if you see the warning signs of facial droop, arm weakness, or speech difficulties.

Fantasizing:  In the second phase of the stroke process, the survivor may believe that the symptoms will all go away. Life will return to normal, and there is a sense of the problem being unreal. Time takes on a different meaning. The way to help is to gently help them recognize reality, and without taking away hope for recovery.

Realizing: This is the most important phase that signals a turn in the recovery process. This is when the survivor realizes that he/she may not fully recover from the effects of the stroke and that there is work to be done to rehabilitate and reclaim life. Common feelings during this phase of realizing are anger and depression. The way to help is to encourage the person to actively engage in rehabilitation. The real work of recovery is just beginning.

Blending: These last 3 phases in the process of stroke recovery may be occurring at much the same time. This is where the real work of adaptation to life after stroke begins. The survivor begins to blend his “old life” before stroke with his new life as a stroke survivor. He/she may start to engage in former activities even if it requires adaptations to be made. He/she will be actively engaged in therapy and finding new ways to do things. The way to help is to promote education. This is a time when survivors are most ready to learn how to adjust to life after stroke. Listen to your rehab nurses, therapists, and physician. Be active in the recovery process.

Framing: During this phase, the individual wants to know what caused the stroke. Whereas in the Agonizing phase they were asking “why me?”, now they need to the answer to “what was the cause?”  Stroke can be a recurring disorder, so to stop a subsequent stroke, it is important to know the cause. Interestingly, if the physician has not given the survivor a cause for the first stroke, patients often make up a cause that may not be accurate. Help the survivor to learn from the health care provider what the cause of his/her own stroke was. Then steps can be taken to control those risk factors.

Owning:  In this final phase of stroke recovery, the survivor has achieved positive adaptation to the stroke event and aftermath. The survivor has accomplished the needed grief work over the losses resulting from the stroke. He/she has realized that the effects may not go away and has made positive adjustments to his/her life in order to go on. Survivors in this phase have blended their old life with the new life after stroke and feel better about their quality of life. While they still may revisit the emotions of the prior phases at times, they have accepted life as a survivor of stroke and made good adjustments to any changes that resulted. They feel that they have a more positive outlook on life. At this point, survivors can use their experience to help others cope with life after stroke.

For more information about stroke recovery, visit www.seniorcarecentral.net and view Dr. Mauk’s model for stroke recovery.

By |October 29th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on The 6-Step Process of Stroke Recovery