Boomer’s Blog

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

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 |August 31st, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Romance can spark retirement planning

5 Ways Seniors Can Make Exercising Fun


By: Eric Daw

Lets be honest, exercising is not always fun.  It can create discomfort, make you sweaty, and take you away from some other pleasurable pastimes or methods of relaxation. However, research clearly shows that those who are active on a regular basis have better weight management, are more relaxed, have higher energy and typically experience a better quality of life.  For seniors, exercise is especially crucial since it has positive effects on memory, mood, balance, posture, strength and pretty much any issue involved in healthy aging.  For those that find it difficult to start or stick with an exercise program, here are 5 ways seniors can make exercising more fun. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

1. Find what you like to do. Do you enjoy playing golf, tennis or swimming? Have you considered taking long walks or gardening as pleasurable activities? Well if you enjoy any of the above activities, that is good news. All of these can be considered as some form of exercise.  Exercise doesn’t always have to mean going to the gym. Experts tell us that we can accumulate the positive effects of exercise throughout the day by doing such activities.

2. Make it social. For people who enjoy socializing, you can incorporate exercise to add to the experience.  Mall walking or group exercise programs have allowed people to interact and get in better shape in the process; just make sure you do as much exercising as you do talking.

3. Add music. Line dancing or Zumba, which are popular forms of exercising for seniors, use music to keep rhythm and add to the fun of the dance class. In these exercise classes, music helps weight management, muscle tone, balance and coordination. Whether you incorporate music during group exercise or during a long walk; music can give us energy, relax us and enhance exercise.

4. Add variety. Our minds and bodies typically love variety.  Physically, variety is good for our bodies because it allows the use of different muscles, preventing wear and tear on joints.  The body is also stimulated more when you do different exercises, which gives more health benefits from the activity.  For our minds, variety is good for the brain. When you do different activities it can prevent you from becoming bored of the same exercises continually.

5. Attach a reward. If achieving results is important for you, attaching fitness rewards can make exercising more fun.  Some examples of fitness rewards could be having a low calorie dessert if you’ve finished exercising that day, getting a pedicure, going shopping, or having a massage after exercising.  Positive reinforcement encourages us to exercise while knowing that if we do it, there is something good coming at the end.

About the Author: Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 65 and over. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health, and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.

 

 

 

By |August 28th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on 5 Ways Seniors Can Make Exercising Fun

Guest Blog: How to Take Care of Elders Who Are Living Alone: 4 Important Tips

 

 

Do you feel that your elders are not safe in their house anymore? Of late, you may be noticing that their house is always in a mess, or that they are not grooming regularly. It is apparent that they are skipping meals and medications. It is all too frightening to see the people who brought you up becoming so helpless and careless in their old age. It is not their fault, but now it is your responsibility to take care of them.

We have put together some tips that will help you plan long term care for your loved ones when you feel they are getting too old to take care of themselves:

 

 

1. Confront Your Elders: Sit with them and inquire about the problems they may be facing. Is it an untreated chronic pain that has worsened over time, rendering them unable to do simple tasks that they had no problems executing previously? Is it a loss of a loved one they are mourning? Are they feeling marooned from the rest of their family? Isolation or lack of support can be a major recipe for depression.

2. Express Your Concerns: Sometimes elders feel that they have become a burden on their family. This is why they stop sharing their problems. Maybe if you express your concerns, they will honestly tell you what is troubling them.

3. Respect Their Independence: Unless your elders are not completely disabled, they have the right to make their own decisions. If you think something is right for them, let them know about it in an open-ended way. Never impose anything on them.

4. Keep External Help Handy: You might be confident about your situation-handling capabilities, but it is a good idea to keep home care providers, doctors, and geriatric care managers in the loop. Also, you might consider making your elders meet other people who have used home care services before. Hearing unbiased feedback might remove their fear of the unknown.

Old age is the onset of childhood. Even though we tend to ignore our elders as they age, we should realize that, with age, they need greater affection and care. If you are not able to take care of your elders due to responsibilities and work pressure, taking in professional help is a viable option.

 

By |August 26th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Take Care of Elders Who Are Living Alone: 4 Important Tips

Guest Blog: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

On a list of the greatest fears many seniors have, failing health, hearing loss, and falling often rise to the top. One major fear that few actually talk to their families and doctors about though is losing the ability to drive. In fact, a new AAA study found that over 80 percent of older drivers never discuss their safe driving ability at all with their care networks or medical professionals.

For many seniors, driving is the hallmark characteristic that defines independence. Being able to drive allows seniors to travel, to run their own errands, to get out of their house and socialize. Losing that ability to drive doesn’t just strip those things away, but it also requires seniors to ask for help and coordinate transportation, all of which can leave them feeling like a burden on their caregivers.

What is the danger then? Well not only do older drivers who have outlived their ability to safely drive a vehicle endanger their passengers and other drivers on the road, they put themselves at increased risk for injury and even death. Because older adults typically have more fragile bones and higher rates of chronic illness that can complicate an injury recovery, they are more likely to get hurt or even die in a car crash than younger adults.

Talking About Driving with Your Aging Parent

The bottom line is that simply conducting a dialogue about driving doesn’t mean a senior will lose their license or be held back from driving. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Just as using a cane for walking empowers a senior with mobility limitations to keep moving, talking about safe driving can empower seniors to take helpful steps that keep them safe on the road.

For example, the Senior Driving division of AAA offers loads of helpful resources, tools, and information that connect seniors with local refresher courses on defensive road wise driving, help them understand how medicine can affect safe driving, and much more.

If you need to have a conversation with your aging parent about safe driving, experts recommend approaching it from a place of compassion and empathy. Instead of accusing them of being an unsafe driver, confess the concerns you feel about their safety on the road and ask them about their own perspective. Discuss helpful driving tools, safe driving refresher classes, and even consider attending a senior driving expo together.

By |August 24th, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

Pneumonia Information


According to the CDC (2010), chronic lower respiratory disease and pneumonia with influenza are the third and ninth leading causes of death, respectively, among older adults. Older adults 65 and older are more often affected by these disorders than younger adults, and the risk of death from pneumonia increases with age. In 2005, there were 651,000 hospital discharges of males diagnosed with pneumonia and 717,000 discharges of females, with greater than 62,000 deaths attributed to pneumonia (American Lung Association [ALA], 2008). The majority of these cases occurred in those age 65 and older, with the elderly having 5–10 times the risk of death from pneumonia as younger adults (Kennedy-Malone, Fletcher, & Plank, 2004).

Pneumonia is an infection of the lung that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or mycoplasmas. The two most common ways to get pneumonia are through inhalation of droplet particles carrying infectious germs and aspiration of secretions of the nose or mouth areas. Older adults are at higher risk for pneumonia and can get a more serious infection if they also have other chronic diseases such as COPD, heart failure, a suppressed immune system, cerebrovascular disease, and poor mobility (ALA, 2012). The incidence of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) among people age 65 and older is about 221.3 per 10,000 (ALA, 2008). Streptococcus is the most common bacterial cause, with about 50% of people with CAP requiring hospitalization (Weinberger, 2004). When hospitalized, older people are at risk for poor health outcomes, including respiratory failure requiring ventilator support, sepsis, and longer length of hospitalization, duration of antibiotic therapy and other supportive treatment (ALA, 2012).

Warning signs

The onset of bacterial pneumonia can be sudden or gradual; however, older adults may not present with the typical symptoms of chills, fever, chest pain, sweating, productive cough, or shortness of breath. Instead, they may have a sudden change in mental status (confusion/delirium). Cases of viral pneumonia account for about half of all types of pneumonia and tend to be less severe than bacterial pneumonia. Symptoms of viral pneumonia include fever, nonproductive hacking cough, muscle pain, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made through chest x-ray, complete blood count, and/or sputum culture to determine the type and causal agents (if bacterial). A thorough history and physical that includes assessment of swallowing ability and eating (watch for coughing while eating) to evaluate for aspiration risk should be done. Crackles may be heard in the lungs through a stethoscope, and chest pain with shortness of breath may be present.

Treatment

Bacterial pneumonia can often be treated successfully when detected early, and viral pneumonia generally heals on its own (antibiotics are not effective if pneumonia is caused by a virus), though older adults may experience a greater risk of complications than younger adults. Oral antibiotics will significantly help most patients with bacterial pneumonia.

Aspiration pneumonia is caused by inhalation of a foreign material, such as fluids or food, into the lungs. This occurs more often in persons with impaired swallowing. For older adults receiving tube feedings, care must be taken to avoid having the person in a laying position during and immediately after tube feeding because aspiration can occur; it is important to note that tube feedings do not reduce the risk of aspiration. Having the head of the bed elevated or, even better, the person in a sitting position when eating or receiving nutrition through a feeding tube, helps to avoid the potential complication of pneumonia related to aspiration.

When recovering from pneumonia, one should get plenty of rest and take adequate fluids to help loosen secretions (with accommodations made to support the added need to urinate due to the increased fluid intake, a common reason why older adults may not drink adequate fluids). Tylenol or aspirin (if not contraindicated by other conditions) can be taken to manage fever as well as aches and pains. Exposure to others with contagious respiratory conditions should be avoided. Respiratory complications are often what lead to death in the older adults, so they should be cautioned to report any changes in respiratory status such as increased shortness of breath, high fever, or any other symptoms that do not improve. It is important to follow up with the physician or nurse practitioner and get a chest x-ray if ordered, since symptoms may improve with treatment before the pneumonia is actually completely gone.

Prevention of pneumonia is always best. Adults over the age of 65 are advised to get a pneumonia vaccine. Persons younger than age 65 who have higher risk (those with respiratory problems or persons in nursing homes) should get the vaccination. A yearly flu vaccine is also recommended for older adults, because pneumonia is a common complication of influenza in this age group. Medicare will cover these vaccines for older persons.

By |August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Pneumonia Information

Guest Blog: 5 Signs of Mental Health Issues for Seniors


When you’ve started to notice changes in an elderly relative, you may wonder if a mental health issue is the cause. While it is important a mental health professional diagnoses these issues, some signs exist indicating that the time has come to make an appointment.

Depression

Depression can occur for a host of reasons. Elderly individuals may be suffering from the loss of a loved one, or they may feel alienated, isolated or otherwise separated from their friends or from their interests outside of the house. Individuals who seem filled with sadness and negative emotions or who are hinting about emotional turmoil may need outpatient or inpatient treatment for depression.

Anxiety Issues/Bipolar Disorder

You may also notice that your loved ones are having heightened periods of elevation followed by periods of deep sadness. They could be suffering from bipolar disorder. Serious anxieties could begin to manifest at this age too. For example, you may notice that your elderly relatives always seem to be thinking about their own death or about expected loss of other loved ones.

Memory Loss

As people age, you may think that it is a normal occurrence for them to forget information that they would have once remembered. However, these early slips could be signs of a more serious problem that is coming into fruition. Your loved ones might now be forgetting about certain dates or social events, but these struggles could turn into failures to take medication or complete other necessary medical tasks.

Personal Care

If you notice that your loved ones are not taking care of themselves as they used to, this situation could also be a sign of mental health issues. For example, you may have noticed that your relatives are no longer brushing their teeth or bathing on a regular basis. Seeking professional help can uncover the root of the issue so that a plan of treatment can be devised.

Social Withdrawal

Your loved ones might also seem to not want to participate in social activities anymore. Whether they are constantly declining invites to attend family functions or they do not want to participate in community activities any longer, these decisions could be signs that a mental health issue is present.

As your loved ones age, you may be the lookout for physical health issues. While addressing these problems is imperative, so is watching for signs of mental health struggles. May is mental health awareness month, get involved to help bring awareness to this important cause!

By |August 21st, 2018|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Signs of Mental Health Issues for Seniors