Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

/Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog

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

Quick Guide to Yoga for Senior Citizens


Are you on the hunt for low impact exercise ideas that will help lower your risk for common killers like heart disease? If you have been interested in yoga but hadn’t worked up the nerve to “hit the mat” yet, don’t miss this quick guide:

What is Yoga for Seniors?
Yoga at its core is an ancient practice in breathing, stretching, meditation, and guided poses. Originating in eastern culture, yoga made its way to the U.S. in the late 20th century, building quite a following across the country as different modalities and styles were developed and specialized studios popped up in more and more places.

Yoga has been adapted for seniors specifically by incorporating more seated movements for those with mobility issues, as well as gentler and more educated approaches to limit joint stress and other common age-related ailments. Common yoga styles for seniors include:

Chair yoga – practiced entirely with the use of a chair, either to sit on or support yourself with, this type of yoga incorporates poses that are modified for seniors who cannot bear weight for long periods of time on their legs.

Water yoga – yoga in a pool is the name of this style’s game and offers a weightless, low-impact practice that is hard to find anywhere else.

Restorative yoga – spend extended periods of time practicing stillness and aligning the body and mind in this yoga style that embraces mental wellbeing.

What are the Benefits of Yoga for Seniors?
In addition to offering generous physical exercise for seniors, routine yoga practice also touts a handful of health benefits including:

Weight management
Pain relief
Stress relief
Social interaction
Lowered blood pressure
Joint mobilization
Skin rejuvenation
Better sleep

Senior yoga can be adapted for older adults with a range of ailments including arthritis, diabetes, mobility issues, and even Alzheimer’s.

Where Can I Find a Senior Yoga Class?
Because of the continued boom of the retiree demographic, more and more yoga classes are being offered to seniors in a variety of environments. You can look for senior classes at your area senior or community recreation center as well as at boutique yoga studios, fitness gyms, health clubs, and even within your own retirement community.

If you would rather see what senior yoga is all about at home, try streaming free instructional yoga videos online either on your computer, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV. You can conduct a quick search for “senior yoga tutorial” on Youtube.com or check sites like DoYogaWithMe.com.

By |2019-04-21T08:55:06-05:00April 21st, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Quick Guide to Yoga for Senior Citizens

Guest Post: Why dieting isn’t sustainable

 Close-up of Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

A diet is simply a way of eating. Some people diet with too much food, some people with too little food. But for most people, it’s just the wrong foods. However, one thing is for sure, diets don’t work. They never had and they never will. Just ask anyone who has been on any of the well-known, celebrity-endorsed diet plans for any length of time.

Note: Check out this guide to flexible dieting on how to escape the dieting life!

Dieters are often excited about the quick weight loss, but invariably, the diet doesn’t last forever and they quickly find that not only did they gain back all they lost, but they have taken on extra pounds too.

Dieting in the typical sense actually sets you up to fail in your attempt to lose those extra pounds. Immediately on any diet plan, your caloric intake is limited. That in itself isn’t a bad thing. Most meal portions have become unnecessarily large these days and actually need to be kept in check.

When you limit the number of calories consumed to get quick weight loss results on your diet plan, your body has to compensate for this loss. That’s when it begins to break down muscle tissue so as to maintain energy levels. The body also adjusts its requirements for energy and slows down its rate of metabolism.

But what happens when you go back to eating the way you did before? Well, your body is still functioning in diet mode. Your metabolism has slowed, so all that extra food is stored as fat. So you end up heavier than you were before you started dieting.

It’s also important to stress that activity can play a vital role in this too. If you can maintain your normal activity while dieting then you’re one of the few. Take a look at athletes for example. They follow a nutrition plan that that’s heavy in calories as activity like rugby training needs to be fueled. Dieting wouldn’t be an option for athletes and they do not put on unnecessary weight. The point here is that you need to also try and be active to help with your new lifestyle, dieting makes it even harder.

Aside from calorie restriction, here are other reasons why dieting isn’t sustainable for most people;

Too Restrictive – frankly speaking, diets are depressing. They take away all the fun foods and all of a sudden you can’t have chocolate anymore. Oh, now all you see is chocolate, it’s everywhere and everyone is having a bite… except you. Then, you cheat and go right back to square one.

Your Body Rejects It – your body likes eating and wants to eat. Denying your body means your body fights you to get more food. It forces you to cheat and go right back to square one.

The ‘fad diet of the week‘ is not right for your metabolism – your body needs certain nutrients. Your cravings match those nutrients. When you force your body to eat a way it doesn’t like, it slows downs, becomes clogged, and sick. You don’t even need to cheat and you’re worse now then you were at square one.

So how do you really lose fat and keep it off for good?

Getting down to your ideal weight and maintaining it means eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. It doesn’t mean a severe restriction in calories and spending hours at the gym. Simply pay more attention to the foods you eat and move around more.

Easy exercises like walking, cycling and swimming can go a long way to shaping a leaner, healthier you. Even walking 5 minutes per day is enough to get started. Then, work up to better and better exercises until you are exercising every day, alternating between strength training, cardio, and stretching.

Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is as much about adjusting your self-concept and attitude as it is your lifestyle.

When you change the way you see yourself, it’s easy to make those necessary changes. In fact they often happen subconsciously. Your weight is governed by your self-concept. When you change the assumptions about yourself and your body, you change the results. That’s how you master weight loss forever.


By |2019-04-19T09:22:52-05:00April 19th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: Why dieting isn’t sustainable

Four Ways to Help Seniors Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is a serious issue for older adults. Between three and fourteen percent of seniors experience symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosable disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Even though they don’t have a diagnosable disorder, another 27 percent also experience symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis that have a significant impact on their day-to-day functioning.

If you have a parent or loved who may be struggling with anxiety, keep these four tips in mind to help them manage symptoms in a healthy way.

1. Recognize the Signs
The first step to helping a loved one manage anxiety is being able to identify their symptoms. Common signs of anxiety disorders include:

• Excessive fear or worry
• Refusing to do activities they used to enjoy
• Being obsessed with a routine
• Avoiding social interactions
• Sleep troubles
• Muscle aches and tension
• Shakiness or weakness
• Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs

2. Let Them Know You’re There for Them
Many seniors are hesitant to talk about their struggles because they don’t want to be a burden. If you think your parent or a loved one is dealing with anxiety, it’s important for them to know that you’re there for them and aren’t judging them.

3. Prevent Falls
As they age, seniors typically struggle with impaired balance, which can cause a lot of anxiety and make them worry about falling and getting hurt.

One way to show the senior in your life that you support them is to take steps to prevent falls and help them feel safe in their homes. Some ways you can do this include:

• Installing grab bars in the bathroom
• Removing loose rugs and other slip hazards
• Rearranging cupboards and cabinets so items are within easy reach
• Investing in a medical alert system

4. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help
You should also encourage your parent or loved one to work with a professional.

Make an appointment with their doctor and let them know what you’ve noticed. You may also want to schedule an appointment with a therapist or hire a home care aide to come in and check on them a few times a week.

There are lots of things you can do to help a parent or loved one manage their anxiety in a healthy way. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with these four tips.

By |2019-04-18T09:12:07-05:00April 18th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Four Ways to Help Seniors Manage Anxiety

Hypothyroidism Warning Signs and Treatment




Hypothyroidism results from lack of sufficient thyroid hormone being produced by the thyroid gland. Older adults may have subclinical hypothyroidism, in which the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is elevated and the T4 (thyroxine or thyroid hormone) is normal; 4.3–9.5% of the general population has this problem (Woolever & Beutler, 2007). In this condition, the body is trying to stimulate production of more thyroid hormone. Some older adults with this condition will progress to have primary or overt hypothyroidism. This is when the TSH is elevated and T4 is decreased. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause and represents 90% of all patients with hypothyroidism (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists [AACE], 2005; Woolever & Beutler, 2007), though certain pituitary disorders, medications, and other hormonal imbalances may be causal factors.

Warning Signs

Older adults may present an atypical picture, but the most common presenting complaints are fatigue and weakness.


Diagnosis should include a thorough history and physical. Bradycardia and heart failure are often associated factors. Lab tests should include thyroid and thyroid antibody levels (common to Hashimoto’s), and lipids, because hyperlipidemia is also associated with this disorder.


Treatment centers on returning the thyroid ¬hormone level to normal. This is done through oral thyroid replacement medication, usually L-thyroxine. In older adults with coexisting cardiovascular disease, starting with the usual doses may exacerbate angina and worsen the underlying heart disease, so it is important to start low and go slow. Titration should be done cautiously, with close monitoring of the older adult’s response to the medication. The does should be adjusted on 6- week intervals until normal levels of thyroid hormone are achieved. Once the TSH is within normal limits, then checking the TSH should be done every 6 to 12 months to monitor effectiveness and blood levels, because hyperthyroidism is a side effect of this therapy and can have serious implications on the older person’s health.

Patients need to learn the importance of taking thyroid medication at the same time each day without missing doses. Sometimes older adults have other problems associated with hypothyroidism, such as bowel dysfunction and depression. Any signs of complicating factors should be reported to the physician, and doctors’ appointments for monitoring should be religiously kept. Strategies for managing fatigue and weakness should also be addressed, because some lifestyle modifications may need to be made as treatment is initiated.

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.

For more information on Hypothyroidism, visit the NIH:





By |2019-04-10T09:20:11-05:00April 16th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Hypothyroidism Warning Signs and Treatment