Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.
Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, ACHPN, FAAN
Dr. Mauk has been a Professor of Nursing for 26 years. Prior to moving to Colorado, she was a Professor of Nursing at a large private university in Indiana for nearly 25 years, and there she held the first Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science, a position dedicated to gerontological nursing. She earned a BSN from Valparaiso University, an MS in Adult Health from Purdue University, a PhD from Wayne State University, a Post-Master’s GNP certification from University of Virginia, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Valparaiso University.
Dr. Mauk has more than 35 years of experience in chronic illness nursing, rehabilitation, and gerontological nursing, and teaches in these specialties at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. She is certified in rehabilitation, as a gerontological nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist, and as an advanced palliative care and hospice nurse. She has authored or edited eight books, including two that were recognized with an AJN Book of the Year Award. She has served on editorial boards for Rehabilitation Nursing and Geriatric Nursing, and has written numerous articles and book chapters. Dr. Mauk is a frequent presenter at conferences at the regional, national, and international levels. She is the Co-Founder and President of Senior Care Central/International Rehabilitation Consultants, providing educational, clinical, and legal nurse consulting in rehabilitation and senior care in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Mauk is also a recent past president of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) and has served ARN in many roles, most significantly including the Council of Leaders, Editor of the 5th edition of the Core Curriculum, PRN course faculty, and the task force to develop the ARN Professional Rehabilitation Nursing Competency Model, and current Editor in Chief of Rehabilitation Nursing.
Some of Dr. Mauk’s recognitions include: Nominee for the 2016 National Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teachers, three AJN Book of the Year Awards (2017, 2010 & 1999), CASE/Carnegie Indiana Professor of the Year (2007), VU Caterpillar Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007), ARN Educator Role Award (2007), and the ARN Distinguished Service Award (2005). Dr. Mauk has taught nurses and students in China over the past few years. She has a passion for helping other countries to develop rehabilitation nursing into a strong specialty to promote quality care for their aging population and those with disabilities.
A perfect smile with pearly teeth can be a real confidence booster. However, as you age, you might experience teeth discoloration. Therefore, it becomes important to understand what causes the discoloration of teeth in the elderly and what you can do about it.
Tooth Discoloration in Seniors
Teeth naturally are not perfectly white, and the color may vary from person to person. It ranges typically from white gray to light yellow in hue. However, in rare cases, it may be a bit more yellow or brownish despite good dental health. This visible color is of tooth enamel. It is the hard substance that protects the underlying delicate tissue of the tooth.
Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and shields the teeth. The purpose of enamel is to protect the surface of the teeth from erosion or stains. It further defends the teeth from sensitivity caused by very hot or cold foods and drinks.
As you age, the outer layer of the enamel on your teeth gets worn out to reveal the natural yellow color of dentin. Since the enamel does not have living cells, once damaged, it cannot grow back. Other than aging, there are other factors that contribute to tooth discoloration in seniors. Here are some of them:
1. Disease and medication
A number of diseases and treatments, including procedures like chemotherapy and radiation, can affect the teeth color. In addition, infections may also cause the natural teeth color to fade. Medications like tetracycline, doxycycline, antihistamines, and drugs for hypertension are also known to cause teeth discoloration.
2. Poor dental hygiene
Not brushing the teeth properly and skipping flossing can lead to yellow teeth as it will allow plaque to develop.
3. Foods, drinks, and tobacco
Certain foods and drinks like coffee, tea, wine, fruits, and vegetables can lead to teeth stains.
4. Excessive fluoride
Use of excessive fluoride, often found in teeth whitening products like toothpaste or mouthwash can cause yellowing of teeth.
Genetics can also be a major factor. Some people have more yellow tooth color than others, while others have thinner enamel.
How to treat discoloration in old age
Enamel, once destroyed, cannot be repaired. Therefore, the first thing you can practice is prevention. Nevertheless, teeth discoloration with age is unpreventable. Some of the treatments to get rid of teeth stains are mentioned below.
– Practice good dental hygiene and brush your teeth properly.
– Avoid foods or drinks that may cause staining.
– You may consult your dentist and consider bondings or veneers to hide or remove yellow teeth.
– Your dentist may be able to help you through teeth whitening procedures.
– Over-the-counter whitening agents can be the saviors in some cases.
Author Bio: Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health, recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.
Being a Grandmother is a wonderful benefit of aging. The experience is truly all that your friends told you it would be. When you didn’t think you could love anyone as much as your own children, your grandchildren come along and prove you wrong. You can spoil them and send them home, feed them junk food and cookies for dinner, snuggle and take time to play like you didn’t have time for when you raised your own kids. And the best part is that all those things that would have made you a bad parent then, make you an awesome, fun Grandma now.
But what happens when, for reasons beyond your own control, your find yourself moving from the role of Grandma to Mom? According to the Profile of Older Americans (2016), “approximately 1 million grandparents age 60 and over were responsible for the basic needs of one or more grandchildren under age 18 living with them in 2015. Of these caregivers, 593,495 were grandmothers and 429,377 were grandfathers” (pg. 15). The role change from Grandma to Mama is a significant one. The little one you have spoiled and coddled is now yours to raise for the next 20 years into adulthood. This can be a shocking transition, but also a tremendous blessing.
This surprise happened to me at the age of 57. My husband had just retired and we had relocated to a more relaxing place in our life. We already had 7 children between us with an age span of 15 – 34 years of age, the last two of whom were adopted from Russia. So, when our teenagers were ready to graduate from high school, we were looking forward to being empty nesters, having raised children for many years.
Then, along came JJ. Substance abuse, which our pediatrician calls “the scourge of our community”, was the culprit that led to our current situation. This is a common problem, although not all children of substance abusers are fortunate enough to be placed in a loving home out of the influence of parents who use drugs. Our journey started when we offered to take our 6 week old grandson for a few hours so his parents could enjoy some free time together. Those hours turned into several days when the parents didn’t show up to get their son and nobody could find them. They didn’t call to check on him and seemed not to mind that they didn’t contact us for days. It wasn’t long before CPS removed little JJ from his birth parents due to their substance abuse and neglect of their infant and placed him with both sets of grandparents sharing temporary kinship care. Unable to break free of the chains of drugs, even with unlimited free resources and counseling provided by the community, JJ’s parents lost custody of him permanently and we became new parents again through adoption of our precious grandson.
The process of adapting to this life-changing event affects everyone differently. If you find yourself in a similar life-altering stage, then you may benefit from this series on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Today’s tips are for Grandmas who are now Moms again:
Some things have changed
If you are anything like me, your last biological child may be in his/her 30’s, so raising a little one might be a bit intimidating. Lots has changed in 30 years! There is so much more technology to help children learn and play. But this means we have become more tech savvy and not avoid the latest cellphones, computers, or apps. (Any teenager is happy to help you learn to be more techie). Toys are more fun now. Clothes are cuter. There are great innovations like disposable diapers, better bottles, and on-the-go baby food. Kids go to preschool and all-day kindergarten now. But, there are negatives too, like many more immunizations to keep track of. The world doesn’t seem as safe in the big cities as it did long ago when we let our children play outside without as much fear of gang violence, guns, or being kidnapped. Yet, there are more guidelines for child-rearing, research on how to educate kids, and better job opportunities for when they are grown. While all these changes may be daunting, you can use them to your benefit and to make your life easier when raising children in your later years.
Some things never change
Fortunately for us, some things never change. Babies are babies, kids are kids, and teenagers are still teenagers. Changing diapers, bathing a baby, suctioning a nose with the blue bulb syringe, putting clothes on a wiggly toddler, and rocking a little one to sleep are still the same. Strategies for teaching math have changed, and maybe kids don’t always have books in high school, but the major concepts of the major subjects are ones you will remember. Don’t worry – this will all come back to you and you might be surprised how much better you are at parenting now than when you raised your first set of children. You are more relaxed and comfortable because you have decades of experience to draw on.
Your experience is a plus
One of your best assets as a new Grammy Mama (as I like to call this role) is your experience. For me, I raised or help raise 7 children before JJ, so I am way ahead of the new mother learning curve. We already know what works and doesn’t work in raising kids. We are not novices, but seasoned experts! So, when you are tempted to feel you are not up to this new challenge, remind yourself that this is not your first rodeo.
You are not too old
It is a normal feeling to think you might be too old to raise another child. Let me assure you that you are not, and you are not alone. There are more than a million other grandparents in America just like you who are doing it, and many are older than you are. Your age gives you wisdom and experience. If you were in another job, you would be a Senior Executive, VP, or CEO – that is what you are in this new job. Embrace your Grammy Mama role. There is a reason why this child (or children) has been entrusted to you. You have been chosen for a remarkable task: to nurture a child who will later thank you for not giving up on him. You are never too old to undertake such a legacy as that.
Running a marathon is one of the toughest things that you can do. Doing the full 26.2 miles requires grit, determination and a bit of luck. Luck in the sense that it reaches a point along the marathon whereby your will to run is gone and all you can do is hope that your body doesn’t give in. You require a lot of energy to run a marathon but the fact that it is a competitive event makes it difficult for stop and snack up. You, therefore, have to do with the food reserves stored in your body. The problem with this, however, is that the body can only store a limited amount of food reserves. This reserve is depleted way before you complete the marathon and it is at this point that the “wall” appears.
To provide you with the energy to run, food is broken down to supply you with this energy. The primary food item that broken down to generate energy is carbohydrates since it requires very little oxygen to do so. When you are running, you let in very little oxygen into the blood stream and that is why carbohydrates are broken down first. The body can hold about 2000 calories of carbohydrates at any given time and this reserve can only last up to the 20th mile. From this point, the body turns to the fat deposits in the body for energy generation. Breaking down fats to produce energy generates a lot of waste products and this contaminates your interior. It also requires a lot of oxygen but since you are not taking in enough air, the body resorts to burning your muscles to generate the needed oxygen. This has the effect of making you feel like you are pulling a heavy load with your feet. Since your body is concentrating on generating energy, your focus shifts from running to this activity. You, therefore, find it difficult to concentrate on running and those who are not of strong will find it easy to give up.
Marathon caring and ‘The Wall”.
Aging brings with it a lot of challenges and at some stage in life, we would be expected to take care of our loved ones. It could be our parents, grandparents or other family members. Most would think that it will only be for a short period of time but the truth is that it usually stretches several years and this is what makes it a marathon. Taking care of another person is very challenging and it will overwhelm even those claiming to be strong willed. It requires that you feed, clothe as well as clean up the person under your care. You are in charge of their medication as well and this means that you have to monitor their pills to make sure they never run out. See how overwhelming that can be?
When compared to a marathon, all these responsibilities represent the various stages of a marathon. It is easier at the beginning since you are all psyched up and full of energy. It gets difficult with time as your ‘energy reserves’ are depleted and your enthusiasm fades. At this point, it is only a matter of time before you ‘hit the wall’.
The wall of a marathon caregiver.
The wall to a marathon caregiver represents that point when you see your dependent as a burden. This is that point when you are no longer excited to see those in your care. The wall is a very difficult point since it could see you neglect those in your care.
Keeping the wall at bay.
There are a few things that you can do to keep the way at bay. The first thing is to understand the course and this entails understanding your dependents better. If they have any illnesses, get to understand them as this will make it easy for you to manage them. Learn how to take care of old people and you can do that by checking out care homes near me. This will make you a better care giver and better equipment to avoid the wall.