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.

Guest Blog: Choose Your Laptop For Music Production

Musicians use laptops in different ways. Many employ a traditional approach, recording tracks from microphones and instruments and then mixing them to create the final product. Hip-hop, pop and electronic musicians often use the laptop to produce most of the real sounds – programming the sounds in a sequencer or playing them on a MIDI keyboard or touchpads connected to the laptop. But they still record vocals and other sounds using microphones and mix them with computer-generated audio and often with footage from other artists’ recordings. DJs usually do all of the above and also use the top music production laptops as a presentation device, often triggering everything with a controller that has touchpads and some scratch-like platters. Get more ideas about choosing the best laptops for your music production here Music Production Laptop Reviews.

All of these applications use software packages called digital audio workstations or DAWs. Some DAWs are more focused on recordings, others more for the generation of music in the laptop itself. Here is an excellent guide to selecting a DAW.

The folk singer / songwriter who wants to take her laptop with her on the subway to record concerts in Brooklyn has different needs from the producer who wants to bring hip hop hits to the studio set up in her home in Atlanta. So the first step should be to decide what your job requires. Is portability important? Will your productions be simple or complex? Will your laptop be used in a live music presentation?

Screen size

The screen is important because it determines the size of your visual workspace. The more complex your productions are, the more work space you need. Almost any laptop screen will allow you to monitor 6 to 10 music tracks comfortably, but it is almost impossible to manage 30 tracks on a small screen.

• Smaller screens (10-13 inches diagonally) can be accommodated easily in backpacks. For recordings and basic mixes, a small monitor is fine.
• Mid-size laptops (14-16 inches) typically represent the balance between portability and performance.
• Large laptops (17-18 inches) are great for music producers who need to monitor dozens of tracks at once, which is the norm in hip-hop, pop and electronic music.


If you plan to use your laptop for recordings or live performances, a smaller model is in gral a better option because it is easier to load and takes up less space on the stage. Another consideration in these applications is battery life. It is not important in homes or clubs where there is a nearby outlet, but it can be critical for mobile recording. Also, if you plan to use your laptop for a presentation or recording in clubs, it’s a good idea to choose a model with a backlit keyboard.

Mac or Windows?

MacBooks are fast and reliable, although there are equally powerful Windows laptops, usually for more affordable prices. This choice depends primarily on two factors: your budget and the software you prefer to use. Note that professional music studios tend to use Macs, so if you plan to work alongside professional studios – recording a few tracks in a large room or hiring a professional to mix your recording – a Mac may be a safer option, though audio files from Windows machines can be transferred to the Mac operating system and vice versa.


Music production can put a heavy load on a CPU or processor, which is the heart of any computer. Get the best and most powerful processor within your budget because it can rarely be updated later. The more complicated your productions, the more important the CPU. Mixing a song with 30 tracks, multiple instruments and many digital audio effects requires a powerful computer.

There are two measures of processor performance to keep in mind. One is the number of cores. Each core can process data independently, so the addition of cores dramatically increases processing power. A quad-core processor is the best choice for music production. The other measure is the clock speed, which generally ranges from 2.4 to 4.2 GHz. The faster, the better.

In general, a more compact laptop will have a less powerful processor, but this is not always true.


RAM, or random access memory, temporarily stores programs and data when your computer is on. The more complex the program, the more RAM it requires.

For music production you need at least 8 GB and preferably 16 GB of RAM, especially if you are working with many recorded tracks and / or virtual instruments, or employing multiple effects on your tracks. Fortunately, RAM is one of the easiest components to upgrade on a computer, but every laptop has its limits. It is best to choose one that can accommodate at least 16 GB of RAM.

Storage: HDD or SSD?

Audio files spend a lot of storage space: only a complicated song can easily occupy 1 GB. That’s why it’s a good idea to have at least 1TB of storage space available.

How this storage is organized is another matter. Its options are a conventional hard disk (HDD), which uses one or more internal rotating disks, a solid state drive (SSD) without moving parts or an external HDD, which connects to your laptop via USB.

An SSD is able to read and write data much faster than an HDD and is quieter and more reliable. However, the price of an SSD is usually five times higher per GB than that of an HDD. One solution, if your laptop allows, is to have a 128GB or 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. That way, bootstrapping and loading programs from the SSD are ultrafast and you have plenty of storage space for music files on the HDD.

Another solution is to save your music files – or at least archived ones – to an external hard drive. This method increases complexity, but lets you add more storage space when you need it, and lets you opt for a smaller, thinner computer.


To interface a laptop with microphones, instruments, and other audio devices, you will need an audio interface that will connect to the laptop through a USB port. If you’re producing music directly from your laptop, you’ll also use USB to connect to a keyboard, MIDI pads (to play beats), and DJ controllers. Many music professionals like to use control surfaces, which offer a very similar physical interface to a mixing desk, instead of using the mouse to control their recordings and audio mixes.

laptops come with at least two USB ports, but obviously you may want more, especially if you want to connect peripherals such as a wired keyboard or mouse or an external hard drive. The USB ports of any computer can be extended by connecting a USB hub, but for the portable users, this will be another device to charge.

Connectors for Speakers / Headphones

Surprisingly, these features do not matter much in a laptop used for music production. The laptop-integrated speakers are very low-quality devices, which are only there in case you do not have anything else to listen to. Nothing will sound good through them, and if you try to adjust your mixes to sound good for them, the song will probably sound strange when played on good-quality speakers. You can use the headphone connector integrated into the laptop, however, in most laptops. the amplifier connected to the headphone connector has poor quality and can take some of the sound out of your headphone.

Fortunately, most audio interfaces have headphone connectors as well as connections that allow you to attach a set of high quality monitor speakers that will allow you to mix with high quality sound. Why is not it crazy to invest hours in choosing the right laptop and hundreds of hours in producing a piece of music and then listening to it on low-quality speakers?

Final tracks

Once you have chosen the laptop, audio interface and DAW software that are best for your needs, you are ready to create studio-quality music productions. In fact, most of the songs you hear on the radio are created using nothing more than that. You just need to add your own creativity and imagination.

By |2019-06-06T19:30:12-05:00June 6th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Choose Your Laptop For Music Production

Seniors and Addiction Rehab: What Do You Need to Know?

There are addiction rehab programs for seniors. Many people don’t consider seniors when they think of someone having an addiction. However, that may be a mistake. There are many seniors who experience chronic pain, grief, and other issues, which is why they may abuse drugs. The schedule will be customized to meet each individual’s addiction recovery needs.

Components of Treatment

It is helpful to know what the components of treatment will be, whether you or a senior in your life, needs to get treatment. Some of these components include the following:
Group therapy
● Daily assessments
● Pain management
● Medication assessments
● On-site medical detox
● Psychological assessments
● Faith-based counseling
● Relapse prevention tips
● Family therapy

These components may vary depending on the addiction treatment center that is attended. You may also get yoga, physical therapy, exercise, and other treatments.

Symptoms and Signs of Substance Abuse

It can be even more troublesome when an addiction goes unnoticed or doesn’t get treated. This is why it is so essential to recognize the symptoms and signs of substance abuse in seniors. Some of these things include the following:
● Anemia
● Agitation
● Liver function issues
● Anxiety
● Personal cleanliness issues
● Mental ability changes
● Eating habit changes
● Depression
● Increased falls
● Drinking despite consequences
● Weakness
● Fatigue
● Incontinence
● Violence
● Memory lapses
● Irritability
● More confusion than normal
● Losing interest in enjoyable activities
● Not keeping in touch with friends or family members
● Marital issues
● Panic attacks
● Mood swings
● Slurring of speech

If you notice these symptoms and signs in a senior, be sure to try to get them help.

When it comes to seniors and addiction rehab, it is important to know all this information. Addictions can be dangerous for anyone, especially the elderly. Their organs and body systems don’t work as well, so it is much easier to get alcohol poisoning or overdose on drugs. If you are a senior with an addiction, you can get inpatient rehab for elders today.


By |2019-06-05T11:56:25-05:00June 5th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Seniors and Addiction Rehab: What Do You Need to Know?

Guest Blog: 5 Smart Senior Hacks for Independent Living

Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your independence. If you’re looking forward to spending your golden years at home, you can make the experience safer and more comfortable with these life hacks.

1. Try Meal Prep
It can become harder to lead an active lifestyle, and still, pay time and attention to cooking at eating healthy. You may choose to arrange help in the kitchen or check out some quick and easy recipes for seniors. Cooking groups are another great way to meal prep, and can also help you build a network.

2. Update Home Security
There are plenty of reasons to consider home security. In addition to a new system, get familiar with your community. Arrange for friends, family members, or neighbors to pick up any mail, or keep an eye on your home when you’re not there.

Motion activated lights can also discourage intruders. Connecting a smartphone to your home security can make life more accessible. Try wireless doorbells, which will allow you to see, hear and talk to whoever is at the door.

3. Keep Your Contacts List Updated
Any senior living alone should keep an up-to-date list of emergency contacts and medical needs. Keep it in one place and up-to-date. Set up your smartphone so it takes simple voice commands. This way you can contact someone quickly when you can’t reach your phone.

4. Keep Your Home In Good Shape
Scheduling regular maintenance means you’ll spot any tears in carpets, loose fixtures, or anything else that may cause accidents. Ensure that you have regular maintenance done on the home. Setting alerts can help you keep your home updates on a schedule.

5. Smart Apps & Wearable Technology
We’ve already mentioned setting alarms to keep your home in good shape. But what about you? There are simple assistant apps that can help you stay healthy. For instance, an app to remind you to take your medicine, to drink water, or work out.

Apart from apps you install on your phone or tablet, there are health trackers that will ensure your health stays, well, on track. Fitness trackers can measure your heart rate and activity level. Medical alert accessories contain your health information, which can be important in emergencies.

There are many changes that make living independently complicated for seniors. But complicated doesn’t have to mean difficult. Try these tips and make living alone easier on yourself.

By |2019-06-04T09:27:42-05:00June 4th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Smart Senior Hacks for Independent Living

The Role of the Rehabilitation Nurse

You may have heard of rehabilitation nursing, but are you familiar with what rehabilitation nurses do and their essential role in health care? According to the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), there are four major domains within the new competency model for professional rehabilitation nursing (ARN, 2016) that can help us understand what rehabilitation nurses do.  In this blog, we will look at the ARN model from a layperson’s viewpoint to help explain the role of the rehabilitation nurse. Rehabilitation nurses:

Promote successful living

Rehabilitation nurses do not only care for people, but they promote health and prevent disability. This means that rehab nurses engage in activities that help patients, families and communities stay healthy. Proactively, you might see rehab nurses helping with bike safety (such as promoting the wearing of helmets), car seat fairs (to keep children safe from injury), or stroke prevention through community screenings and teaching about managing risk factors. As rehab nurses, we also help patients towards self-management of existing chronic illness or disability, teaching them how to be co-managers with their health providers so they can maintain independence and have a good quality of life. Another key activity is facilitating safe care transitions. This means that rehabilitation nurses have a special skill set to know which setting of care is best for the patient to move to next and how to make this happen smoothly. For example, if Mrs. Smith has had a stroke and finished her time in acute rehabilitation in the hospital, but she lives alone and is not quite ready to go home, what is the best care setting or services for her to receive the help she needs?  Many errors, such as those with medications, happen when patients go from one place to another in the health system. Rehabilitation nurses can help persons successfully navigate these complexities and be sure that clients get the continuity of care they need and deserve.

Give quality care

The interventions or care that rehabilitation nurses provide to patients and families is based on the best scientific evidence available. Part of being a rehab nurse is staying current on the latest technology, strategies for care, and best practices. This is to ensure that all patients receive the highest standard of care possible. We stay current in many ways, including reading journal articles, attending conferences, obtaining continuing education, and maintaining certification in rehabilitation. Research shows that having more certified rehabilitation nurses on a unit decreases length of stay in the hospital. In addition, all of rehab care focuses on the patient and family as the center of the interdisciplinary team. To this end, rehabilitation nurses teach patients and families about their chronic illness or disability across many different areas including: how to take medications; managing bowel and bladder issues; preventing skin breakdown; dealing with behavioral issues that might be present with problems such as brain injury or dementia; coping with changes from a disabling condition; sexuality; working with equipment at home; and ways to manage pain.

Collaborate with a team of experts

Rehabilitation nurses are part of an interprofessional team of physicians, therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, and many others who work together for the best patient outcomes. For persons who have experienced a catastrophic injury or illness, the work of this team of experts sharing common goals will provide the best care, and rehab nurses are the ones who are with the patient 24/7 to coordinate this process. Through effective collaboration, excellent assessment skills, and communication with the rest of the team members, rehab nurses ensure that patient and families are getting well-coordinated care throughout the rehabilitation process. Remember that rehabilitation takes place in many settings, whether on the acute rehab unit, in skilled care, long-term care, or the home. The nurse’s role is to be sure that the holistic plan of care is followed by all staff and that the physicians overseeing medical care are continually informed of patient progress for the best decision-making possible.

Act as leaders in rehabilitation

 Not only do rehabilitation nurses provide direct patient care, they are also leaders in the rehabilitation arena. You might be surprised to learn that rehabilitation nurses advocate at the highest level for legislation surrounding funding and policy for those with disabilities and chronic illness, talking with Senators and Congressmen about key issues. ARN has professional lobbyists that continually watch health policy movement in Washington and keep rehab nurses informed. Rehab nurses help patients to advocate for themselves in holding government and communities accountable for needed care services. Lastly, rehab nurses share their knowledge with others. This is done in a variety of ways through conducting and publishing research, presenting at conferences, serving on local and national committees, and serving in public office. All of the leadership activities done by nurses in rehabilitation are to promote the best quality of care for patients with chronic illness and disability.











By |2019-06-03T20:37:37-05:00June 4th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on The Role of the Rehabilitation Nurse



Although gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common among older adults, the true prevalence is not known. Many patients with GERD-related symptoms never discuss their problems with their primary care provider. GERD is thought to occur in 5–7% of the world’s population, with 21 million Americans affected (International Foundations for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 2008). It is found in both men and women.

Signs and symptoms

Pathophysiological changes that occur in the esophagus, hiatal hernia, and certain medications and foods increase the risk for GERD. Obesity (Corely , Kubo, Levin et al., 2007) and activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure such as wearing tight clothes, bending over, or heavy lifting have also been linked to GERD (MedlinePlus, 2005a). The cardinal symptom of GERD is heartburn; however, older adults may not report this, but rather complain of other symptoms such as pulmonary conditions (bronchial asthma, chronic cough, or chronic bronchitis), a hoarse voice, pain when swallowing foods, chronic laryngitis, or non-cardiac chest pain (Pilotto & Franceschi, 2009). The chronic backflow of acid into the esophagus can lead to abnormal cell development (Barrett esophagus) that increases the risk for esophageal cancer.


Older adults often have atypical symptoms, making the diagnosis of GERD very challenging. As people age, the severity of heartburn can diminish, while the complications, such as erosive esophagitis, become more frequent. Therefore, endoscopy should be considered as one of the initial diagnostic tests in older adults who are suspected of having GERD (Pilotto & Franceschi, 2009). Examination of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum through a fiber-optic scope (endoscopy) while the person receives conscious sedation, allows the gastroenterologist to visualize the entire area, identify suspicious areas, and obtain biopsies as needed. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a chronic bacterial infection in humans, is a common cause of GERD, affecting about 30% to 40% of the U.S. population. Testing for H. pylori can be done during the endoscopy or by other tests (Ferri, 2011).


The objectives of treatment for GERD include: (1) relief of symptoms, (2) healing of esophagitis, (3) prevention of further occurrences, and (4) prevention of complications (Pilotto & Francheschi, 2009). Lifestyle and dietary modifications are important aspects of care. It is widely recommended that persons with GERD should stop smoking, limit or avoid alcohol, and limit chocolate, coffee, and fatty or citrus foods. Medications should be reviewed and offending medications modified, since certain medications decrease the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) tone, allowing acid to backflow into the esophagus. These include anticholinergic drugs, some hormones, calcium channel blockers, and theophylline. Avoidance of food or beverages 3–-4 hours prior to bedtime, weight loss, and elevation of the head of the bed on 6-to-8 inch blocks are some other interventions that may help alleviate symptoms. Pharmacological treatments with antacids in conjunction with histamine 2 (H2) -blockers (Tagmet, Zantac, Axid, and Pepcid) are used for mild GERD. If these are ineffective in controlling symptoms, then the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the next drugs of choice. These include medications like Nexium and Dexilant. With lifestyle modifications and appropriate medications, older adults can manage their GERD symptoms so that quality of life is maintained.

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. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

For more information on GERD, visit the Mayo Clinic Website:



By |2019-05-07T11:49:29-05:00June 3rd, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on GERD