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: Seniors and Broken Bones: The Long Road to Recovery



From a slight fracture to an arm to a full break in the shin or fractured hip, broken bones can be serious and result in months of therapy for recovery. When the injured person is a senior, the situation can be even more serious. They may be unable to remain in their own home and care for themselves, and in some cases, they are never able to return to their former level of independence.

Causes of Broken Bones

Falls are the main cause for broken bones in the elderly. They may also suffer a fracture due to a medical condition. It’s important to determine the cause so it can be prevented in the future and medical issues treated.
If the break occurs in either the legs or arms, hands or feet, the injury site may be placed in a cast and the limb immobilized. Some injuries are serious enough to require surgery. The patient may need pins or rods installed for the bones to stay in place until they heal.

Life After the Break

After the senior receives initial treatment for the break, the next step will to figure out care requirements. Depending on the location and severity of the break, the person may not be able to stay by themselves. They may have limited mobility and require assistance for daily tasks.
Even a minor break can sideline a senior more than someone younger. They may tire out easier, especially if the break requires them to move around on crutches.
An assisted living center is one option for seniors until their broken bones heal. Another option which might appeal more would be for them to hire an in-home caregiver. Even though family may want to help out, they have their own responsibilities. In certain situations, they may be able to be a paid family caregiver, which could ease the financial burden on the family and provide the assistance the senior needs until they’re back on their feet.

The Recovery Period

The senior will need to take certain steps to ensure their recovery is successful, and they can get back to their active lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, getting enough rest, and attending physical therapy and doctor appointments as recommended.
While enduring a broken bone for a senior can involve a lengthy recovery process, they can become independent once again with the right care.

By | 2018-02-19T12:59:05+00:00 February 19th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Seniors and Broken Bones: The Long Road to Recovery

Guest Blog: Important Bathing Tips for Seniors

Important Bathing Tips for Seniors Searching for quick tips and ideas to make bathing safer for you or a loved one? Don’t miss this essential guide!

Fall-Proof the Bath/Shower
With seniors much more at risk for falling than non-seniors, it is critical to fall-proof one of the most hazardous rooms in the house – the bathroom. Install grab bars on the inside and outside walls of showers and tubs with wide grip surfaces to make holding and supporting yourself easier. Put down a non-skid mat outside of the tub or shower, as well as non-slip adhesive strips or mats that stick to the bottom of the bathing area.

Hang Toiletries
Simplify the entire process of shampooing and conditioning hair and lathering up with soap by hanging a toiletry dispenser over the shower head. Toiletry dispensers let you fill canisters with the liquids you use for bathing and access them hands-free in the shower (or often with the touch of a button). No more handling slippery bottles or bars of soap; toiletry dispensers are functional and safe and can be found online or in big box stores.

Wash Smarter
Good hygiene is paramount to your overall health and self-confidence and is just as important when you are a senior. If your old washcloth just isn’t cutting it anymore, invest in a low-cost bath scrubber that makes showering easier and more thorough. Hitting hard to reach places when you shower like your back and feet may be easier with a long-handled bath scrubber or loofah, preventing you from having to twist or bend over in a confined space like the shower.

Use a Removable Shower Head
As seniors age, agility and coordination may be compromised by weaker muscles and stiff joints. Instead of doing a dance in the shower to make sure you are fully rinsed off, get an easy-to-install removable shower head that allows you to better control the water flow and spray intensity. Handheld shower heads are also a smart addition to your bath or shower if you sit on a shower chair to bathe.

Being able to shower or bathe oneself plays an important role in maintaining independence and even being able to live on one’s own without assistance. For aging adults, taking precautions early with safety equipment and smart yet simple upgrades like toiletry dispensers may help prevent falls or injuries down the line.

By | 2018-02-19T12:56:50+00:00 February 19th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Important Bathing Tips for Seniors

Clinical Nurse Specialist Profile – Dr. Kristen Mauk

Kristen Mauk has never been one to stop learning. The clinical nurse specialist has nearly 30 years of experience in rehabilitation and gerontology, a handful of degrees, and has authored or edited seven books. She now helps train the future generation as a professor of nursing at Colorado Christian University in Colorado. She also recently launched her own business, Senior Care Central/International Rehabilitation Consultants, which provides nursing and rehabilitation education throughout the world.

Question: What drew you to nursing? What do you enjoy about it?

Mauk: “I grew up in a medical family. My father was a pediatric surgeon and my mom was a nurse, so I was always around the healthcare professions. However, nursing offered so many opportunities for growth and change while doing what I loved — helping others. There are many aspects of nursing that I enjoy, but feeling like I help make peoples’ lives better has to be the best perk of the job. Nursing is a versatile profession. I started off my career as an operating room nurse, worked for a decade in med-surg, geriatrics, and rehabilitation, then eventually went back to school for additional education so that I could make a greater impact on healthcare through teaching nursing students.”

Question: You have an impressive education. Why did you continue to pursue advanced degrees in the field? How has that benefited you?

Mauk: “First, I am a life-long learner, something that was instilled by my father who was always encouraging his children to explore the world and have an inquiring mind. Dinners at my house were filled with learning activities such as, ‘How does a flashlight work?,’ ‘What is a group of lions called?,’ or ‘For $20, who can spell hors d’oeuvres?’ (By the way, I got that $20!) So, continuing my education through studying for advanced degrees seemed a natural progression when you love to learn and love your work. I felt a need to know as much as possible about my areas of interest, gerontology and rehabilitation, so that I could provide better care to patients and be a better teacher for my students. My advanced education has?opened many doors in the professional nursing world, such as the opportunity to write books, conduct research to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors, or hold national positions in professional organizations.”

Question: What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had, either as a student, educator or in your practice?

Mauk: “There are many memorable experiences I’ve had both as an educator and in practice. One of the most memorable from practice was early in my career working on a skilled/rehab unit in a little country hospital in Iowa. There was an older man who couldn’t find a radio station that played his favorite hymns and one of my co-workers knew that I had a musical background and asked me to sing to him at the bedside. I timidly held his hand as he lay in his hospital bed, and with the door closed because it was late at night, I softly sang all the old hymns I could remember. He closed his eyes and smiled, clasping my hand for nearly an hour of singing. The next evening, I heard him excitedly tell his family members that ‘an angel visited me last night. She had the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard. She held my hand and sang all of my favorite hymns!’ Hearing that outside the door, I smiled, but was later surprised when I stopped in to see him that he truly didn’t seem to remember me. One day later, he died unexpectedly. I often look back and wonder on that experience. In the many years of nursing experience that followed, I have learned that there are sometimes angels where we least expect them.”

Question: What advice do you have for people just starting their education or their professional career?

Mauk: “Nursing is a great profession! Learn all that you can while you are in school and continue to be a lifelong learner. The need for nurses who specialize in care of older adults and rehabilitation is only going to continue to grow because of the booming aging population. There is currently, and will continue to be, a shortage of skilled professionals to meet the demand that is looming with the graying of America. Gain skills that will make you a specialist and afford you additional opportunities. Always give the best care to those you serve. Set yourself apart by building a professional reputation for excellence through advanced education, publication, scholarship, clinical practice, and community service. Then, go and change the world!”

CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST PROFILE FOR KRISTEN MAUK

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By | 2018-02-19T18:21:35+00:00 February 19th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Clinical Nurse Specialist Profile – Dr. Kristen Mauk
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