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 Post: Senior Citizens and Technology: Benefits of the Digital Age

guidelines-for-introducing-use-of-technology-to-older-adults

The younger generation may think that all of today’s technology is reserved only for their use, but that’s simply not the truth. Many areas of this digital age can greatly benefit senior citizens, and here are just five ways that older folks can use technology to enhance their lives.

1. Cellphones: Today’s seniors aren’t typically sitting home in rocking chairs or baking cookies. Active senior citizens may enjoy travel or fast-paced social lives, and this makes a cell phone the perfect way to keep in touch wherever you roam. While many phones are difficult to use and feature tiny buttons, there are some very easy to use cell phones for seniors that utilize large, easy-to-see buttons that are just perfect for the older population.

2. Advanced Recliners Nothing beats a hot massage at the end of the day. New technologies  in recliners are ready for the 21st century. Today  some power lift recliners  heat, massage, and  much  more. They can even help you get up after your snooze.

3. Medical Alert Systems: If you’re a senior citizen who has been afflicted with health issues, then you can still live alone in your own home without fear. Many companies offer medical alert systems that allow you to wear a pendant-style device that can summon help with the press of a button. Others are programmed to call for assistance if a fall is detected, and there are even companies that track your movements through GPS so that you can be helped even when you’re away from home.

4. Computers: Internet companies are keeping senior citizens connected throughout the world. It’s a wonderful method of making new friends, joining groups with those who share your favorite hobbies and keeping up with local and worldwide news. Seniors may also keep up with their extended family and see related pictures through social media, shop online, research medical concerns and arrange for local services online.

5. Electronic Readers: Aging eyes can lose the ability to read normal-size print, and this is a great loss to those who have loved to read their entire lives. With the help of various tablets and e-readers, senior citizens can download books, newspapers and magazines, which can be read at any size that the individual requires. These e-readers can also change the brightness to suit your visual needs.

Sources:

https://www.theseniorlist.com/2015/01/2015-recommended-medical-alert-systems/

http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2015/11/16/10-essential-tech-tools-for-older-adults

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By |2019-10-11T12:16:28-05:00October 17th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: Senior Citizens and Technology: Benefits of the Digital Age

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 |2019-10-11T12:14:46-05:00October 16th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Pneumonia Information

Guest Blog: Physical and Mental Health Aspects of Social Care For Elderly

There are many social forms of care for seniors that provide them with assistance and companionship on a daily basis. This type of care is incredibly useful for seniors who struggle with chronic physical or mental health problems, or just seniors who are struggling to transition into retirement. There are also many memory care facilities available that provide similar services, but also offer additional services for seniors struggling with dementia or other memory issues. Before transitioning into this type of senior care, here are some of the physical and mental results of social care for seniors that you should be aware of.

Improved Moods

One of the biggest benefits of a social care structure for seniors is that it helps them keep their moods and emotions stable. Many people transitioning into senior living struggle with feeling lonely, which can in turn lead to depression and anxiety. However, having caregivers and other seniors around as social support can do wonders for improving seniors’ moods and helping them feel emotionally supported. Transitioning into retirement can be overwhelming, but having a good social support system around can mitigate these negative feelings. Social interaction is naturally stimulating and releases calming chemicals in the brain that reduce stress.

Physical Pain Management

It’s normal for seniors to experience some type of chronic pain as they get older, particularly for people who have struggled with injuries earlier in life. It can be very difficult for seniors to manage pain on their own as they get further into their later years. Having caregivers available to help with activities that cause residents pain is one of the biggest benefits of assisted living care for seniors. In many cases, caregivers can also help seniors with medication administration and gentle exercises that can prevent chronic pain from worsening.

Memory Care

Unfortunately, many seniors struggle with dementia in old age, and this is a very difficult condition to deal with by yourself. A social assisted living facility that offers memory care can make life easier to navigate for seniors who struggle with these conditions. Memory care manages the situations seniors experience on a daily basis to help them access the memory they do have, while making tasks easier to do and preventing accidents and night wandering. If you are wondering where to find memory care facilities near you, consult your local doctor, or check one of the many online guides available that list local senior care facilities.

Daily Routine and Structure

Many seniors in retirement struggle with maintaining a daily routine, which can lead to both physical and mental health problems. One of the best things about assisted living is that it helps seniors maintain an enjoyable routine from day to day. Having this kind of structure keeps seniors active and provides mental stimulation as well. While seniors still have the flexibility to enjoy their favorite hobbies and activities, as well as spending time with friends and family, living in an assisted care facility ensures they will have something to do every day.

There are many great benefits of a social care structure for elderly patients. As frustrating as it can be for seniors to lose their independence, having daily care ensures that they are living the healthiest, most comfortable life possible. It also provides their loved ones with the peace of mind they need, so they won’t have to worry about the health and safety of their relatives. There are many different types of social care for seniors, so you will be sure to find an option that works for your needs.

By |2019-10-11T12:13:11-05:00October 15th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Physical and Mental Health Aspects of Social Care For Elderly

Guest Blog: 4 Healthy Aging Routine Tips

It is never too late to adopt a healthy aging routine into your everyday life. Healthy aging isn’t necessarily about looking or feeling younger, but rather optimizing opportunities for overall good health. Making a simple skincare switch, keeping a balanced diet and getting at least 8 hours of sleep are simple things that can make you feel more energized and give your outer appearance a natural glow. To begin your anti-aging regimen on a positive note, check out these tips for some inspiration!

Skincare
Changing your skin care routine may seem like a daunting task at first. It’s difficult to break from the products you have used for a long time, but once you establish a new routine that works for you, you will see the benefits in a short amount of time. Skin hydration, regeneration, and protection are all essential for seniors. Without these, and the use of an exfoliator weekly, your entire body, will lack smoothness and shine from the accumulation of dry or dead skin.
Remember, skin care isn’t only about facial products. It’s essential to moisturize your arms, hands, legs, and feet too!

Nutrition
Various diseases and illnesses form as a result of inadequate or unbalanced nutrition and poor dieting. Once you reach a certain age, it is critical that you eat more fruits and vegetables to prevent illness and nutritional deficiencies. Substitute processed foods for whole foods to ensure your body is receiving the nutrients necessary for a healthy life. According to the USDA, foods that are high in antioxidants (high Orac) can protect cells from oxidative damage. Kale, spinach, blueberries, and blackberries are all great options! Try implementing a few of these high Orac foods listed below into your diet to slow aging down: Visit here for more information.

Vitamins and Supplements
Many seniors rule out food they aren’t willing to consume depending on their current health status or personal dislikes. Their pallets are fully developed, and for the most part, they aren’t in the mindset to try new foods. However, avoiding certain foods can result in a lack of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that aid in preventing deficiencies and diseases. Take vitamins such as calcium and zinc to help boost brain power, along with Vitamin E, B3 and B5 help support skin elasticity. Furthermore, don’t leave out supplements that can help cellular health such as probiotics and products like Basis by Elysium Health.

Sleep
Sleep may come easier to some more than others. It is important to know that disrupting your circadian rhythm with poor rest can lead to metabolic disorders. Many seniors have insomnia which limits their hours of sleep. Exercise, sticking to a sleep schedule and establishing a bedtime routine can help aid seniors in gaining the rest they need at night or throughout the day.

Remember, it is never too late to make improvements to your current routine, especially if it will benefit you in the long run. Take the time to appreciate your body and embrace the natural process!

 

By |2019-10-11T12:12:18-05:00October 14th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 4 Healthy Aging Routine Tips

Guest Blog: Four Easy Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

For many people, winter is a magical time. They get to play in the snow, celebrate holidays with family and friends, and cuddle up by the fire. But, for some, including seniors, winter can be a difficult and even potentially dangerous time.

Between the risks of slipping and falling and arthritis pain made worse by the cold weather, many seniors find themselves dreading the winter months. If you’re in this group, there’s no need to fear the cold and snow.

Read on to learn about four winter safety tips that every senior should keep in mind as the weather cools down.

1. Avoid Slips and Falls
Your chances of slipping and falling increase dramatically in the winter.

To avoid falls and potentially serious injuries, be sure to only walk on sidewalks and walkways that have been cleared and salted. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and take another route.

It’s also important to wear proper winter boots with non-skid soles. Replace the rubber tip on your cane, if you use one, too.

2. Drive Safely
You also need to take extra precautions when you drive during the winter months. Have your car checked during the fall or early winter to make sure everything is operating properly. Be sure to keep your cell phone with you whenever you drive, too.

Avoid driving on icy roads whenever you can, and stick to well-plowed, bigger roads when snow hits. They’re usually cleared more quickly than backroads.

3. Minimize Joint Pain
If you suffer from arthritis or joint pain, you mind find that it gets worse during the winter. Some things you can do to relieve your pain and stay comfortable include:

Dress warmly
Find ways to exercise indoors
Eat a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet
Use balms or creams to relieve knee pain
Soak in a warm bath or hot tub to loosen up your joints

4. Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
Finally, keep in mind that Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or winter depression, is also common among seniors, especially seniors who live alone and don’t socialize as much during the winter.

If you find yourself feeling depressed or isolated when the weather cools down, seek out new ways to connect with loved ones. Schedule daily or weekly phone calls, or arrange for family members and friends to come and visit you.

By |2019-10-11T12:11:26-05:00October 12th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Four Easy Winter Safety Tips for Seniors