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Resources 2016-12-16T23:03:20+00:00

Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis Treatment

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Background

Diverticulosis results from pouches that form in the wall of the colon (or large intestine). Diverticulitis is an inflammation or infection of these pouches. Diverticular disease is more common among older adults than younger people (Tursi, 2007). Sixty-five percent of older adults will develop diverticulosis by age 85 (Kennedy-Malone et al. 2004). The exact cause of diverticulosis is not known, but it is speculated that a diet low in fiber and high in refined foods causes the stool bulk to decrease, leading to increased colon transit time. Retention of undigested foods and bacteria results in a hard mass that can disrupt blood flow and lead to infection. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcomes will be; however, if complications such as bleeding increases the risk of less- than- optimal outcomes.

Warning Signs

Risk factors for diverticulosis include obesity, chronic constipation, and straining, irregular and uncoordinated bowel contractions, and weakness of bowel muscle due to aging. Other risk factors are directly related to the suspected cause of the condition. These include older than 40 years old of age, low-fiber diet, and the number of diverticula in the colon (Thomas, 2011). Diverticulosis may result in pain in the left lower quadrant (LLQ), can get worse after eating, and may improve after a bowel movement. Warning signs of diverticulitis include fever, increased white blood cell count, bleeding that is not associated with pain, increased heart rate, nausea, and vomiting.

Diagnosis

Evaluation of the abdomen may reveal tenderness in the LLQ and there may be rebound tenderness with involuntary guarding and rigidity. Bowel sounds may be initially hypoactive and can be hyperactive if the obstruction has passed. Stool may be positive for blood. The initial evaluation is abdominal Xx-ray films, followed by a barium enema, though a CT scan with oral contrast is more accurate in diagnosing this condition (Thomas, 2011). A complete blood count may be done to assess for infection.

Treatments

Diverticulosis is managed with a high-fiber diet or daily fiber supplementation with psyllium. Diverticulitis is treated with antibiotics, but in acute illness the person may require hospitalization for IV hydration, analgesics, bowel rest, and possible NG tube placement. Morphine sulfate should be avoided because it increases the intraluminal pressures within the colon, causing the symptoms to get worse (Thomas, 2011). Patients should learn about a proper diet, avoidance of constipation and straining during bowel movements, and when to seek medical care. The diet should include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and increased fluid intake, unless contraindicated. In extreme cases, either where the person has complications that do not resolve with medical management or has many repeated episodes, a colon resection may be needed. Patients will need to work closely with their primary care provider to manage any ongoing problems.

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 Diverticulosis, visit NDDIC at:
digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/

 

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By | August 30th, 2017|Categories: News Posts|Comments Off on Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis Treatment

Guest Blog: Auto Safety Tech Innovations That Will Excite Boomer Drivers

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As automotive technology has improved, increasingly more consumers are seeking out that technology during the car shopping process. Every year, the rate at which technology changes personal transportation accelerates. As a matter of fact, NY speeding violations lawyer http://www.zevgoldsteinlaw.com/ quotes General Motors CEO Mary Barra; “We’re going to see more change in the next five to ten years than we’ve seen in the last 50.”

 

For baby boomers, who are hoping to stay on the road for as long as possible, this is more important than ever. The question many consumers find themselves asking, however, is what technologies will make their way into the mainstream market and which ones will remain in the realm of science fiction. In the very near future, there are 25 advanced car technologies that we expect to see making their way into showrooms.

 

  1. Intelligent Brake Lights are being developed that indicate whether a driver is stopping quickly or simply decreasing acceleration.
  2. Smart Windshields will use augmented reality to help display key information about what’s happening on the road.
  3. Night Vision Enhancements make it easier for seniors and others with night vision troubles to see when they’re out on the road at night, removing obstacles that might create an earlier curfew for seniors.
  4. Automated Parking Systems make parking easy. Simply put the car into parking mode and it will slide itself into the parking space—perfect for those who have started to see their motor skills deteriorating.
  5. Lane Departure Warning Systems don’t just help distracted drivers who might have wandered out of their designated lane. They’re also designed to help elderly drivers who may struggle to keep their car inside the lane when they’re driving.
  6. Crash Notification and Avoidance Technologies recognize the conditions that can lead to an accident, from someone running into the road to a car slamming on its brakes ahead. Some of them are designed to notify drivers so that they can react. Others may even slam on the brakes or have another reaction to help avoid the collision.
  7. Blind Spot Detection and Back-Over Prevention Systems note any time there’s something behind the car or in a blind spot, making it easier to avoid accidents.
  8. Fatigue Warning Systems analyze driver behavior and notify them when they are becoming fatigued, letting drivers know when it’s time to pull over for a while.
  9. Forward Collision Warning with Auto Brake notices when accidents are going to happen and puts on the brakes to avoid them.
  10. Self-Driving Cars were the technology of the future just a few short years ago. Now, however, they’re becoming a very real possibility, removing the responsibility of driving the car from the senior’s shoulders.
  11. Driver Override Systems recognize when drivers are accelerating faster than the driver intended, such as when the gas pedal is slammed instead of the brake. The unsafe response is then overridden.
  12. Biometric Vehicle Access offers an even greater level of safety and protection, pulling together the safety systems needed by an individual driver based on biometric scans.
  13. Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking lets you know where your car is at any moment. It’s a fantastic resource for children who might worry about their elderly parents wandering off.
  14. Active Window Displays bring GPS and other apps straight to the windshield, removing the need to look away in order to effectively use those apps.
  15. Remote Vehicle Shutdown allows a car to be shut down from a distance—especially effective in conjunction with the GPS tracking that will let adult children know if their parents are out of the geographic area where they should be traveling. This feature is one of 10 advanced car technologies predicted by Forbes contributor Karl Brauer by 2020.
  16. Active Health Monitoring is something nearly everyone is now familiar with. Active health monitoring in a vehicle allows drivers to know when their health isn’t adequate to safe driving.
  17. Reconfigurable Body Panels change the shape of the car, making it possible to use a single vehicle for many purposes.
  18. Tablet Transforming Steering Wheels use gesture control, similar to what’s used on a tablet screen, to make cars easier to maneuver—even for those with joint problems.
  19. High-Tech Car Seats with Stress Gauges help drivers stay calm behind the wheel, shifting responses to help create a safer driving experience.
  20. Dashboard Safety Integration provides safety information on the dashboard, where it’s easy to view while driving.
  21. Augmented Reality provides warning messages and other key information on the windshield, making it easier to see obstacles and other concerns.
  22. Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell Cars combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce the power for fuel cells that run the car—truly the car of the future.
  23. Rotating Motorized Lounge Chairs provide an increased level of comfort for drivers who might otherwise have trouble in the car.
  24. Eye-Tracking Holographic Dashboard technology uses gestures and eye movements to allow apps to be accessed without needing to touch the screen.
  25. Autopilot systems, like self-driving car technology, provide drivers with the safe travel they need without reducing their independence.

 

These new technologies have helped make traveling by car safer than it ever has been before. This is particularly true for older drivers who may need additional assistance behind the wheel. This offers a significant improvement in quality of life for aging baby boomers who may no longer feel safe behind the wheel. New technology, however, prepares the way for them to drive longer.

 

 

 

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By | August 28th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Auto Safety Tech Innovations That Will Excite Boomer Drivers

Guest Blog: Three key ways architecture benefits the elderly

elderly couple walking

Most people don’t realize just how big of an impact architecture can have on the lives and well being of elderly individuals. For many years, innovative designs for care homes and retirement living have gone a long way in helping to both support and reassure elderly residents so they feel comfortable in their surroundings, and will do for many years to come. Here are three key ways in which architecture benefits the elderly.

Exposure to sunlight

One of the first architectural considerations for any residential project is ‘how does the building sit in relation to the sun?’ This can influence many factors such as the garden, conservatories and large windows, all because we want residents to have the best exposure to natural light as possible. Designs for many care homes ensure that there are no rooms that face exclusively north, so all residents receive direct, natural sunlight into their room at some point during the day. Not only are there psychological benefits of enjoying the sunshine, but exposure to the sun in moderation provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D, absorbed into the body to help strengthen bones which is a huge boost for the elderly to starve off the effects of frailty with age.

Green space

Residential architecture is not just about the building, but landscaping the garden area too. Retaining some green outdoor space is important for elderly residents for whom it may not be possible to venture to the nearest public park whenever they wish, so they can relax outdoors without completely leaving their home. For more mobile elderly residents, gardens also provide the opportunity to continue with a relaxing gardening hobby, or to even take it up. In care homes, gardens are kept in pristine condition all year round by qualified gardeners, and when the months begin to get warmer, residents can enjoy the various plants and colorful flowerbeds – some of which they may have helped to plant themselves.

Built to adapt

When it comes to care home facilities and retirement housing, architectural designs must cater for the ever-changing needs of the residents. Therefore, it has to be built to adapt. Many elderly who use wheelchairs will require spacious rooms with height adjustable surfaces, particularly in the kitchen, and ramps fitted on all entrances and exits. These features take even more prominence in care homes with more residents present, with designs also incorporating wide corridors to allow residents in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters to pass one another with ease, and interior walls within a resident’s living space fitted as panels that can be easily knocked out to create a larger open plan floor space if necessary.

Author bio: Mick Goode is a co-founder and co-director of Croft Goode Architects, based in Lancashire, UK. As a BIM-focused practice of chartered architects, we have a vast range of experience designing for all kinds of projects, including those for retirement living and healthcare buildings for the elderly and disabled.

By | August 24th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Three key ways architecture benefits the elderly

Guest Blog: Five Eye Health Tips for Maintaining Long-Life Vision

As you age, so do your eyes. It is a simple fact of life, however, age related vision problems don’t need to be a lifestyle changer. Knowing what’s to come and how you can maintain your vision for the long haul is an essential first step, according to the American Optometric Association.

As you approach 60 years young, it is vital to pay more attention to the warning signs of age-related vision issues. Vision problems as you get older can be acute or chronic, but knowing how to steer clear of them is probably at the top of your list.

Making significant lifestyle choices and getting regular eye exams will help keep you focused on your eye health. Let’s face it, visiting your optometrist is more fun than seeing your dentist or primary physician. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can keep your vision strong, no matter your age.

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  1. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly for Optimal Eye Health

There are some pretty unfavorable eye diseases you may be at risk for, especially if you skip your eye exams. In order to keep your vision as keen as a 20 year olds, visiting your optometrist regularly is vital.

In fact, an article published in academic journal, American Family Physician (1999) found several common causes of vision loss in the elderly. The vision debilitating eye diseases you may be at risk for include Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Diabetic Retinopathy, among others. Seeing your eye doctor will help you avoid these chronic vision loss conditions.

  1. Eat Right to See Right

What you eat directly affects your health. And the same applies for your eye health. Eating the healthy nutritious meals at least three times per day is one exceptional way to keep your focus on great vision.

Food loaded with nutrient rich vitamins and minerals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamin C, and vitamin E may help keep your eyes in superb shape. Those greens, eggs, nuts, and salmon are a great place to begin. You may even see a few pounds shrink away from your waist.

  1. Focus on Eye Health and Quit Smoking

Saving your lungs from smoking is also saving your vision from acute and chronic vision issues in the future. In fact, smoking increases your risk for cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration.

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If quitting your attempt to quit smoking continues to happen, don’t give up. Your vision as you age may depend on it. And if you quit smoking, you will most likely live longer, making it even more imperative to have great vision to see your grandchildren blossom.

  1. Look Cool and Protect Your Eyes with UV Sunglasses

If keeping your eyes healthy aligns with your fashion, even better. Wearing UV sunglasses may help protect your eyes from the sun’s powerful rays. Research suggests that too much UV exposure will increase your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Pick up some sunglasses with 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Protecting your peripheral vision is also important, so wraparound shades may be even better. There are even contacts with UV protection these days. However, sunglasses with UV block are best.

  1. Limit Your Screen Time for Better Vision Later in Life

Limiting your screen time is nothing new. In fact, mothers have been saying television ruins eyes for decades. If you want to protect your eyes, taking a break from so much screen time is essential.

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This also extends to tech devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation suggests that the blue light emitted by these tech screens may trigger macular degeneration, among other health issues.

Protecting your eyes today may pay off big time as you begin reaching those golden years. And it is never too late to start living healthy to improve your vision. Most of the suggestions made by professionals can also make a big impact on your overall health. Stay focused when it comes to eye health, because seeing is an important sense to maintain forever.

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By | August 21st, 2017|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Five Eye Health Tips for Maintaining Long-Life Vision

Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Background

Commonly known as shingles, herpes zoster is the reactivation of the varicella virus that causes chicken pox. Older persons may be infected with this latent virus after initial exposure to it in the form of chicken pox. The virus then lays dormant in the neurons until it is reactivated, often due to immunosuppression, when it appears in the form of painful vesicles or blisters along the sensory nerves. This reactivation tends to occur once in a lifetime, with repeat attacks occurring about 5% of the time (Flossos & Kostakou, 2006). Herpes zoster occurs in both men and women equally, with no specific ethnic variations, but is more common in the elderly.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing shingles are age over 55 years, stress, and a suppressed immune system. For many older women particularly, emotional or psychological stress can trigger recurrence.

Warning Signs

Signs and symptoms of herpes zoster include painful lesions that erupt on the sensory nerve path, usually beginning on the chest or face. They may appear as initially as a rash, looking much like chicken pox, often wrapping around the chest area in a band-like cluster. These weepy vesicles get pustular and crusty over several days, with healing occurring in 2-5 weeks (Kennedy-Malone et al., 2004; NINDS, 2013).

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually made by viewing the appearance of the lesions and a history of onset. A scraping will confirm some type of herpes virus. The most common complaint of those with herpes zoster is the painful blisters that usually subside in 3–5 weeks (NINDS, 2013). Postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of herpes zoster, may last 6–12 months after the lesions disappear and may involve the dermatome, thermal sensory deficits, allodynia (the perception of pain where pain should not be), and/or severe sensory loss, all of which can be very distressing for the patient (Flossos & Kostakou, 2006).

Prevention

Zostavax, a vaccine for shingles, has become available, and it is recommended for all persons age 60 or older who have already had the chicken pox. A person can still get shingles even after having the vaccine, but the symptoms and complications would be less severe. The vaccine has also been approved for persons age 50 – 59, and research has shown that receiving the vaccine significantly decreases the rate of shingles in the population (NINDS, 2013; PubMed Health 2012).

Treatment

Antiviral medications (such as Acyclovir) are used to treat shingles, but must be given within 48 hours of the eruption of the lesions. Topical ointments may help with pain and itching. Pain medications, particularly acetaminophen (Tylenol), are appropriate for pain management in older adults. If a fever is present, rest and drinking plenty of fluids is suggested. Persons with pain that lasts past 6 weeks after the skin lesions are gone and that is described as sharp, burning, or constant require re-evaluation by a physician. Postherpetic neuralgia may be a long-term complication lasting years (PubMed Health, 2012).

The person should be advised to seek medical attention as soon as he or she suspects shingles, in order to receive the best results from Acyclovir. The virus will run its course, but the person is contagious while vesicles are weepy. Persons should not have direct contact (even clothing) with pregnant women, people who have not had chicken pox, other elderly persons, or those with suppressed immune systems. The older person with shingles may experience concerns with pain management and feel a sense of isolation, particularly if they live alone. Arranging for a family member or friend who does not have a high risk of infection to check on the older person at home is advisable.

Visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) for an informational page on Shingles at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm

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.

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By | August 16th, 2017|Categories: News Posts|Comments Off on Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Guest Post: How to Reduce Loneliness for the Elderly in Your Life

Reaching the golden age does not always come only with a great life experience but also with reasons to make you feel lonelier than ever. Years have passed by and many of those people you encountered and loved so much may have passed away over time. This is something that remains in your heart forever.

Feeling lonely is not something to be ashamed of but also not something to control your life. Discover below the best ways in which to reduce loneliness for the elderly in your life. They deserve to live happy during this new stage in their existence. Help them rediscover the joy of living!

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 Develop a Strategy to Defeat Seclusion

If you have elder people you love, you must engage more in their life. It is unavoidable for them to feel lonely from time to time. This is why they need your love and support more than ever. Make them feel loved and an important part of your life. Offer them reasons to smile and continue every day. Do not forget about them or ever leave them feeling like no one has time for them anymore.

Allow Them to Feel Useful

Feeling like there is nothing left for you to do in life is the worst possible feeling. Older people should be treasured because they have a life experience to share. Learn to listen to them more often, spend more time with them and allow these amazing people to teach you what they know. Engage with them in activities that are suitable for their age and help them keep themselves active. Never leave them alone for too much time and always advise them on how to stay clear of sadness and depression.

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 New Bridge for the Generation Gap

The generation gap between young people and older ones is obvious. However, there should always be a bridge built with love, compassion, and respect or understanding to help keep these two generations together. Teach your children to appreciate the elderly. If they have grandparents, guide them towards building close relationships with them. Spending time together and sharing experiences will be a great way in which to reduce loneliness for the elderly in your life. It will also be a great life lesson for your children.

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To ensure a better life experience for them at this stage you can also consider professional help in care homes in Maidstone. The main stages of life are the same for all of us. We may go through them differently and face varied challenges, but we all get to the same place sooner or later. Let’s treasure the amount of experience and life stories these amazing people have to share. We will learn more from them than from any other experience in our life.

 

 

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By | August 14th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: How to Reduce Loneliness for the Elderly in Your Life
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