Resources

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

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

Peripheral Artery Disease

Background

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), the most common type of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), affects 8–12 million Americans, 12–20% of those over the age of 65, and could reach as many as 9.6 million Americans by the year 2050 (Cleveland Clinic, 2012).

Risk Factors/Warning Signs

The risk factors for PAD are the same as those for coronary heart disease (CHD), with diabetes and smoking being the greatest risk factors (AHA, 2005). Ac¬cord¬ing to the American Heart Association, only 25% of those older adults with PAD get treatment. PAD increases the risk of CHD, heart attack, and stroke.

Diagnosis

The most common symptoms of PAD are leg cramps that worsen when climbing stairs or walking, but dissipate with rest, commonly called intermittent claudication (IC). The majority of persons with PAD have no symptoms (AHA, 2005). PAD is a predictor of CHD and makes a person more at risk for heart attack and stroke. Left untreated, PAD may eventually lead to impaired function and decreased quality of life, even when no leg symptoms are present. In the most serious cases, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation of a lower extremity.

Treatments

Most cases of PAD can be managed with lifestyle modifications such as those for heart-healthy living. This includes maintaining an appropriate weight, limiting salt intake, managing stress, engaging in physical activity as prescribed, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet.
Patients with PAD should discuss their symptoms with both their healthcare provider and a physical therapist, because some patients find symptom relief through a combination of medical and therapy treatments (Aronow, 2007; Cleveland Clinic, 2012).

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.

For more information on PAD, visit NIH at:
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad/

 

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By | August 11th, 2017|Categories: News Posts|Comments Off on Peripheral Artery Disease

Guest Blog: How Do Seniors With Alzheimer’s Handle Change?

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When seniors develop diseases affecting cognition, like the various kinds of dementia, caregivers typically make an effort to make their living environment as safe and comfortable as possible.  Sometimes caregivers make lots of changes to a senior’s living space, with the best intentions of helping them.  However, this can have a two-sided effect, because seniors with mentally deteriorating illnesses can find change to be a confusing or frightening thing.  Caregivers might change the entire layout of a house, remove everything that could be a hazard, or add numerous locks to provide security.  Changes like these can actually prove to be disorienting for a senior, in addition to being helpful.  So the question becomes, how much change can seniors with Alzheimer’s handle?

 

It’s typical to find instances where seniors have lived in the same home for decades, and have a curious ability to navigate the living space with a sort of muscle memory after memory-harming diseases like Alzheimer’s set in.  Routine is very important to the delicate psyche of an elder with dementia, so finding the perfect balance of what to change for their own good can be tricky.  Making abrupt overwhelming makeovers to their home’s layout can make them flustered and end up actually making  it more difficult for them to get around, adding to their impaired cognition. So it is best to maintain an environment that is familiar as much as possible.  And make any alterations subtly and slowly over time.

 

The necessity to make changes will depend of the severity of a senior’s individual case.  If the Alzheimer’s is in the mid to late stages and a senior is wandering out of the home constantly, then immediate action to prevent hazard is surely appropriate.  Installing door alarms or adding locks can be great helps. If a senior with dementia typically kept a messy household, then the mess may add to their unease or make it easier to trip and fall.  De-cluttering their living space can be advantageous in these cases.

 

Thus, change will surely be necessary at times.  Though it is advisable to make changes as gradually and calmly as possible, to avoid overwhelming or distressing what was comfortable, normal, and assuring to the mind of a loved one with dementia.  Routine is key for security in these instances.  It may also be helpful to make sure you let them see when you move something, or set their things some place, to help then more easily adapt to the change.

 

By | August 9th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How Do Seniors With Alzheimer’s Handle Change?

Guest Blog: What is Psoriasis?

Guest Blog: Lindsay Munden, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a lifelong disease that causes scaling and inflammation of the skin. The condition starts beneath the skin’s surface and is triggered by an overactive immune system, which causes skin cells to be over-produced and accumulate on the skin’s surface faster than normal. This process is called cell turnover, and in psoriasis may take a few days instead of weeks. This causes the formation of thick, red, itchy, flaky patches with silvery scales known as plaques. While any part of your body can be affected, psoriasis most often occurs on the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms, and feet.

Risks

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (2015) about 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis. Anyone can get the disease, but it occurs more often in adults.

  • Age: Adult men and women are affected equally. The two peak ages at onset are during the late teens to early 20s and in the late 50s to early 60s.
  • Genetics: Psoriasis has a strong genetic influence, with one-third of patients with psoriasis reporting having a family member with the disease.
  • Environmental Factors: Trauma to normal skin, repeated friction, infections, stress, fatigue, warm humid climates, changes in weather that dry the skin, and certain medications may trigger psoriasis flare-ups.

Causes

The primary cause of psoriasis remains unknown. Research has indicated that psoriasis is caused by genetic influences and a dysfunction of the immune system. Although, psoriasis plaques may look contagious, you cannot get the condition from someone that has the disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and are often recurring. Itchy, red, inflamed and dry scaly plaques distributed symmetrically over areas of bony prominences such as the elbows and knees are characteristic of the disease. The joints, nails and scalp may also be affected. As with other chronic conditions, symptoms may flare or worsen for a few months and then subside for a period of time.

Diagnosis

Psoriasis may be hard to diagnose because it can be confused with other skin diseases. Usually your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis based on a thorough skin examination. Biopsy is seldom necessary because the clinical features of psoriasis are so distinctive. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, but patients typically have one or more types.

Treatment

The goal of therapy is to control the symptoms and clear the plaque lesions.

For mild to moderate psoriasis, topical medications (those applied directly to the skin) and phototherapy (light therapy) are the mainstays of treatment.  For severe psoriasis, systemic treatments are recommended. Sometimes, combining topical, light and systemic treatments leads to the best results.

Topical Medication Options:

  • Topical steroids are widely used because they help reduce inflammation. Generally, a very potent topical corticosteroid preparation is applied two to three times daily for 2 weeks and then decreased to a lesser potency for maintenance therapy long term.
  • Coal tar works by causing the skin to shed dead cells from its top layer and slow down the growth of new skin cells. This effect decreases scaling and dryness. Coal tar is applied once or twice daily and is not well favored due to the potential for staining of the clothes and skin.
  • Anthralin works by slowing down the production of skin cells. This type of medication is applied to the skin for a prescribed period of time and then rinsed away, with increased increments until the skin is healed which may take a couple of weeks.
  • Topical immunomodulators are medications which work by decreasing the body’s immune system to help slow down the growth of the psoriasis plaques.
  • Vitamin D3 derivatives regulate cell growth and decrease lymphocyte (cells which play a role in the regulation of the immune system) activity. The medicine comes in a form of an ointment which is typically applied twice daily.

Phototherapy:

Phototherapy with ultraviolet-B (UVB) light is effective in the treatment of psoriasis lesions. This type of treatment reduces DNA synthesis of skin cells. Phototherapy can produce symptom-free periods of up to 2-4 months. UVB therapy units are often available at dermatologist offices and the use of commercial tanning beds (with both UVA and UVB lights) is not recommended. Dermatologists may recommend consistent light therapy 3-5 days a week for 2 to 3 months.

Systemic Medications:

Systemic therapy is reserved for patients that have severe or incapacitating disease. These medications are prescribed by expert specialists such as dermatologists or rheumatologists because they have a risk for serious side effects.

More Information:

National Psoriasis Foundation   www.psoriasis.org

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases www.niams.nih.gov

American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/

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By | August 7th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What is Psoriasis?
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