Boomer’s Blog2018-05-18T08:58:16-05:00

Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

Each week, Dr. Kristen Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

Dr. Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, FAAN

Guest Blog: Multigenerational Living

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Ever heard of multigenerational living? It’s a hot topic these days because many seniors are looking for ways to remain independent longer. As more people enter their advanced years, they and their families are faced with difficult decisions of how to provide the best care possible. For seniors hoping to keep their independence, living with family is the next best option to aging at home. Even if your house isn’t big enough to handle more people living in it, there are companies who remodel homes specifically for seniors moving in.

 As noted in NYU Professor Eric Klinenberg’s “Aging alone in America,” 33% of American seniors make the decision to remain out of care facilities. With medical progress and healthier living, remaining out of a care home has become more practical than it once was.  Among the rest of the world’s population, living with the elderly is more common, but as Americans, we tend to stay separated from our parents once we move out. With the economic downturn of 2008, however, young adults are staying in their parents’ homes longer and older people are moving back in with their children. Seems like we’re becoming more European every day!

Since elder care facilities commonly drain assets, there are obvious cost benefits to bringing your parents to you. Even more importantly than saving money, living at home helps seniors stay healthy by maintaining a routine. Things we take for granted like housekeeping, cooking, or yard work are types of physical and mental exercise that people do not receive in assisted living centers. After years of retirement it’s easy to lose one’s routine. If someone completely loses their routine they can develop what is called aging atrophy, which means increased dependence on those around them. Doing small chores helps combat aging atrophy. Plus, they can perform the cleaning duties or home upkeep you might not have time to do yourself.

Lastly, living in a multigenerational setting allows seniors to maintain control over their environment. At facilities, there is contact with nurses, other residents, and even other residents’ families that cause exposure to illness. Keeping a clean environment at home without strangers around can help ward off sickness. If your loved one begins to require too much care to remain healthy at home, however, you should look into home-health services or other living options. Aging is often associated with making major decisions, but keeping parents close can help reduce stress.

Jacob Edward is the manager of both Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Prime Medical Alert allows seniors to stay in their homes longer and sells equipment throughout the country. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona State’s Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe, Arizona.

 

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By |September 15th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Multigenerational Living

How Can You Tell if Your Elderly Family Member Needs Home Care

Accepting the need for assistance is not easy for adults as they get older. So, how will you determine when your elderly parent needs home care? One thing is sure: your parents are not likely to be the ones who tell you.

Older adults have a desire to remain independent and be in control. Usually, a senior will hide any issues out of fear of being a burden or because they are embarrassed or ashamed. However, until a sudden decline in their overall health makes it obvious, they need assistance. Since adult children don’t come up with a care decision plan before the crisis takes place, the stress of an unexpected hospitalization complicates things even more.

One way to avoid this problematic scenario is to start regularly monitoring your aging parent’s mental and physical abilities. Make sure he knows this is not an accusation but instead a way to help him maintain his independence for as long as possible. It is not easy to see a loved one’s health decline, but you can help them avoid any medical crisis if you know the signs. To determine whether your parents need home care, keep an eye on the following essential signs:

Essential Signs that Your Elderly Family Member Needs Home Care

1. Difficulty Getting Around
As many experts agree, most people over the age of 70 need some help to go about their routine. However, your family member may not feel comfortable telling you that he needs assistance. Over time, vision and hearing loss may become severe enough to limit your loved one’s ability to move around the house without help. Your parents will also need some help if they begin having problems with balance or coordination.

2. Difficulty Taking Care of Themselves
While it is normal for older adults to deal with medical issues eventually, it is not normal for them to not take care of themselves altogether. It is one of the most obvious signs that your loved one needs help. When you notice that they are unable to take care of their hygiene or clean up after themselves, you have to intervene.

3. Physical Decline
As the years’ progress, most elderly adults will experience a gradual decrease in physical fitness and mobility. However, some older adults experience a sudden decline in health that is too rapid to be recognized by any family member. Once this happens, they can’t regain their full strength and mobility before they are forced to seek home care assistance.

4. Cluttered Home
In most cases, older adults take pride in the appearance of their homes. Over time, they will likely develop a tidy and clean appearance. However, this will start to change as they get older. In addition to the usual clutter created over time, it is essential to keep an eye out for signs that your elderly family member needs home care due to cluttered spaces.

5. Loss of Memory or Confusion
An alarming number of elderly adults suffer from some degree of memory loss or confusion. As a result, they may fail to remember important dates, events, and conversations, while some may become disoriented while trying to get ready for the day or do other routine tasks. These are warning signs that your elderly parent may have developed dementia.

6. Frequent Falls
As the year’s pass, seniors tend to have a greater chance of falling. As a result, they may need assistance getting up from a chair or moving around to get to the bathroom without damaging themselves. These falls occur gradually over time in most cases and do not require any immediate attention from you or your family. However, if you notice that your loved one is falling more frequently or becoming unstable while moving around the house, you should consider calling for a senior home care service.

7. Reduced Appetite and Sudden Weight Loss or No Gain in Weight
A sudden and unexplained loss of appetite or inability to gain weight is a possible sign that your loved one needs home care. Such problems may be linked to some form of pain or discomfort that he is unable to self-diagnose. When this happens, it is time for you to step in and intervene.

8. Feelings of Worthlessness and Hopelessness
If you notice that your elderly parent is experiencing a change in their attitude, it might signify that they feel worthless or hopeless about something. You can tell if your loved one is unhappy with their life when he starts complaining about things more often than usual and becomes more irritable than normal. It may help to write down thoughts about these feelings or speak to a counselor for some guidance.

9. Shift in Personality
It is normal for older adults to become more irritable as they age. It could be due to any number of reasons, including pain or medication side effects. However, if your elderly loved one changes significantly in personality, it may be a sign that dementia has set in. For example, most people who experience memory issues will occasionally forget to pick up their medication or lose important documents. But if your loved one forgets things regularly, you must consider consulting a physician.

Hiring Home Care for Elderly Family Member
Once you notice any signs that your loved one may need care, the best way to help them maintain their independence is to hire senior home care services. These agencies offer caregivers who are trained to assist the elderly with various activities. They can provide assistance with daily living, including bathing or getting dressed, as well as other activities depending on the needs of your loved one.

The ideal way to start your search is to ask yourself, “Are there any great senior care services near me that can address my parent’s needs?” To ensure that the agency will provide the most effective service, look for reviews and ratings online. Ask friends and relatives if they have had similar experiences with specific agencies and services. You can also ask family members and friends if they know of individuals who would be good candidates for home care.

All in all, these are some of the most common signs that you may need to hire senior home care services for your family member. If you notice any of these indicators, it is never too late to consider hiring assistance.

Author Bio
I’m Andrea Gibbs, Born, raised, and still living in New York. I’m a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I’m a blog contributor at Serenity Senior Care to motivate other parents about how they can enhance their elderly loved ones quality of life.

 

By |September 11th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on How Can You Tell if Your Elderly Family Member Needs Home Care

Guest Blog: Tips For Preventing Falls Among The Elderly

Falls among seniors are more common than you think.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 36 million older adults suffer a fall each year.

Our muscles lose strength, and our balance and coordination decline as we get older. As our senior loved ones are already at a certain age, they are now more prone to falls, and it could only get worse as they get on in years.

However, we can take steps to keep our seniors from suffering falls. Here are some tips on how to prevent falls among the elderly.

Declutter

Make sure your parent’s or grandparent’s space is clutter-free. You can’t have random stuff lying all over the place, becoming a tripping hazard for seniors. The floors that your elderly loved one walks on should always be clear, with nothing to step, slip, and trip on.

Put Up Grab Bars & Handrails In Strategic Spots

Seniors can use additional support when walking around the house. So, it would be great if the hallways, bathrooms, and stairways are fitted with handrails and grab bars.

Add More Lights

Our seniors typically have poor eyesight, which can only get worse under poor lighting conditions. By installing additional lights (and brighter ones at that), seniors will have a better chance of seeing and avoiding tripping and slipping hazards as they go about the house.

Use Only Non-Slip Mats & Rugs

All the mats and rugs in the house should be the non-slip type or secured to the floor.

Get Them To Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is crucial to keeping the muscles, bones, and sense of balance of our seniors strong. Walking, lifting light weights, climbing stairs, or doing something as simple as standing on one leg for a minute or two can already help them stay as fit as possible. The fitter they are, the lower their risk of suffering a fall.

Tell Them To Be More Careful

Sometimes, seniors fall because they try to move too fast when walking across the room or getting out of bed. Tell them they need to be more careful when doing so and always move at a more comfortable pace.

Falls don’t have to be synonymous with getting older. By taking the necessary precautions, our seniors stand a better chance of avoiding them.

 

About the Author

 Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.

 

 

By |September 9th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Tips For Preventing Falls Among The Elderly

Guest Blog: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community

Before you look up a senior living community or Google personal care homes near me, you should first get to know about the common options available for where your aging parents can reside.

Below are the most popular and preferred options to pick from –

  • Independent Living – This type of living is good for the elderly who can largely function independently with occasional medical care required. Medical care is provided in collaboration with hospitals or medical establishments. Typical services include accommodation, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, and other amenities like pool, concierge service, library, fitness center, etc.
  • Assisted Living Assisted living centers, in addition to accommodation also provide onsite health care and help with ADLs like dressing, bathing, and medication management so residents can live independently. The setting is very home-like without the residents having to worry about maintenance, cooking, or cleaning. There’s round-the-clock supervision available.
  • Memory Care – This facility is specifically designed to treat and care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The staff is medically trained to handle their special medical needs. The rooms and buildings are structured to avoid wandering. Supervision is available all the time with plenty of programs for socialization. There are housing and laundry services along with an emergency medical call system.
  • Enhanced Living – You can think of this facility as a move up from Independent living with a whole lot of extra services available.

 

Things To Look For In A Senior Living Community

Senior Living Culture

Now the living culture is not something that you define in words. It’s mostly just a feel or a vibe that you pick up on. At times, you just know it when you visit the facility. Other times it’s a hunch of an intuition.

To truly assess the culture, it’s better if you call up your list of communities and visit them one by one. Observe the residents and see if they seem happy. How is the staff? Are they polite to respond? Is the overall energy of the place happy? Ask for social activities to keep the residents happy.

Lifestyle & Wellness

Lifestyle and wellness largely depend on the social calendar of the place. So, be sure to look at those activities as well as exercise, health, and wellness programs. Make sure to ask about how often the residents are allowed to go out for activities.

What about housekeeping and laundry services? How often are friends and families allowed to visit? Is there a dedicated private or common area for family get-togethers? What about pets? Are they allowed?

Staff and Care

How many staff members are present at the facility? Are the staff members nice to interact with the residents? Do they seem polite? What kind of help can you expect from them? Is the medical staff made to undergo regular training to update their knowledge?

What’s the mode of communication for updating families on the health updates of the residents? Also, how quickly can you expect your questions to be answered? What kind of care is available for residents with special medical issues such as diabetes, memory, or mobility issues?

What’s Food Like?

Food is a huge part of staying healthy during old age. So, this is something you must not overlook. If possible, arrange for a tour of the mess/kitchen. Look into how the food is prepared. Are the conditions there hygienic?

What about the food menu? Does it look interesting? Is it extensive and accommodates special dietary restrictions such as gluten-free and vegan-friendly foods? What are the dining hours like and is there food sampling available?

Extra Amenities

It’s not uncommon for people to get stuck between two close contenders. Sometimes two communities can look exactly the same; making it difficult to pick one. When faced with such a dilemma it’s often the extra amenities that help you make the right choice.

See if the laundry and housekeeping services are free. Some facilities charge extra for those. Look into community events, transportation, or socialization activities. Anything extra is a good thing to consider.

History and Reputation

How long has the community been in business? For how long has the management been with the community? What about the staff? For how many years they have been working there?

One of the best things to discern all this and more is to go online. Check out reviews and see what they have to say. Pay attention to how the community has responded to negative reviews. Only avoid the community if you come across something disturbing like bad handling of residents or complete neglect on part of the staff.

Bottom Line

Selecting the right living community for your senior can seem like a daunting task. But, if you invest a little bit of time and effort, it should be a cakewalk.

By |September 7th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community

What Your Back Pain is Trying to Tell You

Experiencing back, shoulder or neck pain? Your body may be speaking to you and you just don’t know it. Getting older doesn’t have to mean accepting regular aches and pains. Depending on your day to day activity, environment, and mobility, your back pain can be sending loud and clear messages like:

You’re not active enough: This might seem counter intuitive, especially to older adults who are avoiding activity so they don’t “further injure” themselves or cause more pain. The reality is, low-impact exercise and activity helps to alleviate pain and soreness by stretching out your muscles and spine, boosting blood circulation, and reducing inflammation in your muscles, joints, and tendons. Along with keeping off excess weight.

You’re not sleeping well: A bad night’s sleep can undo any number of steps you took towards relieving back pain during the day. Older mattresses that don’t support proper spine alignment while you sleep can result in the pull and strain of your muscles and tendons and lead to bad posture during the day. Optimize on the natural curve of your spine while you sleep by simply using a pillow – on your side in a fetal position, try sleeping with a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow underneath your knees.

You’re stressed: Feelings of stress, anxiety or depression can physically translate into tense muscles that lead to back pain and thoughtless behaviors like eating poorly or not exercising, which exacerbate existing conditions. Aging seniors with complex medical conditions or cognitive decline are more likely to experience stress and anxiety as well as feelings of frustration and anger.

You’re not practicing self-care: Incorporating daily care routines into your life can make a huge difference in both your experience of back pain as well as your personal outlook on life. Self-care can be as simple as eating a healthy diet, stretching and exercising to care for your body, meditating, decluttering your environment, and practicing self-soothing techniques like rubbing lotion on your hands and feet before bed. Relieving back pain starts with you and your own self-awareness of what you need and deserve to live your best life.

You’re sitting down too much: Countless aging seniors will spend hours each day sitting down – at meals, watching tv, reading, and at the computer. Sustained inactivity and sitting in one spot for an extended period of time puts significant pressure on the spine and promotes bad posture, all of which lead to back pain and discomfort. Experts recommend not going more than 30 or 45 minutes sitting in one place without getting up to stretch, walk around, and change positions.

Get this!

According to a recent report published by the American College of Physicians*, people who experience moderate to acute back pain are actually more likely to experience relief when they try exercise, yoga, acupuncture or massage instead of taking pain killers. The comprehensive study revealed that most types of back pain go away over time whether they are treated or not and that drugs should be a last resort for alleviating pain, after mindfulness-based practices, exercise, spinal manipulation, even heat wraps.

http://annals.org/aim/article/2603228/noninvasive-treatments-acute-subacute-chronic-low-back-pain-clinical-practice

Joe Fleming

Co-Founder, Vive Health

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By |September 7th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on What Your Back Pain is Trying to Tell You

Guest Blog: 5 Healthy Practices To Prevent Oral Disease

Oral health is apparently one of the most important aspects of health that many people take for granted. A lot of people today think that as long as their teeth are white and they can give away a bright smile, it already means that there is no problem with their oral health. But little did they know that oral diseases are very subtle.

Oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum problems are very much apparent to many people in the recent years. In fact, nearly all adults experience having these problems in their day-to-day living. Although these are quite treatable, even preventable, still, a lot of people do not pay attention to their oral health.

As it happens, having healthy teeth, gums, and mouth requires effort and time. And one must really invest when it comes to achieving oral health in its optimal state. But while it is considered as an investment, healthy practices for your oral health is quite simple and easy to do. Also, not only that these practices are convenient to do, but they would not require you with many expenses. And in doing these practices on a daily basis, you would certainly achieve healthy teeth and gums.

Here are the 5 healthy practices that you may want to start now to prevent oral diseases:

1. Brush properly
It is already common knowledge that brushing your teeth is important. But keep in mind that the way you are brushing is equally essential as well. The truth is – when you do not brush properly, it’s almost the same thing as not brushing your teeth at all.

All people brush their teeth and gums in several ways. But the most recommendable way of brushing is by gently stroking the toothbrush in a circular motion towards the teeth. Through this way, the plaque will be removed from all sides and corners of the teeth.

Additionally, keep in mind that unremoved plaque will result in hardening which contains numerous bacteria that are not good for your oral health. And once it hardens, this will eventually lead to the calculus buildup and other oral health problems like early stages of gum diseases.

2. Treat flossing as important as brushing
Practicing teeth whitening at home is much more prevalent than flossing as a routine for many people. In fact, 8 out of 10 individuals are found to neglect flossing and this is as bad as not brushing at all. Apparently, dentists and specialists require everyone to floss at least once a day. And whether you do it in the morning or the evening, it does not matter just as long as you floss.

Originally, flossing is a very effective way of dealing with the left plaque and food in between your teeth that are not pretty reachable for all kinds of toothbrushes. And thanks to floss, you can easily remove them and prevent your teeth from having buildups.

But today, new studies and reports suggest that flossing is not only ideal for removing the left plaque and food. As it happens, flossing is also found a great way to stimulate the gums and reduce inflammation. And these benefits are really helpful if one wants to pay attention to their oral health. Hence, it is recommended to treat flossing as important and as necessary as brushing.

3. Quit smoking
Another reason to quit smoking permanently is due to the fact that smoking actually does a lot of damage to your teeth and gums. As you may know, smoking kills. And one of the first things that smoking do to you aside from weakening your immune system is its capability of damaging your oral health.

Since smoking weakens dramatically the immune system, your immunity will no longer be able to prevent several infections to your body including your mouth and gums. Also, when your gums became damaged, it will be difficult for your teeth and gums to recover and heal quickly as smoking can only worsen the conditions.

Also, smoking causes nicotine stains on your teeth. Not only that these stains are unpleasing to look at, but they are also quite difficult to remove, especially if the mouth is already subjected to smoking for quite a long time now. In addition, smoking causes your breath to smell really bad. Hence, smoking does not provide anything good for your overall oral and physical health. And you must quit it now before it worsens your state.

4. Limit sugary and acidic foods
Sugar is as bad as smoking. But while sugar is known to be everyone’s ultimate guilty pleasure, sugar erodes the enamel of your teeth. And this not good for your oral health.

Apparently, when you take high amounts of sugar and sugar-rich foods, these components convert into acid to your mouth. And once the conversion has been successful, it then promotes the production of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. So, not only that sugar can damage your teeth, but it can also lead to various oral health complications.

However, it is quite difficult for some to stop taking sugar-rich foods like fruits and coffee. And if this is the case, then you must try to be mindful instead. It won’t actually hurt you to regard and consider what you’ve been eating, especially if you are really firm to change your oral health practices.

5. Visit your dentist at least twice a year
These healthy practices will definitely help you achieve much healthier teeth and gums. But even so, your oral health is still prone to several risks and potential diseases. And even if you are the most diligent brusher and flosser, the risk of having oral diseases is still at large. So, the best way to complement your healthy practices is to visit your dentist at least twice a year.

Your dentists know what’s best for your teeth and gums. And they will also tell you the condition of your oral health.

All in all, your oral health is as important as your physical health. This is where your daily supplementation starts. So, you must really take good care of it. And through these 5 healthy practices, you will surely decrease the risks of various oral diseases and even prevent them from happening in the future.

Josh Elizetxe is the inventor and founder of Snow. He is an accomplished philanthropist and successful entrepreneur with several 8-figure exits. His latest focus is on disrupting the $65 billion oral care market with revolutionary, patented products supercharged by celebrity partnerships.

By |September 5th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Healthy Practices To Prevent Oral Disease