Kristen Mauk has never been one to stop learning. The clinical nurse specialist has nearly 30 years of experience in rehabilitation and gerontology, a handful of degrees, and has authored or edited seven books. She now helps train the future generation as a professor of nursing at Colorado Christian University in Colorado. She also recently launched her own business, Senior Care Central/International Rehabilitation Consultants, which provides nursing and rehabilitation education throughout the world.
Question: What drew you to nursing? What do you enjoy about it?
Mauk: “I grew up in a medical family. My father was a pediatric surgeon and my mom was a nurse, so I was always around the healthcare professions. However, nursing offered so many opportunities for growth and change while doing what I loved — helping others. There are many aspects of nursing that I enjoy, but feeling like I help make peoples’ lives better has to be the best perk of the job. Nursing is a versatile profession. I started off my career as an operating room nurse, worked for a decade in med-surg, geriatrics, and rehabilitation, then eventually went back to school for additional education so that I could make a greater impact on healthcare through teaching nursing students.”
Question: You have an impressive education. Why did you continue to pursue advanced degrees in the field? How has that benefited you?
Mauk: “First, I am a life-long learner, something that was instilled by my father who was always encouraging his children to explore the world and have an inquiring mind. Dinners at my house were filled with learning activities such as, ‘How does a flashlight work?,’ ‘What is a group of lions called?,’ or ‘For $20, who can spell hors d’oeuvres?’ (By the way, I got that $20!) So, continuing my education through studying for advanced degrees seemed a natural progression when you love to learn and love your work. I felt a need to know as much as possible about my areas of interest, gerontology and rehabilitation, so that I could provide better care to patients and be a better teacher for my students. My advanced education has?opened many doors in the professional nursing world, such as the opportunity to write books, conduct research to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors, or hold national positions in professional organizations.”
Question: What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had, either as a student, educator or in your practice?
Mauk: “There are many memorable experiences I’ve had both as an educator and in practice. One of the most memorable from practice was early in my career working on a skilled/rehab unit in a little country hospital in Iowa. There was an older man who couldn’t find a radio station that played his favorite hymns and one of my co-workers knew that I had a musical background and asked me to sing to him at the bedside. I timidly held his hand as he lay in his hospital bed, and with the door closed because it was late at night, I softly sang all the old hymns I could remember. He closed his eyes and smiled, clasping my hand for nearly an hour of singing. The next evening, I heard him excitedly tell his family members that ‘an angel visited me last night. She had the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard. She held my hand and sang all of my favorite hymns!’ Hearing that outside the door, I smiled, but was later surprised when I stopped in to see him that he truly didn’t seem to remember me. One day later, he died unexpectedly. I often look back and wonder on that experience. In the many years of nursing experience that followed, I have learned that there are sometimes angels where we least expect them.”
Question: What advice do you have for people just starting their education or their professional career?
Mauk: “Nursing is a great profession! Learn all that you can while you are in school and continue to be a lifelong learner. The need for nurses who specialize in care of older adults and rehabilitation is only going to continue to grow because of the booming aging population. There is currently, and will continue to be, a shortage of skilled professionals to meet the demand that is looming with the graying of America. Gain skills that will make you a specialist and afford you additional opportunities. Always give the best care to those you serve. Set yourself apart by building a professional reputation for excellence through advanced education, publication, scholarship, clinical practice, and community service. Then, go and change the world!”
Lets be honest, exercising is not always fun. It can create discomfort, make you sweaty, and take you away from some other pleasurable pastimes or methods of relaxation. However, research clearly shows that those who are active on a regular basis have better weight management, are more relaxed, have higher energy and typically experience a better quality of life. For seniors, exercise is especially crucial since it has positive effects on memory, mood, balance, posture, strength and pretty much any issue involved in healthy aging. For those that find it difficult to start or stick with an exercise program, here are 5 ways seniors can make exercising more fun. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
1. Find what you like to do. Do you enjoy playing golf, tennis or swimming? Have you considered taking long walks or gardening as pleasurable activities? Well if you enjoy any of the above activities, that is good news. All of these can be considered as some form of exercise. Exercise doesn’t always have to mean going to the gym. Experts tell us that we can accumulate the positive effects of exercise throughout the day by doing such activities.
2. Make it social. For people who enjoy socializing, you can incorporate exercise to add to the experience. Mall walking or group exercise programs have allowed people to interact and get in better shape in the process; just make sure you do as much exercising as you do talking.
3. Add music. Line dancing or Zumba, which are popular forms of exercising for seniors, use music to keep rhythm and add to the fun of the dance class. In these exercise classes, music helps weight management, muscle tone, balance and coordination. Whether you incorporate music during group exercise or during a long walk; music can give us energy, relax us and enhance exercise.
4. Add variety. Our minds and bodies typically love variety. Physically, variety is good for our bodies because it allows the use of different muscles, preventing wear and tear on joints. The body is also stimulated more when you do different exercises, which gives more health benefits from the activity. For our minds, variety is good for the brain. When you do different activities it can prevent you from becoming bored of the same exercises continually.
5. Attach a reward. Ifachieving results is important for you, attaching fitness rewards can make exercising more fun. Some examples of fitness rewards could be having a low calorie dessert if you’ve finished exercising that day, getting a pedicure, going shopping, or having a massage after exercising. Positive reinforcement encourages us to exercise while knowing that if we do it, there is something good coming at the end.
About the Author: Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 65 and over. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health, and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.
Telehealth is changing the way we visit the doctor, and how seniors experience long-term care. COVID-19 has made telehealth a necessity for seniors, both for regular doctor visits, and for those in long-term care. Patients are more likely to suffer from diabetes as they age, and studies have also shown that patients with underlying diabetes complications are at an especially high risk for contracting COVID-19.
By communicating with medical professionals over a video-conferencing tool – like Skype or Zoom – seniors and long-term care staff can avoid unnecessary trips that might expose patients to COVID-19. And although it’s still early days, many studies indicate that telehealth is good for both doctors and patients, even for complex issues like wound care.
Why have I heard so much about telehealth and telemedicine lately?
The 2020 CARES Act expanded Medicare coverage of telemedicine, in part to address the concerns of patients who It’s one of the measures taken to prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.
Telehealth and telemedicine — What’s the difference?
These terms areoften used interchangeably. Telehealth is the umbrella term, and telemedicine refers specifically to treatment provided remotely.
Can telehealth deliver the same level of wound care as an in-person doctor visits?
Everything you need is right there on your smartphone or desktop. In general, you need access to a secure internet connection and audio-visual communication. And in some cases, audio or text alone will suffice.
Who pays for my telehealth appointment?
Medicare covers telemedicine in the event of an established patient-doctor relationship. The CARES Act also has an amendment that allows Medicare to waive this requirement. Many private insurance plans cover telemedicine as well. And in good news all-around, advanced wound care can significantly lower the overall cost of care.
Is telehealth new?
Telehealth isn’t new, just recently expanded. You’ve probably used it without realizing it, via an online portal that your doctor office. It’s also been in use for years in rural areas, where many residents live too far from doctors to receive adequate health care from in-person doctor visits alone.
What are the advantages of telehealth?
Aside from wound care, telehealth can provide easier access to a wide spectrum of health services. Seniors in long-term care shouldn’t have to sacrifice their mental health needs in order to avoid exposure to COVID-19, and telehealth is helping more seniors access mental health professionals. Remote monitoring is advantageous to patients who need regular health monitoring, including those recovering from a stroke. Telehealth can also provide handy reminders to take medication.
No matter the age, a dog will always remain the best friend of a man.
As a child, adult, or an old person, dogs are loyal and truthful to their friendship with humans for years.
Hence, dogs are the chosen ones who help senior citizens with their daily lives. Dogs are perfect for training and harder not to love. These dog qualities have made them the perfect animal that works as a therapist for a human.
Find yourself or anyone else struggling in their old age. You can get them a therapy dog that will make their survival much more manageable.
Here are 5 benefits that prove how therapy dogs work their magic in the lives of senior people.
Improves Mental Health
A man needs love. A man is born to receive and give love. And a dog fills this void perfectly.
A dog loves a man unconditionally as long as the man loves him back. The world of a dog revolves around his best man, and if you train a dog enough to also take care of you, then they turn into impeccable therapists, as well.
So if you have someone who eagerly waits for you till you come back home, licks your face in the morning, and stays with you for the rest of the day, then you have someone to love and support for the most of your life, and this is what you need to heal your mental health.
This results in remarkable improvement in depressions, anxiety, and other mental disorders that a human suffers from.
Most senior people get themselves a dog in the later years of their life, which they do to stay sane and happy.
Increases Ability To Socialize More
Therapy dogs encourage people to interact better.
When people don’t feel lonely, they feel better about themselves. This is how they are enabled to communicate better with others.
Therapy dogs support and teach seniors by urging them to go out more often. So when you go out to take your pooch for a walk, there are high chances you get to interact with other pet owners who would like to speak with you about your experiences with a dog.
Some might stop for the cute little furry friend you have and ask you things about them. Hence giving you the chance to talk with and who knows, even make friends with other people.
With the unconditional love you receive from a dog, you will feel worthy of yourself. This is what makes a man feel better about themselves. It further improves a man’s self-esteem, who will now go out as a happy and confident person.
Improved self-esteem significantly improves the quality of life and mental health, as well. And a therapy dog can help you achieve all of this. They are trained to love and take care of you in ways where you feel relieved and supported.
All you need is someone to stick to you through the worst, and pups do that without judgments.
Gives A Meaning And Purpose In Life
Taking care of a furry companion is not only fun but therapeutic. Having something meaningful to do adds a purpose to your life. And taking care of a dog and feeding them good dog food is just the purpose you should consider in later stages of life.
Not only will it structure and refine your schedule, but it will also keep you busy for most of the day to keep you away from boredom and loneliness. Because boredom and loneliness make a man succumb to the darkest part of life and leave them with nothing but harmful thoughts.
Alleviates Symptoms Of Dementia
Therapy dogs have proven to improve the mental health of the man to such an extent that they also help alleviate the symptoms of dementia. These include improving a man’s cognitive skills, giving them a reason to become a better version of themselves, and significantly improving their memory.
Dementia is a chronic disorder that can’t be reversed but can indeed be stopped from progressing. Thus, petting a dog at the right time is the best you can do for the disease and prevent it from worsening.
Apart from the medications, having a dog is of great help against dementia.
Therapy dogs are trained to help a senior person live a quality life. They help, support, care, and love a person without expecting anything in return. Also, who can avoid beautiful creatures like dogs? They are angels that blessed the world and were sent down to rescue humans.
Now that more people are becoming aware of the benefits of having a therapy dog, many people have become livelier and cheerful as adults. This trend probably wouldn’t come to a halt, so why not get a dog for yourself, too?
The human body needs some foods and ingredients to grow properly. Without those essential products, a person can’t feel healthy and strong.
Macronutrientsare one of those ingredients that you need to take in a higher quantity. Due to their high demand by the human body, these are termed as Macro which means large.
Every nutritionist will direct you to maintain the amount of these ingredients for getting better health.
No matter, either you are looking to gain weight or lose weight, you must think about these ingredients first. Without regulating them, you can’t complete any task regarding your health.
Types of Macronutrients
There are three main types of macronutrients that a human being includes in his meal on daily basis.
The main reason why we take these ingredients is that they will fulfill our body’s energy requirements.
A person who takes foods with an appropriate quantity of macronutrients will be healthy for a longer time.
You should keep a view on what kind of macronutrient you should take for proper health.
All these macronutrients have a specific number of calories. It purely depends on your body conditions that which of them you should eat and in which quantity.
Let’s have a look at the process with which you can estimate how much nutrients you should include in your daily meal.
How many macronutrients should we eat?
Many people have this question because they want to maintain their health and body growth.
There are two main ways through which you can calculate the required quantity of macronutrients.
First of all, you can contact any expert nutritionist who will examine your health and give you a proper diet plan.
In this process, you may have to visit the person various times to adjust that plan.
Secondly, you can use a macronutrient calculatoravailable on the internet. With this method, you don’t have to do much work but put some values in the given box according to your health.
For example, you may have to write your weight, height, and few other values. The tool will get an idea about your health and give you a perfect plan of diet to follow.
You can make as many plans as you want just by changing the values according to your growth after few weeks.
In this way, you will be able to keep your health on track properly.
What happens if we take unnecessary macronutrients?
As we have mentioned above that macronutrients are essential for human health. Its deficiency or excessiveness will harm the body badly.
In case, you get lower macronutrients, your body will not be able to make enough energy to work. Also, your bones will be affected badly and you often feel pain in your bones and joints.
On the other side, if you take macronutrients in excessive quantity, your body will convert them into useless materials.
Keep in mind that our body makes energy and blood from different ingredients available in our food. The excessive ingredients will be converted into unwanted fats that are not necessary for the body.
In this way, you will start gaining weight that will lead you towards different diseases. So according to the above discussion, it is very necessary to calculate macros of ingredients that you are going to eat. This will help you to balance your diet and maintain your body and energy level.
You should keep track of your body’s growth and adjust the macronutrient quantity with time. It will enable you to keep your health on the right path.
Without macronutrients, your body won’t be able to make enough energy to work properly. That is why you should keep checking this factor by calculating its quantity.
Giving Condolences to Relatives: When You Don’t Know What to Say
Many people feel uncomfortable in expressing condolences to a relative when that person loses someone. They don’t know what to say and are often afraid of saying the wrong thing. Here are some tips to help you the next time you are in that situation.
Don’t try to come up with the “right words.” Instead, just focus on being sincere. Even a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” has great meaning when it comes from the heart. If you are close to the grieving person, you can offer more words of encouragement but don’t feel that you must. If they are a distant relative, just a short note is plenty to show your condolences.
Write It Down
Another worry for many people is that they will call or stop by at the wrong time. Since dealing with all of the issues surrounding a person’s death can leave the person overwhelmed and busy, a written note or email may be more appropriate at this time. You can wait until later to make a visit or phone call. In fact, it may be more timely then when they don’t have as much support.
Offer to Help
If you are in a position and at a close distance to help, feel free to extend the offer. Instead of a generic “let me know if I can help,” it is often appreciated if you give tangible suggestions. Since the person is probably feeling overwhelmed, he or she may not know what is needed. Here are some ideas on ways you could offer to help.
Stopping by the grocery to pick up food
Bringing over a dish
Taking pets for a walk
Taking the kids out for a few hours
Checking on the house if the person will be gone
Inviting the person to a support group
Inviting the person for lunch
Your offers of help don’t have to just be for the first few days after the loved one’s death. Many times, support is needed for several weeks or even months while the person is still grieving the loss. In fact, your support may be even more appreciated then.
What Not to Do
There are some things you should avoid in your wish to offer condolences to a family member. The main thing to know is to respect the other person’s beliefs. They may have different convictions and ideas about death, especially if they are of a different religion or background than you. If you are not sure of their beliefs, try to avoid comments and expressions that include that sentiment.
Don’t be upset if you don’t hear back from the person right away. It may take some time for them to get back to you in response to your offers of help and condolences. Know that they appreciate any concern you express even if they don’t respond.
Supporting family members through a loss of a loved one can be difficult, but don’t be afraid to reach out. Any sincere expression will be appreciated if given in the right attitude.