Boomer’s Blog

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

7 Craft Projects to Bring You Joy

Getting into crafts is a great way to focus your mind and do something that brings you joy. There are so many different crafts that you can do, and even if you are on a budget, you will have no trouble finding a craft that brings you happiness.

1. Soap Making

Soap making is an up-and-coming craft that allows people to create their own handmade soap. There are many different designs, shapes, and more that you can get into with soap making. You can make soap from scratch, or you can get a kit that will give you all the ingredients to make your first batch of soap yourself. As you get more experienced, you can even sell your soap and learn how to create other bath and beauty products.

2. Wood Working

Woodworking has been a popular hobby for centuries. You can create so much wood. From furniture to statues, to even cutlery, you are sure to find something that you can make and enjoy. It is important that when you do this craft, you have all the proper tools for the job like a scroll saw. This will help to ensure that you can create amazing wood pieces that you can sell or just use for yourself. If you are unsure where to begin with woodworking, you should purchase a book on the craft and study it. You may also want to check with your local community college. Some colleges hold woodworking classes to teach about this great craft.

3. Plastic Canvas

Plastic canvas crafts are awesome crafts that you make with yarn and canvas. Many books can teach you how to make different things like tissue holders, magnets, and more. You can also watch various videos online for inspiration.

4. Resin Making

Resin making is gaining in popularity and is a super fun craft. With resin, you mix up the components, and then you mold them. You are not just limited to jewelry. With resin making, you can make mats, cups, picture frames, phone cases, and more. If you are new to resin making, you can watch videos that show you the entire step-by-step process.

5. Candle Making

Candle making is another fun craft that can bring you joy. You can find candle-making kits that will take you through the step-by-step process, or you can purchase molds and start the process yourself. You can also purchase many books and watch videos online about how to get started with candle-making. An up-and-coming craft with candle making that is gaining in popularity is carved candles. Carving unique designs in candles can be very satisfying and bring you joy.

6. Crocheting

Crocheting is an easy craft that uses yarn and needles to create beautiful pieces of work. When you think about crocheting, you will probably be thinking about just blankets. While it is true you can make beautiful blankets with crocheting, you can also create a wide variety of other things as well. For example, many people have branched into making stuffed animals with crocheting. This art, known as amigurumi, can help you to create unique animals for loved ones and to sell. If you are new to crocheting, consider getting books, and watching videos online.

7. Sewing

The possibilities are endless when you get into sewing. You can learn to make blankets, or you can even learn to make quilts. Another option is to learn how to sew your own clothes or baby doll clothes. If you are new to sewing, you will first want to learn how to hand stitch, and then you can move on to learning how to use a sewing machine. If you are curious as to what crafts you might make, you can look online for inspiration or go to your local craft store to find inspiration.

Crafting is therapeutic for many people and can bring you peace and joy. Many doctors and therapists now recommend that people should get into a craft to help ease anxiety and depression. If you want to have more joy in your life, consider getting into one or more of these crafts. You will be amazed at how having a craft to do focuses your brain and helps you throughout your day.

 

 

By |July 11th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on 7 Craft Projects to Bring You Joy

Guest Blog: Financial Management For Seniors: Prepping for a New Stage of Life


Approaching the discussion of financial management with the seniors in your life can be a sensitive topic. If you’re hoping to help an elderly family member or friend get a better handle on their monetary commitments, there are several important items to consider. Whether you’re helping a senior straighten out their finances as they transition into assisted living, or you’re simply noticing the elders in your life need to do some fiscal housekeeping, you should always have a plan of action in place.

Organize
With age, staying on top of payments can be made even more difficult if the senior(s) in your family tend to be more disorganized. From putting a filing system in place to creating an excel spreadsheet, organization is key when it comes to helping seniors manage their finances. If you’re planning on assisting the elders in your life with their finances, start small by offering to help your loved one give their financial system some structure. Dedicate a time to go through financial documents and bills together, and once you’ve tackled the paperwork, discuss budgeting as well. If an assisted-living arrangement is being considered for the future, it’s important to be financially prepared for this kind of transition.

Discuss Timing
Timing is perhaps the most sensitive aspect of financial planning with seniors. Explain to your loved ones why they should be prepared for the unexpected, and take the time to discuss their future living situation along with what lies ahead for their expenses. While most seniors have savings set aside for significant transitions, it’s never a bad idea to reevaluate these funds. It might be beneficial to set up a more long term money management plan, and to start assessing areas in which the seniors in your life can save more. Look closely at monthly expenses, and track how much they might need to save over the next few years in order to transition into assisted living, or even to hire a long-term care professional. Now could be a good time to consider helping them refinance their mortgage if they are hoping to put some extra money away in order to prep for unexpected new stages of life.

Automate Payments
Though it’s no secret that most seniors are not the most technically savvy, moving towards automated payments might actually be a better option long term. If you’re finding that an elderly family member or friend appears to have multiple overdue or missed payments, or that they’re overpaying for fear of missing a payment, suggest helping them set up auto-pay. Having their bills paid electronically is one less thing for the them to worry about, and one less thing on their list to have to remember each month. Setting up automatic payments will no doubt help your loved one feel even more prepared for any transitions that might lie ahead.

By |July 3rd, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Financial Management For Seniors: Prepping for a New Stage of Life

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

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

Improved Moods

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

Physical Pain Management

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

Memory Care

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

Daily Routine and Structure

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

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

By |June 26th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Physical and Mental Health Aspects of Social Care For Elderly

Guest Blog: Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home

Dementia is a progressive illness that causes a decline in mental abilities. Symptoms can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding, and changes in mood or behavior.

One of the most important things to remember is that your parents are still the same person they have always been, even if their condition is changing. Be sure to talk with them, spend time with them, and continue to involve them in activities they enjoy.

Caring for a parent with dementia can be difficult. With proper planning and support, it is possible to provide them with the care they need. By following these tips, you can make life easier for both of you.

Tips to Help my Elderly Parent with Dementia

There are many things you can do to make caring for a parent with dementia at home easier. Here are some tips:

  • Make a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible. It will help your parents feel more secure and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Another thing you can do to keep your parents safe is to ensure that their living environment is as safe as possible. Remove or keep any tripping hazard out of reach like cords and wires, and install safety rails in the bathroom.
  • Create a comfortable, safe environment where your parents can relax and feel at ease. Remove loose carpets or rugs that could cause falls.
  • Ensure that your parents are eating healthy foods and drinking enough fluids. Proper nutrition is essential for keeping your parents healthy.
  • Encourage your parents to get regular exercise, even if it is just a short walk around the block. Exercise can help improve mood and cognitive function.
  • Make sure your parents get plenty of sleep. Quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.
  • Regularly communicate with your parent’s doctor to ensure they have the best possible care.

Helpful Tools for Caring After Demented Parents

If you find it difficult to care for your parents on your own, many helpful resources are available. Local support groups can offer advice and emotional support, and home health care providers can provide additional assistance with tasks such as bathing, grooming, and medication management.

One of the most common symptoms of dementia is wandering. This can be dangerous for your parents and others, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them from wandering. One way to do this is to keep a close eye on them and ensure that they are always in a safe place. If they do wander off, make sure to have a plan in place to find them quickly. MedicAlert bracelets or ID tags can help emergency personnel identify your parents quickly if they are found wandering.

One important resource to consider is MedicAlert Safe Return, a program that provides identification and emergency notification services for people with dementia or other cognitive conditions. If your parent wanders away from home, caregivers can use the 24/7 hotline to locate them quickly and ensure they receive the necessary medical attention.

How to Cope with a Parent with Dementia

The experience of caring for a parent with dementia can be difficult and emotionally taxing. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family members. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Here are some tips for coping:

Seek out support from friends and family members. Talking about your experiences can help you feel more understood and supported.

Join a support group or online forum specifically for caregivers of people with dementia. This can be a great way to connect with others who understand what you are going through.

Look into respite care, which can provide temporary relief from caregiving duties. This can allow you to take a break and recharge while knowing that your parents are in good hands.

Talk to a therapist or counselor about the emotions you are experiencing. This can help you deal with the stress and sadness of this situation.

By |June 20th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home

Navigating Role Changes in the Grandparented Family

Needs of the child

An essential consideration in assigning terms of endearment is what is ultimately in the best interest of your child. I asked myself which was more important – that JJ have us as grandparents? or that he have a forever Mom and Dad? In our case, this was a simpler choice because JJ had plenty of other grandparents, Saunties, and Bruncles, but only one set of reliable parents who were part of his life. While we kept his original birth certificate, the county issued a new one that named us as his parents as if he had been born to us. One of our other adopted children suggested when JJ goes to school, it is more important that he and everyone else knows who his Mom and Dad are. Seemingly simple choices now can become of great importance later in his life.

Involvement of the birth parents

There are many situations in which grandparents care for their grandchildren, even formally adopting them, but the natural parents are still part of the child’s life. In cases like these, it is probably best to keep everyone’s titles the same in order to have less confusion for the child. However, if the birth parents are incarcerated, deceased, have ongoing substance abuse problems, have moved far away, do not ever see the child, or pose a danger or threat to the family, consider what is in the child’s best interest.

Wishes of the child or children

One Grandmother recently told me that when they adopted her grandson at a young age, her husband wanted to continue to be called Grandpa. However, as soon as their boy started to talk, he began to call Grandpa his Daddy, and soon after, Grandpa gave up and embraced his role as Dad along with the new name. What do your children want to call you? What do you want to be called? If they name you Mom or Dad, it is usually because this is how they see you. It is a term of great endearment that fills a need in their life. Names are important because they express relationships to us and others. Strongly weigh what your children prefer to call you and negotiate mutually respectful names for your unique family ties.

Wishes of the relatives

While other relatives cannot determine what your adopted grandchild will call you, relatives will also have some concerns about their changing relationships within this unique family system. Ask relatives what they would like to be called. Grandparents who continue to be part of your child’s life may have unique or cultural names that they prefer to be called so that the child recognizes them as special. Honor those wishes as much as you can. Even small choices as these can strengthen the family ties and provide your little one with the security he deserves.

So, in the land of Saunties and Bruncles there are many unfamiliar twists and turns. The list of difficult choices and tunnels off the rabbit hole on this strange journey will continue on. But, as you take one step at a time, you can successfully navigate your changing role in this new, wonderful family.

By |June 18th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Navigating Role Changes in the Grandparented Family

Guest Blog: 5 Effective Arthritis Self-Management Tips for Seniors

 

As a term, arthritis refers to over 100 different diseases that cause pain, swelling and limited mobility or flexibility in joints as well as other areas of the musculoskeletal system. It is an ailment that impacts 54 million adults today, a number that is only set to grow due to increased life expectancies and improved medical capabilities, potentially even rising to 78 million by 2040.

Many people, in particular older adults or family caregivers may assume that arthritis is a normal part of aging that affects everyone at some point, therefore reporting symptoms can sometimes be missed or delayed. However, there are many different ways to treat arthritis that can help improve quality of life. By doing this early, effective arthritis pain management in seniors, in particular aspects such as elderly knee pain treatments can be administered early and have a much greater impact on the spread of the problem.

So what is the most common type of arthritis in the elderly and what helps arthritis pain in the elderly are important questions to ask. Osteoarthritis is one the most common forms of arthritis as comes about as a result of the breakdown of joint cartilage from continued wear and tear. It can occur in any joint, but will typically affect the hands and weight-bearing joints like knees, hips and spinal joints. If proper management of chronic arthritis pain in the elderly is not sorted early, these can worsen over time and make it incredibly difficult to complete even the simplest of tasks.

Arthritis pain management in seniors will often include mild to severe symptoms including:

 ●      Aching

●      Painful and stiff joints

●      Swelling

●      Lack of flexibility and mobility in joints

 The key to successful arthritis pain management in seniors first involves an early diagnosis and the incorporation of effective practices to lessen the impact of the symptoms. Within this there are several effective ways that management of chronic arthritis pain in the elderly can be done simply and easily. Here are 5 simple tips that can help anyone suffering from arthritis:

 Promote Regular Movement and Activity

Physical activity and regular exercise is a simple, effective, way to relieve arthritis pain in seniors. Being physically active can help to reduce pain, improve joint functionality, and stave off the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Look for exercise and arthritis self-management programs that have been specifically designed with seniors in mind which are led by trained experts to help those suffering with arthritis. Even small amounts of movement throughout the day can make a significant difference and can be done from the comfort of your own home to help strengthen your muscles and joints with low impact exercises.

 

Encourage Weight Loss

This goes hand in hand with regular movement and activity, but it is always good to encourage those suffering with arthritis to manage their weight and diet effectively. This is because excess weight will cause additional strain on weight-bearing joints, the hips and knees, which are likely areas to be affected by osteoarthritis. Reducing body weight, even by as little as 10% or just 10 to 12 pounds can actually reduce pain and improve joint function for seniors living with arthritis. Talk to experts in arthritis exercises and your doctor about ways that you take better control of your weight, and, by proxy, your arthritis.

 Medication Assistance

If the person in question is elderly, it is likely that they will be using some forms of medication and treatment to help with arthritis symptoms. Arthritis is often treatable with medication and treatment plans are available, however there are some ways to make this more accessible and simpler for someone living with arthritis. These methods include:

 ●      Ask the pharmacist to provide upside-down caps on bottles to make them easier to open.

●      Use a pill popper device for over-the-counter medications

●      Look into a prepackaged medication management systems that are easier to open

●      Consult with doctors, pharmacists and caregivers to devise assisted methods that make taking pain medication simpler for those with joint issues

Make Daily Tasks Easier

There are many arthritis-friendly products that can make life easier for seniors living with the affliction. This can be anything from having foam handles on products and arthritis-friendly utensils to make everyday tasks a simpler prospect while also reducing fatigue. This can also be applied to larger products such as installing grab bars in a shower, bathtub and around a toilet to make washing and hygienic tasks much easier and safer. Toilet seat risers can help reduce the effort needed to sit down and stand up while automatic dispensers reduce the need to squeeze bottles, an act difficult for those whose finger joints have less mobility.

 Stay Positive

It may seem easier to say than to do, but staying positive is a key part of everyday life for those living with arthritis. Especially in seniors, the symptoms can lead to negative feelings so family members and caregivers should help them remain positive and focused on what they can still do. A positive mental outlook can have a big impact on how you feel as well as how physically able you feel. Spend time with those you love, take up hobbies that you can do even with arthritis and focus on your abilities, rather than your disabilities and pain management becomes a much easier proposition.

Final Thoughts

Easy, effective, and efficient arthritis pain management in seniors will help to improve the quality of everyday life for elderly people. There are more ways to help with this growing problem, from customized movement plans to improved medical assistance, so it’s important to find the right approach depending on the person in question. Consult with doctors, caregivers, and physical therapists to ensure your self-management plan can be done in a safe and healthy manner.

Author Bio:

Kelly Tassos is a creative content writer for MyArthritisRx, a patient-facing digital platform to facilitate self-management of Osteoarthritis. She specializes in helping people understand and receive treatment for inflammatory diseases like arthritis as well as other trending health topics.

 

 

By |June 16th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Effective Arthritis Self-Management Tips for Seniors