Seniors who are smokers are at a higher risk of developing severe gum problems. The research is proof that proper dental care is vital at any age, but especially during the senior years when oral health is most sensitive.
To prevent periodontal disease and other problems that might require emergency dental care,you or your senior family member should follow certain oral health practices.
Tips for Elderly Dental Care
Brush your teeth and floss regularly
It is recommended that you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste two times a day. Be sure to do the brushing for at least two minutes, and be gentle. If you brush too hard, you might hurt your gums.
Flossing at least once a day is also an important dental care practice. Proper use of dental floss will help remove hard-to-reach food particles wedged between the teeth’ spaces.
Take in Calcium is an essential nutrient that contributes to bone and teeth health. A person who does not have enough calcium can develop osteoporosis, leading to teeth loss when the jaw bone is affected. It is vital, therefore, for seniors to include calcium-rich food in their diet.
According to the American Dental Association,seniors need an average calcium intake of 1,000 milligrams per day. You can get significant amounts of this nutrient from dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli.
Besides calcium, it would help if you also had enough vitamin D in your diet as it is essential for the proper absorption of calcium-rich food.
Minimize sugar intake
Stay away from sweets that are rich in starch or starchy ingredients as this will destroy your teeth. If you eat or drink anything sweet, be sure to brush your teeth and floss afterward.
As mentioned earlier, seniors who smoke are more prone to periodontal disease than non-smokers. Quitting may be challenging, but it’s well worth it because staying away from all forms of tobacco will protect you from gum disease and other dental problems.
Besides following the tips above, it would be best to visit your dentist every six months.
About the Author
Dr. Gary Salwin leads the Glendale Dental Group, Arizona. He and his team treat dental emergencies and perform a whole range of dental services. He has been practicing dentistry for more than 36 years.
With more seniors now than ever before, there has never been a better time for retirees and those enjoying their golden years to get out there and explore all the world has to offer. Whether it’s a road trip down memory lane, or jet-setting around the globe, traveling is an excellent way for seniors to stay connected with the world and experience new cultures. But when planning a trip with elderly loved ones, it’s important to take into account the special needs of senior travelers.
8 Tips for Traveling with Seniors
Check With a Doctor Before You Travel
A doctor can provide valuable insight into whether traveling is safe and feasible for your senior. They may be able to identify potential medical risks or recommend factors to consider when planning the best course of action.
For instance, if your senior has difficulty walking long distances or needs special medical equipment during travel, their physician can guide how to best manage these situations while away from home.
Keep Their Mobility in Mind
Mobility is one of the most important factors to consider when managing a trip with senior companions. First and foremost, start by understanding any physical limitations that may be present in your elderly travel companions. If they have difficulty walking, or if stairs are a challenge, this should be taken into consideration when booking transportation or lodging accommodations.
Consider taking along a wheelchair or walker for their convenience during the trip and look for options that don’t involve too much walking such as river cruises or train rides. Also, keep in mind that older travelers may need more frequent rest stops while en route to their destination; plan accordingly so no one feels rushed or overwhelmed during the journey!
Prepare Personal and Medical Documentation
It is important to prepare and bring personal and medical documentation when traveling with seniors. This includes copies of their identification, insurance cards, and any necessary medical prescriptions or treatment instructions. A personal health record app can also be useful for storing and easily accessing this information if it is needed while traveling.
Take Frequent Breaks
One of the most important tips for traveling with seniors is to make sure you plan for frequent breaks during your journey. Taking regular breaks from any long drive or flight can help prevent fatigue and discomfort, which are both common issues for older travelers.
Breaks also provide an opportunity for seniors to get out and stretch their legs, use the restroom, or grab a snack or drink. Planning ahead and allowing yourself extra time in case of rest stops along the way can make all the difference in having an enjoyable trip. Including activities like snacks and games into your break plan can help keep spirits high as well!
Check Your Diet
It is important to understand what types of food your senior companions can and cannot eat. Ask them what they prefer so you can plan meals accordingly while traveling. It may also be beneficial to ask their doctor or nutritionist about possible dietary restrictions before departing on your adventure.
In addition, make sure there will be food options that meet these requirements wherever you plan on going! If necessary, pack snacks such as nuts or dried fruit that your senior companion can eat instead of relying solely on meal stops along the way.
Do not Forget to Carry Medicine
One of the most important tips for traveling with seniors is not forgetting their medicine! The first step should be reviewing your senior’s prescriptions and medications list with their doctor before leaving. Make sure you have an up-to-date list of all the medications they need, including any over-the-counter drugs that may be necessary.
Also, consider bringing along an extra supply of medications in case there are any delays in the journey or unexpected detours. Be sure to pack each medication separately, labelling them clearly so they won’t get mixed up with other items in a bag.
Travel Insurance is a Must
Travel insurance provides coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost luggage – all of which are especially important when traveling with an elderly person who may require special care or medication on their trip.
It also helps protect against any financial losses if something unexpected arises that prevents the trip from taking place. Travel insurance ensures that both the senior traveler and their family members are fully covered in the event of a problem during their travels.
For those who plan on taking a vacation with an elderly loved one, travel insurance should absolutely be at the top of your list when preparing for your journey.
Confirm and Re-Confirm Your Travel Details
When planning a trip with older adults, it’s a good idea to stay vigilant and double-check all the details a few times. Due to age-related cognitive changes, elderly travelers may have difficulty retaining information about the itinerary and may require extra reminders.
Additionally, you should also be prepared to assist with packing and other preparation tasks. As the departure date approaches, ensure that all travel arrangements with airlines, hotels, and other destinations are confirmed to ensure smooth sailing.
Traveling with seniors is a great way to make wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. With the right planning and preparation, senior travelers can have an enjoyable and safe experience.
Don’t forget to ask your senior friends or family members what they need to feel comfortable and secure while traveling. Respect their preferences and plan accordingly. Prioritize safety, convenience, and comfort to ensure everyone’s needs are met during the journey.
Jigar Patel is the Founder of Health-e, a HealthTech app that simplifies health records management along with providing personalized and preventative healthcare solutions. Although he has 20+ years of operations and management experience in the EPC domain, Jigar’s true passion lies in making healthcare simpler, faster and more accessible for doctors and patients alike. He strongly believes that people need to be empowered to participate in their own healthcare and is constantly thinking of ways to build this into his app. He loves to keep things simple be it in life, product design, his work or the content he develops. Being married for 10 years and having 2 kids have taught him that perspective matters, so you can always count on him to share new perspectives on various topics.
Consider these facts about stroke from the American Stroke Association (2013): Be informed about stroke.
• Nearly 800,000 Americans annually suffer a new or recurrent stroke.
• A stroke occurs about once every 40 seconds. About every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
• Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 137,000 people a year.
• Risk of stroke death is higher for African American males and females than for whites. Females have a higher rate of death from stroke than males.
• In 2010, Americans paid about $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.
Stroke is simply defined as an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. It is most often caused by a clot that either originated in the brain or traveled from another part of the body. Warning signs of stroke include (National Stroke Association, 2013):
• Sudden weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, speaking or understanding
• Sudden changes in vision
• Sudden dizziness, incoordination, or trouble walking
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Do not delay. New medical treatments may be able to reverse the effects of stroke, but time is critical. Note the time that the symptoms started so that you can inform the medical professionals who are providing treatment.
The effects of stroke depend on the area of the brain that is damaged. Some common results of stroke are weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, difficulty walking or dressing oneself, aphasia, trouble eating or swallowing, bowel and bladder changes, cognitive changes such as memory problems, and emotional issues such as depression and mood swings. Stroke affects the entire family, so be sure to seek out resources and support in your community if a stroke has touched your family.
For stroke survivors, treatment in an acute rehabilitation facility with an interdisciplinary team approach is highly recommended and results in more positive outcomes. The rehabilitation team works together with the survivor and family to accomplish personal goals and achieve the highest level of function possible. Although some of the effects of stroke may be long-lasting or permanent, there is hope of continued progress and good quality of life after stroke.
Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, ACHPN, FAAN
Dr. Mauk has been a Professor of Nursing for 26 years. Prior to moving to Colorado, she was a Professor of Nursing at a large private university in Indiana for nearly 25 years, and there she held the first Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science, a position dedicated to gerontological nursing. She earned a BSN from Valparaiso University, an MS in Adult Health from Purdue University, a PhD from Wayne State University, a Post-Master’s GNP certification from University of Virginia, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Valparaiso University.
Dr. Mauk has more than 35 years of experience in chronic illness nursing, rehabilitation, and gerontological nursing, and teaches in these specialties at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. She is certified in rehabilitation, as a gerontological nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist, and as an advanced palliative care and hospice nurse. She has authored or edited eight books, including two that were recognized with an AJN Book of the Year Award. She has served on editorial boards for Rehabilitation Nursing and Geriatric Nursing, and has written numerous articles and book chapters. Dr. Mauk is a frequent presenter at conferences at the regional, national, and international levels. She is the Co-Founder and President of Senior Care Central/International Rehabilitation Consultants, providing educational, clinical, and legal nurse consulting in rehabilitation and senior care in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Mauk is also a recent past president of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) and has served ARN in many roles, most significantly including the Council of Leaders, Editor of the 5th edition of the Core Curriculum, PRN course faculty, and the task force to develop the ARN Professional Rehabilitation Nursing Competency Model, and current Editor in Chief of Rehabilitation Nursing.
Some of Dr. Mauk’s recognitions include: Nominee for the 2016 National Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teachers, three AJN Book of the Year Awards (2017, 2010 & 1999), CASE/Carnegie Indiana Professor of the Year (2007), VU Caterpillar Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007), ARN Educator Role Award (2007), and the ARN Distinguished Service Award (2005). Dr. Mauk has taught nurses and students in China over the past few years. She has a passion for helping other countries to develop rehabilitation nursing into a strong specialty to promote quality care for their aging population and those with disabilities.
I had always heard that kidney stones were the closest thing to labor pain and childbirth that a man could experience, but being a woman who had been through labor four times, I didn’t quite believe it or understand the comparison. That is, until the other day…
I was sitting at the computer writing and felt a pain like a muscle cramp in my right side. But, since I couldn’t recall having done anything strenuous the day before, I just figured I had been sitting too long in one spot. Moving around helped for a brief time until the pain returned, more intense and radiating from the right flank around my side and down to my groin. Hmmm….being a nurse I wondered what this could be so I tried the usual techniques as the pain intensified: Tylenol, the massage chair, walking, lying down, sitting up, and having the kids rub my back. Yikes, the pain that can only be described as an unrelenting, constant hurt of the greatest magnitude, a 12 on the pain scale of 1 – 10, which no positioning or over the counter pain medication can touch had me rolling on the floor and telling the kids to call Dad to come home from work now.
Yes, that was just the beginning of my kidney stone experience. In trying to explain the pain to my husband on the phone, he said I sounded so short of breath that he thought I was having a heart attack and called EMS. When they arrived, the pain had subsided and I was left to diagnose myself with a kidney stone, with which the paramedics agreed. But since the pain was completely gone, did I really need to go to the hospital and in an ambulance no less? On their recommendation, the answer was yes.
In the ER, the IV was started and a CAT scan done to confirm our suspicions. Having no history of kidney stones, I was surprised at this painful attack that came on with no warning at all.
The ER doctor came in to see us and said in a thick accent, “Well, you were right. In 5 – 7 days you will have a special delivery!” he laughed.
I glanced at my husband who had turned white and later told me he thought for a second, “you mean she’s having a baby?!” (which at 53 surely would have been some sort of miracle). My first thought was “5 – 7 days of this pain? Are you kidding me?” How will I survive?
Another painful bout came as I lay on the gurney, and four strong IV medications didn’t completely take away the pain. We were told the pain comes from the spasms of the ureter as the stone blocks the flow of urine and irritates the inflamed tissues. Who could imagine that a 2 mm stone the size of a grain of sand could cause so much discomfort? The word intractable pain had new meaning for me now and I wished I had been more sympathetic to people and patients with kidney stones.
They sent us home with a urine strainer and prescriptions for Flomax and a combination of anti-inflammatories and pain medications. Another attack in the car and all I could do was writhe in pain and pray for relief. My husband kept repeating, “I hope I never get one of those”. It is the type of pain that one would do almost anything to stop but that nothing relieves short of passing the stone.
As I took my pain pills, strained my urine, and drank copious amounts of water to help the delivery along, I had time to reflect on the age old debate of kidney stone pain being akin to labor and childbirth. Having some experience in the childbirth area, I still found no way to compare the two in terms of what hurts more, but here were my reflections:
Labor pains were more predictable and increased with intensity as you moved towards the goal of delivery. Kidney stone pain, on the other hand, was unpredictable and had the most intense pain with every bout.
Doctors can predict when the baby will be delivered by closeness of contractions, and examining cervical dilation and effacement. Kidney stone delivery is much less predictable.
If your baby is too big to be delivered vaginally or there are complications, a C-section can be performed. And if your kidney stone is too big to pass, you may have laser treatment to break up the stones or major surgery to retrieve them. Both can mean painful recoveries.
There are medications they can give you for labor and delivery. You can even get an epidural, which I never had, but am told they can make the experience much less painful. But the kidney stone pain didn’t seem to be completely obliterated by anything short of passing it.
In comparing types of pain, I guess I can see where men would say they come close to labor pain with a kidney stone, but 10 hours of back labor was equally as bad, and having your OB doctor turn your baby internally prior to a natural birth still rates as the #1 pain I have ever had (but at least it was over quickly).
And last, but most significantly, with labor and childbirth you expect and usually earn a wonderful, lasting, happy surprise at the end of the process, where you hold your newborn in your arms and experience the glory of motherhood, quickly forgetting the pain that was endured to have your bundle of joy. Whereas, at the end of your kidney stone passing, you collect a little grain of something that goes into a plastic container for the urologist to later analyze and you can’t believe how much that little devil hurt to get out. You may experience relief and joy at the passing, but there are lifestyle modifications to make to try to avoid it ever happening again, and still without the assurance that it can be prevented, so unlike the conception process. Who, having had one kidney stone, would ever make plans to have another?
Fortunately, my stone did not take 7 days to pass and was gleefully collected in a matter of hours.
So, my answer to the question of which is more painful, a kidney stone or labor and delivery, is a simple one: they cannot be compared. It’s like apples and oranges. Different types of pain, but both extremely intense, though the kidney stone is much more unpleasant because the outcome is not a lasting joy for the rest of your life. Since every person experiences pain differently, no one could really answer this question anyway because pain is a subjective experience.
For me, given the choice between labor and a kidney stone, I pick labor. Childbirth is definitely more fun and with rewards that last a lifetime.
For individuals over the age of 60, the benefits of eating healthy foods includes resistance to disease and illness, higher energy levels, increased mental acuteness, faster recuperation times and higher energy levels. Healthy eating does not have to be all about sacrifice and strict dieting. Think of it as a way to enjoy colorful, fresh foods, eating with friends and more creativity in the kitchen.
The road to healthy eating can be a bit confusing for those who are not accustomed to it. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you start your journey into the world of healthy eating and to promote optimal health.
1. Limit sodium content
Because many seniors suffer from high blood pressure, they should make sure to consume foods low in sodium. Restaurant food, frozen, and processed foods are usually high in sodium and should be avoid or used in moderation. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium, so try to incorporate several servings of each throughout the day.
2. Stay hydrated
Although seniors may not get as thirsty as they once did, their bodies still need the same amount of water. One of the main signs of dehydration is dark urine or excessive tiredness. Try to drink at least eight glasses of fresh water throughout the day. Foods that are high in water content, such as cucumbers and watermelon, may be consumed several times per week to aid in hydration.
3. Eat more fiber
Eating high fiber foods has more benefits than keeping your bowels regular. Fiber can also lower your risk of developing diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. The digestive system slows as you age, meaning it is important to supplement with foods high in dietary fiber in order to maintain regular bowel movements and overall health.
4. Eat high quality protein
Consuming high-quality protein has been proven to help boost your resistance to stress, anxiety and depression, and can even help you think more clearly. When combined with a strength-training routine, protein has been shown to reduce muscle loss and maintain physical function. Some examples of high quality protein are eggs, milk, and meat, which should be incorporated in your daily nutritional intake.
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 55 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.