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:Tips For Moving Senior Citizens

 

Moving from one home to another is seldom easy — in fact, it’s considered one of the most stressful life events people experience. However, the process can be especially tough for senior citizens. Whether you’re an older adult about to leave your long-term home or you’re the child of a senior getting ready to help a parent leave his/her home, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Acknowledge Emotions. Anytime you’re talking about leaving a long-term home, you’re talking about more than changing addresses. Saying goodbye is hard. Instead of ignoring the sadness that accompanies such a move, process it. Remember, it’s normal to feel some sadness, whether you’re moving into an assisted-living facility, in with relatives or simply to a smaller place.
  • Pare Down Possessions. When it comes down to the physical moving process, the less you have to move, the easier the transition. Rather than packing every worldly possession and forcing yourself to organize later, take the time now to downsize. Go through all your furniture, knick-knacks, mementos, gadgets and so on, and determine whether you’ll truly need those items in the new place. Separate everything into “keep,” “give away” and “trash” piles. If you don’t want to hand down or donate certain items, plan a garage sale to get a little extra cash in the process.
  • Hire Professional Movers. Don’t endure unnecessary stress by managing the moving process alone — hire movers. Find a company that specializes in assisting with smooth transitions, and enlist its help to transport furniture and boxes to their intended destinations. If some things are going to a new home and others are going to friends and family, communicate to your moving company which items go where.
  • Pack an Overnight Bag. Set aside a few changes of clothes, important toiletries, towels and sheets to have with you for that first night or few nights in your new home. Instead of rifling through boxes and feeling overwhelmed with all there is to unpack, there will be a little normalcy — even when you’re still getting settled. Other good items to bring are a first-aid kit and flashlight.

Moving as a senior citizen isn’t easy, but it can be a smoother, more pleasant experience with a little planning. Use the tips above to aid your upcoming move.

Chris Crompton is a marketing manager for TSI, a leader in the shipping and freight industry since 1989. TSI offers low rates and professional service on long distance small moves and shipments.

 

 

By |June 11th, 2022|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog:Tips For Moving Senior Citizens

Guest Blog: 6 Best Practices to Avoid Back Injury For the Elderly

Back injuries are more prevalent among seniors. Although old-age contributes to some back injuries, most injuries result from handling daily activities inappropriately. Lifestyle changes that require heavy sitting and standing could also cause back injuries. As a senior, you should watch out for the following practices to avoid back injury.

Maintain Good Sleeping Posture

Seniors sleep longer, but their sleeping patterns are pretty short. A senior can sleep for two hours, wake up, stay awake for an hour, and go back to bed. Such sleeping patterns increase the chances of wrong sleep postures.

And as you know, the wrong sleep posture can cause back injury and sciatica. Keep your position reclined and fetal when sleeping on an adjustable. Sleep on the side while keeping the pillow between your knees.

Maintain a Safe Posture

Maintaining a good posture when sitting or sleeping can help seniors prevent back injuries. Avoid slouching over your telephone or computer as that stresses the back, causing injuries and pains.

Stick to the ergonomically recommended sitting position at home and in the office. Do not sit a whole day in front of a computer. Take breaks and perform some stretches to keep your back curves streamlined and strong.

When you stand, maintain a straight posture keeping the feet shoulder-width apart and the head aligned with the body. As you sit, keep the feet resting flat on the front and never cross the legs. Keep the knees behind the ankles and the neck and upper back straight.

Keep Spine-Supporting Muscles Strong

The ligaments and muscles supporting the spine get weaker as you age or when exposed to injury-triggering risks. Keeping the core strong is one way to stabilize the spine and prevent back injury and pains. Engage in exercises that promise to strengthen your core muscle groups.

Remember, an injured back can make it impossible to lift things, bend and stretch. You can engage in several exercises to keep your spine-supporting muscles strong. Low-impact aerobics activities with emphasis on walking for seniors does a great job of preventing back injury. Gentle exercises such as yoga can also do a great job of helping seniors avoid back injury.

Avoid Stress

As old age knocks, you will likely feel more stressed and unsatisfied. It won’t be a surprise if small things leave you with high anxiety and stress levels. However, do not forget that stress is a strong catalyst for back injuries. Stress changes your breathing patterns, ultimately straining your mid-back. The shoulders may also hunch up, ultimately causing pain in your middle and upper back.

Stop Smoking

Many studies have linked cigarette smoking to back injuries and pains. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease and makes your body prone to colon and lung cancers. Smoking has been linked with worsening back pain issues and affecting your overall health. Smoking also increases the risk of back injuries.

It does so by damaging the arteries in your joints and discs. When the back joint and disc arteries are damaged, you’re more likely to experience back injury. In addition, smoking can cause osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disorder that causes back injury.

Do Not Over Exercise

Seniors have a range of issues they want to address through exercising. They want to minimize the risk of heart disease, stay fit, avoid obesity, and keep stronger. Such huge goals can make some seniors overdo some physical activities. However, never overdo any physical activity as that can leave you with more health issues.

First, excess physical activities are known to overstretch or tear up your lower back ligaments and muscles. Overstretched muscles and ligaments often cause muscle spasms, pain, and stiffness. These all can lead to back injury and unending pains. Although back sprains and strains are treatable at home, they are better avoided.

Wrapping Up

The last thing a senior wants is to have back aches and injuries. Exercises and physical activities are the leading causes of back pains and aches. Understanding how to perform exercises is the first step to avoiding back injury. You should understand that sitting and sleeping postures can also make you prone to back injury. Know the basics of maintaining the proper posture when sleeping and sitting, and bid goodbye to common back injuries and pains.

 

By |June 10th, 2022|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: 6 Best Practices to Avoid Back Injury For the Elderly

Guest Blog: What is Psoriasis?

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

Psoriasis

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

Risks

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

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

Causes

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

Symptoms

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

Diagnosis

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

Treatment

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

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

Topical Medication Options:

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

Phototherapy:

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

Systemic Medications:

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

More Information:

National Psoriasis Foundation   www.psoriasis.org

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

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

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By |June 9th, 2022|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What is Psoriasis?

Guest Blog: 5 Ways Seniors Can Improve Their Quality Of Life

Research indicates that Americans are living longer than any other period in history. The best way to ensure your quality of life in your senior years is by addressing mental and physical health. Here are some tactics that can help make your golden years even more exciting.

Be Active in Your Healthcare
Not only do you need to make sure you have a primary care physician familiar with your health history, you also need to make sure you stay up to date on how you’ll pay for regular checkups, appointments with specialists, and medication. This includes keeping an eye on your Medicare plan and making changes to it as necessary. You may want to consider signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which offers perks that regular plans don’t cover. For instance, a Humana Medicare Advantage Plan offers benefits like a Nurse Advice Line, which saves you from the time and hassle of visiting your doctor for every little ache and pain, and enrollment in SilverSneakers, which will help you stay active throughout your golden years — another critical component of your quality of life.

Exercise Regularly
The body isn’t able to repair itself as quickly when we become older — not to mention, the loss of muscle mass contributes to mobility issues. Not only can regular exercise improve both of these concerns, but it can also regulate blood pressure and sugar management, boost mood, strengthen the immune system, improve gastrointestinal function, enhance cognitive ability, prevent heart disease and diabetes, and make it easier to manage weight. There’s no need to push yourself too hard. Even simple walking for 30 minutes four times a week is enough to get going. Seniors can also work out at home with exercise videos, fitness apps, and Wii games.

Eat Well
Eating a healthy diet is crucial at every stage of life, but takes on an even more important role as our bodies change with age. Your doctor may recommend a specific diet that tailors to your unique health needs — if you need to consume more protein or calcium, for example — but in general, you’ll need to eat foods that make your microbiome happy. Not only will eating probiotic-packed and fermented foods help you stay regular, you’ll actually feel happier and more energized overall by taking care of your gut health, since doing so ramps up your body’s production of the feel-happy chemical serotonin.

Improve Quality of Sleep
Research suggests that seniors can benefit from quality and quantity of sleep more than they did in their younger years. There are several tactics that can make it easier to get ample shuteye, since it can be a challenge for the elderly. This includes increasing daytime light exposure, ditching caffeine and alcohol in the evening hours, exercising early in the day, making your bedroom a cool and dark respite, unplugging from electronics at least one hour before bed, and consistent bed- and wake-up times.

Stay Social
It’s important to stay social in order to keep your mental health in check. Some easy ways to stay socially engaged include connecting with friends via social media, joining a club or senior center, volunteering, helping out your family (such as babysitting the grandkids so your adult children can enjoy a date night), and taking up a part-time job.

It’s important that you have an established primary care physician and that you visit him or her regularly. You’re more likely to prevent illness and disease when you’ve got a health care schedule in place (as well as a plan to pay for it). A pro can also direct you to other specialists and help guide you through the financial side of care, too.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

By |June 9th, 2022|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Ways Seniors Can Improve Their Quality Of Life

Guest Blog: How to Ensure the Safety of the Elderly in Rehab Centers

Rehab centers have proven to be a breath of fresh air for individuals who have fallen prey to alcohol or drug addiction. They help people cope with their life-endangering habits and transform themselves to become a better person, thus, enabling them to live a happy and healthy life all over again. Rehabs are designed carefully to deal with people with various addictions, particularly elders. From installing a quiet hand dryer  to creating the room door, everything is customized to ensure the safety and wellbeing of inhabitants.

Letting go of any sort of addiction is never easy. When dealing with older adults, we need to be extra cautious owing to the fact that the ageing process makes them prone to other health issues as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while trying to maintain the safety of elders intact in a rehab center:

Higher a Highly Trained Staff:

The staff has a significant impact on adults’ safety and rehabilitation process. The more trained they are for the tasks, the better results will be yielded. A nurse who has experience working with younger people in a rehab center might not be fit for the task when treating older patients.

You need to ensure that your staff is professionally trained to work with ageing adults battling with addiction. Since they have different needs, their mind and body will react differently to medication. They will respond differently to therapy techniques. The behavioral changes might be hard to handle at times, but having trained staff will help deal with patients more appropriately and will ensure their health is monitored carefully.

Focus on the Environment:

When dealing with addiction among older adults, we need to pay special attention to our surroundings. Bringing comfort within the physical environment is crucial for the healing process to begin. Staying away from the problematic environment and living in a structurally designed environment accelerates the rehab process.

Inpatient rehab is the safest option for adults. The constant surveillance and support from the professionals make the detox and treatment process productive. Besides, being able to interact with someone battling the same issue as you, gives you the strength to pass the hurdles and bring out the best in you. Focusing on the environment of the rehab center is an essential step toward giving someone a new life.

Offering Aftercare Programs:

Since the goal of rehab facilities is to eradicate the alcohol or drug addiction from the patients completely, it is recommended to lend support to them even when the treatment time period is completed. Offering the aftercare program increases the success rate of your treatment. Going back to the previous environment brings a lot of stress to the patients since they will be living with all the trigger points around them.

Keeping them engaged with therapies, alumni programs, or sober living options ensures their safety and brings them physical and mental wellbeing.

Focus on Your Patients

Getting rid of an addiction is never easy. It is a lot of hard work, consistency and committed support of professionals that make it happen. We know that ‘old habits die hard’; dealing with older adults in rehab is more difficult than dealing with the younger ones. Make sure your rehab facility is fully equipped with everything that is needed for successful treatment and therapies. Keep the safety of your patients your priority for better outcomes of your treatment processes.

 

By |June 9th, 2022|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Ensure the Safety of the Elderly in Rehab Centers

Guest Blog: Hiring an In-Home Caregiver: What You Need to Know

 

When looking for an in-home caregiver for your loved one, it’s a given you would prefer someone they can get along with really well and will do a great job of taking care of them. However, finding this home care option for your senior loved one can be challenging at times.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of tips you can follow to ensure you find the perfect person for the job. The following tips should get your search off to a fantastic start:

Create a clear job description

To come up with a clear job description, identify what your elderly loved one’s needs are. A clear and specific job description can help you determine the flexibility needed, the number of hours they’ll be looking after your loved one, and how much you are likely to pay.

Be flexible when hiring independently

If you want to find great candidates, you need to be flexible about the pay. It is also recommended that you offer the going rate in your area. Otherwise, you might not find applicants with the care skills you are looking for.

Conduct multiple interviews and a trial period

To get more insights about a candidate, consider conducting three interviews:

  • A short screening interview over the phone to ensure they meet the necessary requirements.
  • An in-person interview if they pass the phone screening.
  • An in-person interview where the top 2 candidates can also meet your elderly loved one.

Ask all the important questions during the interview

Asking all the right questions can help you find someone responsible, compassionate, and trustworthy. It would also be a good idea to ask what they’ll do in a specific situation. For instance, what they would do if your elderly loved one refuses medications or does not cooperate.

Check their references

Even if you find a candidate very impressive, it is ideal that you still do a background check. You can do this by calling the work references they have provided. You can ask if they do a good job and if they’ll hire the candidate again.

Conclusion

While finding the best in-home caregiver can be challenging, it can be done. As long as you prepare accordingly and cover all the essential bases, you’ll find the right person for the job with ease.

 

 

By |June 7th, 2022|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Hiring an In-Home Caregiver: What You Need to Know