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: Healthcare tools and technology that help seniors continue to live at home

Advanced technologies in the healthcare niche such as GPS, motion-sensors and social networks that are senior focused might help seniors keep living comfortable in their homes. Medicaid and Medicare – two of the most powerful government agencies in the US – are aiming to develop cost efficient alternatives for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Many tech-savvy families wish for their loved ones to live nearby and thus be able to balance their personal lifestyles with caregiving. Fortunately, technology is here to help.

General costs for assisted living and nursing home care keep increasing. The rates are incredibly high, whereas the general cost of at-home senior care has boosted with less than 1% in the last 5 years. At a national scale, the median cost for nursing homes increased to roughly $85,000 in 2013 as opposed to $63,000 in 2012. Furthermore, nearly 90% of citizens in the US wish to live alone in their homes rather than be placed in an assisted living facility.

Advanced technology makes caregiving a lot easier

Even though IoT (the internet of things), mobile devices, analytics, big data and cloud-based services allow nearly every age category to make use of technology for improved health, it is it is quite obvious that seniors can also reap benefits. That’s certainly good news since people with ages above 65 (41 million in the US), will represent one fifth of US’s population by 2050. By then, the US will have 19 million people above 85. If the country chooses to start using advanced technology now, things will look pretty good in 35 years when the lifestyle of the average senior will be pretty comfortable and laid-back.

Seniors are concerned about their financial, emotional and physical safety

A lot of seniors today fear for their financial, physical and emotional safety. They’re often aware that if their loved ones live nearby, they’ll somehow be compelled to look after them. Fortunately, technology comes to the rescue and eases the job of an adult to take care of his/her aging parent. Family members will be relieved of the burden because savvy gadgets and remote devices allow them to keep a close eye on their loved ones without having to check on them every single day. Experts agree that if more seniors would be open to using advanced technology, they could enjoy a much comfortable lifestyle by themselves.

However, let’s not forget that today’s seniors didn’t grow up tech-savvy. This means that they might feel uncomfortable using technology; because of this developers must consider crafting gadgets that are efficient but also easy to use. Twenty years from now seniors will probably use gadgets just as well as youngsters; but before that happens, the following should be checked out.

  • Sensors – advanced patient monitoring. These devices can easily be installed around the house. They send signals alerting caregivers of prospective falls, injuries or skipped meals
  • GPS tracking technology – excellent for keeping track of a loved one’s whereabouts.
  • Apps – there’s a range of apps you can use to keep an eye on an aging parent. Both communication and monitoring apps are tools caregivers can use to watch over their loved ones. Among some of the most well-known we should mention Philips Lifeline, TrackerAssist, Red Panic Button and 5Star Service.
  • Remote monitoring tools – these are targeted at seniors needing regular monitoring. There are lot of devices nowadays that monitor blood glucose, heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Telehealth – the ability of modern telehealth systems is to use standard video-conferencing and phone systems to connect senior patients with nurse practitioners, physicians and mental health specialists. Furthermore, recent research highlights some pretty advanced technologies; these are meant to change the way seniors get regular checkups.

Seniors have realistic chances of living comfortably in their homes in spite of their health issues. Advanced technology can help them. The tools currently available are quite useful and innovative; however, caregivers must teach them how to use them. Very few seniors find residential care homes and assisted living facilities a viable lifestyle alternative. They don’t want to leave the comfort of their homes, but they’re quite aware that they can’t do everything alone either.

 

 

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By |April 2nd, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Healthcare tools and technology that help seniors continue to live at home

Guest Blog: Why Elderly People Should Keep Pets?

Are you thinking whether you should be taking care of your pet as you age?

When you age, you wonder if you should adopt a pet?

This guide will help you decide on the best choice for you. Studies have shown that having a pet can be advantageous both physically and psychologically for people of all ages. In the case of senior citizens, only 15 minutes of bonding with an animal causes a chemical chain reaction in the brain, reducing rates of fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, and the development of nostalgic hormone serotonin.

The result: a sudden decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and stress rates. Long-term relationships between pets and humans can minimize cholesterol levels, fight depression, and even help protect against heart disease and stroke.

Getting a pet or engaging with one will enhance elderly people’s health and wellness, improving both physical health and mood. Get emotional support animal registration for trained animals as per your requirement.

There are a few key reasons why elderly people should keep pets.

Lower blood pressure

Scientists think stroking a dog or cat will help you relax and therefore reduce blood pressure. A 2002 study revealed that dog or cat owners had lower resting heart rates and blood pressure than those who did not have pets.

Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke

According to scientists, owning a dog can relieve stress and anxiety and therefore reduce the risk of heart disease. A study that looked at over 4400 adults aged between 30 and 75, including half who owned a dog, showed that 3.4% had died from a heart attack over ten years. 5.8 per cent had died from heart attacks in the community who had never owned a pet.

Better mood

Stroking a dog can be comforting to both parties. If you stroke a dog, a hormone called oxytocin is released, which is linked to anxiety relief. A study conducted at Uppsala University in Sweden presented at the 12th International Conference of Human-Animal Interactions in 2010, showed that friendly human-dog interaction releases oxytocin in both humans and dogs. It is interesting if you walk down the street with a dog how many people look at him and it brings a smile to their face. That really stimulates a positive emotional response.

Fewer visits to the doctor

According to Pets for The Elderly Foundation in the US, 21% of older people with a pet have fewer veterinarian visits. Owning a pet like a dog will make you more active. Being regularly active is noted for reducing heart disease and the risk of having a stroke, as well as reducing the risk of developing diseases like dementia and some cancers. Experts also agree that post-sickness or surgery pets will help us heal faster.

Better social contact

Walking a dog is more likely to promote social interaction and conversations with others and lead to an increased likelihood of new friendships. When you walk a dog, there is more risk of starting up conversations with pet owners in parks and other public areas.

Less stress

Stroking a pet is thought to reduce the level of stress-related hormones in the blood according to Professor Adnan Qureshi from Minnesota University. Reducing stress can help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate.

More affection and love

Focusing on taking care of an animal is a great way to give and receive love. Recognizing the treatment and bonding value of owning a dog and focusing emotional energy on a pet is a good thing.

More active

Dog walkers will naturally be active. A 1991 study showed that pet owners typically had higher rates of activity and less mild health issues.

A greater sense of comfort and security

The pets can be their key source of support for many elderly people who lack daily social contact and company. Ninety-five percent of the elderly people talked to their pets in a survey by Pets for the Elderly Foundation, while 82 percent said that their pets support them when they felt sad.

A positive focus and a sharper mind

A researcher noticed a marked improvement in her late mother, who had vascular dementia when caring for her dog. ‘My mother loved her dog and was always happier when she was around. When her dog passed away, mum was understandably distraught, but I also noticed a change in her mood and mental function. Her dementia seemed to get worse – she became less focused, more detached, and more easily confused. Her dog had given her a sense of purpose and focus.’

Animal therapy

Animal therapy is common in care homes, as it has been shown to reduce anxiety and enhance social contact in people with dementia. Alzheimer’s Society actively encourages those with dementia to keep pets for as long as they can or interact with them as much as possible. However, if you are taking a pet into a care home or to a person’s home, make sure they have the right temperament and will comfort the person rather than cause more stress. Make sure dogs are unlikely to leap or bark excessively and make sure pets are friendly and unlikely to bite when stroked.

Improved overall health

According to researchers, pet owners look safer than those who don’t own pets. According to pet study Allen R McConnell, a psychology professor at Miami University, people with a strong relationship with their pets are on average happier than those who do not have pets.

Hope this article gave you the reason to keep a pet for yourself or for your elderly loved ones. Spread love!

By |March 31st, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Why Elderly People Should Keep Pets?

Guest Blog: How to Treat Common Chronic Skin Diseases: Types, Conditions, and Treatments

Chronic skin conditions are conditions affecting the skin which cannot be cured, but can be treated. Certain skin disorders are temporary, while others are permanent. Most chronic skin conditions are minor, but some can cause a more serious issue. According to the American Academy of Dermatology over 85 million people in the U.S. suffer from skin disorders. These conditions can affect the quality of life for those who experience inflammation and irritation, so it is very important that you identify and seek treatment for the condition that you are suffering from.

How Many Skin Diseases are There?

There are actually more than 3,000 skin disorders known in the dermatology field. Changes in color or texture of your skin can result from infection, genetics, reaction, or inflammation on the body and will most likely be classified as a skin disorder.

What are the Most Common Skin Diseases?

Below is a list of the five most common chronic skin diseases:

  1. Eczema

Eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder that results in red, dry itchy skin. Also called dermatitis, eczema can result in skin bleeding and crusting over in the folds of the arms, back of the knees, wrists, and hands.

  1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It can affect any part of the body but typically appears behind elbows and knees, scalp, back, face, hands, and feet.

  1. Acne

Acne is a skin condition most commonly found in teenagers and young adults, it occurs when hair follicles plug with oil and dead skin cells. Acne can cause different types of skin problems on your face including blackheads, whiteheads, cystic bumps, and red spots.

  1. Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness and small red bumps on the face. Signs and symptoms can come and go for months at a time. The key symptoms of rosacea are swollen red bumps coupled with visible blood vessels on the face. If not treated it typically worsens over time.

  1. Skin infections

Skin infections can be caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. They can infect the superficial layers of the skin or can infect the deep layers of the skin depending on the infection. The most common viral infections include: herpes, shingles, and warts. The most common bacterial infections include: cellulitis and tick borne rashes. Lastly, the most common fungal skin infections include: ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Rare Skin Diseases:

The names of five skin diseases that are extremely rare are:

  1. Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Causes lesions (pimples or boils) to form on parts of the body when your skin touches skin. Common areas include underarms and upper thighs.
  2. Inverse Psoriasis: Causes red lesions (smooth and shiny) where skin touches skin on the body.
  3. Harlequin Ichthyosis: Genetic disorder where children are born with hard, thick skin in diamond shaped scales across their body.
  4. Morgellons Disease: Condition where small fibers and particles come out of skin sores, creating the sensation that things are crawling out of your skin.
  5. Elastoderma: Causes skin to sag and hang down in folds typically on the neck, elbows, and knees.

How Do You Treat Chronic Skin Diseases?

You can treat skin diseases through home remedies or by creating a treatment plan with your dermatologist.

If you want to try to treat your disease with home remedies, here are some of the best ways to do so:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Apply after you shower and it will act as an antifungal agent to treat skin infections
  • Witch hazel, chamomile tea, and apple cider vinegar: Work as anti-inflammatories to help relieve acne breakouts, fungal infections, and dry skin
  • Oatmeal baths and masks: Help to moisturize and act as an anti-inflammatory that is very effective at remedying eczema and psoriasis.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, and inflammatory foods: Many chronic skin conditions can be triggered by any one or a combination of these poor lifestyle choices. By making healthier decisions, the severity of your skin condition will likely reduce.

If you are not seeing results from at home treatment plans, reach out to your dermatologist and dermatology pharmacy. This is highly recommended as they can help you ease your conditions with medical treatment and will also work with you to get to the bottom of your skin condition.

Which Treatment is Best for Skin Problems?

Depending on what condition you are suffering and the level of severity of your skin disease, the best treatment plan will differ. It is recommended to reach out to your dermatologist to receive the highest level of care. Typically the most effective treatments are: antibiotics, steroids, and prescription strength topical products.

If you are struggling with a skin condition, you are not alone! Millions of people are suffering from the same or a similar condition and there are ways to treat them. Reach out to your dermatologist to get a personalized treatment plan that will work for you!

Author Bio:

Ronak Desai is the Co-Founder of Apotheco Pharmacy Group, a leading Dermatology Pharmacy. He oversees the development and execution of corporate strategies with a focus on Pharmacy growth and development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |March 29th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Treat Common Chronic Skin Diseases: Types, Conditions, and Treatments

Guest Blog: Do You Know – How Patient Education Can Help Chronic Disease Management?

Healthcare facilities all around the world often face difficulty in treating patients with chronic diseases and look for ways to make it easy for patients to live with it. Chronic disease management by educating the patients either via  online school or through regular sessions is known to an effective way of inculcating in them an awareness of how they can play part in coping with their health conditions. Patient education for chronic disease management helps in empowering them and taking actions that will enable them to achieve their health goals. Here is everything you need to know about educating patients for chronic disease management:

What Exactly is Chronic Disease Management?

Chronic disease management (CDA) is support and care to assist the patients having chronic diseases. It teaches them skills, gives them the knowledge and resources that they need to manage their daily life in a better way. This often includes regular visits from a family physician, other care providers, or referrals to specialized programs and services. The skills that are usually taught vary with diseases. Chronic diseases commonly include diabetes, asthma, chronic kidney disease, arthritis, depression, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What are the Key Elements of Good Chronic Disease Management?

To be more effective, good chronic disease management should offer support and care that is proactive, team-based, and must be well integrated with the primary health care provider (e.g. your family physician, etc.). It must be easily accessible and should well-coordinated. It should be focused on adopting a healthy lifestyle and overall well being of the patient. CDM aims to encourage the patient to take care of themselves and involves family to encourage them to extend their support to their loved ones suffering from some serious health issues. It helps the patient to live a healthier and happier life by teaching them to cope up with their health condition.

How Patient’s Engagement and Education is Beneficial for the CDM?

Chronic disease management sessions are usually patient-centric. Since their aim is to enable patients to take care of themselves, the patient’s constant engagement is what makes it an absolute success. It is easy to keep the patient under observation as the healthcare provider can keep a constant check of what the patient is eating etc. or can control his routine. However, CDM does not have this privilege, rather their work is to train patients to follow a healthy lifestyle even in the absence of their healthcare provider. Patient’s knowledge and the urge to a better life is what helps them to live the disease but in a happier and healthier way.

When to Begin With the CDM?

Chronic disease management starts way before the patient is actually diagnosed with an illness. The primary health care provider, through regular checkups, encourages patients to take preventive healthcare measures by adopting healthy habits. Through such precautionary measures, the early onset of the disease can be mitigated.

What Do Patients Learn From CDM?

CDM helps the patient to differentiate between major and minor health-related issues and enables them to differentiate between both. For Example, if a person has a cardiovascular disease, through CDM he will be able to learn that what he should do in case of minor chest pain. Either he should instantly rush to the hospital or should talk to his healthcare provider on phone. Having knowledge of one’s health condition will enable them to make a better and timely decision and will save their money and time too.

Besides, knowing at what time you should be taking your medicine and what should you eat will make it easy for the people around you to extend their support, love, and care towards you. It will keep you going with your life, the way it is.

To Sum it Up!

You might have heard the cliché ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ and this how chronic disease management works. Involving the patient in their health care routine and talking and guiding them throughout the process is likely to give them a ray of hope. It is surely the best possible way of dealing with chronic disease. It just not eases their pain but also keeps them motivated to opt for a better and healthier lifestyle every day.

By |March 28th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Do You Know – How Patient Education Can Help Chronic Disease Management?

Medicine Cabinet Spring Cleaning Reminders for Seniors

Are you tending to your ever-growing spring cleaning checklist? If you don’t have “clean out the medicine cabinet” as one of your ToDos, add it today and don’t forget these important reminders:

Dispose of Old Medicine
Unused prescriptions, expired over-the-counter drugs, empty boxes, and bottles . . . it’s easy for a medicine cabinet to become cluttered over the year with superfluous items. Take some time this spring to clear it out and safely dispose of the medicine you no longer use.

  • Check expiration dates and recycle old medicine boxes and bottles (remove prescription labels before you toss them or mark out private information)Follow instructions for disposing of medicine or check with your local pharmacy or law enforcement agency about upcoming drug take-back events
    Simplify your daily medicine schedule by sorting pills into color-coded pill organizers with day of the week and time of day compartments

Upgrade Home Health Items
As you get older, is your doctor recommending you check health metrics at home more regularly like blood pressure, temperature, or blood sugar? Having handy, reliable home health tools to gather and record important health data could play a significant role in helping you manage a chronic illness, prevent infection, and be alerted when something seems off. Don’t forget to check that these tools are in working order:

  • An accurate thermometer to check one’s temperature regularly
    A reliable blood pressure monitor with memory for recording readings
    A blood sugar monitor with strips (especially if you are one of the 25% of adults over 65 with diabetes)
    A pulse oximeter (if you have frequent respiratory infections or heart disease)

Update Medical ID
Did you know that most smartphones offer you the ability to store important medical ID information in the event of an emergency? Simply find the Health app or Medical ID feature in the settings on your phone and input important information like birth date, known medical conditions, allergies, blood type, and emergency contact numbers.

If first responders are unable to get this information from you at the scene of an accident, they are now trained to check your smartphone. Medical ID information can be accessed from the lock screen of most smartphones without having to enter a passcode.

Don’t forget to check the stock on your first aid kit – refilling items like band-aids, wound solution, NSAIDs, cold compresses, antibiotic cream, sterile gauze, and elastic bandages could come in handy during your summer adventures.

By |March 27th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Medicine Cabinet Spring Cleaning Reminders for Seniors

Five Eye Health Tips for Maintaining Long-Life Vision

 

As you age, so do your eyes. It is a simple fact of life, however, age related vision problems don’t need to be a lifestyle changer. Knowing what’s to come and how you can maintain your vision for the long haul is an essential first step, according to the American Optometric Association.

As you approach 60 years young, it is vital to pay more attention to the warning signs of age-related vision issues. Vision problems as you get older can be acute or chronic, but knowing how to steer clear of them is probably at the top of your list.

Making significant lifestyle choices and getting regular eye exams will help keep you focused on your eye health. Let’s face it, visiting your optometrist is more fun than seeing your dentist or primary physician. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can keep your vision strong, no matter your age.

  1. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly for Optimal Eye Health

There are some pretty unfavorable eye diseases you may be at risk for, especially if you skip your eye exams. In order to keep your vision as keen as a 20 year olds, visiting your optometrist regularly is vital.

In fact, an article published in academic journal, American Family Physician (1999) found several common causes of vision loss in the elderly. The vision debilitating eye diseases you may be at risk for include Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Diabetic Retinopathy, among others. Seeing your eye doctor will help you avoid these chronic vision loss conditions.

  1. Eat Right to See Right

What you eat directly affects your health. And the same applies for your eye health. Eating the healthy nutritious meals at least three times per day is one exceptional way to keep your focus on great vision.

Food loaded with nutrient rich vitamins and minerals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamin C, and vitamin E may help keep your eyes in superb shape. Those greens, eggs, nuts, and salmon are a great place to begin. You may even see a few pounds shrink away from your waist.

  1. Focus on Eye Health and Quit Smoking

Saving your lungs from smoking is also saving your vision from acute and chronic vision issues in the future. In fact, smoking increases your risk for cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration.

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If quitting your attempt to quit smoking continues to happen, don’t give up. Your vision as you age may depend on it. And if you quit smoking, you will most likely live longer, making it even more imperative to have great vision to see your grandchildren blossom.

  1. Look Cool and Protect Your Eyes with UV Sunglasses

If keeping your eyes healthy aligns with your fashion, even better. Wearing UV sunglasses may help protect your eyes from the sun’s powerful rays. Research suggests that too much UV exposure will increase your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Pick up some sunglasses with 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Protecting your peripheral vision is also important, so wraparound shades may be even better. There are even contacts with UV protection these days. However, sunglasses with UV block are best.

  1. Limit Your Screen Time for Better Vision Later in Life

Limiting your screen time is nothing new. In fact, mothers have been saying television ruins eyes for decades. If you want to protect your eyes, taking a break from so much screen time is essential.

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This also extends to tech devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation suggests that the blue light emitted by these tech screens may trigger macular degeneration, among other health issues.

Protecting your eyes today may pay off big time as you begin reaching those golden years. And it is never too late to start living healthy to improve your vision. Most of the suggestions made by professionals can also make a big impact on your overall health. Stay focused when it comes to eye health, because seeing is an important sense to maintain forever.

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By |March 26th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Five Eye Health Tips for Maintaining Long-Life Vision