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

Aging in Place: Home Preparations and Modifications for Alzheimer’s Patients

 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease affects five million Americans. However, this number doesn’t reflect the many more Americans that are affected by Alzheimer’s indirectly. This includes family and friends that take on the great responsibility of caring for a loved one with the disease. Many of these caregivers have numerous considerations to keep in mind, and one of these is altering and modifying the home to provide better comfort and safety.

Let’s look at some home preparations and modifications you can make if you need to accommodate a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

 

Safety and Comfort.

The first consideration should be thinking about is how you can reduce the risk of your loved one tripping, falling, or becoming confused or disoriented.

● Remove objects that can be obstructive in high-traffic areas. Avoid having stuff on the floor or low tables and furniture that can be easy to miss.
● Lock cabinets that might contain hazardous chemicals and materials.
● Keep dark corners of the house well-lit and illuminated. This includes stairwells and basements.
● Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
● Ensure your loved ones don’t have easy exits where they can wander out.

Functionality and Design

Making your house function better for Alzheimer’s patients means helping them avoid unnecessary disorientation, fear, or depression. The following are some tips:

● Remove clutter or scattered objects that might overstimulate. For example, instead of having five pairs of shoes for your loved one to choose from, leave only one pair. This might eliminate an unnecessary episode of confusion when getting dressed.
● Rearrange furniture in a simple and straightforward way. The way the furniture is arranged can dictate the atmosphere of the room. For example, if the only chair is facing the television, you might have them constantly sitting in front of the TV.
● The Huffington Post suggests that creating a personalized space with familiar objects and smells can be a great way to keep an Alzheimer’s patient comfortable. At the same time, you should avoid having busy patterns on furniture or curtains, confusing colors, or rugs that can cause tripping.

Stimulation and Socialization

It’s important for your loved one to get plenty of socialization and interaction with others. In a typical household, people are working or living their own lives as they juggle the responsibility of caregiving. Living at home without much visitation can often lead to patients becoming isolated and withdrawn. Try to arrange frequent visits by friends and family members. Consider taking loved ones with you if you have to run errands, going for short walks, or involving them in everyday activities.

How to Modify or Renovate Your Home

In order to maintain safety or functionality, it’s often important to do modifications to your home. One of the most common home alterations is improving or renovating bathrooms and kitchens. This is because these are two areas of the house that can be most hazardous and require a little more navigation.

For Bathrooms

Renovations for bathrooms cost an average of about $8,820 depending on the work to be done. Some common and important improvements for Alzheimer’s-friendly bathrooms include installing grab bars and handrails, swapping out a bathtub for a shower, and adding lighting and non-slip flooring.

For Kitchens

You might consider a kitchen modification as well. It will vary in complexity depending on your current setup. When restructuring your kitchen for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, consider faucets, accessibility of appliances, kitchen counter height, mobility, and difficulty of navigation.

Caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s is a great responsibility. Ensuring their safety and comfort at home will not only make their lives better, but it will make yours easier and remove unnecessary hazards and stress. Having confidence that your loved one is comfortable and at ease will take a big weight off your shoulders. Your loved one will be happy to be living at home. The Boston Globe reported that Alzheimer’s patients that remain at home live longer and better lives.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

By |September 3rd, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Aging in Place: Home Preparations and Modifications for Alzheimer’s Patients

Guest Blog: 4 Healthy Aging Routine Tips

It is never too late to adopt a healthy aging routine into your everyday life. Healthy aging isn’t necessarily about looking or feeling younger, but rather optimizing opportunities for overall good health. Making a simple skincare switch, keeping a balanced diet and getting at least 8 hours of sleep are simple things that can make you feel more energized and give your outer appearance a natural glow. To begin your anti-aging regimen on a positive note, check out these tips for some inspiration!

Skincare
Changing your skin care routine may seem like a daunting task at first. It’s difficult to break from the products you have used for a long time, but once you establish a new routine that works for you, you will see the benefits in a short amount of time. Skin hydration, regeneration, and protection are all essential for seniors. Without these, and the use of an exfoliator weekly, your entire body, will lack smoothness and shine from the accumulation of dry or dead skin.
Remember, skin care isn’t only about facial products. It’s essential to moisturize your arms, hands, legs, and feet too!

Nutrition
Various diseases and illnesses form as a result of inadequate or unbalanced nutrition and poor dieting. Once you reach a certain age, it is critical that you eat more fruits and vegetables to prevent illness and nutritional deficiencies. Substitute processed foods for whole foods to ensure your body is receiving the nutrients necessary for a healthy life. According to the USDA, foods that are high in antioxidants (high Orac) can protect cells from oxidative damage. Kale, spinach, blueberries, and blackberries are all great options! Try implementing a few of these high Orac foods listed below into your diet to slow aging down: Visit here for more information.

Vitamins and Supplements
Many seniors rule out food they aren’t willing to consume depending on their current health status or personal dislikes. Their pallets are fully developed, and for the most part, they aren’t in the mindset to try new foods. However, avoiding certain foods can result in a lack of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that aid in preventing deficiencies and diseases. Take vitamins such as calcium and zinc to help boost brain power, along with Vitamin E, B3 and B5 help support skin elasticity. Furthermore, don’t leave out supplements that can help cellular health such as probiotics and products like Basis by Elysium Health.

Sleep
Sleep may come easier to some more than others. It is important to know that disrupting your circadian rhythm with poor rest can lead to metabolic disorders. Many seniors have insomnia which limits their hours of sleep. Exercise, sticking to a sleep schedule and establishing a bedtime routine can help aid seniors in gaining the rest they need at night or throughout the day.

Remember, it is never too late to make improvements to your current routine, especially if it will benefit you in the long run. Take the time to appreciate your body and embrace the natural process!

 

By |September 1st, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: 4 Healthy Aging Routine Tips

Guest Blog: 7 Reasons Why You Should Go Ahead with LASIK Eye Surgery

Tired of using eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct poor vision? Maybe it is time for you to consider LASIK surgery. However, many people are hesitant and scared to go ahead with the surgery for different reasons. Some are afraid of staying awake during the surgery while others fear pain or discomfort.
Here are 7 reasons why you must book that surgery instead of letting fear get in the way.

     1. Simple and Quick Procedure

LASIK eye surgery is a simple procedure where you do not need general anesthesia. The entire process is extremely quick and the surgery is completed in a matter of minutes. Typically, it takes around 5 to 10 minutes per eye, after which you may return home to begin the recovery.

You may experience hazy or blurred vision immediately following the procedure but you need not worry about that. It is normal and you should begin to experience clearer vision within hours after the surgery.

     2. Painless Surgery

Does LASIK eye surgery hurt? No, it does not. The entire procedure is completely painless. The surgeon will numb your eyes using eye drops, after which you will not feel a thing.

However, if the idea of staying conscious during the surgery makes you anxious, you can ask the doctor for a sedative to calm your nerves.

     3. QuickRecovery

LASIK surgery recovery can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. There is a chance that you may experience dry eyes and sensitivity to light. However, these symptoms do not last long and the recovery period is minimal. Most patients notice that their vision improves almost immediately.

     4. Gives Immediate Results

Most patients experience a 20/20 vision almost immediately after the surgery. Rest the eyes for a little time after the surgery, take a nap and you will wake up with almost a clear vision.

     5. Minimum Pain or Discomfort

You won’t feel any discomfort due to the eye drops that anesthetize the eyes. It is normal to be concerned about complications that may arise due to blinking or moving the eye during the surgery. However, the numbing eye drops will decrease the natural urge to blink.

The surgeon uses aneye lid separator as well to prevent you from blinking. He then uses the laser to create a corneal flap on the eye. As scary as that sounds, in reality there is little to no pain and discomfort during the process.

You might experience mild irritation after the procedure for the first 4 to 6 hours.

     6. No Complications

You may worry about losing your eyesight completely due to the surgery. However, according to FDA data, there are zero cases of blindness resulting from the surgery.
Even the occurrence of complications after the surgery is very rare. If they do occur, they can be resolved easily with medication or another treatment.

     7. Experienced Surgeons and Latest Technology

Only the most experienced LASIK surgeons carry out this process. They take the time to discuss the case with each patient before the surgery. They welcome questions and put the patients at ease by answering all the questions.
During the corrective eye surgery, the doctors use the latest technology. They use a LASIK eye tracker that constantly measures where the eye is. The tracker uses infra-red cameras to track eye movement during the procedure at a rate of 200-500 frames per second. This ensures that the laser treatment is precise.

Final Words

As you can see, the procedure is rather painless and barely takes 20 minutes. In just a few minutes, you can enjoy clear vision and say goodbye to your glasses and contact lenses.

Author Bio:

Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.

By |August 30th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: 7 Reasons Why You Should Go Ahead with LASIK Eye Surgery

Guest Blog: Diabetic Seniors: Steps to Staying Healthy While Social Distancing

During COVID-19 and social distancing, it’s important for seniors — especially seniors with diabetes — to make sure they’re doing everything in their power to maintain healthy, active lifestyles. It’s not easy to keep up the motivation, but there are a few steps you can take to dramatically reduce your chance of developing diabetic foot ulcers, and other unpleasant side effects of diabetes.

Am I at risk for a diabetic foot ulcer?

Everyone with diabetes is at risk for developing a diabetic foot ulcer, and you’re more likely to develop them if you’re older. About 15% of diabetics get a diabetic foot ulcer. Of those, around one-third of those patients develop diabetic foot ulcers. As patients get older, those odds increase and 40% of patients who have had a diabetic foot ulcer will develop another one at some point in their life.

Cooking at home

You’re probably cooking more at home, so why not make the most of it? Good nutrition is essential both for managing diabetes symptoms and helping diabetic wounds heal.

  • Protein is an especially important nutrient for wound-healing, so make sure you’re getting plenty of beans, eggs, fish, and tofu.
  • Research has shown that the Meditteranean diet has an especially positive effect on diabetes. Look up your favorite Greek recipes that have a good balance of fresh produce, fish, and olive oil, and very low carbohydrates, sugar, and red meat.

Staying active

Staying active can play a huge role in ensuring that diabetes patients keep their symptoms in check. Gyms are closed, so what to do?

If you’ve ever considered setting up a home gym, now is the time! Studies have shown that resistance training has substantive benefits, so think about investing in light weights or resistance bands. They don’t have to be super heavy, they just have to be heavy enough to make your muscles feel the burn. And if you’ve never used weights before, lifting soup cans or water bottles is a good start.

We all want to get outside, but many don’t yet feel comfortable going places that may have crowds. Luckily, many hiking trails have started to re-open, and hiking can provide an easy way to remain active while social distancing. Hiking is a great form of cardio, and has been shown to have a positive effect on blood glucose levels.

By |August 28th, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Diabetic Seniors: Steps to Staying Healthy While Social Distancing

Guest Blog: How to Choose the Right Mattress for Seniors

When you’re a caregiver for a senior citizen, you know how critical it is to find chairs, beds, and couches that are comfortable for your patients. Choosing the right mattress is especially crucial for the elderly. People in the 65+ age range often suffer from chronic pain related to sore, tender muscles, arthritis, and old injuries that have worsened as the years have passed.

A poor mattress can make even a teenager wake up feeling sore and tired, but for seniors, the effects of a poor mattress can cause debilitating pain and worsen inflammation. Senior citizens need a supportive mattress that cradles sensitive areas that are prone to soreness and stiffness, such as the hips, neck, shoulders, and the lower back. It’s also a good idea to choose a mattress with a comfortable top that cushions the heels and elbows, which will lessen inflammation and irritation.

There are tons of different mattress materials, thicknesses, and designs to choose from, but how do you know which one is going to give your senior patients a comfortable night’s rest? Below, we’ve broken down the different types of mattresses and how they can help seniors sleep well and wake up free from discomfort and pain.

What types of mattresses are the most comfortable for seniors?

When searching for a good mattress for an older individual, manufacturers won’t advertise that it’s the best for senior citizens. What you’ll need to do is look for certain traits and design features that will most likely work for an elderly sleeper.

Typically, seniors need a bed that will retain minimal body heat and will sleep cool. Beds that minimize and isolate movement or motion transfer, and are quiet are usually the best choices for seniors, too. You’ll also want to purchase a bed that is supportive and won’t sag or compress too much. Mattresses that are too soft don’t support spinal alignment and can cause someone to wake up in the morning with a sore back and hips.

Most importantly, a mattress for senior citizens needs to support arthritic joints. As people age, the cartilage that naturally cushions and supports the joints wears away, so seniors need a little more support from their beds than a younger individual.

Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Gel memory foam mattresses are some of the most popular choices for seniors. Gel memory foam is denser and more supportive than traditional memory foam, offering a slightly firmer bed that does an excellent job of supporting the joints and the spine. In mattress lingo, gel memory foam is also referred to as Tempur foam. Gel memory foam mattresses are also cooler than a regular memory foam mattress. Loom and Leaf is one of the more popular gel memory foam mattresses this year.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam is a mattress favorite, and it’s been around for decades. First used by NASA, memory foam is a high-quality material that offers superior comfort and cushioning. While memory foams aren’t typically as supportive as a gel memory foam mattress, some models are firmer than others.

Memory foam mattresses cradle and cushion the body, so elbows and heels aren’t resting on a surface that can cause skin irritation. Seniors who are side sleepers can most benefit from a traditional memory foam mattress. Memory foam cradles the shoulder joint and allows it to rest comfortably while keeping the shoulder disk in proper alignment.

However, if a person has never slept on a memory foam mattress, the new bed may take some getting used to. Memory foam beds have a particular and distinct feel to them. Also, be sure to check the bed’s cool rating. Memory foam beds tend to run hot. Nectar memory foam beds are some of the highest rated bed-in-a-box mattresses.

All-natural Latex Foam

A natural, latex foam mattress is an excellent alternative to memory foam mattresses for older sleepers. Latex is a springier material than either gel or memory foam. Latex doesn’t cradle the body, so for sleepers who switch positions a lot, a latex mattress can be ideal. However, all natural latex mattresses are sometimes too soft for people with severe arthritis. A high-quality all natural latex foam mattress for seniors is the Santa Cruz Natural Mattress.

What about innerspring mattresses?

Innerspring mattresses don’t always offer enough consistent support for seniors who need cushioning for aching joints. But adding a pillowtop to an otherwise decent innerspring mattress can offer enough softness and support for senior citizens. Boxtop and pillowtop mattresses are suitable for sleepers who are light or medium weight. But these mattresses won’t provide enough support or last very long for heavier sleepers.

Can you choose a mattress that uses different types of materials?

It’s possible to find a mattress that uses different technologies. For example, manufacturers who specialize in innerspring mattresses often have products that use a top layer of natural latex foam, or memory foam for added support and comfort. If you’re worried that your senior patients won’t be able to get used to a full memory foam mattress, an innerspring memory-foam hybrid can be a good compromise.

As always, it’s essential to thoroughly research different mattress types, product ratings, and what’s going to work best for an individual patient.

By |August 22nd, 2021|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Choose the Right Mattress for Seniors