Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

Guest Blog: Reasons The Elderly Benefit From Aging in Place

In the movie classic, The Wizard of Oz, little Dorothy knew then what has become a staple in the lives of elderly seniors today; “there is no place like home!” Dorothy, the main character in the movie, was swept away by a tornado from her home to a far away fantasy land. The only way back home was for her to follow the directions of the Good Witch Glenda’s magic spell which required Dorothy to click her red shoes together three times and think of the phrase, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!” Afterwards, she woke up from a deep sleep in her own bed and in her own home.

 

Today, roughly 90 percent of older adults aged 65 and over prefer aging in place rather than moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home according to a study conducted by AARP. Like Dorothy, these older people know what Dorothy knew then, that “there is no place like home”, and they plan to stay in their homes as opposed to living in a long term care facility.

What Does Aging In Place Really Mean?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines aging in place as “The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” Although aging in place is the new trend for senior living, changes to an elderly senior’s body due to aging, may pose a problem. However, with a few low-cost home modifications, the goal to age in place is easily achieved and the benefits from doing so are rewarding.

There are however, some seniors living with medical conditions and other limitations that may prevent them from performing normal activities of daily living on their own. If this is the case, they may need to seek assistance from a home care provider or a family member. With in-home care assistance for routine daily life activities, aging in place is still achievable in spite of those limitations.

3 Common Reasons Elderly Seniors Should Age In Place

Elderly seniors choosing to age in place are doing so for any number of reasons. Even though assisted living facilities have been on the rise since 1979, over a million Americans are opting out of that option. Here are five common reasons why:

1.    The growing high cost of living in an assisted living facility!

According to LongTermCare.gov, the average cost for a one bedroom at an assisted living facility is over $3,000 a month. Of course, this price may increase if additional services beyond the basic ones mentioned in the contract are needed. For example, if the resident requires assistance from a healthcare provider or home health aid. This service could add an additional $1,600 a month. Therefore, staying in your own home will definitely save money, even if you had to hire a personal care provider. In most cases, an elderly person’s medicare will cover part or all of the cost of home healthcare.

2.    Aging in place is more comfortable!

Living in your own home is much more comfortable. All the treasures you hold dear are in your long term home. In fact, the American Society On Aging found that 56 percent of seniors 65 to 74 years old and 63 percent of those 75 years old and older reports that the “emotional” value of their home is worth more to them than the sales value. This is most likely because their home may be the same home they raised their children in and the memory recall is priceless.

3.    Aging in place offers more independence!

Maintaining an independent lifestyle is very important to the elderly population. The ability to go where you want, when you want is a very liberating feeling and doesn’t diminish your quality of life. Responsible adults do not like being told what they can or cannot do. In assisted living facilities, meals are served at a certain time of day, activities are scheduled around their schedules and outside visitors are monitored which can be intrusive.

Just like little Dorothy, “there is no place like home” for today’s elderly seniors choosing to age in place. The benefits for doing so are very rewarding. Aging in place offers elderly seniors an opportunity to save money to enjoy life’s extra pleasures as well as allows them to enjoy the comforts of living at home. In addition, aging in place allows elderly seniors to maintain their independence.

 

By |2021-06-30T11:51:01-05:00July 28th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Reasons The Elderly Benefit From Aging in Place

Guest Post: Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

While there’s no 100% absolute way to ensure your elderly parent or loved one doesn’t fall,
there are things that can be done to help minimize the risk. I’ll give you a quick checklist of
five steps to a safer home for a senior. Likewise, click here for some alternative ways to
steer clear of falls.

1. Furniture, accessories, and narrow pathways:
Is there furniture crowding a room or creating narrow pathways? Are there inessential
items or decorations all over the house? None of us like to throw things away and we all
know seniors love to keep antiques and knick-knacks, but sometimes they can pose a
hazard to elderly home safety. That old rug underneath the coffee table can trip you easier
than you think. Make sure there is nothing impeding easy travel throughout the house. A
straight path is the easiest path so there should be no navigating around corners or edges.

2. Doorsills and steps:
Now, these two sound like obvious culprits, but you’d be surprised how often they’re
underestimated. A quick remedy is to paint doorsills a different color or buy reflective tape
for the edge as a reminder that they’re there. This goes for the edge of stairs as well.
Confirm that there’s no loose carpeting, unstable wood, or erosion of any kind on steps or
doorsills. Also, make sure any area with a step or uneven surface is very well lit.

3. Lighting:
This one is perhaps the easiest of all. Double-check that all areas of the house are well lit,
with bulbs at least 60 watts or higher in each socket. Remove all exposed cords and make
sure any lamp or light-switch is within easy reach. If the lamp closest to a favorite reading
chair is hard to reach while sitting, move it closer. Also, check that there is no risk of any
lamp falling or being tripped over. Again, lamps should remain within reach, but still out of
the way.

4. Telephones:
Keep a telephone, within easy reach, in each room. This prevents your elderly loved one
from feeling compelled to rush to a ringing phone. Not only can getting up too quickly cause
light-headedness or dizziness, but it can also cause an elderly person to lose focus on their
surroundings and mistakenly fall in an easily preventable situation.

5. Bathrooms:
Bathroom floors and shower tubs can get slippery, we know this. To combat slipping,
guarantee there are either bars affixed to the wall or a counter to grip while getting up and
down off the toilet and in and out of the shower. Also, purchase adhesive grip-tape for the
tub bottom and again, provide adequate lighting throughout the bathroom. Shower rugs
can also slip so place double-sided tape on the bottom of the rug to impede the rug’s
movement.

If you are worried about a loved one, these are very easy and painless steps to minimize the
risk of in-home falls. As mentioned before, however, there is no 100% way to prevent accidents so medical alert systems provide a great backup. Not only do they give you peace
of mind when you’re not around your loved one, but they make the wearer feel safe as well.

Jacob Edward is the manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. Senior Planning is geared towards helping
seniors and the disabled with finding and arranging types of care, as well as applying for state and federal
benefits.

By |2021-06-30T11:50:49-05:00July 27th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

Guest Blog: 3 Essential Tips in Senior Foot Care

Due to decades of intense usage, the inevitable process of aging can be particularly taxing on your feet. However, foot troubles are not necessarily an unavoidable part of getting older, and there are many actions one can take to maintain healthy feet beyond their years.

Here are the three main factors you need to consider:

1. Hygiene
The foot is like any part of the body, and if you neglect its cleanliness, then you are bound to end up with some undesirable effects. It’s a good idea to wash your feet every day with a mild soap while using a foot scrubber to smooth off any dead skin.

After a good soak, you may want to trim those softened nails by using clippers to cut straight across, careful to avoid sharp corners that may become ingrown toenails. It’s also important to note that you should never put socks on wet feet, as bacteria thrive in damp conditions and a fungal infection could be quick to follow.

2. Footwear
A bad shoe can not only cause an array of displeasing foot conditions (including bunions, hammer toes, and Achilles tendinitis) but can also inflict trauma on your knees and posture. Always choose comfort over fashion, get every shoe professionally fitted, and ask about the best insole for your arch shape to prevent foot pain.

If mobility has become a problem for you, then test out an assistive walking device. Whether a cane, a rollator, or a mobility scooter, there are so many options to choose from that you will easily find something to suit your exact needs.

3. Attention
Your foot cramp might be telling you something, so don’t ignore it! There is a good chance that these muscle contractions are related to your diet, hence why you should always load your plate up with fruits and vegetables. This may also be the perfect excuse to go out and get a nice relaxing foot massage.

Another essential aspect of foot care is to regularly inspect your skin for any new marks or sores, taking note of everything that wasn’t there before including ulcers, corns, and ingrown toenails. If you’re in doubt about anything you discover, it’s better to be safe than sorry and speak to a medical professional. Remember: the sooner something hazardous is caught, the easier it will be to repair.

By |2021-06-30T11:49:24-05:00July 22nd, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 3 Essential Tips in Senior Foot Care

The 6-Step Process of Stroke Recovery

Caring For Husband

 

According to the CDC, nearly 800,000 persons in the United States have a stroke each year. This is about one every 4 minutes, resulting in over 130,000 deaths annually. Stroke is simply defined as an interruption to the blood supply to the brain and is caused by a clot or hemorrhage. It can be a devastating problem for survivors, resulting in changes in mobility, cognition, speech, swallowing, bowel and bladder, self-care, and general functioning to varying degrees.  Some people recover completely after a stroke, but others experience lifelong challenges.

The good news is that there is hope and quality of life after stroke. In my research with stroke survivors, I discovered 6 phases that survivors reported as they made the journey through rehabilitation towards recovery. These steps can be used to see where a person is in the recovery process, help us understand how they may be feeling, and help guide the way we interact with them.

Agonizing:  In this first phase of the process, stroke survivors are in shock over what has happened to them. They can’t believe it, and may even deny the warning signs of stroke. The important task during this time is survival from the stroke itself.  Call 911 if you see the warning signs of facial droop, arm weakness, or speech difficulties.

Fantasizing:  In the second phase of the stroke process, the survivor may believe that the symptoms will all go away. Life will return to normal, and there is a sense of the problem being unreal. Time takes on a different meaning. The way to help is to gently help them recognize reality, and without taking away hope for recovery.

Realizing: This is the most important phase that signals a turn in the recovery process. This is when the survivor realizes that he/she may not fully recover from the effects of the stroke and that there is work to be done to rehabilitate and reclaim life. Common feelings during this phase of realizing are anger and depression. The way to help is to encourage the person to actively engage in rehabilitation. The real work of recovery is just beginning.

Blending: These last 3 phases in the process of stroke recovery may be occurring at much the same time. This is where the real work of adaptation to life after stroke begins. The survivor begins to blend his “old life” before stroke with his new life as a stroke survivor. He/she may start to engage in former activities even if it requires adaptations to be made. He/she will be actively engaged in therapy and finding new ways to do things. The way to help is to promote education. This is a time when survivors are most ready to learn how to adjust to life after stroke. Listen to your rehab nurses, therapists, and physician. Be active in the recovery process.

Framing: During this phase, the individual wants to know what caused the stroke. Whereas in the Agonizing phase they were asking “why me?”, now they need to the answer to “what was the cause?”  Stroke can be a recurring disorder, so to stop a subsequent stroke, it is important to know the cause. Interestingly, if the physician has not given the survivor a cause for the first stroke, patients often make up a cause that may not be accurate. Help the survivor to learn from the health care provider what the cause of his/her own stroke was. Then steps can be taken to control those risk factors.

Owning:  In this final phase of stroke recovery, the survivor has achieved positive adaptation to the stroke event and aftermath. The survivor has accomplished the needed grief work over the losses resulting from the stroke. He/she has realized that the effects may not go away and has made positive adjustments to his/her life in order to go on. Survivors in this phase have blended their old life with the new life after stroke and feel better about their quality of life. While they still may revisit the emotions of the prior phases at times, they have accepted life as a survivor of stroke and made good adjustments to any changes that resulted. They feel that they have a more positive outlook on life. At this point, survivors can use their experience to help others cope with life after stroke.

For more information about stroke recovery, visit www.seniorcarecentral.net and view Dr. Mauk’s model for stroke recovery.

By |2021-06-30T11:49:16-05:00July 21st, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on The 6-Step Process of Stroke Recovery

A Ministry of Care

A Ministry of Care
Promoting Health in Your Faith Community

Churches tend to focus—rightly so—on spiritual care for parishioners, but what if your church also had a healthcare ministry? Health-related concerns affect the majority of individuals at some point in their lives. Whether it’s facilitating healthcare clinics, hosting seminars by medical professionals, or helping congregants navigate the complex healthcare system, A Ministry of Care explores a variety of ways for any church to become a place where people can be ministered to in spirit, mind, and body. Advanced practice nurses Cynthia Russell and Kristen Mauk guide you through the steps toward starting and sustaining a health-oriented ministry in your church. Pastors, church board members, or motivated lay members can take advantage of the professional tips and advice shared in this handbook in order to better care for the physical well-being of the members in their church and the community beyond.

Cynthia A. Russell
Dr. Cynthia A. Russell is dean and professor of nursing at Holy Family
University, School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Prepared as a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse
specialist, she is also a certified health and wellness coach. She is the
mother of five children and grandmother to four.

Kristen L. Mauk
Dr. Kristen L. Mauk has nearly forty years of teaching and clinical
experience in rehabilitation and gerontology. She is a professor of nursing
and the graduate program director at Colorado Christian University. Dr.
Mauk is the mother of eight children.

 

By |2021-06-30T11:48:40-05:00July 19th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on A Ministry of Care