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

Guest Blog: Multigenerational Living

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Ever heard of multigenerational living? It’s a hot topic these days because many seniors are looking for ways to remain independent longer. As more people enter their advanced years, they and their families are faced with difficult decisions of how to provide the best care possible. For seniors hoping to keep their independence, living with family is the next best option to aging at home. Even if your house isn’t big enough to handle more people living in it, there are companies who remodel homes specifically for seniors moving in.

 As noted in NYU Professor Eric Klinenberg’s “Aging alone in America,” 33% of American seniors make the decision to remain out of care facilities. With medical progress and healthier living, remaining out of a care home has become more practical than it once was.  Among the rest of the world’s population, living with the elderly is more common, but as Americans, we tend to stay separated from our parents once we move out. With the economic downturn of 2008, however, young adults are staying in their parents’ homes longer and older people are moving back in with their children. Seems like we’re becoming more European every day!

Since elder care facilities commonly drain assets, there are obvious cost benefits to bringing your parents to you. Even more importantly than saving money, living at home helps seniors stay healthy by maintaining a routine. Things we take for granted like housekeeping, cooking, or yard work are types of physical and mental exercise that people do not receive in assisted living centers. After years of retirement it’s easy to lose one’s routine. If someone completely loses their routine they can develop what is called aging atrophy, which means increased dependence on those around them. Doing small chores helps combat aging atrophy. Plus, they can perform the cleaning duties or home upkeep you might not have time to do yourself.

Lastly, living in a multigenerational setting allows seniors to maintain control over their environment. At facilities, there is contact with nurses, other residents, and even other residents’ families that cause exposure to illness. Keeping a clean environment at home without strangers around can help ward off sickness. If your loved one begins to require too much care to remain healthy at home, however, you should look into home-health services or other living options. Aging is often associated with making major decisions, but keeping parents close can help reduce stress.

Jacob Edward is the manager of both Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Prime Medical Alert allows seniors to stay in their homes longer and sells equipment throughout the country. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona State’s Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe, Arizona.

 

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By |2021-08-27T10:59:58-05:00September 15th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Multigenerational Living

How Can You Tell if Your Elderly Family Member Needs Home Care

Accepting the need for assistance is not easy for adults as they get older. So, how will you determine when your elderly parent needs home care? One thing is sure: your parents are not likely to be the ones who tell you.

Older adults have a desire to remain independent and be in control. Usually, a senior will hide any issues out of fear of being a burden or because they are embarrassed or ashamed. However, until a sudden decline in their overall health makes it obvious, they need assistance. Since adult children don’t come up with a care decision plan before the crisis takes place, the stress of an unexpected hospitalization complicates things even more.

One way to avoid this problematic scenario is to start regularly monitoring your aging parent’s mental and physical abilities. Make sure he knows this is not an accusation but instead a way to help him maintain his independence for as long as possible. It is not easy to see a loved one’s health decline, but you can help them avoid any medical crisis if you know the signs. To determine whether your parents need home care, keep an eye on the following essential signs:

Essential Signs that Your Elderly Family Member Needs Home Care

1. Difficulty Getting Around
As many experts agree, most people over the age of 70 need some help to go about their routine. However, your family member may not feel comfortable telling you that he needs assistance. Over time, vision and hearing loss may become severe enough to limit your loved one’s ability to move around the house without help. Your parents will also need some help if they begin having problems with balance or coordination.

2. Difficulty Taking Care of Themselves
While it is normal for older adults to deal with medical issues eventually, it is not normal for them to not take care of themselves altogether. It is one of the most obvious signs that your loved one needs help. When you notice that they are unable to take care of their hygiene or clean up after themselves, you have to intervene.

3. Physical Decline
As the years’ progress, most elderly adults will experience a gradual decrease in physical fitness and mobility. However, some older adults experience a sudden decline in health that is too rapid to be recognized by any family member. Once this happens, they can’t regain their full strength and mobility before they are forced to seek home care assistance.

4. Cluttered Home
In most cases, older adults take pride in the appearance of their homes. Over time, they will likely develop a tidy and clean appearance. However, this will start to change as they get older. In addition to the usual clutter created over time, it is essential to keep an eye out for signs that your elderly family member needs home care due to cluttered spaces.

5. Loss of Memory or Confusion
An alarming number of elderly adults suffer from some degree of memory loss or confusion. As a result, they may fail to remember important dates, events, and conversations, while some may become disoriented while trying to get ready for the day or do other routine tasks. These are warning signs that your elderly parent may have developed dementia.

6. Frequent Falls
As the year’s pass, seniors tend to have a greater chance of falling. As a result, they may need assistance getting up from a chair or moving around to get to the bathroom without damaging themselves. These falls occur gradually over time in most cases and do not require any immediate attention from you or your family. However, if you notice that your loved one is falling more frequently or becoming unstable while moving around the house, you should consider calling for a senior home care service.

7. Reduced Appetite and Sudden Weight Loss or No Gain in Weight
A sudden and unexplained loss of appetite or inability to gain weight is a possible sign that your loved one needs home care. Such problems may be linked to some form of pain or discomfort that he is unable to self-diagnose. When this happens, it is time for you to step in and intervene.

8. Feelings of Worthlessness and Hopelessness
If you notice that your elderly parent is experiencing a change in their attitude, it might signify that they feel worthless or hopeless about something. You can tell if your loved one is unhappy with their life when he starts complaining about things more often than usual and becomes more irritable than normal. It may help to write down thoughts about these feelings or speak to a counselor for some guidance.

9. Shift in Personality
It is normal for older adults to become more irritable as they age. It could be due to any number of reasons, including pain or medication side effects. However, if your elderly loved one changes significantly in personality, it may be a sign that dementia has set in. For example, most people who experience memory issues will occasionally forget to pick up their medication or lose important documents. But if your loved one forgets things regularly, you must consider consulting a physician.

Hiring Home Care for Elderly Family Member
Once you notice any signs that your loved one may need care, the best way to help them maintain their independence is to hire senior home care services. These agencies offer caregivers who are trained to assist the elderly with various activities. They can provide assistance with daily living, including bathing or getting dressed, as well as other activities depending on the needs of your loved one.

The ideal way to start your search is to ask yourself, “Are there any great senior care services near me that can address my parent’s needs?” To ensure that the agency will provide the most effective service, look for reviews and ratings online. Ask friends and relatives if they have had similar experiences with specific agencies and services. You can also ask family members and friends if they know of individuals who would be good candidates for home care.

All in all, these are some of the most common signs that you may need to hire senior home care services for your family member. If you notice any of these indicators, it is never too late to consider hiring assistance.

Author Bio
I’m Andrea Gibbs, Born, raised, and still living in New York. I’m a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I’m a blog contributor at Serenity Senior Care to motivate other parents about how they can enhance their elderly loved ones quality of life.

 

By |2021-09-11T18:16:56-05:00September 11th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on How Can You Tell if Your Elderly Family Member Needs Home Care

Guest Blog: Tips For Preventing Falls Among The Elderly

Falls among seniors are more common than you think.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 36 million older adults suffer a fall each year.

Our muscles lose strength, and our balance and coordination decline as we get older. As our senior loved ones are already at a certain age, they are now more prone to falls, and it could only get worse as they get on in years.

However, we can take steps to keep our seniors from suffering falls. Here are some tips on how to prevent falls among the elderly.

Declutter

Make sure your parent’s or grandparent’s space is clutter-free. You can’t have random stuff lying all over the place, becoming a tripping hazard for seniors. The floors that your elderly loved one walks on should always be clear, with nothing to step, slip, and trip on.

Put Up Grab Bars & Handrails In Strategic Spots

Seniors can use additional support when walking around the house. So, it would be great if the hallways, bathrooms, and stairways are fitted with handrails and grab bars.

Add More Lights

Our seniors typically have poor eyesight, which can only get worse under poor lighting conditions. By installing additional lights (and brighter ones at that), seniors will have a better chance of seeing and avoiding tripping and slipping hazards as they go about the house.

Use Only Non-Slip Mats & Rugs

All the mats and rugs in the house should be the non-slip type or secured to the floor.

Get Them To Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is crucial to keeping the muscles, bones, and sense of balance of our seniors strong. Walking, lifting light weights, climbing stairs, or doing something as simple as standing on one leg for a minute or two can already help them stay as fit as possible. The fitter they are, the lower their risk of suffering a fall.

Tell Them To Be More Careful

Sometimes, seniors fall because they try to move too fast when walking across the room or getting out of bed. Tell them they need to be more careful when doing so and always move at a more comfortable pace.

Falls don’t have to be synonymous with getting older. By taking the necessary precautions, our seniors stand a better chance of avoiding them.

 

About the Author

 Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.

 

 

By |2021-08-27T10:59:11-05:00September 9th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Tips For Preventing Falls Among The Elderly

Guest Blog: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community

Before you look up a senior living community or Google personal care homes near me, you should first get to know about the common options available for where your aging parents can reside.

Below are the most popular and preferred options to pick from –

  • Independent Living – This type of living is good for the elderly who can largely function independently with occasional medical care required. Medical care is provided in collaboration with hospitals or medical establishments. Typical services include accommodation, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, and other amenities like pool, concierge service, library, fitness center, etc.
  • Assisted Living Assisted living centers, in addition to accommodation also provide onsite health care and help with ADLs like dressing, bathing, and medication management so residents can live independently. The setting is very home-like without the residents having to worry about maintenance, cooking, or cleaning. There’s round-the-clock supervision available.
  • Memory Care – This facility is specifically designed to treat and care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The staff is medically trained to handle their special medical needs. The rooms and buildings are structured to avoid wandering. Supervision is available all the time with plenty of programs for socialization. There are housing and laundry services along with an emergency medical call system.
  • Enhanced Living – You can think of this facility as a move up from Independent living with a whole lot of extra services available.

 

Things To Look For In A Senior Living Community

Senior Living Culture

Now the living culture is not something that you define in words. It’s mostly just a feel or a vibe that you pick up on. At times, you just know it when you visit the facility. Other times it’s a hunch of an intuition.

To truly assess the culture, it’s better if you call up your list of communities and visit them one by one. Observe the residents and see if they seem happy. How is the staff? Are they polite to respond? Is the overall energy of the place happy? Ask for social activities to keep the residents happy.

Lifestyle & Wellness

Lifestyle and wellness largely depend on the social calendar of the place. So, be sure to look at those activities as well as exercise, health, and wellness programs. Make sure to ask about how often the residents are allowed to go out for activities.

What about housekeeping and laundry services? How often are friends and families allowed to visit? Is there a dedicated private or common area for family get-togethers? What about pets? Are they allowed?

Staff and Care

How many staff members are present at the facility? Are the staff members nice to interact with the residents? Do they seem polite? What kind of help can you expect from them? Is the medical staff made to undergo regular training to update their knowledge?

What’s the mode of communication for updating families on the health updates of the residents? Also, how quickly can you expect your questions to be answered? What kind of care is available for residents with special medical issues such as diabetes, memory, or mobility issues?

What’s Food Like?

Food is a huge part of staying healthy during old age. So, this is something you must not overlook. If possible, arrange for a tour of the mess/kitchen. Look into how the food is prepared. Are the conditions there hygienic?

What about the food menu? Does it look interesting? Is it extensive and accommodates special dietary restrictions such as gluten-free and vegan-friendly foods? What are the dining hours like and is there food sampling available?

Extra Amenities

It’s not uncommon for people to get stuck between two close contenders. Sometimes two communities can look exactly the same; making it difficult to pick one. When faced with such a dilemma it’s often the extra amenities that help you make the right choice.

See if the laundry and housekeeping services are free. Some facilities charge extra for those. Look into community events, transportation, or socialization activities. Anything extra is a good thing to consider.

History and Reputation

How long has the community been in business? For how long has the management been with the community? What about the staff? For how many years they have been working there?

One of the best things to discern all this and more is to go online. Check out reviews and see what they have to say. Pay attention to how the community has responded to negative reviews. Only avoid the community if you come across something disturbing like bad handling of residents or complete neglect on part of the staff.

Bottom Line

Selecting the right living community for your senior can seem like a daunting task. But, if you invest a little bit of time and effort, it should be a cakewalk.

By |2021-09-07T10:42:59-05:00September 7th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community

What Your Back Pain is Trying to Tell You

Experiencing back, shoulder or neck pain? Your body may be speaking to you and you just don’t know it. Getting older doesn’t have to mean accepting regular aches and pains. Depending on your day to day activity, environment, and mobility, your back pain can be sending loud and clear messages like:

You’re not active enough: This might seem counter intuitive, especially to older adults who are avoiding activity so they don’t “further injure” themselves or cause more pain. The reality is, low-impact exercise and activity helps to alleviate pain and soreness by stretching out your muscles and spine, boosting blood circulation, and reducing inflammation in your muscles, joints, and tendons. Along with keeping off excess weight.

You’re not sleeping well: A bad night’s sleep can undo any number of steps you took towards relieving back pain during the day. Older mattresses that don’t support proper spine alignment while you sleep can result in the pull and strain of your muscles and tendons and lead to bad posture during the day. Optimize on the natural curve of your spine while you sleep by simply using a pillow – on your side in a fetal position, try sleeping with a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow underneath your knees.

You’re stressed: Feelings of stress, anxiety or depression can physically translate into tense muscles that lead to back pain and thoughtless behaviors like eating poorly or not exercising, which exacerbate existing conditions. Aging seniors with complex medical conditions or cognitive decline are more likely to experience stress and anxiety as well as feelings of frustration and anger.

You’re not practicing self-care: Incorporating daily care routines into your life can make a huge difference in both your experience of back pain as well as your personal outlook on life. Self-care can be as simple as eating a healthy diet, stretching and exercising to care for your body, meditating, decluttering your environment, and practicing self-soothing techniques like rubbing lotion on your hands and feet before bed. Relieving back pain starts with you and your own self-awareness of what you need and deserve to live your best life.

You’re sitting down too much: Countless aging seniors will spend hours each day sitting down – at meals, watching tv, reading, and at the computer. Sustained inactivity and sitting in one spot for an extended period of time puts significant pressure on the spine and promotes bad posture, all of which lead to back pain and discomfort. Experts recommend not going more than 30 or 45 minutes sitting in one place without getting up to stretch, walk around, and change positions.

Get this!

According to a recent report published by the American College of Physicians*, people who experience moderate to acute back pain are actually more likely to experience relief when they try exercise, yoga, acupuncture or massage instead of taking pain killers. The comprehensive study revealed that most types of back pain go away over time whether they are treated or not and that drugs should be a last resort for alleviating pain, after mindfulness-based practices, exercise, spinal manipulation, even heat wraps.

http://annals.org/aim/article/2603228/noninvasive-treatments-acute-subacute-chronic-low-back-pain-clinical-practice

Joe Fleming

Co-Founder, Vive Health

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By |2021-08-27T10:58:50-05:00September 7th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on What Your Back Pain is Trying to Tell You