Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

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

Guest Blog:The Advantages Of Hiring A Home Care Consultant For Your Business

Hiring a home care consultant for your business can make a huge impact on the credibility

of the services you provide. Home care professionals are highly sought after by people who need help with caring for their aging loved ones. As a business owner, you can build authority as a home care provider and subject matter expert by collaborating with a consultant.

Of course, not just any consultant will work for your business and its home care goals. There are different skills you want to look for in the person that you hire. But the skills that you settle on will ultimately depend on your business size, the breadth of your services, and obviously, your bottom line. That’s why you’ll want to properly vet your potential home care consultants before you bring them onto your team.

In this article, we will cover the benefits of hiring a home care consultant for your business. We’ll also make sure you’re clear on what to look for in a candidate and their background. Read on

to discover how a home care consultant can positively impact your business and the home care services it provides.

You Decide What Background You’re Looking For

There is no one-size-fits-all background to look for when hiring a home care consultant. In fact,

It’s a common misconception that home care professionals need to all have extensive medical backgrounds. This is not at all the case, although some quality home care consultants may come from a health-related background.

If you want to take a deeper dive into your candidate’s background, you can get in touch with your local licensing board that certifies home care professionals. Many of these licensing boards, what they ask for from a person looking to become certified, and their criteria to meet change, based on what state you’re in.

Whatever your candidate’s background looks like, though, there are still some key things to look for above all else. These qualities will ultimately benefit your company and your clients’ experience with your services. Good communication, empathy, patience, and dedication — these are just a few attributes in a candidate that will make a huge impact on your clients. Interview your clients – multiple times, if you’d like – to make sure that they have these essential qualities.

You Can Build Relationships with Consultants

Simply put, it’s easier to build a relationship with someone on-one-one, rather than indirectly or through a third-party like home care staffing agencies. Home care consultants bring personal-level traits like loyalty and empathy, without the bureaucratic baggage and extra steps that you deal with when hiring through an agency. Building a relationship with a consultant early-on is a great way to get a sense of their experience and quality of service.

Once you’ve gotten to know a consultant well, it’ll be much easier to introduce them to your potential and existing clients. It’ll be obvious that you have a trusted relationship with your consultant when you can introduce them naturally while still providing a lot of detail about what they can offer.

Another advantage of working with an individual consultant is meting out more manageable pay. It tends to cost a lot more to hire home care consultants through an agency or other third party. Since you’re only negotiating pay and setting rates with one person, the time from sourcing candidates to hiring them is usually much quicker. Think carefully about how much you can budget for hiring home care professionals — chances are, a consultant will make much more sense for your business’s bottom line.

You Can Easily Evaluate Performance

The last thing that you want is for your home care services to suffer without you knowing about it. When you hire a home care consultant, it’s much easier to evaluate their performance and track their growth than it is when working with an agency. With a home care consultant, you can coordinate a performance tracker with them to make sure they know how to satisfy your business needs.

You can start this process during the hiring phase when you outline with your consultant what your requirements for their performance are. After your consultant understands what your business needs are and what your clients expect from them, they can closely work with you to make sure they’re meeting your expectations. Remember, if you’re not clear with your consultant about what’s required of them early on, they’ll struggle to meet your performance standards.

A huge benefit to setting a one-on-one performance plan and schedule with a consultant is reducing your risk of time lost. It’s much more difficult to plan performance expectations through an agency, evaluate them as having met your standards, and confirm with the person being cared for that they’re satisfied. With a consultant, your business doesn’t risk wasted time, effort, and money on a home care professional that isn’t on the same page as you.

It Helps Make a Name For Your Business and its Services

Hiring a home care consultant of your own simply gives your business more credibility than hiring through an agency. When you work with a consultant, you directly coordinate the way they behave with your client, which means you’re responsible for determining what your client needs are, and making sure they’re met one-hundred percent of the time. If you go with the agency route, you’ll never be sure that you’ll have the same caregiver for any real length of time, which hurts your clients’ overall experience.

Go with a home care consultant to increase your chances of having someone reliable who can stick around for the long haul. All too often, hiring through an agency means you’ll get a rotating door of individuals with varying levels of experience and skills.

A home care consultant with whom you build up trust and a relationship will make a world of difference in the quality of care your business offers in the longer-term. Your clients will recognize your business as a reliable source of expertise, rather than an outsourcing agency that doesn’t understand what its clients really want from their home care.






By |2020-08-03T11:32:42-05:00August 3rd, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog:The Advantages Of Hiring A Home Care Consultant For Your Business

Guest Blog: Why your parents won’t tell you about their hearing problems


Presbycussis, or age related hearing loss is very common in the over sixties. However because it is a gradual loss of hearing over many years it is difficult to notice at first. Most people with age related hearing loss are unaware of the problem until they cannot follow conversations or misunderstand what is being said to them.

The inability to understand those around them can make a vulnerable person feel as through they are losing their mind. Having to concentrate hard whenever someone is talking can cause extreme tiredness which can make a person very forgetful. Worries about memory loss create stress and make the problem worse.

Tinnitus is a common symptom of hearing loss. It is usually described as a ringing noise in the ears, but in reality it can be any tone or buzzing noise. It may sometimes increase in volume until it drowns out normal speech sound, it can also change tone and sound musical. Someone may be reluctant to talk about the strange sounds they are hearing in case people think they are going a bit mad, or, if they are already concerned about their mental health they may think it is a hallucination.

The thought of becoming ill and losing independence is something many older people fear. The thought of having dementia and being unable to care for yourself is very frightening.

Problems in the ear can also lead to balance problems, making a person more likely to fall over. Vertigo is also common and can make it feel like the floor is moving as you are sitting still or walking along. This is very scary if you don’t know what it is.

To an observer, some of the symptoms of hearing loss may seem similar to those of dementia. They may be easily confused or not seem to know what is going on. A simple question may be met with a blank look or they may say something random in the middle of a conversation.

Age related hearing loss is caused by the slow decline of the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. Because certain sound frequencies are lost before others, they may only hear half sentences or miss the beginning sounds from words. The brain can compensate for this by automatically filling in the blanks so that the sentence makes sense, but this can cause lots of confusion when the person doesn’t realise they have misheard something. After all, it sounded right to them.

Everyone has different speech patterns and voice frequencies which makes some people harder to understand if the listener has hearing loss. Tiredness can also affect a person’s ability to hear well. This inconsistency in hearing ability can make others think they are sometimes being ignored or that hearing is ‘selective’. It can also make the person believe that there is no problem with their hearing because sometimes they can hear everything. This in turn, can increase the concern about mental health problems.

A hearing check can determine if there is a hearing problem as well as looking for any signs of disease or illness in the ear. A specialist can also give advice about coping with tinnitus and vertigo. These symptoms can be made worse by stress, so having as much information as possible about how to cope and being assured that there are no other causes can help immensely. Having hearing checked regularly will allow the audiologist to tell if there is rapid deterioration and whether the hearing loss is age related or due to other causes.

Modern hearing aids are much more discrete than they used to be and can be programmed to compensate for a person’s exact hearing loss. If they have been without good hearing for a while the hearing aid may seem too loud and they will be tempted not to use it. However it is important to encourage them to wear it as much as possible so that they can get used to normal hearing volumes again. The more they use it, the easier it will be to set the controls and get the most benefit.

Arrange some follow up appointments with the audiologist so they can make any alterations needed to the hearing aid programs.

Some hearing aids also come with a remote control so that the volume or program can be changed easily and discretely. This is ideal if the buttons on the hearing aid itself are too small and fiddly.

There is plenty of specialist equipment which can help them to stay independent. A pager alert system which vibrates or flashes can tell them if their doorbell or telephone rings. It can also be linked to a smoke alarm and pillow shaker to give them, and you, peace of mind at night.

These alert systems can also be linked to doors or floor mats so they know if someone has come through the front door or gone into certain rooms. This is ideal if they are caring for their partner or have a shared entrance to their flat or apartment.

Telephones are available with extra loud ring tones and flashing lights to make sure they do not miss your calls. These are hearing aid compatible and have volume controls so that they can turn the speaker’s voice up. Being able to use the telephone again can help them stay in touch with friends and family and feel connected to everyone again.

In social situations, make sure the person is sitting where they can see everyone’s faces and that background noise is kept to a minimum. Be aware that when you are outside, or in a large room with a high ceiling, it will be harder to hear what is said.

Even when a hearing loss is diagnosed and they have a hearing aid, a person may need time to come to terms with their hearing loss. If they start to avoid social occasions or they seem withdrawn, they may be suffering from stress or depression and might need extra support.

About the Author: Paul Harrison has been in the hearing aid industry for over 15 years working at both manufacturer level and retailer level. He now operates a UK online hearing aid business www.yourhearing.co.uk which offers all the major hearing aid manufacturer hearing aids.



By |2020-08-03T08:23:10-05:00August 3rd, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Why your parents won’t tell you about their hearing problems

Constipation Treatment

A Prune A Day


Constipation is the most common bowel problem in older adults. The definition varies by patients and health care providers, but generally it means less frequent bowel movements than usual, and those which are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Constipation is a preventable and treatable problem. Changes that occur with normal aging, such as peristalsis in the gut slowing down or decreased physical activity, predispose older persons to constipation.

Risk Factors/Warning Signs

Constipation is often due to a combination of causes. Some of the risk factors include decreased activity, medications (such as certain pain pills, iron supplements, and calcium supplements), depression, neurological conditions (dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and spinal cord injury), dehydration, low dietary fiber, metabolic disturbances (such as hypothyroidism), undergoing dialysis, obstruction, and decreased access to the toilet (Halter et al., 2009). The range of “normal” for bowel movements is three times per day to three times per week. A decrease in number of stools that is “normal” for the person and the occurrence of hard, dry stools that are difficult to expel are typical signs of constipation.


If constipation is severe enough for the person to seek medical care, the patient may complain of abdominal pain and even have symptoms similar to other problems such as an appendicitis or diverticulitis. These more serious ailments can be ruled out through x-rays, CT scan or MRI. The diagnosis is based on clinical presentation, history, and physical examination. It is important to determine the onset and duration of the constipation, along with functional and nutritional status.


Before starting a bowel program to prevent constipation, the existing problem should be dealt with. A physician may prescribe laxatives, suppositories, and/or enemas to get the stool moving and eliminated. Many such products can be obtained over the counter as home remedies, but severe and recurrent problems should be referred to the primary care provider for further examination of the cause. After starting with a clean bowel, interventions should focus on lifestyle and dietary modifications. All natural means should be tried first before adding medication to the regimen. This includes regular exercise, establishment of a regular routine for toileting (assure privacy), and encouragement of a high-fiber diet with adequate fluid intake (unless contraindicated)(Joanna Briggs Institute, 2008). Medications may be considered for those who do not respond to lifestyle changes. Residents of nursing homes appear to respond to stimulant laxatives (e.g., senna, bisacodyl) or Miralax. Enemas should not be used on a regular basis because they promote lazy bowel function. Most older persons can avoid constipation if they remain active, have proper nutrition high in fiber, and drink plenty of fluids.
Adapted from Mauk, K. L., Hanson, P., & Hain, D. (2014). Review of the management of common illnesses, diseases, or health conditions. In K. L. Mauk’s (Ed.) Gerontological Nursing: Competencies for Care. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

For more information on Constipation, visit The Mayoclinic at:






By |2020-07-19T21:47:12-05:00July 31st, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Constipation Treatment

Mastering your medical paperwork: Tips from a professional organizer

By Radha at Inspire

Inspire is a leading social network for health that connects patients and caregivers in a safe permission-based manner

Mastering your medical paperwork: Tips from a professional organizer

Who knew getting sick could require the combined skills of a librarian and an archivist? For most of us, managing the paperwork that comes with medical care can be an overwhelming task.

“In so many ways, you’re powerless,” said J.J. Jackson, an organization professional in the Washington D.C. area and owner of PaperworkMaven.com. “Especially people who have a lot of doctor’s appointments, they’re really sick and just don’t have the energy to do all this stuff… It’s so frustrating and it takes emotional time.”

Getting on top of medical paperwork – mainly, knowing where things are, what is complete, and what is not – can help people reclaim some power.

“It definitely empowers me,” Jackson said, because tracking her information gives her a complete picture of her medical and financial situation and she can speak with confidence about tests, needs, and money paid and owed.

Organized medical paperwork can also reduce stress and even save money. If you’re struggling to keep medical paperwork organized, here are 5 easy tips from a professional organizer.1. Put everything in one place

1.  Put everything in one place

At minimum, having everything together is critical, Jackson said. This could be the point where some people stop; it might be a starting point for others to organize further. But as long as everything is in one spot – a box, a folder, a digital file – you can get to it later.

2.  Set aside time for paperwork (it’s probably less than you think)
Time is the number one thing that Jackson said gets in her way.

For someone who has regular medical appointments and a paperwork backlog of several months, Jackson estimated about three hours of concentrated work to organize paperwork into a system. However, once the system is in place, it may require less than 30 minutes per week to log and file new information. In her experience, Jackson said calling insurance companies takes up the most time.

3.  A Table of Contents is your best friend
Ideally, a system for paperwork would have an easy-to-skim main document to which related materials like receipts, Explanation of Benefits statements, medical reports, and images can be traced. This also makes it easy for others to figure out your medical picture, if necessary. It can be physical or digital.

Through her personal and professional experience, Jackson created a simple spreadsheet to track claims, a few claim details, and payments. Each line item corresponds to one day. Jackson labels related documents with the same line-item, so she knows what claim they correspond to. She won’t check off a line item until each task and payment associated with it is resolved.

“It’s about making sure you have enough detail to track things needing attention and things that are done,” she said,

Create a chart to organize and track your medical paperwork.

4.  Delegate
Many people don’t realize they can and should delegate paperwork-related tasks. But, Jackson said, consider that having your medical paperwork in order is important enough to devote resources to it.

“I think people think they ought to be able to do it themselves,” she said. “It’s ok if you don’t want to do it. If someone is sick, I think it would be such a gift to them. If they just don’t have time or energy or the emotional capability doing that, as a family member or friend, that is an excellent gift to give.”

Expert resources from organizations like the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals and the American Association of Daily Money Managers could be of use said Jackson, who enlists help for medical tasks herself. And depending how comfortable you are letting others see sensitive personal health information, hiring someone to sort, log, file, and do general paperwork-related tasks could also help.

5.  Physical vs digital systems
Digital organization and cloud storage will be the way of the future, Jackson said. The challenge right now is that medical information is spread over multiple locations and multiple types (paper receipts and reports, emails, digital image files, audio recordings, and personal notes, to name a few) and there aren’t good ways to integrate these in one system.

Jackson has separate locations for physical and digital materials but sticks to the same labeling system that corresponds to her main chart. If you’re really committed to a paperless system, a good scanner is essential, Jackson said. A robust organization system should accommodate how you like to store and track your materials and adapt to changes in health needs over time.

Except for those who enjoy detailed organization work, Jackson admits getting medical paperwork organized is not fun. Rather, it’s a means to an end.

“The feeling I get when I’m done is really satisfying,” she said. “I feel accomplished and I feel empowered and like I have peace of mind.”



By |2020-07-30T11:46:41-05:00July 30th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Mastering your medical paperwork: Tips from a professional organizer

Guest Blog: 5 Frugal Retirement Living Tips for Seniors

White clock with words Time for Action on its face

A 2015 survey revealed that Americans fear to get broke during retirement. 55% of the 1000 respondents confessed they fear not having enough money for their needs. It is a fear many newly retired folks experience hence the need to adapt to a frugal lifestyle. Here are some tips how:

1. Do Away with Unnecessary Insurance Policies
While car and homeowner’s insurance policies remain vital for many retirees, other types may not be worth renewing after retirement. A life insurance policy is not as important, especially if you are debt-free.

2. Track Your Expenses
It is essential to keep track of all your expenses after retiring. A budget helps avoid dipping into your retirement savings more than you need to. You also get to control your spending habits in terms of choices. The more effort you put into tracking your spending, the easier it gets to determine areas you need to cut back on spending.

3. Identify Ways to Reduce Property Taxes
Retirees can keep their property taxes from increasing to grow their monthly disposable income. Some states offer property tax rebates for older residents. You should do your research so you can take advantage of these opportunities.

4. Shop Smart
Some hotels, drugstores and other services offer senior discounts. The qualifying age may vary from one company to another, but it’s worth a try.

5. Vacation Less
It’s natural to treat yourself to a vacation. Sadly, these costs add up pretty fast cutting into one’s retirement savings. Retirees receive discounts and special offers for travel and local outings, giving them more cash to spend without dipping into their savings excessively.

The tips discussed should help you formulate strategies for frugal living after retirement. According to Jane Byrne of FirstCare Kildare, always be realistic about whether your finances will allow you to maintain the same standard of living. Whether you have saved a reasonable amount, living on a fixed income requires you to reduce spending.

By |2020-07-19T21:46:05-05:00July 28th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Frugal Retirement Living Tips for Seniors
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