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Guest Blog: 5 Ways Seniors Can Improve Their Quality Of Life

Research indicates that Americans are living longer than any other period in history. The best way to ensure your quality of life in your senior years is by addressing mental and physical health. Here are some tactics that can help make your golden years even more exciting.

Be Active in Your Healthcare
Not only do you need to make sure you have a primary care physician familiar with your health history, you also need to make sure you stay up to date on how you’ll pay for regular checkups, appointments with specialists, and medication. This includes keeping an eye on your Medicare plan and making changes to it as necessary. You may want to consider signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which offers perks that regular plans don’t cover. For instance, a Humana Medicare Advantage Plan offers benefits like a Nurse Advice Line, which saves you from the time and hassle of visiting your doctor for every little ache and pain, and enrollment in SilverSneakers, which will help you stay active throughout your golden years — another critical component of your quality of life.

Exercise Regularly
The body isn’t able to repair itself as quickly when we become older — not to mention, the loss of muscle mass contributes to mobility issues. Not only can regular exercise improve both of these concerns, but it can also regulate blood pressure and sugar management, boost mood, strengthen the immune system, improve gastrointestinal function, enhance cognitive ability, prevent heart disease and diabetes, and make it easier to manage weight. There’s no need to push yourself too hard. Even simple walking for 30 minutes four times a week is enough to get going. Seniors can also work out at home with exercise videos, fitness apps, and Wii games.

Eat Well
Eating a healthy diet is crucial at every stage of life, but takes on an even more important role as our bodies change with age. Your doctor may recommend a specific diet that tailors to your unique health needs — if you need to consume more protein or calcium, for example — but in general, you’ll need to eat foods that make your microbiome happy. Not only will eating probiotic-packed and fermented foods help you stay regular, you’ll actually feel happier and more energized overall by taking care of your gut health, since doing so ramps up your body’s production of the feel-happy chemical serotonin.

Improve Quality of Sleep
Research suggests that seniors can benefit from quality and quantity of sleep more than they did in their younger years. There are several tactics that can make it easier to get ample shuteye, since it can be a challenge for the elderly. This includes increasing daytime light exposure, ditching caffeine and alcohol in the evening hours, exercising early in the day, making your bedroom a cool and dark respite, unplugging from electronics at least one hour before bed, and consistent bed- and wake-up times.

Stay Social
It’s important to stay social in order to keep your mental health in check. Some easy ways to stay socially engaged include connecting with friends via social media, joining a club or senior center, volunteering, helping out your family (such as babysitting the grandkids so your adult children can enjoy a date night), and taking up a part-time job.

It’s important that you have an established primary care physician and that you visit him or her regularly. You’re more likely to prevent illness and disease when you’ve got a health care schedule in place (as well as a plan to pay for it). A pro can also direct you to other specialists and help guide you through the financial side of care, too.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

By |2022-06-03T09:33:12-05:00June 9th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Ways Seniors Can Improve Their Quality Of Life

Guest Blog: How to Ensure the Safety of the Elderly in Rehab Centers

Rehab centers have proven to be a breath of fresh air for individuals who have fallen prey to alcohol or drug addiction. They help people cope with their life-endangering habits and transform themselves to become a better person, thus, enabling them to live a happy and healthy life all over again. Rehabs are designed carefully to deal with people with various addictions, particularly elders. From installing a quiet hand dryer  to creating the room door, everything is customized to ensure the safety and wellbeing of inhabitants.

Letting go of any sort of addiction is never easy. When dealing with older adults, we need to be extra cautious owing to the fact that the ageing process makes them prone to other health issues as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while trying to maintain the safety of elders intact in a rehab center:

Higher a Highly Trained Staff:

The staff has a significant impact on adults’ safety and rehabilitation process. The more trained they are for the tasks, the better results will be yielded. A nurse who has experience working with younger people in a rehab center might not be fit for the task when treating older patients.

You need to ensure that your staff is professionally trained to work with ageing adults battling with addiction. Since they have different needs, their mind and body will react differently to medication. They will respond differently to therapy techniques. The behavioral changes might be hard to handle at times, but having trained staff will help deal with patients more appropriately and will ensure their health is monitored carefully.

Focus on the Environment:

When dealing with addiction among older adults, we need to pay special attention to our surroundings. Bringing comfort within the physical environment is crucial for the healing process to begin. Staying away from the problematic environment and living in a structurally designed environment accelerates the rehab process.

Inpatient rehab is the safest option for adults. The constant surveillance and support from the professionals make the detox and treatment process productive. Besides, being able to interact with someone battling the same issue as you, gives you the strength to pass the hurdles and bring out the best in you. Focusing on the environment of the rehab center is an essential step toward giving someone a new life.

Offering Aftercare Programs:

Since the goal of rehab facilities is to eradicate the alcohol or drug addiction from the patients completely, it is recommended to lend support to them even when the treatment time period is completed. Offering the aftercare program increases the success rate of your treatment. Going back to the previous environment brings a lot of stress to the patients since they will be living with all the trigger points around them.

Keeping them engaged with therapies, alumni programs, or sober living options ensures their safety and brings them physical and mental wellbeing.

Focus on Your Patients

Getting rid of an addiction is never easy. It is a lot of hard work, consistency and committed support of professionals that make it happen. We know that ‘old habits die hard’; dealing with older adults in rehab is more difficult than dealing with the younger ones. Make sure your rehab facility is fully equipped with everything that is needed for successful treatment and therapies. Keep the safety of your patients your priority for better outcomes of your treatment processes.

 

By |2022-06-08T17:36:54-05:00June 9th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Ensure the Safety of the Elderly in Rehab Centers

Guest Blog: Hiring an In-Home Caregiver: What You Need to Know

 

When looking for an in-home caregiver for your loved one, it’s a given you would prefer someone they can get along with really well and will do a great job of taking care of them. However, finding this home care option for your senior loved one can be challenging at times.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of tips you can follow to ensure you find the perfect person for the job. The following tips should get your search off to a fantastic start:

Create a clear job description

To come up with a clear job description, identify what your elderly loved one’s needs are. A clear and specific job description can help you determine the flexibility needed, the number of hours they’ll be looking after your loved one, and how much you are likely to pay.

Be flexible when hiring independently

If you want to find great candidates, you need to be flexible about the pay. It is also recommended that you offer the going rate in your area. Otherwise, you might not find applicants with the care skills you are looking for.

Conduct multiple interviews and a trial period

To get more insights about a candidate, consider conducting three interviews:

  • A short screening interview over the phone to ensure they meet the necessary requirements.
  • An in-person interview if they pass the phone screening.
  • An in-person interview where the top 2 candidates can also meet your elderly loved one.

Ask all the important questions during the interview

Asking all the right questions can help you find someone responsible, compassionate, and trustworthy. It would also be a good idea to ask what they’ll do in a specific situation. For instance, what they would do if your elderly loved one refuses medications or does not cooperate.

Check their references

Even if you find a candidate very impressive, it is ideal that you still do a background check. You can do this by calling the work references they have provided. You can ask if they do a good job and if they’ll hire the candidate again.

Conclusion

While finding the best in-home caregiver can be challenging, it can be done. As long as you prepare accordingly and cover all the essential bases, you’ll find the right person for the job with ease.

 

 

By |2022-06-03T09:32:42-05:00June 7th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Hiring an In-Home Caregiver: What You Need to Know

Hypothyroidism Warning Signs and Treatment

 

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Background

Hypothyroidism results from lack of sufficient thyroid hormone being produced by the thyroid gland. Older adults may have subclinical hypothyroidism, in which the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is elevated and the T4 (thyroxine or thyroid hormone) is normal; 4.3–9.5% of the general population has this problem (Woolever & Beutler, 2007). In this condition, the body is trying to stimulate production of more thyroid hormone. Some older adults with this condition will progress to have primary or overt hypothyroidism. This is when the TSH is elevated and T4 is decreased. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause and represents 90% of all patients with hypothyroidism (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists [AACE], 2005; Woolever & Beutler, 2007), though certain pituitary disorders, medications, and other hormonal imbalances may be causal factors.

Warning Signs

Older adults may present an atypical picture, but the most common presenting complaints are fatigue and weakness.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis should include a thorough history and physical. Bradycardia and heart failure are often associated factors. Lab tests should include thyroid and thyroid antibody levels (common to Hashimoto’s), and lipids, because hyperlipidemia is also associated with this disorder.

Treatment

Treatment centers on returning the thyroid ¬hormone level to normal. This is done through oral thyroid replacement medication, usually L-thyroxine. In older adults with coexisting cardiovascular disease, starting with the usual doses may exacerbate angina and worsen the underlying heart disease, so it is important to start low and go slow. Titration should be done cautiously, with close monitoring of the older adult’s response to the medication. The does should be adjusted on 6- week intervals until normal levels of thyroid hormone are achieved. Once the TSH is within normal limits, then checking the TSH should be done every 6 to 12 months to monitor effectiveness and blood levels, because hyperthyroidism is a side effect of this therapy and can have serious implications on the older person’s health.

Patients need to learn the importance of taking thyroid medication at the same time each day without missing doses. Sometimes older adults have other problems associated with hypothyroidism, such as bowel dysfunction and depression. Any signs of complicating factors should be reported to the physician, and doctors’ appointments for monitoring should be religiously kept. Strategies for managing fatigue and weakness should also be addressed, because some lifestyle modifications may need to be made as treatment is initiated.

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 Hypothyroidism, visit the NIH:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000353.htm

 

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By |2022-06-03T09:32:22-05:00June 5th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Hypothyroidism Warning Signs and Treatment