aging

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 |2023-11-20T17:15:11-05:00December 11th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 4 Healthy Aging Routine Tips

Simple Ways to Find Purpose as you Age

Having a purpose in life impacts its quality regardless of our age. A recently published study on Purpose of Life (PIL) in older adults found that people with purpose experienced fewer disability problems and chronic conditions. PIL is defined as a life with goals, direction, and meaning. People with a high PIL were found to be resilient, healthy and with social support, faith, and good knowledge of health-related matters. Here are some simple ways of keeping these factors in your life as you age.

1. Join an Age-Friendly Gym
Find a gym that has programs for elders. If you don’t know many fitness centers that offer such programs, use an online tool like this facility locator on the International Council of Active Aging website. The map shows the available options in a city by name, number, address, and allowed gender. Next to the name of the center, there are icons to show what type of services they offer. Besides fitness centers, you can use the tool to find other services as well, including recreation centers, retirement living facilities, YMCA, community services, etc. Here are 5 places you can visit to stay in shape and find new friends.

2. Become a Volunteer
Consider becoming one of the many elderly who volunteer. Some popular forms of volunteering include fundraising, teaching, mentoring, and preparing/distributing food. Retired individuals are a good fit for volunteering programs because they come from a variety of businesses and sectors. For instance, your input can be valuable for a fundraiser if you have spent your career in marketing and have a strong connection in the community that takes years to develop. Sites like Volunteer Match list opportunities in a variety of areas and for people of different age groups.

You can also offer your services as a mentor to young people in general or in your field of expertise. For food related jobs, check at your local food banks and at any local food service companies. Volunteering can offer both physical and mental benefits. When choosing a form of volunteering, make sure that it engages you, so you don’t find the work to be tedious and boring.

3. Visit Your Favorite Places
Start signing off the places you have on your travel bucket list. Hit the road, take the plane, rail, or ship. Don’t allow a limited budget to come in your way – look for discounts. A variety of discounts are available, including airfare, dining, clothing, grocery, and entertainment discounts. Here is a list of some of these discounts. Go through them to plan your trip for less. If your travel appliance have gone out of shape, use a home warranty to fix or replace them for free.

4. Learn Something New
Join a class at your library or senior center to stay mentally agile and find people who share the same interests. Check courses at your community college as well. Take a driving course if you feel like your driving skills need a little sharpening. Continue the process of learning.

By |2023-07-31T12:48:11-05:00August 26th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Simple Ways to Find Purpose as you Age

Alzheimer’s: Signs & Symptoms

 

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia seen in older adults. An estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages had Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. Nearly half (45%) of people over the age of 85 have AD. By 2050, the number of individuals age 65 and over with Alzheimer’s could range from 11 million to 16 million unless science finds a way to prevent or effectively treat the disease. One in eight older adults has AD, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012). Those affected with AD may live from 3–20 years or more after diagnosis, making the life span with this disease highly variable.

Risk factors

Advanced age is the single most significant risk factor for AD (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012). More women than men have AD, but this is because women live longer than men, not because gender is a risk factor. Family history and heredity are also identified risk factors for AD, as are head trauma and poor cardiac health.

Warning Signs

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive memory loss. The person affected by AD is gradually less able to remember new information and memory lapses begin to affect daily function. It is a terminal disease that over its course will eventually leave a person completely dependent upon others for care.

Diagnosis

Initially, the clinical progression of the disease is slow with mild decline; however, deterioration increases the longer the person lives, with an average life span of 8 years after diagnosis (Cotter, 2002; Fletcher, Rapp, & Reichman, 2007). The underlying pathology is not clear, but a growth of plaques and fibrillary tangles, loss of synapses, and neuronal cell loss are key hallmarks of AD that interfere with normal cell growth and the ability of the brain to function. Absolutely definitive diagnosis is still through autopsy, although clinical guidelines make diagnosis easier than decades ago when less was known about the disease. Primary care physicians generally make the diagnosis through a thorough history, physical exam, cognitive testing, and labs. New criteria for diagnosis include staging the disorder and biomarkers (beta amyloid and tau in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood) (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012b). An MRI of the brain may be ordered to rule out other causes of symptoms.

The clinical course of AD is divided into several stages, depending on the source consulted. In the early course of AD, the person may demonstrate a loss of short-term memory. This involves more than common memory loss, such as where the keys were put, and may involve safety concerns such as forgetting where one is going while driving. The inability to perform math calculations and to think abstractly may also be evident. In the middle or moderate phase, many bodily systems begin to decline. The person may become confused as to date, time, and place. Communication skills become impaired and personality changes may occur. As cognitive decline worsens, the person may forget the names of loved ones, even their spouse. Wandering behavior as well as emotional changes, screaming, delusions, hallucinations, suspiciousness, and depression are common. The person with AD is less able to care for her- or himself and personal hygiene suffers. In the most severe and final phase, the person becomes completely dependent upon others, experiences a severe decline in physical and functional health, loses communication skills, and is unable to control voluntary functions. Death eventually results from body systems shutting down and may be accompanied by an infectious process. Although there is no single test, and the diagnosis may be one of exclusion, early diagnosis is important to maximize function and quality of life for as long as possible. Persons experiencing recurring and progressing memory problems or difficulties with daily activities should seek professional assistance from their physician.

Treatment

Treatment for AD is difficult. There are several medications (such as Aricept, Namenda, Razadyne, and Exelon) that may help symptoms (such as memory), but they do not slow the course of the disease. There is currently no cure; however, research continues to occur in pharmacology, nonpharmacology, and the use of stem cells to manage symptoms and perhaps one day eradicate the disease.

Treatment will focus on symptom management, particularly in the areas of behavior, safety, nutrition, and hygiene. Behavioral issues such as wandering and outbursts pose a constant challenge. Many long-term care facilities have special “memory care” units to care for Alzheimer’s patients from the early to late stages of the disease. These units provide great benefits such as consistent and educated caregivers with whom the patient or resident will be familiar, a safe and controlled environment, modified surroundings to accommodate wandering behaviors, and nursing care 24 hours a day. Additionally, nurses are present to manage medications and document outcomes of therapies. However, many family members wish to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.

Thus, another important aspect of care in AD is care for the caregivers. Howcroft (2004) suggested that “support from carers is a key factor in the community care of people with dementia, but the role of the caregiver can be detrimental to the physical, mental, and financial health of a carer” (p. 31). She goes on to say that the caregivers of persons with AD would benefit from training in how to cope with behaviors that arise in these patients and how to cope with practical and legal issues that may occur.

Research has shown that ongoing skills are needed by family caregivers to deal with the progressive decline caused by AD. In fact, “a 63% greater risk of mortality was found among unpaid caregivers who characterized themselves as being emotionally or mentally strained by their role versus noncaregivers” (National Conference of Gerontological Nursing Practitioners & National Gerontological Nursing Association, 2008b, p. 4). Adapting to stress, working on time management, maximizing resources, and managing changing behavior were all skills caregivers needed to develop in order to successfully manage home care of their loved ones. When interventions and resources were not used by caregivers in the early stages of the care recipient’s AD, the risk of a healthy patient being institutionalized due to caregiver burden was higher (Miller, Rosenheck & Schneider, 2012). Caregivers needed not only to acquire knowledge and skills, but also to make emotional adjustments themselves to the ever-changing situation.

Such findings suggest that nurses should focus a good deal of time on educating caregivers of persons with AD to cope with, as Nancy Reagan put it, “the long good-bye.” Scientists continue to explore the causes of AD and hope in the near future to be able to isolate the gene that causes it. In the meantime, results from a fascinating longitudinal study (called the Nun study) on aging and AD, which used a group of nuns who donated their brains to be examined and autopsied after death, has suggested that there is a connection between early “idea density” and the emergence of AD in later life. That is, essays the nuns wrote upon entry to the convent were analyzed and correlated with those who developed AD. It was found that those with lower idea density (verbal and linguistic skills) in early life had a significantly greater chance of developing AD (Grossi, Buscema, Snowdon, & Antuono, 2007; Snowdon, 2004). The nun study has allowed researchers to examine hundreds of brains so far in nuns who died between 75 and 107 years of age and discover other important facts such as a relationship between stroke and the development of AD in certain individuals, and the role of folic acid in protecting against development of AD (Snowdon, 2004). Scientists from a number of fields continue to research the causes and possible treatments for AD and the Nun study project is continuing at the University of Minnesota. Snowdon’s research suggests that early education, particularly in verbal and cognitive skills, may protect persons from AD in later life.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website at: http://www.alz.org/

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.

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By |2023-08-25T18:57:07-05:00August 11th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Alzheimer’s: Signs & Symptoms

Guest Blog: 4 Ways You Can Find Affordable Homecare

Home care is often preferred by seniors. An overwhelming 90% of seniors want to age in place. It is also affordable compared to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. However, hiring a caregiver may still be out of reach for many families.

1. Home Care Agency

A popular option for hiring a caregiver is through a home care agency. Hiring a caregiver through an agency allows seniors to have personalized one-on-one attention and flexible pricing (choosing less hours means saving on costs). You are also not responsible for any employer obligations like payroll tax and being held liable for any injuries that happen at home. However, this means that agencies pass administrative costs to the family which may still be unaffordable.

2. Family Caregivers

Did you know that there are an estimated 40 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States? Family caregivers perform a wide range of duties like paying bills, running errands, and helping with light household chores. Many family caregivers dedicate on average 20 hours a week towards providing care and some take time off work as well—resulting in a loss of earnable income. While being a family caregiver can save you money, your loved one may have needs that go beyond what you can support.

3. Local Classifieds

You can hire a caregiver directly through your local classifieds or online directory. Hiring a caregiver directly, and not through an agency can provide more affordable home care for your loved one, but there are some extra hurdles. You will need to personally interview and screen potential candidates. This involves meeting with the caregiver, verifying their references, and performing a background check. If your loved one needs care immediately, this process may be difficult and time consuming to do properly.

4. eCaregivers

After learning about using eCaregivers, you can find private caregivers with rates starting at $10-$14/hour for care, versus $20-$24 with an agency, helping you save thousands of dollars in a year while still ensuring quality home care for your loved one. All of the caregivers on eCaregivers have passed a background check so you have a peace of mind that you’re hiring a vetted caregiver for your loved one.

 

About the Author

Peter Kang is a writer for eCaregivers. He is inspired by his caregiver experience with his late grandfather and role model, a Korean War veteran, to help families find affordable care for their loved ones. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.

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By |2023-05-18T11:31:38-05:00May 31st, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 4 Ways You Can Find Affordable Homecare

Aging Backwards: The Science And Secret To Healthy Aging

You will typically hear the word aging having negative connotations attached to it. This stems from the fear that as you age, you will not be able to enjoy life as you once did in your youth. But many ignore how it represents the beauty of life and the nature of the universe. While we cannot, in the literal sense, reverse aging, we can ensure that our aging process is as healthy as possible to enjoy life to its fullest.

Scientists are actively researching how to slow down to prevent age-related declines in physical health. However, we cannot ignore the archive of data on how to ensure a graceful aging process. Many have already discovered ways to improve the chances of maintaining optimal health. Small changes in your routine can go a long way. For instance, adopting simple, minimal, and healthy patterns like switching your diet and incorporating supplements like kava kava powder, limiting alcohol intake, or even managing exercise routines.

Let’s look at some secrets to healthy aging backed by science.

Prioritizing physical health

Indulging in physical activity is the cornerstone of healthy aging. People who exercise regularly not only live longer but also may live better with more years of life without pain or disabilities.

A study with adults aged 40 and older found taking 8,000 steps or more per day compared to taking 4,000 steps was associated with a 51% lowers risk of death from all causes. Increase the number of daily steps by engaging in activities that keep your body moving, like gardening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking your dog.

You can also make smarter food choices to help protect yourself from health problems as you age and may even help improve brain function. Much of the Mediterranean-style pallet, which includes whole grains, fresh produce, and healthy fats, but less dairy and more fish than a traditional American diet, may positively impact health.

A good night’s sleep

The importance of sleep in your youth is not stressed upon enough. Staying up late can, in many ways, hinder how active your brain stays during the day or work hours. While the negative impact may not show immediately, it may lead to visible problems once you age. Sleep helps you stay alert and healthy, whereas a lack of sleep will cause irritability, depression, and forgetfulness are more likely to have falls or accidents. It is also an essential factor contributing to your memory and mood. In a study with adults over 65, researchers found that people with poor quality of sleep had a more challenging time problem-solving and concentrating than those who received a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

Additionally, inadequate sleep is associated with the buildup of beta-amyloid, which is a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Conversely, getting good sleep is associated with lower rates of heart disease, insulin resistance, and obesity. It can also improve your decision-making skills and creativity.

Keep a gratitude journal.

Life may not be perfect, and you will encounter many hurdles in life that will take multiple forms. It’s important to remember that stress takes years off one’s life, so to counter stress, count all the blessings in life. Practicing gratitude is not just a simple “stay positive” outlook creating a placebo effect. The benefits of optimism are so powerful that they can help you to live a longer life. A study found that older adults with an optimistic disposition are at a lower risk of dying from any cause, with an exceptionally reduced risk of dying from heart disease.

Take a moment out of your day to report everything in life you are grateful for. Gratitude journaling will protect your physical and mental well-being as you age further into your life.

Staying social and connected

Staying socially engaged plays a vital role in maintaining cognitive functioning during your aging process. It helps the hippocampus, which is an area in your brain responsible for memory, stay active. Since depression is a significant contributor and indicator of poor mental health, keeping a social life will prevent loneliness and depression. Be more vocal about get-togethers, attend functions, and participate in activities that maximize your chance of socializing and making more friends.

Maintaining hobbies like baking or sports is also important since they are healthy for the mind and body and can provide more opportunities for social benefits.

Bottom Line

Maintaining physical health is key to living better with more years of life without pain or disabilities. This includes a good diet and regularly indulging in exercise. Sleep is another important element that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. It ensures a healthy mind and body. Another activity that focuses on keeping a healthy mind is gratitude journaling, which helps you live a longer, more fulfilling life. Remember to keep your social life alive, stay in touch with family and friends, and attend several functions to keep your mind active and your memory strong. We hope you find this article insightful.

 

By |2023-05-15T11:00:02-05:00May 15th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Aging Backwards: The Science And Secret To Healthy Aging