Six Common Aging and Eating Issues

Senior Eating IssuesHealthy eating can start to become a serious challenge as we age. Often eating problems are signs of underlying health concerns, some can become very serious. It is important that older adults learn news ways to incorporate healthy eating. Below, we address a few common eating issues that face older adults focusing on helping them get complete nutrition.

Issue One: Chewing food

If you have difficulties chewing you may have trouble eating fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.

What to do: Try different types of the same food

Instead of:
Try:
Fresh fruit
Fruit juices; soft canned fruits, like applesauce, peaches and pears
Raw vegetables
Vegetable juices; creamed and mashed cooked vegetables
Meat
Ground meat; other high- protein foods, like eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt; and foods made with milk, like pudding and cream soups
Sliced bread
Cooked cereals, rice, bread pudding, and soft cookies

Issue Two: Upset stomach

Stomach problems, like too much gas, may make you stay away from specific foods that you love because you think they are causing the problem. You could be missing out on important nutrients, like vitamins, calcium, fiber and protein.

What to do: Try eating the food in another dish.

Instead of:
Try:
Milk
Milk foods that may not bother you, like cream soups, pudding, yogurt and cheese
Vegetables like cabbage and broccoli
Other vegetables, like green beans, carrots and potatoes; vegetable juices
Fresh fruit
Fruit juices; soft canned fruits

Note: Be sure to visit your doctor about any stomach problems.

Issue Three: Difficulty Shopping For Themselves

Shopping may have become difficult if you no longer can drive or find it very painful to stand for extende periods of time.

What to do: Have someone help you

  • Ask your local Grocery store to bring food directly to your home. Some stores will deliver for free. However, sometimes there is a small charge that may be worth it for your senior.
  • Let your church or synagogue know you need help and they can request a volunteer who can bring food to you. Or sign up for help with a local senior center.
  • Request that a family member or neighbor do your shopping for you when they go shopping. Or pay someone to shop for you. Some companies let you hire home health aid workers for a few hours a week. These workers may shop for you and run other errands. Look for these companies in the Yellow Pages of the phone book under “Home Health Services.”

Issue Four: They can’t cook for themselves anymore

It is difficult to hold cooking utensils, pots and pans due to arthritis related pain.

What to do: Cook food differently

  • Use a microwave oven to cook healthy TV dinners, frozen foods, and packaged foods made by the grocery store.
  • Take part in group meal plans offered through senior citizen programs. Or, have meals brought to your home.
  • Move to a place where someone else will cook, like a family member’s home or a home for senior citizens.
  • To find out about senior citizen group meals and home-delivered meals, call (1-800) 677- 1116. These meals cost little or no money.

Issue Five: Loss of appetite

Older people who have lived alone sometimes feel very isolated at mealtimes. Loneliness can make you lose your appetite and making eating sad.  Or they may not feel like making meals for themselves, as it is too much work for one person.

Maybe food has lost its flavor or tastes bad now. This could be caused by medicines they are taking.

What to do: Eat with others

  • Schedule time to eat with family and friends.
  • Take part in group meal programs, offered through senior citizen programs. Most of these programs are offered with someone visiting your home while they eat.
  • Ask your doctor if your medicines could be causing appetite or taste problems. If so, ask about changing medicines.
  • Increase the flavor of food by adding spices and herbs. Be careful of adding too much sodiu.

Issue Six: Money concerns

Financial problems may keep your seionr from eating nutritiously.

What to do: There are many ways to save money

  • Buy low-cost foods, like dried beans and peas, rice and pasta. Or buy foods that contain these items, like split pea soup and canned beans and rice.
  • Use coupons for savings on foods you like.
  • Buy foods on sale. Buy store-off brand foods. They often cost less.
  • Find out if your local church or synagogue offers free or low-cost meals.
  • Buy in bulk to lower costs and share the food with your senior.
  • Take part in group meal programs offered through local senior citizen programs. Or, have meals brought to your home.
  • Get food stamps. Call the food stamp office listed under your county government in the blue pages of the telephone book.

Eating well is key to good health. If your elder needs help with their nutrition it should be a priority. Any weight changes are a key sign that you will need to step in and help.

Seniors, Dementia & Research Trends

dementia & Nursing Home CareAlzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death and accounts for up to 80 percent of all dementia cases: killing more than 83,000 people annually.

Other types of dementia include:

  • vascular dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease

Those afflicted with these illnesses are most often in need of an adult child or guardian to advocate for them. Needs arise for home health care, frequent doctor visits, home modification, and 24-hour care to provide safety, managing finances, and the list goes on. Other issues arise when a long-time home and possessions have to be sold and a loved one must move to a sheltered environment like a senior community with memory care.

Possible Early Detection:

It is an understatement to say these are very significant numbers. But researchers are looking for the answers to whether using a yearly screening tool during a Medicare yearly well-visit is useful. Medicare beneficiaries are entitled to an annual wellness visit under the Affordable Care Act: there is no out-of-pocket charge. In addition to routine check-up items like measuring weight blood pressure, and evaluating medication effectiveness, the visit covers an evaluation for cognitive impairment. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that seniors undergo cognitive impairment screening and evaluation with a trained medical professional to establish a baseline for comparison, and then have regular follow-up assessments in subsequent years.

More Research Needs To Be Done!

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent panel of medical experts who have come to the conclusion there is NOT sufficient evidence to screen yearly for dementia. The conclusion is the same from a study performed more than a decade ago, when it last evaluated dementia screening. Experts say the evidence is crystal clear in one respect: More research needs to be done. Those who treat older adults have been tasked to, “use their best judgment.” That can be tough when dementia causes so many emotions.

What is your opinion on this topic?

Beware Of The Grandparent Scam

Senior Lady - Sad NewsMany criminals and crooks prey on our senior citizens. Unfortunately, they see them as easy targets due to their kindness, memory issues and slower brain functions.

One of the latest scams is the Grandparent Scam and incredibly simple and devious because it uses one of older adults’ most reliable assets, their hearts. This has actually happened to the grandmother and mother-in-law of a friend of mine. The grandmother fell for it and went immediately to the bank and started to send the money at Walmart where they told her it was a scam. Thank goodness they didn’t let her wire the $2,600 to these criminals.

How The Grandparents Scam Works:

Scammers will place a call to an older person and when the mark picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having done a lick of background research.

Once “in,” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (post bail, buy a plane ticket, overdue rent, payment for car repairs, etc.), to be paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, which doesn’t always require identification to collect.

At the same time, the scam artist will beg the grandparent “please don’t tell my parents, they would kill me.” So they don’t tell anyone what they are doing and the con artist can get away it.

While the sums from such a scam are likely to be in the hundreds if not thousands, the very fact that no research on the senior is needed makes this a scam that can be perpetrated over and over at very little cost to the scammer but at a very high cost to our senior citizen community, who love their grandchildren and would do anything to help them.

This is just one of the many scams where our seniors are preyed upon. Click here to read about them and then be sure discuss this with your senior, so they don’t become a victim of these shady tricks.

4 Easy Ways To Protect Your Senior When Severe Weather Strikes

Weather Corkboard Word ConceptIt is Summer! A time of fun and sun. However, this is also the season for severe weather and storms can strike at any time. Storms can be extremely unnerving to seniors and the elderly. If you provide senior or elder home care, being prepared can make an unexpected storm or weather complication much easier to handle. Increasing safety for yourself and your elder at home during severe thunderstorms, even severe winds, tornadoes, and hurricanes can make outings and time at home more comfortable for you both. To avoid serious repercussions and injuries from unexpected weather conditions, follow some simple safety tips as outlined below.

What Is The Difference Between WATCH & WARNING?

Weather forecasts and early warning systems have saved thousands of lives and merit our attention. Technology today is very sophisticated and forecasters can now predict many of the severe weather patterns that can cause serious injuries.

  • A Severe Weather Watch means that conditions are ideal for a certain weather condition or event to arise.
  • A Severe Weather Warning means that something like a tornado or severe thunderstorm (depending on the warning) has actually occurred been identified.

Many smart phones now are equipped to send out alerts for severe weather. Be sure to set those up in your notifications under settings on your phone. Also, please follow local recommendations regarding hurricane warnings as we are entering hurricane season.  Be sure to have a several-day supply of those vital supplies (food, water and medication) for yourself and your seniors and remember your pets too.

Tips To Protect Yourself & Your Senior:

  1. Identify your safe place to take cover. Having cover is essential during tornado or thunderstorm, or even hurricane (again-follow local recommendations that may include evacuation) Go to the basement or a room in the center of your home without windows. If there is a tornado that has touched down and there is not time to get to proper shelter, under a doorframe, or in a cast iron bathtub. Current bathtubs are not heavy enough to offer much protection from these events, but are better than nothing.
  2. Discuss a meeting point in case you are separated during the chaos of a severe storm. This can be a tree in the side yard or a corner on your street. This way, you aren’t wasting time looking for each other.
  3. Emergency Kits should contain a flashlight with fresh batteries, candles/matches/water, battery operated radio, and/or a hand crank radio to listen for any updates or warnings in the event of power loss. You should check on these supplies every time you change your smoke alarm batteries – at the change of seasons.
  4. A First Aid Kit is a great asset and having what you need handy can prevent serious health emergencies. You may be able to help others and not just the individual for whom you’re providing senior home care. Click here for a recommended list of contents.

If you are responsible for providing care or home care for an elderly person, you’ll want to ensure you and your elderly patient are safe at all times. Thankfully, severe weather does not occur too often, but it is recommended to have plans in place for when severe weather strikes.

 

Summer Activities for the Elderly

Active SeniorFor many people, the summer months are a perfect time for tennis, soccer and tackle football with their friends. The weather is outstanding, the sun is shining and all over the world people are in the best of moods. However, for the older folks, rigorous activities such as these can be dangerous depending on the amount of contact.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to get outside and enjoy a glorious summer day without having to risk a hip or knee injury. So, if you’re getting a little older, or simply looking for something to do with an elderly friend, here are a few ways to not only bask in the summertime, but also break a sweat safely.

Cycling

Anyone that’s ever had the pleasure of riding a bike knows of the joys it can bring to their life. It’s great exercise, promoting improved cardiovascular strength, and for those with some extra gusto, a cost-effective way to get to and from work. Although commuting presents its fair share of dangers, a leisurely jaunt several times a week can do wonders for your health.

  • Like many other cardiovascular activities, cycling is a great way to curb feelings of depression, anxiety and restlessness, all the while bettering overall heart health.
  • Since cycling involves really smooth, even movements, it doesn’t strain your muscles and joints as much as running would, thus preserving bone strength.
  • Aside from the obvious health benefits, the cycling community is both supportive and ever-growing, creating countless opportunities to meet people and indulge your social skills.

Frisbee Golf

Another excellent summer activity for seniors is Frisbee golf. Otherwise known as frolf, this particular sport originated in Canada in the early 1920s and has exploded over the last few years all over the world. It requires not only a great deal of concentration and precision, but also a quick wrist, and if you like a little bit of competition, there’s plenty of that as well!

  • As of August 2009, the Professional Disc Golf Association established a Senior Committee to encourage and welcome more seniors into the sport. The committee, run by Don Dillon, has worked since then to draw in more and more elderly participants into their ranks and hope to continue that forevermore.
  • Unlike regular golf, Frisbee golf requires much less strain on your back and other muscles, making it easier to play and hone your craft for hours and hours at a time.
  • And if you’re someone with limited mobility, you can rest easy knowing that Frisbee golf can be played from the safety of a wheelchair, walker or any other mobility assist device.

Swimming

From a fitness standpoint, it should come as no surprise that swimming is one of the best things for you. It’s essentially a full body workout, incorporating almost every single muscle in your body. However, unlike many other sports, there’s little to no bodily stress involved, making it a fantastic summer activity for seniors or anyone else eager to jump in the pool.

  • For those struggling with coronary heart disease, palpitations or any other kind of heart problem, swimming can significantly beef up your ticker, and in turn, add a few more years to your life.
  • If you have onset arthritis, or you have been at risk of Osteoporosis at some point in your lifetime, swimming can help you combat those afflictions while improving overall bone density.
  • Also, if it’s increased muscle definition you’re after, a few hours in the pool every day is an excellent way to put on some mass without having to hit the gym and lift gratuitous amounts of weight.

As you can see, fun in the sun doesn’t have to result in swollen joints or sore muscles. Although grass stains and scraped knees are often the perfect accessory to a summer well spent, there are still plenty of awesome times to be had without having to risk an injury.