11/28/16 - Provided by AllCare Health
For breakfast try fortified wholegrain cereal with low-fat milk and blueberries. The cereal’s fortified with vitamin B, which studies have linked to good mental health. Plus research suggests vitamin D doesn’t just build strong bones, it also fights depression.
A warm quinoa, spinach, and shitake salad can help fight depression at lunch. Quinoa’s not only an awesome vegan protein source, it’s also a complex carbohydrate that can help stimulate your brain’s production of serotonin.
For dinner, step up the traditional burger and fries with a meal that’s easier on the belly and brain. Try a turkey burger with sweet potato fries. The tryptophan in turkey increases levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Plus sweet potatoes are filled with mood-boosting vitamin B6.
The HCAOA Value of Home Care Report & Infographic
Caring for America's Seniors: The Value of Home Care was recently released providing information on the growing and critical role of professional home care in the United States in response to the millions of aging Americans who will need care. The report shines a spotlight on home care as a valuable and vital part of the solution to the challenges that accompany population aging.
The report carefully incorporates industry facts, existing data from credible and trusted sources, and stories directly from caregivers and the families they serve to clearly articulate who we are and the benefits we provide - benefits to seniors, their families, the health care system, and the U.S. economy.
For more information please download the Value of Home Care booklet:
Exercise and OsteoporosisOsteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones to the point where they break easily—most often in the hip, spine, and wrist. It is often called the “silent disease” because you may not notice any changes until a bone breaks.
Ten million Americans have osteoporosis. It is more common in women, but men also have this disease. The risk of osteoporosis grows as you get older. At the time of menopause, women may lose bone quickly for several years.
After that, the loss slows down but continues. In men, the loss of bone mass is slower, but by age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone at the same rate.
The good news is there are things you can do at any age to prevent weakened bones:
Your bones and muscles will be stronger if you are physically active. Weight-bearing exercises, done three to four times a week, are best for preventing osteoporosis. Walking, jogging, playing tennis, and dancing are examples of weight-bearing exercises. Try some strengthening and balance exercises too. They may help you avoid falls, which could cause a broken bone.
Tools and Tips
More than half of all adults 65 and older have three or more chronic (ongoing) medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or arthritis. Caring for older patients with multiple health problems can be tricky, even for healthcare professionals who specialize in caring for older people. For example, prescribing medications for a patient with multiple health problems is more difficult than when the patient has one health problem. A drug may be useful in treating one of the patient’s health problems, but it might make another worse.
Here are some tips for older adults with several chronic health problems when working with their healthcare provider to manage their care:
Get as much information about treatment options as possible: You should work with your healthcare professional to understand all of your options for care and take an active role in deciding what kind of care you would like. For example, you should ask your provider to tell you how long each treatment option may take to work, because some treatments may take longer than others to show benefits.
You should also decide if you want to make all of your care decisions on your own, or include others—such as spouses, family members, or friends—in the decision-making process. And you should always let your healthcare providers know right away if you have questions or concerns, want to stop treatment, or want try something new.
Make sure your healthcare provider understands your priorities for care: Decide what treatment outcomes are important to you. For example, you may want to remain as independent as you can, for as long as possible. Because of this, you may prefer a treatment with fewer side effects, even if this treatment may not prolong your life as long as other treatments. This is just one example—you should ask your healthcare professional how different treatment options will affect the aspects of your life that are most important to you, such as your level of independence, stamina, or pain.
Ask questions about “trade-offs” between benefits and risks of treatments: Most medications and other treatments have both benefits and risks. Talk with your healthcare provider about possible benefits of each treatment, and also, possible drawbacks—such as increased risks of disability, new health problems, and poorer quality of life. Understanding all of the pros and cons of each treatment will help you decide which option is best for you.
Let your healthcare professional know, immediately, if a treatment doesn’t seem to be working or is causing problems: Since there isn’t a lot of research examining how older adults with complex health problems respond to treatments, your healthcare provider may not be able to predict exactly how a treatment will affect you. Because of this, it’s very important for you or your caregiver to tell your healthcare provider—right away—if a treatment doesn’t seem to be working or is causing side effects.
Speak up if your treatment plan is too complicated to manage: Studies have found that, the more complicated treatment instructions are, the more likely patients are to stop following them. Let your healthcare provider know if your treatment becomes too complicated or difficult for you to follow. And make sure you understand all instructions before you leave your healthcare provider’s office. Ask him or her to work with you to make instructions as simple and easy-to-follow as possible.
Make the most of treatments that cause few or no side effects: Your healthcare providers should make the most important and effective treatments the highest priority. Your treatment plan should fit your needs and preferences, while getting you the most benefits and least amount of risks. Among other things, your healthcare professional should be able to tell you about non-medication treatment options—and to use those when possible—to avoid potentially dangerous interactions between medications, and other side effects. Ask your healthcare professional if there are non-medication options for at least some of your symptoms.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other healthcare provider. Always consult your healthcare provider about your medications, symptoms, and health problems. August 2012
April 26, 2016/ No CommentsIt feels like our lives are ruled by stress from whatever life throws at us. Unfortunately, as we age, the stress doesn’t necessarily go away. It is important to learn how to reduce stress in healthy ways, and that is true for seniors as well. Most seniors are experiencing stress from a variety of things, and it can have a negative effect on their lives if it isn’t managed well enough.
Causes of Stress for Seniors
People may think that since seniors have fewer responsibilities, they must have less stress as a result. However, stress for seniors is caused by many experiences that they may not have dealt with before. Here are a few things that can cause stress for seniors:
The immune system can become weaker as we get older, which can make it easier for seniors to get sick. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress can decrease our ability to protect ourselves against inflammation in conditions such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, cancers, and dementia. In addition to these, stress is linked to the six leading causes of death. This includes cancer, heart disease, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver, accidents, and suicide.
According to PsychCentral, Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. As we age, it becomes even more important to reduce stress in order to stay healthy and lessen the chances of getting sick. Besides the major illnesses that can be caused by stress, it can cause minor symptoms that interfere with everyday life. These include fatigue, headache, upset stomach, muscle tension, chest pain, and sleep problems. Your mood can change as well, resulting in anxiety, irritability, depression, and restlessness.
Being aware that stress involves much more risk than you realize is important for prioritizing stress relief techniques as part of your daily routine. If you continue to make efforts towards reducing your stress, in the long run your stress levels should stay under control.
How to Know if Your Senior Loved One is Stressed
Seniors may try to hide their stress like everyone else does. Some may not realize how stressed they are until they take some time to enjoy themselves and relax. If you have elderly loved ones, it can be helpful to keep an eye out for certain moods and behavior that may indicate that they are dealing with a lot of stress. Some behaviors to look out for include:
How to Relieve Stress
Fortunately, stress can be managed if you take the time to pursue stress relief tactics. Some stress relief tactics are more active, but there are plenty of other ways to relieve stress for seniors who aren’t as mobile.
Active Ways to Relieve Stress
If not feeling stressed isn’t enough incentive to try and de-stress on a frequent basis, relieving stress has multiple benefits for your health both physically and mentally.
Physical benefits from stress relief
By: Clare Absher RN, BSN
My elderly parents need help to stay in their home but not sure how to pay for caregiver services.Families are often surprised if not dumbfounded to learn that Medicare does not pay for most in-home care for their elderly parents. Medicare will not reimburse in-home caregivers to assist aging loved ones with basic activities of daily living (ADLs) such as personal care, meal preparation, transportation, medication reminders and housekeeping. In-homecare often referred to as custodial care is not covered by Medicare in spite of the dire need of these services by countless seniors. Furthermore it is exactly these non-medical homecare services that enable seniors to remain safely in their homes and age with dignity. Home care that is considered non-medical in nature is sadly not an allowable expense covered by our national Medicare program. Whether it is part-time, fulltime, or even live-in homecare the answer is still a resounding NO when it comes to Medicare reimbursement. Numerous families understandably are quite distressed when they unexpectedly discover that Medicare will not pay for in-home care to support their aging parents.
Nevertheless there are some specific circumstances when Medicare does pay for in-homecare services but under the strictest of guidelines. Medicare reimburses for skilled or medical in-home services when your elderly parent is certified by a physician to be home bound and the physician orders intermittent skilled nursing or rehab visits (PT, OT, ST). These stipulated skilled care visits must be provided by a Medicare certified Home Health Agency and are for a sanctioned period of time. Home health aide visits to provide a bath a few times a week may be authorized for a short term only while under supervision of the skilled healthcare professional. However let's be very clear that your loved one's health status must explicitly dictate skilled home health visits that Medicare deems are allowable medical expenses.
Many families presume that their folks are eligible for some homecare reimbursement through a Medicare supplemental insurance plan known as a Medigap policy. Or perhaps your parents carry a secondary private health Insurance policy such as BCBS, Aetna, or Humana that you expect to pick up home care expenses where Medicare falls short. Regrettably the answer is NO. Both supplemental and secondary insurance policies do not reimburse home care costs when Medicare excludes coverage. Medicare is always considered your elderly parent's primary health insurance and sets the standard for coverage by which the other insurance policies must follow.
So you may ask who pays for in-homecare now that you realize Medicare and other supplemental policies do not. For the most part in-home care for aging loved ones is privately paid for out of pocket by families. Most families elect to pool their resources to hire caregivers and learn tactics to stretch their dollars to make homecare affordable. Scheduling caregivers to cover limited but critical times each day, avoiding the hiring of over-qualified more costly caregivers, and comparing local agency rates are just a few ideas. Refer to this article How to Afford Private Homecare for the Elderly to learn creative cost-cutting strategies to tackle this difficult endeavor.
Families who are fortunate to have parents with Long-term care insurance will find these policies reimburse for most or at least a portion of in-home care. While the plans vary greatly most do offer a significant amount of coverage and all require a licensed homecare agency to render services. Most policies reimburse for skilled nursing and rehab services in addition to custodial care for help with activities of daily living such as personal care, meal preparation and medication reminders. Consider Long Term Care Insurance?
Families may be compensated by the Family Caregiver Support Program to enable family members to care for their loved ones at home. The Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) was enacted by the federal government in 2000 however sadly suffered severe budget cut backs at the state level in the last decade limiting funding severely. Programs within the fifty states vary widely as to what if any programs exist yet worthy of further scrutiny by families in search of any possible means of compensation. State units on aging with assistance of local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are the institutes who oversee these strictly regulated family caregiving services.
Families with limited finances and /or big medical expenses may find it worth investigating their parent's eligibility for Medicaid. Medicaid will cover a substantial amount of home care services but limitations vary from state to state. Medicaid reimburses for home care services through what are known as Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) "waiver" programs. Eligibility for the Medicaid programs is twofold based on financial requirements and the need for care. Unlike Medicare, the Medicaid home care programs reimburse for non-medical services that are in great demand to assist folks with basic activities of daily living.
Families who have one or both parents that are veterans or spouses of veterans may be eligible to receive in-homecare benefits. The Veteran Aid and Attendance benefit provides money to those who need assistance performing everyday tasks. The benefit is in the form of an extra monthly pension designated to cover the costs of in-home care. The veteran does not have to have service-related disabilities to qualify and surviving spouses are eligible.
In conclusion, you are not alone if your family finds itself in this desperate time of need with few places to turn for funding home care expenses. Numerous families are confronted with the shocking and disturbing revelation that Medicare as well as Medigap and secondary private healthcare plans such as BC/BS will not pay for homecare. Frequently families must resort to privately pay for home care when there are no other available reimbursement sources. Self-pay can be draining on a family's budget and more often than not simply not feasible. Therefore be sure to exhaust all other reimbursement sources including those fore-mentioned to ascertain if applicable to your parent's situation. Adopt tactical measures to help offset homecare expenses in order to accommodate your parent's wishes to remain home and age in place.
By Clare Absher RN, BSN
Employ "Operation Breakout from Nursing Home" to spring your Mom out of the old folk's home or liberate your Dad from convalescence care.
Whether your parents have endured a short stay or an extended visit in a nursing home, it is not uncommon for them to vehemently protest staying any longer than necessary. You may hear comments such as: "I hate it here" "I'm desperately home-sick" "They treat me terrible" or still worse "I'm going to die alone in here." It should come as no surprise that institutional living is often an unsolicited, if not dreaded, lifestyle for many of our parents. Furthermore, nursing home placement may have been forced upon our elderly loved ones as a result of circumstances that are no longer relevant.
Very likely your family, similar to many other families, will view a breakout from the old folk's home in a positive light with regard to their parents' overall welfare. Our elderly loved ones' convincing claim that returning home will bring them great joy can drive us to facilitate this move. Living out your golden years at home, otherwise known as aging in place, is by far the most popular trend of older adults. The question is whether it is realistic for your parent(s) to age in place, how to ensure they are safe and secure in their home and how to elude re-admission to the nursing home.
My nursing experience, along with my own family caregiving experiences, lends me to advise families that mindful decision making and thorough preparation is key to making this transition successful. Attention to details are fundamental when adapting the home with safety equipment to enhance mobility, prevent falls, and provide security. Undertaking major modifications such as installing ramps, elevators, walk-in showers and widening doorways may be necessary prior to your folk's "escape" back to their home. Arranging in-home care services in advance is paramount, with full acceptance and responsibility of hiring outside help on the part of your parents. Long-term financial planning must include budgeting for home ownership costs and in-home care services.
Utilize our Three Phase Planning Guide to help your family plot the course for nursing home liberation. Deliberate, strategize, prioritize, and hopefully opt to commence with "Operation Breakout from Nursing Home."
Phase 1: Meet with Your Family
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy time together. It is also a time to give thanks for everything you and your family have been blessed with. This holiday is a favorite holiday among many due to its authentic traditions and its great food. However, this holiday can be stressful to hosts and for seniors and their caregivers. If one of your elderly loved ones is showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or is beginning to lose some of their physical strength and capabilities then your normal, happy and gleeful Thanksgiving celebration could turn weary. If you have elderly loved ones who are not their normal healthy and robust selves, then keep reading to find out a few tips for making their and your Thanksgiving a fun and fantastic event. Plus, we have also included a few tips for seniors to make their Thanksgiving joyful.
Tips for Caregivers and Family Members
Thanksgiving may be a stressful time for caregivers and family members of seniors whose health is failing. Family caregivers have the special task of keeping an eye on their loved ones during the holiday. Following a few of these tips will ensure that you and your elderly loved one will have a great Thanksgiving.
Prepare Special Meals for Seniors
As people age they will lose their ability to taste certain foods because their taste buds will begin to fail. They may also lose the ability to chew properly. For both of these reasons, your loved one may have to eat differently throughout their everyday life. They also may need a special meal for the holidays. To make things easier on them during the Thanksgiving meal you may want to make food that is easy for your loved one to chew and digest. Additionally, you may want to use less salt on their meal and add more savory spices to amp up the tastes and nutrients of their meal.
Patience is an important virtue to behold if you are a caregiver. But, having patience may be difficult at times. When the person that you loved dearly for your entire life begins to change in front of your eyes, it may be difficult to reconcile their new self with their old self. However, they still are your loved ones and deserve respect and patience. If your loved one has emotional or physical outbursts then patience is an even greater need in your life. With this virtue you can talk your loved one through their issues and figure out why they are having an issue. With patience, you and your loved one can get through the holiday with enjoyment.
Take Any Help You Can
At a family gathering you probably will have many family members available to help you take care of your loved one. If anyone offers you help then take it. The more help you receive the easier your holiday may go. You should especially accept any help if you are also the host of the dinner.
Do Not Forget about Yourself
If you are too focused on making sure your loved one is comfortable and happy then you will not enjoy the holiday yourself. This may lead to feeling burnout and disappointment that the holiday did not go well. Always remember to enjoy yourself on Thanksgiving while making sure your loved one is also having fun. Both of these things can be accomplished by simply being patient with your elderly loved one and prioritizing time for yourself during the holiday.
Tips For Seniors
Thanksgiving may be emotionally challenging for many seniors. The holidays can stress them out and leave them feeling alone. Here are a few tips for seniors to make their Thanksgiving fun and stress free.
Do not Dine Alone
Even if you do not have family members to celebrate Thanksgiving with, try not to dine alone. Many senior centers, community centers and churches provide Thanksgiving meals each year. Sharing the holiday experience with others can lift your spirits and keep you in the holiday mood. Plus, you will get a hearty meal out of the experience and maybe make a few friends.
Drink in Moderation
To avoid the negative consequences of alcohol, drink in moderation or do not drink at all. Alcohol can cause negative social and physical side effects, and can even mess with certain medications that you may be on. Avoiding alcohol or drinking in moderation will prevent any bad repercussions from occurring and keep your holiday fun.
Watch what you Eat
Although it may be easy and tempting to eat everything you see at a Thanksgiving meal, it probably is not the best idea. Holiday foods tend to be fatty, salty and high in calories. Overeating these foods can lead to heartburn, upset stomach and digestive issues. In some cases, overeating these foods can also lead to a heart attack. It is best for your health and wellness to eat in moderation and enjoy the foods you love the most.
Focus on Your Health
Your health should always be your number one priority even during the holidays. If you feel out of sorts or out of the ordinary during the holiday season then make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Colds, flu and depression are more common during the winter season.
The best thing to remember about Thanksgiving is to have fun and give thanks. Thanksgiving is a joyous holiday that should not be stressful on the caregiver or your elderly loved one. However, if you are the caregiver and your elderly loved one needs extra attention during the holiday season then you may feel more stress than usual. Even if this is the case, it is essential that you and your loved one have a great holiday. To ensure that this occurs, follow these tips for both seniors and yourself. With these tips you can ensure that your elderly loved one has a special day and stays calm and happy while you enjoy your holidays as well.