Elders and Diabetes: Caring for the Most Vulnerable

Each November, communities bring awareness to diabetes and its impact on Americans’ health and well-being. Diabetes is a devastating disease to more than 30 million Americans, with over 60 million more at risk for developing this chronic disease.

Individuals with diabetes often experience other health complications like heart attacks and stroke, problems with eyesight, tingling or pain in the feet or legs, kidney disease and other conditions.

Healthcare costs associated with treating diabetes topped over $327 billion in 2017. Medical expenditures averaged 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes.

These statistics may catch your attention, but there is a very vulnerable population of individuals with diabetes-the oldest and frailest- whom don’t get the attention they deserve.  Older adults over the age of 65 are six times more likely to develop diabetes and often experience severe complications. Educating ourselves about the management of diabetes can help protect those most at risk. Continue reading to learn some simple interventions.

 

 

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Elders and Depression: Mealtime Tips to Improve Emotional Health

Autumn is in full effect for most of our country.  We see it in the changing landscape, from falling leaves to farmers bringing in the harvest.

As seasons change, you may also notice a change in your elderly clients’ mood showing up as irritability, continued sadness, changes to sleep patterns, problems with memory or concentration or loss of appetite.  While many mistake these changes as a normal part of aging, they may actually be caused by depression.

Many primary care physicians overlook depression symptoms in older adults because they are focused on treating chronic disease. Depression is a serious medical condition that requires treatment.

Seniors with depression have higher overall healthcare costs – as much as 50% more than those without depression.

If you are interested in controlling healthcare costs and improving client care, continue reading..

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Mealtime Satisfaction - Understanding Elder Expectations

Your organization may be one of many that measures client satisfaction with your home care services.  Elements often include contentment with the caregivers’ professionalism, work ethic or communication skills. 

But what about meeting expectations with meals?  Time and time again I hear from companies who reveal that ‘caregivers who can’t cook’ is their most common client complaint.

Sometimes caregivers do lack basic cooking skills, but more times than not, caregivers don’t have a clear understanding of an elder’s expectations. For many older adults, mealtime is the highlight of their day. As they finish breakfast, they may be thinking ahead to “what’s for lunch?”  Read on to learn how to make mealtimes meaningful for those in your care.

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Be Salt Savvy - Recommendations for Elders

We regularly hear the dangers of too much salt in our diets, but what is the real story?

Sodium, a component of salt, is an essential nutrient that has many vital functions in our bodies.  In other words - we need salt to survive - in limited amounts. As an electrolyte, sodium attracts and holds water in the blood and is key in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and muscle function. 

Too much sodium leads to increased blood volume and elevated blood pressure, increasing the risk for stroke and causing damage to the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes and brain (vascular dementia).

Along with worsening chronic conditions, too much salt in an elder’s diet can lead to trips to the emergency room, especially common in the case of heart failure.  Managing sodium at mealtimes can directly reduce hospital admissions or lessen the need to enter long-term care.  If your goal is keeping elders in their home and in your care, read on.

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Gluten-free for Older Adults: A Trend or a Necessity?

In recent years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of going gluten-free.  Social media touts the health benefits and food labels can add to the confusion.  When caring for older adults, it’s important to ask, “Is this just a trend or a medical necessity?”

For some older adults, gluten-free dining is the only proven treatment for celiac disease.  Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the small intestine.  It is diagnosed in elders, over the age of 55, at two times the average of other age groups. 

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Mealtime with COPD: Foods for Better Breathing

COPD is a common lung disease that makes breathing harder over time. Symptoms continue to worsen and interfere with activities of daily living like walking, eating and caring for oneself. Healthful eating is critical to provide extra energy and improve health outcomes.

Elders with COPD are at a much greater risk of malnutrition and its serious consequence like falls, fractures and trips to the hospital. To reduce risk of malnutrition, encourage extra calories and nutrient dense foods. Try these tips for improved nutrition and better breathing:

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