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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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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Dining with Alzheimer's Disease: Encouraging Independence at Mealtime

Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia sometimes forget the normal routines of eating like how to use spoons and forks, open packages or the motion of moving food to the mouth.  Caregivers can offer cues on eating or make modifications to meals to encourage independence.  Focus on matching the elder’s physical and cognitive abilities with the appropriate level of personal control.

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Heart Failure and Holiday Meals: Keeping Elders Safe at Home

Its vital that the elder take an active role in managing their heart failure to avoid hospitalization or other consequences, but medical experts believe that many patients don’t have a basic understanding of the disease and what can be done to improve outcomes.  Caregivers should help educate their elder clients about lifestyle and food choices that can help or hinder the elder’s well-being.  Empowering an elder to make informed choices about meals provides a sense of control and honors their wishes.

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