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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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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Vital Nutrition: Caregiver Tips for Improving an Elder's Appetite

We know that sometimes just getting an elder to eat can be a challenge.  They may tell their caregiver they are not hungry, or food just doesn’t appeal to them.  Research has confirmed time and again that good nutrition can improve chronic conditions and increase an elder’s vitality.

Trouble chewing or swallowing, side effects of medication,  chronic disease and even loneliness can all contribute to poor appetite.  No matter the cause, eating poorly leads to weight and muscle loss, decreased strength and mobility and a greater risk of falls or entering the hospital.

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Nutrition Support to Fight the Flu: Tips for Protecting Elders

 

There are many things we can do as caregivers to protect our elderly clients – covering coughs, washing hands and getting our own flu vaccine.  But we often overlook one thing – an elder’s own immune system. It is true that the immune system in older adults is slower to recognize and rid the body of germs. But a slower immune system can still do its part in protecting against the flu and other viruses. Here are a few simple tips for immune support.

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