Growing older affects the body’s ability to get vital nutrition and stay hydrated - from a reduced sense of smell and taste to slowed digestion to changes of the swallowing reflex. Dysphagia is the term used to describe difficulty chewing and swallowing. It may be caused by physiological changes from age or chronic disease like Alzheimer’s. As many as 600,000 people are affected each year, with that number growing as baby boomers continue to live longer.
Individuals advanced in age, with late-stage dementia, those who have suffered a stroke or with Parkinson’s or other neurological conditions are at highest risk for dysphagia and related complications.
While the term dysphagia sounds technical and complex, caregivers can take simple steps to lessen the risk through changes to food choice, texture and mealtime management. Continue reading to learn more. Read More
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.
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.. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
No matter one’s culture or religious practices, special meals are almost always part of a holiday tradition. Here are some tips for using mealtime as an opportunity to create comfort and joy and help elders to get nutrition that is vital to their health and well-being. Read More