All posts by Jess_Greenberg

Senior Thought – America’s Rising Medical Expenses Threaten Senior Citizens

If you’re a working individual like me and you are still having a problem budgeting your money on medical expenses, then you have got to understand what it feels to be old and in need of medical attention.

Perhaps it’s time to be alarmed, as a growing number of Americans are not getting the right health care because they can’t possibly afford it. According to a recent survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey, around 43% of America’s working age adults have not seen a doctor when they were ill. If you put up an estimate on the figure, close to80 million people did not have access to proper health care last year.

If we do some backtracking, that’s over 75 million people in 2010 and 63 million in 2003.

Our country’s healthcare insurance situation has clearly gone from bad to worse. If the working-age adults are having a hard time getting the right medical services nowadays, then how much more can we expect from our senior citizens? With more people entering into the retirement age, perhaps now might be the right time to come up with a back up plan on staying fit and healthy.

With the high costs of medical insurance, it is not surprising why a lot of people have opted not to be insured, but the same people are going to have a lot of problems getting the best hospital care in the future. Is this one reason why rumours of some health centres are now having difficulty when it comes to hospital infection control because of the low healthcare budget? Who knows. One thing is sure though; this won’t be too much of a good news for the elderly citizens.

For those who are already comfortable enough with their senior medical insurance, it is still right to be worried. With the high costs of medical expenses, you’ll most likely realize that you’d get lesser health care service from some hospitals nowadays. Nearly 3 out of 10 adults have said that they do not visit a doctor in a hospital or clinic when they have medical problems simply because they can’t afford the fees anymore. This does not include those who have not visited their doctor again but need follow-up check ups because of the nature of their disease.

In fact, 28% of patients with chronic diseases, like hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, who need prescribed drugs have opted to not buy the said medicine, since it’s too expensive for them. And to think that these diseases are more prevalent towards people who are now over the age of 50 and above! Perhaps it’s time for our government to take a look into this problem and come up with the right solution before all is too late.

So what does one have to do in order to survive the high medical expense nightmare? I guess it’s back to the basics for all of us. Eating a healthy diet, lots of proper exercise, and living a stress-free life are some of the easiest solutions so far when it comes to staying away from the hospital!

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver and avid blogger from San Diego, California. When she’s having her days-off, she enjoys surfing the Internet with a hot cup of coffee in her hand while checking articles about care-giving and senior care. She also enjoys updating Wordbaristas.com, a blog that she keeps together with her friends.

Home Care for Seniors – A Caregiver’s To-Do List

When you’re a caregiver, you have to expect the unexpected, especially when you’re taking care of an elderly patient. There are more than 50 million caregivers providing home care for the weak and elderly during any given year. To make things more hectic, only 25% of all U.S households are involved in care giving, therefore, if you’re a caregiver taking care of an elderly patient at home, you should be proud of yourself. Because of the popularity of care giving, men have started filling in for a chance to be in the care-giving career. However, women dominate as of the moment, probably because of their nurturing nature.

If you think of home care giving as an easy job, then you may want to consider the following facts:

  • Home caregivers who are expected to provide 36 or more hours of weekly care for the ageing patients are more likely to experience anxiety or depression than caregivers who work inside a senior care facility or hospital. The rate becomes six times higher for caregivers who are actually taking care of their ageing parents.

 

  • Home caregivers constantly lack sleep. Since they’re always making sure that the elderly patient has everything he or she needs, there’s 51% chance of not getting a proper sleep and a 41% chance of getting back pains.

 

  • Caring for an elderly patient is stressful enough to cause a big impact on a person’s immune system for up to 3 years. It’s no wonder, since you have to make sure that everything is ready for your patient, from the adult diapers to making sure that the IV’s port protector has been changed to a new one.

Well, now that you know the happy facts of being a home caregiver, would you still care to try such a gargantuan task? If your answers is still a “YES”, then that’s great. We caregivers do have a to-do list in order to make things life a little less harsh when caring for an elderly patient at home.

1. Always remember to take care of yourself. This is the most basic to-do list that we caregivers usually adhere to. No, it’s not selfish and it’s an absolute must. I’ve been a caregiver for years and there’s really no sense of caring for an ageing patient if you can’t even take care of yourself. Care-giving is a stressful job, where the combination of loss and obligation demands can really take its toll on your physical and mental well-being, so taking care of yourself is also a high priority.

2. Remember to reward yourself. Despite the stressful environment, taking care of an elderly patient at home pays really well, so perhaps having a nice dinner with a friend or loved one can help ease the stress for a day.

3. Have some personal time. Do something you enjoy as a hobby or perhaps you might want to do your personal chores. Taking care of an elderly patient does not need to hinder your own personal time. Besides, it helps calm down your nerves, therefore fighting depression and anxiety.

4. When things don’t go the way you planned, get help. Even for an experienced caregiver, I still ask advice from some of my older caregiver friends. Help can also come from community resources, family friends and professionals too. The friends and family of the elderly patient can provide invaluable help, especially if the patient seems too grouchy towards a new home caregiver. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when you need it.

5. Last but not the least, protect your health. How can you take care of your patient if you keep getting sick? Give yourself time to exercise, eat well and for your personal grooming too. Limit your coffee intake and get lots of rest. You owe your body that much, since you can’t do your job if you’re not healthy!

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver and avid blogger from San Diego, California. When she’s taking her well-deserved rest, she usually hangs out with her friends and is constantly updating Wordbaristas.com, a blog that she keeps with her group.

Senior Care 101: Why is Coffee bad for your health?

While I was trying to place an IV on a senior patient of mine, he asked me whether I was a coffee person. I answered him with a yes. The old man just shrugged as I double-checked the IV port protector the second time. He then told me that it was coffee that placed him inside that very hospital. Because of that conversation, I immediately realized that he was blaming coffee for his health problems.

I’m a coffee person. I’ve always loved drinking coffee as far as I can remember. My mom, however, opposes the idea of me being a coffee person, so every morning, she always asks me when I’ll stop drinking coffee. She believes the idea that coffee affect’s a person’s height and that it can also give certain health problems too. Of course, I’d just ignore her or give her a reply that won’t raise an argument between her and me, but there were times when I started asking if coffee does have something to do with people not getting taller or having health problems at all. With this in mind, I went to a good friend of mine, a doctor from a reputable hospital in our city, about the negative side effects of drinking coffee.

It’s a good thing that my friend was accommodating as I talked to her about coffee. But what she told me does make sense. Basically, coffee is indeed bad for your health. It causes heart burn and I have had more cases of heart burn than I can count. Sure, I take medicines but it does costs me and getting painful cramps in the chest is in no way healthy. Asides from heart burns, there’s ulcer. My doctor-friend said that coffee has too much acid that it can actually burn a hole in your stomach or intestines when taken in large quantities.

The effects of drinking too much coffee comes out during old age. Osteoporosis is a condition that happens to more seniors than adults. When someone has osteoporosis, their bones become weak due to lack of calcium. And coffee has that effect on humans; too much coffee can cause calcium loss, thus increasing a person’s risk for osteoporosis later in life. Coffee can also cause heart problems as well as well as diabetes. People who drink coffee with two to three lumps of sugar per day are at high risk of getting the dreaded disease. The patient I was talking about earlier has diabetes.

It was no wonder why everyone had a hard time drawing out blood from him. I always noticed this when I had to change his IV port protector from time to time.

While coffee is a good energy booster, one should never take it all the time. Just like most things, having too much gets kinda bad along the way. And as for my mom, she’s quite happy with my limited coffee intake now. I guess I have to thank my friend for that.

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver and avid blogger from San Diego, California. Asides from her usual duties, she’s also a content contributor for Ivera Med.

 

Senior Health 101: Gout Can Lessen Sex Drive

If there’s one thing that a lot of old folks complain about, it has to be gout. Gout is now considered one of the most common diseases that elderly people have. But as a caution, just because you are still young doesn’t mean that you are immune from having gout. In fact, the number of middle-aged people who are suffering from gout have increased over time. This is probably because of our unhealthy lifestyle, like eating greasy and fatty foods, not getting enough exercise and obesity. If you’re one of those people suffering from gout, whether you’re young or old, then you have to know that the secret to defeating gout has something to do with controlling uric acid.

What is uric acid? It’s a type of compound that, when found in high numbers, causes two major health problems; diabetes and gout. People who have a high amount of uric acid found in their bodies immediately have swollen joints and ankles, which is one of the primary symptoms of gout. But did you know that having a high amount of uric acid also decreases sexual libido? Research states that the effects of having hyperuricemia or high blood uric acid level, is just one of the many symptoms the disease presents. As time goes by, having too much uric acid causes erectile or sexual dysfunctions.

Is this one of the causes why most men who are overweight and have a history of hypertension and gout fail to satisfy their partners during the bedroom activity? There’s a high probability for a “YES” answer! Apparently, the high concentration of uric acid within the blood robs away the electro-static charges that is usually present in red blood cells. Without it, red blood cells start stacking together and this greatly reduces its ability to carry oxygen and other nutrients.

So what if the red blood cells don’t have enough oxygen? Well, I don’t think I have to tell you that a man’s erection is pretty much dependent on how healthy his red blood cells are. You see, there’s a sponge like structure on your body that controls the erection of the male sex organ. It’s called the corpora cavernosum. This spongy structure looks for the nitric oxide within the blood, since this nutrient is responsible for dilating the arteries located within the penis. Now, if this nitric oxide isn’t present in the blood being pumped, then erection is impossible.

This is the reason why some elderly gout patients have a hard time during blood tests. When a nurse starts drawing blood from his/her body, blood flow is difficult to achieve because it’s too thick. I’ve seen many patients having problems like these and it even gets more difficult caring for patients who have gout as well,

This is just one of the many reasons why people who are overweight or are suffering from hypertension should avoid eating too much fatty and greasy foods. Uric acid comes from grease and lard, so for those middle-aged and senior men who want to bring back their sexual drive, start exercising and eating healthy foods instead! Weight lose helps a lot, especially to people who want to get rid of their gout problems. Visit your doctor and always follow the right prescription that he/she gives. While taking anti-gout medicine helps, having a healthy lifestyle is more effective and cheaper, if you think about it!

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is an avid blogger and caretaker from San Diego, California. She’s also a content contributor for Ivera Med. She loves writing tips on how to take care of elderly patients.

Senior Health Care – The Importance of Using Port Protectors for IV Therapy

For those who are not yet familiar with the IV therapy, here’s a very simple explanation for you. An IV or Intravenous Therapy is the process of using IV or intravenous fluid in order to transfer much-needed nutrients as well as prescribed medicine given by the doctor. Doctors highly recommend the IV therapy since it goes directly into the bloodstream. Unlike with normal digestion where the nutrients are broken down for body consumption, as soon as the nutrients coming from the IV passes by the bloodstream, it is automatically used by the body. This is one reason why you get the IV whenever you are sick and are in the hospital. The IV therapy also restores lost fluids due to dehydration or stress during getting sick.

Now that we have established the importance of the IV, let’s talk about the importance of using port protectors for the I.V. If you are not familiar with the port protector, if you look at the small plastic tube wherein the liquid coming from the IV bag goes down, you’ll see that there’s a small chamber-like thing that looks like you can stick an injection into it. That is what most people call the IV port. The intravenous port is where doctors,. nurses or caregivers, inject either an important medicine or perhaps additional vitamins that can help replenish the patient’s health. They just stick the needle unto the port and inject the substance inside. The port protector looks just like a plastic cap and it is fitted unto the port in order to keep it clean at all times. Not placing a port protector is dangerous, especially if the patient is near other patients with communicable diseases, since the risk of infection is high.

Most hospitals place strips of port protectors near the IV fluid bag, so if you need to replace the protector, all you need to do is take off a fresh port protector and install it on the port while throwing the old port protector away. This will ensure that the IV’s port is clean and infection-free at all times. For those seniors staying at home, there are companies that sell IV port protectors at a reasonable price. But of course, you need to check if these port protectors are indeed worth buying, since some of these products do not last very long. Some of the best port protectors I’ve used in the past are not exactly that expensive and you can buy a whole strip for a good price too. Nowadays, some companies also offer port protectors inside small boxes where they are being offered individually. They’re not like the strip dispensers though, wherein you can just hang them up near the IV, ready to use when needed.

So as you can see, the port protector is indeed an ingenius little plastic device that may have saved a lot of elderly patients from infectious diseases for a long time already. Whenever you need to take care of your elderly grandmother or grandfather whose actually having an IV therapy, don’t forget to use port protectors for their own good.

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is an caretaker and avid blogger from San Diego, California. Also a content contributor for Ivera Medical, she helps other caretakers by writing blogs and articles about how to deal with taking care of senior citizens with dedication and a smile!