Tag Archives: elderly care

Looking Sharp- In Your Senior Years Too!

Aging is inevitable, and there’s no amount of botox and facelifts that can stop the process. So eventually we all have to deal with the fact that our faces aren’t as unlined as they used to be; that we have less hair on our heads and more in our ears and noses; and that we can’t stay out all night drinking beer and then still get up and go to work. Once a young man hits puberty and starts growing facial hair, then he’s going to need to take care of it for the rest of his life. No doubt, like most men, he’ll experiment from time to time, and there will be the occasional ill-advised moustache or sideburns. But from puberty to the grave, a man has to contend with his facial hair. Since skin changes as we grow older, the way we need to remove facial hair changes too. What are some great tips for shaving once there’s a lot of grey in that beard?

Shaving For Younger Men and Shaving For Older Men: What’s The Difference?

Hopefully most older men have refined their shaving technique over the years and no longer have to stick small squares of toilet paper to the numerous cuts a novice shave often inflicts on himself. As we get older, the skin is less firm, and the contours of our face change. For many men, shaving their face is something that can be done almost on autopilot, since we’re so familiar with our own faces. While wrinkles and jowls won’t develop overnight, they do happen, and the skin becomes more delicate. You might need to change razors to a different type (safety razor or electric razor) if you find yourself consistently cutting your face. Skin gets thinner as we grow older, so cutting yourself while shaving can become more common.

Something To Hide Behind

Some people become profoundly depressed at the thought of aging, and attempt to do something radical to prevent it (do a Google search for Plastic Surgery Disasters for further evidence). Thankfully, many people embrace their age and are comfortable in their own skin. Men aren’t adverse to a bit of aging depression, yet they have a completely natural way to disguise certain aging factors; something that women are unable to do (or most women, anyway). It’s simple: grow a beard. A well-groomed beard can add a look of distinction and gravitas, and it’s rather effective in covering up wrinkles on the lower half of the face.

Dry and Electric

While there are some electric razors on the market that can be used with water and lubricants to give a very close shave, most of the time an electric razor provides a dry shave. While not usually as close of a shave as those provided by straight or safety razors, an electric razor can still remove facial hair without irritating the skin, and skin irritation after shaving can get worse the older we get.

Aging needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to shaving our faces, but there are a number of options that are kinder to skin that’s not as young as it used to be. At the end of the day, you can wear and shave your facial hair any way you want to- you’ve earned it!

Author Bio

This is a guest post by contributing author Linda M. Linda currently represents The Art of Shaving, the best source to find traditional shaving products online.

Not too old for Clinical Trials?

It is not news to anyone that we are all living longer. Life expectancy in the United States increased by 30 years during the 20th Century and 25 of those years were attributed to advances in medicines and the treatment of disease in older people. Life is now the survival of those who live in the better conditions, rather than those who are born fitter. But challenges remain, particularly in the fight against Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Differences between Young and Old

There are many differences between the bodies of an older person and a younger person, besides the obvious outward appearance. Older people often have more than one health condition at a time, making it difficult to successfully deal with those conditions. Nothing can be treated in isolation. The older body absorbs medication differently to the younger body and it is also weaker, making it more vulnerable to the potential side effects of medication.

A Discipline in Itself

So, there is no surprise that the study of disease in the elderly has its own discipline, called Gerontology. Just as the United States has seen an increase in life expectancy, so has Europe. The ageing population is expected to increase from 84 million to 141 million by 2050. Rather than waiting for a problem to arrive on the doorstep, the European Union has established an agency dedicated to the advancement of medical care for the older generation, implementing strategies that span the creation of new medicines and treatment protocols. The goal is greater understanding of how to successfully fight conditions that affect the elderly and ultimately better care.

What Part Can the Elderly Play?

This is not a problem that can be solved in isolation. Clinical testing at the pre-licensing stage needs to include more elderly volunteers.

How Clinical Trials Work

For those interested in participating, there are two types of medical trial open to human volunteers: trials with healthy volunteers that test the effects of a drug on an organ that it is not intended to treat and trials that test medications for specific conditions.

A good example of the first trial would be a medicine that is intended to treat the liver, but the sponsor wants to see if there is any effect on the heart but not necessarily a negative effect, or what might be classed as a side effect. An example of the second would be a trial that tests a new Alzheimer’s medication and requires volunteers who have the condition.

Another important distinction is that trials requiring healthy volunteers pay an honorarium, whereas condition specific trials don’t because it is perceived that the volunteer can derive benefits from exposure to the new drug. Companies like GSK deliver both types of trial and their honorariums for trials in the UK begin at £50 and can be up to £2000 depending on the trial and how many times you volunteer.

Medical testing for healthy volunteers is open to people up to the age of 80. It is a fascinating process to see science at work and to participate in the development of drugs that could help someone you will never meet.

Guest post contributed by Sally Shaws, who writes about volunteering for paid clinical trials. You can visit GlaxoSmithKline for more information on taking part in these trials or to register as a volunteer.

A Day in the Life of In Home Caregivers

Home care is a broad term which entails different kinds of services that depend primarily on the specific needs of patients. For in home caregivers, a typical work week means at least five days with their patient. This set up fosters familiarity and consistency, while ensuring comfort and convenience for both parties. A typical day for most in home caregivers involves dealing with the patient’s physical, emotional and mental needs. Most of these skilled professionals are affiliated with senior care companies that provide various patient assignments.

Morning Routine

The day starts with assisting the patient to get off the bed and take a bath. Depending on the patient’s strength and mobility, this could be a hot shower or simply a sponge bath. Frail patients are usually given a chair with the caregiver providing just the appropriate level of assistance. The goal is to help the patient maintain as much independence as possible.

The caregiver then prepares breakfast based on the physician’s dietary recommendations. The patient’s food intake may have to be documented to make sure that his/her nutritional needs are met. In most cases, the caregiver is tasked to prepare and serve two warm meals and then have a pre-cooked meal which the patient can warm up in the microwave or oven for dinner.

Regular Exercise and Social Activities

Encouraging the patient to venture out of the house and perform some light exercises is an integral part of any elder care routine. Getting out into the sun and having some fresh air can be invigorating and keeps most patients up and about for the rest of the day. Then again, this depends on the mobility and physical capacity of the patient. Some can have a stroll in the park, but for those who are immobile, the caregiver needs to use a wheelchair and push it for the walk.

All in home caregivers will find that each job is different because patients’ needs are varied and diverse. In general, caregivers need to assist their patients so they get time to enjoy some physical and social activities. In addition, the caregiver may be assigned to run errands such as short trips to the grocery store or to the local pharmacy to purchase medications and other supplies.

Activities in the Evening

If the caregiver won’t stay overnight, the patient needs to be prepared late in the afternoon. Such preparation includes dinner, beddings, medications, etc. The idea is to ensure that the patient will be comfortable and safe once the caregiver leaves at the end of the day. Most patients appreciate conversations with their caregiver. This serves as a mental exercise and is of particular importance among patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

A typical day in the life of an in home caregiver involves a lot of hard work and dedication. The job may be physically and emotionally taxing but most practitioners are rewarded by the feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment that comes with caring for another individual.

 

About the Author:

Jason Castillo is a licensed physical therapist who shares a passion for caring for the elderly. He has taught Geriatrics in a major university and a number of caregiver schools, with the objective of fostering quality and passionate care for seniors. This is his advocacy and wishes to share it with world.

Senior Diet Solutions: Addressing Multiple Health Conditions

Seniors often have multiple conditions resulting in a thorny diet problem. A good example is the combination of heart problems, diabetes, and renal failure. Heart problems and diabetes call for a for a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat, loaded with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But when diabetes leads to renal failure, the patient must keep phosphorous, sodium, and potassium to a minimum. Many meats that are high in protein, fruits, veggies and grains are loaded with potassium, a nutrient healthy for most people…but not those in renal failure. How can you make a healthy diet from what’s left?

 The Contradictions

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the diet goals of a patient with chronic kidney disease are to limit fluids, eat a low protein diet, and restrict salt, potassium, phosphorous and other electrolytes. Since it’s difficult to get enough calories on a low-protein diet, kidney patients are encouraged to eat lots of high-volume carbs, including breads, cake, honey, hard candy, and pie…foods diabetics should avoid like the plague.

Diabetics are encouraged to drink plenty of water, eat a lot of vegetables, and eat a diet higher in protein and low in processed carbs, basically the same diet recommended for heart patients.

The irony is that diabetes often leads to heart disease and kidney disease, and the only area where the conditions agree is in restricting sodium. The convergence of all these diverse issues is most common in the elderly, because it takes years for diabetes and other conditions to wreak this level of havoc on the body.

Part of the Problem: Confusing Information from So-Called Experts

While researching, I found a page that seemed authoritative called Nephrology Physicians, LLC, and I’d like to use it as an example of how information gathered on the web can be dangerous. The page contains food lists for Kidney and Renal failure. Sounds good, right? But it’s misleading. It’s broken down by nutrient. Consider this sentence from the low phosphorous section, All Vegetables are Low in Phosphorus. Wow, so kidney patients can eat all the vegetables they want, right? I was suspicious. I chose a few random vegetables and checked them in the nutrition data tracker at self.com. Sweet potatoes, for example, had a whopping 950 mg of potassium. That would be disastrous addition to his diet. To add to the confusion, the carbohydrate count might make a diabetic nervous as well, unless he knew that sweet potatoes are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index.

The lesson here is this: Before following any advice found on the web, make sure it comes from an authoritative source. The American Association of Kidney Patients is a great resource, loaded with information.

 Finding a Solution

To solve this problem, I researched low phosphorous foods and then eliminated foods high in saturated fats, sodium, refined carbs, and sugar. Here’s the result:

Veggies: cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, turnips, radishes, and watercress.

Fruits: blueberries, raspberries, apples, cranberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, watermelon, and red grapes.

Proteins: Turkey breast (not processed cooked at home to control sodium and preservatives), egg whites, and fatty, fish like salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, and rainbow trout. Limit protein intake to 1 or 2 ounces per serving.

Fats: Omega-3 and omega-6 oils, like olive, canola, sunflower, and flaxseed oil.

Grains: White bread products are on the kidney patient diet, including crackers, white bread, pasta, cake, and cookies. Unfortunately, these things are contraindicated for diabetes patients. Address this problem by incorporating small amounts (for example, one slice of bread per meal or a slice of angel cake with berries for dessert). Whole grain products should be avoided.

Dairy: Dairy products should be limited, especially for pre-dialysis kidney patients. Choose low-fat options, like skim milk, no-sugar-added ice cream, plain, low-fat yogurt, and sugar-free pudding. Limit dairy to two 1/2 cup servings per day.

Sample Meal: While researching this topic, I came across a post on a food site that addressed the potential lack of flavor in such a limited diet. Here’s a tasty recipe for Caribbean chicken and veggie kabobs that meets the restrictions for both diabetics and kidney patients.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite, and resulting weight loss, are common in kidney patients. Here are a few tips to help keep your patient or loved one’s weight up:

  • Small meals, eaten frequently all day. Big meals can be too much for a sick senior, but tiny plates with just a few appetizing bites are less intimidating and easier to swallow.
  • Cold finger foods. Cooking smells often make sick patients feel sicker. Try cold dishes, like a scoop of egg or tuna salad with brightly colored veggies to use as scoops.
  • Add egg white powder or protein powder to cooked foods or drinks to add nutrition.

 Supplements

Anemia is common to kidney patients, and an iron supplement may be in order. If the patient cannot get enough protein through food sources, a protein supplement will help, but check the label very carefully and bear in mind that supplements made for the seniors, like Glucerna and Boost, or protein powders designed for weight gain, are not necessarily formulated for kidney patients and may contain high levels of potassium, sugar, or some other harmful component.

Since grain products are limited, another concern may be getting enough fiber to keep digestion regular. A limited food list is notorious for gumming up the works. Only after consulting a doctor, choose a natural fiber product that has been thoroughly researched and has no known side effects or drug interactions, like brown seaweed extract.

Before taking any supplement, diabetics, heart patients, kidney patients, or anyone with an illness that requires medications should check with a doctor or nutritionist.

Dialysis

Once kidney disease progresses to the stage where dialysis is necessary, diet restrictions ease up a bit and patients usually find their appetites returning, but a healthy diet should still be the top priority for caregivers and patients.

The History And Evolution Of The Stairlift

 

As people age simple tasks like climbing a flight of stairs becomes increasingly difficult.  Now with modern technology to aid you in the form of stairlifts, you can overcome the fear and risk of falling down stairs.  It may surprise you, however, to learn that stairlifts can be dated all the way back to the 16th century.  Yes, in the late sixteenth century none other than the infamous Henry VIII can be tied to the history of the stairlift.  Among the many fascinating things Henry VIII possessed was a ‘chair that goeth up and down’.  Having sustained a nasty injury jousting in 1536 Henry VIII likely suffered from brain trauma that contributed to his obesity.  Along with his brain trauma he also had a nasty wound in his calf that never healed properly.  With these jousting injuries causing him pain and adding to his ever increasing waistline, Henry VIII needed a great deal of assistance getting around his palaces.  He had several wheeled chairs for general movement, but for stairs something else was needed.  Henry VIII had a chair attached to a platform that his servants hauled up stairs with block and tackle.  Thus, the first ever recorded stairlift was born.

Not all of us are wealthy enough to pay an entire team of servants to get us up and down a flight of stairs safely.  Fortunately, for those of us with slightly smaller funds than Henry VIII there are now mechanical stairlifts to do the job.  An American engineer designed the first modern stairlift for an ailing friend in the 1920s.  C.C. Crispen, who was a self-taught engineer, was saddened by the fact that his friend was confined to the upper floor of his house while recovering.  He decided to design a chair that climbed stairs and so in 1923 he built the first stairlift in his basement.  It ran on regular house current was used initially by many polio sufferers.  Crispen went on to build home elevators and wheelchair lifts.

Around this time Leslie Stannah was also in America.  This British engineer worked for his family company that had been founded in 1867 and built mechanical hoists and cranes in London.  Leslie Stannah moved to America in 1925 to further his engineering skills before he returned to England to work with other lift manufacturers.  By 1975 Stannah was designing and building its first line of stairlifts.  In 1976 the first curved rail stairlift was invented.  It operated with a single tube rail.  In 1997 Stannah introduced the revolutionary concept of twin rails that is still used in curved stairlifts today.

Henry VIII may have been able to afford a ‘chair that goeth up and down’ powered by servants, but you can rent a battery powered stairlift that runs for three years without any grumbling.  Unlike servants you can rent stairlifts for as long as you need them and return it when you done using it.  You can even sell your stairlift back if you have decided to buy one and no longer need it.  Plus, Henry VIII probably didn’t have buttons to push on his chair and who doesn’t like pushing buttons?  So the next time you use your stairlift you can sit tall knowing that you are a part of a long history dating back to Henry VIII himself.

Now you can have a Stannah stairlift with all the most modern features.  The footrests and armrests can be folded out of the way.  For safety the stairlift comes with a seat belt and sensors that can detect obstructions on the stairs.  Stannah stairlifts are battery powered and will work even after power has been lost.  The battery also means that the stairlift is quiet and incredibly smooth when operating, much better than being hauled up the stairs by servants.

Stairlifts are hugely beneficial to the lives of the elderly and they can give great happiness and independence to those who need it best. They are always growing in technology and continually creating and producing new models to give the safest, most effective and best mobility for the elderly stairlift user. Renting a stairlift is an increasingly popular and financially stable option in which you can give the lift back after a set time period. We also design and produce bespoke stairlifts to fit your needs as well as to fit your staircase.