Tag Archives: senior health

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.

Health Tips For Seniors

Post contributed by Mary Christiansen. Mary works as a marketing associate for 1-800-CPAP,  the discount CPAP supplies specialists.

People are living longer now than they did during any other time in history. It is estimated that there will be over 69 million Americans over the age of 65 by the year 2030. This will represent over 20 percent of the total population. While many believe that the most pressing matter dealing with this generation is the impending decisions dealing with social security and Medicare, there is something even more important than this, and that is helping to keep this rising generation as healthy as possible as they age. Here are some health tips to keep in mind when trying to keep you or your aging loved ones both healthy and happy.

Stay Active Doing Something You Enjoy

Probably the most important thing you can do to stay physically healthy is to stay active. Pick activities that you enjoy and try to do at least one of them every single day. While many people might enjoy going on a walk with their significant other or a friend every day, it is not necessarily something that everyone will enjoy. It is also helpful to know that as joints start going bad or just hurt a lot during exercise, it is best to move to something with low impact. The most popular low impact exercises generally take place in the water such including such activities as swimming, walking or jogging the water, or even water aerobics.

Prevent Accidents

Unfortunately, as old age sets in, accidents tend to increase. There are many reasons why this happens, but the most important thing to do is to prevent any potential injuries around your home. Be sure there are no loose carpets or rugs that have up-turned corners. When there are wires or clutter on the ground, keep them out and away from walking paths. Keep hallways lit during the night for higher visibility and also be careful of wet floors, especially in the bathroom.

Stay Social

It can be hard to get out of the house and keep up with friends, but this is an important part of life. Friends help manage stress as well as assist in any changes or transitions that may come through life’s events. Finding humor or seeking comfort is something good friends can provide. Living alone can be tough on anyone mentally. It is helpful to have someone to get you out of the house.

Immunize and Screen

The people who are most vulnerable to sickness and disease are the elderly and the very young. This means you should be sure to keep up to date on immunizations and vaccines that are available. It is also advisable to get a wellness check once a year as well from a regular physician as well as dental, vision, and hearing check-ups. These visits help to catch any problems early on in their development which is when they are easiest to treat.

Manage Stress

Learn to handle the stress that is just part of life through any of the many proven techniques for stress release. For some people, this comes through doing yoga. For others, it comes from regular meditation. Others learn how to think positively and change the way they talk.

Prevent Cancer

In this day and age, the harm that comes from smoking is well known. Not only does it take a toll on your health, but your wallet as well. Improve your physical and monetary quality of life by quitting this habit. Also, as skin ages, it become thinner, drier, and loses elasticity. This all makes it much more vulnerable to the harmful UV rays of the sun, so be sure and protect yourself as much as possible with sunscreen and wearing long sleeves.

Eat Healthy

The other half of exercising is eating well. Make sure you are eating enough food to ensure that all nutritional needs are being met. Many problems occur as a person ages, but many of these problems can be alleviated or improved through diet and exercise, so be sure to pay attention to what you eat.  Avoid fat and sugar and always be sure to get enough calcium and milk. Another thing that is often overlooked is sodium intake because too much sodium increases blood pressure. As you age, the taste buds dull and cannot taste as well. This is why people commonly add salt to their food more as they age.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

When there is more weight to carry around, the harder your joints have to work as well as your organs. The most common problems deal with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These can be controlled with medications and a CPAP machine, but if you can keep your weight under control, none of these things will be required.

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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 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!

5 Tips to Age Well

When you look back at your life, do you think of what would your life be if you had done something you were too afraid to do back then? Everybody has those moments where looking back makes us regret the decisions we made or could have made.

Stress
Long-term emotional stress makes people grow old before their time. Stressful events don’t predict your future health but it’s better to vent off stress once in a while. If you find that you are working yourself off, then maybe it’s time to take that vacation you were planning for.
Remember it’s a one step at a time process. Focus on fewer things at a time because thinking about too many things at once only makes frustrates you more. Simplify your schedule, clean up all the clutter and find time for things that bring you peace.

Exercise
Exercise always helps both the mind and the body. Regular exercise will renew your mind and body giving you that extra boost you need each day. We lose approximately 8 % of our muscle mass each decade. While, studies suggest that this process is lower in people who exercise like runners, cyclists and swimmers. An inactive lifestyle is a major risk for heart diseases. Regular exercise strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system.

Socialize
Aging successfully is best achieved through connecting more with the people around you. Whatever connection you have, remember it is very crucial for good health. Studies show that people who are isolated face fewer risks of a mental decline than those with satisfying social relationships. They may also have stronger disease prone immune systems.

Don’t Deceive Yourself
All of us avoid seeing some things just because they are too painful. Stop deceiving yourself that you can’t do something or you can’t handle something. To be a better man, you first have to think that you can be a better man. A pessimistic attitude will take you nowhere and you will always end up being surrounded by the same problems. Take charge of your life and learn lessons from life. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s only when you fall that you learn to get up.

Strive
Keep working to improve everything about yourself and everything you do. People who gain the most success in life are the ones who never lose hope and keep working hard to improve themselves in any field they work. Stop thinking that the moment will arrive when you will become the perfect person you should be. Growth is a continuous process, and life keeps teaching you and people around you new things about you on a daily basis. Take those little opportunities now instead of waiting for something big to happen. Remember: Improvement is a never-ending process.

Andy has been working in the healthcare industry for several years distributing patient hoist for people with reduced mobility. Andy has also been a regular blogger and contributor in various industry forums and blogs.