Senior Health

How to Best Manage Dysphagia: A Guide for Care

How to Best Manage Dysphagia: A Guide for Care There’s nothing better than a tall, cold drink on a hot summer day, but for a person with dysphagia, this simple pleasure could be dangerous. Dysphagia – or trouble with swallowing – impacts millions of seniors because of weakened mouth and/or throat muscles. Cancer, Alzheimer's, MS and stroke are all root causes as well. Learn more about how to best manage dysphagia in our informative guide. Symptoms of dysphagia include: Drooling Coughing, choking or gagging when drinking, eating, or taking medications A gurgling sound in the older adult's voice after drinking/eating In addition, if you suspect dysphagia in a senior member of the family, ask him or her these questions – and consult with the medical practitioner right away for further guidance: Are you choking or coughing when trying to eat or drink? Are you experiencing regular issues with food “going down the wrong pipe?” Is food getting caught in your throat? Is it taking you longer to eat than it used to? Are you…

Don’t Further Delay Important Medical Appointments for Seniors

Don’t Further Delay Important Medical Appointments for Seniors At the start of the pandemic, life as we knew it came to a screeching halt – including, in many cases, our health care needs. Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, shares, “There was a time, early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know much about this virus. So at that time, I think hospitals and clinics closing – that made sense.” But he goes on to explain that we know more now – and now is the time to get back on track with our medical appointments and procedures. We have evidence now that the health risks of avoiding important medical appointments for seniors outweigh the risk of contracting COVID-19. Experts have outlined three key in-person appointments we should all take care of immediately: Mental Health Care Most (if not all) of us have suffered a mental and emotional toll while living through a global health crisis. Even with virtual mental health care available, the statistics show that mental health crises are skyrocketing. Medications…

Dementia Caregiver Tips: The Benefits of a Memory Book

Dementia Caregiver Tips: The Benefits of a Memory Book “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss Memories are what binds together our past with who we are today; and for a person with Alzheimer's, confusion around these memories can have a serious impact. One of our goals in taking care of seniors with Alzheimer's is to help them hold onto and share memories in order to make sense of day to day life. A wonderful way to accomplish this is through the creation of a memory book, which includes photographs and brief descriptions to refer back to when a senior loved one has questions regarding his/her identity, loved ones, etc. Memory books are ideal for responding to repeated questions and for helping to clear any muddied waters. For instance, if an older adult asks who his brother is, whether he’s married (and to whom), where he used to live, etc., an easy response of, “Let’s go through the memory book,” can be very effective – and, can help with redirection as well for…

Best Ways to Tackle Depression in Older Adults During the Holidays

Best Ways to Tackle Depression in Older Adults During the Holidays Although this season is typically viewed as the season of joy, the holidays can create feelings of depression in older adults. Longing for holidays past, despair over the loss of family members, and troublesome changes to health can magnify through the holiday season, and it’s important to take steps to help older loved ones stop the downward slope into depression. Begin by asking yourself these three questions if a cherished older adult you love is feeling depressed this holiday season. 1. Might it be regular nostalgia? Wistful feelings of nostalgia, remembering pre-pandemic holiday get-togethers and celebrations, are normal for all of us. Determine if the senior’s sadness is lifted following a trip down memory lane, or if it lingers no matter the topic of conversation. 2. Is health impacted? If your family member is struggling to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, has trouble falling or staying asleep during the night, is losing weight, and/or feeling exhausted, these could all…

How to Help Your Aging Parents Celebrate The Holidays During COVID-19

How to Help Your Aging Parents Celebrate The Holidays During COVID-19 Think of the most perfect holiday season you can envision. While that image can vary a little for each of us, it could include lights, gifts, good food, and traditions passed down through the generations. However, what most definitely holds true for all of us is the satisfaction in spending time with the people we love. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has caused all of us to reconsider how to safely enjoy the holidays with our older family members. With a little bit of ingenuity and creativity, however, it’s possible to bridge the gap and make new memories with the older adults you love, even if you can’t be with them in person this year. Our aging care professionals have gathered a variety of suggestions for how to help your aging parents this holiday season: • Tweak traditions. Consider the traditions that mean the most to you as well as your family, and how you are able to change them to help keep everyone safe. For instance, if everyone usually gets together every year to…

Can a Humidifier Help Seniors Manage COPD?

Can a Humidifier Help Seniors Manage COPD? For older adults and those with lung conditions such as COPD, maintaining the best possible air quality in the house is vital. Air that is too dry, for instance, could cause or exacerbate health issues such as:  Itchy, dry, or chapped skin Nose bleeds Sore throat Dry eyes Aggravated allergy, asthma, and flu/cold symptoms such as congestion And much more Yet air that’s too humid can cause mildew and mold to develop, which can lead to a host of health problems along with damage to the house. Humidifiers, when used correctly, can help maintain the perfect level of moisture in the air (between 30 – 50%), and especially for people who manage COPD and other chronic lung diseases, can foster easier breathing, reduced irritation of nasal passages, and also the ability to more successfully expel phlegm in coughing. In addition, using a humidifier overnight can decrease congestion and snoring, help reduce the level of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, and even soothe an itchy…

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