October 1, 2019
Aging comes with its own set of unique mental and physical challenges. Depression is a common disease among adults over the age of 65. Although common, it is not a normal part of the aging process. Depression is a mood disorder that results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. For seniors, depression is often misdiagnosed, overlooked, or attributed to other medical conditions or medications.
These are a few risk factors that may increase depression in seniors:
- Social withdrawals and lack of supportive social circle
- Relocation from home environment
- Stressful life events such as the death of a spouse, divorce, medical event, etc.
- Drastic weight changes
- Extreme changes in sleep pattern
- Chronic pain or poor health
Here are some common signs of senior depression:
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness that last more than two weeks
- A sense of worthlessness
- Loss of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Increase in irritability, anxiety, and restlessness
- Feeling fatigued
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Substance abuse, including drinking, smoking and using more drugs than prescribed
An important point to remember is that clinical depression can be treated. If left untreated, depression in seniors will result in a poor quality of life, substance abuse, increased mortality, and possibly suicide. If you or someone in your life develops some of these signs of depression the first step is to seek medical help from a physician or mental health professional.
February 12, 2019
The classic saying goes, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” It’s well known for good reason. A proper first meal can help start your day in a positive direction. More importantly, as we get older, it’s imperative to eat a well-rounded diet. Here are 7 easy breakfast ideas for seniors that are fast, tasty, and easy!
If you’re providing these meals as a senior caregiver, be sure to check food restrictions and recommendations with your senior’s medical team before serving.
Oatmeal and Fresh Fruit
Cook up some oatmeal using quick oats and water. For a creamier consistency, make the oatmeal with milk. Top with fresh seasonal berries (or defrosted frozen berries) and a slight drizzle of honey for sweetness.
Toast a couple of slices of your favorite bread (sourdough and whole wheat work well). Spread fresh avocado on the toast, top with a fried egg and a sprinkle of salt.
Eggs and Toast
Eggs and toast are a breakfast classic both for its simplicity and customizability. Cook a couple of eggs in your preferred way, scrambled, over easy, or poached; it’s up to you! Pair your eggs with a slice or two of toasted and buttered bread for an easy and filling meal.
PB&J Waffle Twist
Try this new twist on breakfast waffles! Heat up a frozen waffle then spread your favorite butter (peanut, sunflower, almond, etc) on top. Spoon a teaspoon of your favorite jelly or jam on top and add a handful of fresh fruit like cut bananas, raspberries, or strawberries for a refreshing burst of flavor.
Mix your favorite plain or vanilla yogurt with toppings like granola, dried fruit, berries, and honey.
For a more savory breakfast, spread hummus on a slice of toast, top with a slice of tomato and sprinkle on some chopped green onions or fresh basil.
Breakfast burritos are another classic breakfast meal. Fill a flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, cooked crumbled breakfast sausage, and your favorite salsa. Add cheese and avocado for an even tastier burrito!
February 4, 2019
More than one in every four Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from a fall each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
As a caregiver, safety is one of your top priorities. Preventing falls is one way we can keep our senior clients healthy and happy. Here are some fall prevention tips for seniors.
Assess the Environment
- Take preventive measures to clear pathways of clutter.
- Arrange furniture to make rooms easy to navigate and allow ample space around items.
- Remove or secure floor rugs.
- Organize the house with most used items to be available at waist level to minimize the need to bend or climb.
- Apply high-contrast colored tape to top and bottom of stairs and thresholds.
- Make sure the home and stairways are well lit.
- Use a night light and/or leave a light on in the bathroom to reduce the risk of falls in the dark
- Allow plenty of time for activities and tasks.
- Encourage the client to use walking aids (canes, walkers).
- Use assistive devices to retrieve items from high shelves.
- Replace shoelaces that tie with elastic ones that won’t come untied and present a tripping hazard.
- Encourage the client to use handrails.
- Suggest the client keep one hand free when walking to allow her to grab onto a sturdy object to stop a fall.
- Minimize distractions and help the client focus while walking.
- Understand the person’s history with falls.
- Notice abilities changing, such as vision, perceptual changes, mobility, and the ability to perceive touch.
- Weight loss, nutrition changes or medication side effects.
- Encourage daily exercise to increase or maintain physical strength.
There are also health conditions that could cause falls:
- Oher chronic conditions (cataracts, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease)
If you recognize that the client is at risk for falls because of environmental or health reasons call the office immediately.