Both average life expectancy and the prevalence of diabetes are continuing to rise.
For seniors, type 2 diabetes is a growing problem, and a larger proportion of newly diagnosed diabetics are older in age. Treating and diagnosing diabetes amongst the elderly can be a challenge. Since April is National Defeat Diabetes Month, let’s look at how this impacts seniors specifically.
So, what are some differences in diagnosing diabetes among the elderly when compared to diabetes in the young?
1. Elderly people who are at risk of developing diabetes, or who have already developed the disease, may not exhibit the classic symptoms expected.
2. Age-related changes can mean that some symptoms will be masked, or harder to spot.
All diabetes complications can occur amongst older patients. Cognitive complications are more common amongst the elderly. Further problems may include pre-existing or co-existing health problems. Many elderly diabetic patients are pre-disposed to hypoglycemia. Understanding diabetes is an important step. Education, of both the patient and caregiver, can be important in recognizing warning signs before a crisis occurs.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes is a common disease, yet every individual needs unique care. We encourage people with diabetes and their families to learn as much as possible about the latest medical therapies and approaches, as well as healthy lifestyle choices. Good communication with a team of experts can help you feel in control and respond to changing needs.” It is important to have regular checkups with your primary care physician and communicate any concerns. Dealing with diabetes will be so much easier when you have a team approach.
My mother always said that before you can love anyone else, you must love yourself and take care of yourself. One of the best ways to love yourself…is to take care of yourself. That can be hard to do if you are always trying to take care of everyone else. February is American Heart Health Month, which makes it a perfect time for us to hard look at our heart health. Seniors are at a particular risk when it comes to heart issues. A staggering 84 percent of seniors over the age of 65 die from heart disease. Here are the warning signs and steps to take towards better heart health according to everdayhealth.com.
The warning signs of heart disease often don’t appear until you’re having a heart attack. Symptoms of an emergency or impending heart attack may include:
Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness
Having a hard time catching your breath
Feeling nauseous or vomiting
Feeling very full or having indigestion
Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest
Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck
An irregular heartbeat
Steps to Take
You can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are, but it does take effort — possibly even changes in your everyday habits, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and increasing your activity level. Here’s how to get started:
Get enough exercise This means at least 30 minutes of exercise almost every day of the week.
Quit smoking If you do smoke, it’s not worth the risk.
Eat a heart-healthy diet Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats.
Watch your numbers Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication.
Reduce your alcohol intake Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health conditions that contribute to heart disease, like blood pressure, arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels.
Minimize stress in your life Stress can compound many heart disease risks that seniors already face, steering you toward an unhealthy lifestyle. Find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your heart disease risk.
Watch your weight Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease risk. To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for your size.
You can also find more heart health information on the website millionhearts.hhs.gov. They even have a heart age calculator that can be a real eye opener. There is no better time than right now to focus on your heart health. If you have concerns talk to your doctor. Take time to take care of you.
As we prepare to give thanks and gather around the table…I remember. I remember that it was just last Thanksgiving that we experienced a “first” in our community. It was the first time that all 16 of our residents were out with family at the EXACT same time. It was a strange feeling for the folks that were working that day. I remember them calling to tell me about it. Oh, there is always plenty to be done and the staff was happy for the residents to be spending quality time with family and loved ones. It was just a new first for our community. What about you? Is this the first year that you will be planning Thanksgiving after having moved a loved one into an assisted living? Are you concerned with all the preparation and worried about the visit? Here are a few tips to help you stress less and enjoy Thanksgiving with your elderly loved ones.
Schedules and Timing
As much as you don’t want to plan out every little detail, you do want to give it some thought. Remember that if they are residing in an assisted living they may now be accustomed to a more structured routine. You will want to check with the staff regarding medications and proper protocol. You want to be sure to keep everything on track.
Food and Options
Our residents live very active and independent lifestyles. They enjoy making their own choices and directing their care. But it is important to consider their dietary needs. Be mindful of food options. Remember if Mom doesn’t need the extra salt or Dad needs alternative dessert options.
One of the most common comments I hear from families is that they are shocked when not long after eating ….the elderly loved one is ready to go back to their community (new home). Now naturally this makes an administrator very happy that a resident has come to feel comfortable in their community. But don’t let it make you feel down. Remember they have gotten on their own time schedule. They are enjoying your company, but like many people after a gathering may need some rest.
As with all time together…just enjoy. Make it special but don’t put too much pressure on your family member or yourself (for that matter) to meet unrealistic expectations. Incorporate them into the conversation. Maybe call ahead of time and get their special recipe for a favorite dish. Spend time talking, relating and making treasured memories. Savor these moments together and you ALL will come away from the gathering feeling grateful.
Ah yes, we are now possibly tearing open the wrappers of many a piece of candy and finishing off those sugary treats as we enter November and the month of the Thanksgiving Feast! Perhaps that is why November is considered National Diabetes Month. This observance was created so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports that “half of all Americans age 65 or older have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 11.2 million (nearly 26 percent) Americans over age 65 have already been diagnosed with diabetes, a figure that will continue to increase if we do not act to prevent diabetes in this population.”
There are many things the “experts” tell us to do to get to and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes: Choose healthy foods, make healthy meals, be active 30 minutes a day. But where should you start? It’s can be overwhelming. And it can be even harder if you have a lot of changes you want to make.
It’s easier to make lifestyle changes one step at a time. Think of each small step as one piece of your effort to change your habits. Making changes one step at a time gives you the best chance to reach and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that making just a few small changes can make a big impact on your weight and health. Learn how to make these changes step-by-step.
Things that you want to consider are:
Weight: Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol.
Diet:Always ask your healthcare provider about healthy eating plans and what you can and can’t have in your diet. Each person is different and industry standards have changed.
You may want to check with your health care provider or dentist if you find chewing difficult, don’t want to eat, or have trouble with your dentures.
You feel that life events such as the death of a loved one or moving from your home are keeping you from eating well.
You think your medicines may be making your food taste bad or affecting your appetite.
You think you should take a daily vitamin like iron or vitamin C.
Exercise: Physical activity can do a lot for your health, even if you haven’t been very active lately. Take a walk, do chair aerobics, just get up and move if you can! As with all health changes, discuss your exercise plan with your primary care physician.
While strumming his guitar my Dad once told me that when it came to singing or playing an instrument that you must use it or lose it. That’s crazy I thought. I mean if you have an ability, you have an ability… right? WRONG! Try singing after not having done it in a few years and you might be shocked at the quality or tone that you produce. It’s not pretty, trust me. Just in the way that you must utilize a talent to keep it going, you also must work your brain to keep it healthy.
According to John E. Morley, MD, director of St. Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and author of The Science of Staying Young, “simple games like Sudoku and word games are good, as well as comic strips where you find things that are different from one picture to the next,”In addition to word games, there are other brain stimulating activities.
Socialization to improve the brain situation! According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies show that seniors who regularly participate in social interactions can retain their brain health. So keep connected with others. For those friends and family that live far away, correspondence by e-mail or social media or even writing letters can keep you connected. Don’t stay holed up in your house alone. This is not healthy for you on multiple levels including your brain.
Keep Moving! A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, among seniors, “moderate physical activity is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment after 2 years.” Simply taking a walk or doing chair exercise is a great way to get that heart pumping and keep the blood flowing to the brain.
Lay Your Cards on the Table Playing games with others is another way to maintain and increase brain health. Regularly playing board or card games, or engaging in other intellectually stimulating games with others helps keep your mind active.
The vitality of your brain is the superhighway to your overall health. There are also many brain healthy foods that physicians recommend. Check out the following list from healthable.org for a list of Foods to Keep Your Brain Fit!
For most, knowledge is power. If you know the risks you should be able to avoid the consequences. That is the exact premise behind February being designated National Heart Month. American Heart Month, a federally designated event, is a great way to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends, and communities involved.
Did you know according to the American Heart Association?
The first American Heart Month, which took place in February 1964, was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson via Proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963.
The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.
At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease.
While American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year.
That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
The Center for Disease Control reports that even though heart disease is still the leading cause of death for Americans, the rate of seniors hospitalized because of heart disease has decreased almost 50%, which indicates that nationwide education and prevention efforts are paying dividends. Assisted living communities are a great asset for those looking to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes. Some of the benefits include:
Menus approved by dieticians
Exercise programs to keep you moving
Blood Pressure Monitoring and Medication Management
Below is the graphic put out to encourage seniors to stay active for heart health. For more information check out the link to the American Heart Association. For more information about our communities check out: http://www.greatoaksmanagement.com
After all the fun and festivities that the holidays bring, it is commonplace for most to begin thinking of making changes to begin a new year. New Year Resolutions are a good thing for folks of all ages. Making resolutions regardless of our age, creates a sense of purpose for all of us. It helps us to focus on the things that are the most important. Seniors can especially benefit from this if resolutions are made to prevent illness and injury. Making resolutions such as participating in a new physical activity, developing a new exercise routine, or eating better are all good goals for seniors. But what is the best way to do this and succeed?
Write it Down
Writing down your resolution is only half the battle! Chart it and not only document your defeats, but celebrate your victories! According to a study by the University of Scranton research shows that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Writing it down puts it in black and white and gives a sense of accountability. Trying to lose weight or exercise more? Writing it down or having someone chart it for you will help you track your success.
Keep it Simple
Now most of us have heard of the KISS system. You know, Keep It Simple Stupid! Now while this may sound ridiculous, it is rather ingenious. If you have a simple and small goal that you want to achieve….and you have written it down…well, then it is more likely to stick with you! According to psychologist Lynn Bufka, “it’s more sensible to set simple small attainable goals, rather than a singular overwhelming goal”. A resolution to lose weight is a bit more daunting than to just cut out soft drinks. It’s less restrictive and much more clear cut. So, pick something small to change and work on that.
Give Yourself a Break
If you do have a slip up, don’t give up! Remember that you are only human. Have you been dieting and feel like you could eat your weight in chocolate?? Well…don’t do that and try to A-V-O-I-D feeling deprived. Eat a small piece of chocolate. Have a cheat day. Are you trying to exercise more? Start slowly. Don’t feel like you must exercise every day if this is new to you. Maybe your target is walking two or three times a week to start with.
Set yourself up for success and keep your goals realistic.
By taking small steps, making your goals clear and realistic you stand a better chance of making 2017 your best year yet. You also want to check with your physician first before making any changes to your diet and exercise plan. If you feel like Assisted Living is a goal for you or a loved one this year, reach out to us today. Our staff is trained to help our residents with the activities of their daily life. We would love to welcome you home to a Great Oaks Management Property in 2017.
So, what kind of person are you? Are you the Grinch at Christmas or are you more like Buddy the Elf? Hopefully you are somewhere in between. The holidays are not all lights, baking and singing Christmas carols for everyone. This especially holds true for some seniors. The songs that stir the hearts of many during the season can evoke feelings of sadness for others. But the best thing to do is not to allow the blues to get the best of you during the holidays or anytime for that matter. Here are some tips to help you or a loved one cope and avoid a “blue” Christmas.
Stay Active! Exercise is not only good for the heart it is also excellent for the mind. By doing reasonable exercise based on your doctor’s recommendations and your ability, you can keep the blood pumping. It also improves our metabolic rate and increases the production of endorphins which are those natural mood lifters in the brain.
Makeover your Mood! Studies show that the simple act of getting a haircut or even a hot shave makes you feel better! Don’t discount the benefits of a nice pedicure too. Feeling better about yourself will help make your spirits improve.
Eat Better! Now while the holidays offer many opportunities for sweet treats that we may only have once a year, it’s best not to indulge. While these goodies typically show their havoc on waistlines, they have also been proven to derail our moods and cause depression as well. So, don’t wait until the New Year to practice better eating. Everything in moderation and stick to a well-balanced diet.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” So, this is not something to minimize. If you feel that your loved one may need more professional help. Don’t delay and don’t minimize the situation. Reach out and show love. If they are living alone, consider a move to assisted living or to a situation that will help stimulate them socially. Be sure to keep them engaged. Remember the way we feel mentally has a huge impact on our health physically.
The holidays are over, it’s cold outside, and so it’s time for soup. Nothing warms a body up like a hot bowl of homemade soup. January is National Soup Month and it couldn’t come at a better time.
Do you have fond memories of a favorite soup, simmering on the stove with the smell welcoming you into the house like a big hug? Is it vegetable, chicken, or maybe chili? Are there special events you have celebrated with soup?
The origins of soup are as old as mankind, probably dating back to the Neolithic Age. Early man used soup to stretch his food supply and to help survive harsh winters when fresh food was not available. Historically, soup has been used to strengthen people who were ill and to help families stretch their food budgets.
So get out those cookbooks. Whip up a big pot of your favorite soup to chase away the cold weather. Go ahead and look for something new, something you haven’t tried before and see if you can find a new favorite soup.
It’s no secret that eating healthy is probably a great life choice to make, no matter your age. But did you know that age does become a factor when selecting which healthy foods are consumed? Sodium, added sugars, and solid fats become items that need to be monitored more closely as we get older. You might be asking “Well then what should I be eating?”. That is what we are going to talk about today!
Nutrients to Know
There are five main food types that the body needs to stay healthy: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water.
Proteins – Often called the building blocks of the body, good proteins include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Carbohydrates – These are broken into two categories: Simple and Complex. Simple carbs include fruits, vegetables, and milk products as well as honey and sugar. Complex carbs are in breads, cereals, pasta, rice, beans, peas, potatoes, and corn.
Fats – These are broken down into four groups: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated, and Trans fats. Monounsaturated fats are in canola, olive, peanut, and safflower oils as well as avocados, peanut butter, and some nuts/seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, soybean, and flaxseed oil as well as in fatty fish, walnuts, and some seeds. Saturated fats are found in red meat, milk products like butter, palm oil, and coconut oil. Regular cheese, pizza, and grain or dairy based desserts are also a souce. Trans fats are found in stick margarine and vegetable shortening.
Vitamins – These help the body grow as well as regulate it. There are 13 vitamins: C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). These can be found in vitamins/vitamin supplements as well as in some foods.
Minerals – These help the body function. Some important minerals include iodine, flouride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Eating a varied diet is the best way to ensure a healthy mineral intake.
Water – Seems like a no-brainer, right? You would be surprised how often health problems can be traced back to dehydration. Research indicates that seniors are far more likely to experience adverse health effects from insufficient levels of fluid than younger adults. On average, seniors have 10% less fluid in their bodies compared to younger adults. To read more about staying hydrated, check out our blog post on that topic here!
Here we gave you just a small overview of ways to eat healthier as you age. If you want to learn more, visit the National Institute on Aging.