Saturday, April 28, 2012
Potassium Concerns in the Elderly
Having sufficient nutrients in the body is a general goal for everyone. It doesn't necessarily take great effort to achieve this goal. If you simply follow a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, you should be healthy. However, taking medication, genetics, and age can cause you to become vitamin or mineral deficient. Potassium is one such mineral that the elderly or those individuals who care for them should be aware.
Potassium deficiency is rare because almost all foods contain potassium. The best sources of potassium include lean meat, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, beans, and many fruits (especially bananas and oranges). A diet that includes these foods is sufficient for obtaining adequate amounts of potassium.
Since potassium sources are so abundant, for most people potassium deficiency is not a concern. The elderly, however, are at a greater risk for potassium deficiency. The main reason the elderly should be concerned about sufficient deficiency is because their kidneys and other organs tend not to function as well. This results in the system not being able to absorb and regulate the amount of potassium in the body.
In addition, medications prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure are less effective with elderly. High blood pressure can lead to serious health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. So, the elderly who are prescribed blood pressure reducing medications with little success may want to discuss potassium supplementation with their doctor.
The main symptoms of potassium deficiency are irregular heart rate, gastrointestinal problems, muscle weakness and abnormal skin sensations, such as numbness. To detect potassium deficiency a doctor tests the patient's blood levels for the presence of potassium. If less than 5.6 grams of potassium are present the individual is determined to have a potassium deficiency.
To check out the supplement we take daily and highly recommend, be sure to check out this resource.
Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Evan H. Farr on Google +
Friday, April 27, 2012
Massage Therapy for Senior Citizens
A number of studies have shown that massage therapy can have a direct impact in managing the effects of aging. It has also shown promise in bringing comfort to those suffering from arthritis and other physical ailments.
As people age, they naturally become less active. This lack of physical activity can lead to the onset of other conditions which, if not dealt with, can greatly reduce their quality of life. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) has been promoting the use of massage therapy for some time now. According to a recent study, there is a general awareness of massage therapy but a lack of understanding of its direct benefits.
In the case of senior citizens, there are a number of benefits that be derived from therapeutic massage. According to the Touch Research Institute, it is extremely useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's patients, as it can facilitate relaxation and communication. In the case of arthritis sufferers, it can greatly assist in pain management and help increase range of motion. It also triggers natural joint lubrication, which is extremely important for those suffering from arthritis.
Massage therapy has also shown promise by helping to increase strength and muscle coordination, similar to the benefits of yoga for seniors. It can also greatly improve one's posture by reducing muscle tension, which has the added benefit of assisting seniors with a higher quality of rest. Massage has also been known to boost one's natural energy levels, along with their mental awareness. Study after study has shown that there is a place for massage therapy within the health care community.
More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of massage therapy, even diabetics. In an age where the common approach to pain management has been dominated by the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, massage therapy has shown to be an effective and natural solution to the ailments associated with process of aging. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about the benefits of therapeutic massage, please visit this page: massages for diabetics.
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Evan H. Farr on Google +
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Making the Nursing Home Choice
While placing a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision, there may come a time when it is the right one. It will help if you do your homework and trust your instincts.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the nation’s nursing homes provide care to over 1.5 million people. Over 90% of these residents are over age 65. Most of the residents are frail and require round-the-clock supervision due to dementia.
Things You Need to Know
A nursing home is a residence that provides room, meals, nursing and rehabilitative care, medical services and protective supervision to its residents. While someone coming from the hospital may require the services of many long-term care professionals such as nurses, therapists and social workers, a nursing home is not a hospital (acute care) setting. The goal at a nursing home is to help people maintain as much of their independent functioning as possible in a supportive environment.
Choosing a Facility
One of the first things to consider when making a nursing home choice is the needs of the individual for whom you’re providing care, suggest experts at the MetLife Mature Market Institute®. Make a list of the special care they need, such as dementia care or various types of therapy.
If the person is hospitalized, the discharge planner and/or social workers can assist you in assessing the needs of the individual and locating the appropriate facility.
If you are choosing a nursing facility for someone who is presently at home, ask for referrals from your physician, Area Agency on Aging, friends, and family.
Other factors such as location, cost, the quality of care, services, size, religious and cultural preferences, and accommodations for special care need to be considered.
When you’ve located a few facilities that you’d like to consider more thoroughly, plan on visiting each one, both with scheduled and unscheduled visits, and at different times and on different days of the week.
As you are walking around, take note of what you hear and don’t hear. Is it silent? Is there activity? How clean does it look? Are the residents dressed appropriately for the season? Most importantly, find out the ratio of nurses to residents is and what is the staff turnover rate?
When you’ve finally decided on a facility, you should know your rights and those of your family member. Before you or the resident sign the admissions agreement, understand what you’re signing, and do not sign any paperwork unless everything has been fully explained.
The admissions contract should, at a minimum, contain the daily room rate, reasons for discharge and transfer from the nursing home, and the policy regarding payment of the daily room rate if the resident goes to the hospital or the family brings the resident home for a short period of time.
You may question if you’re really making the right decision to place your loved one in a facility at all. Remember, you can do no more than your best, and if you’ve done that, neither you nor your family member can ask any more of you.
Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Evan H. Farr on Google +
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Caring For Mom And Dad As They Grow Older: What Baby Boomers Need To Know About Geriatric Health Care
I often get letters, like the two below, from Baby Boomers who are caring for aging parents and trying to find health care that meets the unique needs of older people. Finding the right kind of care can seem daunting, but a little information and some key resources can help tremendously.
Q: My 81-year-old mother recently fell and was rushed to the emergency room. The doctor who saw her suggested that she start seeing a geriatrician. What is a geriatrician and why should she see one?
A: A geriatrician is a physician with special training and expertise in caring for older adults, especially those with complex health problems. Like children, older adults have unique health care needs. As we age, our bodies change in many ways that affect our health. Among other things, we're more likely to develop chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, and to need multiple medications (all with potential side effects). About 80 percent of adults 65 or older have at least one chronic health condition and 50 percent have at least two. As we grow older it's also harder for us to recover from illnesses.
Q: I've tried to find a geriatrician for my parents but haven't had any luck. Why aren't there more geriatricians? What should I do?
A: Today, there are fewer than 7,000 practicing geriatricians in the U.S. That's about one geriatrician for every 5,000 adults over age 65. Finding a geriatrician is likely to become even more difficult over the next 20 years, as the nation's 77 million Baby Boomers reach retirement age. To prepare for this "Aging Boom," we need to support programs that both train geriatricians and better prepare all health care providers to care for older adults.
Image: arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Evan H. Farr on Google +
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