Eating well over 50 and beyond is essential to the mind, body and soul. The rewards of caring for your body include living longer, feeling stronger, a sharp mind and boosted self-esteem. Typically a woman over the age of 50 requires about 1600 calories a day (inactive lifestyle), 1800 calories for a somewhat active lifestyle and about 2000 calories a day for a very active lifestyle. For a man of the same age, 2000 calories for inactive, 22oo-2400 for a somewhat physical lifestyle and 2400-2800 for very active seniors*. Of course, a balanced lifestyle and diet is strongly encouraged and will contribute to a higher quality of life and enhanced independence with age.
Here are a few ways you can make the most out of your shopping experience and get the most
Buy Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
When shopping, spend the majority of your time in the produce section. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Seniors should get at least 5 servings a day of these nutritional superstars. Be sure to focus on the whole fruit rather than juices which tent to have more sugar. Additionally, choose dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli or Swiss chard for an antioxidant rich boost.
Read Nutritional Labels
Take time to read the labels of various products. Often times, sodium levels are higher than one might expect.
Canned and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Canned fruits and vegetables offer similar nutritional benefits as their fresh counterparts, sometimes at a reduced cost. Be mindful to choose unsalted or unsweetened varieties when possible.
Keep Nuts and Fiber on Your Grocery List
Almonds and walnuts have shown to help with heart health. Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, and it keeps you full, which helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Finally, make sure to stay hydrated year round, not just in the hotter months of the year. Challenge yourself to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. As we age, some seniors are prone to dehydration simply because our bodies are less efficient at regulating fluid levels and the innate sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
No matter how healthy your diet, eating the same foods over and over is bound to get boring. Rekindle inspiration by browsing produce at a farmers market, reading a cooking magazine, buying foods or spices you haven’t tried before, or chatting with friends about what they eat. By making variety a priority, you’ll find it easier to get creative with healthy meals.
Choosing personal or assistive care at home for a loved one entails various safety considerations on your part to ensure that you are not posing any threat to their health and safety. Due to the lack of coordination and reduced sensitivity to their environment, seniors sometimes lack the capacity to assess the features in their environment on whether it poses a hazard. According to estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly one million people over age 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with the products they live with and use every day. Here are several products that can be installed into a loved one’s home to prevent these potential injuries:
Raised toilet seat — Many seniors have knee or muscle problems that cause pains whenever they need to sit on lower surfaces. Installing an adjustable raise toilet seat enables seniors to go to the bathroom conveniently, but it also helps prevent further medical problems
Grab bars for toilet and shower — Grab bars offer similar advantages to the raised toilet seat. They aid weak knees when getting off the toilet and give senior family members a place to lean on while showering. SurfMed offers this package with four different sizes.
Hand-held shower head — As seniors lose some of their mobility and flexibility, it is harder and harder to move around freely and to get water into all those “hard-to-reach” areas. It also allows them to adjust the temperature of the water before pointing the shower head at themselves and can be used easily from a seated position. As an added bonus, it allows them to access the shower while it’s still dry, decreasing the risk of falling. SurfMed has a variety of options ranging from basic, inexpensive ones to deluxe versions with tons of settings.
Bath benches or chairs — Bath benches are helpful for people that tire easily and need to sit down frequently. They can be used by senior who fatigue easily or have issues with standing balance. However, if a senior has difficulty stepping into or out of a bathtub or shower, they may require more support for this transfer than can be provided with a bench or chair.
Reachers — Reachers can lower the requirement to put a senior’s body’s on the line. Very simple movements can become unattainable and may end up being the trickiest to deal with. For example, simply using lotions, sunscreen oils, and creams can become troublesome. There are many adapters for reachers, including a lotion applicator. They even come in this folding design, available from SurfMed.
Other products that can be beneficial for loved ones include button loopers and zipper pulls, specialized dinner ware, single-level faucets, and touch- tone telephones with large numbers and speaker or hands-free settings.
Due to the growing popularity of in-home care for seniors, it’s important to make sure you and your loved one are aware of the potential dangers and difficulties present in the home and prepare accordingly. The best part about giving loved ones these safety features is that they will no longer rely on other people for some of their day-to-day tasks – this gives them a better sense of independence, something that is crucial to them in these later stages of life.
These products and many more that can potentially make a home much safer for elderly family members are available from SurfMed, a pharmacy and home medical supplies company. All of their products are available to view and order from their website, www.surfmed.com or via phone call at 305-866-0718.
Are you one of the 44.4 million adults* providing care for a loved one with a debilitating illness? We know it can sometimes be a struggle to keep the day safe, healthy and engaging for the person you love. Check out these five great caregiving tips designed to help you stimulate all five senses – an essential practice for keeping the brain and body as sharp as possible:
1. SIGHT: Look and interact
Challenging your loved ones – in a fun environment — to look at specific items and interact with them is a great way to stimulate the brain. A perfect example: Play Bingo. Recognizing the numbers on the cards is a great way to engage the brain while placing chips.
Another great activity is scrapbooking. Collecting and talking about memories is an obvious way to recall “the old days.” Collect postcards from places visited, photos of visitors, anything to remind you of a special day’s events. Then revisit those memories in weeks to come.
2. HEARING: Listen to the music
Music is a great way to connect with your loved ones and enhance the caregiving relationship. By playing different types of music you can spark conversation with your loved ones about the past.
For example, prior to talking about their wedding day (and maybe looking at a wedding scrapbook), put on some soft wedding songs and let the memories come back.
Music can play a key role in exercising as well. Background music can lower a person’s perception of the effort they are expending in exercise by about ten percent. By playing upbeat music you can positively affect the way your loved one gets through their necessary exercises.
3. TOUCH: Feel the love
Do not forget about the power of touch. Soft clay-like products or special exercise items (such as balls) can be manipulated or squeezed to help strengthen the hands. Simple toys can be a good option for keeping seniors active while encouraging hand-eye coordination.
Another great way to bring joy to your loved ones is by having them interact and pet animals, such as dogs and cats. Pets are known to provide better physical and emotional health, as well as, greatly increase the quality of life.
4. TASTE: Enjoy the flavor
It is important to understand that taste and smell senses diminish with age. Seniors tend to lose sensitivity to salty and bitter tastes first and may be inclined to salt food more heavily than before—even though seniors need less salt than younger people.
Use herbs, spices, and healthy oils—like olive oil—to season food instead of salt. Similarly, seniors tend to retain the ability to distinguish sweet tastes the longest, leading some to overindulge in sugary foods and snacks. Instead of adding sugar, try increasing sweetness to meals by using naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or yams.
5. SMELL: Savor the aroma
Smells are great at bringing back memories. Aromatherapy is a great way to engage the senses. Even an activity as simple as cooking foods with strong scents can inspire the senses (the olfactory senses are great at triggering memory as well). The next step might be incorporating aromatherapy into therapeutic massage.
*2003 National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP National Caregiver Survey
The “Sandwiched Generation” and the Need for Home Care Assistance
Those born post-World War II are usually referred to as the “Baby Boomers,” but in recent years, their title has evolved to the “Sandwiched Generation.” People raised between the years of 1946 and 1964 are experiencing a shift in roles – not only are they responsible for taking care of their children, but also their own parents. An estimated 16 million Americans find themselves ‘sandwiched’ between two generations, struggling to raise their kids while caring for an aging loved one. This is exactly the type of person for whom home care assistance is designed.
People are living longer and Boomers are having their own children later. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find a 50-year-old with school-aged children and a living parent who faces challenges with Activities of Daily Living. A home health aide or personal care assistant can help with physical challenges faced by aging parents – such as meal preparation, bathing and transportation – as well as provide the mental health benefits of an engaged companion throughout the day.
Time spent taking care of one’s parents is time away from the needs of one’s own children, which can cause stress on caregivers already juggling a full plate of family and career responsibilities. Also, the line drawn between independence and dependence for the Sandwiched Generation’s parents can cause tension within relationships. When parents fall ill, “They become terrified of losing their independence,” said Howard Gleckman, author of Caring for Our Parents. So, what is the Sandwiched Generation to do?
Hiring a home-health aide or personal care assistant can ease the burden. Not only will at-home care keep independence in-tact for as long as is feasible, but will help relieve the everyday stresses that the Sandwiched Generation may face. Home care is a financially savvy option for the Sandwiched Generation (in comparison to paying for nursing home care) and will leave them with ample time to spend with their own families. Hiring a home-health aide is a guilt-free way to be sure loved ones are receiving the best care possible.
If you find yourself “sandwiched” between the responsibilities of caring for your own kids as well as your parents, please give Caring Home Care a call. We’d be delighted to provide you with “better care at home.”