You Can Eat Your Water: Hydrating Foods

Staying hydrated can prove to be a challenge for some people. According to the old rule of thumb, we’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water each day. Drinking the recommended amount of fluids each day may cause some people to feel bloated and uncomfortable. That uncomfortable feeling may cause some people to avoid ingesting the recommended amount of fluids. However, it still is very important for us to maintain adequate hydration in order for our body to function optimally.

Roughly 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables. With that in mind, we don’t have to drink all of our fluids, we can eat some of them!

15 Top Hydrating Foods and their Percentage of Water Content:
Cucumbers: 96.7%, Iceberg Lettuce: 95.6%, Celery: 95.4%, Radishes: 95.3%, Tomatoes: 94.5%, Green Peppers: 93.9%, Cauliflower: 92.1%, Watermelon: 91.4%, Spinach: 91.4%, Star Fruit: 91.4%, Strawberries: 91.0%, Broccoli: 90.7%, Grapefruit: 90.5%, Baby Carrots: 90.4%, Cantaloupe: 90.2%

Consider These Fun Options to Keep Hydrated:
•    Eating Jell-O, sorbet, yogurt smoothies, frozen grapes, applesauce, popsicles, coconut water, shaved snow cones, cold summer soups such as gazpacho, cucumber soup and chilled summer borscht.
•    Adding fresh herbs such as mint or rosemary and fruit such as orange, lemon or lime makes for a very refreshing glass of water! A slice of cucumber imparts a unique flavor to water, too.
•    Serving food with a sauce can also improve your fluid intake. Vegetable or fruit salsas are very high in water content, too.  Making instant cereals with water instead of milk is a great way to “sneak” in more hydration.
•    Experimenting with flavoring water and seltzer.

Nutrition and hydration is a big part of the overall care plan to keep you healthy. Let us assist you with exploring and preparing some of these creative hydration options!

Seniors and Hydration

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Summer is here and the temperatures are rising!

More than 60 percent of the human body is made up of water, so staying hydrated is important to keep our bodies functioning properly. As adults, we lose more than 80 ounces of water daily just through normal activity. Elderly adults are among the most at risk groups for dehydration. After age 65, dehydration is the most frequent cause of hospitalization. Because of the potentially serious consequences of this condition to seniors, it’s important to recognize the causes and symptoms of dehydration as well as how a person can stay properly hydrated.

Certain aging changes increase the older person’s risk of developing dehydration:

  • The function of the kidneys, which helps to regulate fluid, declines with aging.
  • The ability to recognize thirst decreases with aging — sometimes older people don’t realize they are thirsty.
  • With aging, the amount of body water decreases. So even a small change in fluid intake can cause dehydration.

The following factors can lead to fluid loss and dehydration:

  • Kidney problems or diabetes can increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Medication such as diuretics (water pills) increase the amount of fluid excreted.
  • Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or dementia may cause swallowing difficulties that can lead to a decrease in fluid intake.
  • Excessive loss of fluid through vomiting, urinating, stools or sweating.

To help avoid dehydration, older adults should be encouraged to:

  • Identify medications that may cause fluid loss, e.g., diuretics (water pills).
  • Drink 6 – 8 glasses of fluids per day (unless medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, discourage this amount. Talk with your medical provider about your recommended fluid intake).
  • Keep a variety of beverages available (that are OK with your specific diet, e.g., diabetes), as well as foods containing water (e.g., fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt).
  • Drink frequently during the daytime, rather than drinking large amounts at one time.

How can an elderly person tell if he or she is dehydrated?

  • Weakness, leg cramps, fatigue, confusion, decreased skin elasticity, dry or coated tongue, fever, weight loss and, at times, restlessness and agitation.
  • Dizziness, nausea, deep rapid breathing, confusion, decreased urination.

Our home care personnel are able to help maintain a person’s hydration and detect dehydration early on. Early detection and prevention is key to preventing a hospitalization and greater health issues. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Aging and Driving

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Aging and Driving

You may have driven your entire life and take great pride in your safety record, but as you age, it is important that you realize driving abilities can change. Aging tends to result in a reduction of strength, coordination and flexibility which can have a major impact on the ability to safely control a car. For example:

  • Pain or stiffness in your neck can make it harder to look over your shoulder to change lanes or look left and right at intersections to check for other traffic or pedestrians.
  • Leg pain can make it difficult to move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal.
  • Diminished arm strength can make it hard to turn the steering wheel quickly and effectively.
  • As reaction times also slow down with age, you may be slower to spot vehicles emerging from side streets and driveways, or to realize that the vehicle ahead of you has slowed or stopped.
  • It may become more difficult to divide attention between multiple activities such as, multiple road signs, signals, traffic and pedestrians

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Tips for safe senior driving

Aging does not automatically equal total loss of driving ability. There are many things you can do to continue driving safely, including modifying your car, modifying the way you drive and correcting physical issues that may interfere with safe driving.

Regular physical check-ups are essential to keep you in the best possible driving shape. Some steps you can take include:

  • Getting your eyes checked every year. Make sure that corrective lenses are current. Keep the windshield, mirrors and headlights clean. Turn the brightness up on the instrument panel on your dashboard.
  • Having your hearing checked annually. If hearing aids are prescribed, make sure they are worn while driving. Be careful when opening car windows, as drafts can sometimes impair a hearing aid’s effectiveness.
  • Talk with a doctor. Discuss the effects that ailments or medications may have on your driving ability. For example, if you have glaucoma, you may find tinted eyeglass lenses useful in reducing glare.
  • Sleeping well. Getting enough sleep is essential to driving well. If there are problems, try to improve nighttime sleep conditions and talk with your doctor about the effect of any sleep medications on driving.

By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. However, there might come a time when you do not wish to drive or you can no longer drive. In either case, we can drive for you!

Let us help you get around town and maintain your independence. We can drive you to appointments and errands. We can even help you visit with your loved ones too!

Senior Nutritional Considerations

Senior Nutritional Considerations

Age-related bodily changes can affect how the body processes food, which influences dietary needs and affects appetite. A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can help ward off potential health problems that are common in seniors, like constipation, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods can help maintain a healthy weight and can work wonders with energy level. These are some age related changes:

  • Metabolism slows down. This happens naturally, but it becomes more pronounced when activity level drops. When metabolism slows, the body doesn’t burn as many calories, which means you need to eat less and/or exercise more to stay at a healthy weight.
  • Digestive system changes. The body produces less of the fluids that it needs to process food in the digestive system. These changes can make it harder for the body to absorb important nutrients like folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.
  • Appetite change. Many medications for health conditions may cause side effects such as a lack of appetite or stomach upset, which can lead to poor nutrition.
  • Emotional health. Depression or loneliness often cause a loss of appetite and weight loss or over eating and unwanted weight gain.

senior-eating 2Tips to Boost Your Nutritional Health

  • Healthy fats. Choose healthy fats found in seeds, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils rather than saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Hydrate. Drink a lot of water and non-caffeinated beverages and eat foods with high water content (soups, cucumbers, grapes, and melons) unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
  • Whole grains. Fiber and nutrient rich foods will help with digestion and protect the heart. Choose brown rice, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread instead of white bread and refined grains.
  • Roughage. High-fiber foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains help reduce constipation, provide the vitamins, mineral and nutrients needed for healthy aging, help maintain weight and reduce the risk of heart problems.
  • Protein. Proteins like beans, eggs, chicken, fish, lean meats and nuts power the body.
  • Calcium. Calcium protects bone health. A calcium supplement, usually paired with vitamin D is calcium’s partner in bone building.
  • B12. Many cereals are fortified with vitamin B12. Because of the body’s decreased ability to absorb B12, getting more through diet and supplements will ensure these dietary requirements are met.

Additional benefits of healthy eating as we age include mental acuteness and resistance to illness and disease. Our staff can assist you with grocery lists, grocery shopping and meal preparation. Our staff may also provide companionship during meal time. Allow us to help keep you vibrant and healthy inside and out!

Cold Weather Risk for Older People

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setting the thermostatCold Weather Risk for Older People

Hypothermia (low body temperature) occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below normal and stays low for a prolonged period of time. With advancing age, the body’s ability to endure long periods of exposure to cold is lowered and the body’s response to cold can be diminished by certain illnesses such as diabetes, decrease in physical activity and some medicines.

How to Identify Someone with Hypothermia:

  • Confusion or sleepiness
  • Slowed or slurred speech
  • Shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs
  • Weak pulse
  • Poor control over body movements or slow reactions
  • Fingertips and lips might be a bluish color

Tips To Prevent Hypothermia:

  • Wear several layers of loose clothing. Wear a hat, scarf, gloves or mittens, and warm clothes when you go outside in cold weather.
  • To keep warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. While at home, it is important to keep active and mobile, in order to increase blood flow and raise body heat.
  • Maintain adequate home heating. Set your thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees.
  • Check with your doctor to see if any medications (prescription or over the counter) you are taking may increase your risk for hypothermia.
  • Drink a sufficient amount of water (8 -10 glasses a day)-even when you’re not thirsty! Eat frequent, relatively light warm meals (5-6 times a day).
  • Avoid high consumption of caffeine and alcohol.

What To Do If Hypothermia Is Suspected:

  • Contact medical emergency service immediately (EMS) and/or go to the hospital.
  • While waiting for the EMS, gently move the person to a warm and dry place.
  • If clothes are wet, remove them, and cover the person with dry clothes and blankets.
  • If the person suffering from hypothermia is conscious he/she should be given a warm drink.

Seniors on a limited income may qualify for financial help related to heating bills. State and local energy agencies, and some gas and electric companies, may have special programs. Another possible source of help is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Your local Area Agency on Aging, senior center, or community action agency may have specific information on these programs.

Heritage Christian Home Care staff can assist you to keep warm and safe during the cold winter season. We have your comfort and safety in mind!

Reducing Falls in The Home

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Did you realize that one out of three people 65 and older fall each year?

Falls constitute a leading cause of injuries, hospitalization and deaths among the elderly. Older people fall more often for a variety of reasons such as alterations in physical functioning, low blood pressure and the use (and misuse) of medications needed to manage their multiple conditions.

Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are largely preventable.

Here are some tips that can reduce your chances of falling in your home:

  • Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good. Always discuss the safety of any exercise program with your doctor first.
  •  Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  •  Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update your eyeglasses to maximize your vision. Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for some activities such as walking outside.

You can make your home safer and reduce tripping hazards by:

  • Adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet. Also, place a skid proof mat in the tub or shower.
  • Add railings on both sides of stairways.
  •  Improve the lighting in your home.
  •  Secure or remove scatter rugs. Remove clutter. Repair or remove unstable furniture.
  • Keep adaptive equipment such as canes and walkers in good repair and please remember to use them!
  • Be mindful of pets (and their toys/bones) underfoot.
  • Wear supportive and proper fitting footwear inside and out. Make sure hems on clothing are not dragging.

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Putting these safeguards in place can greatly reduce your risk for a fall at home. As your caregiver we will be making regular mental notes of any environmental risk factors that might present in your home. Together we can discuss the findings and the appropriate safety adjustments that will best maintain a safe home environment for you. We always have your safety in mind!

What To Look For When Hiring an In-Home Care Giver

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By Lynne Mancini  RN, BSN, MSN

There might come a time when you or a loved one needs some help with everyday activities such as bathing, meal preparation and mobility. Most people prefer to stay in their home and have help come to them.

Fotosearch_42-17233563 Hired help can be found through an agency. Since there are many agencies to choose from it can be confusing and perhaps intimidating! Selecting the right agency to provide you with a skillful and kind caregiver is the key to the best quality of life in your personal home setting. The following tips will assist you in selecting the best agency and caregiver.

 

Select a reputable agency that ensures that caregivers have a criminal back ground check, drug testing, TB testing and a recent medical examination to ensure that the caregiver is healthy and physically able to perform the necessary in-home work.

  1. Caregivers must be properly licensed or certified.
  2. Caregivers should have 2 to 3 years of current home care experience.
  3. Caregivers must pass reference checks and certain annual educational requirements.
  4. Caregivers should be experienced in the kind of care required, such as dementia care, diabetes care and cardiac care.
  5. Caregivers should be supervised by a nurse who makes unannounced visits in the home.

Aside from the practical considerations when selecting an individual to provide care, it is equally important to observe certain traits within this individual, such as:

  • Patience
  • Respectfulness
  • Tactfulness
  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Trustworthiness
  • Dependability
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to handle stressful and emergency situations

Seek an agency that understands that a “good fit” between a care giver and the person receiving the care is essential for the best possible in-home experience. Good relationships add richly to quality of life!

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

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By Lynne Mancini RN, BSN, MSN

Identity theft occurs when a thief steals a person’s social security number, bank account numbers and other financial or personal documents. With this information, the thief can open a new credit card account for his/her own use, apply for loans in the victim’s name, drain the victim’s bank accounts, and illegally obtain professional licenses, driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

Seniors are seen as an easy opportunity for this type of theft. People who steal other people’s identity often target older people because they are perceived as vulnerable. Senior adults may be socially isolated, lonely, hard of hearing and may have early dementia or memory loss. This is the perfect victim profile for an identity thief to prey upon.identity theft

Ways Identity is Stolen:

  • Stealing seniors mail that contain checks, tax, bank and credit card statements.
  • Receiving “official looking” mail that asks for sensitive information such as a social security number.
  • Receiving deceptive phone calls posing as a trusting source such as a bank or financial institution seeking sensitive information.
  • Receiving Emails that scam a person into supplying sensitive information.
  • Taking information right off of a credit card.

Ways to Thwart Identity Theft:

  • Shred all financial documents, bank statements, sensitive mail, credit card solicitations, and documents that contain any type of personal information.
  • Guard credit cards. Watch sales people, wait staff in restaurants, and anyone who asks for your credit card.
  • Cut up rarely used or unused credit cards.
  • Don’t let anyone copy your driver’s license. Anyone doing this has instant access to the senior’s address and from there, can get bank account numbers and personal data.
  • Get a locked mail box or post office box.
  • Have checks delivered to your bank or post office box, not your home address.
  • Never give out personal information or financial account information over the telephone. Telephone solicitors offer prizes and rewards to trick the person into telling the solicitor his/her bank account number, social security number, and mother’s maiden name. With that, the thief can wipe out a bank account in minutes.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Don’t be a statistic! It makes perfect sense to put certain actions in place to safe guard you against identity theft.

Your Home Health Aide or In-Home Companion is a caring professional who also serves as your advocate. They are happy to assist you with any of the tasks that might reduce or eliminate the risk of you being exploited by Identity Theft.

 

Respectful Home Boundaries

By Lynne Mancini RN, BSN, MSN

Realizing that you or a loved one needs assistance at home can be a daunting experience. Many questions arise and confusion might ensue. What do I really need? Who do I talk to? How do I start this process?

One question leads to more questions and the fact there are many home care agencies to choose from usually confounds the process. It can be overwhelming!

Additionally, having unfamiliar people come to your home is uncomfortable for most people. There is a level of trust and comfort that needs to be established before a truly therapeutic relationship can develop.

Lynne Mancini RN, BSN, MSN Director of Patient Services

Lynne Mancini RN, BSN, MSN
Director of Patient Services

Heritage Christian has served children and adults with developmental disabilities for more than 30 years. Through its adherence to moral and ethical principles has already earned the reputation for being a company with the highest level of compassion and integrity. Now we are able to extend that same service integrity to you in your personal home, through our new home care division: Heritage Christian Home Care!

We at Heritage Christian Home Care are respectful of the fact that your living space is very personal to you and that we are guests in your home. Keeping that in mind, you will always meet the healthcare staff before the care is actually delivered. The home care team will be aware of the areas in your home where they may go and the areas of your home that are to remain private. You will help direct this service plan!

Allow us to relieve the element of uncertainty that comes with the unfamiliarity of having people not known to you come into your home. There is so much more to focus on.  And that focus is you and your health and safety!