Malnutrition might not always be easily detectable, but it’s something that family caregivers should watch out for. The blog, A Place For Mom, reported that according to the American Academy of Family Physicians there were 3.7 million senior citizens who were diagnosed with malnutrition.

At A Place For Mom they advise caregivers to “WATCH” for the following:

    • Watch for physical problems such as bruising, weight loss and dental problems as potential signals.

 

    • Ask seniors about their eating habits — have their eating preferences changed?

 

    • Talk to a doctor about the nutritional needs of your aging parent. Also discuss physical or dental problems that could affect their eating.

 

    • Check with your pharmacist. The pharmacist can warn you of the potential for drug-food interactions. Medications can also have side effects that affect appetite, digestion or nutrient absorption

 

    • Have your visits at mealtimes so you can observe eating habits firsthand.

 

Combating malnutrition in seniors

The Mayo Clinic offers five helpful suggestions for combating malnutrition in seniors:

1. Encourage a nutritious and palatable diet. Foods such as chopped nuts, nut butters, wheat germ, egg whites and cheese can be added to meals for an additional nutritional boost. Herbs and seasonings can improve the taste of food for seniors, as well.

2. Snacks! Plan snacks for between meals.

3. Socialize mealtimes. Visit your loved one at mealtimes or encourage them to eat with friends at senior centers.

4. Exercise can improve appetite. Help seniors get regular exercise to improve their eating.

5. Provide tips and assistance with ways to save money on food. Seniors can split the cost of food in bulk with friends and family and can also seek out outlets that offer senior discounts.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

_

Photo: Flickr

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

Hospital readmissions cost about $17 billion a year in the United States. That’s a pretty astounding number. To give you an idea of how that’s possible just consider that a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that one in five patients covered by Medicare will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.

Even worse, 67 percent of patients that had been discharged with medical conditions and roughly 50 percent of patients that had been discharged after surgical procedures were either re-hospitalized or died within the first year after discharge.

As reported by Science Daily, one reason for the high number of readmissions is because hospitals “tend to transfer patients to less costly settings once their condition is stable.” Getting follow-up care at a skilled nursing facility or in the home is a good option, but needs to be carefully managed to assure that medical tests and appointments are completed. Sometimes the reason for these readmissions has been as simple as the patient was unable to get to their follow-up appointments and their condition declined leading to a return trip to the hospital.

Several projects have been launched at hospitals around the country that have yielded information for patients to keep them healthier and out of the hospital following an initial discharge. Project Red (Re-engineered Discharge), for example, seeks to educate patients while they’re in the hospital. It stresses that patients make appointments for needed follow-ups, makes sure that patients understand how to take medicines, and even calls patients two or three days after they leave the hospital in case there are any problems.

In addition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created a downloadable guide for patients to keep track of their care, appointments and medications when they leave the hospital. The guide is a great resource for keeping all care information in one organized place and can benefit the elderly patient, hopefully helping keep their follow-up care consistent and preventing them from a return trip to the hospital.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available options and help families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

Todays post features real-life stories of how Encompass Senior Solutions helped an elderly person and their loved ones through a tough decision-making process that ensured each persons individual care needs were met. Names have been changed to respect privacy.

Patty

Patty, a young woman recovering from a recent surgery, needed in-home care while her family had to go out of town for an extended period of time. The family contacted Encompass to construct a schedule using professional caregivers, along with family and friends, to take care of her until her family returned home.

Bill

Bill required substantial assistance while he lived in an assisted living facility. Still, he often left the facility on trips with his family. By employing Encompass, Bill was provided a caregiver to come along on each trip he took, making sure he’s safe. By providing a safety assessment/modification of his home and additional caregivers, Bill eventually was able to return to his home, where he remains today.

Carl

Carl, a 90-year-old man not interested in taking the traditional route of a skilled stay at a rehabilitation center, asked Encompass to create a safe plan for him to rehab at home. Encompass made his home safe, brought in Medicare certified skilled care — physical and occupational therapy — and provided him with 24-hour care. Within a month, Carl was walking with a cane and was soon back to living independently — all without having to set foot in a communal rehab facility.

Read more Real Stories from Encompass here.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

_

Photo: Flickr

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

On a day that reminds Nebraskans that winter is coming, the elderly and their caregivers should be mindful of preparing for flu season.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January and February are peak months for the flu season and those at highest risk include those 65 or older and those with health conditions that affect the heart, lung, kidney’s or weaken the immune system.

Dr. Mark Lachs, director of geriatrics at New York-Presbyterian Hospital told Science Daily, “Even when older adults contract the flu after immunization, which can happen, those cases tend to be less severe and of shorter duration.”

Experts suggest getting vaccinated early, but even once the flu season has begun, it’s not too late to get the vaccination. On the CDC’s list of people who should get immunized against the flu are those living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. It’s also important to make sure that if you’re providing care to an elderly person who is high-risk for flu that you get immunized as well.

U.S. Medicine reported that 90 percent of deaths to flu are in the elderly. Marvin Bittner, an associate professor of medicine and medical microbiology at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, told U.S. Medicine, “Last summer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report showing that over 20,000 people a year die in the U.S. as a result of influenza.”

Bittner also pointed out the significance of the 90 percent statistic involving the elderly and flu given that those over 65 make up only 15 percent of the population.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, caring for an elderly parent can be an overwhelming experience. Not only is there the stress tied to seeing the health of someone close to you deteriorate, there’s also the role reversal of caring for the person who cared for you so much of your life, which no doubt can be very emotionally draining. All this in addition to the time it takes to give your elderly parent proper care balancing work, family and friends all along the way.

If this sounds like you, remember help is always available from the knowledgable and experienced staff of senior care providers, such as Encompass Senior Solutions in the Omaha area.

Below is a list of common signs of caregiver stress, followed by some strategies you can follow to deal with them (via the Mayo Clinic).

Signs of caregiver stress

As a caregiver, the Mayo Clinic warns you not to “be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering.” Common signs that this is the case include:

    • An almost constant sense of fatigue

 

    • Feeling overwhelmed/irritable

 

    • Not sleeping enough/sleeping too much

 

    • Unusual gain/loss of weight

 

    • General loss of interest in once pleasurable activities

 

    • Depression

 

Strategies for dealing with caregiver stress

Stress in general, especially over a long period of time, is harmful to your health. That’s why as someone giving care it’s important to take care of yourself. Simple things like eating a balanced diet and getting regular physical activity can go a long way in keeping you grounded during your caregiving experience. Also, don’t ever hesitate to seek additional help and support. On that note, the Mayo Clinic offers these strategies that have proven useful to caregivers:

    • It’s OK to accept help. Just as you’re helping someone, there are likely plenty of other people willing to assist you. The Mayo Clinic recommends making a list of ways others can help, letting the helper choose what they’re willing or able to do (this can be as simple as cooking or cleaning once a week).

 

    • Focus on the things you can provide. Do your best with what you have to offer. “Your house does not have to be perfect, and no one will care if you eat leftovers three days in a row,” advises the Mayo Clinic. And don’t allow guilt to get to you, especially when asking for help.

 

    • Stay healthy. The Mayo clinic advises caregivers to set personal health goals so they can, for example, find time to be physically active several days a week or simply get a good night’s sleep. As noted above, eating a healthy diet is crucial to your overall health.

 

    • A support group can help. Support groups offer a great source not only for encouragement but also for advice from others in similar situations.

 

    • Social support can help. Distancing yourself emotionally from friends and family will only lead to more problems for you, so set aside time each week to get out and socialize. This can come in the form of a walk with a friend or even a night out on the town.

 

    • A doctor can help. A doctor can give you expert advice on and solutions for dealing with your caregiving situation. A doctor can also help with immunizations and screenings.

 

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

A new device — the Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device — looks almost like a tiny parachute and is in effect a safety net. The investigational device was developed to lower the risk of stroke in patients who have an irregular heartbeat and require blood thinning medications.

Grant Simons, MD, Chief of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Englewood Hospital, implanted the first Watchman device in New Jersey as part of a national clinical trial involving this alternative treatment method.

In a press release from Englewood Hospital, Simons said, “This is an exciting innovation in the treatment of arrhythmia and stroke. The adoption of this procedure and technology greatly reduce the need for blood thinning medications and decrease the number of strokes in this at-risk patient population.”

The device works to catch blood clots that form in the heart and enter the blood stream. There is an increased risk of this occurring with patients with the arrhythmia disorder Atrial Fibrillation — a disorder that affects five million people in the U.S. Atrial Fibrillation causes the pooling of blood in the upper chambers of the heart, which can lead to blood clots that in turn can break loose and travel to the brain. The end result can be a stroke.

The Watchman is currently in a clinical trial at Englewood and several other hospitals. One benefit of the device is that implanting it is a minimally invasive procedure. A small incision is made near the groin, then the device is guided through a catheter up to the patient’s heart.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

 

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

A manufacturing process developed by Toyota to increase efficiency in Japanese car factories is helping an unexpected group of people: those suffering from strokes. Science Daily recently spotlighted a paper in the journal Stroke, which describes how the process was able to improve stroke treatment at Barnes-Jewish Hospital where approximately 1,300 stroke patients are treated annually.

Many have heard the slogan “Time lost is brain lost” in regards to stroke. The quicker that treatment can begin the more chance there is to prevent brain damage that can cause paralysis and loss of speech following a stroke. Researchers from Barnes-Jewish Hospital said that their drop in treatment time resulted from applying a a principle of lean manufacturing to the care of their patients. This key component was to get input from all members of the team to identify inefficient steps.

Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, is an associate professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and also director of cerebrovascular disease in the Department of Neurology. He was a senior author on the paper and told Science Daily, “We sought suggestions from everyone involved, from the paramedics who bring in patients, to admitting clerks, radiology technologists, nurses and physicians. Once the inefficient steps were identified, we developed a completely new protocol that eliminated them. This new treatment protocol helped us achieve one of the fastest door-to-needle times in the country.”

One step that was identified as wasteful was moving patients. The staff found that it would increase efficiency for paramedics to bring patients suspected of stroke directly to the emergency department’s CT scanner for evaluation rather than to a patient exam room.

The main loss of time was getting tests back from the lab. The doctors found that these same tests could be performed at bedside in minutes instead of sending blood to a lab and waiting 30 minutes for results. Following stroke the first 60 minutes are crucial to receive proper treatment. It’s during this window of time that a clot-busting drug called tPA can safely be administered. The drug can cause dangerous bleeding in the brain and so cannot be administered after too much time elapses.

The new treatment procedures have been in affect for less than a year, but have lowered average door-to-needle times by nearly 40 percent and have also increased the percent of patients treated within the first hour from 52 to 78 percent.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

Photo: Flickr

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

Todays post features real-life stories of how Encompass Senior Solutions helped an elderly person and their loved ones through a tough decision-making process that ensured each person’s individual care needs were met. Names have been changed to respect privacy.

Jim and Sherri

Married couple Jim and Sherri needed assistance after a car accident, which left Jim injured. The couple wished to keep Jim at home while he recovered, but with a busy work schedule she had to keep, Sherri could only offer limited care. So they contacted Encompass to help set up a plan that provided an in-home “wake-up/tuck-in” service for Jim as he recovered during his rehabilitation.

Donna

The family of Donna, a 96-year-old still living independently in an apartment, was concerned because she has macular degeneration and couldn’t see her the labels on her medications. After contacting Encompass, we helped to develop a plan that included medication management, transportation services and some socialization. Today, Donna still remains in her home, living independently and safely.

Felix

Felix was living in independent senior housing when he a serious health issue arose, one which required an emergency colostomy. In order to be allowed back to his independent apartment, Felix needed assistance in caring for his colostomy. Encompass was able to arrange for a nurse to come to his home twice a week to complete his required colostomy cares. He was able to remain in his apartment, continuing to live and independent and happy life.

Read more Real Stories from Encompass here.

Encompass Senior Solutions  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.encompass-assessments.com.”

Keeping the environment clutter-free may help those with Alzheimer’s, according to researchers at the University of Toronto and Georgia Tech, as reported by Psych Central. The study found individuals with early stage Alzheimer’s disease may have memory problems due to having trouble noticing differences between similar objects.

The study supports growing research that suggests that the medial temporal lobe — believed at one time to support memory only — may also play a role in object perception.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. So, for the study, researchers asked MCI patients to look at two pictures side-by-side that were rotated. The MCI patients were then asked to identify if they were identical or not.

In one instance the photos varied only slightly but were not a perfect match either in shape, color or pattern. With these photos MCI patients struggled greatly to pinpoint identical objects.

In another episode, the blob-like objects appeared with photos in which non-matches were more extreme and varied widely. For example, a picture of a butterfly was shown next to a photo of a microwave. Mixing the very similar blob-like objects with photos of dissimilar objects greatly reduced the amount of interference.

There are practical considerations that can be taken away from the study. For instance, Psych Central brings up the idea that a telephone’s buttons are all identical in size. The only variation are the numbers on the buttons. This everyday occurrence can be very difficult for those who suffer from object perception problems. In this instance, a phone with buttons of varying size and color may help.

The study also found that those individuals at-risk for MCI, who showed no previous signs of cognitive impairment, performed similarly to those with MCI. This suggests that this test could be used an early indicator of cognitive decline.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

A new study by peer-reviewed journal PLoS One found that vitamin C may help prevent osteoporosis by preventing bone loss.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the study was conducted on two sets of mice, one set with their ovaries removed (a procedure that decreases bone density). When given large doses of vitamin C over an eight week period, the study found that the mice with the removed ovaries had a higher bone density than the mice with removed ovaries who had not received vitamin C. The mice with the removed ovaries that received the vitamin C also had similar bone mineral density levels to the mice in the set that didn’t have their ovaries removed.

In the end, however, the researchers claim more studies are necessary to see if the findings can be applied to humans.

The importance of vitamin C

Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is essential to normal body function. As an important structural component of tendons, muscles, blood vessels, bones and teeth, it’s easy to jump to conclusions that the initial results of the study may indeed be true. It’s encouraging news that may one day change how people prevent bone conditions like osteoporosis, a disease which decreases bone density, leaving a person with bones that are easily broken — a possibly deadly scenario for an elderly person.

That’s why being aware of possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the diet of an elderly loved one is important to the well being of their overall health. As a person ages, they naturally tend to eat less, taking in lesser amounts of vitamins and other nutrients as they did when younger. In addition to that, other factors can lead to the inadequate intake of vitamins and nutrients, including medications, medical conditions, disabilities, digestive system changes and even an aging persons skin.

If you’re concerned that your elderly parent may be at risk for broken bones due to osteoporosis or other illnesses, a senior care provider, such as Encompass Senior Solutions in Omaha, can help you understand all the options available, ensuring your loved one is safe, happy and properly cared for. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today with your senior care needs.

Related:

 

_

Photo: Flickr

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”