Stop Sitting Around this Winter and Get Moving!

During these cold winter months, it can be so easy to succumb to cabin fever. Sitting on the couch and watching TV seems so much easier than braving the frigid weather outside. It’s no surprise that many Americans pack on an extra 5-7 pounds during this season. However, studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can be a major risk factor for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancers, even premature death.

 

For senior home health care patients, staying active in the winter months can be especially challenging. However, home care patients of all ages are guilty of spending too much time sitting around most days of the week. In addition to being at an increased risk of many chronic conditions, seniors spending time sitting has been linked to an increase.

 

In addition to being at an increased risk for chronic conditions, sitting too much has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing a disability as well. This is especially true for those of the age of 60 receiving at-home care.

 

Daily physical activities should be a part of every home care plan. While the amount and intensity of these activities will depend on the home care patient, personal care assistants should make it a point to get those they care for up off the couch several times a day. Here are some ideas to help break the mold of sitting all day:

  • Stand While Eating: If able, stand at a counter or high table when eating meals. While this may feel awkward at first, this can be an easy way to burn calories as you consume them
  • Go for a Walk: Even in the winter, getting outside for a quick walk can do wonders. Be sure to pace yourself and don’t try to go too long. For senior home care patients, start by walking to the end of the block and back.
  • Join a Social Group: Being around people will naturally encourage movement. For seniors, this could be a book club, quilting group, or bingo.

 

When changing any aspect of a home care plan, it’s best to start small. Aim for replacing 30 minutes of sitting time each day and then slowly increase as able.

 

The professionals at Best Home Care are ready to help support personal care assistants with home care resources and encouragement. Reach out to our home care professionals to learn more ways to avoid sitting too much this winter.

Eating Right for Seniors: The Warning Signs of Poor Nutrition

Five Things Every New Family Caregiver Needs to Know  - personal care providersWhether we realize it or not, the food we consume everyday impacts our overall health in major ways. While we typically associate poor eating habits with weight gain and obesity, poor nutrition can present itself in many different ways and intensify the severity of existing health conditions. This is especially true in the case of those receiving senior home care services over the age of 65.

 

According to FeedingAmerica.org, 1.2 million households with seniors living alone experienced food insecurity in 2014. Many times these seniors have the money to purchase food but were unable to access the resources or ability to prepare meals for themselves. As a result, food insecure seniors are at an increased risk for chronic health conditions:

  • 60% more likely to experience depression
  • 53% more likely to report a heart attack
  • 52% more likely to develop asthma

 

In-home supportive services from a trained personal care assistant or family caregiver can support the nutritional health of senior. A home caregiver must also be aware of the warning signs of malnutrition in seniors and know how to respond appropriately. Below are several common signs to look out for if you believe your home care patient or loved one is suffering from malnutrition:

 

  • Observe Eating Patterns and Habits: Keep a log of what and when the senior home care patient eats. Be sure to only list foods that were consumed. This will help you get a better understanding of what (if any) problem exists. Be sure to look for any significant gaps in meal times or lack of nutritional foods.
  • Watch for Weight Loss: Along with a meal log, track the patient’s weight on a daily basis. Depending on age, any significant weight loss may be an indicator of malnutrition.
  • Other Warning Signs: Wounds healing poorly and easy bruising are two other symptoms of malnutrition.

 

Being proactive is the best practice when providing senior home care services in order to prevent malnutrition from growing into a larger issue. The home care professionals at Best Home Care assist hundreds of PCAs as they provide at-home care for seniors in the Twin Cities. Contact our team to learn more about incorporating malnutrition prevention into your home care plan and find caregiving resources to help you provide the best home care possible.

Eating Right for Seniors: Nutritional Drinks

Home Care Plans, Home Care NutritionIt’s not uncommon for seniors to lose their appetite and begin eating less as they age. In fact, under-nutrition due to a lack of eating is one of the most common health concerns faced by seniors today. Not getting enough nutrients can lead to serious health issues and can make existing health problems even more severe.

 

To make it easier for seniors to get the appropriate nutritional intake, many nutritional drinks have popped up on the market. These nutritional supplements are meant to provide seniors with the nutrients they need in a convenient and tasty drink however, are these products right for everyone and what should home caregivers look for in a nutritional supplemental?

 

Below are several points that should be kept in mind when incorporating nutritional drinks into a senior’s home care plan:

 

Different People Have Different Nutritional Needs

Always consult with a doctor before incorporating regular nutritional drinks into a senior’s home care diet. It’s important to address what is causing the lack of appetite and understand what specific nutrients are needed most before selecting a drink.

Not to be Used as a Meal Replacement

While many nutritional drinks will market themselves as “meal replacements”, the nutrients found in regular food are vitally important for a senior’s diet. Instead of being the sole source of nutrients, a senior’s home care plan should treat nutritional drinks as a snack or dietary aid used in addition to regular meals.

Know Your Medications

Nutritional drinks have been shown to interact negatively with different medications. For example, vitamin supplements may have adverse effects when combined with blood thinners. Be sure to speak with a doctor before regularly consuming nutritional drinks to know if any medications you’re taking will interact negatively with the drink.

 

Nutritional drinks should be seen as a convenient way for seniors to get additional calories and nutrients, not as a meal replacement plan. Caregivers should take care to ensure that their at-home care clients are getting the majority of their nutrients through regular food.

 

The home care professionals at Best Home Care can help organize a meal plan for senior home care clients. Contact us to see how nutritional drinks can benefit your senior home care plan.

Eating Right for Seniors: Special Dietary Needs

Options for Senior Care“Eat your vegetables and drink your milk if you want to grow up healthy and strong.” We all remember hearing these words in younger days. However, for the older generations, this saying may be even more important. It should come as no surprise that as we age, a healthy diet becomes vitally important for our physical and mental health. Simply put, a nutritional diet for seniors promotes a better and longer life.

 

At Best Home Care, our personal care assistants understand the importance of a nutritional diet in a senior home care plan. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at some good tips and resources to help PCAs and family caregivers ensure their at-home care patients eat nutritiously and stay healthy. The first topic in this blog series is how to meet the special dietary needs of seniors.

 

As we age, our bodies require fewer calories and therefore, each calorie consumed must be packed with nutritious benefit. Listed below are five nutrients that are especially important for seniors as well as foods where they can be found:

 

  1. Vitamin B12

Important For: Maintaining healthy nerve functions and creating red blood cells

What to Eat: Meat, poultry, eggs, and milk

  1. Folic Acid

Important For: Lack of folic acid can contribute to anemia

What to Eat: Breakfast cereals, fruits, vegetables

  1. Calcium

Important For: Building and maintaining strong bones

What to Eat: Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products

  1. Vitamin D

Important For: Preventing osteoporosis and protecting against chronic conditions like arthritis, M.S. and type 1 diabetes

What to Eat: Meat, poultry, eggs, and milk

  1. Potassium

Important For: Maintaining cell function and reducing high blood pressure

What to Eat: Bananas, prunes, and plums

Source: WebMD.com

 

For more information on preparing nutritious foods for seniors, contact Best Home Care. Our teams of senior home care professionals enjoy assisting at-home caregivers and can provide you with valuable home care resources to help you provide the best home care services possible.

 

Check back soon for the next entry in our Eating Right for Seniors blog series.

Give Thanks For Healthy Diet Tricks For Seniors

Healthy Eating for Seniors - home assistance careWith Thanksgiving just a week away, this is the time of year when our minds shift to cooking (and eating) a tremendous amount of food. That juicy turkey, tasty gravy, and scrumptious mashed potatoes leave many of our belts a few notches looser come Friday morning. You can rest assured that all of us here at Best Home Care will be enjoying our Thanksgiving this year by eating way too much with family and friends.

As this is the “Season of Eating”, now is a great time to talk about healthy eating habits for senior home care patients. Consuming healthy foods is one of the most beneficial things a senior can do for their home health. In fact, a healthy diet has been shown to increase mental acuteness, strengthen resistance to illness and disease, and provide higher energy levels among seniors. While breaking old habits may seem intimidating for some, starting new healthy eating habits can be a tasty way to change your life for the better.

Here are some easy tips that personal care assistants should take to help their home care patients start eating healthier:

  • Get creative to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your home care plan. Try juicing fruits in blenders for drinking or pureeing vegetables to add into sauces.
  • High protein foods are essential to maintain muscle in seniors. Instead of meat, try easier-to-eat protein rich options like peanut butter, tuna, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Supplemental drinks are a great choice for getting many of the nutrients that the body needs. While these shouldn’t be used for every meal, they are a quick, easy, and healthy option.

After the final turkey leg has been eaten this Thanksgiving, start prioritizing healthy eating in your home care plans. Work with senior home care patients especially to develop habits that will lead to a healthier life.

Contact Best Home Care to learn more about developing home care plans and find caregiver resources that will help you provide the best in home supportive services possible!