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Tag Archive for Senior Health

Caring for Diabetic Foot Problems Begins with Prevention

Home Care

If you have type 2 diabetes, one of the biggest concerns you’re likely to face is diabetic foot ulcers.

As many as 70 percent of diabetics have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage which can cause impaired sensation or pain in their feet. Of all lower limb amputations in the U.S., nearly 70 percent are the result of diabetes – with four out of five of these amputations preceded by a foot ulcer.

Effective foot care management can make a big difference. This begins with routine foot care and evaluation, as it’s easier to fix something before the condition worsens.

Part of the problem is that diabetics, because of nerve system damage, don’t necessarily feel foot pain and so tend to ignore a problem until it’s too late. Since normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the feet is often impaired, abnormal pressure on the skin, bones and joints of the feet during walking can lead to a breakdown of the skin and foot sores. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles and bones may then occur. Since diabetics are prone to poor circulation, antibiotics cannot get to the infection site easily.

Prevention starts with inspecting your feet daily, seeing if there are cuts, cracks, redness, bruises, or swelling. Medical guidelines recommend that diabetics routinely see a foot specialist for an examination at least once a year. Experts can evaluate and get you the proper shoes to prevent breakdowns.

Recent studies have shown that a proper foot care program can reduce amputations by as much as 85 percent. This includes the use of therapeutic footwear.

Here are some other recommendations:
  • Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water and dry them gently.
  • Carefully trim your toenails regularly (and follow-up with a foot specialist).
  • Keep the skin on your feet soft and smooth.
  • Don’t go barefoot (even around the house).
  • Wear clean, dry socks – made from such fabrics as cotton and acrylic fibers (that pull sweat away from the skin); avoid nylon socks or those with tight elastic bands.
  • Buy shoes that fit properly (and speak to a foot doctor about special shoes that fit the exact shape of your feet, cushion them and evenly distribute your weight).
  • If you smoke, stop – smoking impairs circulation and reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Take any foot injuries or changes to the skin very seriously.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and carefully monitor your blood sugar.
Although the treatment for diabetic foot problems has greatly improved in recent years, it all starts with prevention. And, should a foot problem occur, get prompt medical care.

Heart Health Awareness

Heart healthNow is a good time to become educated on ways to prevent heart disease.

While great strides have been made over the years, the bad news is that heart disease remains the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

What can you do to prevent you or a loved one becoming another statistic? Here are some important steps to take:

  1. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease. Since high blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, having your blood pressure checked regularly is very important. Once you find out your blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how you can best meet your goal.
  1. Quit smoking – and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking is not only a major risk factor for cancer, but for cardiovascular disease as well.
  1. Start eating healthier. At the top of the list is reducing your sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. In addition, start eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keep them under control.
  1. Get off the couch! Regardless of your age, it is important to exercise regularly. This doesn’t necessarily mean running marathons. Walking every day can make a difference.
  1. Get tested for diabetes. Many people who have prediabetes, and even diabetes, are not aware they have it. If you do have it, you need to keep it under control.
  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about starting on a safe weight loss plan.

The good news about heart health is that cardiovascular disease is largely preventable. By following these steps, you can greatly improve your odds.

 

Caring For a Senior With Seizures

Seizure in BrainEpilepsy is a common, chronic disorder caused by surges or disturbances in the electrical functioning of the brain. These surges or disturbances cause seizures, and during these seizures certain actions, movements, thoughts, speech, and emotions can be altered.

Caring for a senior with seizures is not too difficult.  Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help make caregiving easier and a lot less stressful. Read More

Prevention: Key To Keeping Elderly Healthy

elderly-exerciseThe elderly population in the United States is increasing rapidly. By 2030, the number of those 65 or older will more than double to approximately 71 million.

This number of elderly Americans has far-reaching implications for our nation’s public health system and will place unprecedented demands on the provision of health care and aging-related services. Public health efforts to promote health and functional independence are critical strategies in helping older adults stay healthy. Read More

Tips on Caring For an Elderly Person with Arthritis

Arthritis can be painful and difficult for the elderly to deal with so it’s good to know how to help those with arthritis when necessary. Knowing about the different types of arthritis can also be very helpful. It’s the best way to assist those with arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritisarthritic elderly hand opening a pill bottle

There are two different types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling of the joints as well as joint damage. It’s an autoimmune disorder that can best be treated with medication. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints disintegrates. This causes the bones to rub against each other. Both types of arthritis can cause the joints to become inflamed and stiff which makes it hard for those with arthritis to move their joints. Arthritis most commonly occurs in the joints of the hands, wrists, knees and feet which can make it hard for those with arthritis to move around or pick things up. Read More

Aging and Cancer

Cancer-and-the-elderlyAging is the single biggest risk factor for developing cancer. However, it also increases the risk of other diseases and injury and can affect a person’s well-being, independence, and feelings of self-worth.  These are all issues that need to be considered when cancer treatment decisions are being made, as well as during treatment.

Disease and disability, which may interfere with cancer treatment and recovery, are more likely to occur in older adults. For example, age is associated with a gradual inability to accomplish daily activities, such as the use of transportation and the ability to go shopping without assistance or provide adequate nutrition for oneself. Read More

Plan a Snack

This post is not just for those with diabetes, however, more than 25% of adults age 65 years and older deal with diabetes.  Individuals with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar with insulin, while many of those with type 2 are able to manage through diet and exercise alone.

Mixed Nuts

 

Even those who do not have diabetes benefit from regular eating to maintain alertness, energy and blood sugar levels.  If a senior ever loses their appetite for an unexplained reason, alert their physician. “It’s important to alert doctors to medical conditions that have prevented eating for a day or more (such as illness)…the elderly, even without diabetes, are most vulnerable to developing hypoglycemia and other imbalances.”Cases of type 2 has shown a recent increase in nursing homes from 16 to 23% as “more people live longer and grow heavier.” Read More

Personal grooming and housekeeping changes — a warning sign that care may be needed series

A messy house is not necessarily a cause for concern. First, take into consideration underlying reasons. Person Washing Hands with Soap in WashbasinIf the elder is recovering from illness or injury, they may not have the ability to keep up their normal routine due to pain. If it has been awhile since you’ve seen the elder—maybe they don’t keep their house the same as they did when you were younger. You need to assess if this is by choice or lack of ability. Drastic changes, especially, are the concern. For both of those issues housekeeping services will help. If the holidays are near there can be other factors such as depression of the loss of loved ones or the family’s inability to come together. Still, you can be sensitive to recognize warning signs during occasional visits. See other warning signs that care may be needed. Download our printable checklist to see if care might be needed.

Guest Post–Lifestyle Home Medical Supply

One person needs durable medical equipment–another has an unused item gathering dust in a garage. LHMSlogoFilling the need, bridging the gap…

Many people, due to illness, accident or the aging process, find themselves in need of hospital beds, lift chairs, scooters or other durable medical equipment, but are without the means to purchase them. People in this situation face a greatly reduced quality of life and/or ability to rehabilitate. Other people face the situation of wondering what to do with good durable medical equipment (DME) that they no longer need. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to bridge the gap between these two common situations? There is a way, and Lifestyle Home Medical Supply provides Read More

Hoarding — a warning sign that care may be needed series

More than collecting, hoarding hampers everyday life by the excessive collection of unnecessary items. When hoarding becomes an issue, items which are not only unnecessary—but often unusable—are carefully guarded.

Many times, the hoarder is unaware how bad their situation has grown. Remember, it often takes time to amass the items.  They have become used to the living situation gradually.

Hoarding is linked to some of the other signs that care is needed, such as mobility, safety concerns and housekeeping changes. Read More