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The Amada Senior Care blog discusses all things senior care - including in home care, assisted living, health and wellness, nutrition, long-term care insurance, and veterans programs.
Blog Added: September 29, 2015 04:36:54 AM
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Arthritis: Complications and Care

Aging brings about many changes in the body that can often lead to chronic illness. One of the most common is arthritis, which half of adults 65 and older are affected by. Along with pain, arthritis can cause struggles with activities of daily living (ADLs). Seniors with arthritis may have trouble buttoning a shirt, opening a jar, or reaching for an object on a high shelf. Just walking around the house can be cumbersome for those with arthritis in the knees and hips. Around 18 percent of...

Aging brings about many changes in the body that can often lead to chronic illness. One of the most common is arthritis, which half of adults 65 and older are affected by. Along with pain, arthritis can cause struggles with activities of daily living (ADLs). Seniors with arthritis may have trouble buttoning a shirt, opening a jar, or reaching for an object on a high shelf. Just walking around the house can be cumbersome for those with arthritis in the knees and hips. Around 18 percent of disabilities are caused by some form of arthritis, which makes it the most common cause of disability in the US, according to Medical News Today.

Arthritis is a technical term for “joint inflammation” and describes over 100 different conditions. Most types of arthritis are chronic, or long-lasting and without cure. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, and often brings on more side effects than just painful, stiff joints. Many types of arthritis cause noticeable changes that can be seen as well as felt, like redness and swelling. The three most common types of arthritis in seniors are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

The Most Common Types in Seniors

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in older adults.  It most often affects large, weight-bearing bones like knees and hips, but can also affect the hands, neck, and lower back. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage in the joints to wear away, making bones rub together. This produces pain when bending, walking, stooping, and sleeping. Stiffness of joints is another side effect. Osteoarthritis can be hereditary, but it is mostly caused by aging. It commonly leads to disability as it progresses.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune illness in which the body attacks the lining of a joint as if it were trying to protect the body, which causes inflammation. Side effects include swelling, pain, and stiffness for hours. This type of arthritis can affect people of any age, women especially. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in the body. It is not limited to just bones– it also attacks organs like the heart and lungs. People with rheumatoid arthritis often suffer from fever and malaise.

Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It occurs when crystals of uric acid form in the joint spaces. The big toe is the most common appendage effected, but the ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists can also be trouble areas. Gout often occurs similarly to an allergic reaction, and can follow eating certain foods, like shellfish. Swelling, pain, redness, and stiffness are the most common side effects. Taking certain medications, consuming alcohol, and being overweight will often make gout worse.

Arthritis Care

While arthritis cannot be cured, seniors can manage their symptoms by creating a lifestyle that includes plenty of rest, a healthy diet, exercise, and joint protection. The prevalence of arthritis increases with body mass index (BMI), making overweight seniors more prone to developing it. A healthy diet and exercise will help control weight and relieve stress on the joints. Range-of-motion exercises like yoga or dancing can relieve stiffness. Strength training builds muscle to protect joints, while aerobic exercise reduces swelling. Medication can help alleviate pain and other symptoms, and wearing special shoes or using a cane will make it easier to move around.

The best way for seniors with arthritis to protect their joints is to reduce stress on them in daily life. An in-home caregiver can eliminate much of the stress by assisting a senior with ADLs and ambulation. Having someone there to help with getting dressed, walking to and from the bathroom, or cooking a meal will provide ample opportunity for a senior to rest and complete activities that may often be neglected due to the pain of arthritis.



The Value of Home Care

In 2016, The Home Care Association of America and Global Coalition on Aging collaborated to create the report, “The Value of Home Care.” This is the first study that sheds a light on the critical role home care plays in the lives of many seniors, families, the healthcare system, and the nation’s economy as America continues to gray. “The Value of Home Care” emphasizes the importance of home care by helping us not only understand the needs of our aging population,...

In 2016, The Home Care Association of America and Global Coalition on Aging collaborated to create the report, "The Value of Home Care." This is the first study that sheds a light on the critical role home care plays in the lives of many seniors, families, the healthcare system, and the nation's economy as America continues to gray. 

"The Value of Home Care" emphasizes the importance of home care by helping us not only understand the needs of our aging population, but also by forcing us to recognize our American seniors' desire to age in the comfort of their own homes and in the communities with which they are familiar. Here are a few key takeaways from the report, as well as some insight as to how home care is a key component of the senior care continuum.  

The Graying of America

  • By 2020, 56 million Americans will be 65 and older.
  • By 2050, that number will reach 84 million
  • By 2040, the number of adults older than 85 is expected to triple.

Americans (and much of the world) are aging. There are now more adults over the age of 65 than ever before. The percentage of Americans over 65 will continue to increase as baby boomers age, and improvements in healthcare extend our average life span. 

While this is certainly something to celebrate, our "bonus years" don't come without a price. An increase in age often leads to an increase in the likelihood you will need care. In fact, nearly 70% of Americans who reach 65 will be unable to care for themselves at some point; as a result, they will need some form of assistance.

Who is Going to Provide The Care?

It's no secret that our current government healthcare programs and institutions are insufficient when it comes to meeting the needs of our rapidly aging population. 

This begs he question, "Who is going to provide that care?"  

The answer lies in home care - more specifically, private-pay home care. 

Home Care

Home care allows seniors age in the comfort of their own homes while maintaining their health and prolonging their active lifestyles for as long as possible. This service is provided by home care professionals referred to as caregivers.

Although caregivers are typically not medically certified, they do receive professional training that allows them to assist seniors with the activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Meal preparation/feeding
  • Medication reminders
  • Walking/exercise assistance
  • Light housekeeping
  • Errands/shopping
  • Toileting

Arguably more importantly, caregivers provide seniors with the companionship and mental stimulation many older adults fail to receive. These caring professionals have various ways of doing this, including engaging seniors in conversation and accompanying them in other activities. Caregivers also give families peace of mind by recognizing and alerting loved ones to any signs they feel may indicate a decline in health. 

Home Care Allows Seniors To "Age in Place"

It's no secret why older Americans want to stay at home. There is a sense of pride that comes with owning your own home and it is often part of the American dream. Over 80 percent of Americans in their early 70s own their own home, and as you can imagine, many of them worked hard to do so. Owning a home is something they are proud of, and it can be devastating for them to leave simply because they need a little (or a lot) of help. Home care often provides seniors with the option to live where they choose. 

Home Care Reduces Long-Term Care Costs

Not only does home care allow seniors to age where they want, but it does so while reducing the overall financial cost of health care. Home care is a far more cost-effective option for long-term care than traditional methods. Here is a snapshot of the current annual cost of long-term care. 

It costs about $91,250 for a private room at a nursing home, while a semi-private room cost an average of $80,300. $43,200 is the average cost to live in an assisted living facility. It costs an estimated $45,000 to receive in-home care services. 

Home care has also been shown to...

  • Reduce hospital readmissions
  • Reduce the need for a doctor
  • Reduce senior falls (which often result in a trip to the doctor)

Conclusion

Private pay home care complements our existing health care services by alleviating some of the pressure on the healthcare system and simultaneously allowing many seniors to age where they want to - in their homes. Not only does home care fill a critical gap for seniors in between hospital stays, nursing home facilities, and care provided by loved ones, home care provides seniors with a choice about how and where they age. Furthermore, home care gives family members peace of mind knowing their older loved ones are safe. 



3 Common Barriers to Advance Care Planning and How to Overcome Them

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Week, here’s what you should know about advance care planning, as well as a few reasons why people often fail to plan. National Healthcare Decisions Day: April 16, 2018 National Healthcare Decisions Week: April 16 – 22, 2018 National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) and National Healthcare Decisions Week are part of an initiative intended to encourage Americans to understand the importance of making future healthcare decisions. This week is...

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Week, here's what you should know about advance care planning, as well as a few reasons why people often fail to plan.

National Healthcare Decisions Day: April 16, 2018

National Healthcare Decisions Week: April 16 - 22, 2018

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) and National Healthcare Decisions Week are part of an initiative intended to encourage Americans to understand the importance of making future healthcare decisions. This week is not only about making end-of-life decisions, seniors and families should document their wishes for any event in which they can't speak for themselves. This can be anything from an chronic illness, change in health, or an unexpected accident. 

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning is the process of learning and preparing for the types of decisions that may (or may not) need to be made. These decisions extend far beyond what you want (or don't want). In addition to clarifying your care preferences, advance care planning requires you to clarify your values and select an agent to express your healthcare decisions in the event you are no longer able to speak for yourself.

Once you decide on your preferences, you can put them into an advance care directive.

An advance care directive is a legal document that becomes effective only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. This document essentially helps others know what type of care you want and allows you to document your values and desires related to end-of-life care

Types of Decisions

There are various types of decisions you can make, some of which include the use of medical treatments doctors can use to keep you alive (if the time comes). These types of decisions can relate to:
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly referred to as CPR, to restore your heartbeat
  • Ventilator use, the use of machines that help you breathe
  • Artificial nutrition, such as tube feeding
  • Artificial hydration, including intravenous fluids (IV)
  • Comfort care, which is anything that can be one to relieve your suffering including spiritual or emotional counseling, pain medication, etc.

3 Barriers to Advance Care Planning

1. You Don't Know How To Start The Conversation

Although many Americans claim to know they need to start their advance care planning, many of them admit they haven't taken the initiative to do so. This can be for a variety of reasons, but we can't ignore the obvious: talking about long-term care is hard. 

If you want to start advance care planning, but don't know where to start, you can find some guidance in our blog post, "5 Tips For a Successful Conversation About Long-Term Care."

Healthcare professionals, such as Amada care coordinators, are often better at raising the topic of advance care planning. Amada Senior Care professionals can help facilitate a conversation between you and loved ones about your long-term care preferences.

Amada can not only help you plan and document your wishes, but we can incorporate your wishes into the delivery of your care.

2. You Don't Have a Lawyer

Contrary to common belief, you don’t need a lawyer to create an advance directive (living will, health care power of attorney, etc.).

Free forms and information are available for every state at www.nhdd.org. Also, every hospital in the United States is required to provide patients with advance directives, so you can always ask your local hospital.

3. You Are Bad At Making Decisions

Advance care planning is stressful, but it can be even more challenging for those who have trouble making decisions. 

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the decision-making nature of advance care planning, it's helpful to know, your advance care directive is not final. 

You can change the document as often as you like. In fact, it is recommended you revisit your advance directive throughout your life, as your values and situation changes.

Conclusion

Advance care planning is not something you should wait until you are "old" to think about. Medical emergencies can occur at any time, and can leave you unable to make critical decisions about your care. The best way to ensure you are in control of your care is through advance care planning. 

“Advance Care Planning,” Ashley LeVine, Amada Blog Contributor.



The Effects of Stress On Older Adults

When your body senses danger, your brain sends signals directing your muscles to tighten and your adrenal glands to release stress hormones. Stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, force your breath to quicken, blood pressure to rise, and senses to sharpen. These physiological changes speed up your reaction time, increase your strength, improve your stamina, and enhance your focus. This reaction is referred to as the stress response, and it’s entirely normal and necessary for...

When your body senses danger, your brain sends signals directing your muscles to tighten and your adrenal glands to release stress hormones. Stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, force your breath to quicken, blood pressure to rise, and senses to sharpen. These physiological changes speed up your reaction time, increase your strength, improve your stamina, and enhance your focus. This reaction is referred to as the stress response, and it's entirely normal and necessary for survival. Once your brain accepts you are not in danger, your body returns to its normal pre-stressed state. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is harmful to your health and can be particularly hazardous for older adults. Here is what you need to know about stress in older adults.

The Effects of Stress On Older Adults

Although it's difficult to determine the extent to which chronic stress affects the health of older adults, there is undoubtedly a correlation. Here are the few ways seniors are affected by stress.

Lowered Immune System

You've likely experienced a time in your life where you were stressed out and became sick. Your situation only became more stressful when you had to put everything you were stressed about on hold to allow yourself to recover. What you may not realize is that "being stressed" is likely the reason you got sick. Stress is known to suppress the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.

Furthermore, older adults are already more susceptible to illness due to the age-related suppression of their immune system. Combined, these factors make it easier for older adults to get sick and make the recovery process take longer. As a result, stress makes it far more difficult for older adults to detect and fight disease. 

Heart Problems

Stress can flood your body with adrenaline, which raises your blood pressure and heart rate. But the relationship between stress and heart disease extends far beyond quantifiable factors. Stress can cause seniors to look for relief in activities such as excessive drinking, overeating, and drug use. Each of these activities can damage arteries, blood vessels, and increase your risk for heart disease. 

Vision and Hearing Loss

Long-term adrenaline production can constrict blood vessels, leading to a temporary decrease in hearing and vision.

Digestive Issues

Stress can literally make you feel sick to your stomach. This sick feeling occurs when stress activates the "fight or flight" response in your central nervous system. The central nervous system can shut down blood flow, causing contractions of your digestive muscles, and a decrease in the secretions necessary for digestion. Chronic or severe stress can lead to serious digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers.

Dental Issues

It is common for dental issues to increase with age, making seniors more susceptible to fractures and cavities. Stress can contribute to these dental problems when they stressfully clench their jaw throughout the day and unintentionally grind their teeth. 

Common Stressors For Older Adults

Stressors often change as you age. Here are some of the most common stressors experienced by older adults.

Changes in Health or Physical Ability

Health can be a huge stressor for aging adults.

  • Deteriorating health. 
  • Increased dependence on others.
  • Healthcare costs.
  • Losing energy. Losing energy can be frustrating for seniors, as they are forced to slow down their lives.
  • Losing the ability to do their favorite things. 

Loneliness and Isolation

Loneliness and isolation are two very common stressors for aging adults. Here are a few examples of why seniors are particularly susceptible to loneliness and isolation. 

  • Losing a spouse. The loss of a spouse due to death or divorce is common among older adults.
  • Losing family members, friends, or pets. Many seniors feel lonely after they lose a family member, friend, or pet. Regardless of whether the loss was the result of a death, relocation, or conflict, the event can cause seniors to isolate themselves, increasing their feelings of loneliness. 

Lack of Purpose

Older adults who lack feeling a sense of purpose are more susceptible to stress and its harmful effects. Here are a few scenarios where a senior may feel a question their sense of purpose. 

  • Retiring. Adults who define themselves by their by their career often lose their sense of purpose when they retire.
  • Losing the feeling of being needed. 
  • Losing a position in your community. 

Loss of Independence

Losing independence can trigger a stress response. Here are a few reasons why a senior may feel their independence is threatened. 

  • Losing the ability to drive safely. Many seniors experience a decrease in their mobility, causing them to lose their driver's license.
  • Losing the ability to live alone. Seniors with disabilities often lose their ability to live alone, forcing them to become dependent.
  • Losing control over daily routine. A decrease in mobility can force seniors to depend on others for help with the activities of daily living.
  • Lacking transportation services. Seniors with limited options for transportation can make it difficult for seniors to do things on their own.
  • Decreasing financial independence. Losing the ability to manage their own money can challenge a seniors sense of independence.
  • Increasing healthcare costs. An increase in healthcare costs can force seniors to become financially dependent.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Stress in Older Adults

  • Feeling tired
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Unnecessary worrying
  • Headaches and other pains
  • Negative feelings or attitude
  • Feeling out of control
  • Poor concentration
  • Frequent crying
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, it is important to be proactive about finding ways to manage your stress before the damage becomes irreversible.

5 Tips For Managing Stress

Here are a few stress reduction techniques.

  1. Take care of yourself by exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet.
  2. Get involved in community events.
  3. Volunteer for a cause you care about.
  4. Learn strategies to help you cope with stress such as relaxation techniques and mediation. 
  5. Focus on the things you can control as opposed to those you can't.

Sources:

6 Effects of Stress On Older Adults

Stress Symptoms, Signs, and Causes



Read This BEFORE You File Your Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many Americans purchased long-term care insurance in an effort to protect themselves from the financial risks associated with long-term care. Unfortunately, when seniors are ready to cash in on their investment, their claims are often denied and they end up spending months or even years trying to convince their insurers to approve their claim. Here is what you need to know before you file a long-term insurance claim.  Is it the right time for you to file a long-term care insurance claim?...

Many Americans purchased long-term care insurance in an effort to protect themselves from the financial risks associated with long-term care. Unfortunately, when seniors are ready to cash in on their investment, their claims are often denied and they end up spending months or even years trying to convince their insurers to approve their claim. Here is what you need to know before you file a long-term insurance claim. 

Is it the right time for you to file a long-term care insurance claim?

Before your file your long-term insurance claim, you should make sure at least one of the following scenarios applies to you.

  • You receive long-term care services and want to claim benefits. 
  • You recently received long-term care services and want to claim benefits. 
  • You expect to receive long-term care services within the next two weeks.

If none of these scenarios apply to you, it might not be the right time to file a claim. If you are not sure, you can take advantage of Amada's complimentary long-term care advising services. 

If you you are ready to file a long-term insurance claim, you can file it directly with us.

How do you qualify for long-term care insurance benefits?

Benefit triggers are the conditions that must occur before you start receiving benefits from your long-term care insurance policy. Most insurers decide when you can start receiving your long-term insurance benefits by evaluating your ability to perform certain "activities of daily living" (ADLs). 

Bathing, dressing, using the toilet, walking, and remaining continent are the most common ADLs insurers assess. 

Benefits usually begin when you need help with two or three ADLs.

Tip: People have a tendency minimize our ailments and limitations. Unfortunately, this won't help you when filing your long-term insurance claim. When answering questions, always refer to your worst days as opposed to your best days to ensure you get the care you need.

When will your benefits be available?

Your long-term care policy has an elimination period, also known as a deductible or waiting period. An elimination period is the number of days you must receive home care or nursing care before your policy begins to pay benefits. Common elimination periods are 30, 60, and 90 days. Generally, the shorter your elimination period is, the higher your premium will be. 

Get Complimentary Assistance With Long-Term Care

Long-term care insurance policies can be challenging to navigate, which is why Amada Senior Care specializes in long-term care insurance claims. A trained Amada professional can help you get the most out of your policy by helping you understand and verify your benefits. We can:

  • Identify and explain the elements of your policy, including:
    • Elimination period
    • Maximum daily benefit
    • Lifetime benefit
    • Coverage
  • Assist you in completing the necessary forms to file a claim. Amada can ensure you submit all your relevant health information to the insurance company. 
  • Directly bill the long-term care carrier.
  • Handle the responsibility of payroll taxes, benefits, scheduling, bonding, worker’s compensation, and general and professional liability insurance.

Long-term care insurance was one of the best investments you could have made for you and your family's financial security. Let’s make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to!

“Read This Before You File Your Long-Term Insurance Claim,” Ashley LeVine, Amada Blog Contributor.



What You Need to Know About Diabetes in Older Adults

The risk of developing diabetes increases with age, making diabetes a common concern among older adults. Unfortunately, older adults are also at a greater risk for developing many of the other complications associated with the disease. Here is what you need to know about diabetes in older adults. Seniors with diabetes are at a greater risk for serious falls than seniors without diabetes.Click To Tweet Older adults with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart attacks, stroke and kidney...

The risk of developing diabetes increases with age, making diabetes a common concern among older adults. Unfortunately, older adults are also at a greater risk for developing many of the other complications associated with the disease. Here is what you need to know about diabetes in older adults.


Seniors with diabetes are at a greater risk for serious falls than seniors without diabetes.
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Older adults with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure
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People with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
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Elderly with diabetes are at a greater risk of forgetting to eat regularly.
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Seniors with diabetes are more likely to have memory problems, depression and diffculty with…
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What is Diabetes?

Your body relies on insulin to carry sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. Once the sugar is inside your cells, it’s converted to energy for immediate or current use. This energy is essential for many of your bodily functions. When your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or your body doesn’t use insulin properly, you have diabetes.


When your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or your body doesn’t use insulin properly, you…
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Complications

Diabetes, like most diseases, can be particularly detrimental to a senior’s health if not managed properly. This is because older adults are at a greater risk of experiencing many of the complications associated with the disease. Here are some of the most common complications that can result from improper diabetes-management.

Hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is the term we use for low blood sugar. Severe hypoglycemia can be detrimental to seniors’ health. Seniors with severe hypoglycemia may experience unconsciousness or seizures. Here are some of the common signs associated with hypoglycemia.

  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Tingling sensations around your mouth
  • Hunger
  • Headache

  • Pale skin
  • Sudden moodiness or other behavioral changes
  • Clumsiness
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Confusion

 

Heart Disease. Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is particularly dangerous because it can result in life-threatening complications including heart attack and stroke.

Diabetic Neuropathy. Seniors who fail to properly manage their diabetes for an extended period of time are at the greatest risk for diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that occurs from high blood sugar levels. Nerve disease or neuropathy can lead to a myriad of complications. Neuropathy may cause tingling, pain, or weakness in your hands and feet. If this is not treated properly, it can lead to amputation. Nerve disease can also cause digestive problems like feeling full early, diarrhea, constipation, or unpredictable blood glucose levels.

Kidney Disease. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney diseases. Your kidneys play a vital role in keeping you alive. Your kidneys’ responsibilities are referred to as renal function. This includes removing waste and excess water from your body, maintaining your body’s chemical balance, producing hormones that regulate red blood cell production, maintaining your blood pressure, and contributing to bone health. Diabetes harms your kidneys by making them work harder to filter out and absorb the sugar build up in your blood.

Eye disease. Eye disease that occurs as a result of diabetes is known as retinopathy. People with diabetes are also at a high risk for eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness. To minimize the damage that can occur from these eye-related diseases, get your eyes checked once a year.

Symptoms

Diabetes in and of itself doesn’t cause any symptoms. The symptoms often experienced by people with diabetes result from the conditions caused by diabetes (i.e., high blood sugar levels). As a result, many seniors are completely unaware they have the disease; therefore, it is left untreated. Learning about the symptoms associated with the disease can play a huge role in preserving your health and the health of a loved one.

Excessive thirst and urination. Increased thirst is a direct sign your kidneys are working hard to filter and absorb the sugar build up in your blood. When your kidneys can’t keep up, the sugar is excreted in your urine, concurrently drawing fluid from your body’s tissues. This triggers thirst and therefore, more frequent urination.

Gum disease.  Untreated diabetes can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, increasing your risk for gum disease.

Reduced vision. High blood sugar pulls fluids from all of your body’s tissues; the eyes are no exception. This can lead to blurred vision and if left untreated, you may not only damage your retina, but you can potentially go blind.

Slow-healing wounds. Seniors with diabetes take a longer time to heal. This puts them at a greater risk for infections.

Weight loss and constant hunger. Sudden and unexpected weight loss is a common indicator of diabetes. A caloric deficit can occur when sugar is excreted through frequent urination. This can prevent the sugar from the food you consume from reaching your cells, leading to excessive hunger and weight loss.

Tingling of hands and feet. Tingling of hands and feet is common among diabetics who suffer from nerve damage.

Helping Seniors Manage Their Diabetes

Caregivers can help seniors with many of the tedious tasks diabetics are subjected to. 

Maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Caregivers can help seniors burdened by diabetes by helping them maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Caregivers can keep a daily record of blood glucose readings, medicine schedule, exercise, meals, and how they are feeling throughout the day. Those with diabetes should also be meeting with their doctor on a regular basis to look for any patterns or concerns.

Encourage good oral hygiene. Since seniors are more likely to have problems in their mouth, it is important for them to have good oral hygiene. Caregivers can play a tremendous role in helping seniors with gum disease. Encourage seniors to brush their teeth with a soft-bristled brush and to floss their teeth after meals.

Assist with nail maintenance. A minor problem such as an ingrown toenail can lead to problems including infections. Caregivers can help seniors by checking their toenails once a week for swelling or other signs of infection.

Promote best practices for bathing.  Caregivers can help seniors use best practices when bathing to avoid drying out their skin. A minor injury such as a callous or cut on the foot can lead to serious problems for seniors with diabetes. Seniors with nerve damage might not even feel the cut. After getting out the bath, seniors should do a daily skin check to become aware of any red spots, blisters, and sores. Pay special attention to the feet. 

Encourage safe exercising. Seniors should wait an hour or so after eating before exercising. This is because their blood sugar is likely higher during this time. Caregivers can make sure seniors are equipped with glucose tablets or a high-carb snack, water, and a diabetes ID tag when they are exercising away from their home. Caregivers can also ensure seniors check their blood sugar before, during, and after exercising. 

Support good stress practices. Many people don’t realize this, but stress can negatively affect your blood sugar. Caregivers can help seniors manage their stress by encouraging them to engage in activities that counteract the effects of stress. These activities include walking, deep breathing exercises, gardening, meditation, listening to music, or working on a hobby.

Conclusion

Properly managing diabetes can help seniors increase their quality of life and avoid many of the common complications associated with the disease.

“What You Need to Know About Diabetes in Older Adults,” Ashley LeVine, Amada Blog Contributor.

 



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