January – March 2020 Caring Connection Newsletter

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

jan 2020 caring connection newsletter

2020 Calendar:

January

Radon Action Month

Thyroid Awareness Month

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

February

National Donor Day Feb. 14

American Heart Month

Low Vision Awareness Month

March

Mar. 26 American Diabetes Awareness Day

National Nutrition Month

Colon Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

 

 

    The Caring Connection

 

     Edition 3, Volume 1

January – March 2020

 

Preventing and Treating UTI’s in The Elderly

If a urinary tract infection is suspected, a doctor will take a urine sample and sometimes a blood test. The infection may be treated with a simple round of antibiotics.

If infections are recurring or if the doctor suspects an obstruction, a CT scan or other imaging test may be used. A cystoscopy may also be ordered. (This involves a tube with a lens being run into the bladder to check for abnormalities.

In some cases a catheter may have to be used to collect a clean sample. If so, this may cause further agitation in someone with dementia. It can also lead to further infections. Ask if there any other options before agreeing to allow catheter use on a loved one under your care.

Many infections can be prevented with some simple tips and rules. First off all, make sure that the elderly stay hydrated! This can be a difficult struggle if they are embarrassed about incontinence. Always provide their favorite drink in a readily accessible area.

To make access to bathrooms as easy as possible, offer a bed pan if that will help reassure them and convince them to drink more fluids. If adult diapers or pads are used, change them frequently, clean the perineum between changes.

All linens such as towels, bed pads and underwear that come in contact with even a small amount of urine should be sanitized frequently to kill bacteria.

Water is best for flushing the urinary tract, but any fluids that they enjoy drinking will help keep infections at bay. Encourage them to drink glasses of water in between other beverages as well.

Remember that although cranberry juice is thought to help prevent infections, it can also irritate infections that are already present in some people.

Other preventions include:

  • Teaching good hygiene
  • Emptying the bladder frequently–don’t wait until it is uncomfortable
  • Remind those with dementia to use the toilet frequently
  • Avoid perfumed soaps, deodorants, toilet papers and douches
  • Provide wet wipes to make cleaning up easier after toileting

 

It is not advisable to try to treat a urinary tract infection in the elderly with a home remedy. Consult with a physician  before implementing any care plan.

Also remember that excessive fluid intake may place some elderly persons at risk depending on their pre-existing medical conditions and their medication.

Check with the doctor about any concerns and make sure you understand all complications and considerations. Every elderly person is different, and their unique health status will help your doctor decide which treatment option and preventative measures are the safest and most effective.

www.agingcare.com

www.thecaregiverspace.org

www.caregiving.org

https://www.eldercaredirectory.org/

https://aging.maryland.gov/pages/default.aspx

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-weekend-activities-for-seniors-in-baltimore/

As we age, our sleep patterns may change. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “44% of older persons experience one or more of the nighttime symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights per week or more.”

It’s natural for our senior loved ones to need a little less sleep, or to wake up more during the night. But, if restless nights are causing problems during the day and you can’t attribute it to medication or illness, then you might want to try a little food therapy. A bedtime snack containing the right nutrients can help seniors — and the rest of us — calm the body, relax the mind and promote better sleep.

jan 2020 caring connection newsletter

Sleep-Promoting Foods for Senior Nutrition

  1. Nutrient-Rich Fruits

Many fruits contain minerals like potassium and magnesium, which help promote sleep by relaxing the muscles and calming the nervous system. Bananas are an excellent choice, and one that our Facebook users recommend, too. Besides being rich in both potassium and magnesium, they also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps induce sleep. Tryptophan is converted by the brain into serotonin and melatonin, says the U.S. News and World Report: “Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation; melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleepiness.”

Cherries are also a rich source of melatonin, and fruits like apples, apricots and peaches contain plenty of magnesium. So, if your loved one is having trouble sleeping — and tends to crave sweets — reach for the fruit bowl.

  1. Complex Carbs

One of our Facebook users also suggested mashed sweet potato with honey as a good bedtime treat. Along with whole grains like oatmeal, popcorn, or even jasmine rice, sweet potato is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help increase levels of tryptophan. A small bowl of oatmeal or cereal, whole-grain crackers with a little lean protein (see below), and low-calorie, high-fiber popcorn are good choices. Oatmeal is especially good, says U.S. News, because it also has plenty of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium.

  1. Lean Protein

Lean proteins, too, are high in tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels and promotes good sleep. It’s the reason why we all end up in a turkey coma after Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t want to eat too much protein, or anything high in fat or deep-fried, but a dab of peanut butter on a banana, an egg on whole-grain toast, a little low-fat cheese on crackers, or a rice cake with lean turkey or fish can be satisfying and sleep-promoting snacks before bedtime.

  1. Heart-Healthy Fats

It might seem surprising, but heart-healthy fats are another good choice for some nighttime eating. “Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels,” says the Cleveland Clinic. Think avocados, peanut butter and other nuts. such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. Almonds, for instance, are full of protein, as well as magnesium, which promotes muscle relaxation. Just be sure to avoid unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats, which reduce serotonin levels and make sleep more elusive.

  1. Warm Drinks

There’s a reason why mom always recommended that glass of warm milk at bedtime — milk, like other dairy products, contains tryptophan. “Plus, it’s a good source of calcium, which helps regulate the production of melatonin,” says U.S. News. Warm milk with a dash of honey is especially soothing. Decaffeinated herbal teas can also help, particularly relaxing herbs like chamomile or peppermint. Many people drink teas with added valerian root, an herb that has been used for centuries as a natural sedative. Avoid caffeinated beverages, though; even small amounts of caffeine can prevent sleep.

What Not to Eat Before Bed

A quick note on foods to avoid: some edibles (and drinkables) may seem like tempting nighttime treats, but may actually have a negative effect on sleep and rest. Here are a few tips for what NOT to eat before bed:

  • Anything that tends to upset the digestive system, like greasy or spicy foods
  • Eating too much before bed, as it may lead to indigestion and weight gain
  • Eating large amounts of protein, which can be difficult to digest
  • Excessive sweets: “Diets high in refined sugar can cause indigestion and trigger insulin surges that interfere with the hormones that affect sleep,” notes  Oz
  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages (or eat too much chocolate!) for at least three to eight hours before bed
  • Don’t use alcohol to try to fall asleep as it may initially make you sleepy, but it negatively affects the quality of sleep
  • Limit liquids before going to bed, particularly important for older adults: “It takes about 90 minutes for the body to process liquids, so limit liquids of any kind for at least 90 minutes prior to bedtime if the need to urinate wakes you up in the middle of the night,” suggests nutritionist Joy Bauer.

 

Standing and Sitting with a Walker

 

  • When going to sit, try to approach the chair from the side with the walker to avoid having to back up much. Back up until legs feel the chair, then let go of the walker and hold onto the arms of the chair to support your weight while sitting. Do not use the walker handles to lean on while sitting. So often, elderly people forget whether they should have brakes on or off when sitting or standing, stepping up or down. It’s important to supervise more when you start noticing this happening.
  • When standing, put the walker an arm’s length in front of the person, not too close; leave enough room to stand without leaning backwards and losing their balance. Put the brakes on. Have the person scoot forward to the edge of the chair, and with feet planted squarely, push up on arms of chair with you by their side to steady if needed, or using a gait belt if needed. Once standing, hold on to walker. Do not use the walker handles to pull up to a standing position! If standing from a wheelchair or transport chair, always make sure the brakes are on before standing. If the chair they are sitting in has wheels and no brakes, be sure the chair is backed up to a wall or corner or something stationary to give stability to pushing up before standing.
  • Do not stand too close to walker or put all your weight on the walker. Either may cause you to lose your balance. Try to stand as straight as possible a comfortable arm’s distance and use the walker to steady yourself, not to hold you up.
  • If the person begins to feel dizzy or light-headed while walking, immediately put on the brakes, help the person turn and sit on the walker seat to rest, and if possible, wheel them to a safe place to sit and recover. It’s a good idea to take their blood pressure as soon as possible to determine if something else is going on.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

2020 Calendar:

January

Radon Action Month

Thyroid Awareness Month

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

February

National Donor Day Feb. 14

American Heart Month

Low Vision Awareness Month

March

Mar. 26 American Diabetes Awareness Day

National Nutrition Month

Colon Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

 

 

    The Caring Connection

 

     Edition 3, Volume 1

January – March 2020

 

Preventing and Treating UTI’s in The Elderly

If a urinary tract infection is suspected, a doctor will take a urine sample and sometimes a blood test. The infection may be treated with a simple round of antibiotics.

If infections are recurring or if the doctor suspects an obstruction, a CT scan or other imaging test may be used. A cystoscopy may also be ordered. (This involves a tube with a lens being run into the bladder to check for abnormalities.

In some cases a catheter may have to be used to collect a clean sample. If so, this may cause further agitation in someone with dementia. It can also lead to further infections. Ask if there any other options before agreeing to allow catheter use on a loved one under your care.

Many infections can be prevented with some simple tips and rules. First off all, make sure that the elderly stay hydrated! This can be a difficult struggle if they are embarrassed about incontinence. Always provide their favorite drink in a readily accessible area.

To make access to bathrooms as easy as possible, offer a bed pan if that will help reassure them and convince them to drink more fluids. If adult diapers or pads are used, change them frequently, clean the perineum between changes.

All linens such as towels, bed pads and underwear that come in contact with even a small amount of urine should be sanitized frequently to kill bacteria.

Water is best for flushing the urinary tract, but any fluids that they enjoy drinking will help keep infections at bay. Encourage them to drink glasses of water in between other beverages as well.

Remember that although cranberry juice is thought to help prevent infections, it can also irritate infections that are already present in some people.

Other preventions include:

  • Teaching good hygiene
  • Emptying the bladder frequently–don’t wait until it is uncomfortable
  • Remind those with dementia to use the toilet frequently
  • Avoid perfumed soaps, deodorants, toilet papers and douches
  • Provide wet wipes to make cleaning up easier after toileting

 

It is not advisable to try to treat a urinary tract infection in the elderly with a home remedy. Consult with a physician  before implementing any care plan.

Also remember that excessive fluid intake may place some elderly persons at risk depending on their pre-existing medical conditions and their medication.

Check with the doctor about any concerns and make sure you understand all complications and considerations. Every elderly person is different, and their unique health status will help your doctor decide which treatment option and preventative measures are the safest and most effective.

www.agingcare.com

www.thecaregiverspace.org

www.caregiving.org

https://www.eldercaredirectory.org/

https://aging.maryland.gov/pages/default.aspx

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-weekend-activities-for-seniors-in-baltimore/

As we age, our sleep patterns may change. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “44% of older persons experience one or more of the nighttime symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights per week or more.”

It’s natural for our senior loved ones to need a little less sleep, or to wake up more during the night. But, if restless nights are causing problems during the day and you can’t attribute it to medication or illness, then you might want to try a little food therapy. A bedtime snack containing the right nutrients can help seniors — and the rest of us — calm the body, relax the mind and promote better sleep.

Sleep-Promoting Foods for Senior Nutrition

  1. Nutrient-Rich Fruits

Many fruits contain minerals like potassium and magnesium, which help promote sleep by relaxing the muscles and calming the nervous system. Bananas are an excellent choice, and one that our Facebook users recommend, too. Besides being rich in both potassium and magnesium, they also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps induce sleep. Tryptophan is converted by the brain into serotonin and melatonin, says the U.S. News and World Report: “Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation; melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleepiness.”

Cherries are also a rich source of melatonin, and fruits like apples, apricots and peaches contain plenty of magnesium. So, if your loved one is having trouble sleeping — and tends to crave sweets — reach for the fruit bowl.

  1. Complex Carbs

One of our Facebook users also suggested mashed sweet potato with honey as a good bedtime treat. Along with whole grains like oatmeal, popcorn, or even jasmine rice, sweet potato is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help increase levels of tryptophan. A small bowl of oatmeal or cereal, whole-grain crackers with a little lean protein (see below), and low-calorie, high-fiber popcorn are good choices. Oatmeal is especially good, says U.S. News, because it also has plenty of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium.

  1. Lean Protein

Lean proteins, too, are high in tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels and promotes good sleep. It’s the reason why we all end up in a turkey coma after Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t want to eat too much protein, or anything high in fat or deep-fried, but a dab of peanut butter on a banana, an egg on whole-grain toast, a little low-fat cheese on crackers, or a rice cake with lean turkey or fish can be satisfying and sleep-promoting snacks before bedtime.

  1. Heart-Healthy Fats

It might seem surprising, but heart-healthy fats are another good choice for some nighttime eating. “Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels,” says the Cleveland Clinic. Think avocados, peanut butter and other nuts. such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. Almonds, for instance, are full of protein, as well as magnesium, which promotes muscle relaxation. Just be sure to avoid unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats, which reduce serotonin levels and make sleep more elusive.

  1. Warm Drinks

There’s a reason why mom always recommended that glass of warm milk at bedtime — milk, like other dairy products, contains tryptophan. “Plus, it’s a good source of calcium, which helps regulate the production of melatonin,” says U.S. News. Warm milk with a dash of honey is especially soothing. Decaffeinated herbal teas can also help, particularly relaxing herbs like chamomile or peppermint. Many people drink teas with added valerian root, an herb that has been used for centuries as a natural sedative. Avoid caffeinated beverages, though; even small amounts of caffeine can prevent sleep.

What Not to Eat Before Bed

A quick note on foods to avoid: some edibles (and drinkables) may seem like tempting nighttime treats, but may actually have a negative effect on sleep and rest. Here are a few tips for what NOT to eat before bed:

  • Anything that tends to upset the digestive system, like greasy or spicy foods
  • Eating too much before bed, as it may lead to indigestion and weight gain
  • Eating large amounts of protein, which can be difficult to digest
  • Excessive sweets: “Diets high in refined sugar can cause indigestion and trigger insulin surges that interfere with the hormones that affect sleep,” notes  Oz
  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages (or eat too much chocolate!) for at least three to eight hours before bed
  • Don’t use alcohol to try to fall asleep as it may initially make you sleepy, but it negatively affects the quality of sleep
  • Limit liquids before going to bed, particularly important for older adults: “It takes about 90 minutes for the body to process liquids, so limit liquids of any kind for at least 90 minutes prior to bedtime if the need to urinate wakes you up in the middle of the night,” suggests nutritionist Joy Bauer.

 

Standing and Sitting with a Walker

 

  • When going to sit, try to approach the chair from the side with the walker to avoid having to back up much. Back up until legs feel the chair, then let go of the walker and hold onto the arms of the chair to support your weight while sitting. Do not use the walker handles to lean on while sitting. So often, elderly people forget whether they should have brakes on or off when sitting or standing, stepping up or down. It’s important to supervise more when you start noticing this happening.
  • When standing, put the walker an arm’s length in front of the person, not too close; leave enough room to stand without leaning backwards and losing their balance. Put the brakes on. Have the person scoot forward to the edge of the chair, and with feet planted squarely, push up on arms of chair with you by their side to steady if needed, or using a gait belt if needed. Once standing, hold on to walker. Do not use the walker handles to pull up to a standing position! If standing from a wheelchair or transport chair, always make sure the brakes are on before standing. If the chair they are sitting in has wheels and no brakes, be sure the chair is backed up to a wall or corner or something stationary to give stability to pushing up before standing.
  • Do not stand too close to walker or put all your weight on the walker. Either may cause you to lose your balance. Try to stand as straight as possible a comfortable arm’s distance and use the walker to steady yourself, not to hold you up.
  • If the person begins to feel dizzy or light-headed while walking, immediately put on the brakes, help the person turn and sit on the walker seat to rest, and if possible, wheel them to a safe place to sit and recover. It’s a good idea to take their blood pressure as soon as possible to determine if something else is going on.