Steps to Healthier Eating Habits

Between concerns over diseases endemic to the elderly like diabetes or heart disease, catering to individual food sensitivities, and managing interactions with medication, a proper diet is essential to good health for the elderly. According to the National Institutes of Health, eating a well-planned, balanced mix of foods everyday may very well reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. Also, for those who may already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help better manage these conditions.

Beyond considerations of preventing or managing illness, eating well plays other important roles in the daily lives of the elderly, from maintaining a healthy level of energy to properly regulating weight.

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Energy level

With obesity rates in the U.S. skyrocketing, we hear a lot about eating too much; but eating too little, or not eating appropriate foods can also be a problem. Consuming enough calories gives the body the fuel it needs to not only perform physical tasks like walking, but mental tasks as well which means one needs to be properly fueled throughout the day for optimal cognitive function and memory. There are several factors that account for the number of calories needed: age, gender, height, weight, and level of activity.

Weight & Activity Level

Proper weight is a concern for most people throughout their lives, but it becomes especially important as the body ages and becomes more at risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while excess pounds can wreak havoc on aging joints. Consuming not only the right amount of calories, but also the right kind of calories — a healthy blend of foods: fruits, grains, meat, veggies — help to control weight.

Eating more calories than your body needs for your activity level will lead to extra pounds. Many people become less active as they age, which equates to needing fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. The NIH recommends choosing mostly nutrient-dense foods—those which have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories—which can supply needed nutrients while keeping down calorie intake.

Taking small steps to improve eating habits is often the most effective way to make lasting changes. By starting with incremental changes—adding a new vegetable to the menu, or simply taking the salt shaker off the table—healthy habits become second nature, and easy to adhere to. Eating well is not about following a diet or losing those extra pounds; rather, it’s a way of living that can improve life exponentially.

David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  They offer the services of Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, they believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today at 718-376-7755. Please visit the website, like them on Facebook, or follow the agency on TwitterGoogle+ or LinkedIn.

 

 

Helping Others Make Lasting Change

Of all the resolutions we make to start the new year, more than half involve becoming healthier: losing weight, eating better, adhering to specific diet, or quitting [insert bad habit here]. And while much is made of how few people achieve their goals, what of those who get it right? The people who drop a dress size, adopt a healthy new routine, eliminate a specific toxic behavior? What constitutes the difference between those who succeed and those who do not? The answer lies not in the resolutions we make, but in how we go about realizing life changes that determines success.

When caring for aging parents or loved ones, a related question might be how to help them adopt new habits when you’re not always there to observe their behavior and offer encouragement—or if they resist making the change. How do we help a loved one overcome a habit that’s bad for their budget, their health, or their general well-being?

TNew Yearshe most common problems the elderly face involve

  • getting enough sleep
  • eating healthfully
  • managing chronic health issues
  • appropriate daily exercise

When helping an elderly adult make positive life changes, consider the following suggestions which experts advise for creating lasting and effective resolutions for the upcoming year:

  • Focus on one habit change, and make it realistic.
  • Understand the “Golden Rule of Habit Change,” which states that every habit has three components:
  • The cue (or a trigger for an automatic behavior to start),
  • A routine (the behavior itself), and
  • A reward (which is how our brain learns to remember this pattern for the future).
  • Learn to recognize triggers.
  • Replace an old habit with a new one, or associate a specific trigger with a different behavior.
  • Take small realistic steps. Make them manageable and duplicate them every day.
  • Celebrate accomplishments.

Whether the goal is to help a parent manage diabetes or to be active on a daily basis, helping another through these steps may not be easy, but the outcome—a healthier lifestyle and potentially longer and more productive life—is worth the effort.

When it’s not possible to spend as much time as you’d like with an aging loved one, David York Agency provides qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals when you need them. Our Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), are available full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the very best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755 or visit our website www.davidyorkagency.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn, google+ or Twitter.

Using Color and Contrast to Increase Safety in the Home

As your loved ones age, their changing physical needs also require a change in their physical environment – their home. Elder proofing a home is a way to make sure a senior’s home is safe and in many cases it requires only slight accommodations and a small investment. A simple, yet effective method is incorporating color and contrast to increase the safety and functionality of their home.

color and contrastThe use of color and contrast accommodates the aging eye which may lose sensitivity and have difficulty differentiating similar patterns and colors. Therefore, using bolder color contrast becomes crucial. “When we talk of color contrast, it’s the separation of lights and darks,” said Michael Pause, a professor who teaches color and light theory at North Carolina State. “It’s the notion of being able to distinguish between two surfaces.” For example, using different colors on kitchen countertops and cabinets can help people with declining vision discern where one surface ends and the next begins. Other areas of the home that can benefit from color contrast and make for easier navigating include baseboards, stair edges, ramp edges, door moldings and, in the bathroom showers and bathtubs.

According to the Healthy House Institute,

“If the color of a floor and wall are similar, low light conditions will make it hard or impossible to clearly see where the floor meets the wall. The result for eyes not adjusted to low light conditions can be accidental collisions into the wall perhaps by turning a corner before actually reaching it. High contrast or opposite colors on the floor and walls makes the floor visually ‘pop.’ These are visual cues, additional guideposts for the brain to navigate by.”

There are a myriad of ways to use color and contrast to increase functionality in the home. The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State offers several ideas in its “Universal Design in Housing” guide.

• Use a contrasting color border treatment on between floor surfaces and trim.
• Add color contrast to differentiate between stair treads and risers.
• Emphasize lighting at stairs, entrances and task lighting which affords easy recognition of the junction of floor surfaces and walls.
• Create contrast between countertops and front edges or cabinet faces.
• Avoid glossy surfaces, which may reflect light and glare, potentially confusing the eye.
• To increase safety, install color contrasting faucet handles.
• Use contrasting colors on wall and casements when installing light switches and window hardware.
• Color can also be used for facilitating recognition of everyday-use items in the kitchen and bathroom as well.

David York Agency has done a lot of research about elder proofing homes and has compiled a concise, handy chart for caregivers to use which is available on the caregiver resources page of their website.

David York Agency provides qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals when you need them: Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full- or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755.

Returning Home After a Stroke

When a stroke occurs, time spent in the hospital amounts to mere moments compared to what can be a lengthy and challenging recovery process. A stroke can change your loved one’s life in the blink of an eye, and can suddenly make normal, everyday activities impossible for the stroke survivor to do alone. Living arrangements, too, can create unique issues—even the scope of the home (its layout and its associated responsibilities) may be incompatible with their changed capabilities.

As soon as possible in advance of the stroke survivor being discharged, an assessment should be made of the stroke survivor’s entire situation, including their living environment, support fromUntitled1 family, disability and insurance benefits, along with the possible introduction of in-home healthcare.

According to information published by the US Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality, ensure a safe and comfortable transition by reviewing the following and making necessary changes:

  • Making sure that your loved one has a safe place to live,
  • Deciding what care, assistance, or special equipment will be needed,
  • Arranging for more rehabilitation services or for other services in the home (such as visits by a physical therapist or hiring a home health aide),
  • Choosing a healthcare professional or doctor who will monitor your loved one’s health and medical needs,
  •  Learning the necessary skills to provide your loved one with daily care and assistance at home,

Experts recommend that, when possible, families take the initial steps in deciding on in-home healthcare well in advance. David York Agency provides qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals when you need them: Certified Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Personal Health Care Aides (PCA), Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), full or part-time, live-in or -out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Licensed by the New York State Department of Health, we believe your loved one deserves the best care. Call for a free consultation today, at 718-376-7755.

 

Mitigating Pre-Diabetes

Diabetes affects a disproportionate number of older adults—approximately 25% of Americans aged 60 and over. In the United States, our growing aging demographic is clearly one of the drivers of the diabetes epidemic. Another less known condition, prediabetes, is even more common and affects an estimated 50 percent of Americans over 65. Prediabetes is where one’s blood glucose level is above normal, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes. It is important for seniors to be aware of prediabetes because it is very common and greatly increases one’s risk to develop type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

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When someone is at risk of developing diabetes, a health care provider may prescribe certain medications to manage symptoms. Taking even simpler steps, however, may be even more effective in preventing the disease.

Physical activity
There are numerous studies that show the benefits of being active as we age. This is absolutely vital in diabetes management. The activity doesn’t need to be strenuous—begin slowly to build up stamina and strength. Limited mobility isn’t a barrier, many websites and books today offer suggestions for chair and limited mobility exercises.

Weight loss In addition to increasing physical activity, cutting back on calories from sugar and bad fats can go a long way in managing weight. The American Diabetes Association suggests losing 7 percent of your total body weight as a goal.

Continued monitoring
If you’re at risk for diabetes, having blood glucose checked once a year is standard; some health care professionals may suggest more often. Blood pressure and cholesterol should also be checked regularly, as fluctuations can point to heart disease and blood vessel problems.

If you’ve been told you are prediabetic, or that you’re at risk of developing diabetes, see this as a warning sign—not a life sentence. By taking simple steps and getting help from your health care provider and loved ones, diabetes can be prevented.

David York Agency is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of various diseases endemic to the elderly. David York Agency and their team of home heath aide professionals will be there to help you every step of the way. Our client intake coordinator is available to answer your questions about in-home healthcare. When you sign on as a client, a free nursing assessment helps tailor a specific care plan performed by a caring home health aide.

For more information about our services, please visit www.davidyorkagency.com. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on our LinkedIn or Twitter pages. You can also call us at 718.376.7755 and we will be happy to talk over your specific home healthcare needs.