Senior Nutrition: Recommended Calorie Intake

It is important for seniors to stay healthy by eating the ‘right’ diet. This can help them to live a longer and healthier life in which they feel better and can help to alleviate or prevent some aging diseases. Eating healthy is very important at any age, but in seniors it could have serious adverse effects on the body due to the aging diseases that it may cause.

So what is the ‘right diet’ for seniors and how do you know what seniors should eat? The senior’s doctor should give the specific answer to this question, however we will present some general tips and diet information to help them stay healthier and happier for longer.

To begin, it is important to know an estimation of how many calories seniors should be consuming based on varying fitness levels. Too many calories can result in weight gain that could increase the chance of falls with osteoporosis and cause or worsen diabetes that can result in life threatening health problems. Here are the recommended calorie intake levels by the National Institute on Aging:

 A woman over 50 who is:                                                          A man over 50 who is:

Not active: 1600 calories a day                                                       Not active: 2000 calories a day

Somewhat active: 1800 calories a day                                          Somewhat active: 2200-2400 calories a day

Very active: 2000 calories a day                                                     Very active: 2400-2800 calories a day

Help Seniors to Prevent Falls

As the elderly age, they become increasingly susceptible to falling and the dangers can be much worse. With aging diseases like osteoporosis decreasing stability and others with symptoms of nausea, fatigue and a decreasing eye sight, we must be alert for potential hazards. A fall or injury that may be considered lightly to a younger adult, can be very harmful to an elder.

So what should you do to keep the elderly safe a protected? The good news is that many falls happen in the senior’s home and could have been prevented if the hazard was removed or precautions were taken. By leaning from previous faults, we can help to create a safe home environment to keep seniors healthy, happy and independent.

To help keep the senior safe, go through each one of these observations in every area of the house and ask yourself the questions. Your response could mean that there are potential hazards in the home that can be resolved, it may only take 5 minutes to be the difference between a safe home and an medical visit.

Once the steps have been taken to create safe home environment, you can also help seniors to prevent falls and stay independent by taking extra steps according to disabilities or aging diseases. Many of these steps can be done both outside the home and inside the home and could have a tremendous benefit on their health and overall wellbeing.

If a senior has osteoporosis, it may help to work on balance exercises in the home. These can be learned at the local senior center and more information can be found in the Elder Helpers’ guide to caring for seniors, the Caregivers Guide to Compassion. They can also use a cane or walking assistant in the home, many are available online or at your local retail stores.

For vision problems, speak with the senior’s eye doctor about solutions that can be taken outside the home. When the elder is at home, you can increase the lighting during the day, leave lights on at night and clear unnecessary objects from the walking paths. The specific assistance depends on the level of severity for a loss of eyesight, if it is much worse, the elder should consider also staying away from driving activities and obtaining a dog trained to help her.

There are many steps that you can take as a caregiver to help seniors to stay healthy by prevention. However, if a fall does occur and they cannot get back up without assistance, they should be able to easily call for help. If a senior owns a cellular phone, make sure that they have it on them at all times in the case of an emergency. It is important they if they need help, they have access to it and if you are not available they can call another person as a backup.

Technology that can Help the Elderly

While a lot of technology can simplify seniors’ lives, it can also be intimidating to adopt for people growing up without the same technological innovations that we value today. Some technology gadgets for seniors are particularly popular such as:

Tablet PCs: Many technology companies like Microsoft, Apple and now Google have tablets out that have applications that seniors can enjoy like games, free limited newspaper access, internet surfing and videos.

E Readers: If the elder enjoys reading, but has difficulty seeing the text because of vision problems, E Readers are perfect for them. Some E Readers are designed for simplicity and have the ability to make the text any size so that vision is no longer a problem.

Wii: Video games systems like the Nintendo Wii give seniors the capability of enjoying the same sports that they did when it was safer for them to. The senior and their helper may enjoy activities like yoga, golf, tennis and bowling.

Cell Phones: For older seniors that still prefer the traditional land line telephone, think simple. There are many smartphones out that are unnecessarily complicated and can frustrate seniors when attempting to use them. Pay as you go phones are usually very simple, older models can be easier to use than the newer models.

It does not take very much training to use these devices; today’s technologically savvy youth may be able to give the seniors a thorough overview over any of these electronics.  If you would like to find a volunteer to help seniors to use these devices, search for volunteers in your area and sign up.

The Elder Helpers Code of Ethics

1. Responsibility must be practiced by always making the best decision to benefit society. We strive to create the best relationships with volunteers and elders, believing that it is our duty to ensure the continuation of our program through your satisfaction.

2. Compassion is at the heart of our operations because we want to make the world a better place and improve the lives of elders across the world.

3. Trust in every aspect of our operations with the public and with respect to international laws and regulations. We not only expect to meet our legal obligations as a non-profit varying across countries, but we have a very high standard for ethics upheld by trust in our daily operations.

4. Generosity of all supporters and staff of our organization which allows us to consistently pursue our mission of connecting elders with volunteers desiring to help them. Without the donations from our respected supporters, our program would not be capable of its consistent growth and expansion.

5. Honor the different cultures, beliefs and practices varying from region to region across the world. Operating on a multi-national scale encourages us to be accepting of all beliefs and backgrounds to provide care for anyone who needs it regardless of their lifestyle.

6. Promise to our supporters that with their help, we will continue to provide assistance to those in need. This means that while you or a loved one is planning for retirement, having access to free care and companionship is one less factor that you need to worry about. Continued support of our mission will ensure the same thing for our volunteers’ future and generations to come.

7. Excellence is put forth in all of our strategies to improve the program for elders and voluntee­­rs. Our volunteers may donate their time to our program, but we encourage a high degree of quality in their work because it helps you to have a more enriching experience and we can achieve our mission.

8. Respect of all citizens, especially volunteers, supporters and the elderly affiliated with our organization is vital. We passionately believe that treating everyone with a high degree of respect is fundamental to our operations.

1. Respect the elderly person.

Always be respectful to the elderly. Even though they have aged and may be losing their health, they are still people with emotions and ideas. Don’t judge them by their physical condition. Aging is simply a part of the natural cycle: you are born, you’re a kid, you grown into your teen years, adult years, and one day you will be elderly too. Have respect for them and their lives.

  • Don’t swear or say words which they may find inappropriate; having grown up in a different time, they may not take this lightly.

2. Help your loved one to cope with the loss of independence.

Encourage them to maintain friendships, stay active, develop new interests and keep in touch with other family members. Explain that the loss of independence is not a personal failing and rather just part of the natural cycle of life.

3. Encourage them to volunteer.

A recent study found that elderly people who volunteer are happier and healthier. This is especially true for elderly people who have chronic conditions. The feelings of being valued and needed as a volunteer can greatly improve the mental well-being and thus health of your loved one.

  • The benefits can be seen with as few as 2-3 hours per week of volunteering.

4. Visit frequently.

Visiting will provide an emotional connection and improve the mental well being of your loved one. Visiting will also allow you as the caregiver to check up on their health and well-being. You can see whether they have been watering the plants, opened their mail or show any bruises, all of which may signify that they need additional assistance. Get friends and family members to help.

5. Bring some of their personal belongings with them.

If they are moving to a senior center or into your home, bring some of their physical home with them. This will make them feel more comfortable and at home in their new surroundings and help them to cope with the big changes taking place for them.

6. Find areas of mutual interest.

Some younger people may mistakenly think they cannot connect with elderly people, but remember that they might also feel they cannot connect with you are your interests. Try to open your mind and find out what gives them joy. If you can’t share their interest at least you can share their excitement.

7. Try to keep things as unchanged as possible.

Many elderly people are uncomfortable and nervous about change, especially when they are moving out of their home. Try to keep everything as stable as possible. For example, you might bring their pet in with you if bringing your loved one home or bring their pet to the senior center with them if it is permitted.

8. Make them feel welcome and at home.

Try to get them to participate in the activities of the senior center or include them in activities in your home. Encourage them to be active participants in their environment.

  • You can also encourage them to get outside or take them outside for walks or other activities. This can help them to feel happier, especially if they suffer from depression.

  • You can even surprise them with gifts from time-to-time or hold parties for them as a way of keeping them involved.

9. Listen to their stories.

You may find them interesting and they can even help you navigate issues or situations in your own life. The elderly have a lifetime’s worth of experiences to offer, you can learn and improve your own life by listening and engaging with them. Find the beauty in their stories and learn from them.

  • This will also deepen the connection between you and can help them feel more connected to the world around them.

 

Taken from: WikiHow

Helping Elderly Parents to Listen to Their Doctor

Time and again, you might be the person that has heard their doctor either say, “Congratulations, you are a healthy human being” or you may be the less fortunate to hear something like, “the tests show that your health has been declining, did you start eating unhealthy foods again?”

After twelve years of education, we can expect that our doctors are correct and should listen to them. However, we cannot always get our elderly parents to admire their professionalism and experience, to the point of doing what they recommend. For whatever reason, some elders just do not want to listen to their doctors.

If your elderly relative appears to be neglecting the doctor’s recommendations, it is important to first understand the reason for it. A good question to ask may be either, “I noticed that you are not doing what the doctor recommended, why is that?” or “is there a reason why you are not [insert doctors recommendations here]?”

Once you have discovered the reason why they are not following the recommendations, use this to explain to them why listening to the doctor can benefit them. Or, that listening to their doctor is important to you and that it hurts you to see them in pain, when they can help to reduce it by listening to a medical professional.

Also consider telling them that other elders are listening to their doctors, while this sounds like your child’s typical excuse to leverage more TV time, it is also called the bandwagon technique and can be effective in some situations.

Remember, every elder and every situation is unique. However, people under normal circumstances should always listen to and carefully follow their doctor’s instructions to live a healthy and productive lifestyle, especially the elderly.

Tips For Visiting Elderly Relatives During The Holidays

Elder care is a growing issue in society. Caregiving at a distance can be difficult, stressful and time-consuming. And often the only time caregivers see the loved one is on a family visit, more than not tied around a holiday. It is very noticeable when something is awry when visits are infrequent. This holiday season be aware of your older loved one’s physical and mental capacity and take notice of their environment. Whether visiting someone in senior care centers or at home, here are some tips to help.

Where do you start?

First use your senses. Observe with your eyes, ears, and with your senses of taste, touch and smell. Look at the house/apartment. Is it being kept up? Is the environment unsafe, unsanitary? Track the chores you do while there as they could point to services your loved one needs after you leave. Is there any thing obviously missing or large-scale new purchases? This could indicate some type of exploitation/abuse by others.

How can you tell if a loved one has been abused?

As a healthcare conference speaker, I often need to remind my audience members of their responsibility in the community. And watching out for abuse of elders is one such responsibility.

There are different types of abuse, some initiated by others and those of self-neglect. Again use your senses. Observe physical or sexual abuse — bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks.

Is there a new best friend around? Does a home care worker refuse to allow you to see your loved one alone?

Emotional abuse — is a loved one being emotionally upset or agitated; being extremely withdrawn and non communicative or self report being verbally or emotionally mistreated? These are signs that something is up.

Is mom or dad just slowing down or is there more going on?

It could be natural old age setting in or there could be signs of bigger health issues going on. Has there been excessive weight gain, weight loss, decline in general hygiene? How is their strength and balance? Does it prevent them from doing things? Will they accept help, say when you go to a mall and offer to get a wheelchair? Check for dehydration or undernourishment. Are your parents eating nutritious meals regularly? Are they able to prepare meals?

Are they wearing inappropriate clothes? Is their clothing inadequate? Check that they have all of their medical aids — eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures.

Look for signs of declining memory. Are loved ones placing items in wrong places, missing appointments? Are they forgetful?

Check expiration dates on medications. Are loved ones forgetting to take medications? Can they afford their medications? Has the number of prescriptions increased significantly?

Signs of Financial Stress

Unopened mail could indicate memory problems, vision problems, or hint at financial problems. Sweepstakes circulars could indicate they or someone is responding to offers. Are there overdue bills? Are bill collectors calling or showing up at the house?

Check for any changes in the loved ones bank account. Check for any additional names on a bank signature card. Check their bank statements. Is there unauthorized withdrawal of funds?

What Do I Do If They Need Care?

First, there is a delicate art on how to communicate with an elder loved one. You want to enjoy the time you have with them and ease into the conversation. Gather information on community services that can meet their needs. Take notes of services, fees, waiting lists.

Schedule a visit with your elder’s physician during the time you are there. Identify a social support system for your loved one. This includes people they can call on such as friends, neighbors, clergy, and others in regular contact. Meet these people while you are there.

Even if loved ones are fine, advance planning can help you to avoid a crisis in the future. Take a medication inventory. Document the names of physicians. Make sure they have a living will and durable power of attorney. Know where to find their financial information.

Enjoy your time with an elderly parent, relative or friend this season but be watchful of their needs. They will not let on or ask for help. So be a good observer, listener, and friend.

Written by Anthony Cirillo.

Taken from: The Huffington Post

Veterans Benefits: A Simplified Overview

Obtaining veterans assistance can be a challenging task, let alone sifting through the different websites and complicated government lingo to understand what benefits are available to veterans. This post is dedicated to helping people understand and obtain veterans benefits easier.

To apply for any of these benefits, click the title to file the claim form: 

Life Insurance

There are six life insurance options, each with different qualifications and benefits that the veteran may be able to receive. Life insurance benefits will be presented in a future post.

Home Loan & Home Improvements

Veterans with qualifying service are eligible for home loan services, including guaranteed loans for the purchase or building of a home and certain types of condominiums. Some disabled veterans receive grants to have their homes adapted to their needs.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

Helps veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find and keep suitable employment such as job search, career exploration, and education/job training.

These benefits can also improve the ability of living as independently as possible for serious service-connected disabilities including rehabilitation services.  To qualify, veterans usually must file within 12 years of service.

Education 

There are a variety of education and training programs up to 36 months, provided to veterans with varying qualification requirements and benefits. Specific programs will be presented in another blog post.

Disability Compensation

The VA pays monthly compensation to veterans for disabilities incurred or aggravated during military service. The veteran is entitled to these benefits from the date of separation, but the claim of disabilities incurred while on military service must be filed within one year or separation from service. You can follow the link above to see all of the disability benefits available, they are all organized by the specific disability title.

Disability Pension

This is an income-based benefit paid to veterans with honorable wartime service who are permanently and totally disabled for any reason or are age 65 or older.

Medical

A wide range of health care services is available to veterans with medical problems directly resulting from a war. Generally, veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system to receive care.

Dental

Within 180 days of separation, veterans may receive one-time dental treatment if they were not provided treatment within 90 days of separation from active duty. This time limit does not apply to veterans with dental conditions resulting from service-connected injuries.

More Information

We are confident that these simplified benefits have effectively provided you with a simplified understanding of what some veterans may be entitled to. It is important that the veteran files any claims as soon as possible after he or she has finished the service, as some benefits can expire if claims are not filed within the break from active service.  If you have any questions about veteran’s assistance, you may contact help@elderhelpers.org.

Elder Law Information: Disability Planning

This is the first post on disability planning, is first in a series on free elder law advice designed to provide you with legal counsel for the elderly. Disability planning can be a complex process and add anxiety to your life. Our organization strives to reduce the worry and enhance the lives of elders and relatives. We will be presenting simple information on what social security is, if the elder is eligible and how he or she can obtain it.

Social security exists in the United States, serving as a ‘safety net’ for the elderly, disabled and blind. The amount of money that one can receive typically increases each year and depends on if the person is single or married. As of January 2012, an individual would receive $698 in social security per month and a couple would receive $1,048 per month. Some states supplement the social security amount with additional payments; click this linkto see if this applies to that state that the elder resides in.Social security does not depend on how long or if a person has worked, so long as they meet the criteria:

  1. Be 65 or older, blind or disabled.
  2. Be a long term resident of the United States or a United States citizen.
  3. Have a monthly income below the limit determined by the elder’s state of residence.
  4. Have less than $2,000 in assets of currency, stocks and bonds.

If you meet the qualifications for social security assistance and would like to apply, you may do so by visiting your local social security administration office. Click this link to locate a branch near your zip cod

 

Communicating Effectively with Seniors

Many elderly or disabled people struggle with hearing, reading, writing and general communication skills. We cannot verbally or non-verbally communicate with them the same way we do with our peers. It is important to understand that as people grow older, they often become more difficult to understand and changes in their environment may influence their communication.

Do not communicate quickly with the elderly or disabled when communicating, maintain eye contact, and speak clearly and directly to them. We may sometimes get in the habit of multitasking while speaking with our peers, resulting in a weaker message or conveying the message that we are not interested in what they have to say. Our peers understand and are accustomed to this communication method, however, elders not so much. They don’t live in as fast a pace world as the younger generations.

Elders may demand extra attention in conversations to not convey that you respect what they have to say, but also to ensure that they receive your message clearly. Another important factor is to communicate as simply as possible using small words, short sentences and visual aids. Many elderly or disabled people have short-term memory loss, which means that they may struggle to remember recent events or conversations that you may have had with them.

If an elder makes a statement that you do not agree with, do not argue with them or attempt to instill your logic. While you may be able to have casual arguments with your younger friends and family, elderly adults can also be very close to their beliefs and you should not get them overly exited. It may be fine to have relaxed discussions about events, but disputing personal beliefs and values is rarely accepted in any social context.

To help elders recall what you are communicating to them, you should re-state key ideas of the topic frequently. Some believe that repeating key points three times helps people to remember the points later on. Many authors use this same technique by stating the key points in the introduction and conclusion.

Professional authors are presenting the important features of the overall message that they want their readers to recall. This may not always be important when communicating with the elderly and some may find it offensive. It is a helpful technique if you notice that the elder has difficulty remembering the key points of your conversations.Elder_Communication

Listening to elders can also play an essential role in the communication process; communication is a give-and-take relationship. Sometimes, we may be focusing on our own thoughts and responses and do not pay enough attention to the other person’s message. By taking the time to listen and asking the elder questions, you may find that all other aspects of communication improve as well. The elderly are not the only ones who want to be listened to and heard, although it is especially important that they are. In today’s conversations with our peers, some have come to expect that the person is not fully engaged in our conversation.

Making sure that you receive the sender’s message is essential to have an appropriate response, sometimes we may be thinking about our response while the other person is still talking. By listening intently, we can often understand communication on a greater level, respect the sender and learn more about them.

You may find that this technique of communication will carry over into all aspects of your life. If you have ever watched an interview on television,you can observe how intently the interviewer appears to be listening to the interviewee. Expert communicators have developed great listening skills, because they understand how important listening is when speaking with someone.

It is important to allow extra time for the elder to ask questions when you are communicating and express their reaction to what has been said. Elders have a tendency to struggle when conveying their thoughts and feelings; sometimes there is a time lapse that is longer than younger adults.

Although waiting for a response can be trying at times, it should not prevent you from asking questions. Keeping elders engaged in the conversation helps you to understand them better, strengthens your relationship and gives them confidence. By taking measures to improve message quality and using the basic principles of communication, you can enrich all conversations with the elderly.

The positive aspects of good communication are present in all social environments and mastering them will help you to convey your messages more effectively. By using some of the same techniques to communicate as the professionals do, you can enhance the elder’s chances or receiving your message and improve the relationship.

Key Points

1. Be patient when communicating.

2. Keep messages short, simple and to the point.

3. Focus on listening and interpreting verbal and non-verbal communication.

4. Use non-verbal gestures to complement your verbal message.

5. Summarize and repeat key points if necessary.

6. Never dispute beliefs or argue with the elderly.