As we all know, our bodies are composed of mostly water – nearly 65%. This makes it imperative that we focus on hydration at all times of the year. Unfortunately, most of us only consider combating our body’s loss of water during the summer months, when it is hot outside and we can feel ourselves losing water through perspiration. Yet, in winter, the risk of dehydration is also very real. The causes for fluid loss may still be present, but without the frequent or commonly thought of warning sign.
As is often the case in medicine, prevention is the important first step in the treatment of dehydration. Here are six remedies and ways to prevent dehydration:
Fluid replacement is the treatment for dehydration. This can include: water, juice, soups, clear broth, Popsicles, Jell-O, ice cream, milk, puddings, decaffeinated beverages, Kool-Aid, nutritional drink supplements, and replacement fluids that may contain electrolytes (Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade, etc.).
Reduce or eliminate dehydrating beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks (unless decaffeinated). But even decaffeinated drinks can contribute to dehydration. Beware of alcohol intake too. Alcoholic beverages increase risk of dehydration because the body requires additional water to metabolize alcohol and it also acts as a diuretic.
If you drink the unhealthy beverages, you need to add even more water to your daily total. The dehydration caused by those drinks must be compensated for by increasing the amount of water you consume.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Most have a high water content.
Drink water throughout the day in small amounts. It is not good to suddenly gulp down 64 ounces of water. You can fill a 24-32 ounce tumbler in the morning, refill it by late morning, and refill it again for the afternoon. Consume that by 5 PM. Most people need to start limiting fluids 1-3 hours before bedtime.
Individuals with vomiting and diarrhea can try to alter their diet and use medications to control symptoms to minimize water loss. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to control fever.
Water helps us fight disease in our bodies, maintain healthy weight, keeps us on a level emotional playing field, and helps all of our organs and cells function properly. Do right by yourself and your care recipients – drink plenty. Remember, we need water long before we feel thirsty.
By the year 2030, 26 states will have experienced a doubling of their 65+ year old population, with the majority of those elders still living at home. Chronic illnesses, disabilities, and any number of forms of dementia will require those afflicted elders to become nearly homebound. That change in life style will result in a lack of physical activities, some withdrawal from the social aspects of their previous lives, and an overall deterioration of their health (both physical and emotional).
It may be surmised that homebound seniors may feel alone and unsupported by not only their family, but by friends and perhaps the community at large. Even if their basic needs for meals, clothing, hygiene, and medical areas are covered; the senior may still need to fill voids in both physical and mental activities once filled by out-of-the-house activities.
One way to bridge the gap from being a fully functional, community involved individual to that of a housebound, isolated aging hermit is to get involved in some sort of Telewindow activity (such as Skype). This use of computer technology brings outside people into the home of the elder by means of a computer screen and a couple of speakers. This is not only innovative, but actually working.
Virtual senior centers can be a part of a homebound elder’s daily routine with such activities as reminiscing, playing bingo, having casual conversations, and even bird watching. These are all available means of bringing the outside world into the elder’s house when that person can’t get outside to experience that world directly.
There are also telephone conference calls that can link several homebound seniors together with outside resources providing hours and hours of satisfying activities via a simple telephone. If the senior can get out of the house, even briefly, aquatic activities (exercise class for seniors in a local pool) are tremendously positive for both mind and body.
Viewing the homebound person from a holistic perspective can open up avenues for enhanced activity selection too, such as performing exercises at home with instruction from an online instructor, or playing puzzle games or mind games on handheld game boards or even via the computer. Remember, when combating isolationism it’s important to remain open minded and creative.
Do some research, find out what is available in your community in terms of alternative activities and implement some of those into your elder’s life…Everyone will benefit.
We all know that eating the right foods can be good for your heart health, yet you may not think about food for your brain. That’s right, certain foods can actually aid in the positive functioning of our brain. Many of the foods that are good for your heart are also good for your brain, yet some of the foods on the list below may come as a total surprise.
Blackberries: These delightful little berries allow our brain cells to talk to each other by offering up antioxidants, which reduce inflammation.
Coffee: A Finnish study revealed that folks who sipped 3-5 cups of coffee per day, and who were in their 40’s and 50’s, reduced their odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 65%.
Apples: Apples contain quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that keeps your mental juices flowing by protecting your brain cells. Quercetin fight off free radicals, which can damage the outer lining of your neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline.
Chocolate: As little as one third of one ounce of chocolate can help with increasing blood flow to the brain, essential to a healthy brain.
Cinnamon: Research has found that two compounds in cinnamon can counteract certain proteins (tau protein) that may have much to do with Alzheimer’s disease.
Spinach: Dark, leafy greens are wonderful for all sorts of heart healthy reasons, yet they can also help prevent dementia through the ingestion of vitamin E and Vitamin K, both found in abundance in spinach.
Extra virgin olive oil (as Rachael Ray would say, “EVOO!”): ADDL’s are proteins that attach to brain cells and make them unable to communicate with each other, those causing brain function to deteriorate (i.e., dementia). EVOO contains olecanthal, which disables ADDL’s.
Salmon: My favorite fish, rich in omega-3 fats, which are good for your heart, but also vitamin D. Both components help to fight off cognitive disease.
Curry: One of the main spices in curry is curcumin, found to fight brain inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s, but it also works at lowering cholesterol.
Concord grape juice: Red wine lovers have know for years that a moderate amount of red wine consumed regularly is good for your heart, well it seems those same grapes offer your brain some needed help in the form of improved spatial memory and verbal learning skills.
Of course there are many more foods that we could add to this list.
We have all experienced grief as a response to some form of loss. While we may associate grief with loss of a loved one, grief can also be experienced with the loss of a job or even the loss of health. This natural reaction to a loss can last as long as we need it in order for us to return to “normal.”
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, grief reactions may include:
• Feeling empty and numb
• Physical responses such as nausea, trouble breathing, crying, confusion, lack of energy, dry mouth, or changes in sleeping and eating patterns
• Anger directed at a situation, a person or in general
• Guilt about what you did or did not do
• Withdrawal from family, friends, and common activities
• Difficulty focusing, working, or making decisions
• Questions about faith or spirituality; challenges to the meaning, value, and purpose you find in life.
When considering the feelings that might be experienced after suffering a significant loss, any of the above reactions can readily be attached to feelings of sadness, anger, or guilt. All of these are quite normal feelings to be experiencing. A person can linger with these feelings based on many factors, including preparedness, culture, religious background, personality, and age.
Grief can subside given a person's ability to work through it. The intensity that someone feels early on in the grieving process can change to a more mellow sadness over time. Time really does seem to heal many wounds.
Suffering from significant grief is like thinking our worlds have ended and that going on with daily activities may be impossible, yet a vast majority of us do move on. In theory, as we age and as we experience more and more loss in our lives, we are supposed to be able to handle loss more efficiently. We may not feel the true affects of that loss until we are able too; however, at some point in time, the value of that loss to us is felt as it was meant to be.
Most of us have experienced loss and the feelings that loss created within us. And most of us have moved on with our lives after the loss occurred. Most importantly, most of us all have memories of that loss.
Remember, what you do today may be the memory someone has of you after you are no longer here.
Families should be aware of the warning signs of dementia, including memory loss and personality changes, in order to provide proper elderly care for loved ones.
The onset of the psychiatric and cognitive symptoms of dementia can vary depending on what is causing it, and the location and number of damaged brain cells. Some types of dementia progress slowly, while others cause a sudden onset of symptoms; warning signs will be observed. In elderly care, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but it can also be caused by a blockage of blood supply to the brain, sustained use of alcohol, head trauma, as well as some other causes.
Dementia refers to a group of symptoms caused by the damage or death of the brain’s nerve cells. Warning signs can include when an individual has trouble with new memories, relies on memory helpers, has trouble finding words, and/or struggles with completing familiar actions. There can be confusion about time, place, or people, and the misplacement of familiar objects. Depression, irritability, and even personality changes can be seen in a person with the onset of dementia. The loss of interest in important responsibilities may be a warning sign, as well as bad decision making. Other psychiatric symptoms, which are warning signs, are seeing or hearing things, or expressing false beliefs. An individual is likely to need elder care services if they are exhibiting these warning signs in order for them to be safe.
Warning signs and symptoms should be observed closely in order to communicate well with physicians for proper diagnosis and treatment. A patient should be seen by a doctor who is an expert in dementia, and should have complete medical tests as well as neuropsychological tests.
One option is non-medical elder care home services. Staff for these services are trained and qualified to care for individuals with dementia. This allows for the individual to remain in the familiar surroundings of their homes, while providing respite care for their families.
Most Americans will be informal caregivers at some point during their lives. Each year more than 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population) provide unpaid care to an elderly or disabled person 18 years or older. This represents 80% of all long-term care in the U.S.
Most caregivers are middle-aged or older women who have jobs outside of caring for an elderly person. Most of these women have changed hours or working conditions in order to care for their elderly family member.
Sound stressful? It is.
Ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress
Focus on the rewards of care giving, and giving back to a loved one. Being a caregiver strengthens your relationship with the person receiving care and makes you feel needed, boosting your self-confidence.
Make sure you are at your best, take care of your health, get enough sleep and get at least 45 minutes of exercise each day. Talk to a counselor, psychologist, or other mental health professional right away if your stress leads you to physically or emotionally harm the person you are caring for.
Find out how to deal with your loved one’s disease. This will help you take a positive approach to the daily questions and issues you will be presented with.
If you do find that you are under stress from caring for your loved one, try these stress-reducing tips:
• Get help from community care giving service providers for transportation, meal delivery, home health care services, non-medical home care services, home modification for earlier daily tasks, and legal/financial counseling.
• Accept help from friends and family – this includes financial help.
• Say “no” to volunteer tasks, such as hosting holiday meals.
• Do the best you can and don’t feel guilty about not being perfect.
• Prioritize your tasks and establish a daily routine.
• Stay in touch with family and friends.
• Join a support group for caregivers facing the same condition or disease.
• Try to keep your sense of humor.
Check with the human resource office at your job. Employees covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for relatives.
When you need a break (and you will), give a professional home care service a call. They will come to your loved one’s home and perform any number of household chores, personal grooming chores, and provide companionship for your loved one for a very affordable fee.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can keep elderly minds sharp, including a proper diet, physical exercise, and mental exercise. Using elder care services can assist a senior in a healthy routine to maintain a sharp mind.
A healthy lifestyle can lead to sharper minds in the elderly. This fit standard of living includes healthy eating, exercise, and stimulating the mind with mental activity. By using elder care services, a senior can get the support and encouragement they need to keep up with their physical and mental health.
In addition to physical health, diet contributes to brain health and protects against cognitive decline. Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day should be consumed, as well as fish once or twice a week. Trans and saturated fats should always be avoided. A companion from elder care services can make sure that someone living on their own will continue with their healthy eating, and not skip meals.
Physical activity that maintains cardiac fitness and vascular health can take of your brain as well. Preferably 30 minutes of exercise every day, but at least three times a week, allows for cardiovascular benefits. This vascular health and maintenance translates into a sharp mind for seniors. A caregiver to visit an elderly person can make sure that a patient keeps up with their daily exercise routine.
Engaging in mentally challenging activities can also keep elderly minds quick and healthy. Reading, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, games, brain teasers, or learning a new language or musical instrument keeps minds active and occupied. They are also very enjoyable pastimes, and an elder care service providing a friend to share in these activities can be a positive experience.
A non-medical home care agency provides personalized care for seniors as an alternative to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. The longer a senior can remain in their own home, the more active both mentally and physically they will stay. Companions provided from home care agencies can help an individual with their routine and assist in their activities. It is a priority for a patient to continue to live a healthy lifestyle, which maintains a sharp mind, and using elder care services contributes to this goal.
All of the chores and tasks that are necessary to run a household are difficult enough for a young person in good health, but when someone’s health is compromised, or if they are aging and experiencing physical or even mental limitations, it is very hard to keep up with simple daily chores. Hiring home care can help with the basics that an individual can no longer handle themselves.
Home care services provide an array of help in many categories. They can aid in simple housekeeping, like cleaning and dusting, or doing someone’s laundry. Maybe the bills need to be paid, and an individual can no longer keep track of when this needs to be done, or needs assistance writing. Hygiene and grooming are fundamentals that should be kept up with for a person’s health and dignity. A home care service provider can assist in this regard, and in addition to aiding in one’s grooming, this can boost a patient’s morale which is very important for someone’s well-being and happiness.
Getting to the grocery store or pharmacy, or running simple errands can be a daunting task for an older person. Sometimes it is necessary for them to have help if they can no longer drive or move around independently. Home caregivers can help them with these errands, and then perhaps carry in the bags and do some meal preparation as well.
Many times an individual is capable of living on their own in their homes, but it would not be possible with home care to help with their miscellaneous tasks.
Homecare agencies provide experienced caregivers to people in their homes to aid with their daily chores. Visitingangels.com has home care that offers loving companionship, hygiene assistance, light housekeeping, errands, and more.
Many are expected to take care of elderly parents or family members as their parents age and become less independent. It is very difficult, especially considering that most caregivers have their own careers and families to take care of as well. Families are happy to take care of their loved ones; however, it is recommended that there is some type of additional senior care to give respite to families. This is helpful with daily tasks and overnight and out of town needs.
There are a multitude of basic needs, including household maintenance and chores to be tended to when aiding in senior care. Fundamentals such as bathing and grooming, preparing meals, household chores, and paying bills are some examples of what needs to be done for someone. Perhaps some of these can be done by family members, but many times it is too much to handle, and additional caregivers are needed. Services are available to provide help for these basic senior care needs and companionship.
In addition to chores and keeping up with household duties, maybe a challenge is overnight care, or even being responsible for someone who lives out of town. In this day and age, it is common for families to live great distances from each other. If the adult child who is responsible for a senior lives out of town, how will their parent get to a doctor’s appointment, have a companion to check in on them, or take their proper medication? Hired senior care is available, and they offer caring, secure, and trained caregivers. Perhaps a family has coverage during the day, but is unable to spend the night with a loved one, and would feel more secure if their parent had someone in their home overnight. These senior care services are available also.
At-home caregivers offer respite for families, alleviating the stress that they may have. Caregivers can help with hygiene assistance, meal preparation, housekeeping, errands, and much more. They allow the maintenance of a family’s schedule while providing personalized care.
You may be taking care of elderly parents now or looking at that possibility in the near future. According to a report, 41% of baby boomers are helping take care of elderly parents by providing personal help or financial assistance or both.
If financial planning and long term care planning have not been done previous to the need for care, the burden falls on the caregiving family member. Decisions about how care will be paid for, who will be responsible for managing the estate as well as how the long term care will be given can cause stress and contention among family members.
It is best for parents and all family members to be involved in planning for future financial needs. The financial resources being used today could change drastically with the occurrence of a stroke, illness or onset of dementia. In order to plan financially for long term care, you need to know what the costs are now and what they will be in the future.
Planning financial needs can be very difficult, considering you do not know when long term care will be required or how long it will be needed. You can determine what will be needed in certain living situations. Staying in your home for care will require professional home care assistance, travel accommodations to doctor appointments, help with shopping, meals, medical supplies and medication and possibly a 24-hour attendant. Even if a family member is doing most of the care, eventually professional care will be required or a move to a nursing home facility will be necessary.
When evaluating your present income and assets consider how they would work for future needs.
• What are my care options?
• What type of long-term care can I afford?
• Do I have long term care insurance?
• Are there assets I can sell?
• If I stay at home how will I pay for care?
• Do I have to sell the house to pay for other living arrangements?
• Are there other financing alternatives?
• Do I have life Insurance or the means to pay for a funeral and burial?
• Will my spouse be cared for financially?
• Should I do Medicaid planning?
• Do I have the legal documents that may be needed?
Knowing your needs and financial resources is paramount before making any long term care decisions. Working together, both parents and family members can ease the stress and burden of elder care needs.