Checking Your Blood Pressure is Especially Important for Seniors

Assisted Living Centennial CO

The older you become the more likely it is that you will be diagnosed with high blood pressure (HBP).  Hypertension is a blood pressure reading of over 140 (upper number or systolic pressure), and higher than 90 (lower number or diastolic pressure).  Systolic pressure is the number measured when your heart beats and diastolic is the number when your heart is at rest between beats.   You can have HBP for years and not experience any symptom which is why it is known as the silent killer.  HBP is the blood pushing against artery walls more forcefully (higher pressure) which is how damage is caused over a period of time.   People with HPB are at an added risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and other serious complications.

Blood pressure should be checked on several different occasions over a period of a couple of weeks.  Blood pressure can be checked at home with a home blood pressure measurement device or monitor. It is important that you know how to use the monitor correctly and that the cuff fits you properly. For example, a cuff that is too small may give you a reading that is higher than it actually is.

Once it is established that you have suffer from hypertension, there are a number of things you can do to improve the situation.  It is recommended that you:

  • Limit your intake of sodium (some studies suggest no more than a teaspoon a day)
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Control your weight, and if you have a high BMI, try and reduce your weight
  • Follow the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension which is a low-fat diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and grains

There are several different categories of drugs that are used to treat hypertension.  Sometimes a doctor may prescribe a combination of drugs.  Even with taking the medications, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle.

For informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider if you have any questions regarding your health.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.    

Sources: aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/high-blood-pressure/nihseniorhealth.gov/highbloodpressure/symptomsanddiagnosis/01.html

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Strokes – Learn the Warning Signs

Assisted Living Centennial CO

More than 140,000 people die each year from a stroke in the United States and it is the third leading cause of death according to The Internet Stroke Center.  In addition they report that approximately 795,000 people suffer from a stroke each year, which means on average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.  Strokes are also the leading cause of serious, long-term disabilities and a stroke can take up to two years or more to recover from.  Statistically almost three-quarters of all strokes are in people over the age of 65.

The National Stroke Association recommends that “FAST” is a simple way to remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke.  By having the information you need to quickly identify the signs of a stroke and calling 9-1-1 for help, you can improve a person’s chances for a better recovery.   They also advise that you note the time you first noticed the symptoms as this can determine the course of treatment.

To identify the warning signs of a stroke using FAST includes:

F   FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A  ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S  SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T  TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

The experts at the WebMD website advise that if a loved one has suffered from a stroke, you should take the time to educate yourself on their condition and prognosis.  One way to do this is to take advantage of hospital run programs to learn as much as you can about strokes and the rehabilitation process.  Also they caution that you should check with your insurance and Medicare coverage to find out what expenses are covered and what your responsibilities will be.

This post is for informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Sources:

strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/stroke-statistics/

stroke.org/understand-stroke/recognizing-stroke/act-fast

webmd.com/stroke/features/stroke-recovery-tips-for-the-caregiver

Helpful Tips to Organizing Your Paperwork

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It is especially important for older adults to make sure their paperwork is up-to-date and organized.  This is necessary for not only your own wellbeing but so a family member (be sure to let them know where it is) can access the required documents in the event of an emergency.  Your organization should include all financial and medical records as well as legal documents.

To help you get started, several websites offer downloadable forms including personal medical history forms.  Update this form as needed to reflect changes in your or your loved one’s health and medications and include a family health history.  Your paperwork should also include information regarding your Social Security benefits and Medicare.

Financial documents should include information on stocks, bonds, and mutual fund investments.  You will also want to list all bank accounts and safety deposit boxes as well as credit card accounts.  Include in your financial records any mortgage obligations and other liabilities and debts along with the deeds and titles to property you own.  Don’t forget to add property tax information and your most recent tax return.  In addition record the location of all of your valuables.

Your legal documents should include your Will, a Power of Attorney and an Advance Medical Directive.  These documents cannot be signed by someone who is incapacitated so it is important to do it before the need arises.  An Advance Medical Directive can include a Living Will that allows you to state the type of treatment you may or may not wish to receive if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.  You may want to include a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care that allows you to designate a person to make decisions for you in the event you are unable.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we offer 55 beautiful, all-inclusive private suites for assisted living and 29 secure suites devoted to the individualized care for those with memory impairment.  Please visit our website to learn more about our loving community and use our online form to setup a tour.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Sources: stretcher.com/stories/15/15nov23e.cfm

sageminder.com/Caregiving/CaregivingBasics/OrganizedCaregiver.aspx

Know the Facts about Heart Disease

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According to the American Heart Association, heart attack warning signs involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes (or that goes away and comes back). They describe it like an “uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.”  Signs can also include discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.  Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or lightheadedness.  As heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women in the U.S. as well as globally, it is important to know the facts and a great resource for up-to-date information is the American Heart Association’s website.

The site has lots of current information on the causes and treatment for atherosclerosis, which is the disease that develops when plaque builds up inside the arteries.  Once plaque has built up and narrowed the arteries, it is more difficult for the blood to flow through and increases the chance of a blood clot forming that can stop blood from flowing altogether.   Atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease.

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of strokes and occur when a blood vessel that feeds the brain is blocked (typically from a blood clot).  Hemorrhagic strokes are caused when weakened blood vessels rupture.  There are two types of weakened blood vessels that are typically responsible: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping blood as effectively as it should, and thus, not meeting the body’s blood and oxygen needs.  It is one of the most common causes of hospitalization in adults 65 years and older.  Treatment includes medications, surgery and lifestyle changes.  If left untreated, the problem can worsen.

Our post is for information purposes only and not a substitute for seeking medical advice from your health care provider.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Source:heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Resources/WhatisCardiovascularDisease/What-is-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_301852_Article.jsp#

Seniors Get Multiple Benefits from a Healthy Diet

Assisted Living Communities

Good nutrition plays a major role in the quality of life for the elderly including providing better physical, mental, and social health.  Many older adults are less active than younger people and therefore do not need to consume as many calories each day and/or may have a decreased sense of appetite.  This means that it is even more critical that the calories seniors are getting each day are rich in nutrients and vitamins and they avoid filling up on unhealthy food options.

The USDA has put together a list of 10 healthy eating tips for people age 65+ called “Choosing Healthy Meals as You Get Older.”  The first tip is to make a point to drink plenty of liquids throughout the day, because as we age, we can lose our sense of thirst.  They recommend drinking water often and limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt.

They advise that you get into the habit of using spices and herbs to flavor food instead of salt and to have sliced fruits and vegetables available for snacks and meals.  Even if you have dental problems, you can always eat cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.  The USDA suggests seniors vary the color of vegetables at each meal to benefit from the different vitamins each one offers.    Another tip is to make eating a social event and to try and eat with others.

Every day seniors need food fortified with vitamin B12 such as fortified cereals, and 3 cups of fat-free of low-fat milk or yogurt and hard cheeses.  Choose lactose-free foods if you cannot tolerate dairy.   Another thing the USDA mentions to look out for are portion sizes and to try and eat as much food each day in order to maintain a healthy weight.

Guidelines for the National Institute of Aging state that physically inactive women 50 years and older need to consume about 1600 calories a day and moderately active women need about 1800 calories.  If you are a 50 year or older woman leading a very active lifestyle, you need to consume approximately 2,000 calories daily.  Inactive men 50+ only need 2,000 calories, somewhat active men about 2200-2400 and very active men about 2400-2800 calories.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Sources:

Choosemyplateprod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/tentips/DGTipsheet42ChoosingHealthyMealsAsYouGetOlder.pdf, nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/benefitsofeatingwell/01.html

Seniors Need to Take Precautions in Hot Weather

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Now that summer is upon us it is important for seniors to remember to take precautions as outdoor temperatures begin to heat up.  A recent study from the University of Chicago Medical Center reports extremely hot weather can be dangerous for the elderly and that approximately 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. are in people over the age of 65.  Another publication from the Alzheimer’s Association explains why seniors 65 and older are more at risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke than younger people.

One of the reasons stated is that as we age the body does not adjust as well to sudden temperature changes as it did when we were younger.  This can be caused by heart or blood vessel problems, under-active sweat glands and normal age-related changes in the skin.  Another factor is that many elderly people suffer from chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung, or kidney diseases that can affect normal body responses to heat.

Also prescription drugs including diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and some heart and high blood pressure medicines can impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature and inhibit perspiration.  Other problems that can make seniors more susceptible to heat-related stress are being overweight and drinking alcoholic beverages.

To avoid the dangers of heat-related illnesses, experts advise seniors to drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages throughout the day, and to stay away from extremely cold beverages as they can cause cramps.  They also recommend if possible to remain indoors during the heat of the day and do not engage in strenuous activities.  If you feel too warm, take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath, dress in lightweight clothing and get into an air conditioned environment.

Our post is for information purposes only and not a substitute for seeking medical advice from your health care provider.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.  Please contact us to schedule a tour.   

Sources:alz.org/alzwa/documents/Heat_Stress_in_the_Elderly.pdf

nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia

Get Screened for Osteoporosis

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in 2015 that states 25 percent of all American women aged 65 years or older suffer from osteoporosis.  They found that in men over 65 years, it is closer to 6 percent.  Since anyone with osteoporosis is more at risk for dangerous fractures, it is important for seniors to be aware of whether they suffer from the condition.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Healthy bones look like a honeycomb when viewed under a microscope, but for those with osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycombs are much larger and the abnormal porous bone is compressible or sponge-like.  As the bones lose density or mass and are made up of more abnormal tissue structure, the bones become less dense, weaken and more likely to break.

Healthy, strong bone is composed of protein, collagen and calcium. Osteopenia is the term used when a person’s bones are slightly less dense than normal bones but are not considered as severely compromised as those with osteoporosis.

Thankfully it is easy to evaluate a person’s risk of fracture with a painless X-ray absorptiometry test (also called DXA or DEXA).  The noninvasive test measures the bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine, hip or total body bone density and only takes about 10 to 20 minutes.

Health care professionals recommend a bone mineral density test for all postmenopausal women with risk factors and all women 65 or older.  Men should be tested at age 70 or at age 50-69 based on risk factors.  The test lets you and your doctor know if you have normal bone density, low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis, and if there appears to be a problem, what steps to take to help prevent broken bones in the future.  If you are taking osteoporosis medications, professionals advise having a bone density test by central DXA annually or once every two years to determine if your medication is working.

This post is intended for informational purposes only; please consult your health care provider regarding any medical concerns.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.     

Sources:

webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20150813/1-in-4-senior-women-in-us-has-osteoporosis-cdc

nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/