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/

Hearing Loss is Extremely Common in the Elderly

Alzheimer's Care

The Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals (AIHHP) recommends that seniors age 60 and older get a hearing test every two years and warn that hearing loss is difficult to detect without a professional assessment.  Additionally the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) explains that hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting elderly adults.  Their statistics show, “Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.”

If you suspect that you are experiencing hearing loss, the NIDCD recommends that you start by talking to your health care provider.  He or she may refer you to an otolaryngologist who will attempt to diagnose why you are experiencing hearing loss.  From there you may be sent to an audiologist to be fitted for a hearing aid.  Hearing aids are primarily used for hearing loss from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, known as hair cells, and referred to as sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing loss may be caused by disease or injury, loud noises, or aging, which is known as Presbycusis and hearing aids are just one course of treatment.  In the case of severe hearing loss a small electronic device known as a cochlear implant is surgically implanted in the inner ear.   Other solutions include amplifying devices and closed circuit systems.

The NIDCD advises that having trouble hearing can make it difficult to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms.  In addition loss of hearing can make it difficult to join in conversations with family and friends.  The NIDCD’s website has a helpful checklist to help you determine if it is time to consult your doctor regarding your hearing.

Our post is only for information purpose.  If you have any medical problems, please seek the medical advice of 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 schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Sources:

aihhp.org/your-hearing/routine-hearing-checks-how-often/

nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/older.aspx

Wearing the Right Shoes Can Help Prevent Falls

senior-living-arrowhead-sock

There are many misconceptions about what is the safest footwear for older adults.  The fact is many of the qualities we think are important in a shoe can actually cause seniors problems.  Research from the Foot and Ankle Center at the Orthopedic Hospital in L.A. found that all too often shoes that were considered “safer” were to blame for falls that caused injuries.

The study, led by director, Dr. Carol Frey, interviewed 185 men and women over 55 and discovered that the shoes worn by those 65 years and older were often to blame for their fall.   They found “70 percent of the older people who fell had been wearing athletic shoes, oxfords or loafers,” and were considered to be sturdy, safe footwear.

The problem seemed to stem from the fact that bulky rubber soles worn on carpet can be hazardous as a shoe gets caught or dragged on the floor causing the person to trip.  Flat-soled athletic shoes were found to be problematic as they become slippery on wet surfaces.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends seniors wear shoes with low heels, non-slip soles and completely surround the foot and to avoid loose or backless slippers or slip-on shoes, such as sling backs or flip flops.  Seniors’ shoes should have a wide toe box, laces and a non-skid sole (avoid heavy lugged soles), and when shoes and socks are removed, your feet should not have any marks on them.

NIA says the best everyday footwear for seniors is a walking shoe with a light rubber sole that offers both traction and support.  In addition avoid shoes with rubber toes as they can stick to carpet resulting in falls as well as shoes with worn out soles or smooth leather or plastic soles.

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:

nytimes.com/1998/02/24/science/when-the-elderly-fall-shoes-may-be-to-blame.html

nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/faq/faq20.html

Stay Hydrated and Healthy

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A recent study from the University of Chicago Medical Center reports that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were in people over age 65.  The Mayo Clinic explains that there are several reasons why older adults are more susceptible to dehydration including “their ability to conserve water is reduced, thirst sensation is less acute, and seniors do not respond to fluctuations in temperature as well as when they were younger.”

The National Institute on Aging also cites other factors why the elderly do not fare well in extreme heat conditions such as heart and blood vessels problems and less effective sweat glands.  In addition heart, lung, or kidney disease can weaken individuals and often cause fevers.   Medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers and other heart and blood pressure medicines can inhibit the body’s ability to cool by sweating or act as a diuretic.

At around the age of 50, our body’s kidneys do not conserve fluid as well as they once did, and by age 70, the problem generally worsens.  Also many seniors experience a decrease in appetite and can forgot to drink and eat for long periods of time.  Chronic conditions including dementia and diabetes can also interfere with getting enough fluids as well as being overweight or underweight.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is more important for seniors to be aware of overheating and to stay hydrated.  The symptoms of heat exhaustion include: paleness, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness, headache, and rapid, shallow breathing.  If you suspect heat exhaustion, call 911 immediately and move the person to a cool place.  While you wait for medical assistance, have them lie down, remove any heavy or tight-fitting clothing and apply cold water or compresses directly to the skin.   Offer water or juice if they are able to drink.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

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 schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Sources: mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/risk-factors/con-20030056

aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-heat-stroke

nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia