ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Archive for May, 2020

Cooking for Older Adults

Tuesday , May 26 , 2020

Cooking for Older Adults

There are many issues that can make it difficult for seniors to get the proper nutrition.

Numerous older adults take medications that make it difficult to taste, which can lead to a general apathy about eating. Changing taste buds can make it difficult to find food they still enjoy. Some seniors have special dietary needs. And many simply don’t like to cook.

Add to that the difficulties of trying to grocery shop during the COVID-19 crisis, and you have a recipe for disaster.

For many seniors, what was once a cumbersome or annoying task may now seem downright impossible.

How to help? As a caregiver or loved one of an older adult, you can make meal time easier by shopping for supplies, finding fun recipes, helping with prep, or even making up some ready-to-eat meals.

Here are a few things to consider when cooking for seniors:

  • Many seniors have dietary restrictions that may prevent common ingredients like butter, high-fat meats, and salt
  • Chewing and swallowing become more difficult as we age, so avoid tough meats and harder fruits and vegetables
  • Use whole grains whenever possible: They are higher in protein and fiber, and lower in carbs, which makes them a good choice for seniors who are pre-diabetic or have diabetes
  • Older adults often struggle to maintain their sense of independence: Give them a choice in what they’re going to eat!
  • Remember that sometimes it’s ok to splurge! Everything doesn’t have to be healthy all the time. Make favorite childhood dishes or foods that evoke memories on occasion, even if they’re not so good for you.

What foods are healthy for older adults?

Choosing the right foods for older adults can be tricky. Many food items that are considered “healthy” for younger people are no longer appropriate for seniors.

According to the World Health Organization, many of the diseases that seniors suffer from are the result of a poor diet. For example, a diet high in sugars can lead to pre-diabetes or diabetes, while too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.

As a caregiver, you want to provide your loved one with diverse and pleasing meals, while also keeping health in mind. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a good start, and they provide more micro-nutrients than their canned counterparts. In addition, meat and eggs are an important part of an older adult’s diet, because they are one of the primary sources of both protein and vitamin B12.

For those that no longer have teeth or have difficulty chewing, juices and smoothies made of fruits and vegetables are an excellent choice. Just remember: Make them at home! Store bought products are often loaded with added sugars, which can exacerbate many health problems.

Planning meals

When planning meals for an older adult, nutrition should be at the forefront of your mind. A freshly made fruit or vegetable drink is a great way to start any meal, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner should all include a source of protein.

In addition, snacks are an important part of any older adult’s diet. Try to avoid highly processed foods, as they have very few vitamins and minerals and are often loaded with unhealthy additives. Shoot for foods like bananas or oatmeal that are loaded with nutrients and easy-to-eat.

Tip: While milk may seem like an easy way to include calcium and protein in snacks and meals, studies show that the acidity can actually contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Yogurt is a better choice – especially if it’s made with soy or coconut milk rather than cow’s milk.

Foods to avoid

While meat and eggs are essential sources of vitamins and protein, they should be used with the utmost care. Food poisoning from the consumption of undercooked meats and eggs is a common issue, but it can prove deadly for older adults.

Refined sugars should be avoided, as they can lead to the development of inflammation throughout the body, as well as numerous diseases and health conditions. In addition, seniors should also avoid excessive use of caffeine and alcohol.

Oddly, though it seems healthy, grapefruit can also cause a number of health problems. If your older adult is on prescription medications, check for any interactions with the food, as it can cause them to be ineffective. If at all unsure, avoid it and opt for another fruit instead!

Helpful Resources

You may find these resources helpful when it comes to meal planning or finding recipes! Happy cooking!

Sample Menus: Healthy Eating for Older Adults (National Institute on Aging)

Cooking and Nutrition for Older Adults (American Society on Aging)

18 Quick, easy, and healthy meals for seniors (Care.com)

Single-Serving Make-Ahead Meals for Seniors (Ayuda Care)

Posted in: Aging

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Baking can Help Reduce the Stress of Quarantine

Monday , May 18 , 2020

Baking can Help Reduce the Stress of Quarantine

In the weeks since coronavirus came to the United States, people have been muddling through in a variety of ways. Binge watching television. Taking long walks. Adopting pets. Drinking a bit more wine than usual.

Many people have been baking. Oddly, whipping up a batch of cookie dough seems to be quite an effective coping mechanism.

There’s a reason “stress baking” and “anxiety baking” have been trending on Instagram for months. Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, says, “The smell of spices and vanilla are comforting, and [they] often remind us of happy times. Olfactory scents are particularly linked to areas of the brain that involve emotions and memory.”

Quarantine Baking

According to psychologists, giving your time and attention to a specific task that has a rewarding outcome (like baking!) is good for your mental health.

The process is almost like a mindfulness activity: Baking requires you to follow many steps, from preheating to mixing ingredients, and the immersive experience can make you forget everything else for a little while. For those stuck in quarantine, it can take your mind off what is going on in the world and provide a small break.

Baking is a Great Activity for Seniors

For seniors, especially, baking can be a welcome distraction from the stresses of quarantine and social distancing. Here’s why it’s such a great activity for older adults:

  1. Reduces stress. Stress is a common problem for older adults, especially those with dementia. Baking is a good way to alleviate this. Though following a recipe requires attention, some are quite simple and repetitive actions (like kneading dough) can be meditative. Plus, baking can help increase the release of endorphins (the brain’s “happy” chemical).

  1. Triggers memories. A lot of people have positive memories when it comes to baking. Personally, I like to recall baking butter cookies from scratch with my grandmother. We made the recipe so often that I had it memorized by time I was six. Familiar recipes, smells, tastes, and feels can help remind seniors of activities they once enjoyed.

  1. Encourages creativity. It is known that there is a link between expressing ourselves creatively and our general wellbeing. Though baking does involve a lot of structure, it also allows some creativity – choosing flavors, adding decorations, and adding extras like chocolate chips, for example. 

Choosing the Right Recipe

What should an older adult bake? Anything you feel like! Recipe books can be a great place to start, but you can also try recreating a favorite recipe from childhood. If you’re feeling creative, take a recipe you know by heart and swap out some ingredients to make something new!

You can try choosing a simple recipe so it’s easy to make and you don’t mess it up – but remember, even an ugly cake is delicious. Don’t be afraid to take risks and have fun!

Posted in: Aging

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Recognizing Our Frontline Workers During Nurses Week

Monday , May 11 , 2020

Recognizing Our Frontline Workers During Nurses Week

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th. This year, as part of the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, the American Nurses Association has expanded the event to a month-long celebration.

 

History of Nurses Week

The first (unofficial) Nurses Week was celebrated in 1954, the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Though a bill to make the holiday official was introduced to Congress that year, no action was taken.

It wasn’t until 20 years later, in 1974, that the White House, under President Richard Nixon, designated a National Nurse Week. Our own state of New Jersey declared May 6 Nurses Day just four years later.

Decades later, the ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6 – 12, 1991, as National Nurses Week. That tradition continues to this day.

 

Nurses Month 2020

This year, National Nurses Week has been expanded to fill an entire month. According to the AANA, the month consists of four different themes, celebrated by week:

Week 1: Self Care
May 1-9, 2020

Start the month with mindful self-recognition. Focus on yours and others’ emotional and physical well-being by encouraging and challenging yourself, colleagues and friends to engage in healthier activities.

Week 2: Recognition
May 10-16, 2020

Raise visibility of the critical work nurses do and foster greater understanding of the diversity of the nursing profession by honoring exemplary nurses and engaging with your community.

Week 3: Professional Development
May 17-23, 2020

Focus on how you can excel and lead in your nursing career or inspire and help others in their professional nursing journey.

Week 4: Community Engagement
May 24-31, 2020

Help promote nurses’ invaluable contributions by engaging with your community, educating them on what nurses do, and encouraging future nurses.

 

Recognizing ComForCare’s Registered Nurses 

At ComForCare, we like to recognize our hardworking RNs every day. They initiate every client relationship through assessments, in-depth medical reviews, and care plan development. Whatever a client’s needs, our nurses make sure they are met. Along with our brilliant home health aides, they form the backbone of our organization.

Here are some of the other duties our RNs handle daily:  

 

Wound Care

ComForCare’s skilled nurses are specially trained to provide wound care services, whether basic or complex. Wound assessments, dressing changes, wound irrigation and negative pressure wound therapy can all be provided by the skilled nurse in conjunction with your physician’s orders for wound treatment.

Intravenous (IV) Infusions

Intravenous (IV) infusions are provided by a registered nurse (RN) who comes to your home to assist with administration of an IV medication. The RN can also assist with teaching you or your loved one on how to self-administer various IV infusion medications. Common IV medications include intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG), subcutaneous immunoglobulins (SCIG), antibiotics, biologics, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and hydration therapy.

Tracheostomy Management

ComForCare’s skilled nurses can help you or your loved one to care for a tracheostomy. Daily cleaning and suctioning coupled with specialized training in emergency tracheostomy care will help reduce infections and ensure that you or your loved one are safe at all times.

Feeding Tube Management

Whether it’s a gastrostomy, jejunostomy or nasogastric (NG) feeding tube, our skilled nurses come highly trained in not only the daily maintenance of your feeding tube but also the administration of various medications, fluids and supplemental nutrition through your feeding tube

Home Ventilator Management

ComForCare provides constant oversight while you or your loved one are on a ventilator. Our skilled nurses will manage ventilator alarms such as high pressure and low-pressure alarms and will help you to manage all of the equipment that sometimes comes along with home ventilator care. Our skilled nurses work collaboratively with you, your physician, and your durable medical equipment (DME) company that is providing the equipment to your home.

 

Our RNs build real relationships with clients – not because they have to, but because they want to. We’d like to recognize them for their time, dedication, expertise, and,  most of all, their kindness and empathy – not just today, but every day.

Posted in: Aging

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