Feeling Thirsty – Keeping Senior Loved Ones Hydrated

If you are a boomer who is also a senior, it is possible that the answer to that question will be no.  Many seniors do not feel thirst or are able to recognize thirst.  It is important as a caregiver to be aware of that fact and encourage your senior to hydrate.   Water is an essential nutrient that is important for the proper functioning of our bodies including body temperature.  In an adult older than 70 years the body is 53% water but was 61% in a 25 year old and 80% at birth.

Sometimes things that are happening to our seniors can increase the amount of fluids they need to drink each day making getting enough fluid even more difficult.  Medications (both type and amount), infection, laxatives, vomiting/diarrhea, incontinence, dementia and sweat all affect the need for fluids.

There are many ways to hydrate especially if your senior does not enjoy drinking a glass of water.

Suggestions for Hydration

  • frozen fruit sorbets
  • fruit juices, apple cider
  • finger foods such as gelatin cubes
  • soups and broths
  • popsicles, ices, and sherbet
  • watery fruits such as watermelon, melons and grapes
  • sweet beverages such as sports drinks or fruit juices
  • milkshakes and smoothies
  • lemonade
  • vegetable juice and vegetable/fruit juice blends
  • vegetables such as cucumbers, celery, squash, tomatoes and cabbage
  • decaffeinated coffee and tea, herb tea, green tea
  • water from tap or bottles, flavored or vitamin waters

As caregivers, you will be helping your seniors be healthier as they age if you incorporate some of these foods into their daily meals and offer a variety of fluids between meals.

Do you have other suggestions of fluids or foods that work well with your senior? Share today.

Senior Brain Health: Tips & Tools to Exercise the Brain

Seniors can have improved cognition and reduced risk for developing dementia if they have fit brains.  This has been proven through various neuroscience research studies. Keeping your brain sharp and helping your seniors keep their minds active will make aging successful.

“Brain fitness refers to a general state of healthy, optimized brain function, or a more specific brain-based ability to process certain, specific information, enable certain motor actions, or support certain cognitive abilities” states Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Direc­tor of the Berenson-Allen Cen­ter for Non-Invasive Brain Stim­u­la­tion at Har­vard Med­ical School.

Fun Activities That Keep Your Brain Sharp And Stimulate Your Brain’s Frontal Lobe “Thinking Brain”

  • Jigsaw puzzles of 500 or more pieces
  • Sudoku puzzles
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Word search puzzles
  • Playing board games and chess
  • Reading newspapers, books, magazine (e-readers add flexibility & convenience)
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Barnes & Noble Nook
  • Having a conversation
  • Watching a period movie such as Hamlet or MacBeth
  • Participating in physical exercise
  • Painting
  • Practicing math problems
  • Eating healthy foods and staying hydrated
  • Staying positive and managing stress
  • Bird watching
  • Learning something new- – a foreign language or musical instrument
  • Build something such as a model plane or birdhouse
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Learning a new word every day and using it

Products that may help to improve brain fitness (and may even be fun!):

Select whichever tools you think will work best for your senior and give them a try.

The secret to brain health is REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT!   So keep at it every day to achieve improvement!

Seniors & Caregivers Not Focus of Tech Show — But In Mind

The Senior Care Corner staff recently spent a few days talking technology for seniors, their families and caregivers at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show and made some interesting finds.  There were several vendors specifically targeting seniors with the products, which we will discuss on Senior Home Technology over the coming weeks, but not as many as you would expect given how fast the senior market is growing.

Beyond that, there were many exhibitors with technologies that would be of interest to seniors and families and other caregivers of seniors, especially long distance caregivers.  Few were outwardly promoting their technologies to the senior and caregiver markets but all were excited to talk about the application of this application for their technologies and many mentioned having a number of installations for these customers.

Home automation systems were numerous at CES and we will be discussing several at Senior Home Technology soon.  We are particularly interested in these systems because they can serve multiple functions for seniors and their families and caregivers.

  • remotely performing convenience functions in the home, such as opening/closing blinds, adjusting the thermostat or scheduling prescription times
  • checking whether the front door is locked and locking it if needed for a memory-impaired senior (or unlocking it if keys were left inside)
  • providing notification of specified activities in the home, such as opening the refrigerator, preparing meals, or leaving the house after a certain hour of the night

Of course, many of these systems also provide more traditional functions, such as communications and home security.

The primary targets of these technologies are younger adults who are into gadgets and new technology but the manufacturers recognize the potential value to the senior market, even suggesting specific configurations they have seen installed in the past to meet seniors’ needs.  Most systems are expensive today and are not covered by insurance or medicare and thus are likely being targeted to those perceived as more likely purchasers.  That means until there is a defined senior market for more technology we have to go look for the opportunities.  We will be doing that for you, of course, and will follow these technology segments over time to report back here and on Senior Home Technology.  As with most tech, we expect prices to fall quickly and features to improve, especially as the vendors develop applications targeted to seniors. As seniors and their caregivers begin to request more devices, the sooner the manufacturers will fill the niche.

If you have specific technology needs or questions, we would love to investigate the options for you.  Leave a comment today!

Silvers Summit 2011

We at Senior Care Corner were excited to be a part of the Silvers Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show.  The Silvers Summit section is an arm of this international technology conference that focuses on the technology advances specific to our seniors.

We had the pleasure to learn about the latest information from experts in the field of technology.  They were all very passionate about their areas and the benefits of the latest technology.

As caregivers we are looking for gadgets that will help us help our seniors whether we live with them, nearby or far away.  We have made it clear that we want devices that will give us peace of mind that our seniors get the help they need with daily activities such as medication administration, socialization and safety; the ability to stay in their homes as long as possible; and  getting emergency assistance as quickly as possible.

The Silvers Summits Points of Interest

  • Any new or existing technology aimed at our boomers should decrease the burden of caregiving on their loved ones
  • New items should have a common goal: make our seniors safe and secure in their setting
  • New technology should be appropriately priced, especially since insurance and Medicare do not yet cover them
  • New advances will meet the needs more of the caregiver than the senior and will be marketed to you not the senior
  • All gadgets should be accessible to seniors with disabilities
  • All technology created should be integrated across the spectrum of devices so that they are usable  together and make it unnecessary to have multiple devices that don’t connect
  • New technology should be accessible to seniors and caregivers who are middle and low income

As we all become consumers of this new technology and gadgets it will be important for us to give our feedback about what we need and want for our seniors.  These manufacturers want to be sure their products fulfill our needs.  Therefore, let us not hesitate to share our opinions about how these products work in our environments, what their limitations are and how they are successful.  We look forward to hearing about your experiences with these devices so that we can all benefit.

We will be highlighting some of the products we feel could benefit us all as caregivers on future posts.  If you have interest in a specific product or type of need, let us know and we will track it down for you.