Healthy Eating For Seniors Made Easy

Healthy Eating For Seniors Made Easy

Healthy Eating For Seniors Made Easy

Changing Nutritional Needs and Eating Habits

As you age your nutritional needs may change, as may your eating habits. Things such as calories consumed, your appetite and home life may be things that change over time. Other factors such as medications, medical conditions and oral health may be contributing factors as to why your diet will change.

Calories

As you age you may find that your calorie needs decrease. For various reasons, you may find it easier or harder to lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight.

For example, if you’ve had a knee replacement and are less mobile than you were previously, you will find that maintaining your regular diet may lead to some weight gain. In order to maintain your weight, you need to balance your calories in versus your calories out.

Appetite

It is common to experience a loss of appetite as you age. It’s also likely your sense of taste and smell will lessen. This can turn people off from eating normally.

It is important to find food items that you enjoy eating, or using a meal replacement to boost calories. Some brands to consider are Boost or Ensure. Some seniors find it easier to eat smaller, more frequent meals during the day.

It is important to get enough calories and nutrients to maintain healthy organs, muscles and bones.

Home Life

You can imagine that your life at home influences your eating habits to a certain extent. For example, if you are cooking for one, you may be tempted to skip the cooking and order take-out. If you are accustomed to cooking for two, it can be daunting to cook just for yourself. More so, if you are just entering your retirement years and are used to having the family at home, it can be challenging to start cooking just for two. Finding some simple recipes tailored to one or two servings may be a way to approach this obstacle. We have linked to a couple of recipes for your reading (and cooking!) pleasure.

Chicken Breast and Avocado Salad

Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry

Medications

You may need to take medications to manage chronic health conditions. Some medications can affect your appetite or sense of taste. Some can also interact with certain foods and nutritional supplements. When you start a new medication, it is extremely important you check with your doctor or pharmacist for any dietary changes that need to be made.

For example, if you’re taking the blood thinner Warfarin (also sold as Coumadin), you need to avoid grapefruit. It impairs your body’s ability to metabolize that specific medication. You also need to maintain a steady level of vitamin K, which can be consumed in leafy greens such as kale or spinach.

Medical Conditions

As you get older, you become more likely to develop chronic health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. To help prevent or manage these conditions, your physician may recommend some dietary changes.

For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should eat foods that are rich in nutrients, but low in excess calories, processed sugars, and saturated and trans fats.

Some older adults with certain health conditions become sensitive to foods such as onions, peppers, dairy products, and spicy foods. People receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer may also have a hard time finding foods that are palatable due to changes to the taste buds as a result from chemotherapy.

Oral Health

Oral health changes can impact how older adults enjoy their food. If you require dentures, you may find certain textures difficult to chew.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is important. If food gets trapped under the denture, it can cause abscess and infection at the gum line. Some medications can also cause a condition called thrush, which is essentially a yeast-like infection that occurs in your mouth. When this happens, it can be very painful to eat solid foods.

How Can Freiheit Care Help?

Whether you are at home recovering from surgery or need just a little bit of extra help around the house, call us. We offer personalized packages that include an array of services, including meal preparation and light housekeeping. We can assist you or your loved one with cooking in your own homes, using your own ingredients, to help you cook a meal you’ll love.

Additional Information and Recipes

Alzheimer's Disease

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

How Prevalent is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is an overall term used to describe various brain disorders caused by physical changes in the brain.

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 564,000 individuals in Canada are currently living with dementia. This number is expected to increase to 1.4 million people by 2031. Most commonly, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease occurs after the age of 65. It is less commonly diagnosed in one’s 40s or 50s. This is called early onset Alzheimer disease.

Whether you’re experiencing possible symptoms or are concerned for your loved ones, the following list of warning signs gives you an idea of what to look out for.

1: Memory Loss

One of the most common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss that disrupts your daily life. This can come in the form of forgetting where you put your keys or forgetting important dates and/or events in your calendar. If you notice this is starting to occur more frequently, give your doctor a call.

2: Trouble Planning And Solving Problems

Working with numbers may become difficult. You also may notice that it becomes difficult to follow a set plan or routine, even if you have been following it for a long time.

3: Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks

You or your loved one may begin to experience difficulty concentrating. Daily tasks may require more critical thinking as the disease progresses. If you find yourself getting lost while driving familiar routes, it’s time to see your doctor.

4: Confusion With Time And Place

Two common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are losing track of dates or losing track of time. You may also notice that you or your loved ones are forgetting where they are, why they are there or how they got there.

5: Difficulties With Vision And Perception

You or a loved one may begin to have problems judging distance and determining contrast or colour when driving. This can be dangerous for not only you or your loved one, but for everyone on the road. However much you want to keep your independence, this warrants a trip to the doctor and then possibly to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

6: Speech Difficulties

You may find that you begin to have difficulty finding your words when engaging in conversation. You may lose your train of thought mid-sentence, or repeat what you’ve already said over again. Some seniors with Alzheimer’s disease find that initiating a conversation is a daunting task.

7: Misplacing Items

Lost your keys again? If you find yourself misplacing common items you use every day with no recollection of where you put them, you may want to discuss this with a medical professional.

8: Impaired Decision Making

This may manifest as what seems to be “irresponsible” financial choices, such as donating large sums of money to telemarketers or door-to-door salespeople. However, in reality, these decisions are made without fully understanding the repercussions.

You or your loved ones may also become less concerned with personal hygiene. Bathing and personal care may lessen over time, and you or your loved one may become unwilling to change clothes if you forget that you put them on yesterday.

9: Withdrawing From Work Or Social Events

As symptoms begin to appear, you may notice yourself or your loved ones feeling withdrawn from activities that were once enjoyable. You may begin to pull away from work, social activities or friends due to changes that are occurring. Rather than ignoring this change, speak to someone about it as there is help available.

10: Personality And Mood Changes

Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may begin to feel confused, suspicious, paranoid or fearful. These emotions are a common reaction to the changes that are occurring. You or your loved one may also begin to feel anxious or depressed. It is important to contact your doctor if you are noticing these changes.

How Can Freiheit Care Help?

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, call us at 613-518-8258. We have services that can help you thrive in your home while these changes are occurring. From light housekeeping, meal preparation and assistance with personal care, you never need to be alone. If you are a primary caregiver for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, we offer respite services so you can take a well earned break. We also offer RN Psychotherapy services to address the mental changes you may be experiencing as well.

7 Simple Home Organization Tips for Seniors

7 Simple Home Organization Tips for Seniors

Organization

Home organization makes aging in place safer and easier for yourself or your aging loved one. We’ve compiled a list of 7 simple organization tips that can make your life at home easier and more organized while you continue to live independently.

#1 Store Items at Waist Height

As you age, your mobility may lessen. In order to make your belongings more ergonomically convenient, consider storing them at waist height. You can install shelves, use filing cabinets, or place items on tables. If you don’t have to bend to pick it up, not only are you giving your back a break but you are decreasing your likelihood of losing your balance and falling forward.

#2 Keep Furniture Out Of The Walkways

Have you ever stubbed your toe on a chair and had a brief moment of “where did THAT come from!”? To avoid injury we encourage older adults to have their furniture moved out of their direct pathway.

For example, moving chairs away from doorways prevents you or others from walking into it. Equally, ensuring that tables are not in your walking space will prevent you stubbing your toes.

#3 Anchor Your Area Rugs

Just like keeping furniture out of the way reduces the risk of injury, anchoring your area rugs can prevent the corners from flipping up and causing you or your loved one to trip. Carpets, if not anchored, can also pose a slipping hazard as the grips on the bottom may not be enough to keep the rug from sliding around.

#4 Extra Lighting

Using and installing extra lighting is very important for increasing the visibility of your items and home. We recommend using floor lamps and table lamps whenever possible. The extra lighting is especially helpful for individuals who may be experiencing some vision difficulties.

Some people, especially if they awake often in the night, may find it beneficial to install a night-light in their bathroom and/or hallway. This easily lights the way to the bathroom but you don’t have to be worried about it being too bright.

#5 Install Hand Rails

Install hand rails – if you don’t have any already – to your stairs, hallways, shower/tub, or beside your toilet.

Hand rails are the best option for seniors who may feel unsteady on their feet at times. In most cases, hand-rails are drilled right into the stud of the wall, and therefore are the most sturdy option. It is important that these are installed correctly so do get a professional in.

#6 Donate Clothing That No Longer Fits

If you have clothing in your closet that you haven’t worn in a while, consider donating it. Make a rule with yourself when you go through your closet; if you haven’t worn it in the last six months, it’s time to say good-bye.

When you are looking for donation centres, consider the following:

Diabetes Canada

  • You can arrange for a free pick-up from your home, and there are donation bins located in and around Ottawa.

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

  • You can arrange for a free pick-up from your home, and there are donation bins located in and around Ottawa

St-Vincent de Paul

  • Drop off to a bin or to a store location.

Value Village

  • Drop off to their donation centre.

Mission Thrift Stores

  • Drop off to their donation centre.

#7 Organizing The Laundry Room

Laundry detergent, softener and dryer sheets, oh my!

The laundry room can get cluttered very quickly, making it difficult to navigate safely. We recommend putting a laundry hamper in the room, that way when you quickly toss clothes in as you walk by, they won’t land on the floor (thus eliminating a tripping hazard!)

We also recommend putting your heavy bottles of laundry detergent at waist height to prevent you from having to bend over to pick it up. By keeping basic body mechanics in mind, you can minimize the risk of straining your back in the laundry room!

Keep a garbage bin in the laundry room as well, so you have somewhere to throw the lint from the dryer. Remember to empty the lint trap after every load to prevent fires.

How Can Freiheit Care Help?

If organizing your home seems like a daunting task, or you are unable to do it yourself, give us a call to find out how we can help. We have customizable packages that we can build for you, ensuring that someone is available to help you organize your home when you need it. Having extra hands while organizing is especially helpful, and even more so when the staff coming in have your health and safety in mind.

Simple Tips to Promote Independence for Seniors

Simple Tips to Promote Independence for Seniors

Independence does not need to waiver as you get older. Older adults are at risk of becoming dependent on their caregiver to maintain their quality of life. As caregivers, it is our job to encourage seniors to do as much as they are capable of in order to promote their independence.

Why Should We Promote Independence?

We want to promote independence for our seniors for the following reasons:

1. It is stimulating for the older adult.

  • Independence breaks seniors out of their daily routine of having a caregiver come and care for them. It provides them the opportunity to engage with their caregiver and play a role in the care they receive.

2. It is demeaning to them for caregivers to assume that they cannot do anything for themselves for ‘x’ reason.

  • Just because an older adult may have an illness, impairment or disability does not mean they are unable to care for themselves, with assistance. The tasks they perform may need to be modified to make it easier for them to complete, but they should be able to do the bulk of the task independently.

3. It provides older adults with a sense of purpose.

  • Older adults often fall into a depression because they are unable to live their life the way they used to. By providing the senior with these small tasks, they feel as though they are in control of that aspect of their life.

Promoting vs Maintaining Independence

In order to promote independence for your senior, you first need to determine how independent they are already. Promotion of a person’s independence involves providing opportunities for them to exercise their independence. This means encouraging them to do things for themselves. Maintaining a person’s independence requires them to be independent already, and just requires the caregiver to provide tools to the senior so they can continue living as independently as possible.

What Can I Do to Promote Independence?

Interactive caregiving promotes mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. This is also considered to be a holistic approach to caregiving. The art of caregiving extends beyond task-oriented skills and includes engaging in activities that help maintain a healthy mind and body. When planning activities to engage in with your older adult, keep the elements of interactive caregiving in mind.

Research indicates that keeping seniors engaged mentally, physically, emotionally and socially enables them to enjoy a higher quality of life, retain better cognitive function, stay healthy and live independently for longer.

By caring for the whole person and not just their physical being, you are engaging in the holistic approach to caregiving. By tending to the ‘whole person’, you can promote independence for your loved one.

When assisting with tasks, try to involve the person you are caring for as much as possible, encouraging them to do all that they can safely manage. It is paramount to remain calm and patient, as it is unlikely they will be able to complete tasks at the same pace as you. When you give them time and space to complete their tasks, you are giving them the freedom to independence.

How Can Freiheit Help Promote Independence?

Have you ever heard of the saying ‘do with, not for’? That is the principle that we at Freiheit Care Inc. live up to. This principle is easily implemented when caregivers remember that there is a person in that bed, and that they are likely still capable of caring for themselves.

An example of doing with and not for can be when a loved one needs to be bathed. Our caregivers can encourage their senior to wash themselves as much as they can. This could include washing their face, washing their armpits, brushing their teeth or combing their hair.

Freiheit Care Inc. provides only premium quality care to help you or your loved one “Be Free to Live”. This means that we want to help you help yourself. We are strong believers in helping you or your loved ones be your/their best. Give us a call today at (613) 518-8258 and find out how our caregivers are qualified to promote the independence of yourself or your loved one.