Stories & Tips

Different Ways to Stimulate a Senior’s Appetite

Different Ways to Stimulate a Senior's Appetite

There are certain conditions like cancer, psychological health problems, and aging that can cause a person not to want to eat. If a person doesn’t eat, they will lose too much weight and get sick. There are a few ways you can stimulate a senior’s appetite. That way, they want to eat instead of being forced.

Different Ways to Stimulate a Senior's Appetite

Different Ways to Stimulate a Senior’s Appetite

 

It should go without saying, but before you try any of these methods, talk to your doctor about what would work best for you or your senior.

Medications

The FDA has approved these three medications for appetite stimulants: Megestrol Acetate, Oxandrolone, and Dronabinol.

Megestrol is a progesterone based medicine that doctors prescribe for people with anorexia, cancer, HIV, or AIDS. It’s available in both a liquid and pill form. Side effects can include upset stomach, mood changes, sleep problems, onset or worsening of diabetes, and blood clots.

Oxandrolone is an oral steroid that helps people gain weight after surgery, trauma, or chronic infection. Side effects include acne, deepening voice, excessive hair growth, changes in the menstrual cycle, mood changes, and upset stomach.

Doctors prescribe Dronabinol to help treat AIDS-related anorexia, boost appetite in people with cancer, and reduce nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. It’s an oral capsule. Side effects include confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, hallucinations, and low mood.

Supplements

There are specific kinds of vitamins and minerals that can increase appetite, but only if a person has deficiencies in these nutrients.

A lack of Zinc can cause a loss of appetite, poor immune function, change in taste perception, slow healing, and even hair loss. Research shows that if a person is lacking Zinc and takes supplements, they will get hungrier.

Vitamin B-1 is also known as thiamine and is key for growth and development. If a person lacks this vitamin, they can get appetite loss, weight loss, confusion, and other cognitive symptoms.

Omega-3 are fatty acids that appear naturally in the human diet. Adding more marine orientated omega-3 fatty acids to your diet will stimulate your appetite.

Exercise

Exercise increases the energy a person burns, which increases the body’s need for food. Therefore, it increases hunger.

Other Tips

Try eating three to six small meals instead of planning for three big meals. Don’t eat foods with high fiber or low-calorie foods. It will fill you up without giving substance. You can also try drinking nutrients instead of eating them, making it easier to consume. Finally, you can make meals more enjoyable with music or friends or anything else that brings you joy.

Read more here.

360 SHS Featured in Bedford Bulletin for Fighting Covid-19

How to Deal Caregiver Guilt During the Coronavirus

360 SHS was featured in the Bedford Bulletin again! The article titled “360 Seniors Helping Seniors fight Covid-19” shares information on how 360 SHS is preventing and fighting Covid-19.

360 SHS Featured in Bedford Bulletin for Fighting Covid-19

360 SHS Featured in Bedford Bulletin for Fighting Covid-19

 

Here is the article in full:

Bedford’s 360 Seniors Helping Seniors owners Judy and Randy Loubier have adjusted their business’ caregiving efforts, and offer advice for those looking to show love and support for their elderly loved ones from a distance.

Since the initial outbreak of Covid-19 on the East Coast, the Loubiers, who have always had clear expectations and training in infection control and standard precautions, have further increased training and communication to caregivers.

The first step was daily monitoring of their caregivers and receivers to ensure that anyone giving or receiving services was not sick, showing any symptoms of the virus, or had traveled.

As New Hampshire issued a stay-at-home order, the Loubiers realized more preventative steps needed to be taken. They became engaged with daily check-ins with the CDC, weekly Department of Health updates, and fluid adjustments of protocols as required.

As a business that provides seniors with care from their peers, 360 SHS sets itself apart from the competition by aiming to build lasting relationships and bonds between caregiver and receiver. The Loubiers have always carefully matched caregivers with their receivers in the hopes they will both form a genuine connection.

Since the outbreak, fulfilling the mission of their business has become even more important. Seniors are a high-risk demographic for Covid-19, because many of them suffer from pre-existing conditions that compromise the body’s ability to fight off the virus, and keeping seniors at home and cared for decreases their vulnerability.

The Loubiers ramped up their monitoring measures. Caregivers and receivers who were showing any signs of sickness or had a risk of exposure were directed to local health officials for screenings, every caregiver is given masks and hand sanitizer to ensure safety. Gowns and protective eyewear are available.

Daily caregivers answer questions about symptoms and travel. Because the Loubiers service many seniors with complex medical conditions and cognitive impairment, most services have been considered essential, and home visits continue for more than 75 percent of their clients. New assessments continue as local hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities strive to keep the vulnerable elderly at home.

“Seniors need our support now more than ever before. With their own families staying at home, our seniors are more isolated than ever. Because our services are considered essential, our caregivers are on the frontline. They are dedicated to keeping their client safe, healthy, and feeling cared for.”– Judy Loubier

For family members nearby or those in the community, there is nothing like a handwritten letter, a Facetime or Skype call, or groceries delivered to a front step.

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

As Covid cases rise, we are all desperate to find a cure for it. There have been a few highlighted ideas, but the information has been confusing. A new avenue that’s being explored is plasma from those who have had Covid-19 and were cured. This is thought to be the best way to fight Covid-19.

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

Plasma Could Be the Best Way to Fight Covid-19

 

Maybe the most well-known treatment possibility is the drug hydroxychloroquine. As far as when this article is written, it seems there is little benefit and too great a risk of toxicity. Another drug, remdesivir, has had high hopes but nothing to sustain it.

The latest treatment avenue is plasma from people who had Covid-19 and beat it. The reasoning is that within their plasma, there are protective antibodies that can help sick people. Best of all, it relies more on volunteers than the production of drugs, which makes it less expensive.

It’s not time to get too excited, though. Results are promising but lack control tests and numbers to determine that it’s the solution.

What exactly is plasma? It comes from blood, and their half cells, like reds, whites, and platelets, and half fluid. The fluid is what makes plasma, and it has various proteins and other molecules in it. The antibody is what researchers are looking at. You may hear this as immunoglobulin, gamma-globulin, IVIG.

To get the antibodies out of a donor’s blood, doctors separate blood into parts. Red blood cells go back to the donor to avoid anemia. Doctors then collect the antibodies and go through the standard process for administering this kind of treatment. It’s then given to the sick patient.

This kind of treatment has been helpful with diseases like hepatitis B or rabies prevention.

Learn more here.

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

There’s been a lot of scary news surrounding Covid-19, and we all need a spot of positivity. Enter Dhruv Pai and Matt Casertano, 16 and 15 respectfully, who have created Teens Helping Seniors. A special delivery service for seniors during Covid-19.

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

Teens Create Free Delivery Service for Seniors During Covid-19

 

What started in Maryland is rapidly growing across the country. Pai and Casertano have been using their time out of school to help others.

“We were both helping out our families, delivering groceries to our grandparents, and we thought ‘what about the people who do not have family in the area?'”- Matt Casertano

The two teens designed a no-contact delivery service. Seniors email their grocery list and then are connected to a volunteer nearby. Each teen has proper sanitation equipment and wipes down all surfaces, following CDC guidelines.

The volunteer teen will then leave the groceries at the front door and pick up the cash or check to cover the cost of groceries. If cash or check doesn’t work, payments can be made online through services like Venmo.

As an extra precaution, teens will call their customers to make sure they got everything they needed.

What started as the two teens, has now evolved to 65 volunteers and more joining each day.

Not only do these teens deliver groceries, but they are helping with loneliness too. Sometimes a five-minute conversation is all these seniors get during this tough time.

Teens in other states are starting their own programs with the guidance of Pai and Casertano.

Read more here.

Romance is the New Way to Scam Seniors

Why You Should Never Retire According to a Neuroscientist

Fake online romances aren’t just for younger people. They’re now happening to older people too. Scam artists are not only using online dating sites but social media platforms as well. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these scams because they are more likely to be seeking companionship, and people are using that to scam seniors.

Romance is the New Way to Scam Seniors

Romance is the New Way to Scam Seniors

 

There is a pretty standard formula when it comes to romance scams. They contact you on whichever website you meet them on, they chat with you for a little bit, and then they ask to move away from the site. They do this by asking to talk through text, phone calls, or other messaging apps.

They do this for more intimacy and less security monitoring that public sites offer. It creates an atmosphere of trust with the victim.

Then the formula continues with a tragic personal story, saying they’re in love early on in the relationship and the scammer living far away.

Then come the photos. You exchange pictures and start to feel like you really know the person. Except, the photo is fake. Usually, it’s some stock photo or stolen from social media. You may not even be talking to a single person, but instead a group of people that take shifts speaking to you.

Another part of the formula is that they always make excuses not to meet you in person. They may agree to a date and then at the last minute cancel because of some kind of emergency. They could say it’s work, family, or some other type of emergency.

Scam artists don’t start the actual scam until a few weeks or months into the relationship. Once they’re ready, they begin by asking for a small amount of money. Then the amount will slowly increase over time. They will use gift cards instead of cash or checks because they are untraceable and easy to get.

Reports show that romance scams are costly and increasing. In 2019, there were 25,000 complaints, and it’s thought that this type of scam is under-reported. People lost $201 million in 2019. That’s more than victims that lost to fake lotteries, sweepstakes, imposter frauds, or tech support scams.

If you or anyone else have had this happen to you, report them to the F.T.C or the F.B.I. Also, treat victims with care. A lot of emotional trauma happens when someone is involved in this kind of scam.

Read more here.

How to Build Healthy Habits

How to Build Healthy Habits

It seems so easy to develop bad habits, so why is it so hard to keep healthy ones? Behavioral scientists say that we try to make healthy habits the wrong way. We make our goals too big without knowing the steps to get there. Here’s how to build healthy habits.

How to Build Healthy Habits

How to Build Healthy Habits

 

These tips are backed by research, so you know they are good.

Stack Your Habits

Try adding a new habit to one you already have. For example, morning habits tend to be our strongest. Along with your morning cup of coffee, try to do a minute of mediation while it cools. You could practice balancing while brushing your teeth by standing on one foot.

Do some stretches or exercises while watching TV. You can do it during commercials.

Start Small and Easy

People’s biggest mistake is to start too high and discourage themself. Big goals need a high level of motivation that can be hard to keep up.

Start with small habits that will be easy to keep up with. Like, eating an apple instead of a bowl of chips or going for a walk to start a new exercise regimen.

Do exercises that don’t require leaving the house like sit-ups or jumping jacks. If you want to do something a little more extreme, try sleeping in your exercise clothes, that way you can just roll out of bed and get going.

Do It Every Day

British researchers looked at how people form habits in the real world. They asked people to choose a simple habit they wanted to build. The researchers found that the amount of time it took for the task to become automatic, aka a habit, was anywhere between 18 to 254 days. The average was 66 days.

Needless to say, habits take a long time to make. That’s why it’s crucial to start small. You’re more likely to keep doing little things than work out for an hour every day.

Reward Yourself

Every time you keep a good habit is a cause of celebration. While some of the big goals make take a while to get to, you should reward every small benchmark you reach. Listen to audiobooks while running or watch your favorite show. Eat a special meal when you reach for a certain small goal.

Read more here.

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

It can be a confusing time right now for people with older loved ones. You want to make sure they are safe, but to do that, you have to stay away. How can you care for seniors during Covid-19? Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer at AARP, has a few suggestions.

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

How to Care for Seniors During Covid-19

 

Let’s start with the basics. Make sure that you and your beloved senior are following the general guidelines of washing hands, avoiding crowds, and practicing social distancing. As hard as it is, limit visitations to the absolute minimum. Instead, focus on making phone calls or even video calls if they’re available.

Creating backup plans for if you or your loved ones get sick will reduce panic and anxiety in everyone. Make sure there’s enough food, medication, and basic necessities that will last a week or two. You or your loved ones can take advantage of delivery services for these supplies.

What if a Senior has an Annual Checkup, Should They Go?

If your loved one has an appointment coming up, call their physician and ask about it. Depending on the severity of Covid-19 in your area, you can probably reschedule it if your senior is feeling okay overall. The physician will let you know if an appointment is urgently needed or not.

Should People Consider Taking Their Loved Ones Out of Long-Term Care Communities?

It’s a difficult question to answer. The answer can change day by day as we learn more about the virus. If you are concerned, contact your loved one’s community and learn about how they plan on handling the virus. There are infection control procedures that every nursing community have to follow. You can ask to learn what they are doing.

You should think about the balance of care you can give your senior at home versus what they could get in their community. Can you get home care, like SHS 360, to come and help? Would your loved one accept this kind of help? Think about how disruptive it could be to remove your senior for a few months and then bring them back.

How Can Seniors Stay Active Inside?

Don’t underestimate the act of walking around your home. It’s crucial to not just sit and lie down all day.

Read more here.

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

You may know that nursing communities are limiting visitors during the Covid-19 crisis, but did you know that some residents aren’t able to return too? Seniors returning from hospital visits, rehabilitation centers, and other outside activities are struggling to come back to their home during the Coronavirus. Nursing staff says that residents need to provide a negative test before they come in.

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

Seniors Struggle to Return to Nursing Communities After Hospital Visit During Coronavirus

 

While that seems fair, there aren’t enough tests to go around. So what are seniors supposed to do? What are these communities supposed to do?

“This is the most strained and anxious that I’ve seen the system and staff and families and patients.”– Alice Bonner, registered nurse and adjust faculty at John Hopkins

U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a guide that outlines the process for accepting patients who could have been exposed to the Coronavirus.

It says that nursing communities can and should readmit people who have tested positive or been exposed to the virus only if they are equipped to prevent the spread, according to the CDC.

If a community can’t follow those rules, they must wait until a returning resident has been without fever and respiratory symptoms and taken two negative tests 24 hours apart. If tests aren’t available, the CDC says a resident can go home after three days without a fever and improved respiratory symptoms, and at least seven days after the person first got sick.

Kind of confusing, right?

The CDC guidelines also say residents don’t need to meet the criteria before being discharged from the hospital.

So, where do the seniors go? Not everyone has family nearby that could take them in. Many have family in other states. What about residents who leave or are hospitalized for reasons other than the Coronavirus?

Even a person that shows no symptoms can be a carrier, nursing communities are looking at everyone as a threat.

The shortage of tests and how long they take to get a result is putting people in danger. The testing criteria is changing all the time and can even change state to state.

Individual communities are doing the best they can during this fluid situation.

Read more about this situation here.

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

Studies show that laughter can actually improve your health and push off disease. It can even help those who are ill cope better with their illness. So, you need to laugh more.

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

You Need to Laugh More, for Your Health

 

“A friendly sense of humor will bless you with better social relations as well as coping skills, and the reduced risk of dying early.” –Sven Svebak, professor emeritus at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Svebak has been studying the impact that laughter has on health for more than 50 years.

There’s the apparent psychological effects of laughter, but there’s a social aspect as well. Having a sense of humor can create a stronger community around you. It can stimulate memories in those with dementia.

More physically, laughter wakes up your organs by increasing the oxygen intake to the heart, lungs, muscles, and makes your brain release more endorphins.

It eases tension, relaxes muscles, and lowers blood pressure. It’s been shown that it can strengthen the immune system.

A 15-year Norwegian study found that humor can delay or prevent life-threatening diseases. They looked at over 53,000 people and measured their sense of humor with a health survey. It included asking them how to guess their ability to find something funny.

Women with high cognitive scores had a reduced risk of premature death from cardiovascular and infectious diseases. Men had a reduced risk of early death from infections.

The study didn’t find any effects on cancer and other causes of death. The benefits also slowly faded and left after 85.

Read more here.

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

We’ve talked about the Mediterranean diet before and how it’s a healthy way to eat. Well, this diet is back in the news because a new study has shown another reason the Mediterranean diet is good for you.

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You

 

The study revealed that eating this diet for just one year changed the microbiome of older adults. Not only did it change these microbiomes, but changed them in ways that improved brain function and helped them live longer.

The diet stopped or slowed down the inflammatory chemicals that lead to loss of cognitive function. It also prevents the development of chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and atherosclerosis.

Why are Microbiomes a Big Deal?

 

How much food do you think passes through a human body’s lifetime?

60 tons.

That’s a lot of food, and that food exposes us to different bacteria. Bacteria, both good and bad, plays a huge role in our health. It decides how well we absorb nutrients, the functionality of our immune response, and our energy and metabolism levels.

As we age, the amount of microbes in our stomach reduces. A poor diet is normal among older adults in long-term residential care, and those who live alone. There are many reasons why this happens. Things like lack of appetite, dental issues, transportation issues are just a few.

When the diversity of bacteria lessens, “inflamm-aging” happens. It’s when age-related inflammatory processes start that can lead to a variety of diseases.

Closer Look at the Study

 

Researchers looked at the stomach microbiomes of 612 older people from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

They put 323 on a special diet based on Mediterranean principles, which means lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, and little red meat, sugar, and saturated fats.

The remaining participants were asked to eat how they usually do.

After a year, those who followed the Mediterranean diet saw positive changes to the microbiome in their digestive systems. The loss of bacterial diversity slowed, and the production of potentially harmful inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein and interleukin-17 were reduced.

There was growth of beneficial bacteria linked to improved memory and brain function. The diet also appeared to boost “keystone” species, which is critical for a stable “gut ecosystem.” It slowed signs of frailty like walking speed and handgrip strength.

Nationality didn’t matter. The findings were similar, no matter where people lived, their age, or weight.

You can learn more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet from our first article on it.

Read more about the new study here.