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Senior Care: Watch for Medication Interactions with Food

By Lee Nyberg, 4:40 pm on July 30, 2012

Your mom told you, the doctor told you, and Popeye told you: eat your spinach. But should you? The answer is it depends. Spinach and other innocent foods like, black licorice and grapefruit can cause interactions with medication, either reducing or intensifying the effectiveness of the medication. Here are some common food and drug interactions to be aware of and to ask your doctor about. Spinach and Warfarin (Coumadin) are a potentially dangerous combination, because spinach contains large amounts of vitamin K, which is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Grapefruit has many drug interactions and should be watched by people taking many different drug types. Here are a few: Buspirone for anti-anxiety; Amiodarone (Cordarone) for anti-arrhythmia; Sertraline (Zoloft) as…

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By Lee Nyberg, 4:25 pm on July 30, 2012

By Lee Nyberg Several recent articles* about a person’s gait and the presence of Alzheimer’s have caused me to look more closely at peoples’ gaits in general and specifically those of people I know with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The bottom line is that the areas of the brain damaged by Alzheimer’s affect the ability to use motor skills as well as short-term memory function. I have seen formerly athletic people, in early stage AD, stumble and falter. This means people in the early stage of AD, even though they are highly functioning in many areas, may be at risk of falling. As the disease progresses, this risk increases. If you are helping to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, even in the early stages, please evaluate your home for fall hazards….

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By Lee Nyberg, 11:15 pm on July 20, 2012

According to recent research from Pew Research Center and Princeton Survey Research, 86% of seniors are communicating with email, 53% are using the Internet, and 34% are networking on social media sites. Everyone can see the benefits of technology, young and old. People originally adopted the telephone to speed the spread of news and joy with family and friends. The same adoption is happening now. I began texting to communicate with my children on the fly; grandparents, often living far from grandchildren, are “skyping” to be a part of their activities, like birthday parties. Apart from the desire to remain connected with their fast moving, and possibly distant families, our older population may be staying in tune with technology changes because they are staying in the work force longer. Average…

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By Lee Nyberg, 4:14 pm on July 3, 2012

By Lee Nyberg of Home Care Assistance of Nebraska The human body is 60% water!  Without water, your body would stop working properly.  Water makes up more than half of your body weight and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it.  Why?  Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them.  For instance, you blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body.  Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working. Seniors are especially vulnerable to dehydration due to age-related changes in their systems and medication which can either cause or magnify the effects of dehydration. Adequate senior care can help avoid dehydration by helping to…

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By Lee Nyberg, 4:22 pm on June 21, 2012

The great philosopher, Plato, said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” I think he was right. Especially about the mind and the imagination.  Dr. Connie Tomaino of New York’s Institute of Music and Neurologic Function and Dr. Daniel Levitin of McGill University would probably agree. They were quoted in a March 2012 article from Weight Watcher’s Magazine.  Here’s a brief summary of the article. Our brains actually react to music on a chemical level. Probably as dramatically as vinegar and baking soda, although we just can’t see it happen.  Music’s tempo makes a difference in how it affects us, too. If you work out with music, you already know it can motivate and make you move faster,…

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By Lee Nyberg, 9:23 pm on June 5, 2012

The key to a long, fruitful life well into the senior citizen years is maintaining a lifestyle that keeps both the body and the mind active and entertained. Too often, seniors spend their twilight years doing little more than lying in bed watching television or other passive activities that do little to promote good health. Simple daily exercise, for both the body and the mind, can help slow the onset of diseases and keep mind and body sharp. Senior Activities for the Body At Home Care Assistance in Omaha, our caregivers engage seniors with physical activities whenever possible. Simply getting up and moving around for 30 minutes every day, broken up into shorter blocks if necessary, goes a long way toward promoting total health and helping the body fight illness….

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By Lee Nyberg, 10:42 pm on June 1, 2012

We need a confident approach to caregiving.  Why? Many of us are likely to become caregivers.  Already, 1 in 3 people in the U.S. is caring for someone over the age of 18 years.  This proportion is likely to increase over the next 20 years, as the number of people being cared for will nearly double, from 41 mm in 2010 to 72 mm in 2030. Who’s likely to become a caregiver? Omaha In-Home Care states that the average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman and in addition to holding a full-time job and having teenagers at home, she’ll likely be caring for a parent. Many other family caregivers are in their mid 60’s and caring for a spouse. If you get the call to become a caregiver or manage someone’s…

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By Lee Nyberg, 10:00 pm on June 1, 2012

How’s this for new ideas on “Changing the Way the World Ages?” If you think grandmas and video games are a strange combination, you are not alone.  Here’s another strange concept: we actually get a mental workout from playing video games at any age.  As a parent of two teenagers who want to play video games all day long, this fact is killing me. In a recent North Carolina State University study, researchers tested cognitive function changes in older adults, aged 60-77, when they played video games.  What they found was quite a surprise to Omaha Elder Care. “People who played ‘World of Warcraft,’ versus those who did not play, experienced an increase in cognitive ability, particularly older adults who performed very poorly in our first testing session,” the study’s…

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By Lee Nyberg, 9:28 pm on June 1, 2012

By Lee Nyberg A person with Alzheimer’s or dementia needs extra vigilance from family members and caregivers when in the hospital.  Since patients with middle and late stage Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate clearly, their health can be greatly improved when family and/or familiar, professional caregivers become part of the care team.  Additional monitoring is necessary because the unfamiliar hospital personnel and environment could lead to agitation, anxiety, and wandering behaviors, all posing greater risks to the senior’s health and safety. At Omaha In-Home Care our experience has given us these useful tips: 1. Gather pertinent legal documents and discuss with the care team . This includes Advanced Medical Directives and a durable power of attorney (DPOA) designation for health care.  The first informs family and physicians of…

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