Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Way to Maintain Independence: Senior Meal Delivery

One item most people seek to maintain as they age stands out among all others and that item is independence.  Many seniors struggle with the notion that they may need looked after in a manner similar to (gasp!) a child and they stubbornly cling to that independence like millennials cling to their smart phones.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!  In fact, family members can assist seniors in preserving their independence by making a few small adjustments within their homes to help them stay there and one of those small “adjustments” can be something as simple as setting up a senior meal delivery system.

Too often, when we think of assisting the seniors in our lives with their independence, we think of making big changes, such as relocating closer to them or relocating them into expensive senior care living facilities (which comes with an average monthly price tag of $6,700).  However, a large research project conducted in Baltimore recently determined that minor changes to the living spaces and routines of seniors can keep them living independently within their homes years longer than expected.  senior-lady-smilingGenerally, these changes were placed into four categories: mobility (think stairs), home maintenance, personal care and cooking…yes, cooking.

The researchers went into the homes of seniors with a budget of $4,000 and found that seniors were able to continue living in their homes longer with the installation of helpful mobility devices such as ramps, a second banister on the stairs, higher toilet seats, lower kitchen counters and cabinets and the ever popular walk-in tub.  They also utilized physical therapists to get the seniors on a regular exercise routine to improve and maintain mobility.  Finally, they recommended that meal preparation be made as easy as possible…hence the title of this blog.

stroganoffMany seniors have lost the manual dexterity (think chopping veggies) to prepare the wholesome and nutritious meals they require.  That being the case, a company that has specialized senior meal delivery capabilities would be an ideal solution to this problem.  Many meal delivery companies, such as MagicKitchen.com, have meals made specifically with seniors in mind, such as low sodium and/or carb, heart-healthy or gluten-free. A freezer and microwave are all that’s required to store and prepare the meals that are delivered to a senior’s home on a regular basis.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy…that’s how a senior seeking to remain as independent as possible is able to prepare a healthy meal…with the aid of a senior meal delivery program of course.

facebooktwitterpinterest

15 Facts on Type 2 Diabetes

doctorType 2 Diabetes is a well-known, potentially life-long disease. It seems to be more prevalent now than it ever has before. The good thing is you can control it by monitoring and adjusting your diet and exercise habits. If these things just don’t work for you, medication is the next step. I know I’m awful about taking medicine, especially if I don’t really want it. I’m not the only one out there like this and if type 2 isn’t controlled, it can spiral quickly into a very messy situation! No one wants that!! Here are some interesting facts about type 2 diabetes.

  1. The Big D…Diagnosis – When your doctor tells you that your A1c level is over 6.5, you are essentially being told that your pancreas isn’t keeping up with proper release of insulin. Glucose is released into the blood, which causes the pancreas to kick into action releasing insulin. This then allows the glucose to be turned into energy for the body. Risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases when your A1c is between 5.7 and 6.4; normal range is 4 -5.6.
  2. Symptoms or Symptomless? – Some people with type 2 diabetes don’t have symptoms at all. This may sound like a good thing, but I’m not so sure. No symptoms means that pesky, out of whack sugar level is wreaking havoc on your body…unbeknownst to you! Others have symptoms and let’s face it, some aren’t going to be pleasant. You will possibly experience a need for the bathroom often (most likely when there isn’t one available…Murphy’s Law), you’ll be very thirsty, you may have unplanned weight loss/gain, or weakness/fatigue, numbness and possible tingling in your hands and feet. Most of these are manageable or tolerable, but still very annoying.
  3. Complica200_elliot_p_joslintions, We All Have Them – Some of the complications of type 2 diabetes can be more than just annoying. They can be downright scary!! Think kidney damage/failure, vision issues, blindness, developing heart disease, strokes, depression, and amputation (yikes)! These complications are enough to encourage you to control this disease through diet, exercise and possibly medication!
  4. Who is Elliot P. Joslin? – He was the first doctor to specialize in diabetes. He started the first diabetes registry ever which was compiled from patients beginning in his third year of medical school. His aunt and mother both had diabetes.
  5. Diabetic friendly mealDiabetic Friendly Meals Really Exist? – Yes, they really do exist and yes, some can be quite tasty! Some things to think about are adding in extra veggies or substitutions. For instance, if you have a hankering for spaghetti, fine go for it! Just substitute some of the white pasta for whole wheat or better yet use spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini! Eating diabetic friendly meals is a great way to combat Type 2 diabetes. Another perfect way to do this is to order from a meal service, such as www.magickitchen.com. They have a plethora of diabetic friendly meals at great prices, prepared and delivered directly to you!
  6. People on treadmill in gym runningMove That Booty…and the rest of your body – Cardio and weight training are some exercises we all need to do, not just those with Type 2. It doesn’t have to be boring, though. Go for a walk…this time of year is great for this! Not only will you be getting out of the house, but you’ll also get to see some of the signs of the changing season. I don’t know about you, but seeing new life popping up all over the place is revitalizing and encourages me to keep moving. As for the weight training, you don’t have to be a member of a gym. You have weights right in your own home. Start slow with some cans of veggies and move up to a gallon of water (in the jug, of course) to work your arms and upper body.
  7. Your Age Matters – If you are 45 or older guess what? You should be tested for type 2 diabetes. Why? Simple, it’s a risk factor. Pair that up with other risk factors such as a close family member is diabetic, you don’t move your body enough, high blood pressure, or having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you should be tested even younger. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of risk factors!
  8. Always Brush Your Teeth – This is something my brother-in-law used to tell my kids when they were brushlittle! He’s right, though…and this is extremely important if you have diabetes. Dry mouth, thrush, and periodontal gum disease are things the diabetic should watch for. Did you know that gum disease can actually make controlling your glucose levels even harder? Teeth and gums aren’t just for eating anymore!
  9. Love Thy Kidneys – Kidney failure is not pretty. People with type 2 diabetes make up 44% (ish) of the cases of chronic kidney failure. This is even when diabetes is under control! Be sure to discuss those kidneys with your doctor.
  10.  One Doctor, Two Doctor, Three Doctor, Four? – Get used to seeing more than one doctor. Once you have type 2 diabetes, you need a team of doctors to monitor your health. That care team is going to make sure that no stone is left unturned, nothing has been missed. We’re talking a primary care doc, a dentist (see #8), an ophthalmologist (see #3), a dietician, and possibly an endocrinologist. I didn’t even count the cardiologist if you have a history of heart disease.
  11.  It’s a Numbers Game – You will get used to checking your glucose levels. Not just at the doctor’s office, either. You should be monitoring them at home as well. What are the numbers you should be looking for? Normal blood glucose ranges (for those with type 2) before eating a meal should be around 70-130 and less than 180 1-2 hours after the beginning of a meal. Bedtime might look a little different and range from 90-150. Your doctor should have prescribed a meter and test strips for you to use. Because I forget things so easily, my suggestion is to keep a log to share with your doctor.
  12.  It’s Greek, errr…Latin? – Random fact here…the word diabetes is actually Greek for “siphon”. What?? Remember one of the possible symptoms is having to use the bathroom bodyshapesa lot? Well, in this case, the ample amount of urine associated with diabetes is the “siphon” being referred to. The Latin comes in with “mellitus”, or honey (sweet). This was basically thrown on when doctors found out that a diabetic’s urine is sweet. (I’m not going to go into how they discovered this. Use your imagination!)
  13.  Apples to Oranges, I Mean Pears – For quite some time, I’ve heard body types labeled as apples, pears, hourglasses, bananas, spoons, etc. Did you know that those with an apple body shape have a greater risk of developing diabetes than those with pear shapes? Food for thought.
  14.  Men vs Women – Ahh…the age old competition. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t have a victorious ending for either. However, men have the higher risk of death from diabetes than women. Men, listen to your doctors and extend your life expectancy! Please!
  15.  Diet Drinks Need to Go – Drinking soda just isn’t good for you, I’m including the diet stuff, too. Who doesn’t love the bubbly, sweet goodness on a hot day? Well, that drink could be an additional risk to developing type 2 diabetes. The artificial sweetener may just lead to signs of glucose intolerance, which in turn can lead to type 2. I do have a bit of good news, though…especially for coffee drinkers! Those heavy coffee hitters have a lower risk of developing diabetes. The range to be considered a heavy coffee drinker 4-6 8oz cups. Keep in mind that this is not a license to knock back 6 large lattes. I’m talking black coffee.

There you have some fun and not so fun facts on type 2 diabetes. It’s not a pretty disease to have. Remember some key points: diet and exercise are vital and they don’t have to be boring or unpleasant!

facebooktwitterpinterest

Disadvantages of Seniors Living Alone

Closeup of an elderly man looking away in deep thought

The phases of life provide many challenges. Growing up and living alone has to be the most exciting. However, as we grow older, often we can no longer be independent as we once were. Seniors may be living alone due to a spouse passing on, because they never had a spouse or due to the fact that they were single parents and have grown up kids that moved out in pursuit of their own lives.

There are disadvantages to seniors living alone; the most common is that they do not eat well. The lack of a healthy diet makes their bodies prone to many diseases as begin to lack the nutrients required to enable their bodies to be strong.  Lack of interest in food, losing the desire to cook, or fast food all contribute to this problem.

Drinking waterWhen the elderly live alone, they may disregard recurring health conditions that may need immediate attention. Oftentimes, minor illnesses are ignored until they turn into full blown diseases. The fact that they are also sometimes prone to memory loss can affect their safety and security inside the house. Unfortunately, seniors may sometimes forget to turn off the stoves, heaters, irons and other electrical appliances, and that can be hazardous to their well-being.

Paying bills can be difficult because financial transactions may be really hard to manage. With this, they require all the help that they can get – losing lights or phone could be a serious problem. Living alone means that the physical well-being of a senior can be at risk, as simple things like bathing and dressing become more difficult with loss of flexibility and strength. Social isolation may also creep in as it is easy for the elderly to feel neglected. Medication management issues are also pivotal and are easily overlooked when the elderly are living alone.

senior-lady-smilingAlthough the decision of moving the elderly to an assisted living community may be a difficult one, it should be considered in certain circumstances, as they can be the perfect places for good care, health and monitoring.

Keeping a senior’s nutritional needs fulfilled may be as simple as a home delivered meal program. MagicKitchen.com has a flexible meal program without contracts, easy to start and easy to stop. Call today to talk to a knowledgeable customer service person.  Having a Registered Nutritionist Dietitican on staff helps MagicKitchen.com select the right meals for your senior in need.

facebooktwitterpinterest

Uses for Leftover food

From time to time we all experience that mess in our kitchen: the unfinished meals and huge amounts of leftovers we often don’t know what to do with. Before cleaning up your fridge, think about these numbers: The annual food waste amount is enough to fill the Willis Tower 44 times. About 40% of food in U.S. is wasted. Yes, almost half goes to trash!

But what if I tell you that you can cook something delicious with your leftovers?

The infographic from Happy To Survive shows 7 simple recipes you can prepare using your food leftovers. Beef hash cakes, pasta with cakes, egg and bacon pie – you can easily cook that yummy dishes and reduce food waste at the same time. Be in trend: Well-known chefs like Jamie Oliver and Matt Jennings also share their tips for getting the most out of leftovers.

Check out these gourmet recipes and share your own hints for dealing with your residual food. (Of course, if you order meals from MagicKitchen.com, there likely won’t be any leftovers!)

7 dishes made using leftover food

7 dishes made using leftover Food Storage

[Infographic] by the team at Survival

 

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

Top Ten Health Discoveries You Probably Missed

bionic-lens1. Bionic Vision – You probably never thought something would come along to give you super-vision. But this Canadian doctor has invented a lens for implantation in your eye that will give you exactly that.  “If you can just barely see the clock at 10 feet, when you get the Bionic Lens you can see the clock at 30 feet away,” says Webb.

You will be able to see close up, for reading, mid distance and long distance, with more clarity than ever before. The operation will take 8 minutes, and should be available in some areas in two years.

brain2. Talking to Computers – The US military is developing an interface between the human brain and computers. “The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology”, says an article.

“The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology. ” This new technology could potentially restore lost hearing or sight. Other diseases could potentially also be managed or cured. ALS, Parkinsons and others are possibilities.

light3. Pain Treated with Light –  Traditionally, severe pain is treated with opioid drugs like Oxycodone and Fentanyl. This has caused huge problems with addiction all across North America, and of course long-time use of opioids is bad for anyone’s system.

Now, scientists have discovered a way to trigger the opioid centers of the brain, using light. If this technology advances, perhaps opioids may no longer be necessary, and light would take their place.

With light, patients can get relief without the associated liver and kidney problems of long-term opioid use.

dog-sniff4. Dogs can Detect Cancer – And why not? Dogs can smell ten thousand times better than us.  That means they could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water.  They are ideally adapted to smell an illness in a person.

German scientists tested two German shepherds, a Labrador retriever, and an Australian shepherd. Each dog sniffed the breath of 220 patients, correctly identifying lung cancer at a rate of 71 percent.

Dogs may not be used directly in disease detection, but scientists hope to use this knowledge to develop sensors to track and detect cancers.

sedasys5. Robot Anesthesiologist – A new machine called the Sedasys may one day replace anesthesiologists. For now, it is taking the place of an the expensive specialist in simple procedures like colonoscopies.

The machine administers sedatives and monitors the patient. In this way, one anesthesiologist can be responsible for several patients.  Do anesthesiologists like the new machine? No, they believe that nothing can take the place of their training and experience, a valid argument. But the machine is being used in four US hospitals now for colonoscopies, so technology is marching on.

organs-lab6.  Building Organs from Scratch – For years, scientists have wished for the ability to create new body parts in the lab. With the advent of 3D printers, this wish is turning into a reality.

This isn’t just any 3D printer, it’s a new, sophisticated machine which can fabricate human tissue of any sort. Think liver,  kidneys, arms and legs.  Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed this system. The new parts, when implanted into living tissue, become viable organs.

laughing7. Laughing Prevents Memory Loss – Laughing and having fun reduces stress. Scientists wondered if less stress would help relieve memory loss in seniors.

They tested a group of seniors by testing their memories, then having them watch a funny movie. Those who laughed at the movie tested better on the memory test after the film. Those who didn’t enjoy themselves fared less well.

The moral of this story is plain to see: Let go of anger and strife and enjoy yourself- less stress helps your life in all kinds of ways!

spine8. Paralyzed Limbs can Move Again with Brain Power –  Scientists in Washington are working on a new device to help paralyzed limbs work again. What a boon this would be for millins of people worldwide.

The schedule is to have clinical trials in about eight years, so it is not imminent. However, this technology builds upon tests done which made a paralyzed man walk. The new device would actually be implanted into the brain.

The device would then reconnect areas of the brain and nervous system that haven’t been communicating due to injury or stroke.

smoke-kills9. A Bacteria That Helps Smokers Quit – Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things people do. Many try it five or six times before making it. Part of it is the actual addiction, which is as strong as that to heroin. Part of it is the lifestyle around smoking.

Researchers have discovered a bacterial enzyme that kills nicotine before it ever gets to the brain. They hope that destroying nicotine before it gets to the brain and releases dopamine (the reward), they will help lessen the desire to smoke.

Time will tell if this latest quitting device will work. But if you still smoke, it’s important to find a way to quit. There are many reasons to quit smoking.

cefaly10. New Technology for Migraine Sufferers –  Two FDA-approved devices provide a different way to deal with migraine headaches. One is the Cephaly band, the other is called Spring TMS.

Cephaly is used daily to prevent the attacks. Spring TMS is used at the onset of the attack, at  the first sign of pain.

facebooktwitterpinterest