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Wellness & Nutrition

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4 Factors to Consider in Nutrition Planning at the Assisted Living Communities

nutrition planning for seniors

It is not a rocket science to not to understand the role played by food in everyone’s life. It is the life energy that determines the very way of living and life experience. As such an imperative factor, diet deserves a special mention in the assisted living facilities where the elderly live in with the needs and requirements that are distinctive from each other.

Considering the demands of the senior living communities, elders are in a great need of the nutrition that proactively fulfills their bodily needs. For elders, it is more than just a meal. This is the reason why the assisted living facilities duly focus on preparing their menu and follow it only after consulting the dietitians.

Ideally, the menu plan contains a variety of ingredients that not only meet the nutritional needs of the resident but also make delicious dishes while making the whole dining experience very pleasant. The general factors such as the reduced ability of taste, the side-effects of medications, change in the digestion and appetite patterns also need to be considered while preparing the diet charts. The additional factors including the cultural and social preferences of the food.

This is a complex process and the assisted living facilities follow a step by step guide while plotting the menu for the elders. Here are few consideration they take in while preparing the best food options for seniors.

1. Personalized Menu

• Personalizing the dining experience at the assisted living facilities is a very important aspect for a healthy aging experience.
• In the ideal assisted living communities, the chef and the serving staff inquire about the food and they consider the feedback of the residents to improve the quality of food.
• There will be interactive sessions between the chef and the housemates to clear any concerns or feedback.
• It is common to see a few residents with food restrictions due to their health conditions. The food needs to be prepared based on these restrictions for these elders.

2. Menu Reviewed by Nutrients

• The menu at the assisted living facilities is vetted by the nutrients who are experienced in geriatrics.
• The orchestration of menu at the senior community living centers by no means prepare food on ad hoc process. The ingredients and the dishes are planned well in advance.
• The nutrients check the nutritional values such as vitamin quotient, healthy fats, minerals and carbohydrates while ensuring that the food is meeting all the requirements of the elders.

3. Flexible Dining Options

• Not all the seniors in the community will have the same dining needs and requirements.
• The option of flexible dining will let the seniors accommodate themselves to a particular dining schedule rather than following a time that does not cope with their needs.
• The assisted living facilities also provide snacks and other eateries between the meals just to ensure that seniors are not low on their energy levels.

4. Food on Special Events

• Assisted living communities in India, especially in the culturally rich regions such as Chennai, follow a unique diet plan for the special events.
• These days allow the elders to enjoy the meals and snacks prepared in the authentic traditional ways.
• During the special days, food becomes more than just a bodily need. It becomes the reason for social gathering within the community to experience the essence of the cultural event.

Assisted Living Facilities serve more than just the accommodating havens for the elderly. They take care of the elders dining, living and well-being needs while providing advanced living solutions for the elderly.

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Wellness & Nutrition

Millets and its Benefits for Seniors

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There is a growing importance of balanced nutrition as a foundation for healthy living today. The global population is currently very conscious about fitness and well-being to combat metabolic disorders and lifestyle diseases. Consumption of nourishing food is crucial to the process of aging well. This is so because seniors need more nutrition due to cell degeneration. A nutritious diet helps them to be energetic and prevents loss of muscle mass and bone density. Besides, a balanced diet can treat chronic conditions. For this, the inclusion of millions in the diet is essential.
Millets are one of the oldest foods known to mankind. They continue to be the staple food source for one-third of the world’s population. The most commonly used millets include Sorghum (Jowar), Little millet (Sama), Finger millet(Ragi), Foxtail millet (Korra), Pearl millet(Bajra) and Prose millet(Variga).

Nutritional Value of Millet
Millets can be counted as a reliable source for essential nutrition in many developing nations worldwide. They provide high energy and are low in fat content. Millets provide protein, fiber, vitamins B, E, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin and minerals like iron, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Being highly alkaline makes millet foods easily digestible and soothing to the stomach. Additionally, millets also have essential amino acids like methionine and lecithin. They are also rich in certain phytochemicals, like phytic acid which reduces cholesterol and phytate, which is known to lower the risk of cancer.

Health Benefits of Millets
Protects the heart – Millets are rich in magnesium which helps in relaxing the muscles lining the interior arterial wall. This reduces blood pressure and risk of cardiac attacks. Millets also reduce the triglyceride levels and aid in thinning the blood lowering the risk of sunstrokes and Coronary Artery Disorder. They also lessen the frequency of migraine attacks and lower the severity of asthma attacks.
Promotes weight loss – Millets contain an important amino acid called tryptophan which reduces appetite and helps in better weight management. Being rich in fiber, they satiate hunger quickly and prevent the temptation of overeating.
Lowers the risk of many cancers – Millets are endowed with fibers and phytonutrients which reduces the probability of colon and breast cancer.
Prevents celiac disease and gallbladder stones – Celiac Disease results in the damage of the small intestine thereby inhibiting food absorption and causing gluten-intolerance. Millet being gluten-free can be a perfect food option for such people. Millets are also rich in insoluble fibers which prevent the formation of gallbladder stones.
Aids better diabetes management – Since millets have low Glycemic Index(GI), they help in maintaining the sugar levels. Millets also enhance the insulin sensitivity of diabetic patients and control blood sugar in healthy people preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Have high antioxidant properties – The high number of antioxidants in millets combats the free radicals existent in the human body and reduces the aging process.
Reduces muscle degradation and aids tissue repair – The presence of proteins and amino acid lysine in millets aids in building lean muscles and slows down the process of muscle degradation. Phosphorus present in millets aids in mineral matrix formation of bones and fat metabolism.
Enhances better sleep patterns – Millets contain tryptophan which increases the levels of serotonin in the body. This substantially reduces stress and promotes sound and peaceful sleeping.
Acts as an anti-aging agent – The amino acids L-lysine and L-proline present in millet help in creating collagen responsible for structuring the skin tissue. Millet consumption increases the skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles thereby preventing aging.
Senior Care options like Senior Independent Homes and Assisted Living, therefore, incorporate millet foods into the menu. The dining experience in Assisted Living is specifically a boon for seniors who can savor a variety of tasty nutritious foods for healthier and happier living!

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Wellness & Nutrition

Activities of Daily Living

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The Activity of Daily Living (ADL) is a common term, which is used in the field of Medical Care. The term ‘ADL’ refers to self-care activities of an individual which includes bathing, feeding, dressing, grooming, preparing food and leisure. The term ‘ADL’ was coined by a renowned healthcare professional named Sidney Katz and his team members of Benjamin Rose Hospital based in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. The concept of ‘ADL’ was introduced back in the year 1950 with the objective to track the abilities and functional status of an individual.

An activity of daily living is very essential especially in the case of younger children and senior citizens since they have not the ability to perform their daily activities or manage by themselves during that age. They require the support and assistance of their parents to execute their day-to-day activities.

Now let us discuss some of the activities as well as the instrumental activities of daily living.

The activities of daily living are some of the regular activities, which are performed by an individual in their day-to-day life. Some of them are as follows:

  • Personal hygiene including bathing, grooming and dental care.
  • Dressing – The ability of an individual to choose appropriate clothes and dress by themselves.
  • Eating – The ability of an individual to feed by themselves apart from preparing food.
  • Self-control -The ability of an individual to utilize a restroom to maintain and balance his/her continence..
  • Shifting – An individual’s ability to move or shift from place to another without the support of other people.

The instrumental activities of daily living are an integral part of our daily life. It is very essential for an individual to become self-sufficient and independent. Some of the instrumental activities of daily living are mentioned below:

Developing good communication skills:

The ability of expressing oneself about how they feel and doing without any difficulty. It also includes attending phone calls, interacting with your friends and relatives.

Transportation:

An individual should be able to either drive independently or hire any available modes of transportation such as bus, cab or an auto by themselves.

Preparing food:

An individual should be able to prepare food or avail it through the means available. Food preparation is one of the basic qualities a person should possess.

House Chores:

The individual should be able to run the house on their own. Filling groceries, shopping and all the miscellaneous chores that require to run the house.

Intake of medications:

Taking accurate quantity of medications at the right time and dealing with re-fills is very essential in the life of an individual.

Managing and handling finances:

An individual should be well acquainted with operating a bank account, writing cheques and paying bills all by themselves.

Both Activities of daily living and Instrumental activities of daily living are crucial in a person’s survival. If the person lacks any of these abilities and living alone, it is time for their bloodline to seek help from the assisted living or caregiving professionals.

Role of Assisted Living Facilities in Elders Lives

The assisted living facilities help the elderly in performing both the daily activities and instrumental activities. The caregivers at these facilities will be well-qualified and ensure the elders living a quality life.

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Wellness & Nutrition

Five Ways to Keep Your Mind Active after Retirement

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Retirement is a crucial life transition, proper planning and actions can help one adjust positively to this phase of life. At this stage it is also important to take full responsibility of one’s physical and mental wellbeing and plan your life that brings you a positive outcome.

Our brain requires continuous stimulus to keep it healthy and active, a sedentary life post retirement can have a negative impact on mind. With ageing the brain cells tend to get degenerated which often leads to memory problems. Nevertheless, you can keep your brain active by doing mental exercises; spending time outside house, getting busy with certain activities and following your interest.

So if you are retired or on verge of retirement here are five ways by which can keep your mind active and cope with the changes pertaining to post retirement life

Keep yourself motivated

Acceptance and adjustment to the post retirement life is important for physical and psychological well-being of an individual. For most people retirement is an issue of giving up their work identity to which they were highly tied up for a long time. This often leads to low self-esteem and depression. Studies have shown that a positive attitude is essential for a healthy aging both mentally and physically. So, keep yourself motivated and welcome your retirement with a positive attitude.

Try to get engaged in new activities

There is no age boundary to learn something new, also post retirement you have ample time to revive your hobbies or passion for which you never had enough time. You can start writing, painting, gardening, travel or anything you wanted to do. You can join classes to learn something new, if you are educated enough its good time for you to even start teaching or taking tuitions, this is great way to keep you engaged and active.

Join Fitness classes

Exercise is must to keep your body and mind active and energetic. . Numerous studies have reported that physical activity has tremendous benefits in improving the physical and mental health amongst older adults. You can join yoga classes or take a good morning walk. This will help reduce your stress level and keep you positive throughout.

Take a Healthy and balanced diet

Old age demands nutrient requirement changes and an appropriate diet that can help in optimal repair of the tissues and keep the muscles active. Intake of natural antioxidants, fluids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and functional food are crucial in keeping your body and mind healthy.

Socialize with friends and relatives

Socializing, surfing internet and reconnecting with old friends and colleagues is a great medium to keep one’s mind busy and stimulated. Getting engaged into social work with peers can keep one busy and enlighten at heart.

Indoor games are also a great way to create happiness, improve memory and cognition. This is also a great medium to spend time together and socialize.

You can play games like crossword puzzles, card games, Pictionary etc. There are plenty of games available online which are a proven to be a good mental exercise.

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Wellness & Nutrition

Coping with Arthritis in Old Age

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The term ‘Arthritis’ refers to inflammation of the joints. A joint pain is also known by the name ‘Arthralgia’. It is estimated that over fifty million adults and three lakh children are suffering from arthritis. There are about hundred different varieties of arthritis and related conditions. This disease is commonly found among women and adults who have crossed the age of sixty- five.

A significant decrease in the amount of cartilage tissue could lead to some form of arthritis. Swelling, pain, and stiffness are some of the common symptoms of arthritis. The intensity of the pain could be less, moderate or severe. Most of the people suffering from arthritis may experience a variation in the range of motion and discoloration in joints as well.

Some of the common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoarthritis is a joint disease which is caused mainly due to aging and heredity. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder which affects joints, hands and feet. In this case, the body’s immune system destroys its own tissue and internal organs.

Symptoms of arthritis

Some of the major symptoms of arthritis are as follows:

  • Severe joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Stiffness in joints
  • Warmth and discoloration in joints

If any of the above symptoms last for more than two weeks, an individual must consult a doctor or a rheumatologist immediately. The concerned health care provider carries out detailed study about the symptoms and conducts a physical exam. An individual may be required to take necessary tests such as X-rays or lab tests before taking medications.

Role of Senior Living Communities in treating Arthritis

Senior living homes provide the necessary assistance via efficient and skilled nursing services. They are fully aware of up to which extent the disease could affect older adults. Senior housing communities have got well-equipped trained instructors to guide them through walking, moving, yoga and weight training exercise.

They offer nutrition and conduct wellness programs to improve the health thereby reducing joint and muscle pain in people who are suffering from arthritis. The primary objective of assisted living facilities is to reduce the chronic pain as well as enhance their overall health and quality of life. The care giving staffs of senior communities offer appropriate medication at specific times and dosages.

Medications to cure arthritis

Pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin and ibuprofen are supplied to cure minor discomfort and swelling. Topical creams containing active ingredients such as menthol are also applied directly to sore joints to gain relief. Doctors may sometimes prescribe drugs such as Celebrex and suggest treatments like steroids if symptoms are acute.

Coping with arthritis in old age

Apart from drug treatments, Health interventions such as physical exercise, adequate nutrition, and weight control are effective methods in eliminating severe symptoms of arthritis. In senior living communities, the seniors are offered a right proportion of vitamins, minerals, and proper diet.

A diet which is rich in fibre, nutrients, protein and minimum quantity of salt, sugar and saturated fat helps in maintaining the weight. There are few senior living communities which focus mainly on exercise. Exercise such as walking can reduce arthritis fatigue and pain to a great extent. Nowadays the senior communities conduct several physical activities programs including dance classes and Tai chi which are customized according to the needs of the people.

Educational seminars and exercise programs are conducted exclusively for those who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The main objective behind organizing seminars is to get acquainted with mechanisms of the disease, pain management along with regular exercise and nutrition.

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Wellness & Nutrition

Yoga for Seniors

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Yoga is one of the priceless gifts from India’s ancient tradition. Its primary goal is to help everyone to excel themselves and attain clarification in their life. It acts as a holistic approach, but it’s not a religion whereas it is a way of living that aim to bring out a healthy life. However, we perceive the benefits of yoga at the body level but fail to realize the unity of breath, mind, and body. Below are the advantages that you get with the help of yoga in daily life.

Practicing yoga should be a part of life. If not already, one can develop this healthy habit by starting with the basic yoga asanas. More than any age group, it is seniors who require it. Yoga helps and heals seniors in many ways where the other treatment options are of no use. Here are few of the benefits seniors could get by practicing yoga on a daily basis.

  • Weight loss
  • Inner peace
  • Better relationships
  • Enhanced immunity and energy level
  • Fitness, flexibility and good posture
  • Increased self-healing capacity
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Exterminate Insomnia, Arthritis, and constipation
  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Improves balance and stability
  • Improve joint health

The major truth here is anyone can benefit from yoga despite the consequences of age, disability, and flexibility. Yes even though you’ve reached your senior status, this is the only thing that you will always need. According to a survey, some of the life-threatening illness such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and others increase along with age. Apart from this, seniors experience higher rates of depression and anxiety. So, incorporating yoga in daily life can bring gradual change in health.

But before beginning, you should seek help from your doctor. If you are not familiar with the option, here are some of the best types of yoga for senior citizens,

  • Gentle style yoga’s
  • Chair yoga
  • Water yoga
  • Ashtanga Yoga (not recommended for peoples with mobility issues)
  • Bikram Yoga(not suggested for individuals with mobility issues)

As yoga is a form of stretching that help in building healthy bodies, it has been included as a service in most of the assisted living facilities. Some of the exercises like simple stretching, swimming and regular yoga in old age homes can enhance their mobility. If you are caring for elderly peoples, then just encourage them to incorporate yoga to improve overall health, increase relaxation and as well stimulates mind, body, and spirit.

It’s our responsibility to make sure our elders are living a life that is full and happy. It is seniors right to live a life that full and happy!

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Wellness & Nutrition

Talk about Dementia: Let it Not be a Stigma

dementia

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a syndrome leading to a progressive decline in mental abilities of a person. This results in, loss of memory, loss of reasoning and judgment, behavioural changes and decline in physical health. Dementia is not just memory loss. Its implications are much more severe that can affect person’s everyday life markedly.

Dementia is reported in 1% of the adult population aged 60 or above and frequency doubles every five years after the age of 65. It is caused by a damage in the brain cells. Thus the manifestations of dementia depend on different types of brain cell damage in different parts of the brain. For example, in a case of Alzheimer’s, Hippocampus the centre for learning and memory in the brain is the first to get affected, thus memory loss is the most common symptom in such patients.

  • It is estimated that Alzheimer’s disease causes around 60-80% of dementia cases.
  • Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia are well-known causes of dementia.
  • Medical conditions such as Thyroid problems, alcoholism, severe thiamine deficiency and drug toxicity may result in dementia.
  • Infections such as Meningitis and Syphilis and conditions such as Hydrocephalus and brain tumours can cause dementia.
  • Head injury, Multiple sclerosis, Pick’s disease and stroke may result in dementia.

Dementia affects a person’s life in several ways other than causing memory loss.

  • Cognitive impairment: Dementia affects the person’s ability of judgment and thinking. The person’s ability of understanding, reasoning, evaluation, and planning gets affected which disturbs the person’s ability to execute functions. Due to which the person may take more time and effort to understand and complete a simple everyday task.
  • Forgetfulness: Due to short-term memory and poor concentration and attention, daily routine activities of person get disturbed. A person may find difficulty in recollecting a known person’s name or recalling an event. Such individuals can find themselves at loss of words very often.
  • Behavioural changes and Mood swings: One can also experience extreme behaviour changes that may lead to withdrawal from social activities and mood swings.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Gradual loss of body functions.
  • Visuospatial disturbances can also occur.

During mid-late stage dementia, the patient can experience extreme behaviour changes that may lead to unexplained anger, sadness, confusion, fear, and paranoia. Dealing with dementia requires a lot of patience and perseverance at the caregiver’s end. Due to cognitive impairment and forgetfulness, the patient tends to get confused about time and space quite often and may have trouble with finances. The simplest way is to put reminders. Explanation with a photograph can make them understand the situation in a better way. The purpose is to help them in a most loving and caring manner possible, for that the caregiver’s role is of utmost importance.

It is possible that despite all the efforts of caregiver the patient often comes up with aggressive, oppositional and sometimes violent behaviour. The most common trigger for aggression in such patients is physical discomfort. Sometimes the fear of unknown may also add to aggression. In such situation, the caregiver should not get into an argument or try to reason with them rather should try to identify the cause in the most calming manner to reassure them about the situation.

Dementia’s symptoms progress gradually with time, making it more difficult for the patient and caregiver as well. In such situation, senior dementia care centres can be an option where they have medically trained staff that includes round the clock doctor on call, psychologist, nurses and trained attendants.

One can also opt for senior citizen assisted living services which are home for aged people well equipped with medical facilities, trained staff and are well secured. Besides providing basic support and care for elderly, they take care of their personal needs and engage them in a more meaningful manner by means of recreational and social activities. The patients get a stimulating, conducive and relaxing environment which helps them in coping with the stress and depression related to the disease.

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Wellness & Nutrition

Encouraging Healthy and Nutritious Eating Among Senior Citizens – Healthy Eating Plans for Seniors

Eating healthy, feeling good

Everyone aims for a healthy life, but as the age progresses health deteriorates due to the tissue degeneration. Being healthy at the old age is quiet challenging task but not impossible. The senior citizens too can maintain a good health by following a healthy diet chart and by proper health plan. After the age of 50, people get prone to many common ailments like hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and so on mostly due to the physical and the mental causes. This physical causes can be corrected and treated by encouraging healthy and nutritious eating among the senior citizens. This healthy diet for the seniors also keeps the person immune system strong, making them to live a stress-free life.

Plan the Meal

What you eat is the most important part of the diet chart. The food which is rich in calories should be avoided. Instead the food rich in nutrients to be added to the daily meal. These nutrients help in building the body health and strong immunity. The food must include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more of fibrous food which helps in solving the digestion related problems and in controlling the cholesterol levels in the old age.

Avoid Fat Rich Food

Encouraging the healthy eating for seniors also includes the healthy eating habits which includes strictly avoiding fatty foods. High fat contented food leads to lodgement of fats within the blood vessels, leading to increased heart work. This fatty foods not only add up to calories but also leads to various heart related problems and metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity.

Time Rules

This is the most common problem in senior citizens as they are free from committed life. They follow irregular meal plan which is the root cause for all the diseases. This irregular meal plan should be changed and strict time rule should be adhered. Along with the nutrition for senior citizens the regular meals help in providing the maximum health benefits.

Water Aid Therapy

Most of us do not know the healing power of water. It not only acts as the toxic eliminator within the body but also acts as the laxative help in regulating the normal bowel movements. Consuming water frequently helps in relieving constipation, gastric symptoms and reduces the stress levels too. Constipation is the most common problem in old age and can be treated efficiently with water and fibrous food. Encourage them to drink more water, even if they do not feel thirsty.

Regular Doctor Follow-Ups

Person in sound health or in poor health condition should make a habit of visiting a doctor once in every 3-6 months to check their health status. Old people with diseases do require regular follow-ups and medications as per their doctor’s advise. Many diseases can be corrected and treated in the earlier stages by simple correction in the diet and lifestyle changes.

Regular exercises

It is vital in maintaining the health of a person, be it old people or youth. Exercises not only strengthens the body muscles but also keeps the person stress free throughout the day. Senior citizens can perform light exercise or can consult their doctor for the types of exercise depending on their health conditions. A daily exercise for about 30 to 40 minutes can make you feel energized and keeps your body healthy and disease free.

The healthy living for elderly not only keeps them disease-free but also regains the confidence of living and sustaining with good health. Many people who are depressed due to the personal and emotional issues can cope up with the stress by maintaining strict diet plan and regular exercises.

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