"Senior Years Newsletter"

Your newsletter of information, inspiration and education for seniors, boomers and caregivers on Pre- and Post-Retirement matters.
(Published by Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications - Senior Services)

- April 2012 Issue -

Hello and welcome to this April 2012 issue of the "Senior Years Newsletter".

As usual I trust you will find this edition to be as informal, inspirational and educational as promised it would be.

Please write to me, your comments are always welcomed and interesting to me. I care to hear from you.

Blessings and good health to you,

Diane M. Hoffmann, CPCA
(Certified Professional Consultant on aging)

(Articles reproduced with permission from the CPCA 'Maturity Matters')

1. Feature article:

Communicating Effectively With Healthcare Providers

Family caregivers play a major role in ensuring that their loved ones receive the healthcare that they need. This role may include initiating care, accompanying them to appointments, asking necessary questions or coordinating the many healthcare practitioners involved.

As the primary caregiver, your experience and knowledge is invaluable to healthcare practitioners, many of whom will not know the person and his or her needs as well as you do. Therefore, it is important to know how to communicate effectively with the healthcare team. Below are some tips to help you in this role:

* Ensure you are familiar with each member of the healthcare team involved in your family member's care, and their responsibilities.

* Be sure they understand your role. If the care recipient is not willing or able to take instruction, ensure they give permission for you to be kept informed.

* Before an office visit or telephone call or prior to the home support worker arriving, prepare a list of questions to ask or information you want to give them. You will save time and you won't be distracted trying to remember what you want to ask. Be concise, and focus on the issues.

* If you need information or have questions, don't wait for the healthcare provider to contact you. Be proactive and give them a call, then follow-up if you don't hear back from them. Keep in mind that although the person you are caring for may be your number 1 priority, the case manager, doctor or home support worker has many other clients.

* Clarify instructions. If you are not sure you understand or don't know the meaning of technical terms, ask again until you are satisfied.

* Some doctors have specific hours when they take calls. Find out when this is and call during those times or leave a message with the secretary in the morning for the doctor to return your call.

* When communicating with healthcare providers, being clear and direct is important. Hinting or hoping they read your mind does not make good use of anybody's time.

* Appoint one family member as the main contact with healthcare professionals when possible. The appointed person can clearly communicate with the rest of the family.

* Keep records of your loved one's behaviours, such as sleeping, eating, emotions, symptoms, medication habits, etc. The more detailed information you have, the easier it is for your doctor or home support worker to give your family member the best treatment.

* Separate your anger and sense of frustration about your inability to help your family member from your feelings about the healthcare practitioners. Remember, you are on the same side.

Article By Barbara Small - Family Caregivers' Network Society, reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine, www.seniorlivingmag.com

2. Ask the Experts:

What are Some Symptoms to Help Identify a Stroke?

Answer - STROKE: (Remember the 1st Three Letters: S.T.R.).

During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall. She assured everyone that she was fine (we offered to call paramedics) and that she had just tripped over a brick in the patio because of her new shoes. We got her cleaned up and a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken, Ingrid went about enjoying herself for the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling his hosts that his wife had been taken to the hospital. At 6:00 p.m., Ingrid passed away. She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had those present known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some stroke victims who fail to get help in time don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours, he can reverse the effects of a stroke. He says the trick is to get a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and the patient medically treated within 3 hours, which is tough.

Recognizing a stroke: Remember the "3" steps: STR

Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage while people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking the potential stroke victim to take a simple three step test:

“S” - Ask the individual to SMILE. “T” - Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE Coherently - i.e. it is sunny out today. “R” - Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

Another test is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked' or if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. If the potential stroke victim has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 immediately!! And describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Source: Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca

3. Heart Healthy Recipe:

Crock-Pot White Bean and Mushroom Chowder

This soup is a great way to use dry beans without much effort or soaking. Serve it with a nice piece of whole grain bread. Serves 6.

Ingredients -

1 cup (250 mL) dry navy beans,

2 cups (500 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth,

3 cups (750 mL) water,

1 cup (250 mL) diced onion,

1 cup (250 mL) diced celery,

1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme,

4 cups (1 L) sliced mushrooms (button or cremini mushrooms work well),

½ cup (125 mL) evaporated skim milk.

Directions -

Place beans, broth and water in a crock-pot and turn the setting to high while you are preparing the other ingredients. Add the onion, celery, thyme and mushrooms. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours. Beans should mash easily. Right before serving, add the evaporated milk. Serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 ½ cups / 375 mL) - Calories: 160, Protein: 11 g, Total fat: 1 g, Saturated fat: 0 g, Dietary cholesterol: 1 mg, Carbohydrate: 29 g, Dietary fibre: 7 g, Sodium: 164 mg, Potassium: 670 mg

Developed by Nadine Day, RD. ©The Heart and Stroke Foundation

4. Quote or Joke of the Month:

Self Discovery

"Our lives improve only when we take chances ... and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves."
Walter Anderson

"Adventure can be an end in itself. Self-discovery is the secret ingredient that fuels daring."
Grace Lichtenstein

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere."
Agnes Repplier

5. Did you know?:

Mythbuster - Vitamins Part 1

Myth: Organic vitamins are better than synthetic ones.

Fact: Despite common speculation, your body actually can't tell the difference between synthetic and organic foods. Organic food does, however, provide other nutrients such as fiber which synthetics lack.

Myth: The more vitamins you take, the better for you.

Fact: In a perfect world, this would be the case but alas, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Overdosing on vitamins can actually harm your body, creating the opposite effect that you intended. Always read the WARNING and DIRECTIONS section on the label!

Myth: By taking vitamins regularly, we don't need to exercise.

Fact: Wrong. Doing any type of exercise for half an hour a day will work more magic than any supplement can do for you including decreasing blood pressure and loosing weight.

Myth: If vitamins and supplements are taken, then you can eat whatever you want.

Fact: Nothing can replace eating healthy, and pills do not give you everything your body needs for substance.

Always be sure to contact a health professional before taking any health product, including vitamins or supplement, as it may be harmful to your health or conflict with previously prescribed treatments.

We will have Part 2 of 'Mythbuster: Vitamins' in our next issue of Maturity Matters in May 2012.

Source: By Steffany Gundling All information was provided and is directly sourced from: VitaFaq at http://www.vitafaq.com/facts-and-myths/, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine, www.seniorlivingmag.com

6. Seniors Tip:

Don't Waste Your Holiday Being Sick

Spring is here and many of us are thinking about booking flights, arranging accommodation, renewing passports and picking out wardrobes for travel this summer.

However, if you're like the majority of travelers caught up in the excitement of taking a long-awaited trip, you may not be thinking about one very important step – protecting your health while you're away. There are ways to protect yourself from these illnesses and by following a few simple tips, you can ensure a healthy and happy trip:

• Plan ahead. At least four to six weeks before traveling, make an appointment to visit your doctor or a travel health clinic for an assessment to determine necessary vaccinations and regional health risks. Keep in mind that most vaccinations need at least two weeks to take full effect.

• Take preventative measures. Talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself against food and waterborne diseases. Dukoral is the only oral vaccine available to help prevent against Travelers' Diarrhea and for prevention against both Hepatitis A and Typhoid Fever, Vivaxim offers dual protection with a single shot.

• Boil it, Cook it, Peel it or Forget it. Avoid eating foods from street vendors. Unpasteurized dairy products, and raw or uncooked food, especially seafood, can cause an unwanted illness. Drink only commercially prepared bottled water and carbonated beverages. Avoid ice and use bottled water for brushing your teeth.

• Practice good sanitation. Good sanitation is important wherever you are. Always make sure to wash your hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds before eating or drinking.

Source: www.seniorsgotravel.com, Article by, www.newscanada.com

- End -


See you next month !

Return to Home Page



Issue Article of the Month
by Diane Hoffmann

Feature article

Ask the Experts

Heart Healthy Recipe

Quote or Joke of the Month

Did you know?

Seniors Tips