Posts Tagged ‘elderly’

Accommodating Elderly Loved Ones on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, and is often enjoyed in the company of family members. If you plan on hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, it is important to take into consideration the special needs of your elderly loved ones. With assistance from Alastar Family & Senior In-home Care, we offer some helpful tips to ensure your Thanksgiving gathering is enjoyable for everyone.


Cosy Thanksgiving dinner with the family


1. Develop a Schedule that Works for All – It is important to schedule your Thanksgiving gathering well in advance. Spontaneity is often more challenging for the elderly than for younger family members. A wheelchair bound elderly loved one may require special transportation that is unavailable at certain times, or a dinner that ends at 8 p.m. might be a strain on someone who typically prepares for bed around this part of the day. Avoid complications by factoring in the availability and needs of all your guests, particularly the elderly.

2. Be Conscious of Dietary Restrictions – For many, Thanksgiving is a time to indulge and shy away from their regular diet. However, certain dietary restrictions can impact how seniors enjoy Thanksgiving. For example, if someone has trouble chewing, make softer foods. Plan out meals that everyone in attendance can enjoy.

3. Keep Everyone Involved – Whether taking a group walk, watching a movie or playing a board game, it is important to incorporate activities that everyone can partake in. Aging is often accompanied by an increase in the appreciation of quality family time and Thanksgiving activities will not be nearly as enjoyable for your elderly loved ones if they find themselves unable to participate.

4. Take Time to Reminisce – With everyone gathered together, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on positive memories and bond as a family. Additionally, if your elderly loved one suffers from dementia, discuss older memories as short-term memory is usually impacted first.

5. Keep a Positive Attitude – Coordinating a Thanksgiving meal can be stressful, especially when it requires specific attention to the needs of an elderly loved one. Remember to remain positive and appreciate the moment. Life is finite, and succumbing to negative thoughts ultimately squanders the precious moments we have to share with our family.

6. Engage in Conversation – Seniors are a living treasure trove of experiences and knowledge that they are often more than happy to share. Ask questions that elicit conversation. You will be amazed to discover what you can learn from an elderly loved one and they will often be delighted to see you are interested.

7. Surpass Expectations – Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to go the extra mile. While it initially may seem like a nuisance to prepare a special dish or travel long distances, this extra effort will ultimately play a major role in ensuring your elderly loved ones experience a great Thanksgiving.


I attended a presentation given by Robin Lombardo of Music & Memory and was blown away by their program. If you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia I highly recommend you look in to this.

Posted by Alastar Family & Senior In-home Care, LLC on Friday, November 20, 2015

How to Prevent Senior Malnutrition

Not only do seniors have different nutritional needs than younger adults, they also take more medication, have higher rates of chronic medical conditions-such as diabetes and heart disease-and are more likely to live alone; all of which contribute to the rising numbers of older Americans who are seriously impacted by a deficient diet.

Know the signs and symptoms of senior malnourishment and how to protect your older loved ones from this preventable state.

Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors

  • Lack of interest in cooking
  • Living alone and eating for one
  • Changing taste buds
  • Medication side-effects that supress appetite or create bitter tastes
  • Restricted diets such as low sodium or low fat diets
  • Preferring to drink alcohol over eating
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble chewing due to sore gums or poor dental health
  • Limited income to buy nutritious food
  • Expensive medications leave little room for food
  • Lack of mobility – unable to get to the store
  • Depression and dementia

Senior Malnutrition Prevention Checklist

  1. Check the refrigerator and observe eating habits
  2. Watch for health changes and fluctuation in weight
  3. Encourage foods rich in the 5 key vitamins and nutrients
  4. Boost hydration with 9 glasses of water a day
  5. Ask for help when you need it from sources like A Place for Mom

Top 5 Vitamins and Nutrients for Older Adults

  1. Folic Acid 400 mcg per day: Foods rich in Folic Acid: spinach, asparagus, breakfast cereal, lentils.
  2. B-12 2.4 mcg per day: Foods rich in B-12: turkey, salmon, crab, clams, mussels, chicken, beef, eggs, milk.
  3. Vitamin C 75-90 mg per day: Foods rich in Vitamin C: oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, sweet red pepper, broccoli, potatoes.
  4. Vitamin D 600-800 IU per day: Foods rich in Vitamin D: canned salmon, sardines or mackerel, instant oatmeal, cereal, egg yolk, soy milk, cow’s milk or orange juice fortified with Vitamin D.
  5. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) Foods rich in EFAs: flaxseed oil, canned tuna, oysters, herring or sardines, salmon, trout, crab.

Ways to Help Seniors Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is one of the top 10 reasons seniors end up in the emergency room. A good guide for anyone over the age 65 is to drink 9 glasses of fluid a day. Water is best, but all liquid counts! It’s important to watch sugar intake and to discourage drinking alcohol.

  1. Soup – an excellent way to increase fluid and nutrients
  2. Coffee with milk
  3. Tea – caffeinated or herbal
  4. Iced tea – black tea or fruit-flavored herbal teas
  5. Popsicles – natural, all fruit are best
  6. Juice – 100% juice is best
  7. Smoothies – add protein powder, yogurt and vegetables for extra nutrition
  8. Coconut water – a good way to get natural electrolytes
  9. Milk – chilled soy milk, rice milk, goat or cow’s milk. You may also consider steaming milk and adding a squeeze of chocolate syrup or cinnamon.


senior malnutrition

Senior Nutrition Resources by A Place for Mom

Seniors, are you ready for an emergency?

Preparing makes sense for older Americans.

It’s important to have a plan of action.  As people age, their needs change and how they can respond changes as well.  While we think that a disaster will never happen to us; these items pertain to any season and situation of inclement weather such as a snow storm, hurricane, tornado, or a “simple” power outage.  Being prepared can assist in so many ways and create a much calmer approach to an unexpected situation in your home.  We strongly suggest you have an emergency plan in place.

Here’s what you need to do:

Identify the risks in the area where you live:

Is your region prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, heat waves, drought or other natural disasters? Is your area a likely target of a terrorist attack? You’ll need different plans for different situations.  The reality of a disaster situation is that you will likely not have access to everyday conveniences.  To plan in advance, thing through the details of your everyday life.

Make a plan for what you will do in an emergency:

  • Have a call tree – Who will check on you?  A neighbor? Family member?  Someone from out of town?  Keep a list of your support network as well as your medical providers in your emergency kit.  Make sure they know what your medical needs are and if there are any physical limitations.
  • Will you shelter in place or relocate?
  • Do you have pets to consider?

Have a record of important information and documents:

  • Have copies in your emergency kit such as family records, medical records, wills, deeds, social security number, bank and credit card account information and tax records.  Place them in a waterproof container.
  • If there is any information related to operating equipment or lifesaving devices that you rely on, include those in your emergency kit as well.
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information list notes the best way to communicate with you.
emergency disaster plan kit

Emergency disaster kit contents

Prepare an Emergency Kit:


Disasters can happen at any moment.  By planning ahead you can avoid serious consequences that can be life-threatening.  Check your kit every six months or as your needs change.  Replace expired foods, batteries, water, etc.

Have a supply kit packed and ready in one place in an easy to carry container such as a backpack, duffel bag or rolling suitcase.  Be sure your bag has an ID tag; and you have identification for yourself.


At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool (several tools that fold up into a pocket-sized unit)
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, plastic garbage bags, hand sanitizer, moist wipes)
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Extra set of keys (car, house, etc.)

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
    • Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers, that you would need with your name, address and phone number.
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Pack of cards to provide entertainment and pass the time

Cold climate supplies:

  • Jacket or coat
  • Long pants and long-sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Hat, mittens and scarf
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket

Supplies to keep in your vehicle:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries and extra bulbs
  • Sheltering
  • Maps
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Tire repair kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Small auto tool kit – tools like screwdrivers, pliers and a few wrenches, pocket-knife
  • Flares or reflective triangles
  • Bottled water (switch out frequently, particularly in warm weather
  • Non-perishable foods such as granola bars, energy bars, unsalted nuts
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, plastic garbage bags, hand sanitizer, moist wipes)
  • Winter: Blanket, hat, mittens, shovel, sand, tire chains, windshield scraper, florescent distress flag
  • Summer: Sunscreen lotion SPF 15 or higher, personal shade item – hat, umbrella, etc., windshield sunshade

Establish escape routes and meeting places:

  • Plan the best and quickest escape routes out of your home and evacuation routes out of your neighborhood (consider handicapped family members best accessible routes)
  • Decide on a meeting place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home
  • Know the safe places within your home in case you need to shelter during extreme weather events

Preparation makes a difference

Take responsibility by planning now.  When your upset or confused, already having your disaster plan in place will allow you to do what needs to be done to take care of yourself.  It’s much easier to remain calm when you know what to do.