Understanding Nutrition as Seniors Age

While our bodies go through changes with aging, the necessity for proper nutrition becomes even more critical. Seniors who are malnourished are predisposed to illnesses, anemia, hospitalizations, and much more. It’s estimated that as a nation, we spend over $150 billion annually in medical costs arising from elderly malnourishment.

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Having a truly balanced meal on the table every day, let alone three, can be a challenge for all of us. It’s even more problematic with all the other tasks of caregiving, particularly if your loved one has special dietary needs.

But meals are your body’s fuel, and part of your medicine, too. For a senior with a long-term debilitating illness, good nutrition takes on even more significance. And healthy eating doesn’t only concern calorie counting and scouring food labels. Meals also represent a time for connection, and good food is one of life’s uncomplicated pleasures — at any age.

Age-related changes can influence how your body processes food, which impacts your dietary requirements and affects your appetite. THESE ARE SOME OF THE CHANGES:

Difficulty Absorbing Nutrients

Your body produces less of the digestive juices that it requires to process food in your digestive system as your age advances. These changes can make it tough for your body to absorb essential nutrients like folic acid, vitamins B6, 12 and iron.

Slowed Metabolism

This occurs naturally, but it occurs at a much faster pace if you don’t get as much exercise as you should. As your metabolism slows down, your body doesn't burn as many calories, which means you should eat less to maintain a healthy weight. Also, since the intake is lowered, the foods you eat should be as nutrient-rich as possible.

Emotional Health Affecting Your Consumption

Seniors who suffer from marginal depression symptoms or are lonely, frequently lose interest in eating. Alternatively, emotional issues may cause some seniors to eat more and gain undesirable pounds.

Medication Side-Effects and Appetite

Most of the seniors take one or more medications for chronic medical conditions; these can cause side effects, for instance, stomach upset or a lack of appetite, leading to poor nutrition.

Healthy Eating Options for Seniors

A healthy diet packed with essential nutrients can help ward off potential health issues that are prevalent in senior citizens, like heart problems, constipation, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods also play a role in maintaining a healthy weight and can work wonders for your energy levels.

Even if you never tried a nutrition-based diet previously, healthy eating isn’t that demanding. The National Institute on Aging suggests the following options for seniors:

The DASH Diet

The DASH eating plan encompasses all the key food groups but is crafted to help regulate blood pressure and underlines foods that are heart healthy. These are endorsed in daily serving amounts:

Meat and beans: 6 ounces or less of meat, chicken, and fish, as well as, 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, and/or dried beans every week

  • Milk: 2 to 3 cups

  • Grains: 7 to 8 ounces

  • Fruit: 2 to 3 cups

  • Vegetables: 2 to 3 cups

  • Oils: 2 teaspoons

The USDA Food Guide MyPlate Plan

This plan provides tips for building a healthy, balanced diet, inclusive of:

  • Make half your plate vegetables and fruits.

  • Enjoy your food, but consume in controlled amounts.

  • Make at least ½ of your grains, whole grains.

  • Tips to Boost Nutritional Health with Advancing Age

Healthy Fats Only

Choose healthy fats found in seeds, avocados, nuts, fatty fish, and vegetable oils instead of saturated fats and trans fats.

Choose Brown Over White

This nutrient- and fiber-rich foods will help your digestive tract and protect your heart. Select whole grain cereals, brown rice, and whole wheat bread instead of refined grains and white bread.

“Rough Up” Your Meals

Consume high-fiber foods each day, for instance, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. These foods act as stool-softeners and prevent constipation; provide the vitamins, fiber, minerals, and nutrients that you need for healthy aging; help maintain your weight, and reduce your risk of heart problems.

Consume Calcium Critically

Everyone requires calcium to build and retain bone matter, but seniors should really bone up on calcium-rich products like low-fat dairy products. A calcium supplement, typically paired with vitamin D — its partner in the bone-building — is what you need to look for.

Keep your Memory Working with B12

As a senior, you need to look for foods, like cereals, that are fortified with vitamin B12. Since your body now has decreased the ability to absorb B12, diet and supplements can ensure that you meet your optimal requirements.

Conclusion

Now that you understand nutritional needs for your aging body, it’s time to make the necessary changes and a real commitment to your advancing age and health. It's fine to begin gradually: Swapping junk foods for healthier options is a decent first step. But try to make changes every single day that will bring you closer to your goal of a healthy diet and a healthy life.

Oxford HealthCare is proud to choose and make healthy meals for seniors during our home visits. We can work with any dietary need. Ask us how during your assessment.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Home Healthcare Agency

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Although there are many trustworthy home-care agencies, families are frequently caught off-guard by trending stories of in-home caregivers who are undertrained, abusive, or entirely unsupervised. Thus, researching home care providers and taking the steps to employ an agency, and a caregiver, that best meet your requirements can help ensure that your loved ones are well-cared-for and safe in the hands of an in-home caregiver. The following will assist with things to consider when choosing the right Tulsa, Oklahoma home healthcare agency to assist your loved one.


 Assess your requirements for assistance

The availability of in-home help extends from platonic companionship to assistance with light housekeeping chores or errands, to all the way to skilled nursing for individuals with debilitating and disabling health conditions. If you’re uncertain of the best fit for your loved one, your physician, or an initial assessment visit from a home care provider, can help determine what sort of care is appropriate for your particular situation.

Inquire about caregiver’s basic training

Ask what certification and training requirements caregivers are obligated to meet for employment if any. Basic certifications like First Aid and CPR may offer peace of mind that basic aid is available in case of an emergency while the caregiver is on duty, as well as give you an idea about the appointment standards of the company. Cultural capacity or special language skills such as training to work with Holocaust survivors may be crucial for your needs.

Ask about background checks on your caregiver 

There’s nothing wrong when you are extremely picky and cautious about who you permit to provide care for your loved one. Be sure to inquire agencies if they run background checks on their caregivers and if so, what methods are used. If you feel skeptical about a home care agency’s procedure for screening employees, you need to trust your gut and use a different agency.

Ask whether the agency fulfills local certification requirements

Home care agency certifications requirements differ from state to state. However, probing about an agency’s State Certification status can help you measure their legitimacy and warrant monitoring from regulatory organizations. For information about particular agency certification requirements, contact your local Area Agency on Aging (FCA's Family Care Navigator can assist with this matter), or your regional department for senior services.

Analyze the supervision process

With caregivers employed in the home, a common apprehension of family caregivers is a lack of supervisory oversight. However, families have a right to ask about how the agency manages and oversees the quality of care delivered in the home. Inquire about drop-in supervisor visits, and tools like home care software used to assess caregiver clock-ins and care schedules during a shift.

Set up a meeting with potential caregivers 

You probably want to validate that the caregiver that you pick is not only well-trained but that they are also compatible with your loved one. Ask the home care organization about their process for assigning caregivers to clients and ensure that both you and your loved one can personally engage with the caregiver before the first official encounter. Only this way you can ensure that the match is a good fit.

Ask for references

For assurance about the expertise of a home care agency that you have engaged with, asking for references remains crucial. Most trustworthy home care agencies will be able to offer you referrals of existing clients or referral partners that can attest to their involvement with the agency.

Line out billing ahead of time

Based on the types of services delivered by the agency, as well as the particular condition of your loved one, some in-home care services may be partially covered by insurances. Don’t hesitate to engage with the home care agency’s intake coordinator about the rate for services, as well as billing practices, ahead of time to help prevent unforeseen charges.

Chalk out a care plan

When you’re paying for someone to deliver in-home care, you’ll probably want to be sure that they’re addressing the responsibilities they’ve been employed for. Discourse a plan of care with the home care agency intake personnel and caregivers prior to the first encounter, and ask about how the agency detects the progress and accomplishment of care plans.

Engage with a reputable agency

"Whether it's a matter of helping a patient recover from a stroke, managing an ongoing condition like dementia or Alzheimer's disease or even just providing day-to-day living assistance, you should be focused on two major factors: skill and compassion," said Goforth, Oxford HealthCare CEO. "Of course, you want well-trained professionals providing needed services for your loved one. But genuine concern elevates competent care to truly outstanding care."

Oxford HealthCare is committed to excellence in providing home healthcare services to the elderly and disabled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the surrounding areas. We invite you to contact us for the best possible plan for your family. Give us a call!


Talking to Parents: Oxford Home HealthCare

As we age, it's inevitable that it will become harder to do things we took for granted when we were younger. While most people wish to remain independent for as long as possible, there comes a time when everyone needs some help and companionship at home.

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot provide the degree of help required by an older loved one, or you worry about them, it may be time to talk about senior care options.

"You want to be sensitive to the fact that your senior may be resistant to help and see it as a loss of control," says Steve Goforth, President for Oxford HealthCare. "How you approach this discussion is very important."

Here are 10 tips for having a conversation with your loved one about care options.

Tulsa Home Healthcare Services: Oxford Home HealthCare

Tulsa Home Healthcare Services: Oxford Home HealthCare

1. Do your homework

Before beginning any discussion of senior care or at home care in Tulsa, you need to understand the options and which ones are viable for your loved one's situation. These include in-home care, independent living communities, assisted living and others. You'll need this information when it's time to suggest care solutions.

2. Let the senior start the discussion

In the course of daily conversation, your loved one may mention it's hard managing medications, preparing meals, cleaning, running errands, or simply getting around. This may be a good time to start talking about their frustrations with getting older. At Oxford HealthCare, we can assist with all of the complexities of managing your lifestyle at home.

3. Listen

As they explain their challenges, pay attention to what you're hearing. Understanding where their problems and risks lie can guide your solutions for helping them. Let them know you take their concerns seriously. Let them know there is help. Let them know they don’t have to leave their home.

4. Make suggestions

Problem-solve with your loved one, talking about ways to get them the help they need. This should be a conversation, not a monologue. If they seem upset, be understanding. Different people react differently, and if you're met with silence, don't assume they're not listening. The services at Oxford HealthCare can be packaged according to their needs, wants and desires.

5. Don't push

If you meet resistance at first — and you certainly may — don't press the issue. You're planting seeds that will take some time to grow. Unless you're immediately concerned for your loved one's safety or well-being, let them think it over for a bit. Our team of professionals are also great at explaining the ins and outs of home healthcare. Oxford HealthCare is here to assist in any way you see fit.

6. Be empathetic

The thought of giving up one's independence can be scary. Let them talk about those fears, if they're willing to, and don't dismiss them as silly. It's a difficult thing to admit they need help with activities they've done independently all their lives. At Oxford HealthCare, we have the ability to label our services as a helping hand when you need it most. A companion or friend to provide the level of home healthcare your loved one needs. We’re not here to step on any toes. Just here to help.

7. Be reassuring

Explain you want them to have as much independence as possible and to lead the fullest life they can. They deserve to enjoy their lives without having to worry about doing things they find difficult. Your goal is to work with them to find an acceptable solution. We help rid them of daily, light housekeeping, meal prep, and more. But above all, we provide the assistance with their daily healthcare needs like medication management, grooming, and so much more.

8. Recognize your senior may want to stay at home

A study shows that 87 percent of seniors prefer to spend their older years at home in familiar surroundings. Not only are they happier and more fulfilled there, it's usually less expensive. And, at Oxford HealthCare, it’s important to us that your loved one get to stay in their own home as long as possible. We’re available to help them do just that!

9. Involve the senior in the decision-making process

Let your loved one tour any facilities under consideration. If in-home care seems like a viable option, encourage potential caregivers to pay a visit so they can become acquainted with the senior, who will likely express a preference and offer good insight about the available choices. If a facility is out of the question, home healthcare may be a better option. We help seniors remain in their own homes for as long as humanly possible.

10. Maintain a dialogue

Once a decision is made about the type of care and the provider, encourage conversation and feedback during and after the transition. Your loved one should feel free to tell you about any issues or additional needs on an ongoing basis.

Of course, whatever decision you make concerning the type of care and where it's administered should also be based on careful research. You'll want to investigate the credentials of the caregivers and make certain they're qualified to manage the type of care your loved one needs.

"Whether it's a matter of helping a patient recover from a stroke, managing an ongoing condition like dementia or Alzheimer's disease or even just providing day-to-day living assistance, you should be focused on two major factors: skill and compassion," said Goforth for Oxford HealthCare. "Of course, you want well-trained professionals providing needed services for your loved one. But genuine concern elevates competent care to truly outstanding care."

While aging can be difficult, the right kind of help can free us from our day-to-day cares and allow us to enjoy our later years more fully. Working with your loved one to select the right provider can make that goal a reality.

Oxford HealthCare is committed to excellence in providing home healthcare services to the elderly and disabled in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. We invite you to contact us for the best possible plan for your family. Give us a call!

918-258-1111

1-800-316-2222

Difficulty of Releasing Independence

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The aging process is difficult, no matter the circumstances. Our appearance begins to change, our bodies become more fragile, our sight and hearing slowly alter and we tire much more easily. Although 87 percent of those 65+ prefer to age in their home (AARP 2014), it is often difficult to release their independence and ask for help. How can we play a supportive role for our loved ones while not interfering with their independence? A discussion must be had in order for a consensus to be met. Starting this conversation early with your loved one is a proactive approach to maintaining their health. We have curated a list of helpful ways to provide help while allowing independence to continue existing.

 

1)    Let your loved one know that they are not a burden for their aging. We all age, we all need help (no matter our age). As a family, we are committed to the health, betterment and independence of our loved ones, no matter the emotional cost.

2)    Ask your loved one to relay the day to day difficulties they are currently facing. This way, they are discussing their independence issues instead of the family ‘attacking’ their new methods of independence.

3)    Once the difficulties are on pen and paper, decide who can help doing what and when. Are there any gaps in the capacity of the family to provide the care he/she needs? If so…

4)    Consider hiring a Home Health Care agency to provide the more difficult tasks such as medication management and bathing. Oxford HealthCare can walk you through every step of a personalized Home Care plan for your loved one.

5)    Have a second discussion with your loved one to outline the possibility of a stranger entering their home to benefit their health and boost their independence. Our Home Health Aides are extremely qualified, kind, and compassionate with complete background checks; therefore, your loved one will have nothing to worry about.

6)    Provide positive reinforcement by explaining the ease and comfort that will be replenished in your loved one’s life. Their home will be clean, groceries purchased and company will be had weekly.

7)    Lastly, remember to focus on the fact that independence does not mean one must do all things alone. After all, we’ve all leaned one one another to complete our tasks since the beginning of time. Team efforts provide the happiest environments.

 

If you have any questions, concerns or would like a free home consultation, please call Oxford HealthCare today at (918)258-1111. We will help you to outline a personalized home care plan the whole family can agree upon and find peace within.

The Benefits of Minimum 4 Hour Home Visits

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When receiving home health care, the longer the visit, the more that can be accomplished. At Oxford HealthCare, we recommend at minimum, a 4 hour visits to ensure your loved one’s tasks are completed thoroughly, with the highest notion of attention to detail and care. When visits are shorter, our aides must prioritize their tasks, often leaving the cleaning and socialization behind in order to ensure groceries are purchased, medication management is accurate and bathing is completed. We strive to provide the best services in the area and believe longer visits will bring more happiness to the whole family.

With a minimum 4-hour visit, we guarantee each service requested will be completed to the highest standard.  A 4-hour morning or afternoon visit is ideal for those needing minimal support to continue living in the comforts of their own home. During an 8am-12 noon shift, an aide can assist with tasks such as: breakfast, morning hygiene routine, errands, housekeeping, medication reminders, and lunch. During an afternoon 4-hour visit, from 1pm-5pm, an aide can assist with lunch, medication reminder, errands, housekeeping, socialization, dinner, and bed routine. Most importantly, the longer time frame allots for socialization. Our Home Health Aide and your loved one will have the time to converse, play cards, watch television or start a puzzle.  

At Oxford, we pride ourselves on providing the ultimate hospitality in the home of your loved one. We believe socialization is a large responsibility of ours, and we strive to connect our aides with your loved ones as often as possible. Social isolation is a major issue negatively affecting the elderly. Our wish is to ensure that your loved one feels important, comfortable, and loved; this is why we recommend the minimum 4-hour visit.