Saturday, March 28, 2009

Feeding An AD Patient

Eating can be a challenge. Some people with AD want to eat all the time, while others have to be encouraged to maintain a good diet.

· View mealtimes as opportunities for social interaction and success for the person with AD. Try to be patient and avoid rushing, and be sensitive to confusion and anxiety.
· Aim for a quiet, calm, reassuring mealtime atmosphere by limiting noise and other distractions.
· Maintain familiar mealtime routines, but adapt to the person’s changing needs.
· Give the person food choices, but limit the number of choices. Try to offer appealing foods that have familiar flavors, varied textures, and different colors.
· Serve small portions or several small meals throughout the day. Make healthy snacks, finger foods, and shakes available. In the earlier stages of dementia, be aware of the possibility of overeating.
· Choose dishes and eating tools that promote independence. If the person has trouble using utensils, use a bowl instead of a plate, or offer utensils with large or built-up handles. Use straws or cups with lids to make drinking easier.
· Encourage the person to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
· As the disease progresses, be aware of the increased risk of choking because of chewing and swallowing problems.
· Maintain routine dental checkups and daily oral health care to keep the mouth and teeth healthy.

Warm Regards,
Mark A. Bowman,
By Baby Boomers…For Baby Boomers

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tips on Bathing An AD Patient

While some people with AD don’t mind bathing, for others it is a frightening, confusing experience. Advance planning can help make bath time better for both of you.

· Plan the bath or shower for the time of day when the person is most calm and agreeable. Be consistent. Try to develop a routine.
· Respect the fact that bathing is scary and uncomfortable for some people with AD. Be gentle and respectful. Be patient and calm.
· Tell the person what you are going to do, step by step, and allow him or her to do as much as possible.
· Prepare in advance. Make sure you have everything you need ready and in the bathroom before beginning. Draw the bath ahead of time.
· Be sensitive to the temperature. Warm up the room beforehand if necessary and keep extra towels and a robe nearby. Test the water temperature before beginning the bath or shower.
· Minimize safety risks by using a handheld showerhead, shower bench, grab bars, and nonskid bath mats. Never leave the person alone in the bath or shower.
· Try a sponge bath. Bathing may not be necessary every day. A sponge bath can be effective between showers or baths.

Warm Regards,
Mark A. Bowman,
By Baby Boomers…For Baby Boomers

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Communicating With A Patient Suffering From AD

Trying to communicate with a person who has AD can be a challenge. Both understanding and being understood may be difficult.

· Choose simple words and short sentences and use a gentle, calm tone of voice.
· Avoid talking to the person with AD like a baby or talking about the person as if he or she weren’t there.
· Minimize distractions and noise—such as the television or radio—to help the person focus on what you are saying.
· Call the person by name, making sure you have his or her attention before speaking.
· Allow enough time for a response. Be careful not to interrupt.
· If the person with AD is struggling to find a word or communicate a thought, gently try to provide the word he or she is looking for.
· Try to frame questions and instructions in a positive way.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How To Deal With The Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Finding out that a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease can be stressful, frightening, and overwhelming. As you begin to take stock of the situation, here are some tips that may help:

A Guide For The Caregiver

· Ask the doctor any questions you have about AD. Find out what treatments might work best to alleviate symptoms or address behavior problems.

· Contact organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer ’s disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center for more information about the disease, treatment options, and caregiving resources. Some community groups may offer classes to teach caregiving, problem-solving, and management skills.

· Find a support group where you can share your feelings and concerns. Members of support groups often have helpful ideas or know of useful resources based on their own experiences. Online support groups make it possible for caregivers to receive support without having to leave home.

· Study your day to see if you can develop a routine that makes things go more smoothly. If there are times of day when the person with AD is less confused or more cooperative, plan your routine to make the most of those moments. Keep in mind that the way the person functions may change from day to day, so try to be flexible and adapt your routine as needed.

· Consider using adult day care or respite services to ease the day-to-day demands of caregiving. These services allow you to have a break while knowing that the person with AD is being well cared for.

· Begin to plan for the future. This may include getting financial and legal documents in order, investigating long-term care options, and determining what services are covered by health insurance and Medicare.

Warm Regards,
Mark A. Bowman,
By Baby Boomers…For Baby Boomers

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tips For Caregivers For Those With Alzheimer's Disease

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior.

Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community.

One of the biggest struggles caregivers face is dealing with the difficult behaviors of the person they are caring for. Dressing, bathing, eating—basic activities of daily living—often become difficult to manage for both the person with AD and the caregiver.

Having a plan for getting through the day can help caregivers cope. Many caregivers have found it helpful to use strategies for dealing with difficult behaviors and stressful situations. Through trial and error you will find that some of the following tips work, while others do not. Each person with AD is unique and will respond differently, and each person changes over the course of the disease. Do the best you can, and remind yourself to take breaks.

Warm Regards,

Mark A. Bowman,
By Baby Boomers…For Baby Boomers
This site content is copyright 2009 by

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dietary Guidelines For Seniors

Dietary Guidelines

Make smart choices from every food group.

The best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day. Just be sure to stay within your daily calorie needs.

A healthy eating plan is one that:

Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.


It's important to make smart food choices and watch portion sizes wherever you are—at the grocery store, at work, in your favorite restaurant, or running errands. Try these tips:
At the store, plan ahead by buying a variety of nutrient-rich foods for meals and snacks throughout the week.

When grabbing lunch, have a sandwich on whole- grain bread and choose low-fat/fat-free milk, water, or other drinks without added sugars.

In a restaurant, opt for steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.

On a long commute or shopping trip, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts—to help you avoid impulsive, less healthful snack choices.
Mix up your choices within each food group.

· Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits—whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried—rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 cups of fruit each day (for example, 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches).
· Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.
· Get your calcium-rich foods. Get 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk—or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1½ ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk)—every day. For kids aged 2 to 8, its 2 cups of milk. If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
· Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as "whole" in the list of ingredients.
· Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. And vary your protein choices—with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
Know the limits on fats, salt, and sugars. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats. Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little salt (sodium) and/or added sugars (caloric sweeteners).


Most packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label. For a healthier you, use this tool to make smart food choices quickly and easily.

Try these tips:

Keep these low: saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
Get enough of these: potassium, fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.
Use the % Daily Value (DV) column when possible: 5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high.
Check servings and calories. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the % DVs.

Make your calories count. Look at the calories on the label and compare them with what nutrients you are also getting to decide whether the food is worth eating. When one serving of a single food item has over 400 calories per serving, it is high in calories.

Don't sugarcoat it. Since sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients, look for foods and beverages low in added sugars. Read the ingredient list and make sure that added sugars are not one of the first few ingredients. Some names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.

Know your fats. Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high). Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Keep total fat intake between 20% to 35% of calories.Reduce sodium (salt), increase potassium. Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 tsp of salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the saltshaker. Also look for foods high in potassium, which counteracts some of sodium's effects on blood pressure

Warm Regards,

Mark Bowman

Friday, March 13, 2009

Safety Tips When Exercising For Seniors

Safety Tips When Exercising

Here are some things you can do to make sure you are exercising safely:

Start slowly, especially if you haven’t been active for a long time. Little by little build up your activities and how hard you work at them.

Don’t hold your breath during strength exercises. That could cause changes in your blood pressure. It may seem strange at first, but you should breathe out as you lift something, and breathe in as you relax.

Use safety equipment. For example, wear a helmet for bike riding or the right shoes for walking or jogging.

Unless your doctor has asked you to limit fluids, be sure to drink plenty when you are doing activities. Many older adults don’t feel thirsty even if their body needs fluids.

Always bend forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you’re probably bending the right way. If your back “humps,” that’s probably wrong.

Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Try walking and light arm pumping first.

Exercise should not hurt or make you feel really tired. You might feel some soreness, a little discomfort, or a bit weary, but you should not feel pain. In fact, in many ways, being active will probably make you feel better.

Warm Regards,
Mark A. Bowman,
By Baby Boomers…For Baby Boomers
This site content is copyright 2009 by

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Who Should Exercise?

Who Should Exercise?

Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. You can still exercise even if you have a health condition like heart disease or diabetes. In fact, physical activity may help. For older adults, brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weight lifting, and gardening are safe, especially if you build up slowly.

But, check with your doctor if you are over 50 and you aren’t used to energetic activity. Other reasons to check with your doctor before you exercise include:

· Any new symptom you haven’t discussed with your doctor
· Dizziness or shortness of breath
· Chest pain or pressure, or the feeling that your heart is skipping, racing, or fluttering
· Blood clots
· An infection or fever with muscle aches
· Unplanned weight loss
· Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal
· Joint swelling
· A bleeding or detached retina, eye surgery, or laser treatment
· A hernia
· Recent hip surgery

Warm Regards,

Mark A. Bowman,
By Baby Boomers…For Baby Boomers
This site content is copyright 2009 by

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Four Ways For Seniors to Be Active

To get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise—
1) Endurance, 2) strength, 3) balance, and 4) flexibility.

1. Be sure to get at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most or all days of the week. That’s called an endurance activity because it builds your energy or “staying power.” You don’t have to be active for 30 minutes all at once. Ten minutes at a time is fine. Just make sure you are active for a total of 30 minutes most days. How hard do you need to push yourself? If you can talk without any trouble at all, you are not working hard enough. If you can’t talk at all, it’s too hard.

2. Keep using your muscles. Strength exercises build muscles. When you have strong muscles, you can get up from a chair by yourself, you can lift your grandchildren, and you can walk through the park. Keeping your muscles in shape helps prevent falls that cause problems like broken hips. You are less likely to fall when your leg and hip muscles are strong.

3. Do things to help your balance. Try standing on one foot, then the other. If you can, don’t hold on to anything for support. Get up from a chair without using your hands or arms. Every now and then walk heel-to-toe. When you walk this way, the toes of the foot in back should almost touch the heel of the foot in front.

4. Stretch. Stretching can help you be more flexible. Moving more freely will make it easier for you to reach down to tie your shoes or look over your shoulder when you back the car out of your driveway. Stretch when your muscles are warmed up. Don’t stretch so far that it hurts.

Warm Regards,

Mark A. Bowman