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Tips to Help Seniors with Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for seniors as it can enhance overall well-being and reduce the risk of age-related health issues. However, weight management can be challenging for older adults due to various factors. In this article, we will explore tips to help seniors with weight management, considering their unique needs and challenges.

Consult a healthcare professional: Before starting any weight management program, it is crucial for seniors to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess the individual’s health conditions, medications, and provide personalized advice tailored to their specific needs.

Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is essential for weight management. Seniors should aim to drink enough water throughout the day, as sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Staying hydrated can help prevent overeating and maintain proper bodily functions.

Prioritize Sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for weight management. It helps regulate appetite hormones and supports overall well-being. Seniors should aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Regular exercise is crucial for seniors to manage weight effectively. Engaging in activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga can help burn calories, improve metabolism, and maintain muscle mass. It is important to choose activities that are suitable for individual fitness levels and consider any pre-existing health conditions.

Be Mindful of Snacking: Snacking can contribute to weight gain if not managed properly. Encourage seniors to choose healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, or yogurt instead of high-calorie, sugary options.

Manage Stress: Stress can contribute to weight gain and emotional eating. Encourage seniors to practice stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies they enjoy. Having a support system of family, friends, or joining weight management groups can also provide emotional support and motivation.

Adopt a Balanced and Nutritious Diet: Seniors should focus on consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A diet rich in nutrients can promote satiety and support overall health. Seniors should pay attention to portion sizes and avoid overeating. Using smaller plates and bowls can help control portion sizes while giving the perception of a full plate.

Seniors should keep track of their weight, dietary habits, and physical activity levels to assess progress. Regular monitoring helps identify areas for improvement and allows for adjustments to the diet and exercise routine as needed. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide valuable guidance during this process, to tailor these tips to individual needs and ensure safe and sustainable weight management.

Knowing When to Seek Skilled Help for Senior Care

As our loved one’s age, their care needs often increase, requiring assistance and support to ensure their well-being. While family members may try their best to provide care, there are instances when professional help becomes necessary. Recognizing when to seek skilled assistance for senior care is crucial in ensuring the safety, health, and overall quality of life for our elderly family members.

When seniors experience a decline in their overall health or are diagnosed with complex medical conditions, it may be time to consider skilled help. Skilled healthcare professionals, such as nurses, possess the necessary expertise to manage medical conditions, administer medications, monitor vital signs, and address emergency situations effectively. Their presence ensures that seniors receive appropriate medical attention, and their health needs are met.

Medicare-certified home health care is available to individuals who meet certain criteria set by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare will pay 100% for those qualified.

To qualify for Medicare-certified home health care, an individual must meet the following requirements:

MediCare Eligibility: The person seeking home health care must be eligible for Medicare Part A and/or enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that covers home health services. Typically, this includes individuals who are 65 years or older or those with certain disabilities.

Physician’s Order: A doctor must certify that the person requires intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, or continued occupational therapy. The certification must be based on a face-to-face examination conducted by the physician or an allowed non-physician practitioner.

Homebound Status: The individual must be considered homebound, which means leaving home requires a considerable and taxing effort. This can include assistance from another person or the use of a mobility aid.

Care Plan: A plan of care must be established and reviewed regularly by a doctor. The plan should outline the necessary services, and it must be reviewed at least once every 60 days or when there is a significant change in the individual’s condition.

It’s important to note that not all home health care agencies are Medicare-certified. If you’re looking to receive Medicare coverage for home health care, you must select an agency that is certified by Medicare. These agencies meet specific quality and safety standards set by CMS.

Recognizing when to seek skilled help for senior care is essential for the well-being of our aging loved ones and ourselves as caregivers. By acknowledging the signs of declining health, increased dependence, cognitive impairment, social isolation, and caregiver burnout, we can make informed decisions to ensure seniors receive the professional care they require. Seeking skilled assistance not only improves the quality of life for seniors but also provides support for family members, fostering a sense of peace and confidence in the care being provided.

America in Crisis – COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is quickly changing the way we live. The terms “self-quarantine”, “social distancing,” and “isolation” are often mentioned by the media. What do they mean, and how do we apply them to our families and communities?

What is self-quarantine?
A person who has been exposed to COVID-19 may decide to self-quarantine or voluntarily refrain from going out of his/her home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend self-quarantine for 14 days.

What is social distancing?
Social distancing means avoiding places where large numbers of people gather. For example: shopping centers, conferences, sporting events, and classes. According to the CDC, social distancing includes avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of approximately (6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. The cancellations of events and closings are social measures designed to minimize possible exposure to someone carrying COVID-19.

What is isolation?
Isolation means a person who has contracted a communicable disease is completely separated from others. According to the CDC, for public health purposes, isolation may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health orders. The person is kept away from everyone with the exception of health care providers, who will care for the person wearing protective gear.

The coronavirus is spread through respiratory vapor, such as when someone sneezes or coughs in the air around another person. According to the CDC, handwashing can prevent about 20% of respiratory infections. 

Know The COVID-19 Facts

A map of the world with text "Covid-19 Need to know....."

According to the CDC, illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illnesses resulting in death. The CDC says information so far suggests that most COVID-19 cases are mild, while China suggests serious illness in 16% of the cases.

Watch for symptoms:
• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 according to the CDC. People who things they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay at home when sick.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then toss it in the trash.
• Wash hands!
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

To stay up to date about the COVID-19 virus, visit

March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, an awareness campaign held by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices, developing sound eating practices, and committing to physical activity habits.

The theme for 2020, “Eat Right, Bite by Bite”, promotes eating a variety of nutritious foods daily and planning & creating healthy meals each week. “Developing healthful eating habits does not mean undertaking drastic lifestyle changes,” said nutritionist Jerlyn Jones, a national spokesperson for the Academy based in Atlanta, GA.

Eat Right, Bite by Bite campaign health tips for 2020:

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  2. Watch portion sizes. Get out those measuring cups!
  3. Be active.
  4. Drink plenty of water.
  5. Reduce added sugars.
  6. Get to know food labels.
  7. Explore more foods and flavors

National Nutrition Month is a great time to “spring clean the diet plan” and remember every bite counts.

Nagging Cough

Everyone coughs, some more than others. Many people have experienced a cough caused by a cold or flu, the kind of cough that comes on strong for a few days during an illness, and then tapers off as we start to feel better. What if the cough just won’t go away? While having a cough is not normally harmful, there are times when it could be hinting at other serious conditions.

What is a nagging cough?
A nagging cough is often a persistent dry cough that has lasted 3 weeks or longer. The cough can hang around after the cold and flu symptoms have resolved. A nagging or lingering cough is a frustrating symptom that can affect work, sleep, and social or recreational activities.

A cough is considered “acute” if it lasts less than three weeks and “chronic” if it lasts longer than eight weeks. Some causes of a nagging cough include:
• Postnasal drip
• Treatment with ACE inhibitors
• Heart failure
• Psychological disorders
• Asthma
• Smoking

The fatigue and discomfort of a nagging cough are annoying enough without scheduling a doctor’s appointment. However, lingering coughs could hint at a more serious illness. The Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a doctor if a cough lingers for weeks, especially one that brings up sputum or blood, disturbs sleep or affects school or work.

Is Your Home Prepared for Knee Surgery?

Knee pain is a common issue, and most people will experience it at some point in their lives. Many learn to live with knee pain. However, if the pain becomes so severe that daily activities become hard to perform, knee replacement surgery might become the only option.

Preparation for knee replacement surgery begins several weeks before the date of the surgery. Everyone who has this surgery must follow a fairly strict regimen of therapy and rest to heal properly and avoid complications. It is important to prepare for the surgery physically, but it is equally important to make sure the home is ready as well. Before going to the hospital for surgery, there are some things that need to be checked to make sure the transition from hospital to home is as smooth and comfortable as possible. Below are a few ideas to help prepare the home:

  1. Set up a bed on the first floor if possible.
  2. Have a bathroom or portable commode on the same floor where most of the day is spent.
  3. Stock up on canned or frozen easy to fix meals.
  4. Make sure everything is within reach without getting on the tiptoes or bending low.
  5. Have medication within easy reach.
  6. Use a walker, cane, shower chair, and other helpful devices during recovery.

Recovering from knee replacement surgery can make doing the simplest tasks a challenge. Ask a loved one to stay throughout the recovery period. Additionally, ask your doctor about sending home health. Home health can help with wound care, medication management, pain management, fall prevention, and more.

Are Facemasks Effective?

Facemasks or surgical masks might help protect against cold and flu season – or in times of an outbreak, like the coronavirus. But how much protection do the masks provide?

Surgical masks are loose-fitting and disposable masks approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as medical devices. Doctors, dentists, and nurses often wear them while treating patients. These masks prevent drops of body fluids that may contain viruses from escaping via the nose and mouth. The masks also protect against splashes or sprays from others, such as sneezes and coughs. The downside is that these masks don’t prevent the inhalation of small, airborne contaminants.

With everyone on edge about the current outbreak of 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV), how effective are the facemasks? Wearing a facemask might help prevent influenza as the virus spreads droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. A mask could protect a person from inhaling these droplets if it were worn consistently and fully covering the mouth and nose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the facemasks are for people who are sick with a virus or believed to be infected, and for those who live with or care for them. There is no recommendation for the general public to start wearing facemasks for coronavirus. CDC advises washing hands frequently to prevent the spread of illness such as the flu. 

Chocolate for Heart Health

Oh, what a glorious feeling to give and receive love. Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars on chocolate, and it’s a safe bet that Valentine’s Day accounts for a decent percentage of the total. While a heart-shaped box of chocolates seems like the opposite of healthy, hundreds of studies have found chocolate – especially dark chocolate – keeps the heart and blood vessels in good shape. 

Here is a “sweet” heart tip:
According to Katherin L. Carson, PhD, State Program Leader for Food Safety and Nutrition and Janis G. Hunter of Clemson University, dark chocolate provides some specific health benefits that other varieties of chocolate do not. It may help to:
• Lower blood pressure
• Improve blood flow to the heart
• Lower “bad” LDL cholesterol
• Improve insulin resistance
• Promote feelings of relaxation

The trick of choosing the healthiest dark chocolate is to check the label for 60 to 70 percent cacao. The darker chocolate has a smaller amount of sugar added, but a healthy amount of flavanols makes it a good choice for the sweet tooth craving. 
When it comes to dark chocolate or cocoa, the American Heart Association suggests one to two ounces a day for the general population. Keep in mind that about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate is about the size of ¼ cup of chocolate chips.

While supporting American Heart Health month, show some love and give dark chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is a heart-healthy food that tastes good, so enjoy in moderation!


  1. Cason, K.L., & Hunter, J.G. (2015, February 26). When it Comes to Chocolate, Choose Dark. Retrieved from

Health Risks of Ultra-Processed Foods

Before reaching for another slice of pizza or a chicken nugget, it might be worth taking a closer look at what eating too many processed foods could mean for your health. From potential risks like weight gain to heart disease, filling the diet with processed foods may not be worth the delicious pleasure or convenience. 

But we need to ask ourselves, what exactly is ultra-processed food? Ultra-processed foods are defined as ready-to-eat and microwaveable foods, such as bread, breakfast cereal, chicken nuggets, candies, chips, and artificially sweetened beverages. Ultra-processed food is a food item that has undergone a chemical or mechanical alteration to change or preserve it. Technically a “processed food” is any food that’s been changed before eating it, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What are some of the health risks effects of ultra-processed foods?
• Increased cancer risk
• Obesity
• Type 2 diabetes
• Heart disease

How to reduce processed foods from the diet?
• Check labels – the longer the ingredient list, the more processed the food is.
• Opt for minimally processed meats – seafood and chicken while avoiding items like sausage and cured meats.
• Start slowly – exchange processed foods with more fresh foods.
• Cook more meals at home.

It would be difficult to remove all heavily processed foods from the diet. Eating less processed food doesn’t have to be complicated. Buy more whole or minimally processed foods or do the processing yourself. Embrace home cooking for fun and health.