As dementia progresses, it becomes more and more difficult for loved ones to remember everyday responsibilities such as turning off appliances, or taking medication on time. Telling time can be a challenge, as can using electronics like cell phones and television remotes. Some people with dementia even begin to wander or get lost if they’re not monitored.

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Medication Management in Overland Park, KS

Looming large among issues facing seniors with memory loss is medication management. The opioid epidemic has affected the elderly community in a serious way. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has reported that between 2010 and 2015, elderly emergency room visits relating to opioid over-use have jumped 74%.

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Ask Tim Tholen, CEO and Founder of Thoughtful Health Care and its affiliates in Kansas City about one of the most important questions he has fielded from clients over the years and he’ll mention the issue of driving. When– and how—should families take the keys away from a person who has been diagnosed with dementia?  In the “When Driving Becomes Too Dangerous” video, Tim helps identify and address some of these issues to help family members take control of a potentially dangerous situation. 

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A Diagnosis of Dementia Can Change Family Roles

Family dynamics are often affected when a family member is diagnosed with dementia. Dad might no longer be able to make big decisions. Mom seems to get lost in the middle of an important conversation. As a result, family members may find themselves taking on new roles. And not everyone is comfortable with this.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), is a lifelong medical problem. However, there are medical treatments, and also lifestyle changes, that can help improve your quality of life if you have COPD (e.g., chronic bronchitis, emphysema). Here are some things you can try.

  1. Avoid pollutants. COPD is most often caused by smoking cigarettes, but you can also get it from long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, or chemical fumes. If you’re still smoking, it’s time to quit. Your Kansas City primary care physician (PCP) can help. If you work in a place where you’re exposed to chemical fumes or other types of air pollution (e.g., dust, lead, asbestos), ask your supervisor about respiratory protective equipment.
  2. See your Kansas City pulmonologist on a regular basis. If you don’t have a pulmonologist, ask your PCP for a referral. Your pulmonologist can prescribe medications that will help you breathe easier. Or adjust your medications if the ones you’re taking now aren’t working.
  3. Take your COPD medications regularly. Some COPD medications may take up to two weeks to start working, so give them time. Some people also find COPD medications challenging to use. If you don’t get the results you were hoping for after two weeks, call your pulmonologist.
  4. Go to pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehab can help improve your breathing and your quality of life. It consists of things like:
    • Exercise training
    • Nutrition counseling
    • Education on managing your COPD
    • Breathing exercises
    • Psychological counseling
  5. Watch your weight. Being overweight can make it more difficult for you to breathe. On the other hand, severe COPD can cause you to use so much excess energy on breathing, you can’t keep the weight on. In either case, ask your doctor for help maintaining an appropriate weight.

Uncontrolled COPD can lead to other health issues like pneumonia, lung cancer, heart disease, pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries to your lungs), and/or depression. So taking measures to control your COPD can decrease your risk of developing other potentially debilitating diseases.

If you’re having difficulty controlling your COPD and you need help with things like meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation, exercising, or running errands, contact a Kansas City home health agency.

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Have you stopped eating healthy because cooking’s become a hassle? You’re not alone. A lot of seniors feel that way. But not getting the proper nutrition can weaken your muscles and bones, which will increase your risk for illness and falls.

If you’re a senior who’s looking for easy meals, or a caregiver who’s providing care at home to a parent or other loved one, keep this in mind when it comes to nutrition. Healthy meals should include a mixture of lean protein (e.g., lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans), fruits and vegetables, whole grains (e.g., whole grain breads, cereals, brown rice, whole wheat pasta), and low-fat dairy (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese). To that end, here are some quick, healthy recipes for seniors. You should be able to find these ingredients in almost any Kansas City (or Independence, or Overland Park…) grocery store:

Breakfast

Healthy Granola Parfait: Spoon 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt in the bottom of a tall glass. Top with 1/4 cup of granola, then 1/4 cup of berries, then 1 tsp dark chocolate chips. Repeat for second layer.

Fruit Smoothie: Put 1 container of plain Greek yogurt in the bottom of a blender. Add 1/2 banana, 1/2 of an 8 oz. bottle of vanilla Ensure Alive, 1 tsp. instant milk powder (optional), and a handful of frozen berries. Blend.

Peanut butter on toast. Spread peanut butter on whole grain toast. Serve with a side of fruit and a glass of milk.

Breakfast Egg Scramble: Beat together two eggs, 1/8 cup of milk, and your choice of seasonings (e.g., basil, paprika, salt substitute, pepper). Brown a small amount of turkey sausage (or you can use diced canadian bacon). Set aside. Add a small handful of diced onions and a small handful of diced green pepper to egg mixture. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan. Pour mixture in and scramble. When almost done, add the meat and a small handful of cheese. Continue to scramble until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Serve with a side of fruit.

Lunch/Dinner

All-in-One Salad. Start with a 50/50 spring mix (half spring mix, half spinach leaves). Add a chopped, boiled egg, a handful of shredded cheese, some nuts, and some berries. Top with a vinegarette dressing.

Easy turkey wrap. Spread onion and chive cream cheese on a whole wheat tortilla shell. Top with turkey slices, spinach leaves, shredded swiss, diced tomatoes, and cooked turkey bacon (optional). Roll tightly. Serve with a side of fruit.

Fish tacos. Lightly sprinkle cumin on a piece of white fish (cod is a healthy choice; avoid tilapia). Pan fry. Cut in slices. Divide fish between two small whole wheat tortilla shells. Top with lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes, diced onions, lemon juice, and salsa.

Shrimp scampi. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 stick of butter on medium heat until butter is melted. Add 1 lb. of shrimp and one package of shrimp scampi seasoning. Stir until shrimp is pink (3-4 minutes). Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Toss with cooked quinoa pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with a side salad (50/50 spring mix). Freeze leftovers in one- or two-person portions for later.

Quick Tips

  • Diced onions and green peppers (and other vegetables you can add to salads or other meals) are available in the freezer section in most Kansas City area grocery stores.
  • You can buy 50/50 spring mix, lettuce, and spinach leaves already cut and washed.
  • Most Kansas City area grocery stores sell fruit that is already cut up.
  • Shredded cheese is also available in local grocery stores.