Alzheimer’s is a devastating form of Dementia that robs people of their memories and eventually their ability to function independently. For families dealing with Alzheimer’s, the physical and emotional toll can be overwhelming. One of the most difficult decisions families face is whether to keep their loved ones at home or place them in a long-term care facility.

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Over the years, the rules for cancer screening tests in people who are over the age of 60 have changed as new studies have weighed early detection against screening risks. So every now and then, it’s a good idea to brush up on new updates. Here are the latest cancer screening recommendations for seniors*:

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Bladder control problems (also known as urinary incontinence) are common in older adults. Many people view them as a normal sign of aging and figure they just have to live with them. But that may not necessarily be the case.

There are three common types of urinary incontinence:

  • Urge incontinence: When you have frequent urges to run to the bathroom, but don’t always get there in time
  • Stress incontinence: Leakage of urine when you laugh or sneeze
  • Overflow incontinence: Frequent (or constant) leakage of urine

There are ways to manage (or even eliminate) all of these bladder control problems. So if you find your incontinence has confined you to your Kansas City home, or has otherwise interfered with your normal activities, it’s time to go see your doctor.

Start with your Kansas City primary care physician. But keep in mind he or she may refer you to a bladder control specialist (urologist).

Your doctor will conduct urine tests and blood tests to try to determine what’s causing your incontinence. You may find it’s something simple like a bladder infection or constipation. If not, your doctor may suggest:

Bladder exercises: More specifically, Kegel exercises, during which you flex and release your pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that would normally stop your urine flow). If you’re a male, squeeze the muscles that would keep you from passing gas. Tighten the muscles, then release. Do these exercises several times throughout the day.

Scheduled bathroom breaks. Schedule bathroom breaks throughout the day (for example, every hour). If that seems to be going well, you can slowly lengthen the time between breaks.

Double voiding. Urinate, then wait a few minutes and go again (or at least try).

Lifestyle changes. Your doctor may ask you to avoid alcohol, cut back on caffeine, quit smoking, lose weight, eat more fiber, and/or limit fluids before bedtime.

If none of these behavioral changes help to control your bladder problems, there are also medical interventions, such as medications, implantable devices, vaginal creams, nerve stimulation, and surgery.

Bladder Control in Someone With Alzheimer’s

If you’re caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, he or she will eventually develop functional incontinence (bladder control problems caused by the dementia). Here are some things you can try that might help:

Don’t provide alcohol or caffeinated drinks. Examples include caffeinated coffee, tea, and sodas. But do provide plenty of water.

Offer scheduled bathroom breaks. For example, once every hour or two.

Provide appropriate underwear. Something that’s easy to pull down and back up.

Keep pathways clear. To the bathroom, and also to the toilet. Leave the bathroom light on, so it’s easy to find.

Get help. When your loved one’s incontinence becomes too much for you to handle, get help from a Kansas City home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Agency caregivers can keep your loved one clean and dry.

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If you’re heading toward your twilight years, there are a number of things things you can do to stay as healthy as possible as you age. And Kansas City is a great place to be; there are tons of resources that can help. Here are some tips for healthy aging in Kansas City:

Nourish your body. Your body needs certain nutrients to maintain optimal health, and the best way to get them is through the foods you eat. You need lots of fruits and vegetables, plus lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. And almost every Kansas City suburb has a farmers market each summer where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The city also has several Whole Foods Markets where you can buy organic foods.

Be active. You need a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and mobility exercises to help you maintain balance and flexibility as you age. Go to one of the many Kansas City parks, and hit the walking trails. Or walk around your neighborhood. Buy some hand weights at a local Walmart. Do some stretching exercises. Check with your nearest Kansas City senior center to see if they have free exercise classes. Or join a Kansas City gym.

Maintain a social life. Having an active social life is important as you age. If you don’t currently have a social circle, join a book club at a Kansas City library. Participate in activities at a local senior center. Or join a Kansas City Meetup group for people over 50.

Use your brain. To help prevent Alzheimer’s or other type of dementia, keep your brain busy. Do the Kansas City Star Daily Crossword. Take a class at a local community college. Play Scrabble with friends. Check out books from a Kansas City library.

Control chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, can become debilitating if they’re not properly controlled. Follow your Kansas City doctor’s instructions to keep illnesses under control.

Take preventive measures. Keep up on your flu shots, colonoscopies, mammograms, PAP smears, blood pressure screenings, and blood tests as recommended by your Kansas City doctor. Your primary care physician can refer you to any specialists, if necessary.

Get help if you need it. If you’re having trouble preparing nutritious meals, bathing, grooming, dressing, and/or exercising, contact a Kansas City home health agency for help.

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