Quality Home Health Care

Meals on Wheels: A Program Worth Fighting For

Not many programs were birthed from the heart and perpetuated by the human spirit like Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels recipient and volunteerThe program brings much needed assistance to millions of seniors. It seems impossible that the program could be threatened by an administration or circumstance and yet it is.

The True Value of Meals on Wheels

The concept behind this program originated in the United Kingdom. It started during the Blitz, where many people in the country lost everything.

Homes were destroyed during these trying times, but the people behind the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defence saw an opportunity to make a difference. The idea was to simply bring prepared food to people who needed it, which is how the program started.

The program has transformed over the years and through different cultures, but the core idea remains the same: to help people. The program delivers food to the needy, to those who cannot prepare their own meals, and to elderly people.

Meals on Wheels did not officially arrive to the United States until 1974, and many welcomed the program.

The program is under attack under the new President of the United States. It seems that the current administration believes the program is not being run correctly. The officials seem to believe that Meals on Wheels is not targeting the people that need this service the most, which makes it ineffective.

These statements were made as the administration announced that it was planning to cut funding to Meals on Wheels. It should be noted that the program is already suffering. Data shows that the program, as a whole, has had to reduce the number of meals delivered by 23 million since 2005. This is on top of the fact that the program’s waiting list is growing, which shows just how greatly the program is needed.

Some will likely point out that Meals on Wheels will be just fine without the financial support it receives from the government. There probably is some truth to that since the program’s budget states that only around 3 percent of its revenue comes from the government. Most of the program’s revenue actually comes from companies and good-hearted people.

The problem here is that the program can use all the help it can get. Charities and other similar initiatives are always going to give more than they receive.

It is very hard, some might say impossible, to make a profit from helping people. Furthermore, no charity should really begin by hoping to make a profit off of giving but rather give as much as possible. The key thing to understand is that the reward is that people are ultimately helped by the program.

Meals on Wheels delivered 219.4 million meals in 2015. That is a large number, and it also represents the number of victories this program has had. For the administration to say that this program shows no results is quite a stretch.

The Other Side of Meals on Wheels

There are additional services that Meals on Wheels provides that some may overlook like companionship. Many seniors that are visited by the volunteers of this program are lonely and rarely get additional visitors.

Human beings are naturally social creatures, so giving lonely seniors an opportunity to meet with others should have a positive effect on some.

It should be pointed out that some people cannot prepare a meal without considerable strain due to some type of disability. Forcing people with debilitating afflictions to prepare their own meals by stripping away help could actually put some of these people in danger. Many people know that elderly people have been known to trip or fall, which could be fatal.

Meals on Wheels helps minimize the need for an elderly person to have to cook, and it provides a visitor who will also make sure everything is okay.

Some seniors also have trouble knowing if food is safe to eat due to afflictions that hinder the sense of smell or taste. This puts the senior in unnecessary risk. Thankfully, the good people in this program help feed some of these people. Seniors are happier with the assistance and also get to eat healthier, too.

No one is saying that the program is perfect. There are surely a few changes that can be made to target more people who are in need of help.

There are bound to be changes in policies that could make Meals on Wheels an even more effective program. Perhaps, some of these policy changes can connect the organization to the people who need it. It should also look for people who want to be involved.

Change should be welcomed because the goal should always be to improve, but cutting funding is a step backward. Cutting funding seems like it would hurt the program rather than help it.

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Thank You From Jewish Family Services

thank you  letter

Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services sent this thank you note to Lisa Kaufman of Boca Home Care Services for sponsoring the very successful food drive for the Jacobson Family Food Pantry.

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Foods That Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Doctors sometimes discover patients are suffering from high blood pressure during a routine medical exam, but more frequently find out in the Emergency Room. blood pressure examinationSymptoms may take years to present themselves or could be triggered by secondary conditions. Worldwide, more than 7 million people will die of conditions related to high blood pressure, such as heart attack or stroke, while many more millions will suffer disability. The financial and emotional costs of failing to regulate blood pressure are enormous.

What Contributes to High Blood Pressure?

Numerous individuals in society of all sizes and every age group are at risk but are unaware. They have not yet presented any symptoms. Many such individuals are slender, possibly athletic, and their diets are considered healthy as determined by public health guidelines.

Most individuals who suffer from high blood pressure have chosen unhealthy lifestyles. They drink alcohol excessively, smoke, consume too much coffee, are sedentary, and they report high levels of stress. Their diets are rich in fat and table salt but low in fiber, good fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Sometimes, blood pressure changes can be traced to pre-existing conditions. Healthcare workers report that risks increase as a result of organ-related or thyroid diseases, for example. Certain gastric conditions which interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients also contribute to heart problems.

Effects of High Blood Pressure

When consumers are genetically predisposed to heart disease, the first sign is elevated blood pressure. In their thirties and forties, possibly earlier, symptoms will become apparent such as headaches, fatigue, breathlessness, or chest tightness. Signs such as these should not be ignored. Consumers should see a doctor right away if they suffer from chest pain in particular. These are warning signs; precursors to emergency situations.

How to Reduce Blood Pressure

There are several ways to reduce blood pressure. Individuals leading a healthy lifestyle but suffering from a genetic condition will be prescribed medication if necessary. Since poor diet and lack of exercise are usually behind blood pressure anomalies, consumers are most likely to be given an ultimatum: lose weight, get fit, or symptoms will worsen. The urgency of a situation will often inspire a patient to start walking or swimming, reduce fat in his diet, and cut down on alcohol consumption. Moves to change lifestyle will have a positive effect on Type 2 Diabetes, a frequent contributor to high blood pressure and other conditions.

Stress-related health problems should be addressed by a counselor or psychologist as well as one’s doctor. A physician will treat the medical symptoms, but a counselor addresses the root of one’s stress and how to cope with stressors in healthy ways.

How to Reduce Blood Pressure with Food

Consumers with high blood pressure often eat too much salty, fatty food and lack essential nutrients, especially electrolytes. These are minerals which regulate blood pressure; potassium, magnesium, and calcium are the best-known and most important electrolytes. A healthy diet should contain adequate amounts of all three and cutting down on table salt or sodium. Although one can obtain essential minerals from multi-vitamins, foods are better sources because they also contain other nutrients such as fiber.
Beans

Black beans, Garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), and Edameme beans are among the most nutritious legumes. Always choose dry or frozen sources which have not been preserved in salt or sugar. There is very little calcium in Black Beans but 20% of your daily requirement of magnesium and 18% of your recommended dose of potassium. These numbers for Edameme beans are 17% and 20%, respectively. Chickpeas provide about 10% of each.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Greens are excellent for many reasons, one of which is that they are rich in all three essential minerals which lower blood pressure. Kale and spinach are two of the best but among the least loved by some diners. Romaine lettuce and broccoli are more popular sources, but not as nutrient-rich. Kale contains 14% of the potassium required by an adult male or female, about 15% of the calcium, and 11% of one’s daily magnesium allowance.

Dairy

Cheese is high in fat but also high in calcium. Cheddar contains 72% of the calcium most people need each day. Plain yogurt with about 4% fat features roughly half your daily calcium needs per serving. Vegans seeking non-dairy protein and minerals should look to nuts, especially almonds which contain more than 60% of the magnesium an average adult requires for good health.

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Opioid Induced Constipation in Seniors

Opioid-induced constipation is a common problem for seniors. As seniors can be prone to chronic pain, many prescription pain medications contain opioids.Elderly Constipated Woman

If you use these medications regularly, you may find the opioids cause constipation by decreasing the fluids in your intestines, intestinal movement, and the frequency in which you pass stools. Passing stools can require straining, and the stools are generally harder than before you started taking the pain medication.

How To Treat Opioid-Induced Constipation:

What To Avoid

There are two approaches you should not take if you are suffering from chronic constipation due to opioid use. One is to allow the problem to continue indefinitely. It is stressful and unhealthy to allow chronic constipation to go untreated.

Second, you should not rely on over the counter preparations for chronic constipation. Although it is not harmful to occasionally use a laxative or another over the counter product, it can be harmful to continue using the products on a long-term basis.

How To Treat Opioid Induced Constipation: Healthier Options

When you know you need to address the problem, you can start with some healthy lifestyle changes. In some cases, these changes are enough to reduce constipation.

First, if you know for certain that you do not have a bowel blockage, increase the amount of natural fiber in your daily diet. Eat plenty of whole grains and other fiber-rich foods every day.

Second, increase the amount of fluid you consume each day. While fruit and vegetable juices can be helpful, your main beverage should be pure water. It will increase the fluids in your intestines, and can produce easier bowel movements.

Third, as physical activity is useful for your digestive system, incorporate exercise into your daily schedule. Choose a form of exercise that is appropriate for your general health, and do it every day.

Fourth, as stress and anxiety can worsen constipation, give yourself plenty of time for your daily bathroom routines. It is best if you choose a specific time each day when you know you will have privacy. When your time in the bathroom is uninterrupted and quiet, it will be easier for you to relax.

You May Need To See Your Physician

While these lifestyle changes may be enough to resolve constipation, you may find they do not work as well as you expect. If the changes are not useful, it is time to consult with your doctor.

Your physician should perform a complete examination to ensure you do not have an underlying medical issue that is contributing to the problem. If he finds you are otherwise healthy, he may prescribe a medication that will counteract the opioids and relieve your constipation. In contrast, he may change your pain medication to one that does not contain opioids.

Never take a prescription medication unless it was advised by your own physician. Always use medications according to directions, and always follow your doctor’s advice.

Opioids And Seniors

Chronic pain can be bothersome enough for seniors. When you need to take pain medication containing opioids, constipation can be one of the most troubling side effects. You may be concerned about the effects of constipation on your health, and chronic constipation can interfere with your daily life.

Fortunately, you do not have to suffer from chronic constipation. Changes in diet, fluid intake, and exercise, along with reducing stress and anxiety, are often enough to relieve constipation.

However, you should not hesitate to visit your physician if constipation continues after making changes in your lifestyle. Your doctor wants you to feel good and be healthy. Relieving opioid induced constipation can be the start of a healthier life.

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Unavoidable Effects of Aging and How to Cope With Them

The best way to determine whether a society is civilized is to see how it treats its aged members. Age offers experience, wisdom, and maturity—something that no amount of training or education can replace. We live in a society where a combination of social and technological developments has enabled people to live longer than ever before.

Seniors Playing ShuffleboardHowever, there are some disadvantages of growing old that no senior citizen can avoid.

Some issues, retirement and consequent loss of stable income and slowing down of the body, can be predicted while other issues, a sudden ailment or illness or loss of mental faculties, can occur without any warning. Read ahead for an overview of some disadvantages of aging and becoming a senior citizen.

Health and Fitness

One consequence of aging is an inevitable deterioration of health and fitness. Reflexes slow down, the body starts giving you trouble, and people end up suffering from ailments and illnesses even if they led a healthy life in their youth. Many persons make the mistake of presuming that such health and fitness issues can make it impossible for elderly people to lead a normal life. The trick here is to keep in mind that a senior citizen has to pay a lot more attention to his or her physical and mental health.

To tackle ailments and illnesses, elderly people need to follow a disciplined lifestyle and a strict routine of frequent tests and checkups. Skipping a routine health check may not seem like a big deal for a youngster. However, a lot can go wrong with the health of an elderly individual in a very short span of time. Hence, it is important to undergo tests and take all necessary medications on time.

Many elderly individuals make the mistake of skipping exercises just because they have grown old. Instead of giving up exercising altogether, senior citizens should opt for gentler and less strenuous activities like walking or swimming.

While a healthy lifestyle may help minimize the severity of aging-related health problems, it may be next to impossible to completely avoid this disadvantage of becoming an elderly individual. The smartest solution is to rely on a professional home care service with experienced and professional staff designed to help senior citizens cope with inevitable health-related problems.

Financial Problems

Managing problems like increasing prices, credit card repayments, and economic instability becomes a lot more complicated for aged individuals without a steady job or a reliable source of income. Even those who have invested in retirement funds and investments end up feeling stressed about managing expenses and dealing with unexpected medical emergencies with limited funds at their disposal.

Senior citizens end up suffering the embarrassment of being dependent on their family, friends, or relatives for financial assistance to manage their expenses. Smart planning, a simple lifestyle, and professional care can help keep the financial situation under control even as you grow older.

Physical and Virtual Safety

Elderly people have always been at risk of being targeted by thieves and other anti-social elements. Today, a senior citizen has to worry about not just physical safety but about virtual or online safety as well.

With bank accounts and credit cards being used to buy products and services online, hacking or phishing can result in theft of the life savings of the elderly person with very little chances of recovery of the money.

A combination of electronic devices, a neighborhood watch, and reliance on trustworthy individuals who can provide useful advice on online safety can help retired individuals lead a safe and secure life without any hassles.

Nutrition and Personal Care

Elderly people often face unexpected health problems simply because they don’t consume nutritious food. A senior citizen with shrinking appetite should not commit the mistake of equating eating less with unhealthy eating. While portions may grow smaller, it is important to supply the body with all necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through a combination of healthy food and supplements.

Like kids, aging individuals may be completely dependent on others for nutritious food. The easiest way to tackle this problem is to acknowledge it, and to take steps to ensure delicious dishes containing healthy ingredients is delivered promptly on a regular basis.

Further, a senior citizen may feel lonely and may need somebody to just spend some time with him or her. Life is something more than eating food and taking medicines. A bit of personal attention from a caring person can go a long way in making an aging individual feel happy and alive.

The first step towards solving a problem, is to anticipate it, understand it, and plan remedial action well in advance. The disadvantages described above cannot be completely avoided. However, a combination of smart planning, a sensible approach, and imaginative strategies involving utilization of the services of professional home care can help aging individuals enjoy old age to the fullest.

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