Maintain a Healthy Weight and Water Intake Using Partner Apps

Maintaining weight or shedding pounds to get to your optimal healthy weight often proves to be easier said than done. For senior caregivers and their clients, nutrition plays a large part in living a healthy lifestyle. Weight alone doesn't determine health, but being overweight can be an indicator of needing to improve your overall nutrition. Likewise, maintaining a healthy weight once you've reached it is equally important. The MyPlate app and its sister MyWater app help caregivers track their calorie and water intake on a daily basis. 

The MyPlate app serves as the main app. Once a user establishes their profile with their personal data and health goals, he/she can begin to track their calories. The app sets a calorie goal based on the information provided and across the top of the home screen users see their number of calories consumed and burned for that particular day. To log food products, users can simply scan a label ir type the name into the search field. The food intake categories break down for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

The water button takes users to the accompanying MyWater app, where users select a goal for how many glasses of water they would like to drink each day, then log how much they drink. The app lets users choose how many ounces their glass is so they can accurately count glasses. Drinking water provides necessary hydration for the body to maintain health and seniors in particular should ensure they drink the suggested amount of water every day for healthy aging. 

The apps work seamlessly together and the MyPlate app lays out healthy eating in a clean visual on the home screen. Caregivers should be able to easily track their calories and goals using this tool.

The MyPlate and MyWater apps are available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Health Tips for Seniors to Age Well

Aging well and in place is a top priority for senior caregivers and the senior clients they serve on a daily basis. Living healthy doesn't mean you and your clients need to make drastic changes in the way you're living, though. Sometimes making a few small changes to your daily routine can have a profound difference in your health. The 101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy app presents 101 categories of health tips and several more subcategories that break the tips down into actions for a healthier life. 

When users first open the app, they are presented with all 101 tips in a tiled fashion. Caregivers can swipe left or right to browse through the tips, which include "Make Time," "Ditch Debt," and "Break a Sweat." Once users see a tip that interests them, they can click on the tile to get more information and specific actions to improve health. Under the "Break a Sweat" tip, the subcategories include "One Crazy Workout," "Fit in a Flash," and "Test Your Endurance." Between the six subcategories, caregivers can pick the one action that most interests them and click on it and go to an article with further details- in this case, a high intensity work out. 

Not all tips in the app will apply to every user. The high intensity workout under Break a Sweat probably isn't appropriate for a senior, but other sections include tips on how to naturally dispel heartburn, change or create new habits and intuitive eating to lose weight. The app features a "Surprise Me" function that takes the user to a random tip. Sit down with a senior client once a day and let the app take you to a new random tip, then together pick a subcategory to read about. It will give you a chance to learn about healthy living together and possibly find a new change you can make together for healthy aging. 

The 101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy app is available for Apple and Andriod platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Where is Masterchef for Seniors?

I love MasterChef. And Iron Chef. And just about any show that features competitive cooking.

If you didn’t see Monday’s MasterChef finale, I’ll stay clear of spoilers, but one of the final contestants, Leslie Gilliams, was complimented by Gordon Ramsay for disproving the adage “cooking is a young man’s game.” Mr. Gilliams is 56.

Seniors are an anomaly on MasterChef. The oldest contestant, Sue Drummond, was 61 when she competed on MasterChef New Zealand. Kumar Pereira was MasterChef Australia’s oldest ever Top 24 contestant at 62.

While a small number of contestants were a bit older, the food they presented was not necessarily food that should be served to older adults.

As we age, it’s harder for our bodies to fight off the germs and bacteria found in raw or undercooked food. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria can grow to high levels in some of the “healthiest” and tastiest dishes. Some of the MasterChef dishes that are not necessarily elderly-approved included:

  • Ceviche: a seafood dish especially popular in South and Central America. The raw fish is “cooked” by curing it in citrus juices such as lemon or lime.
  • Raw or undercooked eggs: these are found in Hollandaise sauce, homemade Caesar salad dressing, and tiramisu.
  • Raw meat: like carpaccio (thin shavings of raw beef fillet) and steak tartare.
  • Raw fish: shellfish, such as oysters, mussels and clams, and raw fin fish, like sushi and sashimi.
  • Soft cheeses: cheeses like feta, Brie, or Camembert (my favorite!) can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

Senior caregivers need to be especially careful when preparing meals for the elderly. Yes, the food needs to be palatable, look appealing, and be nutritious, but meals should be safe, first and foremost.

If you are a caregiver who subscribes to Caregiverlist’s newsletter, The Caregiver’s Gist,  you know we provide a delicious, nutritious recipe—safe for seniors.

We’d also love to hear from you caregivers. Do you have a special recipe that your senior client or loved one especially enjoys? Send it to me at renata@caregiverlist.com. I promise to try them all and report back on my favorites. Who knows? Maybe your recipe will make it into an online Caregiverlist safe-for-seniors cookbook.

And I’d like to challenge the MasterChef franchise. Your MasterChef Junior, the kids version of MasterChef, was incredibly popular. So popular in fact, that MasterChef Junior returns for Season 2 on Friday, Nov. 7.  Come on, Chef Ramsay, how about a MasterChef Senior?

Diabetes Monitoring App for Health Maintenance

Senior caregivers or their senior clients who live with diabetes know how difficult balancing healthy eating with maintaing healthy blood glucose levels can be on a daily basis. The Diabetes in Check app helps users with Type 2 or Pre Diabetes with logging their daily activity and blood glucose levels for health maintenance.  

The app asks basic questions upon account creation, such as what type of diabetes the user is managing: Type 2, Pre-Diabetic, Type 1 or Gestational. A disclaimer states that the app design suits Pre and Type 2 Diabetes but the tracking can be useful in managing the other two types as well. The next question inquires about other health conditions that the user may be managing in conjunction with the diabetes, such as depression or high blood pressure. Then once users enter their activity level, age, weight, height, etc. their profile is complete and they can begin logging daily activity. 

Users can set a weight loss goal in the app. Based on current weight and height, the app will recommend a daily calorie intake as well as a carb count for each meal to help users reach their specified goal. Users can log their meals in the app using frequently added foods or by scanning the bar code on the food item they're eating.

The Recipes area of the app also suggests meals for users to make to fit into their nutritional guidelines for healthy living with diabetes. Additionally, the Food Guide section shares nutritional information on a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, etc. and details how they affect blood sugar levels. Users can quickly search the alphabetized list while comparing meal options. 

The Diabetes in Check app is available for Apple products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

September is National Senior Center Month

We know most seniors prefer to age in place, at home. In fact, according to AARP, over 90 percent of older Americans want to stay home as opposed to relocating to assisted living or nursing homes.

The challenge with aging in place is that unless the senior has a full time caregiver, they can wind up being alone most of the time. That isolation and inactivity can begin a downward spiral of depression and loneliness. Not exactly the picture of a happy way to age.

Senior care at home can also get expensive, especially if you’re paying for simple companionship. Paying a companion caregiver $15 per hour to sit and play bridge might be a bit of overkill, especially since most seniors live on a fixed income.

The National Council on Aging has designated September as National Senior Center Month, and the theme for 2014 is Senior Centers: Experts at Living Well — Discover, Play, Create, Challenge.

Not to be confused with Adult Day Care Centers which are more costly and offer a higher degree of structure and supervision, Senior Centers are facilities that offer a wide variety of activities and offer opportunities for independent seniors to interact. It’s perfect for the active elderly—those who would like a place to “hang out”, have fun, and maybe learn a little something new.

Senior Centers often offer classes, trips, parties, volunteer opportunities, and recreational activities, and lifetime learning programs, including expert lectures. A healthy meal can also be had for an additional minimal fee. Oftentimes, they provide opportunities for day- and sometimes even overnight-excursions.

Regionally, some senior center endeavors are pushing boundaries and giving area seniors a little extra this month.

  • In Livermore, California, the California Highway Patrol will be offering a free public presentation on “How to Recognize Elder Abuse”.
  • The Glastonbury, CT Senior Center are inviting seniors to take part in a 10-week fitness challenge that includes a variety of activities to make people more aware of their own health and well-being.
  • The St. Clair Street Senior Center in Tennessee is featuring a Drum Circle, Tai Chi, St. Clair Walkers and an Art Show.

Some programs have been developed specifically to highlight this month’s senior center theme, but some communities see a great opportunity in working with local seniors.

In New York, for example, the Department on Aging is teaming up with local arts councils and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to present SPARC : Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide. The initiative places 50 artists-in-residence at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City. The goal is to produce arts programming for seniors in exchange for workspace and a small stipend. As reported by website Hyperallergic, last year, participating dance company De Novo staged Houseguest at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and included seven seniors from the Astoria senior center where they had been in residence.

I plan on exploring this month’s theme by taking my own mother to a local senior center. Looking ahead to winter, it may be just the place for her to spend some time among her peers in the community. While I don’t expect she’ll be performing any contemporary dance moves, they might just get her to Zumba.

Shots for Seniors: Vaccines Recommended for Older Adults

There’s a national debate going on questioning whether vaccines are safe.

Vociferous anti-vaccine activists link vaccines with rising numbers of children with autism, although studies have shown no correlation between the two. Nor has it been proven that vaccinations cause childhood leukemia, as previously thought. Despite scientific findings (or, in the opinion from the other side of the aisle, pharmaceutical company propaganda),  the anti-vaccine movement continues its rally against childhood vaccinations due to their proposed dangerous side effects while public-health experts contend that high rates of non-vaccination are the cause of recent contagious disease outbreaks.

But what about the elderly? Are they in danger of vaccine complications?

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Sponsored by the Center for Disease Control, the purpose of the campaign is to “provide an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan”.  The CDC recommends that the elderly (those 60 years +) receive the following vaccines to promote good health:

Seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine
The CDC estimates 90 percent of seasonal influenza-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal influenza-related hospitalizations in the U.S. each year occur in people 65 years and older.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Td or Tdap) vaccine
Everyone, including the elderly, should have booster shots for tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years.

Pneumococcal  (pneumonia) vaccine
Pneumonia, which often starts as a simple viral respiratory disease, and can develop into a severe inflammation of the lungs, often cited as the fifth leading cause of death in the elderly and frail.

Zoster vaccine, to protect against shingles
The risk of getting shingles increases as one ages. Not only that, but shingles can be extremely painful in the elderly. The persistent pain, called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), can last for months or years.

This is not to say that vaccines for seniors have been without their own controversy. Several years ago, “Fluzone High-Dose”, a flu vaccine manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur especially for those over 65 years old. And although Sanofi Pasteur reported finding the vaccine 24.2% more effective in preventing influenza in the aged, some believe the vaccine, which contains four times the amount of antigen compared to the regular flu vaccine, brought with it stronger side effects.

You can learn more about the vaccines you or your senior client or loved one may need at vaccines.gov. Their Adult Immunization Scheduler tool offers personalized vaccine suggestions based on your age (and other factors.)

How do you feel about immunization and vaccines? Do you believe them necessary to continued well-being or is it a dangerous scam perpetrated by big pharma? Is it part of your job as a senior caregiver to influence the decision of the elder in your charge whether to get that shot or not? We’d love to hear you opinions in the comment section. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, Caregiverlist® continues to believe in utilizing everything in one's health toolkit in order to age well.

Have an issue you'd like to see tackled? Connect with

MapMyRun App Suggests Run Routes, Tracks Progress: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Exercise, particularly cardio, provides stress relief and fitness for senior caregivers to maintain health. The MapMyRun app makes it easy for anyone to start running and track their progress over time by offering suggested routes using GPS and tracking distance run, time and calories burned. 

Running provides a great exercise option because it allows the user to set the pace of the activity, so caregivers can start out their training regime by alternating between walking and running and then build up to more vigorous and continual running as their endurance improves. Caregivers can select a suggested running route from those built into the app with set mile lengths such as roughly 2.5 or 5 miles, or they can simply start running and the GPS function on their phone will pick up on the route as they run. 

The Live Tracking option that can be enabled allows users and their friends within the app to see the progress of the run as it takes place. Once a run is complete, the app provides stats including overall distance, duration and pace. Users also have the ability to enter a run into the system after it has occurred if they were unable to use their phone to log it as they ran. 

Listening to music during a workout can help motivate the runner, so the app also allows users to select a playlist to play while they run without having to switch back and forth from MapMyRun to the music app on their phone. Once users begin to log runs on a regular basis, they can look at their log of runs and see how their health and endurance have improved. The paid version of the app also includes extra features, such as a coaching function to help encourage runners and assist them in getting the most out of their workout.

MapMyRun is available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

MyRA App Allows Senior Clients to Track Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Living with rheumatoid arthritis means daily aches and pain. Senior caregivers can help their senior clients track their daily experiences with rheumatoid arthritis to recognize trends and share the information with the senior clients' physician. 

Tracking in the app falls into several different categories. The "Big Picture" section enables users to enter how they feel overall on any given day on a scale of 1- Very Good to 5- Very Bad. This area also contains a spot for a photograph if a senior caregiver feels there's something that needs to be included visually. The "Joint Pain" area displays a cartoon diagram of a person with small circles around the joints. Seniors can tap where they feel pain and indicate the intensity by tapping only once for green, light pain, twice for yellow, moderate pain or three times for red, intense pain.

The "Morning Stiffness" section asks a simple question- "How long did your morning stiffness last?" Other sections track daily fatigue, functionality and medications. The summary area shows data for the past 30 or 90 days of tracking, so the more often caregivers record data, the easier it becomes to find trends. The app has a reminder section where caregivers can ask for their phone to notify them to make entries at the same time every day. The resources section also provides more information on rheumatoid arthritis and organizations devoted to it. 

 

The MyRA app is available for free for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

SleepGenius App Uses Guided Program for Quality Night of Sleep: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

For senior caregivers and their senior clients, catching a full night of rest can be difficult. Caregiver stress can cause difficulty falling asleep and affect the sleep cycle, so caregivers may wake up after a night of restless sleep and feel just as tired as when they went to bed. The SleepGenius app uses music scientifically created to soothe the brain into its natural sleep cycles and features an alarm clock specifically designed to ease the user out of sleep instead of jar them awake. 

Falling asleep to music or the calming sounds of nature that some other apps offer can seem soothing, but the sounds in the SleepGenius app are scientifically proven to evoke certain reactions from the user's brain to set them into their natural sleep patterns. The research done for the app originally served to help develop ways for astronauts to fall asleep on trips to space. 

The basic layout of the app makes it easy to navigate. The home screen features two options- sleep and revive cycle alarm. On the sleep screen, users can choose from a 90 or 180 minute program to help them fall asleep and into their first sleep cycles, or the continuous program which plays through the entire night. The paid version of the app also features a power nap option. The revive cycle alarm helps ease the user out of sleep instead of simply playing a loud noise to abruptly wake the user. 

Another section of the app offers tips for a night of quality sleep. It recommends using the same program night after night so that the user's brain falls into a pattern and consistently gets a good night of sleep. Quality sleep helps relieve some caregiver stress and helps make sure caregivers are ready to face the day fully rested. 

 

The SleepGenius app is available for free for Apple and Android platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Argus App Builds Overall Health Snapshot: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Building a healthy lifestyle for senior caregivers and their clients comes from eating well, exercising and adjusting daily habits. The Argus app builds an overall daily health snapshot to help users see how their lifestyle serves their overall health. Over time, users can compare data from different days to see trends in their behavior and decide if they can alter it to live a more healthy lifestyle. 

Upon downloading the Argus app, users needs to walk about 30 steps to activate the app initially. The movement tunes the app into how users walk so that it can accurately record the number of steps taken throughout the day, like a pedometer. Once the app is activated, the user sets their target goal for how many steps they would like to take in a day. 

On the main timeline, users can log everything from physical activity to food and water consumption and heart rate (using a companion app). The app also includes a basal calorie calculator. Caregivers can plug in height, weight, birthday and gender and the app will calculate the number of calories burned throughout the day based on metabolic rate. If users also log physical activity, the app will add it to the day's total as active calories. 

The physical activity log includes a GPS option, meaning that if users go for an outdoor jog, the app can effectively track the distance and time run and convert it to calories burned. While the app doesn't explicitly track calories consumed, it does keep track of liquid intake visually on the timeline and it also offers users the chance to take photos of their meals to visually look back at their eating habits. 

 

The Argus app is available for free for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

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