Nutrition Quiz App Dispels Common Food Myths: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

When it comes to eating healthy, knowing what exactly constitutes a healthy diet and which food products truly provide nutritional benefits can be tricky. Sometimes it seems like no matter where you look, a new food item is being declared healthy or unhealthy. Senior caregivers can use the Nutrition Quiz app to learn hidden truths and identify the myths of eating a nutritionally sound diet. 

The app features various tips categories, where users can learn new facts about nutrition and how various foods affect the body. The tips categories include Men & Women, which focuses on health differences between genders; Sugar & Spices, which shares lesser known facts about components added to your food; and Functional Food, which shows how various foods can be used for other health benefits. Other categories can be unlocked in the paid version of the app.

Once users finish brushing up on their facts, they can enter the quiz mode of the app. The quiz will present a statement and users must choose whether it's a myth or a truth. Once an answer is selected, the app will display a brief explanation of why the user's answer was wrong or correct. Caregivers can play the quiz mode with their senior clients as a collaborative effort to learn more about nutrition and how various food affect mental and physical health. A sample fact learned from the app is that sugar masquerades under several different names on nutrition labels, such as sucrose. Just because the word sugar isn't explicitly listed doesn't mean that there's no sugar in the food- it may just have a different name. 

 

The Nutrition Quiz 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

Healthy Eating: Seniors and Nutrition

Seniors looking to live a long life would do well to eat three large meals a day, (get plenty of sleep), and enjoy a monthly sushi dinner according to Misao Okawa who, at 116 years old, is the oldest living person in the world. While raw fish might not be my elderly mother’s first choice for supper, a healthy, well-balanced diet is certainly one of the keys to longevity.

March is National Nutrition Month sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is “designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.” The elderly face their own challenges when it comes to healthy eating. Physiological and psychological changes that occur as we age can make preparing and eating nutritious meals difficult. However, if there’s a group who can most benefit from a healthy diet, it’s the elderly.

Why don’t seniors eat properly?

Challenge: Sensory Changes — Taste and smell can diminish with age, so food just doesn’t taste as good anymore.
Possible Fix: Now’s the time to experiment with herbs, oils and spices. Although it’s tempting, don’t load up on added salt or sugar to increase the taste of foods.

Challenge: Medications — Certain medications can change the taste of food or dull the appetite.
Possible Fix: Talk to a doctor about medication substitution or best ways to counteract any side effects.

Challenge: Physical Challenges — Perhaps chewing is difficult because of dental issues. Digestion is more difficult and often seniors often complain of heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea.
Possible Fix: Softer foods like yogurt and quinoa are packed full of vitamins and are easy on the teeth and the digestive system. Fiber can help with digestion. As always, discuss the matter with the doctor.

Challenge: Lack of Mobility — Some seniors can no longer drive or have difficulty getting to the grocery store.
Possible Fix: Services like Peapod deliver groceries to your door. Non-profits like Store To Door of Minneapolis/St. Paul, shops for and delivers groceries and prescriptions to aging and homebound seniors.

Challenge: Financial Challenges — People think they can’t eat well on a limited budget.
Possible Fix: Buy local and in season. Whole foods cost less than processed foods. Clipping coupons can extend your grocery budget and help you eat well on the cheap.

Challenge: Loneliness and Depression — Many seniors are eating solo when a spouse passes on and friends are no longer available. Many balk at cooking for one.
Possible Fix: Caregivers should sit and eat with their senior clients (if that’s what the senior would like.) Senior programs like Meals on Wheels deliver meals for those who’d prefer not to cook and cooking clubs through senior social groups are readily available for those who would.

There are many benefits to eating well, especially for seniors. Eating well can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, bone loss, anemia, and type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating can also help you reduce high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Nutritional eating keeps you healthy by providing needed nutrients to your whole body. Vitamins and nutrients can also help promote brain function.

Tufts University’s Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults emphasizes nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance. They recommend the following for whole-body nutrition:

  • Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread.
  • Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.
  • Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon.
  • Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk.
  • Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs. Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat.
  • Fluid intake.
  • Physical activity such as walking, house work and yard work.

 

Food Pyramid for Older Adults by Tufts University

Senior caregivers can sign up for Caregiverlist's newsletter, The Caregiver's Gist, delivered to your email inbox every week. In addition to various senior issues, we share a weekly recipe for a tasty, healthy meal you can prepare for yourself or your senior client.

Seniors nationwide may turn to their local Area Agency on Aging to learn about community senior care services including nutrition and meal programs. Some may even offer meal delivery.

Caregiverlist knows senior caregivers are on the front lines of helping the elderly to eat right as a component of healthy aging. You can learn additional crucial caregiving skills by taking an 8-hour online Caregiver Certification training course provided by Caregiverlist Training University.

Easy Recipes Featured in App For Healthy Cooking: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Every week Caregiverlist features a new recipe to give our senior caregivers ideas for new meals and snacks to make for themselves or to share with their senior clients. In case caregivers have a taste for something specific or are looking for more recipe ideas, the SparkRecipes app provides a variety of healthy recipes. 

Browsing options for recipes within the app include searching by category or course, type of cuisine, dietary needs or type of occasion, such as a picnic or brunch. The dietary needs section includes recipe choices for gluten free, vegetarian, lactose free, etc. diets, which helps caregivers quickly narrow down potential recipes without needing to examine the individual ingredients in each one. This feature is particularly useful for caregivers whose clients have dietary restrictions set by their doctors. Likewise, the search by category proves useful if the user already has a particular ingredient such as chicken that he/she would like to feature in the recipe. A quick glance at the poultry category shows several chicken dish ideas such as chicken parmesan, chicken and broccoli casserole or orange chicken. Some of the recipes even emulate popular restaurant dishes with healthier twists.

The app also features a conversion section for use while cooking in case caregivers find that they need to measure out pints but they only have a quart measuring cup. Along with the ability to favorite recipes for later use and a section with recipe videos, this app gives caregivers the tools needed to plan delicious meals without needing to spend hours searching for the perfect recipe. 

 

The SparkRecipes 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

Fooducate App Offers Nutrition Label Scanning and Tracking: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Planning meals for yourself and your senior clients while adhering to dietary restrictions or simply trying to eat healthy can be tough. Food products that seem healthy may be deceiving, like a low-fat item with additional salt or sugar than the original. 

Senior caregivers can take the mystery out of reading labels at the grocery store with the Fooducate app. Instead of staring at a label and analyzing all of its parts before deciding whether the food inside the box is dinner-worthy, Fooducate offers a label scanning service that provides a brief breakdown of the nutritional value of a product. By holding your smartphone over the barcode of a product, you can see the calories per serving, warnings of high levels of sugar, fat, artificial coloring and a letter grade for the product showing how healthy (or unhealthy) it is. 

This app can be particularly useful when determining between different brands of a similar product. A brand name product might have surprisingly more fat than a generic version, for example. It also provides options for gluten free or other dietary restrictions to help alert you of products you should avoid. Alerts appear with a red exclamation mark next to them, while positives of a product appear with a green check mark. The product below, for example, is 100% whole wheat, which provides more fiber than similar white crackers. 

The app also offers nutrition tracking services through logging what you eat throughout the day. The scanning option may be used to log food as well as simply searching a dish name, such as "scrambled eggs." Foods you can be marked at "liked" or "disliked" for future reference. 

Currently it is available for Apple products and Android. There is a free version as well as a paid version with more features. 

"GET FOODUCATED!

Lose weight by eating REAL food! Fooducate grades your food, explains what's really inside each product, and offers healthier alternatives. We've got the largest database of UPC-based nutrition information - over 200,000 unique products and growing."

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 to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.

-Paige Krzysko

 

Calorie Tracking App Helps Monitor Nutrition: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Counting calories and monitoring nutrients for daily food intake often seems to be much easier said than done. For senior caregivers looking to monitor their own nutrition or that of a senior client, the My Fitness Pal app offers an ideal platform to track foods and their nutritional content right on their smartphone.

 

The My Fitness Pal application matches up with the My Fitness Pal website, and foods and exercise can be logged on either platform. When you first set up your My Fitness Pal account, it will ask for basic information about yourself- or your senior client, if that is who you will be using the application for. The target daily calorie intake will be factored off of the weight, height, age, activity level and weight goal (lose weight, maintain weight, etc.) entered for the account.

 

Once an account is established, you can log food for that particular day. Your target number of calories will appear on your home screen, and as you log food, it will subtract from that number and tell you how many calories you have left for that day. It also measures fat, sugar and sodium intake, making it easy to recognize and correct excess. The database of foods includes many popular restaurants as well as the option to search a generic food item or create your own entry if you know the calories in your meal. 

 

Users also have the ability to log exercise with the application, which in turn adjusts the number of calories allotted for that day to account for calories burned during activity.  

 

The application is available for iPhone and Android and is described below:

 

“Lose weight with MyFitnessPal, the fastest and easiest-to-use calorie counter for Android/iPhone. With the largest food database of any Android/iPhone calorie counter (over 3,000,000 foods), and amazingly fast food and exercise entry, we’ll help you take those extra pounds off! There is no better diet app – period.”

 

App Name: My Fitness Pal

 

Cost: Free


Download the application for Apple or Android 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 to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.

 

-Paige Krzysko

  

 

 

 

Senior Hunger in America

When I saw my mother this Mother’s Day, I made sure to ask all the right questions: Was she taking her medication? Did she get out to see friends often? Was she getting enough to eat? A quick check of her fridge assured me that she was in no danger of malnutrition, but it got me wondering — how many seniors can say the same? Her elderly neighbor, for example, would be actively fighting hunger if it were not for Meals on Wheels.

On May 8, 2012, TV Icons Linda Evans of Dynasty and Linda Gray of Dallas joined Congresswomen Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) at Capitol Hill for MoWAA’s second annual Mother’s Day Event, “Meals for Mom”. The Congresswomen are honorary co-chairs of the newly created National Alliance of Women Against Senior Hunger (NAWASH). Joining them were other members of Congress, who signed Mother’s Day cards for constituents, which were delivered along with nutritious meals by Meals On Wheels program volunteers in their Congressional districts.

The Meals on Wheels Association of America has made its mission to eradicate senior hunger by 2020. According to its latest research, 8.3 million seniors in the United States face the threat of hunger. The majority of those affected are women. For those living alone, and especially those without family, the volunteers for Meals on Wheels bring not only food, but may be these seniors’ only contact with the outside world.

Enid Borden, President and CEO of the Meals On Wheels Association of America, is calling for help in the form of volunteers and donations in order to help her reach her lifelong goal — making sure that no senior goes hungry, especially in this land of plenty. Check out the Meals on Wheels website to read about their initiatives and projects to check out the myriad of opportunities available for you to help.

In these times of government budget cuts, it’s more imperative than ever that we pull together as a community and make sure that no senior lives without proper nutrition or ever goes hungry.

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The DASH Diet and Nutrition for Seniors

The New Year always brings resolutions, and this year a worthy goal might be to eat better. Seniors are especially susceptible to poor nutrition. Cooking for one seems not worth the effort after years of cooking for a family. Perhaps it’s a little harder to go shopping and lug home bags of groceries. Maybe food just doesn’t taste the same or there’s a lack of hunger. Whatever the case may be, many seniors are not getting the proper nutrition they need, and that can wreak havoc on their health.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is ranked as the number one diet of 2012 by US News & World Report. This eating plan has been shown to lower blood pressure by lowering sodium intake and increasing the intake of potassium-rich foods.

The average American consumes 2,500 to 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day. The DASH diet research showed that an eating plan containing 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day lowered blood pressure. An eating plan containing only 1,500 mg of sodium per day even further lowered blood pressure. That’s about ⅔ of a teaspoon of table salt. That includes the sodium found in your food and drink, not just the table salt you add to when cooking or eating.

According to the Institute, the plan
  • Is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat
  • Focuses on fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Is rich in whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts
  • Contains fewer sweets, added sugars and sugary beverages, and red meats than the typical American diet
Studies show that a good diet can lower your your risk of high blood pressure, strokes, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

What else can you do to ensure that you are getting the most and best nutrition as you age?

  • If you miss the added taste salt brings, try spices, herbs, and lemon juice. They’ll add flavor to your food without increasing your sodium.
  • Choose whole foods over processed food. That includes whole-grain breads and cereals, and whole fruit over fruit juice.
  • Nuts, beans, and legumes are a great source of protein. Limit your red-meat intake.
  • Limit the empty calories found in chips, cookies, and alcohol.
  • If food tastes strange or different, check with your doctor. Many medications alter the taste of food.
  • If you find shopping and carrying groceries to be too much effort, enlist the services of one of the many online grocery providers, such as Netgrocer.com or Peapod. If you prefer to shop for yourself, many stores offer delivery. Just ask.
To learn more about Health Aging Programs and Services, check with your own State Agency on Aging.


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A Banana a Day.......

A new study presented on Saturday at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting, found consuming too little potassium may be as big a risk factor for high blood pressure as eating too much sodium.

This study supports previous studies that also made this conclusion about potassium and blood pressure.

 "The lower the potassium in the urine, hence the lower the potassium in the diet, the higher the blood pressure," lead study author Dr. Susan Hedayati, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said in a news release issued by the conference organizers. "This effect was even stronger than the effect of sodium on blood pressure."

 

 The link between high blood pressure and low potassium was strong even when age, race, and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking, were factored in. About half the study participants were black, and they tended to consume the least amount of potassium in their diet, Hedayati said.

 Laboratory research for the study suggests that the WNK1 gene may be responsible for potassium's effects on blood pressure. More research is being done to test how fixed levels of potassium in a diet affect blood pressure and the gene's activity.

 Meanwhile, the researchers urged people to consume more potassium and less sodium. "High-potassium foods include fruits such as bananas, and citrus fruits and vegetables," Hedayati said. "Consuming a larger amount of these foods in the diet may lower blood pressure."

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