Quick and Healthy Recipes Featured in App

Healthy eating sounds like an easy task at first, but sometimes can seem more time consuming and expensive than we expected. But healthy cooking doesn't have to complicated or break the bank. Using basic ingredients from your local store and the Healthy in a Hurry recipe app, caregivers and their senior clients can enjoy healthy meals on a regular basis. 

The Healthy in a Hurry app exists as a part of EatingWell.com. When users first open the app, they are greeted with a Recipe of the Day on the homepage. If that dish sounds good, users can click to view the recipe, or they can browse through the other recipes on the app by category. The Recipe of the Day today is Maple-Walnut Tapioca Pudding, a dessert. Their recipe uses low-fat milk, pure maple syrup, one egg, tapioca, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. All ingredients that caregivers likely either already have in their pantry or could easily locate in the store. Right at the top of each recipe, the app notes how much active time a recipe requires for the caregiver to spend preparing it as well as the total time spent preparing and cooking. This recipe takes 20 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes total to prepare and cook.  

The bottom of each recipe also displays the number of servings and the nutritional information for each serving. The Tapioca Pudding makes two servings and has 301 calories per serving and 9 grams of fat, as well as 9 grams of protein. Other recipe categories in the app include breakfast/brunch, dinner, snack/drinks, appetizer, etc. Users can browse through recipes ahead of time and save favorites as they come across them. Icons designate recipes that are High Fiber, Heart Healthy, or Healthy Weight for seniors and caregivers who might be on a specific diet. The app homepage also offers users the chance to browse new collections, implying that new recipes are being added on a regular basis. The only feature missing from the app is the ability to save ingredients to a shopping list. Users might like to download a companion app to keep track of what they need to buy. 

The Healthy in a Hurry app 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

You Are What You Eat: Senior Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month and an ideal opportunity for senior caregivers to make sure seniors are getting all the proper nutrition they need. It’s easier said than done. As we age, our bodies have a more difficult time absorbing key nutrients. Certain foods can lose their appeal — medications especially can affect appetite or change the way food tastes.

A nutrient-rich diet is more than essential for health maintenance, its a form of preventative medicine. A good diet can help keep common ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, and high cholesterol at bay. Key nutrients are essential to keep physically and mentally fit.

Unfortunately, according to a report released by AARP, more than 10 million seniors go hungry every day, and it’s likely that “proper nutrient intake suffers when individuals are food insecure.”  What money is available for food should go to the most nutritious foods available — whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense (and generally low in calories)  are key to senior health.

You can follow the Food Pyramid for Older Adults (Tufts University) or any balanced diet in order to get the proper nutrition. I think it’s key to get your nutrients from whole foods as opposed to relying on supplements. The elderly usually already take so much medication, who wants to take more pills?

The National Institute on Aging has recommendations for eating well as you age. They suggest you plan meals and snacks to include:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • dairy products, especially low-fat or fat-free
  • protein in the form of lean meats and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, and unsalted nuts
  • limited amounts of solid fats. Keep trans fats to a minimum
  • limited amounts of cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars

Don’t forget to keep hydrated with water or water-rich food such as melons, cucumbers, radishes (!), even if you don’t feel thirsty.

The NIA also suggests any seniors with high blood pressure or hypertension consider the DASH diet, which I previously wrote about here.

Caregiverlist knows senior caregivers are integral to helping the elderly to eat right and age well. You can learn basic caregiving skills by taking our 8-hour online Caregiver Certification training course provided by Caregiverlist Training University.

Learn First Aid for Various Situations with Red Cross App

When unforeseen health situations that arise, senior caregivers may not know exactly what the issue is or the appropriate first aid response. The most important response in a health emergency is to remain calm, call 911 and follow the instructions of the operator. To help identify health issues and emergencies, The Red Cross First Aid app offers descriptions of the symptoms of common health issues, first aid guidelines and prevention tips. 

When users open the app, they find a menu displaying a list of topics to learn first aid for, ranging from minor to severe, such as Asthma Attack, Heart Attack and Stings / Bites. Before looking through every topic, caregivers with new senior clients can spend some time learning about the specific health issues that could arise by talking with him/her about any previous health related treatments, pertinent family health history and concerns their doctor may have regarding his/her health. Once a caregiver selects a specific topic, the next screen shows a list of steps for first aid. The steps include a list of symptoms to verify the situation and then a list of actions to take.

Within the app along the bottom bar, a center button indicates "Emergency" and includes a list of only emergency first aid for situations such as chocking, diabetic emergency and unconsciousness. Once caregivers familiarize themselves with the appropriate first aid response steps for various situations, they can visit the Tests area of the app on the bottom bar to quiz themselves on what they've learned. If caregivers spend ten minutes learning about the correct response for two different situations a day, it would take less than a month to cover all of the situations presented by the app. A hospital tab on the bottom bar also shows users the hospitals closest to them in case they need to visit an emergency room and are unsure of the nearest location. The Red Cross First Aid app is also available in Spanish as an additional resource. 

The Red Cross First Aid app 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

Finding New Recipes Made Easy With Gojee App

Sometimes deciding what to make for dinner can be daunting task. Grabbing a frozen dinner to pop in the oven seems like a much easier option than searching for a good recipe and making a dish from scratch. Frozen dinners often contain high levels of sodium and artificial preservatives though. The Gojee app makes finding new nutritional recipes for caregivers and their senior clients easy. 

When caregivers first open the Gojee app, they are met with a screen tiled with delicious looking photos of food and drinks with witty titles such as "Tofu For You" and "Get Sauced!" Users click on the tile with a recipe that interests them to get a closer look at the food. Some of the recipes are fairly simple to make, such as the Asian Pear, Persimmon, And Almond Salad, which requires only seven ingredients and no heat to cook. Caregivers can simply follow the directions to mix the ingredients cold and serve in a matter of minutes, possibly even faster than microwaving a frozen dinner. 

Once caregivers select a recipe that tickles their taste buds, they can browse the list of ingredients and place a check mark next to the ones they need to purchase, which adds them to the Shopping List portion of the app. Then, once caregivers visit the store, they can fill in the empty bubbles next to the ingredients as they place them in their shopping cart. Users can also view more recipes like the one they've selected. 

The app provides a wide variety of recipes, from desserts to main dishes to vegetable side dishes. Caregivers should take their own specific dietary needs as well as those of their senior clients or whoever is dining with them into consideration when deciding which dishes to make. If a caregiver is cooking for senior who is watching their cholesterol, they should skip a recipe containing whipping cream or make an ingredient substitution for something lower in cholesterol. 

The Gojee app is available for Apple, Andriod and Chrome 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

Create and Track Health and Weight Loss Using App

January marks the time of year when people flock to the gym to fulfill New Year's resolutions to get and stay healthy. For caregivers who live hectic and stressful lives, being healthy doesn't have to mean a drastic life change. Using the Lose It! app, caregivers or their senior clients can set weight loss goals, keep a diary of all the foods they consume and track their weight over time. 

The Lose It! app asks establishing questions such as current weight, target weight, height, etc. the first time a user creates an account to determine the number of calories they should consume each day. Users can then track the food they eat as easily as scanning the label using the camera on their phone or searching by name. The user profile portion of the app also allows users to decide which nutrients in particular they would like to track, with options such as saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, sodium, etc. By looking at specific nutrients consumed over a few weeks, caregivers can notice trends and correct in their diet such as regularly eating foods high in sodium and sugar. The app also allows users to log exercises and factors the calories burned into their daily diary.

The app features plenty of visual guidance on the "My Day" main page, such as a circle graph showing how many calories are left for that day and a bar graph of how many calories were consumed each day of the week. When users are under their calorie goal, the images appear in green and when users are over their calorie goal, the images appear in red. Users also receive badges for specific accomplishments, such as accepting a challenge determined by the app like logging meals for ten days in a row or eating a certain amount of vegetables.

The Lose It! App 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

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

Chicken Tortilla Soup: Caregiverlist Recipe of the Week

A chilly fall afternoon calls for a nice warm cup of soup. Some store bought canned soup can be surprisingly high in both sodium and fat content, but homemade soup allows senior caregivers the ability to control all of the ingredients. Our Chicken Tortilla Soup comes together in a medley of several types of vegetables, low sodium chicken broth and black beans for a delicious but surprisingly nutritious dinner. 

1 fresh tomato
1 fresh green pepper
1 fresh red pepper
1 small white onion
1 tablespoons olive oil
10 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 limes
1 single use packet taco seasoning
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 avocado
Low fat shredded Mexican cheese mix
Low fat sour cream
Tortilla chips or strips, optional

Chop the tomato, red pepper, green pepper and onion into small pieces. Spread one tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of your pot and add the vegetable medley. Sauté until the vegetables are cooked. Add chicken broth and taco seasoning mix to the pot and stir. Bring the broth to a boil then drop uncooked chicken breasts into the pot, cover and simmer. Allow the chicken breasts half an hour to cook then pull them carefully out of the soup. Place the cooked chicken breasts on a plate and shred using two forks pulling in opposite directions. Add shredded chicken breast back to the pot then squeeze the lime juice into the soup. Stir then serve. Garnish with low fat sour cream, low fat Mexican cheese mix and chopped avocado to taste. Eat with tortilla chips or add tortilla strips to the soup if desired.  

Caregivers and their senior clients can customize the recipe based on their personal tastes. Almost any favorite taco topping can be incorporated. Add brown rice if you'd like more fiber full carbohydrates, substitute kidney beans instead of black beans or add garlic and jalapenos for a stronger flavor. The result is a dish with a much lower sodium count than canned soup with fresher ingredients and low fat dairy products keeping the overall unsaturated fat content low. 

Heart Healthy Tacos: Caregiverlist Recipe of the Week

Tacos make a fairly easy go-to dinner for any group because they're totally customizable. Try our version of the classic taco with some substitutions for heart health. Share them with a senior client, a friend or just enjoy them yourself.  

Using lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, greek yogurt instead of sour cream and low fat cheese significantly decreases the amount of saturated fat in the dish. Adding avocado brings in some monounsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol. Avocados also have a high nutrient count and contain fiber to keep you feeling full for longer. 

For caregivers or senior clients who may be allergic to gluten, corn tortillas make a great substitute to still be able to enjoy this dish. Likewise, for those who are simply trying to eat healthier, using a whole wheat tortilla will get more fiber which can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol for heart health. 

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 head romaine lettuce
1 tomato
1 avocado
1 8oz container plain greek yogurt
1 package low fat shredded mexican cheese mix
1 package tortillas of choice (flour, wheat, corn)

Brown ground turkey in pan until completely cooked. Drain excess fat then return to pan and season with taco seasoning packet. Chop the lettuce, tomato and avocado as desired. Assemble ingredients on tortilla and enjoy. 

Other ingredients to try in your tacos include green or red bell peppers, brown rice or black beans for extra protein. If you'd like to serve with a side, try a small salad with low fat dressing or a side of beans and brown rice. 

Occupational Therapy's Role in Fall Prevention

Falls—they’re not just for seniors. However, whereas my recent tumble after meeting with a Chicago pothole resulted in some scrapes, bruises, and a banged-up ankle, injuries from falls for the elderly can be much more dire.

Have a nice trip, see you next fall!

September 23 marks the first day of fall in 2014, and it’s also the 6th annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). This year's theme is Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow, and seeks to unite professionals, caregivers, and older adults in raising awareness and preventing falls proactively.

We at Caregiverlist have written a lot about falls and fall prevention over the years, and there’s good reason for that. Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death—over 21,700 older Americans die annually from injuries related to unintentional falls. By 2020, the annual cost of fall injuries (direct and indirect) is expected to reach $67.7 billion, according to the CDC. Those senior who survive falls can face long post-hospital nursing home rehabilitation.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and other professional associations, along with several federal agencies are part of the Falls Free© Initiative. Specifically, AOTA is promoting the role of occupational therapy in fall prevention.

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

Occupational therapist practitioners work with older adults in their homes or in facilities to do the day-to-day activities they want to do, safely. They perform an individualized evaluation, determine a person’s goals, help improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities, and evaluate if those goal have been met.

How does OT help in fall prevention?

The occupational therapist will remove environmental hazards in the home. They can suggest furniture arrangement so that there is plenty of room to walk without obstacles. If you hold onto furniture for balance, they will advise whether it is heavy enough to do that safely or suggest alternatives.

The therapist will review your entire home and be sure you can safely and easily get to the items you use on a regular basis. They’ll help create a plan for accessing things that are used most frequently.

The OT will evaluate the lighting throughout your home, making sure that you can see in potentially unsafe areas.

Occupational therapists will work with caregivers as well, educating them on proper patient transferring techniques, and providing proper guarding techniques while a patient is moving or managing stairs to reduce the risk of patient falls without
injury to the caregiver.

This 2008 video from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Institute on Aging, offers advice on preventing falls and shows how an occupational therapist assesses potential hazards in the home.

Medicare often pays for occupational therapy if prescribed by a doctor. Speak to a medical professional to determine if an occupational therapist can increase your or your senior’s quality of life and perhaps reduce the risk of falls. I just wish they could fix potholes.

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