Aker Kasten Blog

Cataract Awareness: Now you see it…

by: John Aker | August 12th, 2014

Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the U.S. Thanks to advances in technology, it is also one of the safest and most effective types of surgery with 90% of patients reporting greatly improved vision after surgery. This is evidence of the expertise of a limited few surgeons—like Boca Raton’s own Dr. Alan Aker and his associates at the Aker Kasten Eye Center. Don’t trust your eyesight to just anyone. Look for an experienced surgeon trained in the latest techniques and protocols.

What Is A Cataract?

To receive a clear, sharp image from our retina, the lenses must be clear. The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and works somewhat like a camera lens, helping to focus light onto the retina and adjust focus. The lens consist primarily of water and protein but as we age some protein may meld together and start to could the lens—this is a cataract. If the lens become cloudy due to a cataract, the image you see will be blurred and may even add a yellowish or brownish tint to the images you see.

Cataracts typically cloud the lens of the eye and affects vision. While there are varying types and causes of cataracts, most cataracts are related to aging. In fact, more than half of Americans ages 80 or over either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have A Cataract?

While researchers can point to several possible causes and risk factors for cataracts, a majority are diagnosed through a comprehensive dilated eye exam which should be performed once every two years. If you have any of the following symptoms or risk factors such as diabetes, you should see your ophthalmologist sooner:

• Cloudy or blurred vision
• Colors seem faded
• Poor night vision
•A halo appears around lights—or sunlight or lights appear too bright or you are bothered by glare

How Can I Prevent A Cataract and Protect My Vision?

Most researchers agree that good nutrition, full of green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants might help reduce the risk of age-related cataracts. Protecting your vision from ultraviolet sunlight may also help to delay cataract so using sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are good accessories, especially for those of us in The Sunshine State!

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Early cataract symptoms can be improved with new eyeglasses, better lighting, and anti-glare sunglasses. If these do not help you may be a candidate for surgery. But surgery is only necessary if vision loss affects your daily activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV. Be sure you ask questions of your eye doctor and make an informed decision. Your eye care professional can provide you with up-to-date information about the procedures available to you and the risks and benefits.

While it is generally regarded as a safe and effective procedure, you may want to have a little help around the house following an eye procedure since you will be asked not to bend from the waist or lift heavy objects. An aide from The Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can assist you for a day or two until you feel more confident and have recovered fully. Click here to learn more about how we can help you.

Low Vision Care Optionscataract

If you have any questions or concerns about your vision—make an appointment right away. We highly recommend the Aker Kasten Eye Center, one of a few of elite practices designated as a Center of Excellence for the Crystalens HD intraocular lens. Click here for more information.

Sources: National Eye Institute, Aker Kasten Eye Center

 

Take An Aspirin and Call Me In The Morning…Right!

by: John Aker | June 3rd, 2014

We all know the old joke:  Take an aspirin and call me in the morningIMG_3152_jpgbut did you know that doctors prescribe medication to help treat or cure what ails you so when you don’t fill or take your medication as directed, you could be putting yourself at serious risk!

It can be hard to remember to take medications. Some of us have difficulty just getting the medication–actually getting to the pharmacy can be burdensome.

When you don’t take medication as it is prescribed, it’s called non-adherence or non-compliance. And you are not alone–it turns out many people are also non-compliant. But it doesn’t have to be this way!  Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can accompany you to your doctor, take notes about the physician’s comments, directives, and prescriptions. Then we can take you to pick up your medication and even remind you to take your medication at the appropriate time!

According to a recent study, approximately 30 % of new prescriptions are never even filled. It also showed that a majority of patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases either take less than prescribed or stop taking the medication altogether after about six months. The Centers for Disease Control link such non-adherence to startling increases in hospitalizations and sometimes death. (see http://www.marinij.com/News/ci_25632494/Dr-Bill-Elliott:-Costs-and-benefits) There are also health risks when you don’t take your medication properly or fail to alert your physician to an adverse reaction.

Don’t become a statistic. Let us help you. We’ll ensure that at each physician visit your medication list is reviewed, your questions are answered and if they are necessary, we can help you comply with a healthy regimen and ensure your medication is taken properly and note any adverse reactions.

Call us now at 561-955-6010 to learn how we can help you remain healthy at home.

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

Florida Ranks 28th for Senior Health

by: John Aker | May 30th, 2014

America’s Health Rankings 2014 report shows Florida’s overall rank for Senior Health as 28th in the nation.

While this is certainly lower than we would like, the report also spotlighted great rankings on specific measures such as:

#1 on diabetes management for seniors

#3 on seniors’ use of hospice

#5 on percentage of seniors who were physically inactive (meaning most of us seniors are still active)!

 florida

A recent article in The Ledger  points out that Florida has the fourth-oldest median age nationwide and ranks 50th in its level of senior citizens with multiple chronic conditions. Yet we rank in the worst five states for our supply of home health workers with 26.9 for each 1,000 adults 75 and older compared with 299.6 for the best state.

This is a serious concern which will become more obvious as boomers age. It is suspected that Florida’s high use of ICUs in the final months of life can be tied to the limited number of home health workers available as well as a shortage of physicians trained in treating the elderly–denying seniors access to primary and specialty health care earlier in their illness.

But you do not need to fear, The Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency recruits and retains only the best and brightest staff–our first criterion for candidates is what we call The SunShine Factor. Once a candidate demonstrates their calling into caring for others,they are subjected to thorough interviews, background and reference checks, and skills testing. After orientation training we commit to ongoing supervision and support, and provide continuing education for each caregiver.

Remaining independent in your home is important to you–so helping you enhance your quality of life is critical to us. Your Aker Kasten Caregiver can help you remain physically active, take medications on time, enjoy social outings, and more.

Call us today at 561-955-6010 or email us to see how we can help improve Florida’s health ranking–by improving your health ranking!

 

Sleepless Nights?

by: John Aker | April 15th, 2014

A recent study released by JAMA Internal Medicine, encourages empowering seniors to discuss the use of sleeping pills with their physicians.  You may be familiar with many news headlines concerned with the use of sleeping pills and incidents including memory problems, falls, fractures and even motor vehicle accidents.  Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Pharmacy Research Chair and geriatrician who released the study, is very concerned with  the use of sleeping pills among seniors.

Dr. Tannenbaum advocates that patients be involved in the decision of whether to use sleeping pills and possible taper their use.  An empowerment intervention handout was devised which described the risks of sleeping pill use in senior and encouraged them to discuss reducing the medication over time.  “Just because you take a medication for a long time does not mean you can never get off it,” Dr. Tannenbaum notes.  The study indicates that the tapering intervention was equally effective in both genders.  Last year the FDA cut the recommended dose of the sleeping pill zolpidem in half for women.

Of the patients who utilized the invention, 27% succeeded in breaking free of the sleeping pills over 6 months and another 11% were in the process of tapering down.  Dr. Tannenbaum’s findings provide a concrete action plan for implementing the recommendation issued in the spring of 2012 by the American Geriatrics Society that sleeping pills–and 53 other medications–should be avoided in seniors.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, it might be best to avoid sleeping pills.  But, don’t fret–there are alternatives to sleeping pills.

 If you know someone who could benefit from Aker Kasten Home Health Care’s specialized home care and skilled caregivers, please contact us to learn more or call us at (561) 955-6010.

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

What Grain Is Doing To Your Brain

by: John Aker | January 27th, 2014

Brain

We hear a lot about low-carb diets these days, but more than just helping people trim fat, cutting carbs could be beneficial to your brain. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., contrary to popular belief, the human body does not need carbohydrates.

And not only does the body not need carbs, Perlmutter claims in his book, Grain Brain, that carbs are “the brain’s silent killers.” Perlmutter also notes, “The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.” Returning to the eating habits of early man—roughly 75 percent fat and 5 percent carbs—could stave off many modern cognitive issues, Perlmutter postulates, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Read more about how grain may be putting our brains at a higher risk for cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease in this article from Shape.

Or watch this video from the Dr. Oz show with Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

This is certainly controversial since many experts tout the benefits of whole grain in our diets.  One thing is sure: moderation in our diets is likely a wise goal.

Pearls of Wisdom

by: John Aker | January 7th, 2014

As we move into 2014, many of us reflect on the years past and make resolutions for the New Year.  While this reflection and planning is worthwhile, some of us tend to expect too much of ourselves–and others.  And sometimes we complicate our daily lives by not focusing on what truly matters.

Take a deep breath and click on the link below.  We think you will enjoy this brief video of seniors sharing wise words which might help you keep things in perspective:

Pearls of Wisdom

Happy 2014!

All of us at Aker Kasten Home Health Care wish you a year filled with good health and great happiness.

If there is any way we can help you remain independent in your own home and enjoy improved quality of life–call us at 561-955-6010!  We are here for you!

 

Free Rx = 31 Health Benefits

by: John Aker | November 13th, 2013

A single prescription that can deliver 31 health benefits?  And, it’s FREE?  Sound too good to be true?   It’s not!  Read on…

What single prescription can claim all these health benefits?

Mood improves

Decreases knee pain

Reduces risk of stroke

40% decrease in lower back pain

Reduces glaucoma risk (lowers pressure inside the eye)

Cuts Alzheimer’s Disease risk by 50% over 5 years

Lowers blood pressure

Builds bones mass (reducing risk of osteoporosis)

Decreases odds of catching a cold by 30-50%

Arthritis can be prevented and managed

Increases heart and respiratory fitness in adults with Type 2 Diabetes

What can do all that?  WALKING!  And guess what, it’s FREE!

Only 15-40 minutes a day 5 days per week will tone and trim your body, vastly improve your health and could even save your life.  If you have limited mobility, speak with your physician about how you might incorporate exercise into your routine.  In most cases, even if you have a chronic condition or are concerned about fall risk, an Aker Kasten Home Health Care caregiver can accompany you and walk alongside you to ensure your safety.  Even a few minutes a day can reap rewards. 

According to a 2013 CNN article reported that 2011 data shows 27 countries have higher life expectancies at birth than the United States.  A recent study showed that people living in the U.S. take fewer steps than adults in Australia, Switzerland, and Japan:

Australians averaged 9,656 steps a day…Swiss adults averaged 9,650 steps a day…Japanese averaged 7,168 steps a day…Americans averaged just  5,117 steps a day (far below the recommended 10,000)

It’s been said one should stop and smell the roses–but we can’t smell them if we’re sitting inside on a couch.  Get outside and enjoy the Florida sunshine and warm, fresh air!  You will come to look forward to your time out of doors and your body will too.  If you’d like a companion to walk with you, just give us a call–we’d be happy to enjoy some sunshine with you!

Please share this important information with others who may need a friendly nudge to walk.  Maybe set a date to walk through the flat, air-conditioned mall and do some people watching while you exercise together!

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

walking_556_infographic

Sources: 
http://www.livestrong.com/blog/an-easy-exercise-with-23-health-and-fitness-benefits/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1113
http://www.livestrong.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/walking_556_infographic.jpg
 

 

 

 

 

Medicare Coverage and the Affordable Care Act

by: John Aker | October 31st, 2013

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the subject of many headlines in recent months. Due to the various elements and timetables contained in the ACA, there is also plenty of confusion about what the Act will mean for you.Affordable Care Act

Thankfully there are also many resources to help determine what changes and what does not change in light of the ACA. We will share a list of resources at the end of this brief overview. But when you have questions or receive information that you don’t understand, do not feel badly. Even so called “experts” are confused by the various provisions and deadlines so you are in good company. So don’t panic or let it stress you. If you have questions, simply write them down then access the resources below. They will either have your answer or know where to find them!

First, it is important that you realize that the ACA seeks to strengthen Medicare, not to diminish it. And because it contains benefits such as free preventative services, free annual wellness visits, and a 50% discount on prescription drugs, it will definitely behoove you to make and keep an appointment with your physician for your annual visit and discuss some preventative measures you should take to enhance or improve your health!

  • Existing Medicare-covered benefits won’t be reduced or taken away. Nor will your ability to select your own physician.
  • If you had Medicare prescription drug coverage and had to pay for your drugs, you received a one-time, tax free $250 rebate from Medicare to help you pay for your prescriptions.
  • If you have high prescription drug costs that put you in the donut hole, you now get a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs while you are in the donut hole. Between today and 2020, you’ll get continuous Medicare coverage for your drugs. By 2020, the donut hole will be completed closed.
  • Medicare covers certain preventative services with charging you the Part B co-insurance or deductible. You will also be offered a free annual wellness exam.
  • The life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended which will provide you with future costs savings on your premiums and co-insurance.

So, these facts should help you rest a bit easier now that you know Medicare benefits are not under attack by the ACA. In fact, you should realize better benefits as a result.

If you have other questions or concerns, utilize these resources for more information:

Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE)  http://www.youragingresourcecenter.org/shine

You may also be receiving flyers, letters, and postcards from various Medicare supplement health plans in your mailbox suggesting you consider a new Medicare supplement. If you are unsure if you current plan is the best one, you owe it to yourself to allow the counselors at SHINE to help you evaluate your options.

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

Snacks Can Be Delicious & Healthy

by: John Aker | September 10th, 2013

September is Healthy Aging Month!

What are you doing to age in a healthy manner?  Exercising?  Eating healthy foods in the right portions?  Taking your medications and vitamins as prescribed?  Enjoying some social time with family or friends by phone or in person?

All these simple things can help you age in a healthier way.  When we neglect any of the items above, we risk our good health and energy.  Since we can’t avoid aging, we should do what we can to remain healthy and vital. healthy snack post

Recently, one of our dedicated in home caregivers posted a picture of a BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS and HEALHTY snack she had prepared for her client.  We are so thrilled that she had taken the time to not only prepare a healthy snack option, but to make it appealing to the eye as well.  Often when we think of eating healthy, we conjure up a picture of something unattractive or unappetizing.  Caregiver Fahaina had prepared low-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries to encourage her client to enjoy a healthy snack.  It was simple, healthful, pleasing to the eye, and enjoyed with enthusiasm!

Eating right can taste great too!  And snacking between small meals is often recommended since it helps you eat less at mealtimes.  When you make healthy snack choices like Caregiver Fahaina presented, you can be proud AND enjoy great tasting food.  Thank you, Fahaina for the reminder that presentation can make good food so much more inviting!

Here’s a simple and delicious healthy soup option for you.  Ask you caregiver to help you prepare this soup and invite a friend over for a simple salad and soup meal.  Enjoy sharing some old stories and create new memories with a little social time around a healthy meal.  Bon appetit!

Quick and Healthy Potato Soup

2 cups Stock or reduced sodium broth

1 1/4 lbs White Potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 stalks Celery, chopped

1 medium Onion, choppedpotato soup

1 small Carrot, peeled and chopped

1 cup fat-free Half & Half or Milk

1/2 tsp Thyme or Italian Seasoning

Sea salt or garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

 

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Chop vegetables while broth is heating, then add to saucepan.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, for 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then puree until smooth, or until soup is desired consistency.  Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes more.

Approximate cost per serving: $2.00

Nutritional Analysis per serving:  Calories  340, Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 4g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 590 mg, Potassium 209 mg, Carbohydrates 42g, Fiber 4g, Sugar 8g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 90%, Calcium 50%, Iron 10%.

SOURCE:  www.healthyagingfood.com

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

Is Your Home Helping Your Health?

by: John Aker | August 28th, 2013

Cleanliness Affects Health

Chronic conditions or recovery from a medical procedure can be very taxing on our bodies and minds.  While our bodies work to heal, the condition of our home can either hinder or help. 

It has been proven that a cluttered, dirty environment can be depressing and actually decreases motivation.  To heal, we often have to move, exercise, stimulate our minds and bodies.  That is difficult to do with stacks of papers and magazines sapping our energy levels.  And it is important to remember that you may already have a compromised immune system.

But a home must also be clean to stimulate healing.  Infection is a leading cause of re-hospitalization.  When recovering from a medical procedure or hospitalization, our immune system is working hard to repair and restore our bodies.  If we come home to an unclean or unsanitary home, we are risking re-admission or infection.

Consider these tips for a cleaner home :Domestic Cleaning Services

  • germs that cause infections can live on surfaces for months, and they can be spread either when the patient touches that surface or when a caregiver touches the surface then the patient.
  • hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent infections; but are germs lingering on the faucet handle? 
  • using microfiber mops and cloths, which can hold six times their weight in water and have a positive charge that attracts dirt, cut down on cross contamination when compared to cotton-loop mops, which need to be “re-dunked” into increasingly dirty mop water.
  • a cleaning service can deep clean your already neat home to ensure a sanitary atmosphere.

Aker Kasten Home Health Care feels strongly that a home should have a thorough cleaning prior to a client being discharged from hospital to increase their ability to recuperate fully and quickly.  So, in addition to the light housekeeping services our aides provide and the infection-control practices they follow, we have added a full service Housekeepers Plus option. 

Housekeepers Plus offers one time and recurring cleaning services and leaves your home fresh as a rose!   We ensure your home is a suitable healing environment in which your home health specialist can assist you in your recovery.

Even if your home is already tidy, our housekeepers can provide a deep clean so you can begin the fall season fresh.  Current Aker Kasten Home Health Care clients will receive a discount on their third service. 

Call now and ask Omar to provide you with a free in-home estimate.  Tell us how we can help you remain healthy and independent in your own home:  561-955-6010 or click here to request more information.