Archive for the ‘Nutrition/Diet’ Category

Simple Steps to Take at Home to Manage Common COPD Symptoms

by: John Aker | October 24th, 2016

 COPD SymptomsAccording to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an estimated 12 million adults are currently diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and it’s estimated that another 12 million may be living with the disease without even knowing it. It’s also worth noting that COPD usually strikes in middle age, with smoking as the primary risk factor. Consistent exposure to occupational dusts and chemicals also presents a high risk factor.

One of the first warning signs of COPD is mild coughing with clear sputum, usually after waking in the morning. Other symptoms may also crop up with this progressive disease, including coughing that produces excessive mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. While there is no cure for COPD, there are some steps one can take at home to manage and effectively ease symptoms, cut the risk of complications, and improve quality of life.

5 Steps to Improve Home Air Quality for Symptom Relief

  1. The most important step a person can take to reduce COPD symptoms is to stop smoking. 85-90% of COPD deaths are caused by smoking.
  2. Because people with COPD are very sensitive to indoor air pollution, it is important to purify the air at home. Ventilate the home by opening windows and running exhaust fans. However, when outdoor air quality is poor or dust levels are high, keep windows closed.
  3. Minimize dust mites by washing bed linens weekly, keeping floors clean and removing dust-collecting clutter from the home.
  4. Reduce exposure to household chemicals such as paints, varnishes and cleaning products and limit the use of fragrant sprays, air fresheners, scented candles and perfumes.
  5. Install an indoor air filtration system. Make sure it has a HEPA filter and beware of systems that generate ozone but claim to filter the air.

 

5 Steps to Improve Diet for Symptom Management

  1. For a person with COPD, breathing burns ten times more calories than it does for a person without COPD. Eating larger meals early in the day when energy is highest will help a person gain the most calories and nutrients possible for the day.
  2. Fatigue sometimes stops a person with COPD from eating before he/she gets the calories and nutrients needed. Eating the most nutritious foods first ensures a healthier diet, even if a meal is not entirely eaten.
  3. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help a person with COPD meet daily caloric needs and feel less full, making it easier to breathe.
  4. Preparing meals sometimes uses up so much energy that a person with COPD then doesn’t have enough energy to eat the meal. Instead, have a family member, friend or a Boca Raton FL home care agency such as Aker Kasten Home Health Care, help with grocery shopping and/or meal preparation.
  5. Sodium can cause water retention, which makes it harder to breathe, so it is best to avoid foods that have more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving. No-salt spices including garlic, oregano, basil, curry, onion, parsley, rosemary and lemon juice are all good alternatives.

 

Aker Kasten Home Health Care, a Boca Raton FL home care agency, is experienced at working with COPD patients and their family members to manage COPD symptoms and ensure that the home is a safe environment and free from irritants. In-home care helps sufferers manage COPD through education, exercise, nutritional support, psychological support and coping skills. Call Aker Kasten Home Health Care today at 561.955.6010 to learn more about managing COPD symptoms.

How Will You Celebrate Spring’s Arrival in Florida?

by: John Aker | March 12th, 2015

March may come in like a lion or a lamb.

Florida home care

via www.123friendster.com

But regardless of the weather when it arrives, March contains many special days you may want to celebrate. Some of the notable days this month include:

  • Purim (March 5)
  • Daylight Saving Time Beginning (March 8)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • World Kidney Day (March 12)
  • The Ides of March (March 15)–any Shakespeare fans remember the warning, Beware the Ides of March?
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • First Day of Spring (March 20)
  • Palm Sunday (March 29)
  • National Doctors’ Day (March 30)

This month has also been claimed for:

National Nutrition Month

American Red Cross Month

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Women’s History Month

Many of these observations are important and some are also quite fun. The weather across the county is in the process of warming and SPRING is just around the corner. Spring is a powerful season–it seems to compel us to consider what is coming!  New leaves on the trees and buds on the flower buses remind us that we, too–despite our numeric age–can start anew and be refreshed.

Admittedly, it may be a bit difficult to be impressed visually by the arrival of spring when you live in Florida. But take a moment to reflect on that new life that spring offers and make an effort to renew yourself. We are never too old to try and we are wise enough now to know what we want for ourselves and what we want to share with those around us. Celebrate spring this year–do something to refresh your mind and body.

The reason various organizations claim a ‘national month’ is to raise awareness of their cause and many of them attempt to deliver a torrent of educational materials which will urge us to take action, whether it be to improve or adopt new healthier habits or become involved by donating our time, talents, or treasury to further their work to help others. If you are already healthy and want to renew your spirit this spring, check out the website of one of these organizations above and educate and refresh your mind. You may learn something new and you may determine to partner with one of these organizations. Learning and giving back are two great ways to celebrate spring!

Another way to celebrate Spring is to choose just one little healthy habit to re-commit to doing every day. Your in-home caregiver can assist you in setting a goal and recording your efforts. Think of a reward you’ll grant yourself when you meet your goal (a scoop of frozen yogurt?) and keep a diary of your progress allowing your caregiver to cheer you on to victory.

Maybe you want to become more agile, like the tree branches swaying in the breeze, displaying their shiny new green leaves.  Or simply enjoy the scenery and sunshine–try to get outside each day for 15 minutes to soak up some natural Vitamin D from the sun. You could also enjoy taking time to phone an old friend or a grandchild once a week–that will be a spring gift for both of you.

Even enjoying healthier meals and snacks can have a big impact from little effort. Ask your home health aide to help you plan menus and shop for healthy foods and treats. Nutritious snacks like fruits or whole grain toast can be an easy, enjoyable addition to your daily routine. Try to drink more water during the day than you think you need–that can aide digestion and prevent dehydration.

Strive to sit less and walk a bit more. Many doctors are fond of the saying, Motion is lotion for the joints. You don’t have to walk for miles, just a bit extra will help:

  • ask your caregiver to park three spaces further from the entrance to the grocery store;
  • or accompany you on a walk to your mailbox;
  • or do some range of motion exercises at home.

Mark each bit of exercise on the calendar. And enjoy the satisfaction of your achievement!

How will you welcome spring this year? How will you be refreshed and renewed? Let us know if you’ve been inspired. We would love to know how we can encourage you this spring and throughout the rest of the year–tell us now!

If you’d like to celebrate spring by researching Florida home care options for yourself or a loved one, contact us today!

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

 

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!

 

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.

 

Heart Health

by: John Aker | April 3rd, 2013

Did you know that today is National Walking DayAK_ServiceArea

Did you know that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease?

The American Heart Association has many tips and tools to help you discover the importance of physical activity.  One of the best things about walking as exercise is that walking is free, can be done anywhere (even walking in your home or marching in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks!) and can significantly improve your overall well-being.

Statistics show that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are at risk for heart disease.  And research indicates that poor lifestyle is a major contributor.  But don’t be discouraged–you can help reduce your risk right now by getting active and eating healthy.

Visit MyHeartMyLife.org for more information, tips, recipes, and even lists of walking clubs!  If they don’t have one near you–ask your caregiver to join your walking club!!

 

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.

 

 

 

Marching On

by: John Aker | March 27th, 2013

March is nearly over. Did it come in like a lion or a lamb for you? We have enjoyed windy weather, the ides of March, college basketball’s March Madness is in full swing, and now you may find yourself involved in a religious observation of Passover or Resurrection Sunday, then the month is concluded. But wait! There’s more! It’s not over just yet.

March is also National Nutrition Month and before the month marches on, we wanted to remind you of a few resources to encourage you to eat well–all year long–and present you with a fun challenge…

Marching On Resources and Reminders
Remaining independent at home is a top priority for many of us.  As a home health provider, we are here to help you do just that!  So, we strongly encourage you to march on. Marching on consists of taking control of that which is within your grasp–namely eating right and exercising–foundations for well-being.

Proper nutrition plays an large role in our well-being, more so if you have any chronic conditions. Our Community Resource Library has great cookbooks–some of which center on meal planning and preparation for those with Arthritis, Diabetes, Hearth Health issues, Pain or inflammatory concerns, Parkinsons’s and even those who require soft foods only. If these are of interest to you, call 561-955-6010 and ask about borrowing a book or having a staff nurse assist you in reviewing them.

Be sure to spend some time investigating the latest information, helpful tips, and great recipes at:

 www.eatright.org       www.choosemyplate.gov      www.nutrition411.com

Did you know that our caregivers can help you choose healthy options at the grocery store and assist you in preparing and eating nutritious meals and snacks? Make a game of it and try a new, healthy recipe together. When you are ready to march on toward something bigger than just nutrition, tackle our challenge below.

The Challenge
To make eating healthier fun and prove it makes a difference, write down all that you eat and drink over a 7 day period. Weigh yourself the first day and write it down. Then write down all the foods and drinks you consume for the next seven days then weigh yourself again. Review your dietary choices. You may be surprised to learn you are already eating good, nutritious meals and snacks. Or, you might find that a few small changes are in order–give yourself some new marching orders.

If you do need to make healthier food choices, begin doing so and log all your food again for another week. (Be sure to list your beverages too–you may be surprised how little water you drink. And many medications can have a dehydrating effect so drinking more water could pay dividends in how you feel.) Weigh yourself again at the end of that week.

The next step would be to march on. That is, add a little walking to your day–your in home caregiver can accompany you. (Be sure to ask your doctor what level of exercise is safe for you.) Even if you can’t walk, you could easily add some movement to your day in the comfort of your own home. Our Community Resource Library offers chair exercise videos so dare your spouse or caregiver to exercise with you–see who can keep a smile on their face through an exercise. Let the winner choose the day’s healthy snack. Keep marching on, you will quickly feel a sense of accomplishment. And in just a short time, exercise and proper nutrition will make a big difference in how you feel!

If you embark on this home health challenge, please let us know. We would love to help encourage and support your healthy changes and celebrate with you when you feel better. Eat well and enjoy the rest of March!

At the top right hand corner of this page, click on the Face Book, Twitter, or Google+ icons to join the conversation. We can’t wait to hear from you…

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.

Simple Nutrition

by: John Aker | March 22nd, 2013

March is National Nutrition Month, so this is a good time to gather up some helpful information about what to eat! 

For many of us, nutrition seems intimidating.  We are bombarded with information about diets, recipes, cooking shows, news stories advocating some new super food or health scares related to food.

Let’s be honest.  When many of us think about what we are going to eat it’s a matter of what do we have in the house.  And when we are in the grocery, we mostly look for items we know we enjoy. 

It does take a bit of effort to plan out healthy, balanced meals.  We all know we should.  But many of us don’t or won’t make that effort.  Sometimes we are unsure what to believe–what should we be eating?  In what quantities?  And how do we prepare quinoa?  In an ideal world, eating nutritiously would be simple.

Simple? Surprise–yes, it can be simple! Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to make huge changes to your routine.  Nutrition can be simple–and you truly can benefit right away by selecting simple, healthy options. 

Studies have shown that even those with chronic conditions might reduce symptoms after appropriate dietary changes.  So at your next visit, ask your doctor for nutritional advice.  In the meantime, we’ve collected a few items for your consideration:

Save Time & Money At The Grocery Store

·         Don’t shop when you are hungry

·         Make and stick to a shopping list

·         Organize your list into sections corresponding to the layout of your favorite store

·         Check for specials and sales

·         Don’t be afraid of larger bags of frozen items–just take out what you need and return to freezer

 

What’s On Your Plate?

Eating well and remaining active can make a dramatic difference in your quality of life.  You are never too young or too old to benefit from improved nutrition and fitness.  As we age, we need more nutrients, but fewer calories.  We particularly benefit from protein, B-vitamins and calcium.  A great resource is the USDA’s website MyPlate.gov.  The site can help you determine the right number of calories for an individual based on their age, and activity level, offers a wealth of information and resources and recipes, and even sample week-long menus.

This concept is pretty simple, really.  According to their recommendations, your meal should include:

·         Half of your plate should be filled with Fruits and Vegetables

·         Make at least half of your Grains whole (whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, etc)

·         Switch to Skim or 1% Milk

·         Vary your Protein food choices (lean meat, fish twice a week, beans)

·         Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars

·         Be physically active–even range of motion exercises in a chair counts and a brisk for just a few minutes a day will yield results! (Ask your caregiver to assist you to ensure your safety.)

 

How Many Calories Do You Need?

The number of calories you need depends on your age, gender, and activity level.  Here’s a basic guide, courtesy of eatright.org, for adults over 51 years of age:

                Activity Level                    Women               Men
               Sedentary (not active)        1,600                       2,000
                Moderately Active               1,800                      2,200-2,400
                Active                                     2,000-2,200         2,400-2,800

 

Snack Wisely to Avoid Overeating  At Mealtime
Many of us do feel hungry in between meals.  And, it can be fun to have a treat now and then.  Many experts agree that snacks are a good idea.  So go ahead and enjoy a small container of Greek yogurt…a whole wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of peanut butter…a fresh apple or orange…or fresh veggie sticks.  These snacks can provide great nutrition and help you stick to smaller portions at mealtimes.  You can make a healthy, delicious snack a reward for exercising and feel a great sense of accomplishment for your efforts!  Be sure to drink plenty of water too–often we mistake thirst as hunger.  Medications often can cause a bit of dehydration or constipation so drinking more water than you think you need is likely a good policy.

As always, check with your physician before making changes to your diet or exercise routine.  And for more tips and hints, visit eatright.org and choosemyplate.gov. 

If you’d like individualized advice about meal planning and preparation, please call our office and ask for one of our nurses.  She can discuss your concerns and relay instructions to your caregiver too!

Bon appétit!

 

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.

 

National Nutrition Month

by: John Aker | March 8th, 2013

Most of us can recall being admonished by our mother to eat your vegatables!

Well, as usual, mom was right.  Even in our information age with scientific and medial breakthroughs, nothing seems to be able to take the place of proper nutrition.

As part of our eNewsletter this month (if you are not receiving your copy, sign up on our home page after you finish reading this article!), we provided a link to allow you to test your health eating IQ by taking a simple quiz which appeared in the Ladies Home Journal.   You might be surprised to learn something new about nutrition that you didn’t know before.  This quiz is quick (only 9 questions) and the right answers pop up after you enter your guess–and they provide additional information to truly educate you.

For instance, did you know that snacking doesn’t always inhibit weight loss?  It all depends on what you snack on!  Snacks that combine food groups (such as a slice of whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter) help keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating at mealtime. 

If you have special chronic medical conditions or food allergies, it can be a bit difficult to eat nutritionally balanced meals.  If you find it difficult or just don’t know how to prepare meals that are nutritionally sound, call one of our nurses today to set up a brief visit.  We also make several cookbooks available in our Community Resource Library to address concerns such as heart health, diabetes, and more.  Ask your in home caregiver to help you shop and prepare more nutritionally sound meals and snacks and remember part of good nutrition is to remain hydrated so enjoy several glasses of water each day too!

Call us with any concerns or questions you may have but in the meantime, eat your vegatables!