Ideal Caregivers 4u

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Month: February 2020

Leap Year Fun Facts!

We will be adding a day to the Year 2020! That’s right, tomorrow we celebrate Leap Day – February 29th! This additional day happens every four years to align our calendar to the seasons and without a Leap Year, we would lose almost 6 hours every year!


Dehydration in Seniors


Dehydration occurs when a person loses more water than they take in. Adequate fluid allows the body to regulate temperature through sweating, maintain blood pressure and eliminate bodily waste.

If severe enough, dehydration can lead to confusion, weakness, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bedsores in bed-ridden patients or sadly even death. Generally speaking, humans can’t survive more than four days without water.

Who’s At Risk?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “as you age, your body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute. These problems are compounded by chronic illnesses such as diabetes and dementia, and by the use of certain medications. Older adults also may have mobility problems that limit their ability to obtain water for themselves.”

Possible Causes 



  • Medications

  • Decreased Thirst

  • Decreased Kidney Function

  • Illness (vomiting, diarrhea)

  • Excessive sweating

  • Fever

  • Increased urination

Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration 



  • Confusion

  • Dizziness or headaches

  • Dry mouth

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Low blood pressure

  • Low urine output/Dark-coloured urine

  • Constipation

Prevention

We all know that when it comes to our health as we age, prevention is key. There are a number of ways to ensure your loved one, and you, are properly hydrated.

  1. Make sure to provide an adequate amount of fluids throughout the day. You may want to consult a physician to find out the proper amount for your loved one. Use a checklist to track fluid intake at each meal and during snacks.

  2. Eating healthy, water-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and soups at each meal and for snacks are vital for increasing the amount of water in the body.

  3. Check that urine color is light and output adequate (dark urine or infrequency of urination is a classic sign of dehydration).

Knowing the signs that your loved one may be suffering from dehydration, prepares us to take action to ensure their positive health and well-being. Taking small steps each day to increase fluid intake, monitoring their behaviour, and tracking their physical health can make a big difference in their quality of life.

Breakfast Ideas for Seniors

Are you concerned that your senior loved one, or older adult in your care, isn’t getting enough nutrition? It could be that they have difficulty grocery shopping or cooking for themselves or they may require assistance at mealtime. Whatever the reason, here are a few breakfast options and helpful planning tips to support your loved at the most important meal of the day.

As with any plan of care for a senior, those living with Dementia, or any older adult in your care, always consult a physician to ensure you are aware of any dietary restrictions or other recommendations they may have.

Always begin with a Plan. 


Planning out daily meals ahead of time, not only saves time, but also provides a variety of options each day to reduce mealtime boredom. However, some seniors may enjoy predictability and routine, so perhaps their meals will be repeated each day, and that’s OK.

This is an opportunity to make sure that they are provided with a balanced, healthy, and nutritious menu that will keep them satiated and hydrated throughout the day.

Start with their favourites!

We want our loved ones and those in our care to be happy first and foremost, so by making sure their favourite foods are on the menu each week, you are guaranteed to see a smile! But, their favourites also must be nutritious and balanced, so look for recipes that have a healthier option for favourite foods.

Hydration is key! 


Don’t forget to add fluids and water-rich foods to the menu! Dehydration is a serious concern for those of any age, but particularly more so with the elderly. Simply add fluids like juice, coffee/tea, supplement options like Boost or Ensure, and of course water to their daily meals and snacks.

By also adding drinkable yogurt, soup, watermelon, cucumber, and other water-rich vegetables to their diet, you are ensuring that they are getting the proper hydration they require. Perhaps even include a Fluids Checklist to track their fluid intake!

According to Canada’s Food Guide for Seniors, healthy eating is a key part of aging well. It is a way for you to stay healthy and strong, which is important to maintain your independence and quality of life. As you age, your body needs less food, but may need more of certain nutrients, such as vitamins or minerals. Here is what they suggest:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods to make sure you get enough different nutrients.

  • Choose vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods that you enjoy. Frozen and canned options can be just as healthy and easier to prepare.

  • If your sense of taste or smell has changed, try different spices and herbs to add more flavour, instead of salt. You can also switch up the texture and temperature of foods to make them more interesting.

  • If some foods have become more difficult to eat, try choosing and preparing foods differently. For example, for a softer texture, try cooking vegetables instead of eating them raw.

Here are 10 delicious and nutritious Breakfast options to try: 


  1. Warm or Cold oatmeal and berries.

  2. Veggie & Egg Scramble

  3. A hard-boiled egg accompanied by fresh fruit and a slice of whole wheat toast

  4. Whole grain pancakes or waffles with fresh fruits and drizzle of sugar-free syrup

  5. Yogurt parfait – Yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and nuts

  6. Whole wheat toast with a peanut butter or almond butter spread and some fresh fruits

  7. Poached egg on a slice of whole wheat toast with some vegetables on the side

  8. Egg Roll-up – Egg white omelet with diced, cooked sweet peppers, and rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla

  9. Egg Cups – See our previous Blog post from February 12, 2020 for a delicious recipe!

  10. Breakfast Muffins – there are plenty of recipes for delicious and nutritious breakfast muffins that mix sweet with savoury! 


 


**Bonus: When in doubt, a breakfast smoothie can also be the way to go! It can include yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, spinach, peanut butter, ground flax seed, water/milk, or any combination of nutritious fruits, veggies, and proteins!

Whatever options you choose, don’t forget to hydrate with liquids, and just have fun!

Paper Flowers Craft


Today is March 1st! Spring is on its way and we are excited to begin decorating with bright, colourful reminders of the approaching season!

One way to brighten up your elderly loved one’s space is with a colourful paper flower bouquet!

Here’s what you need:

  • Craft paper in Green, Orange, Yellow, and Blue…or any 4 colours of your choice!

  • Craft glue

  • Scissors

  • Pencil for tracing or drawing shapes



Directions

  1. Using blue craft paper (or colour of your choice), draw and cut out a kite shape. This shape is being used as the background and should therefore be the largest shape. Then, using the same colour craft paper, cut out a triangle shape the same size as the bottom of your kite shape. This will be used as the front pocket area for the flowers.

  2. Next, use two corresponding colours (orange and yellow, for example) to draw and cut out 3 flower outlines with 3 circles to represent the middle of the flower. Assemble, by placing the center circles on top of each of the flower shapes, with glue.

  3. Using green craft paper, cut out three long, thin rectangles to act as the flower stems. Glue a stem to each of the flowers.

  4. Place the triangle-shape on top of the kite-shaped background and glue the bottom side edges ONLY in order to keep an opening at the top as a pocket for the flowers.

  5. Once dry, place the flowers inside the pocket and hang or display the beautiful bouquet on a door or wall area.


Baked Feta Pasta

You may have seen this delicious recipe trending all over social media the past couple of weeks, so we decided to give it a try! We tweaked the method a bit, but still used the same fresh ingredients!

Baked Feta Pasta (Tik Tok)

Serves 4 – 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1lb bowtie pasta, or pasta of your choice (adjust amount as necessary)

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes

  • 1 block (approx. 8oz) feta cheese

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 handful of fresh basil, loosely torn

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions


Preheat oven to 400°F

  1. In a large baking dish, add tomatoes and toss with garlic, 1/4cup olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  2. Place feta cheese block in the center of tomatoes (making room so feta sits on the tray itself). Drizzle with remaining olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30mins.

  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, strain.

  5. After 30minutes in the oven, raise the heat to 450°F and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the feta has browned slightly and tomatoes have softened.

  6. Remove the dish from the oven and toss with the pasta.

  7. Finish and serve with fresh basil.

Options include adding chicken, shrimp, or even lobster to the dish for a more protein-packed dish!

Mardi Gras Crafts!


This year, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday as it’s also known as, lands on February 25 (that’s tomorrow!). This day marks the end of Carnival season. It always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, which signals the beginning of Lent.

One of the best elements of this celebration are the array of colours, materials, and sights of the day! Blues, greens, golds, beads, masks, feathers, and elaborate costumes fills the streets in joyous noise!


 


Popular crafts to help symbolize the day and to have a little fun are creating Masks and Hats! Older adults in our care often enjoy painting, colouring, cut & paste tasks, and having a few laughs! So the following activities are great to bring out their creative fun side.

Masks & Hats!

There are a variety of materials and tools to use to make these simple designs. Often finding objects in your own household, craft stores, or dollar stores are the best places to find simple and inexpensive items.

Two craft ideas we will explore today are Masks and the Jester Hat! It’s always important to provide choice to our seniors (**note: placing masks on faces may cause anxiety and fear, so please use your knowledge of your loved one or person in your care, to ensure their safety and well-being).


Masks

One of the most prominent costumes at Mardi Gras are masks! They’re colourful, unique, and fun!

There are many options, instructions, and images in Pinterest (as seen above) and online to help you! I have chosen a few simple simple designs that use store bought and handmade options.

Options:

  • You can use paper plates, by cutting them in half, painting them, cutting out holes for the eyes, and adding flair with beads, sequins, feathers, or glitter! Fasten a Popsicle stick or straw, with tape or glue, as a holder!

  • Find store-bought masks and decorate with feathers, stickers, sequins, and beads! You can also cut out shapes and glue onto the mask as a design option!

  • Using colourful craft paper, trace your loved ones hand prints, glue together, cut-out holes for the eyes, and decorate with stickers, feathers, beads, or their own drawings! Fasten a Popsicle stick or straw, with tape or glue, as a holder! What a great keepsake to not only have their created artwork, but to also have their handprints!

 


Jester Hat

Another great craft our seniors enjoy are the Jester hats! These whimsical and colourful hats are easy to create and fun to wear! Worn by carnival revelers, it’s a great way to share some laughs!

These hats use simple craft paper in the Mardi Gras colours, simple shapes, scissors and glue! You can always jazz it up with beads, sequins, stickers, or their own drawn designs!

Method:

  1. Simply cut a long rectangle that will wrap around the person’s head as a band. Decorate using stickers, drawings, beads, sequins, glitter or shapes cut out of extra paper!

  2. Next, cut 5 – 6 long triangle pieces that will be coming out of the top of the hat. Fasten the base of the triangles to the top of the rectangle band using glue.

  3. Cut shapes like stars or circles to glue to the tip of the triangle. Even more fun would be to use pom-poms that you can find from the store to give it more depth!

  4. Once complete and dry, assemble the hat by bringing the ends of the the rectangle piece together and glue at the seam, ensuring that it will fit snug, but not tight, to the top of their head.

Whatever option you choose, your loved one will have a few laughs, be engaged, and have a great time! And don’t forget, Fat Tuesday isn’t complete without pancakes!! What a deliciously great way to end the celebration!