Did you know that 1 in 3 adults is at risk to develop Type 2 diabetes?

This risk gets worse as people grow older and organs don’t function as well as they used to.

In this post, I will be explaining exactly what Type 2 diabetes is, the symptoms associated with the disease, and why you or your elderly loved one needs to see a doctor immediately to manage diabetes.

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

When you eat, your body breaks down food into different molecules that are then transported in your blood to your cells so that they can perform the functions that are necessary for life.

One of the major molecules that is broken down from your food is glucose (sugar). Glucose is an important source of fuel for your body and is at the core of many important biological and chemical processes in your body.

Glucose is transported in your blood to your cells.

You can think of your cells as a house with a door.

The key to that door is another chemical produced by your body called insulin.

In a non-diabetic person, insulin “opens the door” to your cells and allows glucose to enter into your cells.

In Type 2 diabetes however, insulin does not function properly and so glucose is unable to enter into the cells.

This results in high concentrations of sugar in the blood (this is not where sugar should be!) and ultimately results in Type 2 diabetes.

Now you’re probably thinking “But why would insulin suddenly not function properly?”

There are a few reasons why this might happen.

  1. It could be that your pancreas- the gland in your body which produces insulin- does not produce enough insulin
  2. Or it could be that even though there is insulin, your cells are resistant to the insulin for some reason and thus not allowing glucose to enter your cells.

Whatever the case is however, Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that requires medical attention.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:

  1. Increased urination. You notice that your elderly loved one has the need to urinate more than before.
  2. Increased thirst.
  3. Increased hunger. Because glucose does not enter your cells like it should, you experience intense hunger.
  4. Sudden unexplained weight loss.
  5. Fatigue.
  6. Blurred vision.
  7. Wounds that are slow to heal. Infections may be difficult to clear as well because your immune system is somewhat compromised.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Where there’s smoke, there is usually fire right?

Although scientists are not completely sure what causes diabetes, the following are risk factors associated with the disease.

Reducing/managing these risk factors can also reduce the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

  1. Obesity.
  2. Family history. If a parent or sibling has had Type 2 diabetes, it increases your risk significantly. And even though this is not a risk factor you can modify, modifying other things can keep the disease at bay.
  3. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age. The risk goes up significantly after age 45.
  4. Lack of physical activity. Physical activity helps you lose weight, and makes your cells more responsive to insulin.
  5. Race. African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared to Caucasians.
  6. Gestational diabetes. This is true for women who had a temporary form of diabetes while they were pregnant.
  7. An unhealthy diet.

As you can see, while many of these risk factors are things you can’t help, losing weight through physical activity and a healthy diet will help to significantly reduce your risk for diabetes.

What can you do as a caregiver?

As a caregiver, the best thing you can do for an elderly loved one with diabetes is to help them pay attention to medical advice.

Diabetes is a disease that appear “not serious” until complications develop.

Usually, those complications are hard to treat and can be fatal.

Thus your job as a caregiver is to encourage your loved one to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise– even 30 minutes of exercise three times weekly can do wonders
  • Take medicines that are prescribed to them. You will also have to pay attention to any side effects of prescribed medication so that you can report them immediately
  • Watch your loved one for complications of diabetes (we will talk about this in another blog post).

Closing Thoughts

Diabetes is one of those disease that can “lurk” in the background until it is too late.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what Type 2 diabetes is, take action for yourself or your elderly loved one before it is too late.

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Didn’t think the health of your brain was connected to heart?

Think again!

Although the heart and the brain are located in very different parts of your body and you wouldn’t think they affect each other, keeping your heart healthy can contribute to a healthy brain.

Here’s the deal: whenever your heart beats, blood is pumped out to all organs of your body: your brain included.

The blood that is carried to the different parts of your body contains oxygen and nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Just before the blood reaches the brain, there is a layer called the Blood Brain Barrier that allows for oxygen and nutrients to move into your brain cells.

Because the quality of blood that reaches your brain from your heart depends heavily on the health of your heart, it is important to keep it healthy to ensure everything keeps running smoothly.

High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can all affect the brain in a bad way.

Add in the reality that as we age, there’s an increased risk for heart-disease and heart-related problems, and this is a topic that needs to be taken seriously.

Because we take your overall health seriously, in this post, we will talk about how you can have a healthy brain by keeping a healthy heart.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension happens when the pressure of blood against the walls of a person’s blood vessels is too high.

When a person has high blood pressure, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the brain.

Over time, this overworking of the heart leads to a weakened heart and blood vessels that are not effective at transporting blood to your brain.

When this happens, your brain is starved and unable to function at the level it needs to.

How do you keep high blood pressure at bay?

While there are drugs that can help you keep blood pressure low, eating a healthy diet with reduced salt and exercising regularly is helpful when it comes to keeping blood pressure down.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a natural product that forms a part of your cells.

It can however become dangerous when you have too much of it in your blood.

Because cholesterol is a waxy-like substance, it easily sticks to the walls of your blood vessels.

Over time, it can cause plaque- a hard substance which clogs your blood vessels.

As you can imagine, clogged blood vessels are not going to be effective at transporting blood.

How can you keep cholesterol levels low?

Eating foods low in LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the first step to getting your cholesterol under control.

Food that are high in good cholesterol (HDL) cholesterol help to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.

These foods include:

  • Olive oil
  • Beans and legumes
  • Whole grains
  • High-fiber foods
  • Flax
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts

Exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating a low carbohydrate diet can also contribute to lowering cholesterol.

Some people have naturally high levels of cholesterol because they have a hereditary condition known as familial cholesterolemia.

For such people, a doctor may recommend medications to keep cholesterol low.

Because there are no real symptoms that show you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it’s important to get consistent check-ups to make sure a doctor catches these problems during the early stages.

Keep a healthy brain by keeping your heart healthy

As we age, the risk for heart conditions goes up.

Because there is risk for memory loss and dementia with old age, it is especially important that we keep our hearts healthy so everything else is healthy.

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July 2, 2018 Personal Care0

Are you trying to help your elderly loved one become active?

Perhaps you’re running into roadblocks helping your elderly loved one be active?

It’s normal!

Even as younger people, there are those of us that naturally love to exercise and others who would never exercise if they could help it.

So if you’re having trouble motivating your elderly loved one to exercise, please realize that is is a normal response.

Exercise has many positive benefits no matter your age.

So in this post, I am going to give you 7 practical ways to encourage exercise for seniors.

7 Ways To Encourage Exercise For Seniors

#1- Offer to exercise with them

We have to live what we preach right?

So if you are asking your elderly loved one to get active, one of the best ways to do it is for you to model it yourself by participating in an exercise activity with them.

Research shows we are more likely to participate in an activity if there are other people doing it with us.

Exercises that you can do with them include:

  • Taking a walk in the park
  • If you prefer to work out at home, be the room together. You could be using the treadmill while they use a bicycle.
  • Using a video workout program? Schedule a time where you can do the video workout together.
  • If you’re both a fan of technology, getting a fitness tracker/smart watch like the Fit Bit allows you to be in competition with friends and family. Adding some competition into the game can mix things up and make it fun.

The likelihood that your loved one will exercise will increased dramatically if you exercise with them.

#2- Make it easy

Chances are your elderly loved one does not need to build up their muscles for a weight-lifting competition.

Make things easy for them.

As human beings, when anything is turned into a grueling chore, we tend to avoid that thing.

So make exercise and getting active as easy as possible for your elderly loved one.

#3- Take their health/physical condition into consideration

In helping your senior get active, please don’t ignore their health and physical condition.

In fact, I would say to consult with a doctor to make sure the physical activity you are planning on is safe for your loved one.

If they have diabetes, there are special considerations if there will be intense exercises.

#4- Get your healthcare provider on board

While we are still on the topic of talking to the doctor to make sure exercise is safe for your elderly loved one, it also helps if they are on board with their advice.

According to the National Institutes of Health recommendations, adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise activity 5 days in a week.

Interestingly, as we get older, compliance with this recommendation go down.

And understandably so.

Health problems tend to mount as we grow older.

Mobility typically becomes challenging.

And overall motivation to get involved in exercise activities goes down.

A research study published by Oxford Academic journal Age and Aging suggested that even though this is the case, getting healthcare providers involved helps.

Seniors who were reminded to exercise at their doctor’s appointment tended to exercise more than their counterparts who were not given these reminders at appointments.

#5- Find exercises they enjoy. Do more of those.

Nobody likes to do exercises they don’t enjoy.

If you find that your senior loved one does not like a particular exercise, don’t force it on them.

Instead, find out from them and also study which exercise activities they enjoy.

Encourage more of those activities.

#6- Stop if there is pain

A lot of exercise gurus say to work through the pain.

This is not safe.

Pain exists as one of our body’s mechanisms warning us that something is wrong.

While there may be some pain we feel during and/or after exercise, if the pain is unlike anything your loved one has ever experienced, it is time to stop the activity.

I would say to go a step further and to seek medical attention if need be.

Acquiring an injury during exercise can discourage people from exercising altogether.

#7- Celebrate wins along the way

This is especially important if your elderly loved one was not active before but has made the effort to stay consistent with their exercise regimen for a number of weeks or months.

We all love a pat on the back when we’ve done a good job.

Celebrate these wins along the way to encourage them.

Closing Thoughts

In this post, I’ve shared 7 practical ways to encourage exercise for seniors.

We all need motivation to reach our exercise goals.

Sticking to those goals as we get older is challenging regardless of who you are.

You can use these tips to encourage your elderly loved one to get up and go!

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It seems we spend most of our adult life battling the bulge wishing for an easy way to lose weight. But, for some older adults, unintentional weight loss causes medical problems. According to the American Family Physician , 16-28 percent of people experiencing unintended weight loss present with no easily identifiable cause.

Elderly people lose weight for many reasons. Natural changes in the body cause reductions in bone and muscle mass. But, rapid weight loss often has a more dynamic underlying cause. Understanding how certain illnesses affect weight, eating, and nutrition will help you create a diet plan to help your loved one.


According to the National Cancer Institute, advancing age is a very important risk factor for getting cancer. More than 40% of people reported unintended weight loss when diagnosed with cancer according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. While cancer is by no means the only cause of unexplained weight loss there is a strong correlation between why elderly people lose weight and cancer. Cancer takes a bite out of physic for many reasons. Cancer cells may affect metabolism and impact the immune system.

Changes to the immune system or metabolism may affect the way food is processed and supplied to the body. People with cancer sometimes report nausea, vomiting, and loss of taste. This makes eating undesirable to some cancer patients which may contribute to unintended weight loss. Depending on the systems affected by cancer, constipation, nutrient absorption, swallowing, and mechanical breakdown of food may become compromised.

If your loved one receives a diagnosis of cancer there are things you can do to help with unintended weight loss:.

Increase the amount of food your loved one gets.

Avoid heavy foods especially before treatments.

Record the foods your loved one eats and record how she feels after eating. Foods that increase nausea should be avoided.

Work with a dietician or nutritionist to create a diet plan that prevents unintended weight loss and nausea.


Dementia is the umbrella term for a constellation of illness that present with cognitive impairment including Alzheimer’s Disease. Changes in diet and weight are hallmark indications that mental processing may be affecting eating habits. Often, people who are experiencing mild cognitive impairment undergo subtle changes in diet. If you ask a loved one with mild cognitive impairment if she is hungry, she may say no. But, if you place a plate of yummy food infront of her she will dig right in. Sometimes people with dementia lose sensitivity to sensations of hunger and fatigue and must be cued to eat.

You can help your loved one stop unintended weight loss by giving food at appropriate meal times. Do not offer food. Your loved one may not recognize the need to eat. Take into consideration your loved one’s tastes and prepare to cater to them. People who experience cognitive change may also experience personality changes. Foods that were once adored might now be abhorred.

Change food presentation. Changes in food perception affect what your loved one perceives as appetizing. Big plates of food might look abundant but can cause anxiety in someone with dementia. Some studies have shown that color plates improve overall food intake over plain white plates – you can’t eat what you can’t see.

Model eating behaviors. Dementia often interferes with a person’s ability to complete simple processes. Busy tables make distinguishing food more difficult. And, the use of a fork might become more complicated than your loved one can manage. Consider offering finger foods. To learn more about dementia specific weight loss click here!


When elderly people lose weight it is important to check with their doctor to ensure medications are not contributing to unintended weight loss. Medications have a myriad of side effects. Some medications act as appetite suppressants or affect the body’s ability to process nutrients. Interactions between medications can also affect a person’s weight. Medication side effects may also include swelling and fatigue. While these symptoms do not directly affect nutritional processes they may adversely affect a person’s ability to prepare and shop for food.

Depression Loneliness and Pain

Depression may affect your loved one’s desire to engage in activity. People who experience depression often report a decrease in appetite. Elderly people lose weight unintentionally when they feel isolated. Your loved one may experience the loss of loved ones and independence. These emotional changes sometimes contribute to declines in food interest.

Pain impacts a person’s desire to engage in meals. If your loved one experiences pain, speak to her doctor about getting it under control. She may feel more interest in food if she doesn’t ache.

If you think your loved one’s weight loss stems from depression, loneliness, or pain, consider sharing mealtimes together daily. You can also hire a caregiver to prepare meals and offer companionship.

Wrap Up

Elderly People lose weight for a variety of reasons. You will need to be patient when encouraging more food intake. Underlying health, emotional, and cognitive issues make food consumption a lower priority or less efficient. Work with your loved one to find and create appetizing foods.



April 30, 2018 Personal Care0

Feet are the foundation for movement. When your loved one’s feet hurt it compromises many other activities. Foot care is super important to keep on top of. Feet are often neglected and get little attention till there is a raging issue. Elderly foot care is important to your loved one’s health.

Follow these foot care best practices for happy feet!

Take Time to Look at Feet

This may sound obvious but consider where feet spend most of their time: in socks or shoes, undercovers, or at the far end of your visual field. Rarely do you get close and personal with feet. As people age it becomes more and more difficult to reach toes and see changes in foot health. Your loved one may feel foot issues but conditions like neuropathy interfere with regular sensation processing. Neuropathy affects peripheral nerves and is more common in people with diabetes. It can cause numbness and weakness in feet making it hard to sense other emerging issues.

This is why it is important to give feet regular close inspection. But, what are you looking for? Common red flags in elderly foot care include:


Burning pain

Open sores

Noticable changes

If your loved one exhibits any of these signs, you may want to seek medical attention.

Work with a Podiatrist

Podiatrists work on feet and lower limbs. They specialize in preventing and diagnosing foot issues and are experts in elderly foot care. Podiatrists work to correct feet deformities and are skilled at keeping people mobile, relieving pain, and managing infections.

They often treat a range of conditions including:

Foot and toenail fungus

Calluses and corns



Open sores and blisters



Podiatry care is covered by medicare. Most podiatrist see patients in medical offices but a few offer mobile services and will come directly to your loved one’s home. If your loved one has any foot concerns a podiatrist is a person to add to your team.

Practice Great Foot Hygiene

Prevention is key when it comes to good elderly foot care. Wash your loved one’s feet with mild soap and make sure to thoroughly dry them. Keep feet moisturized. Cracked dry skin may feel uncomfortable and might contribute to infections.

Keep your loved one’s toenails trimmed. Cut toenails straight across and do not round the corners. This helps keep toenails from growing into the sides of the toe causing ingrown toenails. Podiatrists help with toenail care and nail salons also often provide elderly foot care.

Encourage your loved one to keep feet elevated while at rest. Elevating feet supports good circulation. Be aware of other medical forces like diabetes. People who have diabetes are susceptible to gangrene if feet do not receive regular care.

Check to make sure shoes fit properly. As feet swell and change shoes may not fit the same. Poorly fitting shoes can cut off circulation and cramp toes. Cramped toes can lead to ingrown toenails and infection.

Wrap Up

Foot hygiene is an important part of personal care. Ensuring the foot health of your loved one means regularly checking feet for changes, redness, and swelling, open sores, and discomfort. Your attention to your loved one’s foot health helps prevent issues with mobility, infection, and illness.



April 18, 2018 Personal Care0

As we age and health concerns begin to take center stage, personal beauty care sometimes takes a back seat. It is important to remember that personal image is important to emotional health and wellbeing. You should help your loved one maintain personal care even if cognitive changes have made her unaware of her personal care needs.

Maintaining personal beauty care routines may take extra time. And, you may have to modify personal care rituals. But, it is important your loved one feels prepared for the day. Personal care rituals span a wide range of activities. For some, personal care includes a shower and a clean pair of pants. While others feel good with a fresh fancy outfit and full makeup and hair.

Personal beauty care routines often stem from lifetime habits. So, check with your loved one about the personal care tasks she enjoys most and wants to continue. The following beauty rituals are important at any age.

Keep Toes and Feet Clean and Trimmed

Toe care is often difficult to maintain as your loved one ages. Funguses, dry skin, and changes in toe health are important health concerns. Toenails become thick and difficult to cut. Conditions like diabetes makes toenail cutting riskier, and most home care organizations do not provide toenail care.

So who can clip toes? Family members often take on this role. But, podiatrists provide excellent foot care, and some will provide house calls. If your loved one has ingrown toenails, foot pain, or fungus issues a call to the podiatrist might be your best bet.

Nail salons provide good foot care, and your loved one might enjoy the experience. Not only will feet be trimmed and cleaned, but a fresh coat of paint might lift your loved one’s spirits. Going to the nail salon is an enjoyable outing for you and your loved one.

Mouth Care

Sometimes, dental care feels less important than cardio and neuro doctor appointments. But, keeping your loved one’s mouth clean and cared for is important to personal daily care. Research shows a possible link between periodontitis and compromised glycemic management. So, diabetics, who have inflamed gums, may experience complications with blood sugar management.

When you take steps to preserve teeth, and prevent painful mouth conditions you support your loved ones health. Practice daily brushing of teeth. If your loved one doesn’t have teeth, then clean gums daily with a warm cloth.

Hair Care

Hairstyle is such a personal statement. If your loved always kept hair colored and styled, try to honar that practice by helping her keep it up. Preserving personal image may help your loved one stay focused and motivated in other care areas like exercise and nutrition.

Rinseless shampoos help keep hair clean if showering is difficult. You can set an appointment at the local beauty salon for a weekly hair style, and a fun outing. Make personal beauty care fun.

For men, create a regular routine for facial hair care. Electric razors make face care easier. There are barbers who offer expert face shaves, and a nice experience to boot.

Make Up

Each woman spends a lifetime developing her personal make up style. While some make up applications require more detailed hands. A favorite shade of lipstick might be just what your loved one needs to feel ready to face the day.

Talk to you loved one about what makes her feel beautiful. You may want to choose one or two of her signature personal beauty care practices to keep up. Be respectful that personal makeup routines are often wrapped up in identity. And, preserving those rituals supports emotional well being.

Final Thoughts

While makeup and hair styling my not be foremost on your daily care list consider how personal beauty care may positively impact your loved one’s emotional state.

Caring for someone else is about more than meeting daily needs. Great caregiving supports a person’s positive self image. The best caregivers want loved ones to continue doing the things that make them feel empowered and beautiful.

If you would like more information about home care, and san diego home care resources check out this article: San Diego Home Care – Everything You Need to Know


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