Choosing Plant-Based "Milk"


 

Q. Are plant-based “milks” equivalent to dairy? How do I know what to choose?

A. “More and more plant-based ‘milks’ are joining the dairy aisle, but consumers should be aware that the nutrient profiles of plant-based products are often quite different than that of their animal-based counterparts,” says Shuhan Zhan, a dietetic intern at Tufts Medical Center.

“Plant-based alternatives are made by grinding beans, grains, or nuts, and adding water and other additives. The amount of added water, vitamins, minerals, and sugar determines the nutrient profile of the specific product. Calcium and vitamin D contents are typically similar between plant-based and animal-based products after fortification, but fat, protein and carbohydrate content vary depending on the type of plant-based product.”

“In general, animal-based options have higher protein content than their plant-based counterparts. For example, one cup of animal-based milk on average contains eight grams of protein, compared to six grams in soymilk and around one gram in almond or coconut milk. Additionally, animal-based products are denser in essential amino acids, which are protein building-blocks that cannot be made in the human body.”

“On average, unsweetened calcium-fortified soymilk is the most nutritionally equivalent to animal-based dairy products, so it can be a good alternative. The nutrient content of plant-based dairy counterparts can vary significantly based on their brands, manufactures, and flavors. It is important to read the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list to look for added sugars and other additives.”

 Reference information from Dr. White:

From the FREE Health & Nutrition Letter.  This article was posted on 6/11/19 by Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition and Science Policy. The focus of the Friedman School and their newsletter is informing older adults about “living longer, healthier, and happier.”  Check it out:   


 

Dehydration


Dehydration among older adults is a hidden and dangerous problem.  What is dehydration?  It occurs when excessive loss of water disrupts normal body functions.  For older people, it happens fast and can be deadly.  
Non-specific symptoms of dehydration include:

·       Fatigue
·       Confusion
·       Irritability
·       Dizziness
·       Disorientation

Older adults should drink at least 64 ounces of water daily to remain hydrated, essential for keeping the mind and body working.  I recommend buying a pitcher or water receptacle, filling it in the morning, and sip water throughout the day.  I have two 32 oz. containers and I drink the contents of one by noon and the other by 7:00 pm.  Some people prefer to buy a half-gallon jar and drink from that all day long and throughout the evening.  Many older adults have water jugs they used while hospitalized and then brought them home.  This is a great strategy, as unless they fill up a jug and sip all day long, they will forget about drinking water.  Having the container nearby is a constant reminder to drink throughout the day. Whatever the method, DRINK!

Older adults have diminished thirst cues.  This is a normal part of aging due to cognitive changes in the hypothalamus.  Thirst receptors in the brain do not tell seniors, “Hey, I’m thirsty” until it is too late.  Often, by that time, the person is already dizzy or confused.  Also, people often mistake thirst for hunger.  Instead of drinking water, they eat! 

People have also told me that they don’t want to drink water because it causes them to use the toilet too many times.  This is especially problematic for women with mobility issues who have difficulty getting up and down off the toilet. I have found women who deliberately withhold water [and liquids in general] to reduce the number of times they use the toilet and that is a dangerous practice. 

I never recommend “nagging” older adults about water intake.  Caregivers should take a positive approach to encourage drinking, such as pouring the water into a glass and offering it as a beverage.  Have straws handy to facilitate drinking and take a proactive approach such as, “Here, I poured some water for you.”  When rebuffed, it is recommended to remind older people that we love them and want them to remain in optimum health. 


Normal Aging ~ Four Issues


From the National Council for Aging Care [NCFAC] in Washington, DC. 
According to their website, “Aging.com is a resource hub for seniors and their families to learn more about planning for healthy aging.”  

This is a wonderful resource for finding credible information and facts about aging.  The site includes categories such as Health & Well Being, Caregiving, Money & Planning, and Lifestyle. The Resources page also has links to other websites including AARP, Medicare.gov, HUD.gov, and the Social Security Administration.  Below is an excerpt of a recent posting from NCFAC forwarded by my gerontologist friend in Fresno, California, Dr. Bill Dailey.  

What is “normal” aging?  It is surprising how many people are unaware of what is considered normal and inevitable. One obvious example of normal aging is getting gray hair.  When asked about normal aging, people usually reply, “memory loss.”  That is incorrect.  Memory loss is not normal at any age.  However, memory SLOWING is normal.  This is known as “cognitive slowing.”  It may take longer for older adults to retrieve information or learn new information, but these cognitive changes are not to be confused with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Four issues related to Normal aging:

1.    Slowed reaction time.  This is due to cognitive slowing, a normal part of aging.  As most of you know, as a gerontologist I have administered driving assessments to older adults.  However, I did not assess anyone age ninety and over, as it is my professional recommendation that persons age ninety and over should NOT operate a motor vehicle due to slowed reaction time. The majority of vehicle crashes caused by older adults happen at intersections, as they are not able to react quickly to avoid other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. 

2.    Skin thinning.  As we age, the skin thins and that results in slower wound healing and bruising.  The condition is exacerbated by sun exposure.  Even a bump on the hand or arm causes bruising and unsightly marks on the skin of older people.  The pads of the feet are also thinned, making walking more painful and slower. 

3.    Weakened immune system.  The immune system is important for fighting diseases and viruses. Take care of yourself!  Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, have timely diagnostics  [mammograms, colonoscopy, PSA testing, etc.], get vaccinated, and have routine physical exams.

4.    Diminished sense of smell and taste.  This may lead to frailty as a result of dehydration and loss of appetite.  The sensors in the tongue and nose diminish over time, causing foods to “taste bland.”  Older adults tend to prefer highly salted foods because their taste receptors are impaired.  It is no surprise that the most eaten foods among older adults are hotdogs and canned soup.  They are loaded with sodium, microwaveable, and cheap.  Eating highly salted foods occasionally is just fine, but eating them routinely is not healthy and may exacerbate hypertension.
 
Thanks for checking in!  Bye for now.  Dr. White, the Agedoc.

Long Term Care Costs


Hi Readers, here are some interesting facts I gathered from researching several resources related to the costs of long term care.  This category of care includes adult day care facilities, home health aides, assisted living facilities, and nursing home care in both private and semi-private rooms.  The website below includes a U.S. interactive map.  Click on your state to determine the approximate costs [2018] for your area.  Dr. White

From the Association for Long Term Care Planning:
People are living much longer today. In fact, 7 out of 10 of individuals 65 years old and above would need long term care. But the issues of aging and needing care is not just a problem of an individual. It’s impact is felt by the whole family.
To protect you and your family, learn about the latest cost of long term care in your area and in all U.S states below. Rates may vary depending on the state you live in. We help aging Americans and their families understand the cost of different types of long term care all over the U.S and how they can plan for their care needs.

Average Cost of Long Term Care 2018
Long Term Care Service
Average Annual Rate
Nursing Home Care (Private Room)
$100,379
Nursing Home Care (Semi-private Room)
$88,348
Assisted Living Facility
$46,350
Adult Day Health Care
$18,746
Homemaker Services
$49,372
Homemaker Health Aide
$50,668

The article below is from the Administration on Aging:

Planning Ahead After Age 65

To help you best plan for your long-term care, after age 65, we’ve pulled together a list of important things you should know and can do now to help you prepare for later.

Things You Should Know

§  Medicare only pays for long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care and Medicare does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), which make up the majority of long-term care services. Read the section on Medicare for more information.
§  There are many different ways to receive care and many different settings in which to receive it. To learn more about different care setting, see the Where You Can Receive Care section of the site.
§  You may be able to receive care from providers and/or local programs in your community. Learn more about local options by visiting the Finding Services page.
§  The need for long-term care often follows a fall. By learning to prevent a fall, you may delay your need for long-term care and even prolong your time at home. Find tips on Falls Prevention.
§  Being close to children or other family is often important when long-term care services are needed.
§  By obtaining an Advanced Care Directive you can inform your family or loved ones about how to make important health decisions for you, should you no longer be able to make those decisions for yourself. Consult the Advance Care Plan Considerations page for more information.
§  While insurance may not be possible there are other options such as a reverse mortgage, or savings. Refer to the Costs & How to Pay section for further information on age-appropriate options.
§  Modifying your home may allow you to stay there longer, as you age. Refer to the Staying in Your Home page for ideas.
§  If you plan on moving to a facility consider the different types of facilities, their associated costs, amenities, and locations. See the Living in a Facility section for more information.

Things You Can Do

§  Obtain an Advanced Care Directive: Advanced Care Plan Considerations
§  Consider home modifications: Staying in Your Home
§  Consider different types of facilities: Living in a Facility

Below are some national average costs for long-term care in the United States (in 2016). Average costs for specific states are also available.
§  $225 a day or $6,844 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home
§  $253 a day or $7,698 per month for a private room in a nursing home
§  $119 a day or $3,628 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
§  $20.50 an hour for a health aide
§  $20 an hour for homemaker services
§  $68 per day for services in an adult day health care center
The cost of long-term care depends on the type and duration of care you need, the provider you use, and where you live. Costs can be affected by certain factors, such as:
§  Time of day. Home health and home care services, provided in two-to-four-hour blocks of time referred to as “visits,” are generally more expensive in the eveningon weekends, and on holidays
§  Extra charges for services provided beyond the basic room, food and housekeeping charges at facilities, although some may have “all inclusive” fees.
§  Variable rates in some community programs, such as adult day service, are provided at a per-day ratebut can be more based on extra events and activities.
Last modified: 10/10/2017


Technology for Older Adults




Hi Readers, I was looking for articles related to the latest technologies to help older adults to “age in place” which means remaining at home for as long as possible.  Thanks to the information age, that is possible! As Dorothy stated to Toto in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”  This is an article I found by Senior Living and it is a comprehensive listing of some of the latest technologies.  Dr. White

Technology for Older Adults
Seniors today are faced with a dilemma. They did not grow up during the era of computers and the internet, yet this age group now depends on this technology. As a result, seniors are learning more and using technologies for the first time. In general, technology is helping to give senior citizens an improved quality of life through increased connectivity and a sense of community.
Seniors and the Internet
The senior population is rapidly accepting the use of the internet. In fact, internet adoption has more than tripled in the past two decades. The Pew Research Center reports that only 14 percent of seniors had internet in their homes in 2000. As of 2017, that number has increased to 67 percent for adults over 65. In addition, 51 percent have high-speed internet known as broadband.

Across the age spectrum from seniors 65 to over 80, the younger segment is more likely to have internet. Eighty-two percent of seniors 65 to 69 have internet, while only 44 percent of those over 80 have internet in their home. For seniors who do use the internet, 71 percent are going online daily.
What are seniors doing online? Forty-six percent were reported to use social networking sites, such as Pinterest or Facebook, according to Pew Research in 2014. As a side note, only three percent of seniors were using Twitter. Another major reason why seniors use the internet is to find information.

In fact, a whopping 94 percent agree that the internet makes finding information far easier. The Advanced Communications Law and Policy Institute reports that 53 percent of seniors use the internet to find information about health care and medical issues. Other top motivators for internet use among seniors is to shop online, search for bargains, keep up with community news, and watch videos.

Seniors are also increasingly more confident with banking online, visiting government websites, and using video chat services like Skype. For instance, seniors can connect with counselors or nurses using video conferencing if they are unable to leave their home due to an illness. Caregivers can also utilize the internet to help them provide better care for seniors. They may control appliances, home security, and lighting in a senior’s home even when they, the caregiver, are not in the home.
Internet technology can also help seniors improve their livelihood. For example, they can watch exercise videos from their home or use the internet to download e-books and e-magazines. Seniors can also play video games, such as virtual reality games on the Nintendo Wii, that provides physical activity and mental stimulation.
Internet Service Providers for Seniors
One roadblock for seniors who want to have internet in their home is affordability. Internet costs can easily exceed $50 to $100 a month just for wireless connectivity. For seniors on a fixed income or low income, this cost is prohibitive. Fortunately, there are options to help senior citizens get internet including broadband access.
Freedom Pop offers 100 percent free high-speed internet service with some exceptions. This includes internet for the home, as well as mobile internet. You can get 500 MB of data for free, but if you want more data or mobile access you will have to pay starting at $4 a month. For 2 GB of data, you will pay $20, increasing to 10 GB of data for $75 a month.

In other words, this type of service is only for seniors who do not use the internet a lot. If you go online daily or watch streaming videos, then this would not be a good option. Another concern is the service area. While most states in the Eastern US are in the Freedom Pop coverage area, those in the Midwest do not have service availability.
The next place to go to find cheap internet for seniors is to individual internet providers. Check with the local internet companies in your area to see if they offer special rates for seniors. Most major companies do. For example, AT&T offers a low-cost wired internet service for low-income households. To qualify for the program, you need to receive Social Security Income benefits or be in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you are eligible, you can get internet for $5 to $10 a month.

Using the Internet to Find Senior Care
Whether you are a caregiver or a senior searching for senior care services, the internet is a gateway to tons of information. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start or how to begin. If you are searching for information about how to choose senior care, such as independent living or hospice care, you can find this online. Here at Senior Living, we offer everything you need to know about finding senior care including:

  • ·        Information about different types of senior housing, such as continuing care retirement communities and active senior apartments
  • ·        How much senior housing costs
  • ·        How to save or pay for senior living
  • ·        Where you can find senior living in your area
  • ·        Basic amenities and services to expect in senior housing
  • ·        Specialized care for seniors with health issues, such as dementia via memory care
All of this information is compiled here for your benefit. Thanks to the internet you can search and read senior living resources at your convenience. In addition, here are some other great resources for finding senior care near you:
·        Volunteers of America owns and operates affordable senior living facilities
·        US Government housing for senior citizens and other resources—scroll down the page for information
·        Medicare assistance for seniors
You can also go to your state’s government website and see what kind of state programs are available for seniors.
Using the Internet to Help Pay for Senior Care
After you have used the internet to find senior housing and senior care resources, you will need to find a way to pay for them. While some seniors have retirement funds and investments for paying for senior care, not everyone is that fortunate. If you need help paying for senior care, use the internet to find the information you need. This saves you the hassle of having to find transportation to and from different agencies for assistance. For seniors who are not able to afford transportation, the internet opens the doors for information.
Here are sites for seniors searching for ways to pay for senior care:
·        Find out if your Medicare coverage pays for your type of senior care
·        Learn about long-term care coverage available by the US Department of Health and Human Services
·        The National Council on Aging provides the BenefitsCheckUp tool, which can search for benefits programs in your area or according to your specific needs.

Using the Internet to Find Elder Law Help
One area that is most troublesome in the senior community is elder abuse. This age group is most susceptible to elder abuse and financial scams because they are likely to have a large amount of money saved for retirement. At the same time, seniors are more likely to suffer from age-related memory loss or some form of health issue that could leave them vulnerable. In addition, seniors often have to depend on other people, such as nurses, financial planners, or caregivers, to help them take care of daily activities. This opens up the doors for criminals who want to find ways to scam, steal from, or otherwise abuse seniors.
When an older person is scammed, stolen from, or abused in some way, this is a crime. Unfortunately, in the past seniors did not have access to many resources to help them combat this issue. This is where the internet offers great promise for seniors. As a senior, you can look for everything from reporting scams to finding an attorney thanks to the internet.

If you think you are being scammed financially you can search online for accurate information about common senior scams via the National Council on Aging.

If you have been scammed you can report this to the FBI.

Find an attorney specializing in elder law at the National Elder Law Foundation.

Learn all about topics of elder law in the US and internationally, and find organizations to assist you at HG.org.


Locate contact information for elder abuse hotlines, state government agencies, and elder laws in your state using the National Center on Elder Abuse resources.
Virtual Retirement Communities
For seniors who are still active and require a low level of care, virtual retirement communities are a viable option. This type of senior living allows individuals to live in their own home. The virtual community is staffed by a team who organizes a multitude of services and programs for members. These may include transportation, assistance with medical appointments, grocery shopping, organized group outings, and aid with applying for benefits. This type of senior care is similar to independent living facilities, with the exception that seniors can remain in their home.

Another major benefit of a virtual retirement community is that it gives seniors a way to connect with other people their age. So how much does this type of senior living cost? It is actually one of the most affordable options out there, with the understanding that seniors will have to pay for their own housing. Virtual retirement communities cost an average of $450 a year or $600 for couples. If you have already paid for your house and have minimal utilities and living expenses, this can be the cheapest form of senior care available.
Senior Technology Products
With the advent of the internet, we have also seen an explosion of technologies that are geared at electronics, automation, and connectivity. Most of these technologies, such as security camera systems, tablets, and smartphones, depend on internet connectivity to fully function. Seniors who have access and an understanding of technology can reap the rewards. Let’s jump right in and discuss the different types of senior tech products and how they are being utilized by this age demographic.
Tablets and E-Readers
Tablets, such as iPads, have opened the doors of computer technology for all ages. As a senior who did not learn how to use computers in school, the invention of the keyboard-free laptop with easy-to-use icons as apps is a life changer. At the same time, a tablet can be used to do anything a computer can, from creating a document to printing out photos with a wireless printer.

Seniors are able to play games that stimulate their mind. They can connect in chat rooms and on social media using a tablet. In addition, a tablet bridges the generations. Seniors can use the same tablets as their children and grandchildren, which helps these age groups bond with each other.

Using technology, seniors can have an entire library at the tips of their fingers. E-readers including the Kindle and Nook products allow seniors the ability to download content to read inexpensively. Most public libraries now provide free e-book rentals including magazine downloads on e-readers. This allows seniors on a fixed income to learn and stay connected to the world at large without spending any money, beyond the initial cost of the e-reader. In fact, tablets have e-reader apps available so that seniors can purchase a tablet and use it for computing, online social activity, and reading.
Cell Phones and Smartphones
According to the Pew Research Center, four out of 10 senior citizens have a smartphone in 2017. Eighty percent of seniors over 65 own a cellphone of any kind. The largest group of seniors to have a cellphone are those between 65 and 69, whereas 95 percent have a mobile phone. The smallest group is those seniors over 80 with 58 percent having a cellphone. Having a phone as a senior offers benefits as well as challenges.

These mobile devices give seniors the ability to stay connected with loved ones and caregivers. They can talk or text whenever they are feeling lonely or need assistance. More importantly, in the event of an emergency, they have a way to make a call no matter where they are at, as long as they have access to their phone.
At the same time, with updates and changes to cell phone technology, this can be difficult for seniors to keep up with. Often seniors need help from caregivers or cell phone technicians to understand new features to their devices. In addition, seniors may struggle with using certain types of cell phones that do not offer accessibility features. These include increased font sizes, magnification, speech output, and hearing aid compatibility. Seniors may have trouble finding phones that provide such features or understanding how to access these on their devices.
Senior Citizen Apps
Along with increased smartphone use is the growing demand for apps. These cell phone programs offer an array of benefits for seniors who may need help remembering, keeping track of medication, or finding their parked car. Here are a few recommended apps for senior citizens:


  • ·        Pill Reminder by Medisafe to remind seniors to take medication, while alerting family or caregivers if meds are not taken on time
  • ·        Doctor on Demand connects seniors with board-certified psychologists and doctors who offer medical advice via live video calls
  • ·        Mimi Hearing Test to test your hearing in seconds
  • ·        VocalEyes AI that speaks aloud and tells you everything that is on the phone screen
  • ·        Magnifying Glass With Light to improve sight for individuals with vision loss or age-related macular degeneration
Best of all, these apps are free to download and available on most devices.
Transportation and Technology
Seniors who are unable to drive can benefit from the use of technology and apps for transportation. Two of the most popular and most common of these services are Uber and Lyft. The way these transportation services work is you download an app on your smartphone. You enter your destination and the app alerts you to their drivers who are nearby. Payment is made through the app, by using your credit or debit card information. This transportation service is ideal for seniors who want to remain independent and on the go but may lack the ability to drive.
Food Delivery Services
Technology has evolved food delivery services into much more than just pizza delivery. There are dozens of food subscription boxes on the market including:

  • ·        Hello Fresh
  • ·        Blue Apron
  • ·        Plated
  • ·        Green Chef
  • ·        Purple Carrot
These food subscriptions provide consumers with boxes of ingredients and recipe cards for a set number of meals each week. Some subscriptions let you choose your recipes while others surprise diners. At the same time, some subscription services are focused on healthy eating, like Green Chef, while others send out recipes that are quick and easy, like Plated. If you love to cook for yourself, but lack the mobility to go grocery shopping, these food delivery services are popular options. Keep in mind you will pay top dollar, as a single meal for one person averages at $12 a plate.
Wearable Technology for Seniors
Wearable tech includes fitness tracking watches, but offer a lot more for seniors. The most common wearable technology for seniors is a medical alert system. These systems feature necklaces or bracelets that are connected to home phone or cell phone lines. In addition, there are daily activity wearables for seniors that are more like the Fit Bit. These devices monitor the wearer’s vitals, such as their blood oxygen level or sleep activity.
Assistive Technology Devices
An assistive technology device (ATD) help seniors feel and be safer in their home, whether they live in an assisted living apartment or their own home. These senior living aids help individuals perform daily activities, such as walking through their home or using the toilet, with decreased strain. Here are some of the most common types of ATDs for seniors:
·       Stair lifts
·       Residential elevators
·       Power wheelchairs and scooters
·       Amazon Echo and Google Home devices
·       Doorbell video cameras
·       In-house video monitoring systems
·       Roomba vacuum cleaners
·       Reminder Rosie, a voice-controlled clock
·       Bed and Chair Fallguard to protect in case someone falls out of their bed or chair
·       Remote controls with super-sized numbers
·       Computer screen magnifying devices
Another ATD that is highly needed for seniors with vision loss is lighting. This can be as simple as adding reading lamps to desks and dining tables, and standing lamps in hallways and dark areas of the house. It just goes to show that sometimes the simplest of technologies can remain as effective in helping seniors live a healthy and safe life.


Choosing Plant-Based "Milk"

  Q. Are plant-based “milks” equivalent to dairy? How do I know what to choose? A.  “More and more plant-based ‘milks’ are joining...