Why Should Seniors Take Care of Their Teeth?

Senior dental problems can be
common, from dry mouth to periodontal disease, and since oral health directly
impacts the health of the rest of the body, these issues need to be taken seriously.
Taking care of elderly teeth and gums is just as important as heart or
digestive health.
Researchers have found that
many diseases in the rest of the body have oral symptoms. With careful
examination of the teeth, gums, and tongue, dentists have found evidence of
heart or liver disease, eating disorders, diet deficiencies, anemia, diabetes,
arthritis, HIV, osteoporosis, and even some autoimmune diseases. “We’re now
realizing how they’re interrelat-ed,” explains Dr. Cynthia M. Carlsson,
assistant professor of geriatrics and gerontology at the University of
Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
For example,
recent studies show a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. In
fact, risk factors for periodontal disease and cardiovas-cular disease are
similar: smoking, stress, poor diet, excessive weight gain, and low exercise
levels. One study suggests that people with severe periodontal disease face
double the risk of fatal heart disease, and severe periodontal disease also is
associated with higher rates of stroke in some studies. And in certain
circumstances, a tooth infection has the potential to cause bacterial
endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart’s inner lining or the
heart valves. Bacteria in the bloodstream can lodge on the valves or damaged heart tissue, and it
could be serious enough to dam-age, or even destroy, the heart valves.
Periodontitis also appears to
share risk factors with chronic degenerative diseases such as ulcerative
colitis, and lupus. If a patient has severe gum disease, they may be advised to
take antibiotics before undergoing invasive dental procedures such as gum
surgery or tooth extraction.
Conversely, other diseases can
affect the mouth. For example, diabetes affects healing, so if a diabetic
senior has gum disease, it may take quite a bit longer to treat that gum
Researchers now urge both doctors and dentists to be alert
to overall health problems when taking care of elderly patients and encourage
be-haviors that will promote a healthy body from head to toes.
Found at: www.aplaceformom.com

Why Quaility Pays – Cool Car

This man Owned & Drove the same car for 82 YEARS.  

Can you imagine even having the same car for 82 years!
“How Long Have You Owned a Car?”
Mr. Allen Swift ( Springfield , MA.) received this 1928 
Rolls-RoycePiccadilly-P1 Roadster from his father,
brand new – as a graduation gift in 1928. He drove it up until his death last 
year…..at the age of 102 !!! He was the oldest living owner of a car that was 
purchased new.
Just thought you’d like to see it. It was donated to a Springfield museum after his 
death. It has 1,070,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any 
speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition. (82 years). That’s approximately 13,048 
miles per year (1087 per month)…
1,070,000 that’s miles not kilometres!!

Oral Hygiene and Your Overall Health

How well you care for your
teeth and gums has a powerful effect on your overall health. Neglecting your
oral health can lead to more than just sore teeth and bad breath, it can open
the door to all sorts of health problems, including some diseases like oral cancer.
Researchers have found possible connections between gum problems and heart
disease, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and even problem pregnancies.

A number of dietary habits and
lifestyle factors can affect oral health including:
Sugar consumption. This will contribute to tooth decay and gum
Smoking. Smoking cigarettes and cigars can lead to gum disease,
tooth decay, and oral cancer.
Changes in weight. For those who wear dentures, changes in body weight
tend to affect the way den-tures fit. To maintain a healthy weight and fight
tooth decay, the ADA advises people to eat a diet rich in high-fiber fruits and
Medication. Some medications can cause internal staining of the
teeth, such as tetracycline staining, depending on the age you take them. Some
medications can also cause dry mouth, which can make you more prone to gum
disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
To maintain
your oral health and overall health you should see your dentist regularly to
head off any problems early. You can practice good hygiene at home by carefully
brushing and flossing your teeth regularly in order to prevent plaque from
accumulating and causing problems.
Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/101/healthy-mouth-healthy-body.aspx

Understanding Clostridium Difficile

Clostridium Difficile, or C. diff, is a bacterium that is found in the gut. It generally cohabitates
with the good bacteria to keep your intestinal tract healthy. The problem arises
when antibiotics are used to fight an infection.

Often times it will kill off the “good” bacteria along with the infection. This will leave the “bad” C. diff to grow unchecked in your system. This can lead to something as mild as slight diarrhea to, in rare cases,

C. diff is most prevalent in hospitals, nursing homes and long term care facilities.
It is generally transmitted person to person and the spores are in the feces and
can live indefinitely on toilet seats, handrails, thermometers, and other hard surfaces.

The spores are very resilient. This makes it highly contagious. The best way to clean
your hands is with soap and water, as alcohol based sanitizers can stop the spread of
the germs, but are not strong enough to kill the spores. A bleach solution should be
used to clean any hard surfaces. If your loved one is diagnosed with C diff infection,
they should be isolated from others and anyone working with them or visiting them
should be in gloves and gowns.

Can C. diff be cured? Yes. Sometimes just stopping antibiotics can cure a mild case.
Ironically enough though, it often takes another antibiotic to stop it. Probiotics can be
beneficial as they help to restore the healthy bacteria level in the gut. Occasionally
surgery will be required, but only for severe cases. The best cure is prevention.

In addition to healthy hygiene habits, encourage your patient or loved one to ask questions
before automatically accepting antibiotic therapy.

The Importance of Handwashing for Caregivers

Winter is coming and so are all
the nasty cold and flu germs. There are an esti-mated 52 million cases of the
common cold each year. You can protect yourself from being one of them. The
simple technique of hand washing can make a big difference in how you weather
the storm. Hand washing is not only important for caregivers, but also for
clients, family members and friends. It’s important all day, every day, not
only when you are at work.
Caregivers should wash their
hands when they arrive at their assigned case. This cuts down on the bacteria
that are brought into the client’s home. Water should be warm, but not hot.
Liquid hand soap is preferred over bar soap that is sitting by the sink and
used by many people. The liquid hand soap does not have to be antibacterial.
Friction is important in cleaning hands so be sure to rub hands and fingers
vigorously. Sing the Happy Birthday song to yourself two times while washing
your hands. Rinse well with running water. Drying hands with disposable hand
towels is better than using the family’s cloth hand towel hanging on the
bathroom rack. This prevents the transfer of bacteria to your just cleaned
Teach your client how to wash
his/her hands and do so during morning care. If you take your client out to an
appointment, store, or restaurant, be sure that you both wash your hands when
returning home. Children and family members who come in from school and work
should wash up before coming in contact with the client. When you return to
your own home, washing your hands is the first thing you should do.
handwashing can be drying to your skin, especially in cold weather. Using a
good hand cream or moisturizer is just as important as washing hands in the
first place. If your skin becomes dry and cracked, you will be more vulnerable
to germs entering your body. Your skin is your first line of defense in
protecting your body from germs so keep it clean and keep it intact. Stay well
and have a great winter!
Article written by Lois
Gillespie B.S.R.N.
Reprinted with permission from
Danbury Nurses Registry December 2011


AARP Article and Blog posted 2/6/13:
A federal judge has approved the proposed Settlement
Agreement in the Medicare Improvement Standard case, Jimmo vs. Sebelius
clearing the way for thousands of Medicare beneficiaries to receive needed health services to maintain their
current level of functioning.
The settlement, which represents a
significant change in Medicare coverage rules, ends Medicare’s longstanding
practice of requiring people to show a likelihood of improvement in order to
receive coverage of skilled care and therapy services.
, which is retroactive to the date the suit was filed –  January
18, 2011 — includes skilled services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B,
such as speech, occupational or physical
, nursing and home health services, even when the goal is maintaining
the patient’s current condition rather than requiring that the patient improve.
“We are not
surprised but are very pleased that the judge ruled the settlement is fair,
reasonable and adequate,” said Gill Deford, Litigation Director of the
Center for Medicare Advocacy
. “This moment is a culmination of two years of hard work, in
conjunction with partners and advocates, to ensure that those who need health
services covered under the Medicare law are not denied based on an illegal,
outdated rule of thumb.”
The Medicare law has never supported the “improvement standard.”
Nevertheless, for decades beneficiaries have been denied needed services
because they are not improving or have “plateaued,” sometimes
with devastating results
. The Center for Medicare Advocacy says
providing maintenance services will save money in the long run, preventing
decline, hospitalizations and need for more expensive services.
The official approval of the settlement means the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (CMS) must develop and implement an education campaign to
ensure that Medicare providers are not denying coverage for vital maintenance
services to those with any chronic illness who meet other qualifying Medicare
requirements. These illnesses include, but are not limited to, Parkinson’s
disease, Alzheimer’s or other dementia, strokes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes
or paralysis.
The “maintenance standard” is effective immediately. If you or someone
you are caring for has a chronic illness and needs skilled services to prevent
further deterioration, contact your health provider. The Center for Medicare
Advocacy is offering a number of resources including Frequently
Asked Questions
 and self-help
those appealing denials.


The dental concerns of elder patients cover a range of oral health problems such as root decay
and periodontal disease. Promoting good oral hygiene can help geriatric patients with
natural teeth or dentures safeguard their oral health between dental visits with the following
practical tips:
  • Patients with limited use of their hands (such as patients with rheumatoid arthritis) try adapting their toothbrushes by inserting the toothbrush handle into a rubber ball or a sponge hair curler. They can also lengthen toothbrush handles with a piece of wood or

  • plastic such as a ruler.Recommend electric toothbrushes for patients with dexterity problems who cannot use a manual toothbrush. Studies have shown electric brushes efficiently remove plaque and aid in gum stimulation.
  • Promote daily brushing and flossing to protect against root and tooth decay.
  • Recommend that patients with partial or full dentures use a soft toothbrush or denturecleaning brush along with a commercially prepared denture powder or paste, hand soap, or baking soda. Dentures should be brushed inside and outside and rinsed with cool water. Remind patients to brush partial dentures, their remaining natural teeth and gums, and especially the teeth supporting the denture.

Recommend submerging dentures in water or a denture-cleaning solution to prevent drying
when not in use. Source: Aging Well Magazine 2011

10 Tips for Communicating with a person with Dementia

Improving your communication
skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the
quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills
will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter
as you care for a person with a dementia.
1.       Set
a positive mood for inter-action.
Your attitude and body language
communicate your feelings and thoughts stronger than your words. Set a positive
mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use
facial expressions, tone of voice and physical touch to help convey your
message and show your feelings of affection.
2.       Get
the person’s attention.
Limit distractions and noise—turn off the radio or
TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings.
Before speaking, make sure you have her attention; address her by name, identify
yourself by name and relation, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep
her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
3.       State
your message clearly.
Use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly,
distinctly and in a reassuring tone. Refrain from raising your voice higher or
louder; in-stead, pitch your voice lower. If she doesn’t understand the first
time, use the same wording to repeat your message or question. If she still
doesn’t understand, wait a few minutes and rephrase the question. Use the names
of people and places instead of pronouns or abbreviations.
Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work
best. Refrain from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choices. For
example, ask, “Would you like to wear your white shirt or your blue shirt?” Better
still, show her the choices—visual prompts and cues also help clarify your
question and can guide her response.
Listen with your ears, eyes and
Be patient in
waiting for your loved one’s reply. If she is struggling for an answer, it’s
okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond
appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that
underlie the words.
Break down activities into a series
of steps.  
This makes many tasks much
more manageable. You can en-courage your loved one to do what he can, gently
remind him of steps he tends to forget, and assist with steps he’s no longer
able to accomplish on his own. Using visual cues, such as showing him with your
hand where to place the dinner plate, can be very helpful.
When the going gets tough, distract
and redirect.
When your loved one becomes upset, try changing the subject
or the environment. For example, ask him for help or suggest going for a walk. It
is important to connect with the person on a feeling level, before you
You might say, “I see you’re feeling sad—I’m sorry you’re
upset. Let’s go get some-thing to eat.”
Respond with affection and
People with
dementia often feel confused, anxious and un-sure of themselves. Further, they
often get reality confused and may recall things that never really occurred. Avoid
trying to convince them they are wrong.
Stay focused on the feelings they
are demonstrating (which are re-al) and respond with verbal and physical
expressions of comfort, support and reassurance. Sometimes holding hands,
touching, hugging and praise will get the person to respond when all else
Remember the good old days. Remembering the past is often a
soothing and affirming activity. Many people with dementia may not re-member
what happened 45 minutes ago, but they can clearly recall their lives 45 years
earlier. Therefore, avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory,
such as asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, try asking general
questions about the person’s distant past—this information is more likely to be
Maintain your sense of hu-mor. Use humor whenever pos-sible, though
not at the person’s expense.
People with dementia tend to retain their social skills and are
usually delighted to laugh along with you.

Anti-Aging Medicine

Anti-Aging medicine is the
result of medical research that studies the physical and mental failures that
comes with aging and the deterioration of the human body. Physicians have found
that medical intervention may reverse these diseases and literally prevent
aging! Here are some of the notable nutritional advancements:
Coenzyme Q10 Slows Progression
of Parkinson’s – A study was done where after treatment with coenzyme Q10, the
patients that received the lowest dose were able to carry out simple daily
activities. The patient’s mood also seemed better. Although, this study had a
small test group, these promising results show more studies on this nutrient is
needed. Coenzyme Q10 can be taken as a supplement or found in food items such
as pork, beef and in a variety of fish.
Vitamins C and E Protect
Arteries – Lipid oxidation is a process thought to play a key role in the
development of the arterial disease atherosclerosis. Tests are being conducted
to find out how Vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants, affect lipid
oxidation. These tests showed that taking either Vitamin C or E reduces the
amount of urine, which is a byproduct of lipid oxidation. It was found that
taking both does not benefit more than taking one or the other. Vitamin C can
be found in many fruits such as oranges and grapefruits. It is also found in
vegetables such as sweet peppers and broccoli. Vitamin E can be eaten in foods,
although it would be impossible to ingest enough to affect lipid oxidation,
therefore a supplement is suggested.
Other Dietary Supplements such as AcetylLcarnitine and Alphalipoic
acid, when given to rats, showed they performed better on memory tests and had
higher energy levels. Scientists looked at the rats’ mitochondria
(energy-producing cell organelles) and tests showed they worked more
efficiently. Other tests and this one are showing evidence that seems to
indicate that the deterioration of mitochondria plays an important role in
aging, thus these researchers believe that they can rejuvenate cells by
preventing this deterioration caused by free radicals.

Tips for a Positive ER Visit

According to the CDC, in past 10 years, hospital and ER
visits by people aged 65 to 74 increased by 34% – faster than any other age
group. Experts predict a 50% increase in ER visits and Hospitalizations over
the next 10 years as the baby boomers continue to age. Most of the elderly use
emergency rooms as their first stop especially if they have no local point of
contact. What are the events that bring them to the ER? There are multiple reasons,
but the number one reason for a senior to go to the ER is a fall related
Did you know that elderly people are at a higher risk of
hospital readmissions? Why? Poor communication between hospital and community
care combined with a lack of continuity in care. Research has proven that
hospital readmission rates can be significantly reduced by utilizing
Professional Care Management services. Did you also know that the lack of
patient awareness of rights can affect the quality of services?
Remember that you have every right to ask questions. Who are
my doctors, what tests are being run and why, what is the expected outcome,
what will it cost, how much will be covered by insurance? Most medication
errors in hospitals begin in the emergency room and an incomplete medical
history can result in errors or delay the care of the patient.
To avoid these mistakes, it is important to know what to
expect when you arrive. You will need to provide your medical history. Be open
about your history even if it causes embarrassment. Not dis-closing information
can cause serious if not deadly outcomes. The best way to have a successful ER
or hospital visit is to be prepared. A Professional Healthcare Advocate such as
a Geriatric Care Manager can ask the right questions, take accurate notes and
assure that discharge instructions are understood and carried out.
With your permission, they will keep your family or
responsible party well informed. Even if you have a history with the hospital,
they may have outdated or inaccurate Medical Records. It is imperative that you
bring vital, up-to-date information with you on each visit to your doctor, ER,
hospital or rehab. There are several different methods of relaying
The newest innovation in the market is called myMEDport™.
This is a medical flash drive containing a template that stores your health
history, medicines, allergies, insurance, emergency contact information, and
more, even stores important documents such as living will. It goes on your
keychain or a lanyard and gives caregivers instant information. The important
thing is to stay calm and keep the lines of communication open. Hospital visits may be
unavoidable, but following these tips may help make the experience a positive

For more information on myMEDport™ contact
our office at 727-443-2273