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6 questions to ask your doctor

posted Sep 20, 2017, 9:56 AM by Senior Monongalians

If you or a loved one is planning a hospital stay, ask your doctor these questions to help you maintain good nutrition and muscle health during your recovery and beyond.

  1. What is my current nutritional status?
    The hospital should screen your nutritional status when you’re admitted. If not, ask for it. If they find you are at risk for malnutrition, ask for a nutritional assessment by a dietitian and ask what can be done to build you nutritional health and muscle.
  2. How can I make sure to eat well when I get home?
    It can be hard to drive, shop, and cook while you’re recovering from a hospital stay. Plan ahead to get the help you need and ask your doctor for advice. Perhaps a family member or neighbor can bring you meals or groceries. Hospital social workers and case workers can connect you to meal delivery and in-home care services. Eldercare Locater is a free website where you can search for providers in your area. Programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) also can help you afford nutritious food.
  3. How will I know if I’m becoming malnourished?
    Just as important as planning for good nutrition is knowing how to recognize the warning signs of poor nutrition once you’re back home. Some symptoms to watch for include unusual weight loss, trouble chewing or swallowing, and changes in appetite. If you experience any of these warning signs, inform your doctor right away.
  4. How should I manage my prescribed medications?
    It’s important to know how certain prescriptions will interact with what you eat. Some foods can affect treatment, and some medications can affect your appetite or make it more difficult for your body to absorb key nutrients. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of every prescribed medicine and whether you should take it with food.
  5. Which foods should I eat and which should I avoid as I recover?
    Ask your doctor if you should restrict any foods or ingredients, such as salt, sugar, or alcohol, and for how long. Stock up on your favorite snacks, and make sure they’re ok with your doctor. There may be times when you don’t feel like eating, so having something you really enjoy—even if it’s just small bites—can help you maintain your nutrition. If you have to eat plain foods, give them flavor with spices and herbs. You also can ask if your doctor recommends an oral nutritional supplement and whether your insurance will cover the cost. Oral nutritional supplements are often available at the drug store and can help maintain nutrition and your muscle health.
Should I avoid physical activity, and if so, for how long?
It’s important to maintain your muscle health, so exercise matters. Confirm with your doctor whether you should avoid physical activity for any amount of time and when you can resume.

Malnutrition's Affect on Your Body

posted Sep 20, 2017, 8:02 AM by Senior Monongalians

Your body naturally loses muscle and bone as you age; however, malnutrition can accelerate these losses and impact your independence and ability to be active.

1. Mobility: Weak muscles and bones can make it harder to do everyday tasks like walking, dressing, and bathing. Regular physical activity and a diet high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D are critical to help you maintain and rebuild muscle and bone.

2. Posture: Muscles and bones are needed to help keep you upright. If they are weak, you may strain your neck, back, and shoulder muscles, causing you to feel pain.

3. Strength: Poor muscle strength may make it more difficult to do your favorite activities.

4. Falls: Bone and joint problems are major risk factors for falls—the leading cause of death and injury among older adults.

Immune System and Healing

When your body lacks nutrition, your white blood cell count can decrease, making it harder for your body to heal and fight illnesses.

5. Healing: Your body’s nutrition influences your recovery, since wounds need energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals to heal.

6. Cancer: If you are malnourished, it is more difficult to tolerate chemotherapy.

7. Illness: A poor immune system can increase your risk for illnesses and infections.


Not having enough protein and other nutrients can harm your organs.

8. Eyes: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can accelerate vision loss caused by glaucoma, cataracts, and/or macular degeneration.

9. Brain: Nutrient deficiencies may speed up the rate at which your brain loses neurons, which can impair your speech, coordination, and memory.

10. Kidneys:
 A deficiency of fluids and electrolytes can cause your kidneys to overwork and affect their ability to function. This can lead to dehydration, joint pain, and heart issues.

10 Tips for Family Caregivers

posted Nov 8, 2016, 7:06 AM by Senior Monongalians

  1. Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

Guidelines for Communicating with Older Persons

posted Jan 12, 2016, 7:05 AM by Senior Monongalians   [ updated Jan 12, 2016, 7:09 AM ]

If you are caring for an older person, you may find that communicating is sometimes a challenge.  Here are some rules to follow that may help you communicate with any older adult.

 General principles:

§  Use plain language.  That means using words that people will understand the first time they hear it.

§  Use the word “you” whenever it’s appropriate to make communication more personal.

§  Respect the person’s background, knowledge and values.


Personal contact:

§  Get low and go slow.  If you want to make someone comfortable, don’t position yourself so that you are standing or seated above that person. 

§  Take your time; do not rush the person.

§  Watch your tone of voice and body language.  They reflect your attitude and may mean more than the words you say.

§  To overcome hearing difficulties, eliminate background noises to the extent possible.  Keep sentences short, and emphasize key words.

§  Use her name frequently, and show respect.

§  Make eye contact, and maintain it as much as possible.

§  Ask one question at a time.

§  Be patient.  If the person has a story, let her tell it in her own way and time.

§  Keep it simple, sincere and clear.


Above all, reassure the person by showing that you are interested and that you care.


posted Jan 12, 2016, 6:58 AM by Senior Monongalians

·      Clients must be 60+ years of age & be a resident of Monongalia County.

·      Medical eligibility is based on an in-home functional assessment by a registered nurse, who will determine needs.

·      Co-pay is based on income.  Levels mandated by WV Bureau of Senior Services.

·      Client must need and accept assistance with personal care including, bathing dressing, toileting, and other activities of daily life.

·         Homemakers can also assist with mobility, meal preparation, light housekeeping, & laundry.

·        The Lighthouse Program provides for up to 60 hours of In-home services per month.

Alzheimer’s Respite Program

posted Jan 12, 2016, 6:55 AM by Senior Monongalians

  • Medical eligibility based on doctor’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia & an In-home evaluation by our nursing staff.
  • Program offers sitter/companion type service to relieve the caregiver.  The aide will encourage participation in activities such as crafts, puzzles, board & card games, & conversations.
  • NO bathing or grooming services provided.
  • Toileting & light meal prep services are provided.
  • This program provides up to 16 hours of In-home respite care per week.
  • Copayment based on income.

Veteran's Administration

posted Jan 12, 2016, 6:50 AM by Senior Monongalians

Senior Monongalians is VA approved for a variety of in-home services.  If you’re a veteran call today to see if we can make daily chores a bit easier.

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