Articles and Information from GA Foods

Medicare - Which Plan Should You Choose?

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Nov 16, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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Medicare open enrollment is happening right now, so it's time to enroll in a Medicare plan by going to the Medicare.gov website. Open enrollment closes on December 7, and new Medicare coverage begins on January 1, 2018. 

Understanding Your Medicare Options: Medicare Advantage 

The important thing to keep in mind is that Medicare Advantage covers all Medicare services, including hospital inpatient and outpatient care. Most plans cover prescription drugs as well. These plans may also include additional benefits, such as home-delivered meals, vision, hearing, dental, and wellness, that original Medicare does not.

Medicare Advantage goes by many different names - you may have heard it called Medicare Part C or MA plans ("MA" stands for Medicare Advantage).

Millions are Signing Up! 

Medicare currently has 44 million beneficiaries (about 15% of the current United States population). That number is expected to grow to 79 million (nearly double the current number) by 2030, according to a recent AARP report

So, how does Medicare Advantage work?  Medicare Advantage combines hospital costs and doctor and outpatient care all in one plan. It can also include a Part D for presciption drug coverage.

The original Medicare plan includes Medicare Part A (inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care) and Medicare Part B (outpatient care, doctors' services, and preventive services). Medicare supplemental insurance is only possible with a regular Medicare plan, not with Medicare Advantage plans. 

The original Medicare plan (Parts A and B) is a fee-for-service plan administered directly through the federal government. That's why you might have heard regular Medicare called "single payer" since you pay your deductible and coinsurance to just one other party. 

Medicare Advantage Could Mean Lower Copays, Greater Choice, and More Covered Services 

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies that are dedicated to providing quality Medicare services at competitive rates. Most Medicare Advantage plans are HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). 

For extra cost savings, you might want to explore a third kind of Medicare Advantage plan: private fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plans. Lower deductibles and an affordable fixed co-pay are common benefits to signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Aside from potentially lower deductibles and co-pays, you might also benefit from lower out-of-pocket maximums with a Medicare Advantage plan, which means that your plan could cover 100% of your medical expenses once that yearly maximum is met. 

Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan is another option to explore if you take prescription medications and are concerned with affordability or a gap in coverage. 

With some Medicare Advantage plans you choose a primary care doctor. In others, you can go to any Medicare-eligible provider that accepts the plan's terms and payment rates. 

To find which plan works best for you, visit the  Medicare plan finder tool on Medicare.gov or you can also call 1-800-MEDICARE. Have the information on your Medicare card ready. 

Medicare Advantage Must Cover Medicare Services 

The great thing about Medicare Advantage plans is that they must cover all of the essential services that your original Medicare (Parts A and B) cover. This means that the following should be covered by Medicare Advantage: hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient, managed care, skilled nursing facility, home health, physician, and specialist (with referral). 

Many people like the added benefits that a Medicare Advantage plan offers. One benefit that is gaining popularity is a home-delivered meal benefit after a hospital stay. These meals can help your recovery, since preparing meals may be difficult after a hospitalization.

If you're looking to have all of your essential Medicare services covered, gain even more services that Medicare might not cover, and go through a private PPO for your Medicare needs, then you might want to check out a Medicare Advantage plan. Nearly ten million Americans have already done so.

Remember, open enrollment ends December 7!

Download eBook: 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing  a Home-Delivered Meals Provider 

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Topics: Medicare, Healthcare Research, Senior Health Plans, Senior Nutrition

Providing Emergency Meals for Hurricane Victims - During a Hurricane!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Oct 11, 2017 2:45:37 PM

Supply distribution point in Key West, FLShane Vansant (right) and Joshua Howard hand out food to Hurricane Irma survivors at a supply
distribution point in Key West, Florida on Monday, September 18, 2017. Photo by J.T. Blatty/FEMA

GA Foods was recently honored to serve those in need by providing disaster relief meal kits for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We drew from our 15 years of disaster relief experience to supply nearly 7,000,000 meals in 21 days to those in need - all while Hurricane Irma was nearing direct landfall in St. Petersburg, FL where the company is headquartered and emergency relief efforts are centered! 

But these extreme weather events did not hinder our employees' efforts. Many worked 12-hour days for 20 consecutive days in order to maintain a steady flow of life-saving foods to some of the most devastated regions, and continued to provide uninterrupted service to the people in need that we regularly serve...all while battling hardships of their own caused by Irma. 

It would be hard to find a better opportunity for us to live our core values - commitment, teamwork, and touching lives - than responding to those enduring the devastation of our latest storms while continuing to serve those in our regular care without disruption. GA Foods is honored to be able to serve those in need.

Disaster Relief Operations

GA Foods is one of the largest providers of emergency meals. To ensure a rapid and successful response to a disaster, GA Foods has implemented the following:

  • Four facilities with assembly lines available for disaster relief production
  • Vendor agreements to ensure adequate supply chain
  • A 30,000 square foot facility dedicated exclusively to disaster response and ready for immediate use
  • Tested and proven inbound and outbound logistics plan

3rd-Floor-Emergency-Line.png GA Foods' 30,000 square foot facility is dedicated to emergency response production.

We are GA Foods. We touch lives. We are committed to working as one team, united by a sense of ownership and guided by integrity and earned trust.

 

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Topics: Military, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Disaster, Hurricane Relief

What are the Nutrition Strategies for Baby Boomers and Wellness?

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Aug 30, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the fourth article in a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read more articles about Baby Boomers.

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Often, the terms "health" and "wellness" are used interchangeably. Do these terms mean different things? As a matter of fact, they do. Whereas most of us have a pretty good grasp of what it means to be healthy or fit, wellness is a bit more elusive and hard to pin down. How do you know you've achieved it? 

The Difference Between Health and Wellness 

To start from the beginning, the term "health" means that your body is free from chronic diseases like diabetes or arthritis.

The term "wellness," however, sets a much higher bar. Wellness means that you've found balance between your physical, emotional, and social needs. Some experts also include occupational or lifestyle balance and spiritual fulfillment under the umbrella of wellness.

Select Functional Foods that Help in Multiple Ways 

Baby boomers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to optimizing their health. Having good health is a baseline for creating a foundation of wellness or well-being throughout the different areas of your life.

Fortunately, many of the health issues that baby boomers might face - like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and joint pain - can be improved with the right nutrition and fitness regimen. Functional foods can be one of your main allies in promoting a lifetime of health and wellness. For example, the antioxidant known as lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease.

In learning more information about functional foods, you'll quickly see that one food can have multiple health benefits to different parts of the body. For instance, fatty fish like salmon have the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which help to reduce your triglyceride levels, lower your chance of coronary heart disease, improve your mood, and help sharpen your memory. 

Oatmeal and Fiber for Better Cholesterol 

Oats and oatmeal are beneficial foods for reducing your total cholesterol numbers, and particularly lowering your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol levels. Eating oatmeal a few times a month could also help lower your blood pressure. Considering the fact that the CDC says one in three adults has high blood pressure, adding oatmeal to your diet may reduce your risk. 

Getting your blood pressure under control is very important for seniors because doing so takes stress off the heart and blood vessels, and improves circulation. Lower blood pressure levels could also translate into improved circulation, allowing for more nutrients from these wonderful foods to be delivered to your brain. The soluble fiber in oatmeal known as beta glucan, though, directly benefits your cholesterol and overall heart health. 

You can get these same benefits from other oat products, including: granola bars, whole oat bread, and oat flour that you can put in various foods. Oats may have special benefits for baby boomers since research shows oats could help older individuals fight infection, control their blood sugar levels, and provide significant heart benefits to postmenopausal women. 

Leafy Green Vegetables Boost Your Immune System 

Your doctor was right. Healthy foods like leafy green vegetables - especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower - boost your immune system and aid your cells in the fight against cancer. That might sound like an impressive claim, but the carotenoids in carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and dark leafy green vegetables also block carcinogens and keep them from harming your body's healthy cells. 

Wellness-promoting antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin in kale, spinach and eggs, work to promote healthy vision as you age.

Foods That Could Improve Your Mobility 

The fact that nearly half of seniors (49.7%) have been diagnosed with arthritis, according to the CDC, should be a wake-up call for anyone wanting to attain optimal wellness as they age.

Arthritis is characterized by a breakdown of your body's own cartilage tissue, which can create or worsen joint pain and pose serious barriers to mobility and quality of life. Since arthritis generally is caused by inflammation, eating vegetables rich in antioxidants and fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids to fight the body's inflammation, may help.

Eat well to live well. For more information on nutrients that help keep baby boomers healthy, download our free eBook:

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Topics: Nutrition, Chronic Disease Management, Aging Well, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers and Functional Foods - Myth vs. Facts

Posted by Elizabeth Keegan MS, RD, LDN on Aug 23, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the third article of a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read part one and here to read part two.

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Functional foods, sometimes called nutraceutical foods, are foods that offer health benefits that go beyond providing basic nutrition. They contain health-boosting nutrients or additives that have in many cases been shown to possess medical benefits.

The Mayo Clinic reports that incorporating functional foods into your diet could promote health, boost recovery, and reduce the chances of becoming ill. The example that the Mayo Clinic gives for a functional food is oatmeal:

Oatmeal is an example of a functional food that contains a health-boosting ingredient (in this case, soluble fiber) that may have medical benefits to you and your health (in this case, lowering your "bad" cholesterol levels).

Because our understanding of nutrition and disease is always changing, and because different people have different ideas about which functional foods and functional food regimens are best, there are a few myths out there. Below you'll find a breakdown of the most prevalent, and hopefully get a better understanding of the real facts behind functional foods, your health, and optimal nutrition.

Myth: Your body and its needs don't really change as you age

Fact: Your body's needs actually change dramatically as you age. Over time, some nutrients become harder for your body to produce on its own. The changing needs of baby boomers in general can make certain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids more essential than they would be for a younger person.

As an example, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are important for cognitive function and heart health. In other words, staying sharp might mean consuming foods with added omega-3 fatty acids (many eggs have added omega-3) or perhaps supplementing with fish oil - after consulting with your general physician.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain and heart functioning, and they're also important for keeping your joints in good shape. Joint health is one of those things that's taken for granted when we're younger, but joint health can be a big health concern for baby boomers. Calcium and magnesium also address the needs of baby boomers by boosting bone health; foods containing vitamin D would also be good to take since your body needs vitamin D to actually use calcium to strengthen your bones.

Myth: Functional foods are hard to find and expensive!

Fact: The truth is that functional foods with ingredients shown to improve your overall health can often be found in your local grocery store. That's because some of the real heavy hitters when it comes to functional foods are everyday fruits and vegetables.

Let's just focus on two nutrients for now that can be found in kale and tomatoes. Kale contains a nutrient called lutein - which can help support your eye health as you age. What's even better is that you can combine kale, spinach and eggs together (all three foods contain lutein) to get a functional food medley that really supports your vision throughout your golden years! Younger people benefit too.

The other functional food nutrient that's easy to find in your local grocery store is lycopene. This is a nutrient found in tomatoes and it's especially important for older men to have enough of. Why's that? Because lycopene has been shown to protect against prostate cancer and improve the overall health of the prostate as men age.

Another thing: for seniors looking to improve their digestive health, you don't need to look much further than the bread and cereal aisle at the grocery store. You can find insoluble fiber to improve your digestion in foods like wheat bran. Yogurts that contain probiotics can also work wonders for digestion, too.

Myth: The functional food trend is an unscientific fad

Fact: The surge in popularity of functional foods like fortified cereals and everyday vegetables like spinach is only going to get stronger.

The science shows that taking a calcium and magnesium supplement, for instance, could give seniors better bone and muscle health. Calcium and magnesium have even been shown to improve heart health for baby boomers. Magnesium is important for keeping a stable heart rhythm and getting your blood pressure in the ideal range.

This goes to show that the functional food movement is based on sound science. It also shows that you can add or emphasize certain nutrients to fit your particular risk factors, although most baby boomers should be getting things like vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids because they're so important.

It was the ancient doctor Hippocrates who said: "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

To learn more, download this Superfoods Infographic!

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Topics: Nutrition, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

What are the Nutrition Strategies for Baby Boomers Managing Chronic Disease?

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on Aug 16, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the second article of a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read part one.

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A chronic disease is one that lingers for a while, such as diabetes and hypertension. The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics defines chronic disease as one that lasts at least three months. What many baby boomers might find surprising is the fact that they might have a chronic disease. Nearly 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and many may have more than one.

A lack of physical activity and poor eating habits might be partly to blame for that high number. Physical activity spread throughout the day and consuming nutrient dense foods have both shown to lower your chances of developing a chronic disease like hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis.

Antioxidants Reduce Your Risk of Developing Chronic Diseases

Doctors are finding out that cellular damage caused by free radicals could be at the heart of many chronic diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, protect the body against free radicals. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as spinach, broccoli and raspberries, might reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease.

Reducing Arthritis (and Inflammation) with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acids found naturally in fish and in fish oil supplements have been shown to improve joint mobility and reduce the chances of your developing arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory - meaning they reduce inflammation in the body - so eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids could help baby boomers fight arthritis and other chronic diseases.

Arthritis is currently the number one cause of disability in the United States. Arthritis is generally thought to afflict about 45 million Americans, but other estimates put the number at over 50 million Americans, or about 1 in 5 adults.

The good news is baby boomers that pick the right foods and get moderate exercise can significantly reduce their risk of developing arthritis, or having their arthritis worsen. Getting enough exercise can alleviate joint pain and strengthen the muscles around the joints; this helps increase mobility for those living with arthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for your cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, and improving your heart health. Seafood, walnuts and spinach all have high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Calcium and Magnesium Strengthen Bones and Muscles and Improve Heart Health

Calcium and magnesium help to build strong bones and muscles as well as improve your cardiovascular (heart) health. Eating leafy greens high in calcium and magnesium could actually reduce your arthritis symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your joints and improve heart health too.

More Foods to Improve Cardiovascular (Heart) Health

There are a number of additional foods that you can conveniently find in your local grocery store that have been shown to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular issues.

Oatmeal, Oats and Beta Glucan 

Something as simple as incorporating oatmeal into your breakfast provides a dietary fiber known as beta glucan, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. The beta glucan in oats has also been found to reduce the "bad" kind of LDL cholesterol.

That's important because high levels of LDL cholesterol have been linked to a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease, a chronic condition that too many baby boomers today are at high risk of developing, or already have developed.

Oatmeal and oats can help improve your cholesterol numbers and lower your heart disease risk, but what are some other foods you might want to check out? Other high fiber foods like whole grains, dried beans and peas, and fruit can also improve your heart health.

Olive Oil and Monounsaturated Fats 

Another great food to consider incorporating into your diet is olive oil. For years, scientists in the United States were puzzled by what they called the Mediterranean diet paradox: Many people in Greece, Italy and France consumed high levels of fat, but had lower rates of heart disease. It turned out that the monounsaturated fatty acids found in the olive oil that people in Greece and Italy drizzle on their salads had heart-protective benefits. Nuts like almonds, pecans, and cashews are also high in monounsaturated fats.

For more information on nutrients that help keep baby boomers healthy, download our free eBook:

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Topics: Nutrition, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

Why Should Baby Boomers Care About Nutrition?

Posted by Levinia Clark, RD, LDN on Aug 9, 2017 2:03:54 PM

This is the first article of a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. 

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Diet has a direct effect on health no matter how young or old you are. However, if you were born between the mid 1940’s and 1960’s, the quality of your diet can have a greater, far-reaching impact than you might realize. Here are some important reasons why baby boomers should make nutrition a priority.

Rising Healthcare Costs

The baby boomer generation is one of the largest, with an estimated 74 million or more people. As this generation ages and moves forward together through retirement and the senior years, healthcare resources are becoming increasingly strained. The risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases increases with age, and this means medical staff and healthcare systems must cope with a greater number of patients.

This rise also leads to Medicare challenges as baby boomers become eligible for the program and flood the system. Medicare has been a safety net for seniors to offset medical costs by supplementing their existing insurance or, in many cases, acting as their primary medical insurance. The influx of boomers puts an unprecedented toll on Medicare funds.

For boomers, this could mean an increase in out-of-pocket healthcare costs. To cope with these rising costs, it is smart to control what you can through a good diet. Nutrition is a building block to better health. Educating yourself about nutrition’s relationship to disease management and prevention can cut your medical costs by keeping your body healthier and out of the hospital.

Diet and Disease Prevention

Nutrition education is a key to better eating. In the case of eating healthy, what you do not know can hurt you. For example, with age comes changes in nutrient requirements. You need to keep your bones healthy by getting more vitamin D and calcium, and your body might not absorb certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, as readily as when you were younger.

Aging adults can’t rely on a standard multivitamin to provide all the vitamins and nutrients they need. Malnutrition in seniors often goes undiagnosed, and senior adults need more calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, niacin, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin E than younger adults.

To prevent or manage serious diseases common to baby boomers, such as diabetes and heart disease, the right nutrition is vital. Examples include adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet for preventing strokes, and limiting carbs to those low on the glycemic index for preventing or managing diabetes. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research shows that the same dietary strategies that benefit cardiovascular health also benefit brain health. For the sake of your mind and body, you have to pay attention to your nutrition.

In short, what you eat has a direct and lasting impact on your health. The question becomes not if you can afford to eat healthy, but whether you can afford not to eat healthy. The answer is that good nutrition will save you both in terms of health costs and quality of life through your senior years.

Good Nutrition and Aging-in-Place

By staying well-nourished and preventing debilitating diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia you can maintain your independence longer and age-in-place at home. Those on a fixed income might be tempted to reach for the cheapest, easiest meals and pay less regard to nutritional content. Beware of boxed, highly-processed foods, which may seem like good deals, but are full of sodium, preservatives, and sugar, yet are low in nutrient value. While it takes some effort to learn healthy meal planning, the health benefits make it worthwhile.

If you lack the time, energy, or ability to fix wholesome meals, remember that help is available. Consulting with nutritionists for advice and receiving healthy home-delivered meals, for example, are two ways to ensure you are getting some vital nutrients every day. No matter how you incorporate better nutrition into your life now and in the immediate future, you can be assured that you will be healthier and be able to enjoy a richer life.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Senior Health, Advice from Dietitians, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

When Workplace Stress Sends You Running for Cover!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Aug 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

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In the most general sense, workplace stress is a mismatch between the demands made of an employee and that employee's ability to carry out those demands. In other words, workplace stress is at its peak when job demands are highest and the employee's actual (or perceived) ability to carry out those demands are at their low point. 

Workplace stress can occur under a variety of different conditions: you could be facing conflicting job demands, you might feel like you're suddenly faced with too much responsibility, or you might have some lingering doubts about your exact (or changing) professional role at your organization. 

Strategies for Reducing Workplace Stress 

Taking a big-picture perspective, stress is more broadly defined as pressure or tension produced from demanding circumstances. Imagine a case manager or senior caregiver asked to work longer hours in a given week or expand her skill set in a short amount of time.  

Take Scheduling and Your Work-life Balance Seriously 

Workplace stress can be an awful feeling. You feel like everything is spinning out of control and that there isn't anything you can possibly do to make a difference.

Contrary to what you might be feeling in the moment, creating a more balanced schedule for yourself and taking regular breaks during your workday can mean less racing around the office and a more balanced, far less stressful workday. 

Creating a better work-life balance can make your relationships and support systems stronger outside of work and your workday much more fulfilling and efficient. Set boundaries for yourself, avoid overcommitment, and plan for downtimes throughout the day to recharge. Don't feel guilty about taking a break!

Practical Tips to Feel Less Overwhelmed 

The experience of feeling overwhelmed is frequently associated with workplace stress. Consider incorporating a few of these task management tips throughout your day-to-day to get a better handle on workplace challenges. 

At the very least, break down complex tasks into more manageable chunks, delegate tasks, collaborate with your coworkers, and ask your supervisor if you're unclear about something. 

Signs of Workplace Stress You Shouldn't Ignore 

Being on call around the clock, conflict-resolution issues, or feeling like you don't have enough autonomy in decision making can understandably produce some tension. But what are the signs that tension or challenges are worsening into workplace stress? 

Warning signs of workplace stress to look out for are: 

  • Apathy about work assignments 
  • Problems concentrating 
  • Feeling anxious or depressed 
  • Physical issues (insomnia, headaches, etc.) 
  • Withdrawal from coworkers 

As you'll notice from this list, workplace stress can have pretty serious emotional, social, and even physical effects if not dealt with. 

Workplace Stress Could be Temporary 

What's important to remember is that workplace stress can be temporary. Many industries, including healthcare and managed care organizations, are experiencing a bit of belt tightening right now, which could require employee cross-training in order to increase efficiency and tap into an organization's internal talents and resources. 

Cross-training and broadening your professional skill set can mean more fulfilling challenges and better employment prospects down the road. In the short term though, you could be talking about workplace stress and a potential adjustment period. 

Workplace stress shouldn't be ignored, but make sure that you're not confusing it for "good" stress and the pressure associated with workplace challenges, growth, and success. 

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Topics: Reduce Stress, Stress, Care Managers, Caregiver Burnout

Becoming a Great Leader

Posted by Ritch Brandon on Jul 19, 2017 12:50:14 PM

leadership.jpgThe first thing to realize about leadership is that it comes in many varieties. There are leaders who help others tap into their latent talents, leaders that chart a new course that those around them may not have discovered on their own, and leaders who collaborate with members of the same team to solve problems that seem unsolvable at the outset. 

Now, even though there might be subtly different shades of leadership, all great leaders do have a few things in common. All great leaders communicate effectively and encourage everyone around them to collaborate in a way that brings people's talents to bear on every new project. At the same time, leaders also encourage enthusiasm and a sense of excitement for the current project. They motivate the team to achieve a clearly communicated common goal.

Communication, Friendliness, and Openness to New Input 

A great leader knows when to step in, offer a pep talk, or hang back and allow the team to come to its own solution. It's all a matter of what's going to be beneficial for morale over the short and long term. Bringing a sense of openness, friendliness, and fairness to everything that you do lets those around you know that you're on the same team and working with them instead of giving them orders and commands. 

You might not immediately tie together friendliness, good leadership and professional collaboration but each of these feeds into the other. Since the values that leaders embody tend to filter down through a company or organization, you can actually make other people more willing to share and collaborate on ideas by creating a friendly environment in which your fellow employees feel like their ideas will be valued in turn. 

While bringing empathy and friendliness to all of your communications is never going to hurt, there are a few barriers to effective communication that might not be as easy to spot. Using jargon and making things more complicated than they need be is one roadblock to effective communication and great leadership.

Other communication barriers are failing to take another person's background or training into account and not realizing another person's perception can differ from one's own. So, how can you overhaul your communication to be a more effective and respected leader? Start by framing issues in a way that's relevant and appropriate to the people with whom you work. Try not to speak down to people and, at the same time, value their input. 

To really get the most out of everyone at your organization ask questions that require some kind of elaboration - questions that require a speedy yes-or-no response have their place, but when you're looking to get to the root cause of an issue or discover how best to motivate and inspire people, you want a little more information than a standard yes-or-no response can provide. Dig a little deeper and you might be surprised at the insight you can gain from the others on your team.

Good Leaders are Committed to Professional Development 

The best leaders across industries are positive role models for other professionals - being a positive role model and "practicing what you preach" shows everyone around you that you're taking your job seriously. An added benefit is that being a positive role model often creates a virtuous cycle in the workplace, which means that your behavior and values inspire others to achieve their best every single day. 

Leaders that standout are humble, passionate about what they do, and understand their own and their coworkers' unique set of talents and areas in need of improvement. A good leader finds a happy medium between tapping into the creative and professional potential of every staff member without overtaxing or overworking anyone. It's about moving people towards a shared goal and offering a doable challenge every day. 

Good leaders are also interested in pursuing professional development for themselves and others around them so that they're always improving and raising the bar on the level of challenges that they can surmount. Cross-training work exercises, on-site workshops and taking advantage of ongoing mentoring opportunities are three excellent ways to continue your professional development throughout your career and inspire others to do the same. 

Just as cross training in sports can make athletes more able to tackle different kinds of challenges, cross training in the workplace creates fitter employees who bring more value to the organization. Learning how to carry out complementary work activities ultimately facilitates collaboration between departments and increases the knowledge base of employees who undergo such programs. 

Finding a business mentor who's further along the same professional path that you're on can also provide you expert counsel and help you avoid common pitfalls while exposing you to fresh networking opportunities. Setting up a mentoring program for every employee - shown to increase workplace satisfaction and employee retention - uses existing resources to inspire tomorrow's leaders. 

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Topics: President's Messages, Leadership, Professional Development, Mentoring

Let Us Take Nutrition Care Off Your Plate!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Jul 12, 2017 11:02:45 AM

Hunger-man-with-cane2.jpgWe know avoiding hospitalizations is a top priority for health plans. One way to keep your members out of the hospital, and to reduce the chance of readmission, is to prevent malnutrition. In fact, roughly one-third of patients who are not malnourished at admission will become so during their stay. Weight loss, being underweight, and failure-to-thrive/malnutrition have all been associated with readmission within 30 days of discharge.

Is My Member Malnourished? 

Here are some signs to look for to see if your members may be at risk for malnutrition:

  • Unplanned weight loss – This is usually a loss of muscle, not fat. 
  • Chronic Illness – Those on special diets for conditions such as diabetes and hypertension may need help managing their diets. Special diets such as these may exclude foods the patient prefers to eat. 
  • Recent hospitalization – Lack of appetite is common after an illness or injury. Members may not feel like eating or have the energy to cook.

Malnutrition is common after discharge.  Members may have difficulty preparing nutritionally balanced meals at home.  Busy caregivers may not know what meals are best for their loved ones.

Members who are malnourished face several risks:

  • Increased risk of pressure ulcers
  • Decreased wound healing
  • Higher rates of inflection
  • More hospital readmissions and higher healthcare costs. 

Food as Medicine

Proper nutrition can be like medicine for those suffering from a chronic condition. Those with diabetes and cardiac conditions need to adhere to diets that are low in sugar, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. 

Referring your members to a home-delivered meal provider will help to ensure they will be eating nutritious meals. Home-delivered meals after a hospitalization can help reduce malnutrition and improve results in managing chronic diseases and conditions. Post-discharge meals significantly impact both short-term recovery rates and the long-term health of members.

Six out of eight studies found that home-delivered meals significantly improved diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced food insecurity and nutritional risks among participants.  

To learn more about the impact of nutrition on the health of your members, download our eBook.

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Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Malnutrition, Post Discharge, Senior Nutrition

Chef Mike is Our Secret Ingredient!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Jun 29, 2017 10:03:25 AM

chef mike test kitchen.jpgGA Foods is proud of our Executive Chef, Mike Thrash. Chef Mike is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and joined GA Foods in 2014. An award-winning chef, he enjoys creating new ways to reformulate recipes and enhance flavors, making him our secret ingredient for healthy meals senior adults love!!!

Chef Mike's menu planning includes the tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami. If you aren’t familiar with umami, it's a savory taste. Umami has a pleasurable effect on the overall satisfaction and enjoyment of a meal. As we age, our sweet and salt taste buds tend to be the most reliable. So we design meals that showcase sour, bitter, and umami.

Chef Mike uses his expertise to add flavor and flair to familiar foods. Here are some new menu items that will be available in July!

New-Meals.jpg
  • Meatballs and Penne Pasta in Marinara
  • Three Bean Chili con Carne
  • Homemade Chicken Stew (pictured)
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Breaded Fillet of Fish (pictured)
  • Grilled Pork Chop with Homestyle Gravy

To be sure GA Foods provides meals that seniors love, we conduct satisfaction surveys. Chef Mike and his culinary team use that feedback, along with trends, demographics, and seasonality data, to design menus. Through sensory analysis techniques, Chef achieves meals with maximum flavor, presentation, and satisfaction. All meals adhere to nutritional guidelines and promote senior health

For more information on senior health, click below.

Senior Nutrition

 

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Topics: Senior Health, Healthy Home Delivered Meals, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Nutrition

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