Here is an article from the Financial Times -
When Diane Flint visits an elderly patient on her rounds in Manchester, New Hampshire, to check on his newly attached prosthetic limb, she was regaled with tales of his shopping trips to WalMart, and of a recent fall.
“I ended up looking like a raccoon with a couple of black eyes,” David Willikens, 74, tells his nurse. “I was probably 270 pounds when I went down. Not easy to get up!
New Hampshire, a small state of only 1.3m people with an outsized number of hospitals, would seem well equipped to cope with an ageing population and patients such as Mr Willikens, whose leg was amputated in August after complications from diabetes.
But the new frontier of medicine in the state is not the hospital – it is the home, where nurses such as Ms Flint go for face to face consultations, while tending to most problems over the phone.
Ms Flint’s work is part of an experiment being repeated across the US to control health costs, an issue that is fast becoming an existential danger to US public finances. Enshrined in President Barack Obama’s health reforms, which are being phased in this year, are plans to reduce spending as well as extend insurance coverage to more Americans.
The government spent $550bn in 2012 on Medicare, which funds care for the elderly and the disabled, the third-largest budget outlay behind pensions and defence. Within two to three years, Medicare costs are projected to surpass defence spending.
That is just the start of the problem, as the programme’s trustees estimate that Medicare outlays will outpace economic growth for the next 75 years. While the rate of growth in Medicare costs has levelled off in recent years, analysts say this is most probably because of the recession, which has cut the money patients can afford to contribute to the cost of their care.
For the full story please follow this link – Financial Times
Forgetfulness comes with old age, or so everyone believes. So then how is it that an individual can tell what is a normal “senior moment” and what is a more serious sign of Alzheimer’s Disease?
1. Confusion About Time And Place. An individual who becomes disorientated in the middle of a task, activity, or event could be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
2. Inability To Follow Conversations or Finish Sentences. When an individual begins to forget common words this could be a sign that they are in the early stages of the illness.
3. Struggling Through Routine Activities. Any individual that is having difficulty making it through routine, daily activities such as bathing, dressing, or meal preparation, may be having memory issues, which could be a sign of early onset Alzheimer’s.
4. Forgetting More Recent Information. Misplacing items or forgetting recent additions to the family are all possible signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. The disease attacks the short term memory first so those with this illness may be able to remember a story from 30 years ago but may forget that they just ate supper.
5. Changes In Personality. Someone with Alzheimer’s may have a change in personality. Some people become softer and more child-like. Others become mean and difficult. Many times those with Alzheimer’s also become distrustful of others. Mood swings can also indicate the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
To know for certain, it is best to contact a health care provider for a full Alzheimer’s assessment. Alzheimer’s symptoms will progress over time and this is not a problem that will resolve on its own. There are, however, some excellent physicians who specialize in the treatment of this illness. There are also a variety of different options for treatment of this illness. While there is no cure there are things that can be done to slow the progression of deterioration if the problem is caught early enough.
Living with any form of Arthritis can be very bothersome for people who suffer from it. Arthritis is described as an inflammation of the joints, which stems from different conditions such as infection or trauma. It can be classified as: Rheumatoid, Psoriatic, Septic or Osteoarthritis. Although there are different forms of Arthritis, pain is usually found in all the variants of the disease. Many patients report feeling stiffness and pain with Rheumatoid Arthritis, but typically, pain appears in the later stages of the disease. It is believed that Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by a faulty immune system, which attacks its own body tissues. In Psoriatic Arthritis, people experience swelling and initiates as a skin problem. Septic Arthritis sufferers experience chills, fever, and joint pain caused by infection of the joints.
Many people affected with Arthritis are mostly elderly females who complaint of tiredness, weight loss, sleeping problems, muscle weakness, and loss of flexibility.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Arthritis, but people who suffer from it can live a better quality of life with the proper treatments available depending on the type of Arthritis as well as the progression of the disease. There is evidence that physical therapy improves the function of the joints, decreases pain, delays surgery, and it is preferred over medication. In terms of Over-the-Counter Medication, there is a great variety of pain relieving creams that can be applied to the skin of the affected areas. Acetaminophen is also available over the counter, but a prescription is necessary for higher doses. In addition to this, Alternative Therapies like Meditation and Relaxation haven proven to be also effective against the pain experienced by people with Arthritis. Finally, Prescription Medication is another line of treatment utilized in the battle against this disease: Narcotics, Corticosteroids, and Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatoid Drugs are a few of them. Coping with Arthritis takes great courage for those who suffer from it, but luckily many of the symptoms can be managed with the administration of treatments.
It is just as important for elderly people to eat a balanced diet as it is at any other age. In fact, as we age we are usually less active and require fewer calories each day. For this reason, it is important to make every calorie count. Elderly people need to eat a healthy and balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs but does not add excessive calories and extra weight. The amount each person consumes each day will always depend on the lifestyle of the person as well as any medical considerations.
There are many medical conditions that may require an elderly person to follow a special diet. For example, if the elderly person has high blood pressure then he or she will need to focus on a diet that is low in sodium . This type of diet requires that the person carefully read food labels in order to avoid adding unnecessary salt to his or her diet. Many prepared foods come fully loaded with salt and sugar that can sabotage dietary needs.
The best diet for elderly people is one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as fiber. Increase fiber in your diet can be accomplished by switching to whole grains in place of white rice or flour. A balanced diet requires that you consume about four or five portions of fruits and vegetables a day and a get enough calcium by adding low fat dairy products to your meals. It helps to cut down on coffee and drink at least eight glasses of water a day. For some it might be a good idea to focus on enjoying smaller more frequent meals each day that focus on healthy food choices. Plus, the elderly should cut down on saturated fats by using olive oil or canola oil. Lean meats and fish as well as beans and eggs are healthy protein choices for any diet.
As a person ages, their body’s ability to retain body heat lowers. As a result, many elderly people feel uncomfortably cold even when it is warm outside. One can only imagine then how frigid an elderly person must feel in winter weather! Further, cold weather tends to bring an onslaught of illnesses which the elderly are more susceptible too – sicknesses like the flu or pneumonia. Ice and snow raise the risks the elderly face even higher as tasks that are already difficult, like maintaining balance or safe driving, grow even more challenging and dangerous.
To protect elderly loved ones against the perils of winter weather, one must actively attempt to keep them indoors or else accompanied while outdoors. Some elderly people are insulted by the idea of being ‘babysat’ or ‘cared for’, making the task of protecting them more difficult. However, in winter weather, many elderly people are glad to have company as they don’t feel like facing the bite of low temperatures anyway. If an elderly person does need to go out in winter weather, offers from loved ones to carpool or spend time together often make the potential insult of needing to be protected less harsh.
To tactfully shelter an elderly person from the strenuous conditions of winter weather and feeling uncomfortably cold, give gifts of time together, hot meals shared, or warm clothing or linens. Such gifts are practical and appreciated suggestions that one cares for their elderly loved one but isn’t trying to be overbearing. Patience is of course, another gift one can give to an elderly person, especially in the winter season. Feeling cold when it is apparent that others aren’t as frigid can make one self-conscious, as can being at risk in winter weather. A person patient with a grumpy, self-conscious elder in the winter season warms the heart.
Tags: Health & Safety
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A Guide to Addiction, Heart Disease, and Stroke:
Lakeview Health Guide to Alcohol Detox:
|Caring for a loved one is rewarding in many ways, and can often strengthen a relationship between a caregiver and the person receiving care. However, studies have shown that it can also be a stressful experience that can impact other relationships in the caregiver’s life.
Even though caregiving is an incredibly hard task, taking a few steps to protect the other relationships in one’s life, like setting periodic rituals to spend time together, will make all the difference. This article provides some helpful tips for overcoming common stresses in caregiving and suggests some specific ways to keep relationships strong.
|Chocolate. It’s often the way to a mother’s heart. And studies show that eating more of it may actually be beneficial. A British study suggests that eating chocolate, preferably organic chocolate with at least 72% cacao, can boost vision and spatial memory in both young and older patients.
A different study, published in 2011 in the British Medical Journal, found that eating chocolate cut the risk of various cardiovascular diseases by a third, and other studies have shown a relation between eating chocolate and lowered blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and a better ability to regulate blood sugar.
Read the following articles to find out more about why chocolate should be on your Mother’s Day gift list this year.
|t’s no secret that exercise keeps our bodies and minds young and healthy. However, a new study shows that seniors who incorporate interactive video games into their workouts see even bigger benefits than just exercise alone. Assistant professor of psychology at Union College in Schenectady, NY, Cay Anderson-Hanley, stated that for older adults, virtual-reality enhanced interactive exercise, or ‘cybercycling’ two to three times a week for three months, yielded greater cognitive benefits and perhaps added more protection against mild cognitive impairment than a similar dose of traditional exercise.
Find out more about interactive exercise and how it can benefit your senior loved ones in this article from the Alzheimer’s Reading Room.
|Aspirin is great for soothing headaches and is also recommended to lower the risk of heart attack in some patients. However, daily aspirin use may double a senior’s risk of developing the “wet” form of age-related macular degeneration, a debilitating eye disease. A European study published in the January issue ofOphthalmology noted that about one-third of those with wet AMD consumed aspirin daily, compared with 16 percent of those with no AMD.
While further research is required to explain the association, the findings could spell trouble for millions of seniors who are on an aspirin regimen for pain, inflammation and blood clot management. To read more about this study, click here.