June 2011 Posts

Realities of Alzheimer's

An elderly couple invited some guests home for dinner, the man of the house grabbed his coat and left with them. Alzheimer's disease, the curse for the elderly, affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans. As people live longer, the number is expected to soar to as many as 16 million people by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

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Emotional Health Suffers in Working Caregivers <45

Americans who work a full-time job and say they care for an elderly or disabled family member, relative, or friend, suffer from poorer emotional health than those who work a full-time job but do not have additional caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers, who represent 16% of the full-time American workforce, have an Emotional Health Index score of 78.0, which is significantly lower than the 81.9 found among non-caregivers.

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Reminiscing in Hospice Care

In the hospice setting, story-telling can help the dying patient feel empowered by giving the patient a chance to focus on positive life experiences. Encouraging patients to share their stories can also strengthen familial bonds.

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Don't Overlook Signs of Depression in Elderly

Many stresses which may cause elderly to be more susceptible to depression., They have more illnesses, experience more deaths of people they love, and experience loss of independence.

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Elderly Hygiene

Dear Annie: My mother is elderly but in good health. Her personal hygiene, however, is terrible. She neither shampoos, cuts, nor combs her hair. Her hands look like she's been digging in dirt, her clothing is wrinkled and stained, and her hair literally sticks up every which way.

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Neglect in the Elderly

There's only so much that can be done to help an elderly person who's confused, delusional and set in his ways, but there is "the last resort." One last hope in getting self-neglected seniors help is to petition the courts for guardianship, but the risk of harm to self must be established for the legal system to step in. There's also a delicate balance between providing needed assistance and preserving independence.

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Aging Parent's "Living Wishes

If an aging mother or father is diagnosed with a terminal medical condition, it's important for family members to have a heart-to-heart conversation, according to Pernille Ostberg, MBA, RPh, Matrix president and CEO. "This is the time for children to ask their parents how they want to spend their remaining time," she says. "That discussion should include the parent's preferred options for care along with two or three living wishes.

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Preparing for Accountable Care Organizations

Some hospitals have been focusing more on care transition issues in anticipation of the advent of accountable care organizations (ACOs) or just because it's a way to improve both quality and efficiency in health care.

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Physician House Calls Curbing Hospital Readmissions

Hospitals have addressed readmissions through a variety of strategies, including nursing follow-up and phone calls, referring patients to transitional primary care clinics, and having a hospitalist or nurse call community providers to make appointments for patients. But there is one more new strategy that some hospitals are trying: referring patients to a physician house call service.

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Help for Aging Parents

Determining whether elderly relatives need more support can be complicated. There's no set formula for weighing safety concerns against an individual's desire for independence.

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