Seniors recognize that as they age certain abilities will become diminished, but never consider that some of these could lead to memory loss.
With that in mind and a focus on hearing issues, research began. In 2011, the results were published, stating that “the researchers found that study participants with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were significantly more likely to develop dementia by the end. Compared with volunteers with normal hearing, those with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss had twofold, threefold, and fivefold, respectively, the risk of developing dementia over time. The more hearing loss they had, the higher their likelihood of developing the memory-robbing disease.”
One of the many challenges facing adult children of seniors is the conversation regarding finances. In Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, research provided by Ameriprise Financial shows that no one, no matter their age, does well talking about money. Vice president of wealth strategies, Suzanna de Baca says that the conversation should begin sooner than later, so that needs are addressed as well as anything that might have been overlooked.
According to a Fidelity Investment study, 24% of children feel that they will need to provide financial assistance to their parents compared to 97% of parents who state that they will not need help. Yet, when conversations do actually take place, they, “can dramatically increase peace of mind, reduce anxiety and foster additional discussions.”
Featured in a recent Los Angeles Times article, recently published research reports that social isolation can accelerate the aging process, thereby likely leading to an early death among the elderly.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the seven yearlong British study, involving 6,500 participants, showed that when physical and mental health issues were taken out of the equation, a deficiency of social contact made a huge overall impact on the state of health.
In an article featured in Health Day, cardiologist and Yale professor of medicine, Dr. Harlan Krumholz, points out how vulnerable patients are after a hospital stay. Dr. Krumholz compares it to being in a fog; almost like dealing with jet-lag. Even though the patient has been treated properly, there is still stress related to the many facets of the hospital stay including loss of sleep and the possible side effects of any drugs given. And sometimes, the problem is being discharged too soon.
Attorneys from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Vermont Legal Aid and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have agreed to settle the “Improvement Standard” case, Jimmo v. Sebelius. The proposed agreement was filed in federal District Court on October 16, 2012. When the judge approves the proposed agreement, CMS will revise its guidance to clearly state that skilled nursing and therapy services to maintain a person’s condition can be covered. Previous interpretations of the rule suggested that in order to continue receiving Medicare payments, the providers had to be able to demonstrate continued improvement.
Although our cholesterol levels tend to rise with age, the medical community suggests that this is not desirable. Cholesterol, in itself, is important in the manufacture and care of cells, but too much can interfere with blood flow, contributing to cardiovascular disease and, possibly, heart attack. HDLs – high density lipoprotein, the ’good’ cholesterol – attach themselves to the LDLs – low density lipoprotein, the ‘bad’ cholesterol – and move them to the liver, where the LDLs are released.
An article, “A Room With A Grim View: The ‘Ambient Despair’ That Marks Life In Assisted Living,” authored by Martin Bayne and published by Health Affairs was republished in the Health & Science section of The Washington Post, July 10, under the headline, “They call it assisted living, but it can take the life out of you.”
Mr. Bayne, now 62, entered an assisted living facility at age 53 because of young-onset Parkinson’s. In his article, Mr. Bayne makes several compelling points:
We are living in times when technology is reshaping everything, from how we operate in the workplace to creating a global economy that is knowledge based. But with workplace operations in flux and a shift toward a knowledge-based economy, there is a greater requirement for accessibility, collaboration, communication, and mobility – with accessibility being the crucial element in attracting business.
Accessible technology is allowing each computer user to address his or her personal needs, whether due to limitations caused by aging, language and learning impairments, or physical disabilities. Having this technology is a win-win situation for business as it serves the customer, helps the employee, and maintains good relations with partners.
Back in the early 1990’s Duke University research found that brain scans of depressed elderly subjects showed quicker loss of brain volume compared to those that did not suffer with depression. Researchers reported that the accelerated aging went beyond the obvious unhealthy habits such as diet and lack of exercise.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, writer Shirley S. Wang reported that medical science is finding more and more that psychological disorders are showing up as diseases in the body, not just in the mind. Diseases that would normally be associated with old age are showing up in younger individuals who have dealt with or who are dealing with depression, psychological stress and post – traumatic stress disorder for long periods of time. To name a few, these diseases include dementia, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. (An earlier article, Mental Health in Later Life: A Guidebook, may be found on the Care for You website.)
Pressure sores are a condition where the skin breaks down due to sitting or lying too long in one position. Pressure sores, sometimes called pressure ulcers or bed sores, are a significant risk for people who are bed-ridden and may cause death in extreme cases. This includes many elderly, especially those in nursing homes and rehab facilities where they lie in bed or sit in a wheelchair for extended periods.
For people who are bedridden, common places for pressure sores are the back or sides of the head, rim of the ears, shoulders or shoulder blades, hip, lower back or tailbone, heels, ankles and skin behind the knees. For people who use a wheelchair, common places for pressure sores are on the buttocks, shoulder blades, spine, and backs of arms and legs where they rest against the chair.