Category: Elderly Health

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Elderly Fall Prevention within the CommunityThe community-based, grassroots approach that made Mothers Against Drunk Driving successful in curbing impaired driving is needed to prevent falls among the elderly, says a kinesiologist.

Falls prevention isn’t a health-care problem, says Alan Salmoni, a professor at Western University who taught at Laurentian University for more than 25 years.

“If you don’t have the community on board … it isn’t going to work,” Salmoni said during the lunch break at an all-day forum on falls prevention held by the North East Local Health Integration Network and Laurentian University.

Falls prevention doesn’t work unless you involve everyone from those who do snow removal to the mayor, said Salmoni.

About 6,000 people in northeastern Ontario, most of them seniors, visit hospital emergency departments every year because of falls. About one in five is hospitalized as a result.

If we continue to think falls prevention is a health-care system problem, “we’re not going to get very far because it can’t possibly be solved that way,” said Salmoni, “because that’s not where the problem is.”

Full story of fall prevention at The Sudbury Star

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Self Neglect Number One For Elder AbuseMost of the reported cases of elder abuse in this area have to do with “self-neglect,” said Kate Kenna, regional director of Northeast Human Service Center which covers four North Dakota counties — Grand Forks, Walsh, Nelson and Pembina.

For the nine months leading up to June 30, she said, reported cases fell into these categories:

35: Self-neglect (hygiene, moldy food, going without basic substances)

11: Neglect

7: Physical abuse

4: Financial exploitation

In cases of self-neglect, “neighbors, the family, friends or pastors may be trying to help, but it feels bigger than what they can handle,” Kenna said.

In cases of neglect, someone else is responsible for the elderly person’s welfare, but is not stepping up, she said.

“When the calls come in, our staff member asks a few screening questions. If the person is in imminent danger, we’d want to get out there right away. We may involve law enforcement.”

Police or sheriff’s officers would determine if a crime has been committed, she said. If so, the matter becomes a criminal case.

Full story of elder abuse at Grand Forks Herald

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Planning For Life CareMany people retire in Southwest Florida and find themselves with children all over the country.

When the holidays come and family arrive to visit, life-changing questions often come up. The most frequent is “Why don’t you move closer to us? If you were nearby, we’d be able to help you more, and provide extra support.”

Sometimes the idea of making a move doesn’t really take into consideration the reality. That’s why it is so important to have open discussion about what you want and enjoy, and how that will fit into the lives of family members. What services for older adults are there in the community you’d be moving to? Would your family really have time to fit you into their already crowded schedules? What would you be leaving behind, and how easy would it be to build a new network of friends?

There are no right or wrong answers. The important thing is to discuss the possibilities openly, to look at what’s best for everyone.

“They want me to come north but it’s not what I want,” is a comment I sometimes hear. As one gentleman said, “I have things in place here to provide for care. I’m active in my church. I have friends here. At times I feel conflicted. It would be nice to be close to my family.”

Full story of life planning at Herald Tribune

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Elderly and Their Pets

November 26, 2012 | Elderly care, Elderly Health, Nursing Homes | No Comments

Elderly and Their PetsUnderstanding why elderly pet owners develop deep and meaningful relationships with their pets is clear – pets provide essential elements of unconditional love and companionship for seniors.  For these reasons, family members may choose to give a pet to their aging parents during the holiday season.  A pet in the elderly household does more than lift spirits, they provide a motivation to be needed, to feel touch, be emotionally close to and to have someone to talk to.

Pets are often a much-needed stimulus for seniors to stay healthy while maintaining a responsible role in caring for their furry friend, according to Pernille Ostberg, MBA, RPh, president and CEO of Matrix Home Care. “However, we encourage the gift-giver to make certain the pet is well-trained so they can be an asset in a senior’s home, not a liability,” she said.

Kat Macenas, co-owner of Leader of the Pack canine services in Delray Beach, Florida, specializes in behavioral training for dogs and cautions that elderly pet owners need to understand their limits.  “A smaller dog that needs less care is better suited for a senior, because the owner may not be able to do it all,” she said.

Full story of the elderly and their pets at The Sacramento Bee

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When Parents are Getting OldHolidays are a time when a range of emotions get stirred up. Like homemade cranberry sauce and stuffing, emotions are often a mixture of ingredients. Excitement, joy sadness and stress can all be part of the family recipe.

Many adult children must face a changing reality and confront their own anxiety and grief as their parents lose strength and independence. These changes are often more prominent around holiday time, particularly for adult children who live a distance from their parents. It’s easy to overreact when you haven’t seen your folks in a while and they appear distracted, confused or frail.

How do you differentiate changes in behavior that are part of normal aging vs. illness or decline? Holidays can provide an opportunity to observe your parents and identify ways to help them live as safely and independently as possible. In order to best care for your parents, you must first know what to look for and recognize the warning signs that your parents need help. Here are eight of the most telling signs.

1) Change in eating habits/weight loss
As people age they may lose interest in cooking, especially if they live alone. My mom, who used to cook a four-course meal every night, is now happy with a frozen dinner or take out. In addition, loss of taste or diminished energy can affect appetite. Unexplained weight changes can also be a sign of depression or illness. Understanding the cause of weight and appetite fluctuations will help you determine whether there is cause for concern.

Full story dad and mom getting older at Discovery News

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Thanksgiving Good Time to Learn Family HistoryWhen families get together for Thanksgiving, they may want to use the opportunity to gather their family health history.

Such histories play an important role in raising awareness of potential illness and can help people take steps to prevent or delay the onset of these diseases.

Families share genetics, environment, lifestyles and habits — all factors that affect one’s risk of getting a health problem. Sharing information can promote longer, healthier lives.

Most Americans know family history is important to health, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family’s health history.

Every year since 2004, the surgeon general has declared Thanksgiving a National Family History Day.

Over the holiday — or whenever families gather — Americans are encouraged to talk about and write down health problems that seem to run in their family.

Because family health history is such a powerful screening tool, the surgeon general has created a computerized tool to help make it easy for anyone to create a portrait of their family’s health.

Full story of thanksgiving and family history at Grand Forks Herald

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Pollution Hurts Brain Function in ElderlyLiving in areas of high air pollution is an environmental risk to seniors’ brain health and function, U.S. researchers found.

“The study shows the unexpectedly adverse effects of air pollutants on brain function in the elderly,” Caleb Finch, the ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Professor in the Neurobiology of Aging at the University of Southern California at Davis, said in a statement.

Jennifer Ailshire — a sociologist, demographer and postdoctoral student at the USC Davis School of Gerontology — said the study involved about 15,000 men and women age 50 and older, whose cognitive tests were matched with maps of air pollution.

After accounting for several factors — including age, race/ethnicity, education, smoking and respiratory and heart conditions — the study found the more the air pollution, the lower the tests scores.

Full story of pollution and elderly brain function at UPI

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