Category: Nursing Homes

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Elderly Disease That OverlapsAlzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and heart disease are the three most common chronic conditions in assisted living facilities: 82 percent of residents have at least one of them, according to a new government study. But what is alarming is how these ailments overlap.

A Venn diagram based on data from the study, by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2010, shows just how often these three conditions coincide in patients, and why this overlap is becoming an important new field of study.

There are more than 733,000 people in American assisted living facilities. People move there when they, or their families, decide they need help with daily activities, like dressing, but don’t need the fuller medical services of a nursing home.

Full story of elderly disease at The New York Times

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Aging IndependentlyIt’s difficult to witness the deterioration of physical or mental abilities in an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one. This is especially true in remembering the days when we, ourselves, were the recipients of their care. Many of my patients’ caregivers discuss the transitional challenges they experience when the responsibility for their elderly parents’ safety and comfort becomes one of their integral roles. They often reach out to me in need of advice because the task can be intensely overwhelming — both emotionally and financially.

Whether or not we’re well-equipped or prepared, the reality remains that many of us will be tasked with making impactful decisions associated with caring for an elderly loved one. Studies show that within the next 30 years, the number of Americans who are 65 years of age and older is set to more than double, reaching 88.5 million. [i] In other words, while current and future generations decrease in size, they will need to be prepared to care for a larger generation of elderly loved ones in need. [ii] Since 80 to 90 percent of elderly people would choose to reside in their own homes as long as possible, as opposed to a nursing home or independent care, the new role for elderly caregivers can be challenging. The baby boomer generation has now reached a point where they need to be conscious of their caregivers, while still maintaining their independence and active lifestyle.

Full story of aging independently at Huffington Post

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Antibiotic Use Common in ElderyElderly nursing home residents are often prescribed courses of antibiotics that last 10 days or more, a new Canadian study shows, which may needlessly raise the risk of drug resistance and secondary infections.

A week or less of antibiotic use effectively kills most common infections, including pneumonia, researchers said.

“If they’re receiving antibiotic treatment beyond cure, they’re being exposed to those harms without additional benefit,” said Dr. Nick Daneman, who worked on the new study at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto.

For their study, he and his colleagues analyzed records for close to 67,000 nursing home residents treated at 630 facilities in Ontario, Canada in 2010.

Full story of antibiotic at Fox News

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Stroke Risk in Elderly with AntipsychoticAntipsychotic administration in the elderly is associated with an increased risk for cerebrovascular accident, more commonly known as stroke; a new study published in Biological Psychiatry provides additional insight into this important relationship.

Antipsychotics are prescribed to elderly patients to treat symptoms such as agitation, psychosis, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. The increased risk of stroke associated with these medications was identified approximately a decade ago and has since been replicated by subsequent studies. Although the increase in stroke risk is small, some guidelines discourage the prescription of antipsychotics to elderly patients.

Antipsychotic drugs vary in their effects on the body and so it is likely that antipsychotics are not uniform in their effects on stroke risk. Thus, better understanding of the mechanisms through which antipsychotics increase stroke risk might guide the prescription of safer drugs for elderly patients.

Full story of stroke risk in elderly at Science Daily

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Sleep Aids Tied to Elderly Hip FracturesNursing home residents taking sleep aids such as Ambien are more likely to fall and fracture a hip than residents not being treated for insomnia, according to a U.S. study.

Hip fractures account for more than 320,000 hospital admissions every year in the United States and are a major source of disability among seniors.

Lead author Sarah Berry, from Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School, said that the known dangers among elderly patients of older benzodiazepine sedatives, such as Valium and Xanax, have led many doctors to turn to newer medicines – but that doesn’t mean they’re any safer.

“There’s been less research on some of these newer drugs,” Berry told Reuters Health.

The studies that have been done on the newer drugs, known as non-benzodiazepines, show that they can impair balance, memory and driving ability, Berry said.

Full story of sleep aids tied to hip fractures at Global Post

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Signs of Bad Elder CareIt’s frustrating to discover that the care Mom is receiving in her new nursing home falls short of expectations—yours and hers. It’s frightening to think that it might be bad. 

But how would you know? 

“There are literally dozens of warning signs,” says Dan Sewell, director of the senior behavioral health unit at the UC San Diego Medical Center. Here are what he and other experts consider especially serious red flags: 

1. Marked emotional or physical changes. Look first to your loved one. You should be concerned if she is less able to function as usual, has stopped taking part in activities, or has become withdrawn and uncommunicative. If Mom is experiencing emotional abuse—such as being ignored or talked down to—she may be agitated and withdrawn, fearful, or experience loss of weight or appetite and sudden changes in mood or sleep pattern. Physical abuse or neglect may be a concern if Dad has unexplained bruises, pressure ulcers, or skin tears, particularly in areas that are not regularly visible, like the upper back, hips, and thighs. 

Full story warnings signs of bad care at US News Health

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Elderly Spending More Than They EarnTwo-fifths of the elderly spend more than they earn, often forcing them to dip into savings to pay bills, according to a new study.

Among those 65 and older, 40% shell out more on housing, medical care and other costs than they take in from Social Security, pensions and other sources, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

An additional 14.3% of that age group spend more than 75% of their incomes on regular expenses, leaving little cushion for unexpected financial setbacks, the study showed. The data were from 2009, the latest period available.

Full story of elderly spending habits at Los Angeles Times

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Elderly Models Inspire ArtistWhen Renaissance School for the Arts senior Jess Kostopolus sketched a portrait of Appleton Retirement Community resident John Raith, she jotted down specific notes about his features, noticing his very blue eyes.

“Elderly faces have a lot of details you wouldn’t really find in younger people and you can see their character or personality through them,” said Jess, 17. “I found it really interesting because normally when we draw or paint in class we have a student model.

“It was a really interesting experience to … have an opportunity to take in all of these details, to really study a personality.”

Earlier this school year Jess and the other students in an advanced painting course at Renaissance — a charter high school for the arts housed at Appleton West High School — paired up with an individual or a couple from the independent and assisted living community for an outreach art project.

Full story of elderly models at Post Crescent

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Restore Funding to Elderly Nursing HomesHow sad it is to read about Gov. Paul LePage’s enthusiasm to build a new prison, while nursing homes continue to suffer chronic underfunding. There does not appear to be any kind of understanding of the need to care for the growing population of elderly in Maine.

To get an idea of what it is like to live in an underfunded nursing home, I would share my grandfather’s experience in a beautifully constructed but underfunded Minnesota nursing home a few years back.

For my 88-year-old grandfather, it meant bowel and bladder incontinence due to poor menus, which left him lying in his own excrement for hours, while staff, stretched thin, had to help other patients. It meant he got no solid food because that would have required more staff to put his dentures in and take them out to be cleaned. Instead of solid food, he got lots of baby food, tapioca and rice.

Worse, it meant the proud, fiercely self-reliant man who served for years as a hunting guide and Alaskan bridge foreman had to wear diapers, which were changed by staff lifting his legs over his head like a baby whose bottom had become soiled. Oftentimes the changing occurred in full view of people walking by in the corridors.

Full story of nursing home funding’s at Bangor Daily

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Elderly May Suffer Under ObamaCareJapan’s finance minister believes that the elderly should “hurry up and die” because of the cost it takes to keep them alive. Taro Aso said in a meeting on social security reforms last week that he would “wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government.” The 72-year-old finance minister said the cost to keep one dying patient alive each month is “several tens of millions of yen.”

Steve Macias is the executive director for Cherish California’s Children, a pro-life group based in the Sacramento area. “I think the spirit of all socialized medicine is against the elderly,” he says. “The government sees the elderly as a drain on the economy.”

It is reported that a quarter of Japan’s population is over the age of 60; and with the country’s own universal health insurance plan, costs are high. Macias contends ObamaCare will also make it expensive and difficult for the elderly to get care.

Full story of elderly impact on ObamaCare at One News Now

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