Pros, Cons to Multiple Meds for Nursing Home Residents

There’s an upside and a downside to prescribing nursing home residents a long list of medicines, new research confirms.

Taking multiple meds can boost a resident’s odds of survival after a heart attack, for example, but it may also lower their ability to safely perform daily activities, researchers reported April 9 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

So, medication plans often hinge on decisions about the quantity of a patient’s life versus its quality, the researchers said.

Full story at US News

What Activities Are Best for Seniors in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

WHEN IT COMES TIME TO find the right assisted living community or nursing home for your loved one, there are a lot of things to consider in finding the right fit, such as the quality of the medical care, fees and location. But in the scramble to find a good place for your loved one, it’s also important to consider the quality of life they’ll find in that community and whether they’ll be supported in living their best life possible.

Finding and engaging in appropriate activities for seniors – and these can run the gamut from hobbies and physical exercise to social events and outings – is a major component of a high quality of life for older adults in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. That’s because socialization and eliminating loneliness and isolation among older adults is a crucial component of staying healthy in our later years. “It’s a critical part of well-being to be able to interact with others and to have those social connections,” says Dr. Tanya Gure, section chief of geriatrics and associate clinical professor in internal medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Full story at US News

 

How Knowing When to Call in Professional Help is Key

Even though we would like to think we can, it’s impossible to handle all of life’s nuisances on our own. In fact, many of history’s most successful people attributed their successes to knowing when to seek the help of others. This goes for all areas of life whether it be business, education or dealing with a problem. For me, dealing with a major problem is where I finally learned this significant life lesson.

Trying to always handle things myself, I came to a road block when a huge problem arose within my family. After recently putting my grandmother in a nursing home, she made us aware that things really weren’t going so well. She was complaining to us that the food seemed to be making her sick. My family and I shrugged her complaints off for a while and just thought she was being dramatic and trying to get taken out of the home. However, as time went on, we realized that she was right. She looked worse than ever, seemed a lot thinner and didn’t have much energy. The staff started to give her more medications to help her stomach which ended up having a whole host of negative side effects.

Full story at the Huffington Post

Funding Opportunities Open for Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Program

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has announced several funding opportunities for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) Program.

The purpose of the RRTCs (which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program) is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topic areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders.

Full story at ACL.com

Oklahoma Researchers Developing Robots to Help with In-Home Caregiving

The AP (12/11, Howell) reports on two Oklahoma State University researchers who are developing a “robot that can both alert caregivers to potential problems and interact with an elder to provide companionship.” The robot “is equipped with technology similar to home assistants such as Google, Siri or Alexa,” however this robot also “uses artificial intelligence to be conversational and interactive,” and one version is designed to be mobile to move around the home. The research is funded by a four-year National Science Foundation grant.

Full story at ACL.gov

Zeroing In on the Cost of Senior Housing

The majority of seniors are expected to need long-term care at some point in their lives, and the cost for everything from home health services to nursing home care continues to rise. What’s more, costs can vary by thousands of dollars per month from one area or housing community to the next for older adults and their families looking at senior housing options. Those choices include independent living – for those who generally don’t require ongoing care or have limited needs that may be met through arrangements like in-home care services; assisted living, which provides individualized support services and care; or a nursing home – the highest level of care.

The most recent annual Genworth Cost of Care Survey provides a snapshot of long-term care costs nationwide and how those can vary widely. It found that the 2017 national median monthly cost for nursing home care, for a private room, is $8,121. But in Oklahoma that figure is $5,293 per month – the lowest median nursing home cost for a private room in any state, according to survey data; that compares with $24,333 per month in Alaska, the state with the highest median nursing care cost. What’s more, there’s significant variation in housing and care offerings and cost – and ultimately in what individuals pay out of pocket – even within the same senior living community. And it’s not easy to get useful cost information upfront while checking out senior housing and care options.

Full story at US News

Gut bacteria byproduct linked to chronic kidney disease for the first time

Cleveland Clinic researchers have, for the first time, linked trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) — a gut metabolite formed during the digestion of egg-, red meat- or dairy-derived nutrients choline and carnitine — to chronic kidney disease.

TMAO has been linked to heart disease already, with blood levels shown to be a powerful tool for predicting future heart attacks, stroke and death. TMAO forms in the gut during digestion of choline and carnitine, nutrients that are abundant in animal products such as red meat and liver. Choline is also abundant in egg yolk and high-fat dairy products.

The research team was led by Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine for the Lerner Research Institute and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, and W.H. Wilson Tang, M.D., Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute and Lerner Research Institute. The research will be published online on January 29th and in the January 30th print edition of Circulation Research.

Full story of bacteria and chronic kidney disease at Science Daily

Students send Christmas cards to nursing homes

“You could tell they weren’t happy to be there,” Pizzo, 13, of Bensalem, said of the residents.

So when the St. Charles Borromeo School student sat down to write a Christmas card to an elderly woman he’d never met, he could kind of relate to her situation.

“God is watching over you,” Pizzo wrote to the woman, living in a facility away from home and family.

Pizzo and his fellow students are part of the Caring Kids Christmas Card Project, a seven-year-old initiative that sends holiday greetings to the elderly in nursing homes.

Students write cards to elders who might feel lonely and depressed during a time synonymous with family celebrations.

Elizabeth Ross, a former schoolteacher from Bensalem, started the project while she was volunteering at St. John Neumann Home in Philadelphia.

“The sense of loneliness and hopelessness just bothered me,” said Ross, who gives talks and hosts book clubs at senior residences throughout the region.

“The staff would try to compensate, but [the residents] feel alienated from their families.”

Four Catholic schools and four nursing homes are part of the project under which 1,000 cards are to be distributed to residents of facilities in Philadelphia and Bucks County.

Full story of Christmas cards to nursing homes at Philly.com