Chronic Conditions


Care Tips for Seniors Who Have Trouble Swallowing

Seniors who have trouble swallowing can benefit from a variety of easy-to-implement care tips.

There’s nothing better than a tall, cold drink on a warm summer day, but for someone with dysphagia, this simple pleasure can be downright dangerous. Dysphagia – or trouble swallowing – affects millions of older adults, due to weakened mouth and/or throat muscles. Alzheimer’s, MS, cancer, and stroke are all culprits as well. 

Signs of dysphagia include:

Drooling
Coughing, gagging or choking when eating, drinking, or taking medication
A gurgling sound in the senior’s voice after eating/drinking

Additionally, if you suspect dysphagia in an older family member, ask him or her the following questions – and check with the doctor right away for further guidance:

Are you coughing or choking when trying to eat or drink?
Are you having frequent problems with food “going down the wrong pipe?”
Is food … Read More »



How Care Management Can Improve Chronic Disease Care

Posted on March 30th, by Mark Winter in Chronic Conditions, Health, Senior Health, Senior Medical Care. No Comments

Care management is an essential component to effective chronic disease care.

Juggling the numerous medical appointments, procedures, tests, medications, lifestyle changes, and more is a way of life for the many seniors with chronic health needs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a full 85% of seniors have at least one chronic health care need, and 60% are diagnosed with two or more. The challenges may seem overwhelming. But there’s one essential component to effectively managing a chronic health condition: care management.

Diagnoses such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, and more are life-changing. They impact a person’s mental as well as physical health, and it’s important to enlist help in meeting all care needs. Geriatric care managers, also known as aging life care specialists, are skilled professionals with expertise in meeting all of the diverse … Read More »



The Gift of a Homemade Memory Book for Seniors with Dementia

Posted on December 17th, by Mark Winter in Alzheimer's, Chronic Conditions, Dementia. No Comments

Provide the gift of memories for a loved one with dementia this holiday season.

 “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss

Memories are what binds together our past experiences with who we are today; and for a senior with Alzheimer’s, confusion around these memories can have a powerful impact. One of our goals as a home care company in Santa Rosa, CA and surrounding areas in caring for seniors diagnosed with dementia is to help them store and share memories in order to make sense of daily life.

A great way to make this happen is through the creation of a memory book, which includes pictures and short descriptions to refer back to when an older adult has questions regarding his or her identity, relatives, etc. Memory … Read More »



Dehydration in Seniors: Warning Signs & Tips to Help Stay Hydrated

Dehydration in seniors is common and can lead to health issues if not addressed.

Did you realize…approximately 50% of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, according to a recent study conducted at UCLA? Not only that, but seniors over age 65 account for the highest category of hospital admissions because of dehydration.

Dehydration in seniors can sneak up quickly because they often have a decreased sensation of thirst, can experience medication side effects that can cause hydration problems, or they mistakenly believe that drinking less will reduce incontinence issues.

Senior dehydration is extremely dangerous, increasing the risk for health issues such as:

UTIs
Kidney stones and/or failure
Blood clots
Seizures
Hypovolemic shock
And many others

Dehydration is generally detected by the following symptoms:

Early stages:

Decreased amount/darker-colored urine
Dry mouth
Feelings of weakness, dizziness, and/or exhaustion
Muscle cramps
Irritation

Advanced stages:

Confusion and disorientation, such as problems with walking
Low … Read More »



Tips for Effectively Managing Medical Issues for Seniors

Managing medical issues for seniors requires effective communication.

Out of all the many responsibilities a family caregiver faces, possibly one of the most difficult is managing medical issues. The National Council on Aging estimates that around ¾ of all seniors are identified as having at least two chronic illnesses, and they are seeing an average of four healthcare specialists.

As your senior parent’s advocate, it’s crucial to know how to communicate effectively with those from the older adult’s medical team, and also to arrive at appointments fully prepared to address any and all issues. The following four questions are a good starting point:

Are all of these prescription drugs required? With most aging parents taking multiple medications, you will want to keep an in-depth list and examine regularly with the doctor and also the pharmacist, both of whom … Read More »



Advance Health Care Directives Provide Peace of Mind

Advance health care directives help individuals ensure their care wishes are met.

Life is unpredictable. And although an advance health care directive can be easy enough to put off, planning end-of-life choices now can help provide peace of mind that your standards and wishes about your health care will be listened to in the future. Additionally, it will ease the responsibility of decision-making on your family members.

Advance directives typically include these documents:

Living will. This written, legal document outlines the kinds of health care procedures and life-sustaining measures a patient would or would not like, such as mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding or resuscitation.
Health care power of attorney (POA). The health care POA is a legal document that identifies an individual to make health care decisions on the patient’s behalf if the patient … Read More »



Understanding the Benefits of Palliative Care

Posted on June 9th, by Mark Winter in Aging, Caregivers, Chronic Conditions. 1 Comment

Understand the benefits of palliative care to help increase quality of life.

What initially comes to your mind when you hear the words “palliative care?” For many, it’s associated with hospice care. The true goal of palliative care, however, is to obtain comfort from symptoms such as pain, vomiting and nausea that are the result of either a disease or from the treatment for that condition. There are times when this does come about at the end of life.

Dr. Eric Widera, who practices palliative care at the University of California, San Francisco, explains, “We hear this all the time: ‘They’re not ready for palliative care,’ as if it’s a stage people have to accept, as opposed to something that should be a routine part of care.”

And though palliative care, much like hospice care, focuses on maximizing … Read More »



10 Myths About Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Learn the facts about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions regarding mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive disease caused by asbestos exposure. Some people ask, “Is mesothelioma contagious?” Others believe the disease is linked to smoking.

These incorrect assessments range from how people develop mesothelioma to where the disease forms within the body. Other mesothelioma myths include the demographics affected by mesothelioma, the amount of asbestos exposure needed to develop the sickness and the legality of using the substance in the United States.

Below are some common myths about mesothelioma and asbestos, as well as the realities of the disease:

Myth 1: Smoking Is Linked to Mesothelioma

Smoking is not linked to mesothelioma. The act does not cause or increase your risk of developing the disease. The disease forms along the mesothelium, which is a lining … Read More »



4 Safer Alternatives to Sleep Medication for Seniors

Sleep medication for seniors can, in some cases, be dangerous.

What could be better than waking up well rested after a full night’s sleep, feeling energized and ready to face the day? For some seniors – as many as one in three – getting sufficient sleep is something that only happens in their dreams. And sadly, it’s a common assumption that lack of sleep is something we just need to accept in our later years – a misconception that Preeti Malani, M.D., chief health officer and professor of medicine at the University of Michigan wants to dispel. According to Dr. Malani, “If older adults believe that these changes are a normal, inevitable part of aging, they may not think of it as something to discuss with their doctor. And not discussing it can potentially lead to health issues not … Read More »


The Surprising Hazards Associated with Pill Organizers and Medication Management

Medication management using pill organizers isn’t as easy as you may think for seniors.

Older adults, on average, take as many as 15-18 different prescriptions each day, so it’s no surprise that so many seniors end up missing doses or taking incorrect doses of their medications. And there are serious health complications that can occur as a result of these medication errors. One solution is the pill organizer: such a basic idea to simply put the right medications into the right little boxes each day. However, there are surprising hazards of pill organizers that people don’t realize.





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