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 »
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 »
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 and misconceptions 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 … Read More »
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 »
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. Problem solved, right?
If you made a New Year’s resolution to exercise more this year, hopefully you’re continuing to stick with it! As it turns out, adding more physical activity to your daily routine is one resolution we should all be keeping – and this is even more important for older adults, many of whom take multiple medications for a variety of conditions.
Research is showing that, surprisingly, doctor-approved senior workouts can be as effective as many typically-prescribed medications in treating or preventing some of the leading causes of death. In the study, scientists compared how effective various medications and exercise routines were in reducing deaths among those who had been diagnosed with several common and serious health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. The results consistently indicated that both … Read More »
Have you ever found yourself in the awkward situation where you’re about to bubble over with uncontrollable laughter, usually at the most inappropriate moment – standing in a crowded elevator, sitting in a quiet waiting room, or in the middle of a religious service? While there are, naturally, times when we should suppress the silliness, author Jane Heller explains that, “Humor can keep us balanced, even in the grimmest of times. It reminds us that despite illness and disability, there are moments of real joy in life and we need to embrace them.”
The health benefits of laughter are simply incredible, including:
Strengthening brain connectivity
Providing a social boost
Enhancing the immune system
And many more
When putting together a plan of exercises for seniors, be sure … Read More »
The many advantages of staying physically active are clear, but what is not as well known is that exercise can be extremely beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s disease, for a number of reasons: reducing the risk for muscle weakness and other issues that stem from inactivity, easing the effects of psychological and behavioral challenges, and much more.
As with anyone considering starting a new exercise routine, the doctor should first be consulted. Then, try these dementia exercise suggestions, utilizing the following strategies per each person’s individual abilities and the appropriate stage of the disease:
Older adults in the initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease can often still fully enjoy active and social exercises like walking, dancing, bowling, golf, and swimming, even though some degree of … Read More »
We all need to exercise and stay as physically active as possible, and older adults are no exception. But those who are challenged by the pain and stiffness of arthritis have an additional hurdle to overcome to maintain a healthy level of physical activity.
The good news: the most recent recommendations reduce the level of intensity of activity for older adults diagnosed with arthritis, suggesting as little as just 45 minutes of exercise per week to achieve and maintain a higher degree of functionality – much less intimidating for those who may typically shy away from exercise.
Per Northwestern University professor Dorothy Dunlop, “Even a little activity is better than none. For those older people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum … Read More »
Have you ever gotten out of bed and said, “It’s probably going to be one of those days!” Perhaps your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to stop working, and the dog chewed up one of your favorite shoes overnight. Then imagine if every day were “one of those days!” For an individual living with a chronic disease (and that’s much of the elderly population), routine struggles and challenges can be a given.
However, there are many steps that older adults can take to realize and maintain a life of joy, even in the face of a chronic disease diagnosis. For instance:
Follow passions. Discovering purpose and meaning in each day is essential – and possible. Many seniors find gratification in assisting … Read More »