More than one out of every three 60-year-olds is currently taking five or more prescription medications, so it’s no wonder that problems occur from overmedication. Polypharmacy in older adults is defined as “…when an adverse drug effect is misinterpreted as a new medical problem – leading to the prescribing of more medication to treat the initial drug-induced symptom,” and can cause a number of additional health risks or worsen existing health conditions.
It’s a good idea for older adults and their caregivers to work together on a plan of de-prescribing. These tips can help:
Compile a list of all medications the senior is taking, including prescription meds, over-the-counter meds, and vitamins/herbal supplements, and share with the senior’s physician and pharmacist.
Request an evaluation of the medications themselves as … Read More »
With many older adults taking multiple prescriptions, and with physicians adding and changing dosages and medications to determine the ideal solutions, it’s essential to know where to safely dispose of unused medications. There are several options:
Check labels. The medication’s label or informational literature might provide instructions on how to properly dispose of the drug. You could also consult the pharmacist for suggestions.
Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is the suggested method to properly dispose of unwanted medications, and is held once a year in locations across the country by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Discover the location closest to you as well as the next date for the event here.
Exercise caution before flushing medication down the toilet. Flushing medications down the toilet … Read More »
In an innovative, ongoing trial, deep-brain stimulation – more commonly used for Parkinson’s patients – has recently been tested on stroke survivors. Physicians are hoping that the end result associated with the deep-brain stimulation treatment – which involves implanting an electrode to stimulate a particular portion of the brain – will restore mobility in stroke recovery patients and place an end to the paralysis that so many often experience after a stroke, making the future of home care for stroke patients look much brighter!
To be able to comprehend how a stroke hinders normal brain activity, Laurie Ann Bonkoski, a speech therapist, compares a stroke to a home whose front door has unexpectedly become obstructed by a fallen tree. In her studies, she’s determined to sidestep that … Read More »
As we grow older, most of us develop aches and pains. Sometimes we overlook the pain and get on with life, but other times soreness and pain interfere with our activities. But rather than simply swallowing a few pain pills from your medicine cabinet, you should know about recent FDA warnings about two popular pain relievers: ibuprofen and naproxen.
These over-the-counter pain relievers, sold under various brand names, such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve, can be quite helpful. But as with any medicines, prescription or over-the-counter, they must be taken with caution, particularly because the FDA has confirmed that these have a hidden danger.
Although the FDA has long warned that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may potentially boost the danger of heart disease and stroke, the wording of this warning has been modified to reflect a more serious nature, … Read More »
As the fifth leading cause of death and number one cause of disability in the United States, strokes are a major health concern. Knowing the warning signs and risk factors for a stroke are critically important, as the longer someone suffers a stroke without treatment, the higher the likelihood of disability or death. That’s why when it comes to seeking treatment for a stroke, time is of the essence.
A stroke occurs when there is a blood clot or hemorrhage in the brain. A recent study from the American Heart Association has revealed that for every 15-minute delay in delivering a clot-busting drug after a stroke, there are a variety of long-term implications. This is because returning healthy blood … Read More »
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:
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 »
The isolation and fear brought on by COVID-19 has had a profound impact on mental health and wellbeing in older adults. In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, nearly one half of seniors surveyed stated that their level of stress and worry has adversely impacted their own health. And even though it still may be risky to visit in person with older adults, it’s critical to stay in frequent and regular contact in order to watch for any changes or signs which could indicate a mental health concern.
As psychiatrist Judith Feld, MD, MPH, states, “If a senior usually really enjoys a call with a grandchild, for example, but that seems to have changed, maybe you need to ask more questions, such as, ‘How can we be of help?’”
Read More »
In spite of its reputation for being viewed as the season of joy, the combination of seniors and the holidays can lead to profound feelings of unhappiness for many older adults. Yearning for holidays past, despair over the loss of family and friends, and worrisome changes to health can intensify throughout the holiday season, and it’s important to take the appropriate steps to help older loved ones avoid the downward spiral into senior holiday depression.
If an older adult you love is feeling blue this holiday season, begin by asking yourself these three questions
Could it possibly be normal nostalgia? Wistful feelings of nostalgia, thinking of pre-pandemic holiday get-togethers and celebrations, are normal for all of us. See if the older adult’s sadness is lifted immediately following … Read More »
Think about the most perfect holiday season you can possibly imagine. While that image may vary a bit for each of us, it typically includes lights, gifts, good food, and traditions handed down through the generations. Yet what most definitely rings true for all of us is the happiness in spending time with the people we love. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to rethink how to safely enjoy the holidays with seniors during a pandemic. With a bit of ingenuity and creativity, however, it’s feasible to bridge the gap while making new memories with the seniors you love, even if you cannot be together with them in person this season.
Our aging care professionals have collected several suggestions to help you celebrate the holidays with seniors during a pandemic:
Adjust traditions. Think through the traditions that mean the … Read More »
As experts in elderly care in Santa Rosa and other California cities, we understand that recovering after a surgical procedure can take time, especially for older adults. Not only do aging bodies take longer to heal, but together with reduced mobility and a multitude of directions for medications, physical activities, follow-up appointments, and dietary restrictions, there is a lot to help keep tabs on after a hospitalization. So what is the best way to assist an elderly parent after a hospital stay?
Recent research conducted by IPC, The Hospitalist Company, revealed that nearly one out of every five discharged patients required assistance with at least one thing that had the possibility of affecting their recovery. Other similar studies have shown that bringing in professional … Read More »