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March 26, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Milk could be good for your brain

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New research conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center has found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.

In-Young Choi, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology at KU Medical Center, and Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition at KU Medical Center, worked together on the project. Their research, which was published in the Feb. 3, 2015 edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests a new way that drinking milk could benefit the body.

“We have long thought of milk as being very important for your bones and very important for your muscles,” Sullivan said. “This study suggests that it could be important for your brain as well.”

Choi’s team asked the 60 participants in the study about their diets in the days leading up to brain scans, which they used to monitor levels of glutathione — a powerful antioxidant — in the brain.

The researchers found that participants who had indicated they had drunk milk recently had higher levels of glutathione in their brains. This is important, the researchers said, because glutathione could help stave off oxidative stress and the resulting damage caused by reactive chemical compounds produced during the normal metabolic process in the brain. Oxidative stress is known to be associated with a number of different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions, said Dr. Choi.

“You can basically think of this damage like the buildup of rust on your car,” Sullivan said. “If left alone for a long time, the buildup increases and it can cause damaging effects.

Few Americans reach the recommended daily intake of three dairy servings per day, Sullivan said. The new study showed that the closer older adults came to those servings, the higher their levels of glutathione were.

“If we can find a way to fight this by instituting lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, it could have major implications for brain health,” Choi said.

An editorial in the same edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said the study presented “a provocative new benefit of the consumption of milk in older individuals,” and served as a starting point for further study of the issue.

“Antioxidants are a built-in defense system for our body to fight against this damage, and the levels of antioxidants in our brain can be regulated by various factors such as diseases and lifestyle choices,” Choi said.

For the study, researchers used high-tech brain scanning equipment housed at KU Medical Center’s Hoglund Brain Imaging Center. “Our equipment enables us to understand complex processes occurring that are related to health and disease,” Choi said. “The advanced magnetic resonance technology allowed us to be in a unique position to get the best pictures of what was going on in the brain.”

A randomized, controlled trial that seeks to determine the precise effect of milk consumption on the brain is still needed and is a logical next step to this study, the researchers said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kansas Medical Center. The original article was written by Andy Hyland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

March 25, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Aging and ADHD

older_man_60-s_tsADHD isn’t just for kids. Here’s what it’s like later in life.

ADHD doesn’t just affect kids or young adults. If you’re an older adult who often feels distracted and disorganized and struggles to complete tasks, it may be worth finding out if you’ve been living with undiagnosed ADHD.

“I have patients in their 50s, 60s, and early 70s who were never diagnosed before and were prompted to consider ADHD after their child or grandchild got diagnosed. It’s highly genetic,” says David W. Goodman, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland in Lutherville, Md.

Your doctor will need to take a careful history to find out whether you have ADHD or if your symptoms might be due, for example, to a psychiatric condition such as depression or anxiety.

But if you receive the correct diagnosis and pursue therapy for ADHD, you can manage your symptoms better at any age. “Effective treatment will significantly improve your daily functioning and productivity, which enhances your quality of life,” Goodman tells WebMD.

Here’s what you need to know about seeking treatment for ADHD later in life.

Is It ADHD, Aging, or Something Else?

Certain medical problems, drug side effects, and even changes related to aging, can mimic the symptoms of ADHD.

Some women feel distracted or forgetful, for instance, during perimenopause or menopause. If menopause-related hormonal changes are the cause of those symptoms, they tend to improve over time.

People with a history of stroke or with hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease or another condition, or who are taking thyroid medication, may also have trouble paying attention.

And a number of medications — such as some of those used to treat high blood pressure, pain, or sleep problems — may cause side effects like memory and concentration problems.

Many psychiatric diagnoses can also mimic the symptoms of ADHD.  It’s important to discuss any potential issues with anxiety and depression, or any symptoms, like insomnia, with your doctor.

Though forgetfulness is a potential symptom of ADHD, it can also be a normal part of the aging process — or a sign of a more serious disorder like mild cognitive impairment or dementia. If your memory problems started occurring relatively recently — for instance, within the last couple of years — then they’re less likely to be due to ADHD.

In fact, ADHD always begins in childhood. So if you have ADHD as an older adult, “the symptoms would have been lifelong and persistent over the course of your life,” Goodman says. In addition to forgetfulness, those symptoms can include being easily distracted, disorganized, fidgety, restless, impulsive, and having trouble focusing, prioritizing, and completing tasks.

When to See a Doctor

“Talk with your primary care doctor if you suspect you may have ADHD and the symptoms are affecting your quality of life,” says Paul Y. Takahashi, MD, a geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. Your primary care doctor may be able to evaluate you for ADHD or may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist for additional testing.

As part of your evaluation, you’ll be asked questions about your symptoms, whether they started in childhood, and how they’re impacting your current life. Your doctor will investigate whether your symptoms could be due to something other than ADHD. He or she may do neuropsychological tests and a CT scan or MRI to check for signs of cognitive decline, says Lenard Adler, MD, professor of psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry and director of the Adult ADHD program at the New York University School of Medicine.

 

If possible, ask your spouse, adult child, or even your parent (if they’re able) to go with you to your evaluation. “It’s important to have someone who can help provide additional observations about the symptoms and impairments that have occurred over a long period of time,” Goodman says.

depression-elderlyConsidering Treatments

Once you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, your doctor may recommend medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Medications such as Adderall XR, Concerta, Quillivant XR, Focalin XR, Strattera, and Vyvanse are commonly used to treat ADHD in adults. Side effects of these drugs can include insomnia, jitteriness, decreased appetite, and weight loss. In addition, these medications can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to go up slightly.

Takahashi suggests weighing the potential benefits and risks of medication with your doctor. “The side effects from ADHD medications can be worse for older adults if they already have, for example, high blood pressure, heart disease, or problems with sleeping,” he says. Also, be sure to let your doctor know if you are taking medications for other conditions, as they could interact with ADHD drugs.

A number of different types of psychotherapy are useful for treating ADHD in adults. Adler says cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, can be quite helpful when used alone or in conjunction with medication. This type of therapy focuses on changing negative thought patterns, solving problems, and developing skills to handle challenges.

Living Better With ADHD

In addition to exploring treatment options with a doctor, the following strategies can help older adults with ADHD manage their daily lives better:

  • Keep a daily schedule: Write out a schedule each day with tasks and appointments allocated to specific times and follow through with it. Also, break big tasks or goals into smaller steps. “People with ADHD tend to get more easily overwhelmed and to avoid things that require sustained mental effort,” Goodman says. “But if you break a task down and get it done over the course of several days, it’s easier.”
  • Put technology to work for you: Use the alarm on your cell phone or watch, for example, to help you remember deadlines and appointments. Smartphones can be equipped with applications to manage and synch your schedule, organize tasks, even remind you to take your medication.
  • Automate tasks so you have fewer things to remember: Goodman suggests signing up, for example, for automatic prescription refills or setting up automatic bill payments so you don’t have to keep track of when bills are due or risk running up late fees.
  • Reach out for support: “I strongly encourage people to share their diagnosis of ADHD with their friends and family if they feel comfortable,” Takahashi says. “We all need support to keep us moving forward.” There are also a number of national and local organizations and resources that provide support.

March 23, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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New MIND diet may significantly protect against Alzheimer’s disease

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A new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, even if the diet is not meticulously followed, according to a paper published online for subscribers in March in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, and colleagues developed the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet. The study shows that the MIND diet lowered the risk of AD by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well.

“One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for AD,” said Morris, a Rush professor, assistant provost for Community Research, and director of Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology. “I think that will motivate people.”

Morris and her colleagues developed the MIND diet based on information that has accrued from years’ worth of past research about what foods and nutrients have good, and bad, effects on the functioning of the brain over time. This is the first study to relate the MIND diet to Alzheimer’s disease.

“I was so very pleased to see the outcome we got from the new diet,” she said.

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, both of which have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Some researchers have found that the two older diets provide protection against dementia as well.

In the latest study, the MIND diet was compared with the two other diets. People with high adherence to the DASH and Mediterranean diets also had reductions in AD — 39 percent with the DASH diet and 54 percent with the Mediterranean diet — but got negligible benefits from moderate adherence to either of the two other diets.

The MIND diet is also easier to follow than, say, the Mediterranean diet, which calls for daily consumption of fish and 3-4 daily servings of each of fruits and vegetables, Morris said.

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” — green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine — and five unhealthy groups that comprise red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

With the MIND diet, a person who eats at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine — snacks most days on nuts, has beans every other day or so, eats poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week and benefits. However, he or she must limits intake of the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of AD, according to the study.

Berries are the only fruit specifically to make the MIND diet. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” Morris said, and strawberries have also performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function.

The MIND diet was not an intervention in this study, however; researchers looked at what people were already eating. Participants earned points if they ate brain-healthy foods frequently and avoided unhealthy foods. The one exception was that participants got one point if they said olive oil was the primary oil used in their homes.

The study enlisted volunteers already participating in the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP), which began in 1997 among residents of Chicago-area retirement communities and senior public housing complexes. An optional “food frequency questionnaire” was added from 2004 to February 2013, and the MIND diet study looked at results for 923 volunteers. A total of 144 cases of AD developed in this cohort.

AD, which takes a devastating toll on cognitive function, is not unlike heart disease in that there appear to be “many factors that play into who gets the disease,” including behavioral, environmental and genetic components, Dr. Morris said.

“With late-onset AD, with that older group of people, genetic risk factors are a small piece of the picture,” she said. Past studies have yielded evidence that suggests that what we eat may play a significant role in determining who gets AD and who doesn’t, Morris said.

When the researchers in the new study left out of the analyses those participants who changed their diets somewhere along the line — say, on a doctor’s orders after a stroke — they found that “the association became stronger between the MIND diet and [favorable] outcomes” in terms of AD, Morris said. “That probably means that people who eat this diet consistently over the years get the best protection.”

In other words, it looks like the longer a person eats the MIND diet, the less risk that person will have of developing AD, Morris said. As is the case with many health-related habits, including physical exercise, she said, “You’ll be healthier if you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time.”

Morris said, “We devised a diet and it worked in this Chicago study. The results need to be confirmed by other investigators in different populations and also through randomized trials.” That is the best way to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the MIND diet and reductions in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, she said.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging. All the researchers on this study were from Rush except for Frank M. Sacks MD, professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Sacks chaired the committee that developed the DASH diet.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martha Clare Morris, Christy C. Tangney, Yamin Wang, Frank M. Sacks, David A. Bennett, Neelum T. Aggarwal. MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.11.009

 

March 18, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Senior Health: Common Diseases and Conditions

What are the most common diseases and conditions seniors face as they age?

Medical problems in the elderly can involve any organ system in the body. Most conditions result from decreased function or degeneration of the involved organ.

Most commonly encountered medical conditions in seniors based on organ system are listed below:

  • Musculoskeletal: osteoarthritis (inflammation of joints due to wear and tear), osteoporosis (bone loss), gout, loss of muscle mass, fractures.
  • Hormonal: Diabetes (impaired control of blood glucose), menopause, thyroid dysfunction, high blood cholesterol, slower overall metabolism.
  • Neurologic: dementia (Alzheimer or other types), Parkinson’s disease, strokes, poor vision, hearing impairment, balance problem.
  • Visual: macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and hypertension related eye disease.
  • Cardiovascular disease: heart attacks, congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of blood vessels) and peripheral vascular disease or peripheral artery disease (poor blood flow as a result of narrow blood vessels).
  • Lungs: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), loss of lung volume.
  • Kidneys: poor kidney function (kidney or renal disease) from long standing diabetes and hypertension.
  • Skin and Hair: hair loss, dry skin, itching, infections.
  • Cancers: prostate, colon, lung, breast, skin, bladder, ovary, brain, pancreas, only to name a few.
  • Bone marrow and immune system: inability to produce sufficient blood cells (anemia, myelodysplasia).
  • Gastrointestinal: stomach ulcers, diverticulosis (small pockets forming in the wall of colon), colon inflammation orcolitis from infection or ischemic (poor blood flow), swallowing difficulty (dysphagia), constipation, bowel incontinence, hemorrhoids.
  • Urinary: urinary incontinence, urinary urgency, difficulty urinating.
  • Oral and dental: gum disease, dry mouth, loss of teeth, poorly fitting dentures.
  • Infections: urinary tract infection, pneumonia, skin infection, shingles, colon infection (diverticulitis, colitis).
  • Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, insomnia.
  • General problems: fatigue, general deconditioning, forgetfulness, medication side effects, diminished appetite, weight loss, falls.

SOURCE: http://www.medicinenet.com/senior_health/page2.htm

March 16, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Senior Health: Successful Aging

What are some common facts about health in seniors?

  • As people get older, physiological changes occur in their body as a natural part of aging.
  • Physical changes due to aging can occur in almost every organ and can affect seniors’ health and lifestyle.
  • Some diseases and conditions become more prominent in the elderly.
  • Psychosocial issues can also play a role in physical and mental health of older adults.
  • A balanced diet and regular exercise are strongly linked to better health outcomes in seniors.
  • A series of routine screening tests and preventive measures are recommended for the elderly.
  • Important preventive measures at home can improve the safety and health of seniors.
  • Geriatrics is a medical subspecialty dedicated to the care of the elderly. Physicians who have specialized training in this field are known as geriatricians.

What changes occur in the body as we age?

A wide range of changes can happen in the body to different degrees as we age. These changes are not necessarily indicative of an underlying disease but they can be distressing to the individual. Even though the aging process cannot be stopped, being aware of these changes and adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce their impact on overall health.

Expected bodily changes of aging include change in:

  • Skin: With aging, skin becomes less flexible, thinner, and more fragile. Easy bruising is noticeable, and wrinkles, age spots, and skin tags may become more apparent. Skin can also become more dry and itchy as a result of less natural skin oil production.
  • Bones, joints, and muscles: Bones typically lose density and shrink in size making them more susceptible to fractures (breaks). Muscles shrink in mass and become weaker. Joints can suffer from normal wear and tear; joints become inflamed, painful, and less flexible.
  • Mobility and balance: A person’s mobility and balance can be affected by various age related changes. Bone, joint, and muscle problems listed above in conjunction with changes in nervous system are the major contributors to balance problems. Falls may occur resulting in further damage with bruises and fractures.
  • Body shape: As a result of bony changes of aging, body stature can become shorter and curvature of the back vertebrae may be altered. Increased muscle loss and reduced fat metabolism can also occur. Fat can redistribute to the abdominal area and buttock areas. Maintaining an ideal body weight becomes more difficult.
  • Face: Aging changes also take place in the face. Other than wrinkles and age spots, the overall facial contour can change. Overall loss of volume from facial bone and fat can result in less tightness of the facial skin and sagging. The face becomes droopier and bottom heavy.
  • Teeth and gums: Teeth can become more weak, brittle, and dry. Salivary glands produce less saliva. Gums can also recede (pull back) from the teeth. These changes may result in dry mouth, tooth decay, infections, bad breath, tooth loss, and gum disease.
  • Hair and nail: Hair can become thinner and weaker as a person ages. Dry hair may lead to itching and discomfort. Nails may become brittle and unshapely. Nails can also get dry and form vertical ridges. Toe nail thickening (ram’s horn shape) is common. Nail fungal infections may occur frequently.
  • Hormones and endocrine glands: Hormonal changes are seen commonly in the elderly. Most common is the hormonal control of blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism leading todiabetes. Thyroid dysfunction and problems with fat and cholesterol metabolism are also commonly encountered. Calcium and vitamin D metabolism may also become altered. Sexual hormones reach a low level and can lead to erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness.
  • Memory: Problems with memory are common in seniors. However, it is important to realize that minor memory problems do not constitutedementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Simple lapses of memory such as not remembering where you left a key or whether you locked the door are a normal part of aging.
  • Immunity: The body’s immune system can get weaker with age. Blood cells that fight infections (white blood cells) become less effective leading to more frequent infections.
  • Hearing: changes in nerves of hearing and ear structures can dim hearing and cause age-related hearing loss. Higher frequencies become harder to hear.
  • Vision: Eyes can become drier and the lens can lose its accuracy as we age. Vision can be affected by these changes and can become blurry and out of focus. Glasses or contact lenses can help correct these problems.
  • Taste and smell: Sense of smell and, less commonly, sense of taste may fade leading to poor appetite and weight loss.
  • Bowel and bladder: Bowel and bladder control can cause problems with incontinence (involuntary loss of feces or urine). Additionally, bowel and bladder habit can change. Constipation is common in older adults, as are urinary frequency and difficulty initiating urine.
  • Sleep: Sleep patterns can significantly change with age. Duration of sleep, quality of sleep, and frequent night time awakening are commonly seen in seniors.

These changes are different in every individual. Some people may experience more changes in a particular area compared to others.

SOURCE: http://www.medicinenet.com/senior_health/article.htm#what_changes_occur_in_the_body_as_we_age

March 11, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Eat Fruit to Prevent Stroke

140518-fruitEating more fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of stroke worldwide, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke. Lower stroke rates result in far less vascular dementia.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 20 studies published over the last 19 years to assess the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on risk of stroke globally. The combined studies involved 760,629 men and women who had 16,981 strokes.

Stroke risk decreased by 32 percent with every 200 grams of fruit consumed each day and 11 percent with every 200 grams of vegetables consumed each day.

“Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population,” said Yan Qu, M.D., the study’s senior author, director of the intensive care unit at Qingdao Municipal Hospital and professor at the Medical College of Qingdao University in Qingdao, China.

“In particular, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fiber requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements.”

Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) provide calories or energy. Our bodies need smaller amounts of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

The researcher cited studies demonstrating that high fruit and vegetable consumption can lower blood pressure and improve microvascular function. It has favorable effects on body mass index, waist circumference, cholesterol, inflammation and oxidative stress.

The beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables applied consistently to men and women, stroke outcome and by type of stroke (caused by clot or bleeding). Researchers found no significant difference in the effect on age (younger or older than 55).

The researchers adjusted the study findings for factors such as smoking, alcohol, blood pressure, cholesterol, physical activity, body mass index and other dietary variables.

Researchers combined the results of six studies from the United States, eight from Europe and six from Asia (China and Japan). They note that low fruit and vegetable consumption is prevalent worldwide, and especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables up to 600 grams each day could reduce the burden of ischemic stroke by 19 percent globally, according to the World Health Organization.

In China, stroke is the leading cause of death, with an estimated 1.7 million people dying in 2010. In the United States, stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of disability.

The American Heart Association advises the average adult to eat four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables daily, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. A diet rich in a variety of colors and types of vegetables and fruits is a way of getting important nutrients that most people don’t get enough of, including vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They are also naturally low in saturated fat.

Story Source:

Journal Reference:

  1. D. Hu, J. Huang, Y. Wang, D. Zhang, Y. Qu. Fruits and Vegetables Consumption and Risk of Stroke: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Stroke, 2014; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.004836

March 5, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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4 Ways to Improve Your Health

4 Ways to Improve Your Health

Robert Kelman MD, FAAEM, Medical Director

 We’ve all set goals for ourselves. Some come with the promise of a new year, some just because we are ready for a positive change.   If your goals center around good health, I would like to share my suggestions for a great start.

To make a serious impact on your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke, begin by making good food choices. For example, use olive or canola oil instead of other household oils or fats. Avoiding whole grains and white pasta can also be beneficial.

Maintaining a healthy weight is another avenue to overall health. Being overweight increases your chances of developing hypertension and diabetes, among other health problems.   Excellent assistance in this area can be obtained from a nutritionist and fitness specialist. Julie Feldman, MPH, RD, TLC’s Registered Dietitian, encourages a realistic approach to weight loss and well being to positively change your life. Keep in mind, being thin doesn’t make you healthy if you aren’t eating nutritious foods and exercising.

I also recommend an annual physical. This is important, since a basic history and physical exam may help detect life threatening conditions at a very early stage, when these issues can be controlled or cured. Scheduled tests, such as mammograms, prostate checks, and stress tests are just a few examples of screening.

My last point is to be safe in your own home. I encourage everyone to install a Carbon Monoxide detector in their home.   Do not leave things lying around the floor that could be a tripping hazard in the middle of the night. Also, secure your rugs to the floor, or remove them.   There are many adaptive devices available and modifications that can be made if you are facing new challenges such as stairs, or high cupboards. We work with professionals who can assess, offer suggestions and even make the necessary changes.

Let’s all make this year a healthy year!

__________________

Dr. Robert Kelman is a graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and holds licenses to practice medicine in Michigan, Florida, and New York. Dr. Kelman is a founding Member and Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. As Medical Director of TLC, Dr. Kelman meets with Members to understand their lifestyle and healthcare needs and is accessible as medical situations arise to manage the complexities of facilitating care.

 

March 4, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Will you need Home Care or Home Health Care?

Arcadia-Image - 002

It’s confusing and sometimes difficult to know which care is needed, home care or home health care. Do you know the differences?

A good way to quickly assess which care will serve your relative, follow these simple suggestions.

The first thing to remember about receiving help, you don’t need to be frail, unable to care for oneself, nor does one require to have an illness. Even if a person can take care of self properly, have a quick mind, and agile body, there may come a time they choose a little help around the house. That’s when a person will select home care.

But if the individual develops an illness or a chronic condition and becomes frail and weak, they may need help managing medications, measuring vitals or receiving injections, that’s when home health care is called for assistance.

How to Find Care

If seeking home care, you have a couple of options: hire an agency or hire a private in-home caregiver.

Home Care

A good checklist to use when evaluating for home care, ask if the care recipient needs help with one or more of these activities.

  • Needs help with eating and feeding, taking a bath, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, walking around, and transferring from chair to bed or elsewhere?
  • Needs help with cleaning the house, washing clothes, going to the market, running errands, cooking meals and reminders for medication?
  • Needs help with incontinent care?
  • Needs help to maintain a social life and companionship for social outings?
  • Needs help with transportation and making appointments?
  • Does the family member need a break from giving care?

Home Health Care

  • Needs help managing pain?
  • Needs help learning medication adherence and management?
  • Needs skilled assessments and training?
  • Needs disease management and education?
  • Needs help with injections and IV infusions?
  • Needs catheter care and tracheotomy care?
  • Needs help with a ventilator?
  • Needs help with managing diabetes?
  • Needs post-op rehab?
  • Needs occupational and speech therapies?
  • Needs help with discharge planning?
  • Needs help with wound care?
  • Needs assistance enabling durable medical equipment?

Home health is administered by a medically trained staff.

Paying for care includes:

  • Out-of-pocket
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Medical health insurance
  • Medicaid and Medicare
  • Cash and Counseling Programs
  • Veterans Administration

Carol Marak is a contributor for the senior living and health care market. Find her work at AssistedLivingFacilities.org. Blog originated from http://eldercareabcblog.com/will-need-home-care-home-health-care/

February 25, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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11 Tips on Personality & Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s

untitled In dementia, the brain loses a number of abilities. This can change a person’s personality and behavior. Use this tip sheet’s suggestions to better understand them.

Changes in the way people act can be one of the biggest challenges in caring for people with Alzheimer’s. There is much you can do to smooth the journey.

Common Changes in Personality and Behavior

Common personality and behavior changes you may see include:

  • Getting upset, worried, and angry more easily
  • Acting depressed or not interested in things
  • Hiding things or believing other people are hiding things
  • Imagining things that aren’t there
  • Wandering away from home
  • Pacing a lot
  • Showing unusual sexual behavior
  • Hitting you or other people
  • Misunderstanding what he or she sees or hears

You also may notice that the person stops caring about how he or she looks, stops bathing, and wants to wear the same clothes every day. In addition to changes in the brain, other things may affect how people with Alzheimer’s behave:

  • Feelings such as sadness, fear, stress, confusion, or anxiety
  • Health-related problems, including illness, pain, new medications, or lack of sleep
  • Other physical issues like infections, constipation, hunger or thirst, or problems seeing or hearing
  • Problems in their surroundings, like too much noise or being in an unfamiliar place

If you don’t know what is causing the problem, call the doctor. It could be caused by a physical or medical issue.

Keep Things Simple…and Other Tips

Caregivers cannot stop Alzheimer’s-related changes in personality and behavior, but   they can learn to cope with them. Here are some tips:

  1.      Keep things simple. Ask or say one thing at a time.
  2.      Have a daily routine, so the person knows when certain things will     happen.
  3.      Reassure the person that he or she is safe and you are there to help.
  4.      Focus on his or her feelings rather than words. For example, say,     “You seem worried.”
  5.      Don’t argue or try to reason with the person.
  6.      Try not to show your frustration or anger. If you get upset, take deep breaths and count to 10. If it’s safe, leave the room    for a few minutes.
  7.      Use humor when you can.
  8.      Give people who pace a lot a safe place to walk.
  9.      Try using music, singing, or dancing to distract the person.
  10.      Ask for help. For instance, say, “Let’s set the table” or “I need help folding the clothes.”

Talk with the person’s doctor about problems like hitting, biting, depression, or   hallucinations. Medications are available to treat some behavioral symptoms.

 

SOURCE:
  • The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center is a service of the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. The Center offers information and publications for families, caregivers,  and professionals about Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive changes.

February 24, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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5 Tips the CDC, NHTSA, and Safe Drive Systems Caution Every Man 50+ to Remember Before Driving

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5 Tips the CDC, NHTSA, and Safe Drive Systems Caution Every Man 50+ to Remember Before Driving

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12528341.htm

How One Company is Eliminating the Need for Seniors to Give Up Freedom

Miami, Florida (PRWEB) February 20, 2015

Getting older used to mean driving less.  Not anymore. Men over 50 are feeling younger, more adventurous and more independent than ever before, and it shows in the front-end collision and car crash statistics reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In fact, the NHTSA has seen a 23% increase in licensed older drivers since 1999.

Combine that with an increase in accidents as adults age, because of visual and hearing impairments, reaction times, and other factors, and it’s no wonder the CDC is urging drivers over 50 to take extra precautions.

While the NHTSA and CDC both site a dramatic decline in accidents with the use of advanced collision warning systems, all involved agencies believe that the ultimate responsibility lay with the driver.

So does Safe Drive Systems, the leading provider of the after-market anti-collision radar system that is designed to provide an extra boost, much like an extra pair of eyes and ears might, to those over 50 who care about safe driving habits.

“I was raised to believe that when you can make a difference, you do. At Safe Drive Systems we’re leveraging the power of advanced collision warning and lane departure technologies to provide men 50-85 additional protection against fatal or injury increasing collisions. Our affordable after-market system provides escalating light and audible warnings up to 480 ft in advance, alerting drivers with distractions, or dulled senses to the potential of imminent danger,” says Joseph Shuford, CEO at Safe Drive Systems.

Here are 5 Helpful Tips to Bolster Safety Before Driving Begins

1.    Drowsiness and side-effects can lead to death, so asking a doctor or pharmacist to review medications (prescription and over the counter) can reduce risk of related collisions.

2.    Schedule regular visits with your eye doctor, and make sure to wear glasses and corrective lenses as suggested.

3.    Leave a large following distance

4.    If possible, plan the route taken in advance

There is a 5th tip to consider. One that may lead many to say limits the freedom of seniors. Which controversial tip is causing waves? Don’t drive during bad weather, or at night.

“Bad weather is unpredictable,” says Mr. Shuford, “It can strike at any time, and Men over 50 shouldn’t have to give up their freedom if they take extra precautions, like installing an aftermarket anti-collision warning system that even the IIHL agrees can reduce the risk of a fatal or injury related accident by up to 40%. And since the RD140 Radar from Safe Drive Systems fits on practically every car made since 2000, there is no longer an excuse forcing men over 50 to give up their freedom, especially since it works after dark, in dense fog, and inclement weather.”

Interestingly enough, this is the same type of anti-collision warning system the NHTSA is considering making mandatory on all new release vehicles, because it is shown to reduce one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., by more than 5,000 per year.

About Safe Drive Systems. Safe Drive Systems is a leading developer and distributor of advanced, active auto safety technologies. Its team of engineers is dedicated to providing safety systems that are reliable, affordable, and user friendly to nearly all vehicle owners. Its anti-collision avoidance system (Radar) is specifically designed to prevent or greatly reduce the severity of an accident. To learn more about how to stay safe while driving at any age visit safedrivesystems.com.