Posts Tagged ‘non medical care’

Living with Arthritis

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

This is the third and final part to series on arthritis. Besides medications, diet and exercise, there are other approaches for arthritis.

In some cases, surgery to rebuild the joint (arthroplasty) or to replace the joint such as a total knee joint replacement may help to maintain a more normal lifestyle. The decision to perform joint replacement surgery is normally made when other alternatives, such as lifestyle changes and medications, are no longer effective.

Normal joints contain a lubricant called synovial fluid. In joints with arthritis, this fluid is not produced in adequate amounts. In some cases, a doctor may inject the arthritic joint with a man-made version of joint fluid. The synthetic fluid may postpone the need for surgery at least temporarily and improve the quality of life for persons with arthritis.

A few arthritis-related disorders can be completely cured with treatment while most other arthritic disorders are chronic (long-term) conditions; however, the goal of treatment is to control the pain and minimize the joint damage. Chronic arthritis frequently goes in and out of remission.

Complications resulting from arthritis are chronic pain and lifestyle restrictions or disability.

Call a doctor if:

  • Your joint pain persists beyond 3 days
  • You have severe unexplained joint pain
  • The affected joint is significantly swollen
  • You have a hard time moving the joint
  • Your skin around the joint is red or hot to the touch
  • You have a fever or have lost weight unintentionally

If arthritis is diagnosed and treated early, joint damage can be prevented. It’s important to find out if you have a family history of arthritis; share this information with your doctor, even if you have no symptoms. Osteoarthritis may be more likely to develop if you abuse your joints (injure them many times or over-use while injured). Be careful not to overwork a damaged or sore joint and avoid excessive repetitive motions as well. Excess weight could also increase the risk for developing osteoarthritis in the knees and possibly in the hips. Know your body mass index to learn if your weight is healthy.

Erectile Dysfunction

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Many men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their life. A large percentage of these men are age 55 and over. Sadly, only a small percentage talks with their doctor about this problem.

Impotence can happen at any age, however, most men feel that it is an age-related problem and that it is normal to have an simply do not talk to their physician. And let’s face it, it’s a personal matter and embarrassing to some, so men just avoid the subject all together for the most part. In a survey of men age 60 or over, 61% reported being sexually active, and nearly half derived as much if not more benefit from their sex lives as they did in their 40s (About.com: Health Topics A-Z, 2010).

Erectile dysfunction in elderly men is more of a side effect with disease than age. Older men are more likely to have conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure than younger men. Sometimes, these conditions and/or some of their treatments (medications, etc) are in fact to blame for impotence.

There are in fact, many physical and psychological reasons that can cause brief periods of impotence; this should be considered as normal as getting a cold. To be honest, getting a cold could be a common reason that could cause temporary impotence. Most men do experience this from time to time in their life. Persistent problems should be discussed with a physician, particularly since it is treatable. It may also be a symptom of another type of problem. When in doubt, speak with your doctor (About.com: Health Topics A-Z, 2010).

Works Cited

(2010). Retrieved October 3, 2010, from About.com: Health Topics A-Z: http://adam.about.com/reports/000015_1.htm

Power of Attorney

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Caring for an elderly parent can be draining both emotionally and physically. Many times, adults are taking care of their elderly parent or parents while still trying to raise their own children.

As the parent becomes less independent and unable to care for his or her own needs, it becomes clear that you will have to take the needed steps to ensure that legal, personal, medical and financial interests are protected. One way to do this is to get a power of attorney drawn up so that you or someone you trust can act on your elderly parent’s behalf to make decisions that he or she can no longer make independently.

This is not an easy thing for an elderly parent or the child of the elderly parent. So it is very important to involve the parent in the preparations as much as possible. This leaves the parent feeling less helpless or left out of the process. Honor the parents’ wishes when possible; however, do realize that you are entrusted to act in your parent’s best interest even if the parent disagrees with you. It is also not a good idea to rely on those generic self-help legal software programs. For a delicate matter such as this, an experienced attorney to help decide what needs to be done is the better option. There are many factors that come into play with issues such as a power of attorney such as the present and long-term medical condition of the parent as well as their own personal wishes for how affairs are to be handled. Moreover, do not pressure your elderly parent into making life-changing decisions, especially when he or she is tired, hungry, restless or upset. Choose a time to talk and present the information gradually instead of all at one time. Keep everything relaxed and don’t force the issue.

Check back on Saturday, October 2, 2010 to learn the process of obtaining a power of attorney.

Ways To Improve Heart Function

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

As people get older, body systems do not seem to work as well as they did at a younger age. This makes it important to take care of ourselves the best we can; diet, exercise, and rest will all help to keep our bodies working well. Unfortunately, sometimes no matter how well we take care of ourselves, illness and disease can take hold of us. In the elderly, it seems that heart problems are prevalent.

Here are a few tips to help keep your heart in tip-top shape:

  • Loose weight~Your heart will not have to work as hard to send blood to all parts of a slimmer body.
  • Avoid hard exercise~This puts a sudden pumping demand on your heart.
  • Engage in mild exercise~Walking or joining a doctor approved cardiac rehab program could help strengthen your heart.
  • Wear loose clothing~Wear clothing that encourages good blood flow in the legs; tight socks or hose with tight tops could slow blood flow to your legs thus causing clots.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures~The body works harder to keep the body temperature normal when you are too hot or too cold.
  • Avoid colds/flus~Try to stay away from those who are sick; also ask your doctor about yearly flu shots and the pneumonia shot.
  • Limit alcohol~Talk with your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you (though it should be avoided altogether) as alcohol weakens the heart; heart failure could improve if alcohol is eliminated.
  • Get plenty of rest~Your body needs 8 hours of sleep a day.
  • Drink plenty of water~8 (8oz) glasses per day is recommended.
  • Keep legs elevated when sitting~This will help to increase circulation. Having your legs hanging down for extended periods of time can cause the blood to pool in your lower extremities thus putting you at risk for blood clots.
  • Most importantly, LISTEN to your body and on days you feel well, do more and on days you feel sick, do less.

Elderly Couple Gets Trapped in Elevator

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

It is often said that the majority of most accidents happen in, around, or near your home. Your home is supposed to be your haven; the place you can go to in order to feel safe. A Georgia couple not only was unsafe in their home but trapped as well.

In July 2010, an elderly couple from Glynn County, Georgia had been dead for several days before being discovered. It seems that 90-year-old Sherwood Wadsworth and his 89-year-old wife, Caroline, were trapped in the elevator installed in their home when it got stuck between floors. They had no way to call for help from the elevator. The county coroner said that it appeared that they died from natural causes; however, an autopsy was to be performed to make absolutely sure that foul play was not involved.

The autopsy later revealed that the couple, who shared their lives more than 60 years, died from heat exhaustion from being trapped in the closet-sized lift. The lift was designed with what looked like closet doors with the up and down arrow buttons in the walls. It was determined that the temperatures reached 95 degrees. Unfortunately, the police found that the elevator had no phone to call out from in case of an emergency.

The local polices determined that the elevator was stuck between the second and third floors. Local police found the couple after the newspaper carrier noticed several newspapers piled up outside of their home and decided to call 911. The police had to break in the house because all the doors were locked and bolted. Once inside, they found no one except for the Wadsworth’s cat.

Information retrieved from the following sources:

http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-couple-die-elevator,0,4453333.story
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/15/national/main6680895.shtml

Skin Conditions in the Elderly

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

The main cause of damage to the skin comes from intense exposure from the sun. This damage is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which break down elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin. This causes the skin to stretch, wrinkle, sag, or become blotchy. This can also cause pre-cancerous growths or skin cancer.

Other contributing factors such as obesity, stress, or smiling/frowning per day effect skin aging. Remember hearing about how it takes more muscles to frown than smile? Or how about hearing one of your parents saying that your face will receive a certain way? There is a lot of truth as to how facial expressions can affect how elastic your skin is as you age.

Some skin changes that happen as you age include:

  • Rough or dry skin
  • Loose facial skin around the eyes, cheeks, and/or jawline
  • Transparent or thinned skin (skin that looks paper thin)
  • Easy bruising

Common skin conditions in the elderly include:

  • Wrinkles: follows chronic sun exposure; smokers also tend to have more wrinkles than non-smokers
  • Facial movement lines: called ‘laugh lines’ or ‘worry lines’ and these become more visible as you age; can be located at mouth corner, upper cheeks, and around eyes.
  • Dry/itching skin: oil glands are lost as you age so it is important to keep skin hydrated with moisturizer or lotions.
  • Skin cancer: Sun exposure (UV rays) is the most common cause so avoid over-exposure of sun and tanning beds.
  • Age spots: brown patches that appear on body parts (face, hands, and forearms)
  • Bedsores: these are also called pressure ulcers and these occur when you lie or sit in a bed, chair, etc for long periods of time

Can these skin conditions be treated? Unfortunately, nothing can be done to undo sun damage to skin; however, the skin can occasionally repair itself. Here are a few skin healthy tips:

  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more
  • Wear a hat and long sleeves when outdoors and sunglasses that block UV rays
  • Avoid the use of tanning beds or sunlamps
  • Examine yourself on a regular basis for any change in moles or any new growths

Easing Joint Stiffness in the Elderly

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Join stiffness can lead to more issues in the elderly than most others. While for many, just moving about enough may ease any early

Elderly exercising

morning problems, at times this may not be enough. For those who cannot move about comfortably joint stiffness may make them move even less, and in turn may turn into a more severe issue. There are ways to help ease the pain from both general joint stiffness, (such as the discomfort from waking up) and arthritis.

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Home Care May Aid Survival After Hip Surgery

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Closeness is key

A Canadian study suggest that those who receive home care after they have had hip surgery have a better chance at survival then those who don’t. While less people receive that home care, it seems to be a deciding factor in recovery and survival rates.

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Administration Looking to Ease Strain on Health Care

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The elderly health care landscape at the moment is in dire need of help.  Officials are trying to work with the present system to sort out many issues that senior citizens often face when it comes to their health care needs.  With the elderly the largest growing portion of the population, they are also having the most issues when it comes to the current system.

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Spotting Alzheimer’s Disease

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Spotting the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease in an elderly family member can pose many problems, and finding out if something you may notice is normal or an early warning sign can post larger issues as well. While Alzheimer’s has no cure, it can at times be treated and early detection methods are important.  The Alzheimer’s Association website may be able to help you find out if what you are seeing is normal, or the sign of something more severe.  The list is set up in a way that allows those taking the test to figure out what is normal and what may require more attention.

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