Half of the nation’s 40 million family caregivers are performing complicated medical/nursing tasks for their family members and friends, including giving injections, preparing special diets, managing tube feedings, and handling medical equipment, according to a recent report from AARP. Additionally, 70% of these caregivers are dealing with the stress of managing pain relief amid a national opioid crisis. Continue reading
Experts on aging are sounding the alarm about another U.S. drug crisis: Too many older adults taking too many medications.
This trend is leading to a surge in adverse drug events (ADE) over the past two decades. The rate of emergency department visits by older adults for ADEs doubled between 2006 and 2014 — a problem as serious as the opioid crisis but whose scope appears to remain virtually invisible to families, patients, policymakers and many clinicians, according to a recent report by the Lown Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Brookline, Mass. Continue reading
A recently recognized dementia that mimics many of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, but actually is an entirely different form of brain deterioration, has been documented in a new research paper.
Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (also known as LATE) primarily affects adults 80 years and older and “has been associated with substantial cognitive impairment that mimicked Alzheimer’s disease,” said researchers of the paper, which appeared in the June edition of Brain: A Journal of Neurology. Continue reading
There’s little question in Lisa McGuire’s mind that Alzheimer’s disease is a public health threat in progress. She leads the CDC’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Both the prevalence and costs of Alzheimer’s are expected to increase as baby boomers age, meaning this crisis is fast approaching.
So the CDC, along with the Alzheimer’s Association, embarked on an ambitious “Healthy Brain” initiative to help bring down the trajectory. They created a series of roadmaps for state and local health departments, highlighting different health strategies that can quickly and easily blend into existing public health programs. Continue reading
Mental and physical health often go hand in hand, but for many older adults, mental health conditions can be missed or misdiagnosed. Conditions such as depression and anxiety are common and may be indicators of or stem from more serious illnesses, like Parkinson’s or heart disease, as this new tip sheet explains.
Stigma, self-blame, and lack of training among physicians to recognize mental health issues are just some of the reasons that fewer than 3% of older Americans seek help for mental health issues, according to this Health Affairs article. Geropsychologists are trained to deal with the specific needs of older adults, but are in short supply. Continue reading
People do what they must to survive, says the subject of a story by Lisa Gillespie, health reporter at NPR affiliate WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky. Even if it means traveling three hours back and forth to a food pantry, then lifting heavy bags that likely will exacerbate chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Continue reading