Prescribed Drugs: Possible Risk to the Elderly

A study out of Brown University finds that doctors in the U.S. are prescribing drugs to the elderly that can have harmful side effects and the problem is even more acute in the south.

122422920Many drugs such as valium are harder for the elderly to metabolize so they stay in their systems a lot longer and this lingering effect can cause lightheadedness in an older person. This compromised physical state can very well lead to falls which we all know can have deadly consequences for the elderly.

Furthermore, a problem now termed as polypharmacy seems to be taking hold as a public health issue. This relates to the fact that the average senior citizen’s treatment plan includes four prescription drugs at the same time opening endless possibilities for harmful interactions which are suspected to be responsible for almost 33% of all hospital admissions.

The elderly and their caretakers need to review their medications regularly to make sure they know all associated risks, possible side effects and negative interactions. This link from Merck can be a handy reference.

David York Home Healthcare Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Preventing Falls in the Elderly

We are often so consumed with the symptoms and treatments of the diseases endemic to the elderly that we fail to see how a simple fall can have catastrophic effects. These falls can lead to disabling conditions, extended hospital stays and even death. To the elderly, commonplace activities like walking, shopping and socializing become dreaded events.  Their physical realities combined with their fears mean that the elderly come to view themselves as fragile which exacerbates their isolation and depression, all too common conditions among this group.

Ten things you can do to prevent falls include (The National Institute on Aging has a handy tip sheet):487709591

  • Regular exercise, especially those that work on balance like yoga and tai chi, can help steady the elderly adult. Weight-bearing exercises that slow bone loss and lower-body strengthening exercises are especially helpful.
  • Physical therapy may be useful for improving balance and walking confidence.  Your doctor or health care provider may be able to make that referral.
  • Stand up slowly from a seated or lying position.
  • Wear rubber soled shoes to avoid slipping.
  • Make regular eye and hearing check-ups to ensure they are fitted with glasses with the optimal prescription for clear vision.  Interestingly, even wearing bifocals while walking or on steps may blur the vision enough to cause falls.  Proper hearing can ensure no cues are missed.
  • Elder proofing a home taking elderly needs and deficits into account much as we do for babies is often neglected.  (See article below.)
  • Regular dizziness may indicate an underlying medical condition with respect to blood pressure, circulation, or sensory issues which should be checked out by a physician.
  • Have the doctor or pharmacist review all medications to identify those most likely to cause dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Get enough sleep.
    Source: National Institute on Aging: Go4Life: Preventing Falls

David York Home Healthcare Agency  provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in New York in their homes and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one.

For Seniors, It’s All About Companionship

For our most senior citizens, the way to their hearts and minds is through simple companionship.  Rather than wasting money and energy on new fangled gadgets for older loved ones, a visit and a simple dinner is the best gift in the world.  What they most want is time and friendship. 

CompanionshipA New York Times article entitled “What Makes Older People Happy” by Judith Graham, analyzes various studies on consumer behavior and psychology to posit that the reason older people shun new experiences and products that the young crave is, having lived most of their lives already, they now prize the simple pleasures and experiences in life. 

Contrary to public opinion, it is not about seniors cocooning themselves thinking that life has passed them by.   It is just that, according to a Journal of Consumer Research report entitled Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences, the type of experiences that make people happy change over time.  While senior citizens still enjoy being active and current, they do not use these experiences to solidify their identities as young people do.  The elderly forged their identities long ago and their maturity level and seasoned attitude toward life has allowed them to appreciate the here and the now all the more. 

However, when attempting new things, energy level is a real concern for those who are not as spry as they used to be and the fear of getting hurt is very real for them as they see others around them not bouncing back as they used to when they were young.  They know that a careless move can lead to an injury that sparks a whole chain of events that could have lasting, if not dire consequences.  In that instance, a home health aide in tow is a perfect solution for enabling them to have new experiences accompanied and in a safe manner. 

At David York Home Health Agency we understand the importance of companionship above all and our home health aides are quite sensitive to this as well as the host of other factors relating to senior home care.  They know how to make our clients feel appreciated in the safe and comfortable environment of their homes and familiar destinations. Please call David York Agency at 718.376.7755 or visit the website at www.davidyorkhomehealthcare.com to learn more about what they offer.  Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

February 11, 2014, 4:01 pm
What Makes Older People Happy  By Judith Graham
http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/what-makes-older-people-happy/_php=true&_type=blogs&nl=health&emc=edit_hh_20140218&_r=0