Ageism in Clinical Trials Limit the Elderly

25% of patients who regularly take prescription medications are over 65. However, clinical trials severely underrepresent this age group. Unfortunately, this is no oversight. Ageism in clinical trials is an unfortunate reality. The International Longevity Center reports that people over the age of 75 are “explicitly excluded” from participating in 40% of clinical trials. These trials evaluate not only the effectiveness and safety of medications, also treatments. Eliminating older patients from these assessments has the potential to result in improper treatment strategies and dosages, as well as overlooked drug interactions.

Elderly Ageism

 

Facts and Figures

Heart disease is a major cause of death in older populations. Despite this fact, less than 2% of people over 75 were included in clinical trials for unclogging blocked arteries. Worse, trials for advanced heart disease treatments did not include any patients over 65. In treatment trials for cancer – a disease where age is a significant risk factor – the number of patients 65 and up was extremely low. In breast cancer treatment trials alone, the number of participants over 65 was a mere 9%. This is a shocking statistic, given that more than 50% of diagnosed women are over 65.

 Why is Ageism So Prevalent?

Why do these statistics exist? Will this exclusion from medical trials hurt our older population?

There are several reasons for this trend. The first: medical practitioners – including 50% of oncologists – consider older patients to be “ineligible” for participation based on age alone. Another reason for ageism in clinical trials is that coexisting medical issues automatically make a person ineligible. True, varying factors can wreak havoc on the results of a controlled trial, but most patients who ultimately receive treatment will likely have multiple medical concerns. Another reason for this ageism: situation. Doctors deem some older patients ineligible for participation due to distance, inability to travel, and other related costs.

Taking a Stand

Designing trials specifically for the elderly would help alleviate this discrepancy. Quite simply, there is no way to determine how a new treatment will react with an untested population. This includes those with other pre-existing conditions. Prescribing untested drugs among the 65+ community leads to incorrect dosages, poor reactions, and other dangerous problems. Regardless of the reasons, eliminating any age group can have unintended consequences. This is particularly true for the older population who take the most medications and have the most health problems.

It is important to include all age groups in clinical trials. The medical community must make this effort to provide the safest and best healthcare to patients of all generations.

For more information about David York Agencys qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Drug Abuse is Becoming More Common After Age 65

drug-abuse-after-65

It starts slowly and innocently at first. An older adult needs relief from the knee or back pain that so often comes with aging. Or, perhaps a life-changing event, like divorce or the death of a loved one, throws him or her into a pit of depression and an antidepressant is prescribed. Even retirement can bring on anxiety caused by a sudden lack of purpose, structure, and self-worth for which a prescription anti-anxiety medication is recommended.

A Common Problem

Although these scenarios sound relatively harmless, they can be the start of drug abuse after the age of 65. According to the New York Times, there are a number of factors that make the elderly in general and today’s aging baby boomers specifically more susceptible to becoming addicts.

  • the elderly metabolize drugs and alcohol more slowly which means that they stay in their systems longer,
  • tolerance to these drugs increases over time and addiction can begin after as few as 10 days of use,
  • more established folks often have the money to afford their addiction, and
  • Baby Boomers don’t have the same attitude toward drug use as the previous generation. There is less of a stigma.

Pain pills such as OxyContin and Percocet, along with antianxiety and antidepressant pills like Xanax and Valium, are the most frequently prescribed. And since most doctors don’t usually screen for addiction, even low doses can quickly escalate into full-blown addictions. Couple that with the fact that these medications are being used in conjunction with other prescriptions and alcohol, and you have “the perfect storm,” says Brenda J. Iliff, executive director of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Naples, Florida.

Notice the Symptoms

The signs of addiction—like confusion, brain fog, mood swings, and shaking—may not raise red flags when exhibited by seniors because such symptoms are written off as part of aging. Many times, senior addictions are only discovered by medical professionals after they fall or sustain another type of injury. If you notice any of these symptoms and know that your loved one has been taking pills, schedule an appointment for them with a doctor, or try and gently confront them about the issue.

Getting Help

Detox for seniors is difficult and needs to be done slowly and with a lot of monitoring. Cognitive and physical issues can also slow detox treatments down, but once completed, patients can return to living more normal lives, without the debilitating effects of prescription addiction.

Drug abuse is not just a problem faced by young people. It may come as a surprise that as we age, we are, in many ways, more susceptible to prescription pill addiction. At David York Agency, our experienced in-home healthcare providers can help to monitor medication and keep an eye out for warning signs of substance abuse. They are certified and trained in the latest guidelines for eldercare.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

 

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.”

Senior Social Media Training for Senior Health

A new study out of England and Italy finds that when the elderly are trained in the use of social media as well as Skype and email, they perform better cognitively and experience improved health.

During a two year period, 120 seniors in the UK and Italy aged 65 and above were given specially designed computer training and were compared against a control group that did not received any. Among those that used these tools, the mental and physical capacity improved as opposed to a steady decline experienced in the control group.

Hypotheses asThinkstockPhotos-453532787 to why this occurred include: “Human beings are social animals,” as stated by Thomas Morton who led the study out of the University of Exeter’s psychology department. It is amazing how satisfying our basic social needs can have synergistic effects for our overall health. One woman reported feeling “invigorated” rather than “slipping into a slower pace” and caring more about her appearance and losing weight. Three quarters of the test group with computer training found email and Skype useful, but fewer than half liked Facebook as much.

The Office for National Statistics in the UK reports that the elderly over 65 have increased their internet use from 9% in 2006 to an astounding 37% in 2013. With the elderly population in Europe set to grow from 17% to 30% by 2060, marrying their well being with this ever growing usage of technology can have dramatic effects on their quality of life.

Those in the eldercare field feel that the computer, and even the use of that word, could be a barrier to entry for many of the elderly. Shifting the focus of technology adoption from the computers to tablets might be more effective since tablets tend to be more user-friendly.

Being that a major problem of the elderly is a devastating feeling of loneliness and isolation, encouraging new technology adoption as an avenue for its alleviation is a winning solution. Keeping in touch with old friends and relatives as well as keeping current with the events of the day could help the elderly remain feeling vital. The counter intuitive marriage of the elderly with technology might be the perfect antidote to what ails them.

David York Home Healthcare Agency is very sensitive to the potential of feeling isolated and makes every effort to send caring and compassionate home health aides into the client’s home. David York Home Agency (DYA) is well versed in the problems of the elderly and all factors related to eldercare services. DYA provides certified home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines and trends for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call for a free consultation today at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

 

Elder Self-Neglect: Most Common Form of Elder Abuse

The Geriatric Care Manager shows up to check on her 78 year old client. She notices the elderly man is gaunter and noticeably thinner than when she started the case. From week to week, the piles of mail seem to grow and the dishes seem to wait all week for the once per week cleaning woman to come. The apartment has an unpleasant odor signaling the need for more help than agreed to by the client. Sadly, all these are signs of elder self neglect, a growing problem among the elderly.

480498259

According to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM), elderly self-neglect far exceeds any physical or sexual abuse or neglect by others such as their assigned caregiver. Geriatric Care Managers report as follows: 92% say they encounter this in their community; 52% of them say it is a growing problem, and 76% of them say it is the most common form of elder abuse/neglect that they encounter in their practices.

The warning signs of elder self-neglect are:

  1. Poor personal hygiene with respect to bathing and grooming.
  2. Poor medical management as defined by forgetting doses or refusing to take medications and refusing medical treatment.
  3. Signs of dehydrations and malnutrition.
  4. Unsanitary living conditions.
  5. Signs of unpaid bills, bounced checks and/or utility turn-offs.
  6. Weight loss and a shortage of food in the house.

While it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder self-neglect, it is even more important to take a look at possible underlying causes. These include:

  1. Depression which is so common in the elderly.
  2. Increased physical and/or mental deficits or dementia.
  3. Undiagnosed illness that might be causing extreme fatigue.
  4. Medications with side effects that cause lethargy.
  5. Continuation of a lifelong pattern of slovenliness.

If you think someone you know or love is suffering from elder abuse or elder self-neglect, you can contact The National Center on Elder Abuse for a state by state listing of resources that can help.

When you can’t be there, David York Agency is with skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home. We are fully acquainted with all factors related to eldercare services and always available to set up a senior homecare plan taking the whole patient into account. David York Agency is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors and we would be happy to discuss your case with you. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

 

 

Failure: Screening & Reporting Falls in Elderly

There seems to be a big gap with respect to caring for the elderly – reporting and screening for falls. The responsibility for this failure falls to both the elderly experiencing the falls as well as their caregivers and healthcare providers.

453263573A study out of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows 12.6% of
California’s elderly population fall more than one time a year and most do not report it to their medical provider. When they do report the event, the healthcare professional treating them seem to neglect counseling them on fall prevention in 40% of the cases.

Fall prevention is critical to the elderly since it is the leading cause for injury and hospitalization among those 65 and older and the risk only increases as they age. One in 5 people 85 and older report falling more than once a year versus 1 in 10 of those between 65 and 74. The outcomes of a fall in the elderly are often fatal or, at best, have long term consequences for performing their activities of daily living.

While it is incumbent on healthcare professionals to provide counseling to all their elderly patients, these providers must also be informed of any falls by those they treat. Elderly patients must be encouraged to report any falls so that they can be counseled how to prevent falls and to elder proof their surroundings. Also, they need to warn them about certain medications that can exacerbate their lack of balance which naturally declines as they age. Those medications include*:

  • anti-seizure drugs (anticonvulsants)
  • hypertensive (high blood pressure) drugs
  • sedatives
  • tranquilizers
  • anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
  • aminoglycosides (a type of antibiotic)
  • diuretics
  • vasodilators
  • certain analgesics (painkillers)
  • certain chemotherapeutics (anti-cancer drugs).

*From NIH Senior Health: Balance Problems: Causes and Prevention

 

At David York Home Healthcare Agency, we could provide direction to caregivers as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. David York 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.  Our home health aides are certified and fully trained on how to safely care for the elderly. We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Getting Important Documents Assembled for the Elderly

So often, when crisis hits, a family can be caught unawares by this emergency situation. Adult children are blindsided by not knowing where to find critical documents necessary for deciding on the care for their elderly parents and they feel handcuffed by not having access to important assets or documents that are needed. However, it is never too early to start that ‘just in case’ file.

While the holidays are a wonderful time for family sharing and bonding, it is also an opportunity for adult children to help organize essential information for their elderly parents. I think that in addition to feasting and spreading joy this holiday season, all of us, whether we be seniors, caregivers or potential caregivers, should take the opportunity to get some ‘ducks in a row’ and organize those all important documents and bits of information. David York Agency has compiled a handy checklist and a small packet of worksheets to assist in this task. Both are accessible through these links or on the Caregiver Resources page of the David York Agency website.

Essential Documents & Emergency Information Worksheets (pdf version)

Essential Documents & Emergency Information Checklist (pdf versionDec newsletter

  • Professionals List – All Contact Information for:
    • Doctors: Primary Care and Specialists
    • Accountant
    • Attorney
    • Financial Advisor
    • Insurance Brokers
  • Important Documents Packet (Originals and/or Copies):
    • Social Security Card
    • Birth Certificate
    • Driver’s License
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Divorce Certificate
    • Passport
    • Medical Information
      • Allergies
      • Medications
      • Treatments
      • Major Operations
      • Immunization Records
    • Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance Card
    • Life Insurance Policies
    • Military Discharge Papers
    • Deeds
    • Titles
    • Tax Returns for last 6 years
    • Instructions on Location of all files
  • Financial Accounts List – All Contact Information and Account Numbers for:
    • Bank Accounts
    • Investment/Brokerage Accounts
      • Stocks
      • Bonds
      • CDs
    • Credit/Debit Cards
  • Financial Assets List:
    • Car Ownership
    • Mortgage Documents
    • Real Estate Holdings
    • Loans Owed or Owed to them
    • Tax Returns
    • Insurance Policies
      • Home
      • Auto
      • Health
      • Long Term Care
      • Life
    • Original Invoices for Important Possessions
    • Partnership Documents
    • Jewelry and Valuables
    • Safe Combination and Directions
    • Location of Safety Deposit Key
  • Sources of Income:
    • Annuities
    • Social Security
    • Pensions
    • Annual Distributions from Retirement Accounts
    • VA Benefits
    • Disability Payments
  • Recurring Bills:
    • Mortgage
    • Loans
    • Utilities
      • Telephone
      • Electric
      • Gas
    • Insurance Premiums (monthly & quarterly)
    • Car Lease
    • Annual Expenses (i.e. home alarm)
    • Deliveries (i.e. newspaper, milk)
  • Computerized Information:
    • Email Accounts and Passwords
    • Password for Computer
    • Recurring Online Billing
  • Estate Planning Documents:
    • Will
    • Special Instructions regarding personal property
    • Durable Power of Attorney
    • Advanced Healthcare Directive/Living Will
    • Healthcare Proxy
    • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order
    • Retirement Plans
    • Disability Plans
    • Governmental Benefits for which they are eligible
  • End of Life Arrangements:
    • Cemetery Plot Ownership
    • Pre-Planned Burial Papers
    • Personal Statement regarding burial services

Most important is that all this information be easily accessible clearly labeled and a trusted person know its location. Also, if you choose to keep this all stored on a computer, make sure a back up is made and a print out is kept in a location known to a close friend or relative. Healthcare decisions are often quite pressing, so knowing where to find medical records and decision makers in time can be crucial. With respect to assets, at times the government takes possession of unclaimed assets and while you might be able to get a hold of something belonging to you that was overlooked, it is not always an easy process. It is best not to get into that situation and have everything organized ahead of time.
When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services. David York Home Healthcare Agency can satisfy all your questions and would be happy to give you more information and discuss your case with you. Visit our website at David York Agency – providing healthcare professionals to the elderly and infirm, with the highest degree of personal service. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

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