Anyone who has spent time with an elder parent in the hospital knows just how easy it is for one problem to be solved only to have the person discharged with different problems. This is not necessarily the fault of the medical caregivers or the hospital itself — it’s a result of a system that puts older people into beds and keeps them there. Add in bed alarms, the inability to move much, and that hospitals isolate elder patients from their routines and support communities, and you have a recipe for unsuccessful care, a result of age associated hospital complications.
So I recommend reading The Hospital is No Place for the Elderly, a November 20, 2013 article that appeared in the The Atlantic. This piece aptly illustrates the conundrum of frail elderly patients with chronic health issues admitted to hospitals where medical care focuses primarily on fixing acute health problems. The difficulty is that most of frail elders’ medical issues cannot be fixed — but the quality of their lives can improve. Author Jonathan Rauch also describes several programs in the United States — teams of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals — that collaborate to keep patients as healthy as possible and out of the hospital. The teams even save money. Continue reading →
I am reprising this post from two years ago when I cooked my first low-sodium Thanksgiving dinner — attending to sodium because of my father’s congestive heart failure diet requirements.
Most preparations are staying the same, though I am dividing the stuffing this year into two parts. The first half I will prepare in a crockpot. The other half I’ll roast inside a pumpkin. Watch for a picture.
Each year this preparation gets easier and easier, because so many people are experimenting and trying out new ideas. But another reason is my local Penzy’s spice store — the selection of low salt and no salt spices continues to increase giving me more and more options.
Start November 2011 Thanksgiving Post
I’ve just read an article, Experts Warn: Thanksgiving Poses Hidden Sodium Dangers, describing the dangers of stealth sodium in Thanksgiving foods. The Associated Press article, which appeared in NJ.com points out that people can reach and exceed the appropriate daily sodium intake just in the one holiday meal. A big thank-you to my cousin, Sandy, for sending me the link. Continue reading →
When we offer any kind of support to aging parents, we learn quite a bit about Social Security along the way. One thing we discover is information about the various retirement ages that qualify for benefit payments. If other adult children are anything like me, they begin to think about their retirement years ahead and just how Social Security fits into the picture.
Visit the Social Security website to learn more about benefits.
The New York Times Your Money column published an article that addresses just these issues. In The Payoff in Waiting to Collect Social Security, columnist Tara Siegel Bernard explains how Social Security payments work and how they increase from year to year if a person is able to put off collecting retirement benefits from the program for even a few years. The November 15, 2013, column describes a typical couple considering when to apply for Social Security benefits and how they might benefit from delaying payments if they can afford to do so, quoting experts from the Boston College (BC) Center for Retirement Research, which happens also to publish The Social Security Claiming Guide, a booklet that walks readers detail-by-detail through the steps that retirees need to consider when the start thinking about when to apply for payments.
As the adult children of aging parents most of us are used to hearing friends and colleagues make the “senior moment” comment. Often when a person over 45 or so has difficulty remembering something, he or she will comment, “…oops, I’m having a senior moment.” I began noticing this in my late 40′s and now, a few years later, it happens at least once a day. I make the comment, too, though I am trying to stop saying it.
My husband’s mother would throw her toothbrush into the wastebasket or put it in her sewing box.
However, now that I have watched the steady decline and eventual death of a family member with dementia I feel my forgetfulness more intensely. As my mother-in-law’s continued experience more severe dementia symptoms, we found dozens of friends and acquaintances who were experiencing or had experienced the same disease in their families. Just about every person occasionally worried about the potential for dementia in the future. When my husband and I had a moment to think about ourselves during that time, and it was not that often, we wondered how we might prevent dementia from occurring in our lives. It doesn’t feel like a joke that the senior moment comment implies. Continue reading →
Although we worry most about scams aimed at aging parents, adult children need to be sure that they, too, have the wherewithal to avoid victimization.
Check out the blog feature Top Scams Targeting Baby Boomers During the Government Shutdown over at EmaxHealth, an independent health news organization. The post, by Kathleen Blanchard, details some of the creative ways that dishonest people are taking advantage of the anxiety that people face in uncertain times — in this case the government shutdown — and also in transitional times such as during the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act this fall or during open season for Medicare Advantage every year.
An aspect of ageism is how many people seem to believe that seniors make poorer decisions as soon as they begin to age.
According to a recent study described in a Health Day article atMedline Plus, older adults performed decision-making tasks just as well if not better than younger people. Participants ranged from age 18 to age 82. The article describing the research appeared in the September 28, 2013 issue of Psychology and Aging.
Over the course of the study researchers examined responses to questions from more than 600 people, describing how they go about making decisions that required a knowledge of math skills, vocabulary, risk-taking. and financial understanding. Two types of cognitive abilities, fluid intelligence (quickness) and crystalized intelligence (accumulated knowledge) were identified. Continue reading →