The Aging Parent-Multiple Medication Conundrum

pillsThe intersection of elderly parents and multiple medications continues to be a conundrum for many adult children. It certainly is for my family! Two recent Washington Post articles about medication issues may be useful for the children or aging adults to read and then share with one another.

In Older Patients Sometimes Need to Get Off of Their Meds, but It Can Be a Struggle, physician Ravi Parikh writes about evaluating medications with the aim of de-prescribing some of the medicines that people take. He describes the struggles that can arise when patients hesitate to go off medications that they have been taking for years, because their sense is that their medications are working. People are reluctant to associate physical problems with medications that they already take, so when new symptoms arise, many people seek a prescription for that problem and are less inclined to examine whether or not the new problem might be caused by medications they already take.

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One Person Out of Ten May Develop Diabetes by 2035

People with diatebes 2013Lots of people may want to work at improving their diabetes risk factors if an article from TimeHealthland.com is any indication. 

The Health and Medical Resources blog excerpts the Time article and also features some extraordinary graphic visualizations (the prevalence of cases in various countries) from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Atlas sixth edition. Diabetes has increased across the globe, and it’s no longer just a worry for aging adults. A PDF  with fact sheets containing all sorts of other diabetes statistics —  information by country and continent — is available from IDF.           Continue reading

Are Boomers As Healthy As They Think?

Over and over the media refer to boomers as a health conscious generation, and boomers often assume that their generation is healthier than their parents’ generation.

Now new research, just published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, reaches conclusions that dispute the rosy boomer heath assumptions.

Click this image to watch a video about the NHANES survey.

Click this image to watch a video about the NHANES survey.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Health Examination  Survey (NHANES – Check out this informational video), researchers compared data from 1988-1994 for our parents’ generation and data from 2007-2010 for the boomers. This means that they were examining health data from similar age groups. The results are dramatic.

Some of the Findings

  • In the older generation, 32% the those surveyed reported excellent health, while only 13.2% of boomers reported excellent health.
  • Obesity was more common in the boomer generation.
  • Regular exercise was less frequent in boomers’ lives.
  • Hypertension was more common in boomers with 43% reporting the condition, but only 36% of their parents reported hypertension at the same age.         Continue reading

Rosalyn Carter Talks About Family Caregiving

Rosalyn Carter Caring

Michael Lindenmayer interviews former First Lady Rosalyn Carter in a January 17, 2013 piece at Forbes. Mrs. Carter speaks about family caregivers in the United States, noting the important role this group plays in the United States health care system. Family caregivers, she points out, provide much of the daily life support to family members with significant chronic illnesses as well as aging parents.

The Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving, founded by Mrs. Carter, “… is the only national institute to integrate both professional and family caregiver issues in research, education and advocacy agenda.” It’s mission is to educate the public about the critical role that caregivers, and especially family member caregivers play in our nation’s long term health care system, identify the risks associated with serving in that role, and create ways to help and support people who are working as caregivers.

Best Quote:

Family caregivers represent one of this nation’s most significant yet underappreciated assets in our health delivery system. They are the backbone of our country’s long term, home-based, and community-based care system. The approximately 65 million family caregivers in the United States provide $450 billion worth of unpaid services each year.

Don’t Forget About Your Blood Pressure

Over at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the Vital Signs September 2012 issue focuses on controlling good pressure. The article, Getting Blood Pressure Under Control: Many Missed Opportunities to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke, explains that many people are not treating their blood pressure and many others are taking medication but not monitoring enough to know that the treatment is not effective.  Adult children and their aging parents need to monitor blood pressure.

To make the point that people of all ages need to tune in about blood pressure issues, the Vital Signs feature includes some terrific graphs such as the one I’ve reproduced below.

10 Most Common Chronic Conditions in Residential Care

This week’s (August 10, 2012) edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), includes this informative graphic depicting the ten most common chronic conditions among people who live in residential care communities. Below the image I’ve pasted in a paragraph defining residential facilities as they are used in this survey.

Click to see original image at MMWR.

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