Caring for a Loved One

46618712 - portrait of an old woman with her adult daughter.The Kaiser Health News recently published an article emphasizing the importance of caregivers taking care of themselves (“Caring For A Loved One? Care For Yourself, Too”).  As noted in the article, “caregiving is hard, it may get harder, and it often leads to emotional, physical and financial hardship.”  This is particularly true if you are caring for loved one with dementia which the article describes as “caregiving on steroids”, because of its never ending nature.     [Read more…]

An A-Team for the Elderly

shutterstock_113795536Kaiser Health News recently published an article emphasizing the importance of seniors having allies in place as they journey through the aging process (“Putting In Place An A-Team Of Allies”).  Millions of seniors having little family support due to illness or death of a spouse or children living far away or who are too busy to offer much if any assistance.  Who can these individuals rely upon if they should need assistance?

The article describes the importance of creating a personal support group – an A-Team of Allies – if help should become necessary.  One person noted in the article described his support allies as having four tiers.  The first one are close friends who have agreed to serve as agent under his financial and health care powers of attorney.  The second tier includes more than 25 friends who can be relied upon to provide a ride to the doctor’s office or grocery store.  In the third tier are his primary care doctor, lawyer and financial adviser. The fourth tier consists of helpers he pays for services such as a handyman or a driver.  [Read more…]

Depression and Self-Neglect

35970322_lA recent report from the National Adult Protection Services Association demonstrates the high correlation between depression and self-neglect in older adults. Here is a summary of the research:

“Older adults with confirmed self-neglect report high rates of depressive symptoms. It has been estimated that between 50-62% of older adults with confirmed self-neglect suffer from at least sub-clinical levels of depressive symptomatology. Depressive symptoms in this population have been linked to untreated medical conditions. Further study is needed to understand the association between elder self-neglect and depressive symptoms, including studies determining potential correlates of depression in this population. Identifying such correlates could inform clinical social work and other mental health approaches for reducing depressive symptoms and self-neglect behaviors in this population.” [Read more…]

Elder Abuse and Impaired Decision Making

46637337 - elder man and carer in the parkImpaired decision making can lead to increased risk for abuse and exploitation amongst the elderly.  The National Center on Elder Abuse released a new research to practice brief which provides an overview of the various factors which can impact the decision making of older persons.  The introduction to the brief states:

“There are many factors relevant to decision-making ability of older people including changes in the brain and cognition and social functioning. These changes can result in decision-making impairments that affect an older person’s ability to pay bills, drive, follow recipes, adhere to medication schedules, or refuse medical treatment (Braun & Moye, 2010; IOM, 2015). Decision-making ability may fluctuate at a given point in time (Falk et al., 2014), and while an older person may lack decision-making ability in one area, they may retain it in other areas (Braun & Moye, 2010). Decision-making ability is of special concern for the field of elder mistreatment because impaired decision-making can lead to an increased risk for abuse and exploitation among older people (Spreng et al., 2016). Thus, understanding the many factors relevant to decision-making ability is imperative to reduce risk of abuse and exploitation while maintaining and promoting autonomy among older people.” [Read more…]

A New Approach to Alzheimer’s Treatment

46618712 - portrait of an old woman with her adult daughter.Won’t it be great when a cure is discovered for Alzheimer’s?  Think about the heartache and suffering which will be avoided with families no longer having to watch their loved ones slowly slip away.  Unfortunately, we may be a long way from a cure being discovered.  Despite years of research, not a single medicine has been shown to slow the disease’s progression; medications currently on the market only ameliorate some symptoms.  Because of the poor track record of research on treating Alzheimer’s, a new approach has begun.  According to a recent Newsweek article: “The New Offensive on Alzheimer’s Disease: Stop it Before it Starts”, an aggressive approach to prevent Alzheimer’s rather than treat it is taking hold and the results if successful, could be significant.  [Read more…]