Accidents happen. Young or old, we sometimes slip and take a tumble. However, for the elderly a fall can result in much more than a few bruises or embarrassment. A fall may result in death for someone older!
Delirium, a sudden onset of confusion, affects around 7 million hospitalized patients in the U.S. each year, the American Delirium Society reports. These patients have longer hospital stays, higher mortality rates, and higher risks for developing dementia. Their condition may go unrecognized and undiagnosed during their hospital stay, and their symptoms -- such as hallucinations, delusions and inability to focus -- can persist for months.
Working in the health care industry, I would be the first to admit our nation’s biggest health danger is the public’s lack of health education. You see, until seven weeks ago, I had never heard of sepsis. Sadly, neither had my mother Rosemary, a vivacious, go-go lady who had just celebrated turning 74 years old by leasing a brand-new car.
Sepsis is a very serious medical condition. What happens is this: Your immune system releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight an infection, which causes widespread inflammation, leading to blood clots and leaky blood vessels. You end up with impaired blood flow, which damages the body’s organs by depriving them of nutrients and oxygen.
So, your doctor ordered an MRI scan. You may be wondering, how do MRI scans work? Is an MRI machine safe? An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures in your body. It is a painless process in which you lie on a table that then slides into a tunnel-like machine.
Imagine arriving to the hospital with injuries from a fall, hoping to be treated and released so you can get back to your home and your life. But bad turns to worse. You’re almost entirely immobile the whole time, stuck on bedrest, tethered to your IV and oxygen. You’re not eating or sleeping well, and it doesn’t help that you’re in a noisy ward, having your vitals monitored at all hours of the night.
Bedrest is toxic to older adults. That’s the lesson of a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that calls out the immobility of older patients in hospitals, bringing attention to the damage it can do. Bedrest is associated with disability, ending up in a nursing home, and ultimately, death, the authors wrote. Half of permanent disability in older adults begins with hospitalization, they said, and 2/3 of them will either be placed in a nursing home or dead within a year of being sent home from the hospital.
Fitness programs for older adults find themselves among the top fitness trends in the country, and for good reason! In the past, this population has really been underserved by the fitness industry. There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be able to enjoy the many health benefits of working out. Before beginning a workout plan, it is important for the older adult to consult a medical professional with knowledge of their medical history. Even though this advice applies to exercise enthusiasts of any age, it is a crucial first step for the older adult.
Approximately 4.1 million Americans are admitted to or reside in nursing homes and long-term care facilities each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although there are many health challenges these residents face, one of them is risk for infections, due to their age and disability. Unfortunately, the overuse and sometimes inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat suspected infections has led to antibiotic resistance, making the drugs less effective and complicating treatment.
A diagnosis of shingles, also called “herpes zoster,” is one of the most common in the primary care and urgent care settings. The CDC says 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will develop it at some point in his or her lifetime. What can you do to recognize this infectious disease?
“I want to do exercise, but the idea is boring,” said one senior citizen patient, glumly. Fair enough. Who really jumps at the word “exercise”? This most beneficial of pastimes pales as a suggestion when compared with “baklava,” “Downton Abbey marathon,” or “cocktail party.” And the World Health Organization says that we are supposed to get 30 minutes per day, five days per week, at a moderate (fast walking) or vigorous (running) pace! This is enough to daunt a great many people.
Joint pain occurs inside or around a single joint connecting two bones, and it can have a multitude of causes. For kids and young adults, joint pain typically comes from injuries (such as falls, sports trauma or accidents), which usually heal after a few weeks. However, joint pain in the middle and later years of life is often related to wear and tear or inflammation, and tends to be more chronic. Statistically, 1/3 of the population has arthritis in one or more joints by the age of 65. With age, joint pain tends to increase, but it does not have to be inevitable.