Caring for Seniors
A Good Daughter Solutions
A new app predicts On-Road driving ability in patients with Dementia. The article, recently posted in Today's Geriatric Medicine with contributions By Ruth M. Tappen, EdD, R.N., FAAN; Jamie Zahava Ramos, BA; David O. Newman, PhD; and Matt Newman, B.A., predicts screening tests will now be able to tell whether a person with dementia will fail a road driving test or not. The tests are meant to be administered by physicians or trained assistants while in the office. If the patient "fails" or has less than a 50% score, this indicates that they should have a more thorough driving test given by specialized occupational therapists. With this specialized evaluation, if the person with dementia fails these tests, you will have proof in writing that they can no longer drive.
Following the two tests once taken and scored, the specialist takes the total score, adds the Score onto the time spent completing the test, enters them online at the website, http://Fit2Drive.us or downloads its Mobile app to a cell phone (both Apple and Android) from the same website. The answer will indicate the probability that the person being tested could pass the road section of this driving test given by special occupational therapists.
Hopefully this will hep get some dangerous drivers off the road, and lower your stress level about your loved one driving with dementia. A special thanks to Carole Larkin, a Certified Dementia Consultant for her contribution on LinkedIn regarding this unique driving calculator for individuals with memory impairments.
Fit2Drive was developed and copywrited right in our back yard by F.A.U. College of Nursing in Boca Raton, Florida earlier this year. © 2016 - Fit2Drive: F.A.U. College of Nursing & SolveIT Consulting 2016
In addition, F.A.U. College of Nursing is responsible for the Memory and Wellness Center a very unique Adult Day Center for persons with early dementia located within the F.A.U. campus. Barbara Curtis is the Administrator, responsible for running the great selection of activities for seniors in Boca Raton. If you know of a elder in need of a happy place to spend time with other seniors doing artwork, listening to lectures by a political contributor, shooting pool, listening to live music, growing a garden especially for seniors and lots of other activities, you will know that you have arrived at the right place.
Posted 22nd of September, 2016 by Olga Brunner, M.Sc., CECM
Tags: Today's Geriatric Medicine, Fit2Drive.us, F.A.U. Memory and Wellness
Please feel free to comment below, Thank you.
This article was first viewed on Huffington Post when the title intrigued me. Since I am sixtysh and live alone, it's refreshing to see city planners actively involved in making life a lot easier for us. Members of the elder orphan Facebook group have voiced concern about crucial topics like affordable housing, high medical costs, and the need for accessible transportation. These are part of the Institute's roadmap. If you are close to being in your sixties, you might also enjoy this.
We cannot afford to overlook the needs of older residents across the country. Business influencers and senior care experts struggle to find answers. Seniorcare.com aging council was asked, "What can local officials and thought leaders do to mitigate the hard issues older adults contend with that strain their independence and security when living at a distance from needed services?"
Change Resident Attitude......by Stephen D. Forman, ClTC
A city's aged population can be seen as a financial burden or valued resource. The best way to ensure the latter is by optimizing the physical and mental health of its residents. Urban design (with a walk-friendly city), zoning (which types of community-based care can be built, and where), and tax breaks (keeping LTC costs affordable by meeting supply with demand) are all steps to consider. Just start the conversation at local city meetings and become familiar with current programs and services to determine where the gaps exist and strengthen those programs that work and find non-traditional solutions that address the significant concerns.
Improve Transportation.......by Kathryn Watson
We need to figure out transportation because people need to get out of their homes. Some health issues may affect their ability to drive, and low-cost driving options are in demand. Invest to improve the walkability aspects of cities--it helps all residents. Options like transportation, city parks, sidewalks, security, pedestrian safety, housing and retail located nearby create a livable environment. Some cities are buying into the concept but many are not.
Create a Culture of Support......by Evan Farr
The Age-Friendly DC Initiative performs a block-by-block walk over the summer to check in on seniors living alone and to inform them about transportation, meals and nutrition programs. The AARP is also involved in spreading the word about age-friendly policies, many aimed at preventing isolation by promoting inter-generational social and networking activities.
As a community, we need a network of support programs to intervene during a crisis. We also need strategies to focus on prevention as well. Volunteer-based programs can go a long way to stretch resources and create feelings of community. Seniors can be both the recipients of volunteer help as well as the volunteers which keep them connected. Shannon Martin.
Gain backing from companies, medical groups, and other businesses to promote programs that help residents age in place. In the greater Sacramento Area Valley, they have several useful options which delivers services and long-term support to seniors so that they can maintain independence. Kaye Swain.
Offer low-price transportation, create senior centers, and design outreach solutions that allow adults to feel support while living alone. By providing volunteer opportunities, seniors gain a sense of contributing and giving back to our society which can reduce the feelings of isolation. Ben Mandelbaum.
City leaders must increase budgets for programs to reach and serve adults who are aging alone. More social workers, senior housing options, coordinated medical care, and programs that encourage socialization.
Understand the Needs
Establish a benchmark. Use planning tools to locate and define the "aging and living alone group." Figure out what makes them tick. Think access, matching projections to need (medical, municipal, social, housing, etc.) and identify services for development or refinement. Nancy Ruffner.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please feel free to post your comments.
Almost 3,500 different mosquitoes populate the planet, and 170 of them live in Florida, including Aedes Aegypti, which terrorized the state long before Zika. We tend to think of mosquitoes as nuisances. In fact, they're the deadliest animal on earth. Mosquitoes have killed more humans than all wars in history. In addition to Zika, mosquitoes spread malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, encephalitis and West Nile virus, killing more than 1 million people each year. Aedes aegypti, originated in sub-Saharan Africa, arriving in the Americas in the 16th or 17th century. They say that mosquitoes reproduced in water barrels inside ships transporting slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean. The first documented yellow fever outbreak occurred in Barbados in 1647. When plantation owners in the Carolinas imported slaves from Barbados, Aedes aegypti came with them, and its been feeding on Americans ever since. But it is only the female who targets humans--she uses the human protein found in blood to build yolk protein for her eggs-- and she targets only humans unlike other mosquitoes who spread other diseases by biting birds and then biting humans. Aedes aegypti wants only human flesh. She's a fierce biter. She buzzes low and attacks ankles to avoid the slap of hands. After landing, she punctures your skin with her human tongue, then releases saliva that keeps your blood flowing until she's sucked her fill. And unlike many other mosquito species, which only bite when the sun is rising or setting, Aedes aegypti lurks in your yard in full daylight, waits for you to come out and attacks. She has been attacking Floridians (often fatally) for centuries. Back then, killing mosquitoes wasn't just a public health concern. It was an economic necessity when Florida was just in its growth years. The bugs often still come in swarms. I am not a bug expert by any means and you should know that this article comes from reading a very stimulating article about the Sarasota County Mosquito Management and how they collect, kill, and study mosquitoes.
After identifying species, staffers at Sarasota Mosquito Management match the results to a map showing where the traps were set, telling the department what kinds of mosquitoes are popping up where. This information dictates how to respond. If it's a localized problem, workers will strap on backpacks and do minimal sprays, dump larvae-hungry fish into ditches or abandoned pools or send out trucks for sprays. Sometimes a private contractor, will drop mists of insecticide from planes over 64-acre plots. In addition to Aedes aegypti, another species, Aedes albopictus can also transmit Zika. Florida has a modest number of both types.
What you need to know to defend yourself. Aedes aegypti is a "container breeder," meaning it only reproduces in small vessels of water. They don't breed in ditches, lakes, ponds, open water, swamps, none of that. They pop up inside bromeliads or in the base of flower pots, or even in receptacles as small as a bottle cap or a tarp. That's one reason why the species sticks so close to humans. If we could eliminate containers, we could eliminate the threat. If we all walked around our yards once a week and dumped out every bit of standing water we found, the mosquitoes would have nowhere to reproduce. The species typically doesn't travel farther than 200 meters from where it is born, so if you can eliminate it in your neighborhood, you don't need to worry about it. Also in this rainy season you need to be aware of bundling up when going out to doctor appointments or vising a library....So, cover yourself, this particular mosquito loves ankles so make sure you wear socks with your sneakers, wear long pants and shirts that will cover your arms. Always spray your skin with mosquito repellent before going out during the day. Please understand that Zika has now been transmitted in almost every country in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as more distant nations including Papua New Guinea and Cape Verde. More than 460,000 suspected cases of Zika had been identified as of mid-August, with 174,000 of them in Brazil alone. More than 2,200 cases have been reported in the United States -- 419 of them in Florida. Most of the cases involved persons traveling overseas, but at least 14 people have been infected by local mosquitoes in several locations in South Florida.
Aedes aegypti breeds rapidly in places with large concentrations of people whose homes don't have screened-in windows, don't use their air-conditioning, and who leave barrels or cisterns around to store water. Please remember that your air conditioner and your television set may be your best protection if you are an elder. So do not turn off your air conditioner. It just may save you from being bitten from a hungry mosquitoe mom.
Some claim it will be super-easy to bring the mosquito population down to zero in any local area where Zika is found but as Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, eradicating the mosquitoes in the Miami area where Zika was found has already proven more difficult than they expected. Nobody needs to panic but the disease and its unknown effects already frighten many of our elderly living alone. There is no vaccine or treatment.
I hope this has brought you up to date in terms of what you need to know to remain safe during our hot summer season in Florida. This article appeared in the September 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine By Cooper Levey-Baker AND Everett Dennison.
Posted 30th of August, 2016 by Olga Brunner
Tags: Zika, Mosquitoes, Miami and Palm Beach Florida
Please feel free to post your comments below, Thank you
Scientists discover genes that reveal vital clues about how the disease progresses.
PUBLISHED: 13:00 EST, 10 Aug 2016
A cluster of genes has been identified in healthy brains that could help develop preventative treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
People with the gene 'signature' - a sequence of between 50 an 60 specific genes - are vulnerable to the spread of the illness which causes dementia. They are vulnerable because they are less able to get rid of the rogue proteins that cause plaques and tangles in the brain.
A cluster of genes has been identified in healthy brains that makes certain people more vulnerable to
Alzheimer's disease. University of Cambridge academics say the findings could be used to develop treatments for individuals well before symptoms appear. At present, a genetic cause for Alzheimer's has been found for only around 1 in 20 cases, and the researchers hope the breakthrough will cast light on the other 19 out of 20 cases that cannot be predicted. The results published in the journal, Science Advances, looked at 500 healthy brains of persons who died between the ages of 24 and 5. They found that brains with the signature are significantly weaker in the areas where Alzheimer's disease spreads than brains that do not have the signature. The researchers believe that healthy young people with this specific gene signature may be more likely to develop Alzheimer's in later life. They may also not benefit from preventative treatments if and when they are developed for human use.
Alzheimer's disease is currently incurable. Its molecular origins are also unknown, and it is hoped the gene signature research will help explore why certain parts of the brain are more vulnerable than others. Professor, Michele Vendrusculo of the Centre for Misfolding Diseases at Cambridge's Department of Chemistry, one of the paper's authors, said: "To answer this question, what we've tried to do is to predict disease progression starting from healthy brains. If we can predict where and when neuronal damage will occur, then we will understand why certain brain tissues are vulnerable, and get a glimpse at the molecular origins of Alzheimer's disease."
Rosie Freer, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry and the study's lead author, said: "I hope that these results will help drug discovery efforts - that by illuminating the origins of disease vulnerability, there will be clearer targets for those working to cure Alzheimer's disease."
Posted, 8th of August, 2016 by Olga Brunner, M.Sc.
Please feel free to post your comments. Thank you.
This article was written by Susie Slack, appearing in Today's Care Giver.
Despite the significant benefits of wearing a medical alert device, especially for those with serious medical conditions, many people are resistant to the idea of wearing one. they may think that the pendant broadcasts to the world that they're ill, and it impinges on their privacy. They may not want to admit that they can use help or are vulnerable to a fall. Here are some tips to help convince a reluctant parent or other loved one to wear a medical alert device.
1. Focus on the benefits. It may help to enlist a medical professional, like your parent's doctor, or care manager to explain the reasons for wearing a medical alert device for them. Hearing it from an outside party might make them more likely to listen to reason. The doctor or care manager can help your loved one understand that these devices let them continue to be independent and active without having to be afraid that they won't be able to get emergency help if they need it. It may also help to reassure them that pushing the button doesn't mean an ambulance is automatically going to show up at their door. It just sends out a signal to preselected people telling them that help may be needed.
2. Assure against privacy concerns. There are pendant designs on the market today that don't scream, "I'm wearing a medical alert device!" They're less obvious and better designed than older models. Some are made to look like cell phones or step counters, so everyone doesn't have to know that the wearer is especially concerned about safety or has a medical condition. There are even medical alert devices that look like jewelry.
3. Let them know how you feel. Telling them how much more secure you as the caregiver would feel may motivate them to use their device. Let them know how much it worries you that any delay in receiving emergency medical attention could significantly impact their chances of survival. Even if they aren't convinced that they need to wear a medical alert, knowing it would make a big difference in your stress and anxiety levels might convince them to give in.
4. Stay upbeat. Don't take a negative, harassing approach to getting your loved one to wear the device. Instead of nagging, try to look for ways to inspire them to take this extra safety measure, such as encouraging them to think of their grandchildren or spouse and to wear it for their sakes.
If your parent still refuses to wear a medical alert device, no matter how well-designed it is, wall-mounted medical alert buttons are an option. MobileHelp is one brand that offers a battery-operated alert button with LED light that can be mounted to any flat surface such as a wall or tabletop. It's recommended to install one of these buttons near the floor so that it can be activated in the event of a fall.
Susie is a freelance writer who enjoys writing in many genres. She specializes in articles about health, fitness, beauty and nutrition.
You may have seen various books or online media discussing the importance of Transition Care when a senior is discharged from a hospital. Before Transition Care became popular, common breakdowns in care were prevalent when older adults with complex needs transitioned from the acute care setting to their home. What has changed with Transition Care is that patients and family caregivers or care management nurses now more effectively manage changes in health with Seniors who have multiple chronic illnesses. To be sure this has made a positive impact on older adult outcomes and has even reduced some of the costs of healthcare. How?
Transition Care has resulted in fewer hospital re-admissions for patients, reducing the number of days spent in the hospital which is now shorter than expected. Another way that Transition Care has helped is with the improvements in physical health, functional status and quality of life. Transition Care has even improved overall patient satisfaction.
With our own elder care management clients we've even noticed the ability to lessen the burden among family members by reducing the demands of care giving. Because of tailored care to individuals, we've been better able to coordinate care, collaborate with older adults, caregivers, and team members in prioritizing needs, goals, and preferences set by the medical staff. We are better able to care plan with an eye at promoting positive health staying in contact with our client's physicians.
A multidisciplinary approach that includes the health care provider, patient, caregivers and care managers as members of the team has indeed improved the care of persons with chronic conditions.
* * *
If you are an out of town family member with a parent living with a chronic disease please give us a call. We can certainly ease the stress of having to fly to Florida every time mom or dad needs another hospital admission. Transition Care for Seniors is certainly our passion and something we are experience in. Call us to set up an appointment the next time you are in town. We can be reached at 561-235-2490. If we happen to be out, feel free to leave a message. Someone from our staff will return your call. You might also want to try my cell
Posted Aug, 2, 2016.....Olga Brunner, M.Sc, Gerontology, CECM
Tags: Transition Care; Elder Care Management; Hospital Re-Admissions
Please feel free to comment, Thanks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple state and local health departments, and numerous healthcare facilities to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infections. These infections have occurred primarily in ventilated patients without cystic fibrosis and those who are being treated in intensive care units.
Preliminary information indicates that a contaminated liquid docusate product might e related to cases in one state. Until more information is available, CDC recommends that facilties not use any liquid docusate products for patients who are critically ill, ventilated, or immunosuppressed. Institutions with non-cystic fibrosis patients in whom there are B. cepacia infections should sequester all liquid docusate products.
Healthcare providers and laboratories should be on alert for B. cepacia cases occurring among non-cystic fibrosis patients and should inform infection prevention staff when these infections occur. Cases should be reported to state or local public health authorities.
CDC will provide an update to this announcement as they know more. Please direct all questions to CDC at email@example.com.
So what does this mean for the frail elder population? They are more susceptible to any infection, since their immune response has declined due to age and health. Infections such as influenza or norvirus (diarrhea) can be spread quickly, especially in residential facilities or day programs. B. cepacia (formerly known as Pseudomonas cepacia) is a gram-negative rod that commonly colonizes the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis and is frequently multi-drug resistant. The challenge is getting a sputum sample to determine the bacterial etiology of the pneumonia. Frail elders have problems producing a sample.
Geriatrician, Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk states, "I think for the frail elder population, particularly those elders with dementia, all liquid ducosate - (Colace) - should be discontinued and replaced."
Elizabeth Landsverk, M.D. Geriatrician posted this article today on LinkedIn
CDC Alert issued on June 27, 2016
The role of a professional care manager evolves rather rapidly. I know.... I've done both Care Management and Case Management for the past eleven years. Although health reform ensures that care delivered is efficient, effective, and high quality, the role and function of both the professional care manager and case manager has never been more important.
According to LoNigro, senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Envolve People Care, part of the Centene Corporation where I worked as a Case Manager, one recent study found that only about 5% of adults who misused prescription Opioids in the past year, and only 17% of those with addiction ever receive treatment.
Case Managers are consummate team players, working with everyone from patients to their support systems, from physicians to nurses, social workers and pharmacists, to administrators, all on behalf of patients to ensure patient-centered care. Taking on this roll in a hospital setting can be challenging but it is always done. What is emerging is a collaborative model of patient-centered, accountable care, working toward creating a system that offers better care, better health and perhaps lower costs.
Team-based chronic care management on the other hand, offers models of interdisciplinary team-based care. If the moral measure of a society is the treatment of its most vulnerable, designed to enhance care for the chronically ill, this model has the potential to substantially enhance our moral standing. Care coordination is an essential activity to achieve the goals of better individual health, better population health and reduced health care costs. Both Care Management and Case Management strengthen healthcare's weakest link: Improving care transition. Guiding elderly patients to the care they need, when they need it, lies at the heart of their care which improves performance.
Posted on July 14, 2016, by Olga Brunner
Although I have attempted to enter so many other professions nothing else motivates and fulfills like knowing my elder care client, and working both with their healthcare professionals, the client's caregivers, and with the client's family members.
Tags: Case Managers Tackle the Opioid Epidemic, Hospital Care Management, Community Care Managers end of life conversations, Care Coordination for Seniors.
Your Comments Please?
This article recently appeared in Aging Today, a publication of American Society on Aging written By Eric Carlson and Fay GordonIn late 2015. A ProPublica investigation reported 37 incidents of long-term-care employees (employed by nursing homes and assisted living centers) sharing photos or videos of residents on social media, without the resident’s consent. In two-thirds of the incidents, the resident was unclothed, sitting on the toilet and-or being mocked by facility employees. In response to the report, three U.S. Senators have asked for increased federal oversight of privacy violations in long-term-care facilities.
The most troubling incidents share a perverse pattern: the employee takes an explicit photo of a resident, nude or in a private situation, and posts it to Facebook or Snapchat. The resident often has dementia or a comparable cognitive limitation, and is effectively unaware of the violation. As ProPublica points out, the residents’ lack of awareness allows the violations to happen in the first place, and likely leads such violations to be underreported.
Nursing Facility Law Updates in the Offing
Federal nursing facility law does not directly address social media—not surprising, considering the bulk of the regulations were finalized in the 1990s. Long-standing regulations require a nursing facility to support residents’ dignity and respect. A broad revision of these regulations is due to be issued later this year. Last year, in releasing a draft of those regulations, the federal government noted the potential misuse of cameras and social media, and explained that privacy violations through social media would be addressed by regulations proscribing abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation. Under language proposed in a draft regulation, a facility would be required to develop and implement policies that prohibit and prevent abuse, neglect and mistreatment of residents. By contrast, federal law in general does not address quality of care in assisted living. State law sets assisted living rules, so these rules vary considerably from state to state. That being said, most assisted living rules include provisions relating to dignity and respect, and the incidents reported by ProPublica likely would be recognized as improper under any and all state assisted living laws.
Smart Phones a Double-Edged Sword
From a management point of view, one option to combat social media violations is to forbid an employee from carrying any photography-enabled electronic device into a resident’s room. ProPublica published short descriptions of each incident, and several descriptions included the facility’s claim that the employee had violated such policies. Admittedly, having immediate access to a personal phone and camera is taken as a given in 2016, but that expectation can be reversed for facility employees who assist residents with dressing and bathing. Many hospitals have such policies in this area, although the policies have had to balance the risk of privacy violations against the benefit of cell phones used to share information with specialists and other authorized persons. Another choice for facilities is to train employees on resident privacy and dignity. Following the incidents in question, several of the facilities identified by ProPublica provided staff with training on social media, confidentiality and privacy. You might think that any employee already would understand the inappropriateness of photographing an unclothed resident, but this may not be true across the board, given the willingness of some people to take and distribute inappropriate pictures of themselves and their friends.
Also, employees should be informed that taking and distributing any picture without the resident’s consent is a privacy violation, whether or not the resident is in a compromising position. Finally, the training could discuss the penalties (potentially including termination) for taking and distributing an inappropriate picture of a resident, for those employees who might understand the rules but be inclined to violate them.
Thanks to Eric Carlson, a directing attorney and Fay Gordon, a staff attorney at Justice in Aging, a national organization with offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Oakland.
Posted on July 13, 2016, by Olga Brunner
This is just so wrong on so many levels that I cannot understand how anyone could possibly do this to a senior who is in a facility and dependent on staff. What is this world possibly coming to when facility staff will stoop so low? I'm afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg........Your Comments Please?
Tags: Aging today; caregiving; technology; policy and advocacy; legal and ethical issues; education.
This article appeared on LinkedIn, published June 27, 2016 by Carole Larkin, Certified Dementia Consultant who is a personal friend as well as a Certified Care Manager. This was posted with her permission.
This is insider information taken from the leading academic journal in the United States called “Generations”. It is produced by the foremost academic and professional organization in America, The American Society on Aging. All content in their journal is researched and documented by the highest credentialed researchers in Aging topics. For more information on “Generations” and the American Society on Aging go to: www.generationsjournal.org and www.asaging.org. All information in quotation marks is directly from the Spring 2016 issue of Generations. (Volume 40 number 1)
Question: How many doctors specialize in diseases of the aging (and therefore know something about dementia)?
Answer: “There have been only 7,000 actively certified geriatricians for more than 10 years.” That’s for 46 million Americans over the age of 65 (as of 2015), never mind older adults with dementia. Geriatricians are doctors specifically trained in diseases in older adults. Not many- huh? Only “about 300 new geriatricians” are trained in medical schools each year. Not many- huh? Worse, “more than 40% “of fellowships for training geriatricians went unfilled for the last 3 years. And some current geriatricians are letting their certifications lapse.
Question: What does that mean? How does that affect me?
Answer: These are the specialists, along with neurologists, for elders with dementia (most people with dementia are elderly). Clearly there are not enough experts for the number of people who need their expertise. And there are less in the pipeline coming up, rather than more. Why? Geriatricians pay is lower than most other doctors, and loans to go to medical school can be well over $100,000! And of course the anti-aging bias we have here in America. Look at old wrinkled bodies? Ugh- I don’t think so! So, what are you left with? Your regular family doctor, of course, or the local clinic, or the emergency room. In other words, the general healthcare system.
Question: How much training do general healthcare system doctors get in older adult issues including dementia?
Answer: “Less than 3% of medical students choose geriatric electives, meaning most medical professionals will enter the field without any exposure to serving elders.” Also there is currently a “lack of faculty, lack of funding, lack of time in [an] already busy curricula (courses that have to be taken) and the lack of recognition of the importance of geriatric training.” In the past, in most medical schools there weren’t even courses in geriatrics at all, so if your doctor had been practicing for a while, chances are huge that they have no training in geriatrics (or dementia). And currently, there is no requirement to have any training in geriatric conditions to keep up their medical doctor certification, except in California, and that is limited to doctors who have over 25% of their patients are elderly.
Question: What does that mean? How does that affect me?
Answer: Chances are high that your family doctor and the doctors in the hospitals don’t have the knowledge that you think they do in relation to your elderly family member (especially one with a dementia). That means that you have to ask them how much actual training they have had over the years to know if you have to question their knowledge/advice for your loved one. Taking their knowledge/advice for gospel could be detrimental to your loved one’s health, if in fact they don’t know the intricacies of good care of elderly people. It can lead to medical mistakes, as they are now known. Things like misdiagnosis’s, non-diagnosis’s, the wrong medications prescribed, medications that react badly with the other medications given, too much medication, not enough medications, surgery advised when not needed, and no surgery prescribed when some is needed. The list of errors can go on and on.
Question: If my doctor doesn’t have the training what can I do?
Answer: Ask them to include a course in geriatric medicine for their next certification for their medical license.
Question: What about other health care personnel who deal with my loved one?
Answer: OK, let’s go through some professions.
As you can see, there is a severe shortage of all types of healthcare professionals trained in providing all types of healthcare to older adults, not to mention the subset of them with a dementia. You could call it a crisis, if you wish. And as more and more people enter the age group of elderly every day, it is reasonable to assume that it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Question: What can I do to try and make things better?
Answer: Get loud and demand action of the right people. Who are the right people? Believe it or not, its Politicians! Generations says (and I agree), that there is “no political will” to do anything to address this crisis. Heck, the crisis isn’t even on anybody’s radar, no matter what political party you are talking about. Yes, you may hear about the Affordable Care Act, but guess what? The Affordable Care Act doesn’t even address the issue of next to no knowledge how to properly care for the elderly or how to get professionals interested in caring for the elderly, or in training others to care for the elderly.
It seems as long as our citizens allow the politicians to define the problem as an “individual family” problem, and not a reason to come up with any answers for the problem, then no headway can be made in getting the resources it would take to increase knowledgeable health care for the elderly. It’s got to become the politician’s problem too. How to do that? What about starting with a phone call, a text or an email to your local state and federal congressman and senator? Or maybe to your preferred political party candidate? It could be as simple as, “What will you do to address the lack of knowledgeable health care out there for our elderly? I want to know, and I vote.”
Below is a photo of the author, Carole Larkin. What do you think about the status of appropriate elder care by our health care system? Feel free to comment. Carole and myself have both taken care of a parent with dementia and really care about this issue. Thank you Carole for your contribution.
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.