Hospital Feed

Delirium and Even Death Following Physical Trauma Not Unusual for Elders

DepressionthinkstockDear Carol: My mother, who was in her early 80s, was doing well except for arthritis and high blood pressure. Then she fell and broke her hip. After surgery, she seemed not just foggy but completely irrational. The doctor said that this wasn’t unusual for someone her age considering what she’d been through and that she’d get better. Mom spent several days in the hospital and was then moved to a nursing home to recover and receive physical therapy. The staff was terrific with Mom. When I asked them if Mom would recover mentally, they were non-committal. They didn’t want to say that she wouldn’t but they seemed less sure than the doctor. As the weeks went by she didn’t improve mentally, though she was doing okay physically. The, five weeks after the surgery, she suddenly died. It’s hard to accept. How common is this? – Terri

Read full column on Inforum about the effects of hospitalization on elders:

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Hard Times for Caregivers: When Loved Ones Rally Before Death

DeathComfortMany adults sit by the side of their dying loved ones, sometimes for days, working on accepting the loss of their physical presence and what this loss means in their lives. Then, a spouse, parent, child or friend suddenly rallies, becomes more stable and in some cases wants to talk. We grasp at what seems to be a turnaround and sigh with relief. They are going to hang on for a while; or are they?

Read full article on Agingcare about the intricacies of the death rally:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Delirium Leading to Dementia One Surgery Risk

Doctor2As people age, surgery becomes a greater risk to their overall health than the same surgery would be for younger people. Older people often have less robust immune systems so they are more at risk for general infections and they are more at risk for pneumonia. However, one of the most frightening risks for older people is post-surgical delirium. Delirium is described as an acute state of confusion that often affects older adults following surgery or serious illness. A recent study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that inflammation most likely plays a key role in the onset on-set of delirium.

Read full article on HealthCentral about delirium and surgery for elders:

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“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


What Is Palliative Care and How Is It Different from Hospice?

HospitalPalliativeHospice care is palliative care, but palliative care is not hospice. The difference between these two types of care is something that I have found difficult to clarify myself let alone explain to others. However, this care is a fundamental part of treating any chronic or terminal illness.

Read full article on Agingcare about the difference between hospice and palliative care:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Flu Kills: Keeping Our Elders Safe

DoctorElderlyManFlu isn't just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers.  

Q. Martie, what steps should be taken short of hibernation to avoid getting the flu in the first place? 

A. For caregivers at home, I would call for a modified hibernation strategy, meaning you need to modify your behaviors to help reduce your exposure risk.

Read full interview on HealthCentral about protecting your elderly loved one from the flu: 


C. Diff: Elders Can Be Especially Vulnerable to Potential Deadly Infection

InfectionPatients are supposed to leave the hospital healthier than when they arrived and long-term care is intended to enhance residents’ quality of life through increased care and supervision, but these care settings can also pose some risks. One of the biggest threats lurking in these facilities is Clostridium difficile. This type of bacteria, often referred to as C. difficile or C. diff, can spread easily in these environments and turn into a very serious infection for older individuals and those whose health is already compromised.

Read full article on Agingcare about C. Diff infection in hospitals and nursing homes:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


How You Can Help Reduce Elders' Loneliness During Holidays

FatherDaugher6Elders can have an especially hard time with the holiday season. While aging and maturity can bring the wisdom of years for many people, there are inevitable losses that come to even the most healthy individuals. Many of these losses are emotional and social in nature. Spouses become ill or die. Other aging relatives and friends become seriously ill, or die. Neighborhoods change, often leaving even those well enough to remain in their own homes feeling friendless and isolated. The holidays can bring this isolation and a feeling of loneliness to a head.

Read full article on Agingcare about how you can help reduce elders' loneliness:

Christmas Gift for your Elders - Peace of Mind for You:  Simple Smart Phone with Large Screen, Jitterbug flip phone, Urgent Response Device   For help CALL:  1-866-222-0703

Support caregivers this CHRISTMAS by giving them copies  of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. ORDER EARLY before supplies run out.


6 Tips To Help Modify Financial Drain on Alzheimer's Families

MoneyAccording to the national Alzheimer’s Association, in 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias.  Also, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own in the same year. Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression. Remember, this is just the cost for caregivers.

Read more on HealthCentral about ways to modify the financial drain of Alzheimer's:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Pain: How Is It Perceived by People with Dementia?

Comfort6It’s far too easy for onlookers to view someone with dementia as unable to feel pain. Since the disease eventually renders most people helpless and cognitively inexpressive, they can't articulate what hurts or why they are upset. Caring researchers have now brought new insight to this issue. In an article on altered pain processing in patients with cognitive impairment, Medical News Today states that new research shows how wrong previous ideas about what people with cognitive disorders could feel have been.

Read full article about pain and dementia on HealthCentral: 

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Illnesses and Hospitalization Can Permanently Worsen Dementia

DeathDear Carol: Can illnesses like a bad cold, the flu, a urinary infection or other common ailment make someone with Alzheimer’s worse? My mother had been diagnosed to be in quite an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease but she still got along very well. She then developed a cold which was followed by a UTI and then pneumonia so we had to have her hospitalized. The whole experience was terrible. Mom’s physical issues were eventually taken care of by antibiotics and she seems alright physically, but she’s gotten much more confused and her short-term memory has deteriorated markedly. I’m wondering what caused this big change so quickly. The doctor said that since Alzheimer’s is progressive it’s hard to tell. He’s guiding us toward looking for a memory unit for Mom since she lives alone and I can’t quit my job to take care of her at home as progresses to the middle stages of the disease. This stage now seems much closer than a month ago before she got sick. Is this a common situation? STC

Read more on Inforum about how illness can make dementia worse:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling