Medication Feed

Eight out of 10 older adults take at least one medication and many take three or more daily. Older adults comprise 13 percent of the population but account for 34 percent of all prescription medicine use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use. Also, older adults often use multiple medicines (averaging 14 prescriptions each), increasing the risk of drug interactions, mix-ups, and the potential for harmful side effects. Source: National Council on Patient Information and Education Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom is smart, stylish, and trim. She was very social but now that’s changed. Occasional, minor urinary incontinence has become a problem and she’s acting like her life is over. I’ve told her that women who’ve had babies often have this issue and that there are products that she can use. Of course, she knows this, but she says that’s not an option. Meanwhile, she is becoming reclusive which is not like her. I’ve told her that her doctor may have some ideas but she says that talking to her doctor about this is humiliating. How do I convince her that this one issue doesn’t need to ruin her otherwise exceptional life? – Kate Read more →


Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion. Read more →


New rules for the protection of nursing home residents have been implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of these rules provide answers to concerns that have troubled families with loved ones living in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), generally called nursing homes. I emailed Medicare expert Ginalisa Monterroso for an update on these rules and what they mean for nursing home residents and their families. Read more →


Depression in the elderly is not unusual and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include: Read more →


Dear Carol: Is a dementia diagnosis always needed? I can understand younger people needing to know what kind of dementia is present, but my dad, who is 89, has declined cognitively over the last five years. His doctor has him on some dementia drugs that are supposed to help. They don’t seem to do much but they don’t seem to be hurting either, so we decided that it’s worth whatever benefit he can get. The doctor says that dad is really doing okay for his age, and we both hate to put him through a lot of tests just because his memory is poor. He’s in assisted living and when he worsens he can go to their memory care. The facility is good and I see him several times a week. He seems content. Should I be doing more? KP Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom was drugged into dementia. She started out having a thyroid problem, but she kept developing more illnesses and receiving more prescriptions. The prescriptions ranged from her thyroid medication, which was necessary, to anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, and counting until she was eventually put in a psych ward. There, she was prescribed Alzheimer’s medications and then moved to the memory unit of an assisted living facility where she was medicated with antipsychotics. To shorten the story, I have Power Of Attorney so I moved from one coast to the other in order to be with my mother and fight to get her well. I read your work religiously and know that you tell people to watch their elders’ medications. Please keep doing that. My mom is now living with me and takes just three necessary drugs. She’s again going to her art class, seeing friends, and enjoying life. NM Read more →


According to the National Sleep Foundation, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. The foundation states that as people age, they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. Knowing this, and knowing about the common thinking that adults need less sleep as they age, HealthCentral asked Dr. Martha Cortes some questions via email about aging and sleep. Read more →


When dementia symptoms appear it’s natural to fear that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than reacting with panic, however, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Many forms of dementia are incurable, of course, but other conditions can present symptoms that resemble those of dementia, but are in fact reversible. Read more →


Choosing an individual or a company to come into our home, or that of a vulnerable loved one, to provide assistance with anything from cleaning to personal services is never easy. We are giving an unknown person access to not only our property but to the safety of our loved one who may need care while we are not able to supervise. Choosing the right person or company should be done methodically, and education can help you ask the right questions. Read more →