Medication Feed

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 →


...As with most types of dementia, family members are the primary caregivers by default, at least at the beginning of the disease. They are usually the people who notice that something is not right with their spouse or parent. Again, like Alzheimer’s and most other types of dementia, care needs escalate with time. This ongoing care can be physically arduous and emotionally demanding. Read more →


Myths about brain health are as rampant as they are for any feared disease. Neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Braun is a memory expert who actively fights against these myths. In the process, she helps people learn how to reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Braun has worked for 10 years as a clinical neuropsychologist in departments of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry in hospitals and academia. In 2008, she received the Practitioner of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association in southeastern Wisconsin. Read more →


Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care. Read more →