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As 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. Read more →


How vital is fitness to aging well? Very. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad had been fighting cancer for years. Eventually, there was no more hope for a cure, so we agreed to ask for hospice care to keep Dad comfortable during his last weeks of life. He surprised us by doing well under hospice care, living beyond the doctor’s expectation, but, of course, he eventually died. What bothers me is that I wasn’t with him at the moment he passed. He was in a nursing home at the time and the staff was wonderful. They called the family together when it was determined that Dad was close to the end. My siblings and I sat with Dad for two days around the clock. We brought in food at first but as the wait stretched out we took turns going to my nearby home to shower and nap. Dad died during my nap. I still feel devastated and guilty that I wasn’t there when he passed. I go to hospice grief counseling and that is helping, but I’m wondering if you have any words of comfort to offer? Rhonda Read more →


When most people think of dementia they probably think of Alzheimer’s disease. Since Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and one of the biggest risk factors for developing AD is age, new developments to combat the disease are often in the news. There are, however, other types of dementia that are just as devastating as Alzheimer’s disease and they are not necessarily rare. The type of dementia we’ll focus on in this article is Lewy body dementia. Read more →


Sadly, even after years of work to educate the public about any illness that affects the brain, a stigma remains. No matter that most, if not all, mental illnesses have a biological basis. No matter that people aren’t any more responsible for a brain illness than they are for other illnesses. Read more →


It’s not hard to understand why 60-year-olds would say that they want to remain in their home for life rather than move to assisted living or a nursing home. These are generally people who are relatively healthy and feel that they can hire help for whatever they need down the road. Read more →


Whether known as Granny flats, in-law flats or intergenerational apartments, there is a small trend in real estate toward families living together. They may be adding onto homes or even installing or building separate dwellings on their property so that their elders can live with them yet both generations have significant independence. I reviewed the book ‘In-laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats’ Beautiful, Practical Guide to Intergenerational Living in the past and have been revisiting the topic lately to see how the trend is holding. Read more →


Hospice 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 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 →


Dear Carol: My mother lives in an assisted living facility. She has arthritic pain and is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but she usually does well with the support that she has. When I visited her last Saturday evening she seemed upset and confused and she told me that she didn’t feel well. I suggested that she rest and reminded her that I’d see her in the chapel the next day for services. The next morning it seemed like a lot of the residents in the chapel were disgruntled, including Mom, who hadn’t improved overnight. We’d had a huge air pressure change in the last day, and I began to wonder if weather causing problems with health is myth or fact. I even mentioned it to one of the nurses after I escorted Mom back to the common room. The nurse nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes. We sure see it here.” She said that a full moon affects the residents, too. Now I'm beginning to wonder if there is something to this idea. What do you think? Jen Read more →