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Home Health Blog

Health News Round-Up: Dementia Considerations and Holiday Expectations

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Dec 22, 2015 4:52:00 PM

Balancing Holiday Traditions with Dementia Changes

Recent health news from across the Web: dementia and holiday traditions, brain fitness, medication management tips, and more.This compassionate piece centers on one family adapting to a mother’s advancing Alzheimer’s disease, and how it has changed their holiday customs. They make fewer social appearances and do extra preparation to preserve her routines, while still missing her old presence. The article includes some helpful tips for including loved ones with dementia in the holiday hubbub while minimizing potential agitation.

(When Mom Has Alzheimer’s, A Stranger Comes For Christmas; NPR)

On the same topic, author Marguerite Manteau-Rao raises some tough points about the difficulties of factoring a loved one with dementia into a busy holiday schedule. Pointing out that individuals with dementia may not remember a visit the day before or after, but can feel hurt when external cues remind them of the holiday, she pulls no punches.

(How to Be With a Loved One With Dementia During the Holidays; Huffington Post)

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Topics: Dementia, Diabetes, Health News, Nutrition, Medication Management, Stroke, Heart Disease, Fitness, Emotional Health, Lung Disease

Spotlight on Family Caregivers This Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 17, 2015 5:00:21 PM

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

For National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month this November, learn more about the condition and why family caregivers are priceless patient assets.

Alzheimer ’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. This condition affects not only the millions of Americans who have it, but also family members and those closest to them. Although there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, research is bringing new insights to light, and potential new treatments are always in development.

For National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month this November, we take a look at the facts of the disease, and also recognize the incredible contributions of family caregivers to their loved ones’ wellness and quality of life.

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Topics: Dementia, Caregiving

Health News Round-Up: Plan Ahead Before Driving Becomes Unwise

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 11, 2015 2:04:00 PM

Making a ‘Retirement Plan’ for Driving

Recent health news from across the web: ‘retirement planning’ for driving, Medicare open enrollment, new mammogram guidelines, and more.A key component to aging in place is mobility — being able to get around independently. And in much of America, ‘mobility’ equals ‘driving.’ However, there may come a point when driving themselves is no longer a safe option for seniors; diminished vision, cognitive changes, and medication side effects are just some of the hazards that can jeopardize elderly drivers. But often, the issue isn’t raised until it must be dealt with, and it can be a point of contention between patients who want to feel independent and the caregivers or family members who must ask for the keys.

Giving up driving — or having driving privileges taken away — can be a difficult transition, one that may be harder to accept if it happens abruptly. Medical care can suffer, and feelings of isolation can contribute to depression. This NPR story takes the example of a few savvy seniors who made an advanced plan for ‘driving retirement.’ Researching transportation options and discussing possible solutions well before they are necessary may be preferable to scrambling once a need is already apparent (much like advanced care planning, in fact). Acknowledging that driving might not always be a feasible transportation choice can put wheels in motion toward safer driving practices now…and an easier transition to potential ‘retirement’ later.

(It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your ‘Driving Retirement’; NPR)

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Topics: Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, Caregiving, Diabetes, Aging In Place, Health News, Nutrition, Cancer, Bereavement, Emotional Health

Health News Round-Up: ‘Genetic Counseling’ to Comprehend Cancer Risks

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Oct 14, 2015 4:38:51 PM

What Does My Genetic Test Tell Me? Genetic Counseling Can Explain

Recent health news from across the Web: specialized support for genetic testing, a fresh quit-smoking option, hypoglycemia dangers, and more.Genetics can tell us a lot, so long as we understand how to interpret them. In some cases, our genes can make us vulnerable to certain inherited diseases. One such example is breast cancer; mutations in the BRCA gene family are linked to 5-10% of all cases (and up to 15% of ovarian cancer cases). Genetic testing has made it possible to determine whether a person carries a specific mutation. Yet taking such a test — especially if the result is positive — could raise more anxieties than it puts to rest. The specialized field of genetic counseling is one way to fill knowledge gaps and help individuals understand what results they may receive, and what exactly that means for their health and future risk.

A recent study found that of women who elected to undergo testing for BRCA mutations, few were offered genetic counseling. However, those who received the service reported better understanding of their personal results and more satisfaction with the knowledge they gained. As the cost of these tests lowers to more affordable levels and more people may choose to take them as a predictive measure, it may not be feasible for all patients to access genetic counseling (which is covered as a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act). But for some, especially individuals with a strong family history of an inheritable disease, it may be worth requesting more information or asking a doctor or specialist whether genetic counseling before getting tested would be a good idea.

(Genetic counseling is rare among BRCA-tested women; Reuters)

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Topics: Dementia, Caregiving, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Smoking, Financial Health, Cancer, Advanced Care Planning

Health News Round-Up: Proper Prep for Insulin Pen Effectiveness

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Oct 1, 2015 4:25:32 PM

For Best Results, Insulin Pens Need Preparation

Proper Prep for Insulin Pen EffectivenessFor many patients, insulin injection is a key part of diabetes management, and pharmaceutical companies continue to innovate with ever-more convenient delivery methods. One advance has been the pre-mixed ‘NPH insulin pen,’ a convenient all-in-one device that eliminates the need for separate needles and vials. However, the results of a recent study highlight the importance of proper preparation of an NPH insulin pen: namely, shaking it to ‘resuspend’ the medicine inside.

Inside an NPH insulin pen is a mixture of crystals and liquid that settles into unequal proportions over time. Without shaking, the researchers discovered that patients’ blood sugar control varied widely, far less reliable than the correctly prepped pens would deliver. To sufficiently resuspend the insulin in an NPH device, the pen should be tipped back and forth 20 times just before injection. And when it comes to proper technique for any medication in your regimen, you can always reach out to your doctor or Residential Home Health clinician for help.

(Shake, shake, shake your NPH insulin pen before injecting; Reuters)

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Topics: Dementia, Diabetes, Health News, Nutrition, Medication Management