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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

Eliminating the Care Gap — Full Support Right Out of the Hospital

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Dec 18, 2015 11:30:56 AM

Residential Nurse Alert to the Rescue

For one Residential Home Health patient, the Residential Nurse Alert personal emergency response system was there for him the day he came home.

The purpose of hospital care is to treat. For those in need of specialized, high-level care, hospitals are designed to carefully monitor progress, keeping its patients stable with teams of expert practitioners and carefully coordinated regimens. When hospital care succeeds, that means the patient is well enough to leave, preferably for the comforts of home. But back at home, without that support system (and often with new medications and/or careful instructions to follow), taking on the responsibilities of care can be an abrupt transition.

This is why the purpose of home health care is to educate and empower, allowing patients to manage their conditions and stay safe and well at home. One Residential Home Health patient felt out of his depth just hours after discharge, but he didn’t have to wait for support. Read on to learn how simply pushing a button led to all the care and assurance he needed, starting right out of the hospital.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Diabetes, Residential Nurse Alert

Eat Well for Awareness and Action this American Diabetes Month

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Nov 19, 2015 4:57:12 PM

American Diabetes Month

For American Diabetes Month, run the numbers of this common condition and explore how eating well can help with diabetes management.Diabetes has been on the rise in the United States, with almost 10 percent of the population affected, and tens of millions more at risk. The disease arises in some patients because the body is unable to produce insulin; this form is commonly known as ‘type 1 diabetes.’ For others, the condition develops over time as the body falters at maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, known as ‘type 2 diabetes.’ Although there is no cure for diabetes, this chronic condition can be effectively managed; if left unmanaged, patients can suffer complications such as blindness, nerve damage, limb amputation, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, or even coma or death.

In recognition of American Diabetes Month this November, we run the numbers on diabetes and explore how eating well can help control existing diabetes or help at-risk patients avoid developing this condition.

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Topics: Diabetes, Nutrition

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