Health scare takes emotional toll

Health scare takes emotional toll

Most of my medical challenges occurred when I was young. Years later, I can’t really remember my feelings after those experiences.

But as I contemplate my recent health scare—a piece of steak lodged in my throat, resulting in a tear in my esophagus—I know that it’s definitely taken an emotional toll on me.

My friends say that I don’t sound like myself now. I’m normally an upbeat, energetic, gregarious person.

Today, I would describe myself as anxious, subdued and fatigued. While I know intellectually that one’s time does not go on forever, now I really feel mortal.

I had been chalking my feelings up to a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder from eight hours of not being able to swallow and ultimately undergoing emergency surgery.

Don’t ignore symptoms of acid reflux

Don’t ignore symptoms of acid reflux

Every once in a while, the person upstairs gives you a wake-up call. Mine came a few weeks ago.

Looking back, all the signs were there.

I’d been keeping a supply of Tums in my purse for after meals. I could feel a sensation of acid backing up in my throat when I bent down. Burping became a “thing” for me. And sometimes I had trouble swallowing.

My father had acid reflux, or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), so it wasn’t too farfetched to think that I had it too, but I never put two and two together and took action.

That’s where the person upstairs comes in.

We had just completed our annual Ultimate Dining Experience for Senior Concerns. Attempting to delight 420 people with food, drinks and an entertaining program brings stress as well as rewards.

I was just beginning to relax later that week when friends invited my husband and me out for dinner. Before their invitation,

I’d planned to make filet mignon that night as a treat, so we decided to share a filet at the restaurant.

My first bite, which was no bigger than the size of the nail on my pinky finger, got stuck going down, so I drank some water. Bad idea. The water came up as I rushed to the ladies’ room, but the steak remained stuck.

Timeless fitness for brain, body

Timeless fitness for brain, body

It seemed too good to be true.

A set of exercises that, if practiced just 10 minutes a day, could make a positive difference in the quality of our body and brain. Activities that can be done by almost anyone, just sitting in a chair. And once learned, they are easy enough to do on our own.

Ageless Grace is a fitness and wellness program consisting of “21 simple tools for lifelong comfort and ease,” designed for all ages and all abilities. The program is based on the science of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to build new synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience.

It’s also based on ensuring that all the vital parts of our body, those that help us to function efficiently in our daily activities, are exercised.

Lastly, and especially for seniors, the program is intended to help participants develop the agility and cognitive function needed to react, respond and recover from situations they didn’t anticipate.

Recently I participated in a certification course for Ageless Grace.

Malnutrition is a health threat that’s rarely diagnosed

Malnutrition is a health threat that’s rarely diagnosed

As if being admitted to the hospital isn’t challenging enough, there’s often an additional underlying and undiagnosed condition occurring in one-third of seniors who are admitted: undernourishment.

Statistically, it is estimated that 1 in 3 adult patients age 60 and older are malnourished.

Why is it then that in a study of 6 million adult hospitalizations, only 5 percent of the patients received a medical diagnosis of malnutrition?

Studies over the past three decades have shown that a patient’s nutritional status appears to be overlooked or not considered a medical priority.

Many seniors struggle after hospital stay

Many seniors struggle after hospital stay

Five years ago, I could not comprehend how my father’s two-day stay in the hospital resulted in a three-week stay in a skilled-nursing facility and a permanent decline in his functional abilities.

My father had Parkinson’s. At the time, he also had a form of low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up from a sitting or a lying-down position. It can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded.

The condition can even cause you to faint, which was what happened to my father and what precipitated the hospital stay.

My mother called 911 and my father was taken by ambulance to the emergency room and later admitted for observation.

Before his hospitalization my father could walk with a walker, he could assist if someone helped him off the toilet, he could feed himself and he was cognitively fit.

After two days in a hospital bed, 

Are we facing a loneliness epidemic?

Are we facing a loneliness epidemic?

Joanie and her husband lived a full life, busy careers and wonderful vacation trips after retirement.

Today, Joanie sits silently, alone in front of her television, eating her dinner.

Joanie’s life partner died five years ago at the age of 74, and now that he’s gone, a week can go by without her connecting with a single human being.

Hearing-impaired, she has settled into a life of seclusion.

Joanie possesses the financial net worth to enjoy life, activities, trips, outings and events, but what she lacks is a social network. She is one of millions of seniors suffering from social isolation.

AARP estimates that more than 8 million older adults are affected by this trend.

Socially connected seniors are those who have relationships present in their lives, who have friends or family they can rely on and who are satisfied with those relationships.

Are we taking too many pills?

Are we taking too many pills?

I recently assisted in moderating a local research study of individuals who took six or more prescription medications a day.

Some participants spoke of needing to take pills with food, while others needed to take their medication on an empty stomach. Some were required to split their pills, and some needed to modify their dosage daily depending on their health condition.

Still others spoke of changing pill shape, size and even form as their pharmacy changed generic providers.

To an observer like me, the process of scheduling and taking all these medications was complicated and involved, even though almost all study participants had adjusted to their regimen.

One person said they take 44 pills per day. Another carried in his wallet a long list of all the medications he was required to take daily, just so he could remember all of them and what they’re for.

Like it or not, we are a society of pill takers.

New Medicare cards safer to carry

New Medicare cards safer to carry

The average American visits a doctor four times a year.

Seniors visit a doctor nearly twice that much.

At each doctor visit we are asked to show our identification and our insurance card. For most adults 65 and over, that is their Medicare card.

It’s always been a catch-22. Seniors need to show their Medicare card at the doctor’s office and at the hospital, but they’re cautioned against carrying it with them because it contains their Social Security number.

Self-neglect: a growing problem

Self-neglect: a growing problem

Imagine your longtime neighbor is an elderly gentleman who lives alone. He’s been in and out of the hospital over the last few months. He rarely sees his only child, a son who lives on the other side of the country.

You pay your neighbor a social call upon his recent return from a hospital stay.

When he doesn’t answer the door, you peer into the window and are alarmed to see he’s on the floor and not responding to you as you call his name. You call 911.

Paramedics arrive. You stay to answer any questions you can. As you stand by, you hear that your neighbor hasn’t let the home health agency personnel in for their nursing care visits to monitor his health. And he hasn’t eaten the Meals on Wheels food that had been delivered.

Life is never the same after suffering a stroke

Life is never the same after suffering a stroke

A widow with no children, Linda has volunteered for Senior Concerns’ Bargain Boutique and Thrift Shop for the past three years. On Jan. 17, her life changed dramatically.

Scheduled to work at the boutique that day, Linda did not show up for her shift. Concerned, Karina, the boutique manager, called Linda at home. There was no answer.

Karina began to worry. She discussed the situation with boutique volunteer and Senior Concerns’ staff member Denise. They knew Linda lived alone with her St. Bernard, Cooper. Both women called and called but got no response.

After almost two days of trying, they found one of Linda’s neighbors, who had a key to her house. The neighbor 

RSS

Archive