Monday, September 27, 2010

Guide Offers Tips On Living With Dementia

A free informational guide Living with Dementia is available for free download from Homewatch CareGivers.

According to the World Alzheimer’s Report and the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) reports, over 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Without a significant medical breakthrough related to dementia care that number could double every 20 years, and by 2050 could affect over 115 million people, explains Jesse Slome, executive director of AALTCI.

“Based on our 30 years of caregiving experience we know that when someone receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia that it suddenly involves more than just the patient,” said Leann Reynolds, president of Homewatch CareGivers. The Guide to Dementia was prepared to arm families and caregivers with free information and resources, which might not otherwise be provided, that can educate them and provide a roadmap for the difficult journey they face.

The guide covers the following:

- Definitions of dementia and what those definitions mean both clinically and personally
- In-depth tips for communicating with loved ones experiencing dementia
- Communication issues to watch out for as the symptoms of dementia progress
- In-depth tips for helping family members with dementia around the house
- Practical tips for understanding and dealing with behavior issues related to dementia
- Self-help and wellness tips for family caregivers

“Our goal is to support families by providing information and resources,” Reynolds added. “We want this guide to be one of the resources that helps family members and caregivers deal with the numerous issues that arise from living with dementia.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Study Examines Falls Among Seniors

The risk factors for indoor and outdoor falls for older adults are different, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, reported a fact that is often missed when the two are combined. Their findings may affect how falls prevention programs are structured.

The scientists noted that indoor and outdoor falls are both important. But they note that people at high risk for indoor falls are different in many ways from those at high risk of outdoor falls.

The findings which were published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that indoor falls are associated with an inactive lifestyle, disability, and poor health, while outdoor falls are associated with higher levels of activity and average or better-than-average health.

Older adults who fell outdoors were somewhat younger than those who fell indoors, more likely to be male and better educated, and had lifestyle characteristics indicative of better health. Those who fell indoors had more physical disabilities, took more medications, and had lower cognitive function than those who fell outdoors.

The study examined nearly 800 men and women, age 70 and older, from randomly sampled households in the Boston area. Study participants underwent a comprehensive baseline falls assessment, including a home visit and clinic examination. Falls were reported on monthly calendars submitted to the researchers. Over a nearly two-year period, 598 indoor falls and 524 outdoor falls were reported. When a participant reported a fall, a structured telephone interview was conducted to determine the circumstances.

A fall the scientists report is not necessarily a marker of poor health. In fact, almost half of all falls occurred outdoors, and people who fell outdoors had the same or better health than those who did not fall at all. Second, epidemiological studies of risk factors for falls in older people may be hampered when falls are combined, with important associations between risk factors and indoor and outdoor falls potentially being missed. Third, intervention programs need to be tailored differently for people more likely to fall outdoors than those who tend to fall indoors.

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, seniors who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, including hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. At least half of these falls occur outdoors. Falls are a leading cause for needing long-term care.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Live Longer: Give A Firm Handshake

If you have a firm handshake, you just live longer than your fellow human.

According to a new study, it’s also helpful if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, leap from your chair during a scary movie or always win the three legged race at the family reunion, then well,

New studies from the BMJ (British Medical Journal) formed by UK researchers have discovered the relation between basic physical tasks and mortality.

Screening how well persons perform basic functions can determine those individuals who may benefit from targeted strength training programs as interventions used to improve longevity.

Four measures of physical capability including gripping, walking, rising from a chair and balancing on one leg were evaluated Simply stated, persons who are unable to perform such tasks at a high level have a higher risk of death.

In 53,476 persons that had grip strength analyzed, death rate among the weakest people, taking into consideration age, sex and weight, was 1.67 times greater than among the persons with a stronger grip.

Slow walkers in a group of 14,692 participants had a 2.87 times great mortality rate than their more brisk counterparts.

Almost 50% increase in the rate of death was found in 28,036 people that rose out of their chairs slower than the other half of the group.

The association of grip strength with mortality was detected in younger populations although the studies covered an older population according to the research. The authors say that a steep decline in physical capability may be a better predictor of mortality than is the absolute level at a single point in time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rectal Cancer Rates Rise For Under 40

A new analysis has found that while colon cancer rates have remained steady over the past several decades among people under the age of 40, rectal cancer rates are increasing in this population across races and in both sexes.

Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that greater efforts are needed to diagnose rectal cancer in young individuals who show potential signs of the disease.

Rectal cancer is considered to be rare among young individuals in the United States. Because underestimating rectal cancer’s incidence may lead to missed or delayed diagnoses in younger people.

By conducting a retrospective study using data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry, the investigators identified 7,661 colon and rectal cancer patients under age 40 years between 1973 and 2005.

The researchers then calculated the change in incidence over time for colon and rectal cancers.

Overall rates of colon and of rectal cancer were low during the years of the study (1.11 cases and 0.42 cases per 100,000, respectively). While colon cancer rates remained essentially flat in individuals under age 40 years in recent decades, rectal cancer rates have been increasing since 1984. Specifically, between 1984 and 2005, the rate of rectal cancer diagnosis rose 3.8% per year.