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Did you know that the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and prevention rated (COMPLICATIONS) from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th top cause of Death in the United States?

Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, but the complications can be serious. For Example, Difficulty swallowing can lead a patient to aspirate food into lungs which can than lead to Pneumonia or other pulmonary conditions. In addition, loss of balance can lead to a fall that may cause serious injuries or even death.  Incidents depend greatly on a patients overall health and age.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly overtime in most people who have the disease.  Symptoms take years to develop and those with Parkinson’s live years with the disease.

 

Here Are 10 Early Warning signs of the disease:

 

  1. Trouble moving or walking (Stiffness in body, arms, or legs
  2. Constipation
  3. soft low voice (If there has been a change in voice, your voice is soft when speaking
  4. Masked face (Have you been told that you look: mad, serious, depressed and your NOT)
  5. Dizziness of fainting ( fainting or dizzy, also signs of low blood pressure
  6. Hunching over or stooping
  7. Tremors or shaking (in your finger, thumb, hand, chin, or lip)
  8. Small Handwriting (Overtime writing  may get smaller and smaller)
  9. Loss of smell (Trouble smelling certain foods: bananas, pickles, of licorice
  10. Trouble sleeping (Sudden movement during sleep)

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Senior Health

JUNE IS NATIONAL SAFETY MONTH!!

Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages--and the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1-44. There are many things people can do to stay safe and prevent injuries.

We can use this month to raise awareness about important safety issues like: prescription medication abuse; transportation safety; ergonomics; emergency preparedness; slips, trips and falls.

This week we will focus on prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drug abuse is when a person doesn't take his/her prescription medicine properly. This term is usually reserved for abuse of "controlled substances" or narcotics e.g. pain, sleep or anxiety medicine. But it can also refer to any medication that is not taken as prescribed.

People who abuse prescription drugs may take more medicine than their doctor instructed, take medicine when it is not needed, or mix the medicine with alcohol or other drugs. This can lead to serious problems, such as addiction, drug interactions or overdose.

Older adults are at risk for prescription drug abuse because they take more prescription medicines than other age groups. Americans 65 years of age or older make up only 13% of the U.S. population, yet they consume 33% of all prescription drugs.

Older adults are also at risk for prescription drug abuse because they often take more than one prescription medicine each day. This increases the risks for mistakes when taking the medicines and for drug interactions.

In addition, growing older slows down your liver's ability to filter medicines out of your body.

How to help the elderly with their prescribed medications:

Keep all physicians your loved one sees up to date with medications prescribed. This includes any herbal therapies and OTC (over the counter) medicines. OTC medicines are ones you buy at a store without a prescription.

Medication list should be reviewed at each visit.

If loved one is not capable of managing medications--a family member or caregiver shuld dispense medications.

Keep medications out of reach if loved one not reliable.

ElderCaring is here to provide care in your home!!!

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DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF PARKINSON'S

DIAGNOSIS: There is no definitive test for Parkinson's. One's primary physician is often the first to make the diagnosis after taking a careful neurological history and exam. One of the most important things to remember about diagnosing Parkinson's is that there must be two of the four main symptoms (see last week's blog) present over a period of time for Parkinson's to be considered.

Once Parkinson's is considered,it is suggested that you be referred to a neurologist who specializes in Parkinson's--often referred to as a movement disorder specialist. The examination by the neurologist remains the first and most important diagnostic tool. This includes: a detailed medical history and physical examination; detailed history of your current and past medications, to make sure you are not taking medications that can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson's; performing tasks to assess the agility of arms and legs, muscle tone, your gait and balance. The response to medications (that imitate or stimulate the production of dopamine) causing a significant improvement in symptoms is how the diagnosis of Parkinson's is made clinically.

When questions arise, some newer imaging modalities such as PET and DAT scans may aid diagnosis, when performed by an expert in neuroimaging. DAT scan is FDA approved for differentiating Parkinson's from essential tremor.

 

TREATMENT: There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but medication and therapy is used to treat its symptoms. The treatment for each person with Parkinson's is based on his or her symptoms. Treatments include medications, surgical options and lifestyle modifications.

MEDICATIONS: aimed at either temporarily replenishing dopamine or mimic the action of dopamine. These types of drugs are dopaminergic. They help reduce muscle rigidity, improve speed and coordination of movement and lesson tremor. Caution: These medications may have interactions with certain foods, other medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, over the counter cold pills and other remedies. Discuss all medications with physician!

SURGICAL OPTIONS: surgical treatment is reserved for Parkinson's patients who have exhausted medical treatment. Options should be discussed with physician.

LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS: exercise is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities. Getting more rest is also very important.

SPEECH AND SWALLOWING: people with Parkinson's may notice changes in or difficulty with chewing, eating, speaking or swallowing. It is recommended to see a speech-language pathologist for proper evaluation and treatment of these issues.

Hope you found this information helpful. We at ElderCaring can provide excellent caregivers to you in your home.

Next week: Living with Parkinson's.

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A new month and a new topic for us to focus on! We at ElderCaring can provide experienced caregivers for your loved one living with Parkinson's.

WHAT IS PARKINSON'S? Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. Most people's symptoms take years to develop, and they live for years with the disease.

In short, a person's brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions.

Parkinson's disease itself is not fatal. However, complications from the disease are serious.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson's. The doctor's goal will be to treat your symptoms to keep your quality of life as high as possible.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE?

Four Main Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's:

1. Shaking or tremor at rest.

2. Slowness of movement, called bradykinesia.

3. Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs or trunk.

4. Trouble with balance and falls, also called postural instability. This usually appears later with disease progression and may not be present with initial diagnosis.

Secondary Symptoms:

Small, cramped handwriting, called micrographia.

Reduced arm swing on the affected side.

Slight foot drag on affected side creating a shuffled walk.

"Freezing"- a term used to describe the phenomenon of being 'stuck in place' when attempting to walk.

Loss of facial expression due to rigidity of facial muscles, called hypomimia.

Low voice volume or muffled speech, called hypophonia.

Tendency to fall backwards, called retropulsion.

Decrease ability in automatic reflexes such as blinking and swallowing.

Other Symptoms:

Depression, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, sleep disturbances (vivid dreams, talking and moving during night sleep), constipation, pain and increase in dandruff or oily skin.

All these symptoms can vary widely between people in terms of their type and severity.

 

Next week: Diagnosis and treatment.

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HELP FOR SENIORS WITH VISION LOSS: TIPS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND CAREGIVERS

Vision loss can greatly affect the participation levels and safety of seniors. As people lose vision they tend to isolate themselves and do not believe they can still maintain an active, independent life style. We at ElderCaring can assist in achieving a safe environment to keep your loved one home. We can help you choose an experienced caregiver to meet your needs.

Different eye conditions (as explained in last week's blog) affect the ability to see and function in varying ways. Example: macular degeneration affects central vision and the ability to read, see faces and drive.

Tips to help provide a friendlier, safer environment for one experiencing vision loss:

1. Control glare by using appropriate window coverings. Make sure person is not seated facing window. Position lighting directly onto tasks such as reading, cards or hobbies.

2. Increase use of contrast: paint door trims, put contrasting tape on steps.

3. Use white index cards or light yellow paper with large print using a dark colored, bold tip pen for activity calenders and labeling.

4. Use of magnification: magnifying glasses; large print books, calenders, calculators, remote control devices, clocks, watches and playing cards.

5. When walking with one with vision loss-offer your arm for the person to hold unto. Walk about 1/2 step ahead to avoid objects in the pathway. This assistance is called "sighted guide".

6. Face person directly when talking to them.

7. Describe the place setting and food arrangement on the plate in terms of a clock face so the person can participate in meal time more confidently. You may even offer to cut food into bite size pieces if the person is worried about cutting self. Can also use same clock face technique to describe furniture placement in rooms. Do not move furniture or objects without announcing changes ahead of time.

8. Use of canes and even dogs can be used to help one with low vision to navigate.

 

LOW VISION SPECIALISTS

These professionals have the knowledge and experience to help find personal solutions for specific needs. Vision rehabilitation can help with mobility training as well as methods to organize, mark and label things, and resources for and proper use of low vision aides. Many vision rehabilitation programs even offer mental health services to help with the anxiety or depression that often accompanies loss of vision.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vision problems are more common as we get older.

Most common causes are: Cataracts, Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy.

CATARACTS: a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. Cataracts can make it difficult to read or drive a car. When your vision becomes impaired that it interferes with usual activities- you might need surgery. Cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.

MACULAR DEGENERATION: a disease of the center of the retina called the macula. The macular is used for detailed work like reading, watching television or driving. Macular degeneration comes on slowly and impairs the center of vision. Usually causes blurry vision. Discussion with your Ophthalmologist regarding treatment options is suggested.

GLAUCOMA: an eye disease that causes loss of peripheral (side) vision; also, increased pressure inside the eye. Cause not known. Can be treated with eye drops and sometimes laser surgery.

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY: an eye disease associated with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Diabetics need a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year and ongoing discussions with physicians regarding treatments.

Be looking out for next week's blog for further insights on your vision!

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Do you have to wear earplugs when you watch TV with your spouse, parent or friend?  Or maybe you need to yell into the phone when you call them?  Do you worry that they may fall and not be able to reach the phone to call for help?  These issues are pretty common when dealing with older loved ones.  Luckily, there are wonderful new technologies that not only improve quality of life, but might also save a life.  At ElderCaring, we recommend you consider the following products for your loved ones:

Reading Glasses with Lights - A simple pleasure for many seniors is reading and doing crosswords or other puzzles.  However, these can become more difficult as eyesight deteriorates.  A fairly simple and inexpensive solution may be reading glasses with lights.  This may be easier than trying to manage a booklight and helps to direct light exactly where the person is looking.

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