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Delirium Prevention in Older Adults with the Hospital Elder Life Program

January 24, 2018

Everyone knows that a hospital visit can be stressful for even the healthiest person. But what you may not know, is that many patients - seniors especially - can be severely affected by the stress of a hospital visit or stay, and can often end up displaying signs of delirium. Delirium is a state of confusion that can develop following illness, infection or surgery, and is one of the most common complications in hospitalized patients over age 65.

Though delirium itself is temporary, it has serious long-term effects. The good news is, in many cases, there are relatively simple ways that hospital staff and family members can work together to prevent delirium.

New Clinical Trials Website Guides Aging Researchers, Improving Senior Health

IFAR researchers provide clinical trials expertise

September 25, 2017

Residents at one of HSL's senior living communities practice tai chi

The Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) is one of the few research institutions in the country translating clinical and health services research discoveries into interventions that improve the experience of aging.

“Most advances in medicine come from clinical trials,” says Susan Mitchell, M.D., M.P.H., senior scientist and director of Palliative Care Research at IFAR. “But many of the interventions that we are examining can be more complex than testing a pill,” she explains.

5 Sources of Protein You Never Knew You Needed

April 12, 2017

Center Communities of Brookline residents at the Brookline Farmer's Market

Popeye, it seems, has been right all along. If you want to stay “strong to the finish,” you have to eat your spinach. Or at least some other types of protein-rich foods.

As we age, lean muscle mass begins to decline, but this trend can be significantly slowed with regular exercise and a generous amount of protein heavy meals. A recent study by Dr. Kelsey Mangano of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research has shown that older adults with considerably high protein intakes have more muscle mass and greater functional strength than those who consume less protein on average.

IFAR Researchers Take Part in the Football Players Health Study

New iPhone app tests mobility and balance in retired players and the general public

November 9, 2016

New iPhone app tests mobility and balance

It’s said that with the rise of smartphones, we have the world at our fingertips. Now, thanks in part to researchers at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR), that world includes medical research.

IFAR scientists are part of a collaboration that has created a new iPhone app to test the health of retired NFL players. But you don’t have to be a football player to participate, or to benefit.

Institute for Aging Research Scientists Contribute to Dementia Care Best Practices

Aging research helps directly inform treatment care of elderly patients

September 28, 2016

Susan L. Mitchell, M.D., M.P.H. Senior Scientist and Director of Palliative Care Research Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted the dramatic decrease in feeding tube use by patients with end stage dementia over the last 15 years.

10 Tips to Reduce Delirium Risk in Hospitalized Older Loved Ones

May 18, 2016

10 Tips to Reduce Delirium Risk in Hospitalized Older Loved Ones

Delirium is a state of confusion that develops suddenly, often following an acute medical illness, a surgical procedure or a hospitalization. Although delirium is estimated to complicate hospital stays for more than 2.5 million older adult patients in the U.S. each year, this common condition often goes undetected. The end result can be serious complications with sometimes devastating consequences for vulnerable hospitalized elders.

New Technology Shows Promise in Predicting Fracture Risk in Older Adults

May 5, 2016

New Technology Shows Promise in Predicting Fracture Risk in Older Adults

Scientists working in musculoskeletal research now have a tool that allows us to examine bones in a whole new way with cutting edge technology in the form of high resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Currently clinicians measure bone density using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which is useful in gauging bone strength, but does not tell the whole story.

Caring for Aging Feet: Research on Preventing Foot Disorders

April 27, 2016

Caring for Aging Feet: Research on Preventing Foot Disorders

We expect a lot from our feet. They get us to all the places we need to go, while providing the anchor and balance crucial to physical activity. Our ability to stay active often depends on keeping our feet healthy.

As we age, foot problems can become common. From aches and pain to bunions and corns, our feet are prone to many conditions that can cause discomfort and impact mobility. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that the distance people walk in a lifetime would take them around the globe nearly six times. Yet, our feet are often neglected and foot pain is frequently written off as an insignificant risk to health. 

Making Sense of Nutrition in the News

Advice for older adults from our Institute for Aging Research Nutrition Scientist

February 3, 2016

Nutrition scientist Shivani Sahni, Ph.D. speaks to colleagues at IFAR

One thing not up for debate is that nutrition is an important part of overall good health. But that’s where agreement seems to end – at least according to reports in the media. Eat more protein; but all red meat is risky. Eggs send bad cholesterol levels through the roof; no wait, now it’s OK to eat them again. And recently, news about whether supplements, including calcium and vitamin D, protect us or actually cause harm has been fodder for headlines. So how do you parse the contradictory messages?

Caring for Seniors with Advanced Dementia and Other Terminal Diseases

October 15, 2015

Caring for Seniors with Advanced Dementia and Other Terminal Diseases

With aging there are many diseases that may impact quality of life and lead to eventual death. The end stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or other advanced illnesses can be challenging for patients and their families. At Hebrew SeniorLife we find that family members are looking to doctors and nurses to help their loved ones in what may be the end-stage of life. Palliative care, while similar to hospice, is offered to patients earlier in the disease process and provides specialized medical treatment to manage symptoms. Often times pneumonia, delirium and eating problems accompany the terminal disease, and palliative care can help cope with those complications and improve quality of life for patients.

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