If you were to hire someone to say, do your landscaping or put an addition on your house, you would most likely research their qualifications, conduct an interview or even check references to ensure you made the best and most informed decision. The same goes for finding the right person to care for your health. Finding a new primary care physician (PCP) is a significant decision that can significantly impact the quality of your life, especially if you are a senior.
Holidays bring to mind thoughts of family, friends, fun, food…and maybe, in the face of hearing loss, some stress knowing it will be hard to keep up with the conversations. Maybe, when Cousin Bob tells his latest joke, you laugh at the punch line. NOT because you heard it, but because everyone else is laughing. Maybe, when the group is reminiscing at the kitchen table, you sneak off into the other room where it’s quiet, and you don’t have to participate. After all, it can be stressful to listen and try to catch every word. Much easier if it’s just you and the TV.
This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook.
Let’s face it – winters can be tough. Months of frigid temperatures and heavy snow fall can make daily life difficult and isolation at home even more common for seniors. You can, however, safely maneuver through winter weather by realizing the high risk for falls during icy and snowy conditions and taking proper precautions.
As a staff geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife, I regularly see injuries from falls during winter months and urge patients to be extra vigilant when outdoors during the winter season. Fractured ankles and broken hips (especially for those over 50) are two of the most common injuries and can mean lengthy, frustrating recovery periods for seniors.
As an optometrist at Hebrew SeniorLife, many of the eye problems that I treat in my patients are age-related. It is not uncommon for eyes to weaken as we age. One of those ways in which age can impact eyesight is through the onset of cataracts. Cataracts are one of the most commonly diagnosed eye disorders among older adults. In fact, by age 75—about 70 percent of people will have had cataracts.
What are cataracts?
A cataract occurs when the normally transparent lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, limiting vision. Cataracts tend to develop slowly, making it difficult to detect a change. In some cases, a cataract doesn’t impair vision or affect daily life enough to warrant surgical intervention.
I’m sure you’ve heard the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Unfortunately, this rhyme is not entirely truthful. Apples are healthy and good for you in many ways, but the reality is, eating an apple can’t keep you from getting sick. There is something that can do that though—vaccination (although we have yet to invent a rhyme reminding us of that).
Vaccinations are arguably the most important contribution to medicine. They are the reason polio no longer exists in the United States and why children no longer even need inoculation from small pox.
Following emergency surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to remove blood clots in his legs, Alvin Nigrosh came to Hebrew Rehabilitation Center to regain his strength and get back on his feet again with physical rehabilitation. He worked closely with our doctors and physical therapists to get moving. Before his surgery, Alvin was very physically active so getting up and moving again was a goal he took seriously! With the encouragement of our specialists, Alvin was able to recover from his surgery and walk blood-clot (and pain) free.
What is so scary about hearing loss? Everyone gets a little hearing problem as they age, right? Well….yes. Most people do acquire age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, as they get older. Untreated hearing loss, however, can be a scary thing! Its onset is usually slow and gets worse gradually, making it easy to ignore until much damage is already done.
Research out of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, presents us with evidence of some frightening correlations between hearing loss and its subsequent effect on cognitive brain function.
While most seniors are happy, content and positive, others need assistance in helping them adjust to life's changes as they get older. It’s not uncommon for people of all ages to experience bouts of sadness but among seniors, depression can be a debilitating and life-threatening condition. Clinical depression is a disorder that affects mood, feelings, behavior and potentially physical health and is diagnosed when sadness is persistent or begins to affect a person’s ability to function normally.
Have you noticed any changes in vision? As we age, it’s not uncommon for eyesight to become impaired. Glacuoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and diabetic retinopathy are the most common eye disorders experienced by seniors. I see my fair share of patients with these conditions in my role as optometrist at Hebrew SeniorLife and, while eye problems are irritating for anyone, they are particularly frustrating for seniors as impairment hinders independence.
Here is more information about the commonly developed eye conditions among older adults—so you’ll be knowledgable about the condition and proactive about speaking with your physician, should the need arise.