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.
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.
When you think about how to prevent falls, strength exercises or adaptive shoes may come to mind. There’s another fall prevention method that we are coming to learn more about through work at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR). IFAR researchers, under the leadership of scientist Brad Manor, Ph.D., director of the Mobility and Brain Function Lab, have uncovered a mind-body connection related to fall prevention by improving balance with non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. Watch Dr. Manor describe this correlation in the video below.
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.
My grandfather lived to be 96-years-old, surviving mostly on red wine and M&Ms. He started smoking a pipe before World War II, and probably never saw the inside of a gym. He outlived two wives and one girlfriend, and died peacefully in his bed—without ever succumbing to an injury, illness or disability.
Many of us have a relative like this—a legendary figure who defies all odds in the race against time. And on the flip side, almost all of us have firsthand knowledge of someone on the opposite end of the spectrum – who ate all the right foods, never smoked, and exercised daily— only to die young, sometimes seemingly out of the blue.
For thirty years, the incidence of hip fractures in older adults had been in decline. That is, until recently. Since 2012, that number has hit a plateau, which is very concerning to Dr. Douglas P. Kiel, Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research. According to Dr. Kiel, “By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women compared to rates in 1990.”
These days we rely on hand held devices to manage almost every aspect of our daily lives. Alarm clocks? Forget it. We wake up to the beeping of our phones. Maps? Gone. Siri can direct us anywhere we need to go. Whether we’re communicating with our loved ones, reading the daily news, or updating slides for our next meeting, we’re often doing it with the help of a mobile device.
Caring for our elders shouldn’t be any different. For this reason, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife teamed up with affiliates from Harvard Medical School and several other organizations to create a senior care coordination app called InfoSAGE.
Earlier this year Hebrew SeniorLife Communities sponsored the “Senior Living Communities of the Future Forum” at NewBridge on the Charles as an opportunity for our residents’ adult children to hear from experts in their fields on the future of senior living communities.
We sought insights to some of their most significant concerns as they relate to aging as well as important questions about their vision of the life they want to lead in later years.