When winter weather hits us with cold and icy conditions, it’s no surprise that many of us can feel isolated or lonely. What may be surprising is that social isolation and loneliness can have negative health consequences, especially for older adults.
Recent National Institute for Aging research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, depression, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some research suggests that chronic loneliness may shorten life expectancy just as much as smoking.
Hookie eagerly volunteered for the study, where investigators are seeking to reduce the risks of falls and promote safe, independent mobility for older adults through transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). This type of non-invasive brain stimulation holds promise as a novel intervention for improving walking, balance, and even cognition among older individuals.
Djenny Lobo Lopes, MSN, RN, DNP-C, is the director of nursing and respiratory services on the Medical Acute Care Unit (MACU) at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston. I sat down with her to learn more about her work with patients, her background and career, and how she’s committed to providing the best quality of care for patients with complex medical conditions or multiple acute or chronic illnesses.
For more than a century, Hebrew SeniorLife has provided exceptional care and services to seniors across the Boston area. Today, we’re redefining every aspect of aging for the better. At our health care and senior living communities, learning and discovery never stops in a stimulating and dynamic environment. There is no stopping our residents who remain active and engaged, no matter where they live, and truly continue to be their best self.
Meet four residents who embody our approach to care.
Sometimes the holidays can be a difficult time for parents and relatives, and it can be hard to see our loved ones struggling. If they’re beginning to get lonely or are having trouble living independently, the holidays can become a tough and stressful time – for everyone.
Tara Fleming-Caruso, collaborative care advisor at NewBridge on the Charles, a Hebrew SeniorLife continuing care retirement community, offers some advice on how to make the holiday season enjoyable while still honoring the needs of your aging loved one.
Q: What are some ways we can include our aging parents in holiday celebrations?
Eran Metzger, M.D., is the medical director of psychiatry at Hebrew SeniorLife working in the department of medicine. I sat down with him to learn more about his work with patients, the areas he’s researching, and why he’s committed to teaching the next generation of psychiatrists.
Dr. Metzger is board certified in psychiatry. He received his bachelor of arts from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Doctor of Medicine from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He completed his internship at Brockton Hospital and his psychiatry residency and fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. After several years, he became medical director of an inpatient medical psychiatric unit at Beth Israel.
Life can be extremely hectic and there are many ways to get information in today’s world. Especially if you’re raising children of your own, it can be confusing to navigate when your own parents need support and help. You are moving so quickly between the demands of work and family, and can often find yourself unprepared to help your parent or loved one as they age.
Visit any retirement community, and you’ll hear one common fear among residents: falls. For many older people, a fall can lead to injury, decline, and a loss of independence. That’s why it’s an area of research focus at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research.
Brad Manor, Ph.D., is an associate scientist at the Marcus Institute. He’s investigating new treatments to alleviate the burden of balance decline that often accompanies biological aging, particularly among those with Parkinson’s disease.
People 65 years old and older take prescribed medications more frequently than any other age group in the United States. Medications can play a critical role in quality of life for older adults, but often times, prescribed medications can cause unintentional harm. Sarah Berry, M.D., M.P.H. is Associate Director, Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She is studying risk and benefit factors for certain drug therapies among nursing home populations.