Live Life On Your Own Terms ®

Do you really need all those tests?

testsA growing medical consensus says you don’t.

No matter how old you are, it’s important to keep taking some tests – blood pressure check, blood sugar (for Type 2 diabetes), cholesterol, bone density (for osteoporosis) obesity and underweight (for frailty), skin (for cancerous lesions), hearing, vision and balance (for risk of falling), and cognition – at your annual wellness visit. Past performance is no guarantee of future results, but if your previous results have been trouble-free, you could be better off skipping some of the rest.

Once you’re over 75, some tests have the potential to do more harm than good. Colonoscopy, for example. “As you age, your skin becomes thinner,” says Mayo Clinic geriatrician Paul Takahashi, “so the risk of perforation increases.” And because the procedure involves anesthesia, “patients can sometimes experience confusion or delirium,” he notes.

Depression can be heartbreaking. Literally.

depression heartbreakingCOVID-19 notwithstanding, the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. And one of the leading causes of heart disease is depression.

While about 20% of Americans suffer from depression in their lifetimes, it affects almost twice that proportion – 38% – of bypass surgery patients. For heart attack survivors, the risk of depression is triple the general population’s.

Thanks to a combination of psychological and physiological factors, heart disease can bring on depression and depression can bring on heart disease.

Psychologically, heart disease can make patients feel stressed by a serious chronic condition they can’t control. This stress affects their mood, their sleep, their energy, and their ability to manage their coronary vascular disease. They may skip taking their medications, binge on comfort foods instead of following a heart-healthy diet, or veg out instead of exercising regularly.

Why Choose a Full-Service Home Care Agency?

full service agencyIt ‘s 2:00 pm, and your phone is ringing. It’s your private caregiver calling to say they can’t be there today for the regularly scheduled 4 o’clock shift. You have two hours to find someone else. What do you do?

It’s 4:15 on a different afternoon. Your private caregiver still hasn’t shown up for that 4 o’clock shift. What do you do now?

What would you do if theft, abuse, neglect, or personal or property damage took place in your home during the caregiver’s work hours?

Or if the caregiver claimed to have fallen on the job, in your home, sustaining personal injury as a result?

Over 31 years of working with the geriatric population as a Registered Nurse, I’ve heard over and over again of each of those things happening.

9 smart ways to reduce sundowning

sundowningPeople with mid-stage and advanced dementia often follow a pattern: As the day goes on, they get more and more confused and agitated. That’s because new routines, new places and things, can cause stress and anger in people who are biologically very set in their ways.

Technically, this is known as “late-day confusion,” but most folks just call it “sundowning.” And thought there’s no known way to reverse it, there are seven ways to reduce it:

  1. Stick to routine. Following the same exact routine day after day after day can keep elders with dementia in their comfort zones. So once you’ve established a routine that works for both of you, don’t change it unless you really have to. And then, ease in the adjustments and incrementally and gradually as possible.
  2. Let there be light. A Psychiatric Investigation research review suggests that light plays a big role in sundowning. Bright light therapy and melatonin have both been helpful treatments. So keeping the light bright indoors hours before it starts getting dark outdoors could reduce the severity of sundowning or delay its onset.

How to make sure your money lasts as long as you do

making money lastIn theory, it’s very simple: If your retirement income exceeds your expenses, you’re in good shape. In practice, it’s, shall we say, more complicated, with many different approaches. 

Make More

Increasing your income is one broad approach. You can invest some of your savings, but with the ups and downs of the market, making a profit isn’t a sure thing. You could look into annuities, which pay more than the 1% or so that money market funds offer, but that means tying up your principal for years.

If you wait until age 70 to claim Social Security, you’ll get higher monthly benefits. But if you’re in your late 60s and already getting monthly payments, you’ll need a time machine to change that.

You could also see about earning some income with a part-time or full-time job. But while employment has rebounded, the pandemic is still keeping unemployment in the 8% range.

Spend Less