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Some commonly used meds could speed mental decline

common medsA widely used group of prescription and over-the-counter medications could speed up older adults’ mental decline, a series of studies in the US, Canada, France and Germany show.

These meds are called anticholinergics (ACs for short). In addition to prescriptions, many over-the-counter allergy, cough, and cold medicines have anticholinergic properties.

ACs are widely used for a very good reason: They work. They’re effective in treating all kinds of conditions – from allergies and motion sickness to overactive bladder to high blood pressure, from depression to Parkinson’s disease. The most frequently prescribed ACs include antidepressants (amitriptyline, bupropion, citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, mirtazapine, nortriptyline, paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine), antipsychotics (aripiprazole, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone), insomnia drugs (trazodone, zopiclone), and pain relievers (amitriptyline, cyclobenzaprine, nortriptyline).

5 ways to fight off compassion fatigue

compassion fatigueBeing a family caregiver has never been easy. But now, with all the added stresses from the pandemic, it’s harder than ever – so much harder that a June CDC survey of unpaid family caregivers found that reported cases of anxiety disorder had tripled compared to second quarter 2019, and cases of depression disorder had quadrupled.

All too often, this results from caregivers being emotionally torn between caring for a family member the love and really needs their help and taking even the most routine care of themselves. So even without clinical depression or anxiety, they can find themselves becoming irritable, fatigues, forgetful, bored and apathetic, cancelling plans, and pulling back from everyday activities.

But if you’re a family caregiver, here are five things you can do to help prevent compassion fatigue from wearing you down and burning you out:

Is bulk buying a good or a bad idea? Yes

buying bulkBuying groceries and other household items in bulk has always offered the chance to save money. Today, particularly for seniors, it also offers the ability to make fewer shopping trips, avoid crowds, and expose yourself to the risk of infection less often.

In addition to warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, supermarkets, big-box stores, online e-tailers, and even some manufacturers sell family packs and bulk quantities of just about everything.

But when you buy in bulk, you could end up either saving money or wasting it. It all comes down to three things: What you like to eat or need to use often, how long it can keep, and whether you have someplace to store it.

What saves money:

Help your body heal itself

help your body heal opt

During sleep, your body restores, repairs and rejuvenates itself, and replenishes hormones to a healthy level. According to NIH neuroscientist Dr. Merrill Mitler, “Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood.”

The older we get, the harder it becomes to get a good night’s sleep. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry reports that 50 percent or more people 65 years older and older have sleep problems.

This can trigger a vicious cycle: Sleep problems increase the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. And age-related chronic conditions such as high blood pressure can cause sleep problems, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Dr. Yuko Hara, of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, notes that there’s a chicken-and-egg relationship between poor sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. Poor sleep is connected to higher levels of Alzheimer’s markers amyloid and tau in the brain, but “we don’t really know if poor sleep causes Alzheimer’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease causes poor sleep,” she says.

3 ways the post-COVID world will be better for seniors

post covid optThe pandemic has accelerated three trends already in the works – and that’s good news for seniors.

Remote Working 

In response to COVID-19, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) announced that it was selling its just-completed new headquarters complex and having its staff of 1,200 work from home. In July, Google announced that its 200,000 employees would be working from home through 2021. Facebook will have at least half of its staff working remotely by the end of the decade. Twitter employees will be working home “forever.” Roughly 95% of Fidelity National Information Services’ employees are working from home.

In total, the number of Americans working at home doubled from 31% in March to 62% in April, according to Gallup.

And that’s a win-win-win-win situation.