Month: April 2010

Elderly Dehydration: Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention

Dehydration is a common condition that afflicts many people over the age of 65. Because the symptoms of dehydration are masked by the aging body, patients and caregivers typically overlook the warnings signs until it is too late. But, dehydration can be avoided if you are careful and know what the symptoms are. What is dehydration? Dehydration is a condition when the body is losing more water than it is taking in. Loss of water can be due to medications, illnesses, inability to move around easily, diminished sense of thirst, or reduced kidney function. At times, seniors are dependent on caregivers who may not realize they are not taking in enough fluids. A factor in elderly dehydration is the increased risk of contracting illnesses such as the common cold and influenza. These illnesses cause fluid loss that is not easily replenished. If possible, it is a good idea to take extra precautions during cold and flu season so your loved one does not get sick. Another reason elderly persons become dehydrated is because of their medication. With the various health conditions that develop in the senior years, it is not uncommon for people over the age of 60 to be taking multiple medications. Medications to monitor and control heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, and liver disease are common diuretic medications prescribed for seniors. While the patients realize that these...

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Caregiver Support: Preventing Caregiver Burnout

Who Will Care for the Caregiver? For most people, caring for their loved one is only the logical thing to do. There is no second thought when it comes to providing that extra care that they need. Many think to themselves "why wouldn't I do it?" Usually, it begins with one or two things. Quick trips to the grocery store or that necessary driver for doctor's appointments. These are such simple tasks that can easily be added to the schedule. But the tasks multiply. As the task list grows, the caregiver just adds them to the daily routine. Too soon the caregiver starts structuring their schedule around the caregiving. As caregivers fill their “free” time with chores and other tasks for their loved one, they start to separate from everything they used to do: go out with friends, exercise, maintain memberships to clubs and other activities. They become isolated from everyone else because their time is spent caring for this other person. Feelings of being trapped in the situation are not uncommon, and that can lead to depression. Caregiving not only affects the caregiver mental and physically, many times it also greatly affects them financially. Since most caregiving services are not covered under health insurance, caregivers are forced to take care of family members themselves, sometimes taking a lesser position so they are available for their loved one, or...

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How to Care For Aging Parents

If you are caring for an aging parent or other elderly loved one, this book could be a wonderful and valuable resource for you and your family. The task of being a caregiver can be extremely difficult, especially when you may be second guessing your decisions and actions. Fortunately Virginia Morris has written this wonderful, practical, and easy to read guide to help you with every aspect of caring for your aging parent, taking care of yourself, and you family. How to Care for Aging Parents by Virginia Morris, with a foreword by Robert N. Butler, M.D. This guide, aimed at the "Sandwich Generation," provides a road map to assist adult children in caring for their aging parents. Combining personal experience with expertise in healthcare and social and political issues, Morris has produced a thoroughly researched, well-organized, and comprehensive manual. Chapters follow in logical progression, yet they can stand alone and be read on an "as-needed" basis. The topics covered include the concrete, practical areas such as home care, finances, nursing homes/hospitals, legal issues, and medical/safety concerns as well as the psychosocial areas of handling emotions, dealing with death and dying, sibling conflicts, and spiritual needs. In her discussions, Morris adds useful details such as a suggested list of things to pack for the hospital. Support for the caregiver as well as to the elderly person is covered. Sprinkled...

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Geriatric Care and Assessment

What is Geriatrics? Geriatrics is a field of medicine that encompasses only the elderly, and unlike common misconception, geriatrics simply refers to the maintaining of a healthy quality of life for the elderly. Geriatrics is a medical branch in its own right, as it is a different variety of medicine. Most Geriatrics consist of assessment tests that are aimed at determining the ability of a senior citizen to live independently. These assessment tests will look at health, physical ability, and mental health. There is no minimum age for geriatric care, as individuals age differently. Geriatric care also differs greatly from adult health care. Due to the changes in the physiology of the elderly, special medicine is needed, as regular doses would do more harm than good. Also, this medicine needs to be administered in a certain way, so only one trained in Geriatrics should be giving the doses. There are several different fields of Geriatrics, much like other medicinal fields. Seeking the right doctor is something that a Geriatric Assessment test can help with. Special care for the elderly has been a main stay in the field of medicine for centuries. Scientifically, Geriatrics helps millions of senior citizens lead comfortable lives, and sometimes independent lives. The special care administered will prolong life and allow the Senior to live alone, or with minimal help. However, there comes a time when...

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