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Seniors & Mental Health Issues

Getting older may be unsettling to some, what with greying hair, wrinkles and forgetting where you parked the car! But seriously, ageing can bring on a variety of health issues.Senior-Lady

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that globally, the population is ageing rapidly and predicts that between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of people over 60 years will nearly double, from 12% to 22%.

Many seniors maintain good health and are fully able to function both physically and mentally well into their later years and they make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workforce. However, the biological effects of ageing will naturally lead to more physical and mental health problems among the older population than in younger age groups. They risk developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, as people age, they are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time.

WHO figures show over 15 percent of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder. The most common mental and neurological disorders in this age group are dementia and depression, which affect approximately 5% and 7% of the world’s older population, respectively. Anxiety disorders affect 3.8% of the older population, substance use problems affect almost 1% and around a quarter of deaths from self-harm are among people aged 60 or above.

Woman in Wheelchair with DogRisk factors for mental health problems among older adults

Older people may experience life stressors common to all people, but also stressors that are more common in later life, like a significant ongoing loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability. For example, older adults may experience reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty or other health problems, for which they require some form of long-term care. In addition, older people are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, or a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement. All of these stressors can result in isolation, loneliness or psychological distress in older people, for which they may require long-term care.

Mental health has an impact on physical health and vice versa. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are healthy. Additionally, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.

Older adults are also vulnerable to elder abuse – including physical, verbal, psychological, financial and sexual abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious losses of dignity and respect. Current evidence suggests that 1 in 6 older people experience elder abuse. Elder abuse can lead not only to physical injuries, but also to serious, sometimes long-lasting psychological consequences, including depression and anxiety.

Depressed Woman Yellow DressCognitive Health

Cognitive health is focused on a person’s ability to think, learn and remember. Independence in later life is as much determined by cognitive ability as by physical ability. Among older adults a broad spectrum of cognitive capability exists with dementia at one extreme and normal cognitive function at the other. Adequate cognitive functioning is required
to perform simple activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing and more complex tasks such as managing money, paying bills and taking medications.

The most common cognitive health issue facing the elderly is dementia, the loss of those cognitive functions. Approximately 47.5 million people worldwide have dementia—a number that is predicted to nearly triple in size by 2050. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease with as many as five million people over the age of 65 suffering from the disease in the United States alone. According to the National Institute on Aging, other chronic health conditions and diseases increase the risk of developing dementia, such as substance abuse, diabetes, hypertension, depression, HIV and smoking. While there are no cures for dementia, physicians can prescribe a treatment plan and medications to manage the disease.

Woman-Sofa-DepressionMental & Emotional Health

Depression is believed to occur in 7% of the elderly population, but unfortunately, it is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Older adults account for over 18 percent of suicides deaths in the United States. Because depression can be a side effect of chronic health conditions, managing those conditions help.

People in the following categories generally showed a higher rate of depression & anxiety:

  • A strong association has been found between loss of vision and depression, with less consistent or weaker relationships between hearing loss and depression
  • Physical inactivity
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Taking five or more drugs daily, including prescribed, over-the-counter, and complementary medicines

Preventative Measures

The WHO guidelines urge health providers and societies to be prepared to meet the specific needs of older populations with training, prevention & management of age-associated chronic diseases, designing suitable policies on long-term & palliative care and developing age-friendly services & settings.

Additionally, promoting a lifestyle of healthy living such as betterment of living conditions, programs to prevent & deal with elder abuse and social support from family, friends and support groups in the community.

senior men playing chess

 

 

Paying for Alzheimer’s Care

5 Ways to Pay for Alzheimer’s Care

Every 65 seconds a senior is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease— that means more than 5 million Americans over the age of 65 live with this devastating disease. These seniors, and their families, are managing care for a chronic condition that can be moderate or severe, and progresses over time. That’s why there is such a high emotional cost with Alzheimer’s — and a high financial cost, too. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that for all people diagnosed in the U.S., the disease costs an estimated $277 billion a year. More than $60 billion of that comes directly out of the pockets of patients.

Many individuals pay an annual average of $56,800 for the treatment and care associated with Alzheimer’s. Medicare or private insurance covers about 40 percent of those costs, which leaves people struggling to cover the remaining 60 percent. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, things might seem frightening or hopeless, wondering how you’ll deal with the cost of care. It’s important you talk to your family, insurance plan and healthcare provider, but, in the meantime, here are a few ideas about ways you can cover that 60 percent without sacrificing the quality of your care.

  • Medicare Advantage Plans: If you are relying solely on traditional Medicare to help with Alzheimer’s costs, you might be footing the bill for a lot of services. For instance, there are gaps in coverage when it comes to prescription drugs, in-home care and rehabilitative services. Be clear on what your plan does and does not cover so you can look into supplemental plans that offer more assistance.
  • Tap into Your Equity: After a lifetime of living and working, you have assets you can dip into to help cover the cost of unexpected expenses that can pop up with Alzheimer’s care. For example, you can sell a life insurance policy, cash out a 401k or take out a reverse mortgage on your home. We’ve all heard horror stories associated with reverse mortgages, which is why it’s critical you do thorough research to find trustworthy and reputable reverse mortgage lenders that can assist you with the process.
  • End-of-Life Insurance Options: It’s not uncommon for bills and debt to pile up while managing Alzheimer’s care; something you don’t want to leave behind for your family to deal with. You can purchase additional insurance to help protect their financial future. For instance, burial insurance can not only cover the cost of funeral arrangements, but many options even cover other outstanding debt.
  • Government Assistance: In most cases, Alzheimer’s disease qualifies as a disability, which means you may qualify for government assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income or, for those under 65, Social Security Disability Income. Many states also offer caregiver support programs to help offset the costs of hiring in-home help.
  • Clinical Trials: Participating in a clinical trial is a personal decision that not everyone is ready to make. Since Alzheimer’s is a degenerative cognitive disorder, a person in a more severe version of the disease may not be ethically able to clearly make a decision. However, for those that can, and do, clinical trials can provide people with low or no cost access to leading healthcare facilities. Plus you’ll be contributing to the future of Alzheimer’s care. There are a lot of risks and side effects to consider, so be sure to weigh your options.

Right now, you might be feeling overwhelmed and alone. Navigating the complex world of planning and paying for Alzheimer’s care can be hard, but it is not impossible. Whether trying to find coverage for yourself or a family member, there are options out there that can make good care much more accessible.

Sleep and Aging: Guide for Seniors

Understand common sleep problems seniors face and how to treat them

sleep and aging

There’s a common misconception that your sleep matters less as you age, but in fact, the inverse is true. No matter where you lie on the age spectrum you should be conscious of improving your sleeping habits for your holistic health.

For older adults, this is especially true. Your sleeping habits will naturally change as you age, so it’s important that you remain aware of those shifts and understand the best ways to protect your sleep quality.

Seniors may experience changes in becoming more sleepy during the day, being ready for bed earlier in the evenings, waking up earlier, or having trouble achieving deep sleep. Although these changes can be normal, suffering from disturbed sleeping patterns or other symptoms of insomnia are issues that should not be dismissed as a side effect of aging.

Read the full article here: https://www.mattressadvisor.com/sleep-and-aging/

Tips to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care

AlzheimersPostImage

Image via Pixabay

From Marie Villeza – elderimpact.org

If you’re overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care, you’re far from alone. There are roughly 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that affects their friends and family members struggling to give them the care they need as the patient struggles with memory loss and confusion.

There is help available, but it comes with a large price tag, as assisted-living costs have risen to more than $3,500 per month on average. Even the less-expensive options require careful planning, and those are only viable in the early stages of the condition. You’re in for a battle, though there are ways to ensure your loved one is looked after well into their golden years.

Research Cost-Effective Options

It’s often possible to save money by exploring home care, though this isn’t always possible during the later stages of the disease. To determine whether it’s cheaper, the researchers at Paying for Senior Care have developed a calculator to put an accurate price on total services based on factors including the number hours of medical and personal assistance required per week — as as well as rent, utilities, and food — all of which can be added up and compared with the cost of assisted-living facilities in your area.

Find the Right Caregivers

To choose a quality home care provider, begin by taking referrals from the patient’s doctor as well as friends and family. Once you’ve found individuals or agencies that offer the services you need, check their qualifications and interview the caregivers to gauge their level of experience and whether they’re the right fit. Another decisive factor is how innovative the caregivers are in their use of communication and monitoring technology. You’ll need to make similar inquiries when choosing an assisted-living or memory care facility.

Tap Savings and Investments

One way to pay for these services is by paying the money yourself out of savings and investments. As for the latter, there are a number of strategies that offer relatively low risk with steady returns over the long term. A writer with CNN Money recommends a balanced and diversified approach by putting your money in a total US stock market index fund and a total US bond market index fund. The payouts could cover retirement expenses as well as the care needed for Alzheimer’s, or at least help fill in the gaps.

Play the Insurance Game

The ideal policy would be long-term care insurance, but this is unavailable if the patient has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If that’s not the case, research plans while you have the chance. Other finance options via insurance include living benefits, which are payouts on life insurance while the policy-holder is still alive, with the money made available for medical expenses such as an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

Use Medicare and Related Programs

Medicare only covers skilled care for up to 100 days, but there are means of paying for long-term care. Medicaid covers a wide variety of custodial services but only for those who fall below a certain income threshold. It may help to enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans, which are offered by private insurers and are eligible for those enrolled in Medicare A and B; you can sign up over the phone, online, or via a form provided by a plan sponsor.

Contact Charitable Organizations

There are a number of charities that are ready to step in and offer help in addition to their fundraising activities to fund Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, for example, provides a variety of social services, including support groups for caregivers and family members, while the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation dedicates its resources to physical therapy, brain fitness workshops, and caregiver support in Long Island, New York.

Though the going may be rough, being prepared mentally and financially will make living with Alzheimer’s disease a little easier. There will be time for you to enjoy with your loved one despite their condition, knowing they are getting the care they need.

 

Woman-head-in-hands

Rapid Rise in Thyroid Disorders

WHY The Rapid Rise in Thyroid Disorders?

It seems now more than ever that as a society we are getting sicker, and more stressed.

Despite overall improvements in living standards, and technological innovations we are not creating communities that allow people to thrive.

Something is going on that can perhaps be best summed up this way.

There’s been a radical shift in the way we eat due to industrialization of our food supply, we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of toxins, and for the most part family and community structures have broken down.
Along with overwhelming stress these factors are taking a serious toll on our emotional and physical health.
The thyroid is particularly vulnerable to disruption by toxic foods, industrial pollutants, and stress. In effect, this small fragile gland is the ‘canary in the coal mine’.

We need to find our way back, to finding a better way to live…and THRIVE.

Updated in 2018…

The-Natural-Thyroid-DietThis guide that has been helping a lot of people with thyroid problems, The Natural Thyroid Diet, a holistic Guide to Living Well, Living Vibrantly.

It goes way beyond being just another diet eBook as it includes a lot of new information, including the real reasons WHY we are seeing an epidemic of thyroid disorders and combines a natural healing approach with the latest scientific research.