Saturday, September 22nd
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Saturday, September 22nd
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
But experts say they can also be a warning sign of the seizure disorder epilepsy. Because older adults are living longer, they have more years to develop the disease. And though our image of epilepsy involves convulsions, doctors say that in older adults seizures can take a quieter form.
“Staring spells” can be mistaken for a senior moment, but if they can be a sign of something more serious if they last for many minutes, and people lose track of where they are. This
can have very serious consequences if people are driving or going down stairs.
According to the National Council of the Aging, 50 million people have epilepsy, with the fastest growing segment of people with the condition adults over 85.
In many cases this is due to hardening of the arteries, which can affect the brain. Alternatively, people can develop epilepsy after a series of silent strokes, which they may not realize they had.
If you want a diagnosis regarding epilepsy, call for a referral to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Christian Hospital at 747-WELL (9355).
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
- I don't need help; I can handle it myself, but I'm just so tired
- What if someone I know finds out I'm depressed? They will think I'm crazy
- I'm getting old, that's why I can't sleep
- Eating is difficult, nothing tastes good, and I just don't feel like cooking anymore
- I'm just a worrywart; I worry about everyone and everything
- Fun? What is fun anymore? I can't do what I used to do, so why do anything
- I don't feel like going out with my friends or family; it's too much trouble
- If I read a book or watch TV my mind wanders, and I can't remember the story
The things that happen in your brain play a role in whether you feel happy or sad, peppy or lethargic. It influences how you feel when getting out of bed in the morning, whether you'd rather "seize the day" or be seized by it. It's your central command, your very own computer, your powerhouse and personality.
Depression may be the wrong word for this illness of the brain. It might be more accurate to call it "brain-slow-down" illness.
Individuals diagnosed with major depression by a psychiatrist often take anti-depression medications. They get better because their brains respond to the medication. They don't get better because they wake up one day and decide "enough of this bad mood; I'm going to make myself feel the way I used to feel."
It doesn't work that way. You can't wish away a heart condition, diabetes or high blood pressure, and you can't wish away a brain illness. Although illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes can contribute to depression.
WUSM is studying how part of the brain -- the hippocampus -- shrinks with depression. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and emotions. The depression that happens to older adults who have these medical illnesses "vascular depression." Research is needed to determine if treatment with anti-depressant medicines will correct the problem.
Monday, July 23, 2007
After 65, the sense of smell begins to decline. Two out of three seniors over 80 have a problem with smell with men affected more than women. We need our sense of smell to warn us about dangers such as a natural gas leak or smoke. Food can lose its appeal and we may eat too much or too little. Loss of smell may also cause us to eat too much sugar or salt as we attempt to improve our food. Those with total loss of smell are more likely to eat or drink spoiled foods or toxic substances.
Swollen sinuses and nasal passages often result in problems with smell and can cause total or partial loss of smell. You can prevent colds and respiratory infections by washing your hands frequently, especially during the winter months. Loss of smell also can be caused by nasal polyps, which are small, non-cancerous growths in the nose or sinuses. Removing the polyps may restore smell.
Certain medications -- some antibiotics, blood pressure pills, cholesterol-lowering drugs and antifungal medications -- can cause problems with smell. Other less common causes are thyroid abnormalities, vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition, diabetes, multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor.
Check with your doctor if you experience problems with your sense of smell.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Most crimes committed against older adults are "transient crimes," many involving home repairs or diversions where a person requests to come into the home to use the bathroom, ask for a drink of water, or to "'check out" an unreported problem.
The most common transient crimes are driveway sealing, roof sealing, brick or mortar repair, shingle replacement, painting, landscaping, power washing and exterminating. The criminals will use bogus or diluted material, present excess empty containers to exaggerate the amount of work done, find non-existent "damage,"' fail to perform the work, or demand a higher payment after the job is completed.
- Never sign any contract or use any service offered to you by a person that approaches you over the phone or door to door.
- Do not allow any stranger into your home; no exceptions
- All gas, water, electric and cable workers have ID badges and would never ask to "check your system" to gain entry
Don't be afraid to call your local police department if you suspect elder fraud.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Stay active -- successful aging starts from withinBy exercising physically and mentally, you will feel your body and memory improve. Take a walk outside, or join a local recreational center, take a chair exercise class, or use the workout room. See what other active things your neighbors are doing. Perhaps you can join in.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
In a recent study of people 65 and older, researchers discovered that elevated folate levels and decreased homocysteine levels were associated with better memory function. Homocysteine is an amino acid that may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and mental decline. Genes and diet affect homocysteine levels.
Protect against memory deficits by eating plenty of folate-rich foods such as asparagus.
Asparagus has 190 micrograms of brain-boosting folate per one-half cup serving. Other good sources of folate include artichokes, black-eyed peas, fortified orange juice and cereals.