Category Archives: Dementia Live

Adventures in Senior Care…An Industry on the Move

AdventureI’m always energized after attending and speaking at conferences.  Learning about creative programming, new technologies being developed and how we are preparing for the next wave of seniors makes me even more excited about our future as a training and education provider.   To be in the senior care industry today means adventure at every corner!

Like life itself, it is the journey that counts.  While industry analysts try to predict future trends, we all know that there will be surprises along the way.  I often relate caregiving for older adults, especially those with chronic illness – to riding a roller coaster.  Up one minute, and down the next with twists and turns along the way.

These incredible highs and lows are experiences that leaves you forever changed.  Leaders, entrepreneurs, clinicians, academicians and seniors dealing with aging issues, like dementia or other chronic illnesses themselves are collaborating to make a better world for us all.  The fact is our society is aging quickly.  How we age and care for others in the years ahead is up to us.

Adventures don’t come without risks.  Entrepreneur Tony Robbin’s quote is a reminder that with every new opportunity, there will most likely be some difficulties along the way – “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Dynamic products and programs like Eversound, Eldergrow®, SingFit™️ and Ageless Grace® are just a few that come to mind that are stretching the limits of possibilities for seniors to live fully.   Embracing creativity and boldness,  these companies are successfully transforming the growing numbers of professional and family caregivers who can also see their lives enriched along with their care partners.

It’s an incredible time to be in Senior Care!

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  A caregiver advocate, speaker, trainer and facilitator, Pam is passionate about embracing positive change in senior care through quality training and education.  

www.AGEucate.com, www.eversoundhq.com,www.eldergrow.org, www.singfit.com

The Driving Dilemma – Why It is Everyone’s Business

Senior Citizen Woman Driving in Profile

According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, seniors age 80 and older have the highest rate of fatal crashes per mile driven – even high than for teens.  As our aging population rapidly increases, the driving dilemma is most certainly everyone’s business and a problem that must be addressed at many levels.

Vision problems, slower reactions and other effects of aging increase the risk of crashes. But most state legislatures ignore the problem.   Only 19 states make seniors renew their licenses more often than younger drivers. Half of those states cut eight- to ten-year renewal periods down to four to six years.

Driving represents independence and freedom, in addition to providing mobility, and politicians aren’t eager to take on seniors by making driver’s-license renewals more stringent.  But state lawmakers largely sidestep the issue, so it’s up to families to take action when a loved one is no longer a safe driver.

Easier said than done.  Families who have dealt with the driving dilemma of a spouse, parent or friend can attest to the battle that is likely to embroil when the topic of car keys ensues.

It is everyone’s business that we address these issues today. Lawmakers,  healthcare professionals, EMTs and families must work together in better assessment standards to determine functional ability of an older person to drive safely.   We need more education  when it comes to guidelines and helping everyone who has a stake in determining if an older adult is physically and mentally competent to get behind the wheel.

Studies have shown that the driver with dementia is at increased risk to cause traffic accidents.  In one study, there was a  47% prevalence rate of crashes among 30 persons with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) compared to 10% of 20 age-matched controls in a retrospective survey over 5 years.  Overall, there is probably a 2- to 8-fold greater risk of crashes for elderly drivers with mild to moderate dementia compared to those not demented.

Lawmakers need more stringent testing for older adults, Law Enforcement and EMTs need training to quickly assess the presence of cognitive impairment and families need education on how to communicate with their loved ones about this sensitive issue.  Too often, families are not knowledgeable themselves of what to look for  in terms of driving incompetencies and they too lack assessment tools.

“If you see something say something”.  The general public needs to be made aware of the risks of older drivers.  Like airport security reminders, we should be regularly reminding the public to call in unsafe drivers so law enforcement can take appropriate action. before it’s too late.

Aging education and training, especially in the area of dementia, are in high demand.  Stakeholders have only so much bandwidth to provide the training that is needed across the spectrum.  The challenges escalate every day, and until we work together in getting this training to the hands of professionals, families and lawmakers our dilemmas will escalate as fast as our aging population.

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute.  Aging advocate, speaker and trainer, Pam is passionate about helping families and professionals create transformative change in how they care for older adults.  

Increased Risks for Hospital Patients with Dementia

Medical Team Working On Patient In Emergency Room

About one fourth of older hospital patients have dementia.  These patients are at an outstandingly higher risk than other patients for:

  • Delirium
  • Falls
  • Dehydration
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Untreated Pain
  • Medication-related problems
  • Wandering
  • Agitated behavior

Because to the stress caused by acute illness and being in an unfamiliar setting, some older patients show signs of dementia for the first time in a hospital.

Delirium is a  disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of your environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid — within hours or a few days.

Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic medical illness, changes in metabolic balance (such as low sodium), medication, infection, surgery, or alcohol or drug withdrawal.

Dementia is the leading risk factor for delirium.  Patients with dementia are actually three to five times more likely than older adult patients to develop delirium in the hospital and two-thirds of delirium in hospitals occurs in patients with dementia.

These high risk adverse health events are rising at alarming rates as our aging population increases rapidly and hospitals are seeing more patients with dementia symptoms.

According to the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia should be considered a possibility in every hospital patient age 75 and over and can be present in younger patients as well.  People with dementia usually come into a hospital for treatment of their other medical conditions, although some come in because of complications of their dementia.  Of older people with dementia, 30% also have coronary artery disease; 28% congestive heart failure; 21% diabetes and 17% chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Doctors at Lutheran Medical Center in Denver, who serve the biggest senior population in the metro area, have made changes to help their older patients avoid the delirium diagnosis if they have no choice but to go the hospital.

They’ve essentially taken their traditional 42,000-square-foot emergency room and cut it in half, leaving one side equipped as a traditional ER, and turning the other half into a “Senior ER.”

A big key is preventing the all-too-common side-effects of delirium. See a special ER for seniors, equipped with dozens of brilliant features, that speed comfort and care to this population.

http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2017/05/emergency-room-paradise-heals-dementias.html

Bridging technology, smart design features, reduced noise and training staff to better communicate with patients and families, more hospitals will transition to dementia friendly healthcare communities.   The “frightening” hospital experience for the growing population living with dementia may just be a thing of the past in a few years.

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute.   Their mission is developing and delivering cutting edge dementia education and training for health and long term care providers and others.  #DementiaLive #CompassionateTouch