Resources for Seniors

What Do Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

heidi Resources for Seniors Comments Off on What Do Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

Most people have their blood pressure (BP) measured by their health care provider, at health fairs or at a drug store. When you see the numbers pop up on the screen, do you know what the numbers mean?
[view the American Heart’s Association’s interactive tutorial of High Blood Pressure]

Know Your Numbers

If your blood pressure is high (regularly measures 140/90 mm Hg or above), talk to your health care provider about a treatment program.

If your blood pressure is high (regularly measures 140/90 mm Hg or above), talk to your health care provider about a treatment program.

Systolic (the top number) is the higher of the two numbers. This measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or when the heart muscle contracts.

Diastolic (the bottom number) is the lower of the two numbers. This measure is the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

Blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. While blood pressure can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, it should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg (less than 120 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic) for an adult age 20 or over, according to the American Heart Association, which reports that about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure.

A single high reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. However, if readings stay at 140/90 mm Hg or above (systolic 140 or above OR diastolic 90 or above) over time, your health care provider will likely want you to begin a treatment program. These programs usually includes lifestyle changes and often prescription medication for those with readings of 140/90 or higher.

[view the American Heart’s Association’s interactive tutorial of High Blood Pressure]


More Seniors Working as Professional Caregivers

heidi Family / Caregiver Issues, Resources for Seniors Comments Off on More Seniors Working as Professional Caregivers

To accommodate a growing need for professional caregivers, many home care companies are hiring seniors to care for their clients. It’s a win-win situation for all parties. Seniors often enter the profession to supplement their retirement income and come armed with a wealth of experience having already cared for an elderly loved one. Also, seniors can better relate to the needs of their senior clients.

 

Senior service agencies seeing increase of older workers.

Senior service agencies seeing increase of older workers.

Among the overall population of direct-care workers, 29 percent are projected to be 55 or older by 2018, up from 22 percent a decade earlier, according to an analysis by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, or PHI, a New York-based nonprofit advocating for workers caring for the country’s elderly and disabled. In some segments of the workforce, including personal and home care aides, those 55 and older are the largest single age demographic, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

“I think people are surprised that this workforce is as old as it is,” Abby Marquand, a researcher at PHI, told the publication. “There’s often people who have chronic disease themselves who have to muster up the energy to perform these really physically taxing caregiving needs.”

The publication cited the example of a 92-year-old Alzheimer’s patient who has a 74-year-old caregiver. According to the article, the caregiver was inspired to join the profession after caring for his elderly mother-in-law who had dementia.

Read the Detroit Free Press article.


Rise of Retail Clinics Proves Consumers Want Convenient Health Care

heidi Resources for Seniors Comments Off on Rise of Retail Clinics Proves Consumers Want Convenient Health Care

Need proof that consumers want convenient medical care? Just look at a study by the National Institutes of Health, which shows a sharp rise in visits to retail clinics.

 

Retail clinics are projected to account for about 10 percent of outpatient primary care visits by 2015.

Retail clinics are projected to account for about 10 percent of outpatient primary care visits by 2015.

Visits to retail clinics, which are located in a variety of settings such as strip malls, pharmacies, grocery stores and other big chain stores, grew fourfold between 2007 and 2009. In addition, these clinics are attracting more older patients and delivering more preventive care, particularly flu shots and other vaccinations. A study from the RAND Corporation found that the proportion of patients over age 65 grew from 8 percent to 19 percent of all visits during this period.

More than 44 percent of visits to the clinics occurred on the weekend or other hours when physician offices typically are closed, suggesting retail clinics meet a need for convenient care, according to the RAND study.

Retail clinics (also called convenient care clinics) are an increasingly popular option for people who need diagnosis and treatment for common, non-life-threatening conditions. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are the primary care providers in these clinics.

Retail clinics are projected to account for about 10 percent of outpatient primary care visits by 2015, according to a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) and in the November issue of Health Affairs.