Elder Care Issues

Advice on tackling common health care issues affecting the senior population and resources to turn to for help.

How To Spend Your Final Months At Home, Sweet Home

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Kaiser Health News: How To Spend Your Final Months At Home, Sweet Home 
Judith Graham writes: “There’s no mystery about what older adults want when they become seriously ill near the end of their lives. They want to be cared for at home. For as long as possible. It’s easy to understand why. Home represents familiarity, safety and identity — the place where we belong.” (Graham, 11/9)homehealth

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Could It Be Sepsis? You May Want to Ask Your Doctor

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Many of the symptoms of sepsis, such as fever and difficulty breathing, are the same as in other conditions, making sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages.

Many of the symptoms of sepsis, such as fever and difficulty breathing, are the same as in other conditions, making sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to warn you about sepsis, which occurs most often in people aged 65 years or older or less than 1 year, have weakened immune systems, or have chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes).

The number of sepsis cases is on the rise. The rate of hospitalizations that listed sepsis as the primary illness more than doubled between 2000 and 2008, according to a 2011 CDC study.

Sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. It is difficult to predict, diagnose, and treat. Patients who develop sepsis have an increased risk of complications and death and face higher healthcare costs and longer treatment. More than 90 percent of adults and 70 percent of children who developed sepsis had a health condition that may have put them at risk.

How is sepsis diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose sepsis using a number of physical findings like fever, increased heart rate, and increased breathing rate. They also do lab tests that check for signs of infection.

Many of the symptoms of sepsis, such as fever and difficulty breathing, are the same as in other conditions, making sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages.

What are the symptoms of sepsis?

There is no single sign or symptom of sepsis. It is, rather, a combination of symptoms. Since sepsis is the result of an infection, symptoms can include infection signs (diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, etc.), as well as ANY of the symptoms below:

*Shivering, fever, or very cold

*Extreme pain or discomfort

*Clammy or sweaty skin

*Confusion or disorientation

*Short of breath

*High heart rate

How can I prevent sepsis?

1.      Get vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia, and any other infections that could lead to sepsis. Talk to your doctor for more information.

2.      Prevent infections that can lead to sepsis by:

o   Cleaning scrapes and wounds

o   Practicing good hygiene (e.g., hand washing)

3.      Know that time matters. If you have a severe infection, look for signs and symptoms like: shivering, fever, or very cold, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin, confusion or disorientation, short of breath, and high heart rate.

The CDC is working to increase awareness of sepsis and the need to prevent and urgently treat sepsis among the public, healthcare providers, and healthcare facilities.

Read personal stories and perspectives on sepsis at: CDC’s Safe Healthcare Blog.


A Record 60.6 Million Americans Live in Multigenerational Households

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Twenty-one percent of adults age 65 and older live in a multigenerational household.

Twenty-one percent of adults age 65 and older live in a multigenerational household.

Pew Research Center: A Record 60.6 Million Americans Live in Multigenerational Households

The number and share of Americans living in multigenerational family households has continued to rise, even though the Great Recession is now in the rear-view mirror. In 2014, a record 60.6 million people, or 19% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

Multigenerational family living – defined as a household that includes two or more adult generations, or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren – is growing among nearly all U.S. racial groups as well as Hispanics, among all age groups and among both men and women.  The share of the population living in this type of household declined from 21% in 1950 to a low of 12% in 1980. Since then, multigenerational living has rebounded, increasing sharply during and immediately after the Great Recession of 2007-09. (D’Vera Cohn and Jeffrey S. Passel, 8/11)

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