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On September 21, 2014, Posted by , In Caregivers, By ,, , With Comments Off on Caregiver News Trends

When caring for aging parent, sons more likely to encounter conflict: Sons taking care of aging parents are more likely than daughters to experience interpersonal family disputes, according to a University of Michigan study. Researchers found that, as a parent becomes increasingly ill, female caregivers tend to increase the amount of time they spend taking care of their parent, while male caregivers prefer to turn to other family members for additional help. Study authors concluded that this means that sons could be opening themselves up to more opportunities for conflict when it comes to coordinating care for their ailing parents.

Coordination of care helps people with dementia remain in their own homes:People with dementia who have access to care coordination programs could experience a higher quality of life, more effective care, and may be able to stay in their home longer, according to a recent study done by Johns Hopkins University. Researchers found that an intervention program involving a combination of needs assessment, disease education, counseling, and online care monitoring enabled 70 percent of seniors with dementia or mild cognitive impairment to stay in their own homes, versus only 50 percent of seniors who did not undergo the program. The program would begin with a care coordinator, a nurse, and a psychiatrist coming to the senior’s house to figure out what they needed to be able to remain living at home. For example, a senior with dementia might need help with their medications. The care team would educate the elder and their caregiver on proper medication management techniques for their specific health condition(s), and then conduct a series of follow-up visits to make sure that no additional help was needed. Study authors also discovered that the estimated cost of the coordination program (about $2,000 per person annually) would be much cheaper than the average cost of staying in an assisted living community or nursing home ($30,000+ per person annually). Plans are currently being made to develop and implement more widespread care coordination programs for seniors with cognitive impairment.

Internet plays pivotal role in lives of seniors and caregivers: Two new studies highlight the increasingly important role of the Internet in the lives of caregivers and their elderly loved ones. According to results from a recently released Pew Research Center report, almost 90 percent of caregivers with an Internet connection use the web to get information and support as they care for their elderly relatives. The survey found that the top three things on a caregiver’s mind as they surf the web are: conversing with other caregivers, looking up different health conditions, and scoping out options for long-term care. A second study, conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama, found that using social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) could potentially help older adults stave off loneliness and depression by allowing them to connect with other people, even if they cannot easily leave their house.

Telephone could be new tool to detect Parkinson’s: A newly-developed algorithm may enable doctors to diagnose Parkinson’s disease just by listening to a person’s voice. A study meant to test the accuracy of the system, developed by an Oxford University doctoral candidate, found that it was able to identify Parkinson’s correctly about 86 percent of the time just by listening to a recorded telephone conversation. The algorithm works by identifying three key symptoms: breathiness; jaw, tongue and lip movements; and vocal tremors. Previous research has linked these vocal indicators with Parkinson’s disease. This potential diagnostic method is still being evaluated and tweaked, but its high level of accuracy gives study authors the hope of discovering more effective ways of diagnosing Parkinson’s disease before visible symptoms appear.

Donut hole causes seniors to forgo prescriptions: Seniors who reach the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap—known as the “donut hole”—may be more likely to stop using important prescription medications such as heart failure treatments, antidepressants, and antibiotics. According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, elders in the donut hole tend to cut their prescription drug use by 12 to 13.5 percent. It’s never a good idea for a senior to suddenly stop taking prescription medications without talking to their doctor first. Discontinuing meds without a doctor’s approval can cause everything from withdrawal side effects, to a relapse of dangerous symptoms.
Source: agingcare.com

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