Parkinson's disease is the second most common chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Like Alzheimer disease, the most common neurodegenerative condition in America, symptoms of Parkinson's patient's progress and worsen over time. Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain caused by a lack of dopamine that may result in shaking and difficulty with walking, movement, speaking, swallowing and coordination. Older adults with chronic conditions and complex illness may have an increased vulnerability to the disease. Parkinson's disease is one of the most common nervous system disorders for seniors over the age 50.
The New Year is usually a promising time of planning and anticipation. Many people, including older adults, welcome the New Year with resolve to improve or maintain their health. This can mean any number of activities and lifestyle changes depending on one’s outlook, experiences or health conditions. Older adults and their caregivers have a fresh unmarked calendar to begin to make small shifts in daily routines and changes in attitudes towards challenges, both mental and physical. While resolutions may seem clichéd, putting together a few thoughts for approaching the New Year can offer an opportunity to reorient oneself. Below are a few goals to consider.
Older patients with complex care needs often require a diverse array of services to treat major health episodes, manage chronic disease, and maintain independent, healthy living. While many patients receive care in the physician’s office or inpatient hospital settings, a variety of other settings are available to patients who need certain specialized follow-up care. This care is provided in different settings, for example, long-term acute-care hospitals (LTACHs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and at home through home health agencies (HHAs). Collectively these services are described as post-acute care (PAC) and they support patients who require ongoing medical management, therapeutic, rehabilitative or skilled nursing care.
Rehabilitation programs can be extremely beneficial to improve mobility, balance, and strength after any type of illness or injury. For older adults who experience chronic pain and that have complex medical conditions, rehabilitation can impact how well they can get around. Rehabilitation can also include both occupational therapy and speech therapy. Occupational therapy helps make activities of daily living easier, while speech therapy helps older adults learn to communicate effectively. Proper rehabilitation and routine follow-up can help older adults regain or maintain their independence.
As the holiday season approaches, plans to be with family and friends can make most people feel a sense of cheer and excitement. However, older adults may find themselves feeling isolated and depressed during this time of year. For many older adults, the holidays represent a time of sadness due to the loss of family members and loved ones or an incapacitating illness. The absence of social interaction can also contribute to vulnerable feelings of loneliness. Changes in community or surroundings can be contributing factors. Inclement weather, which tends to keep people indoors, can also be a contributing factor because it makes travel and socializing outside of the home difficult for older adults during the holidays.