Unfortunately, all of us will grieve the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. Despite the fact that loss is a universal experience, grief is something that most of our society is uncomfortable engaging, allowing myths to flourish. From the “stages of grief” to wondering why someone isn’t “acting sad” after a death, these myths are part of our culture, and can make it hard for those who are grieving to feel understood and supported.
Think about your favorite workout. Whether you shimmy at Zumba or compile a playlist of favorite songs for your long runs, music plays a part in your enjoyment of the activity. But you may not know that music can improve a sweat session. Research shows that playing music during low- to moderate-intensity workouts can make exercise feel easier and improves cardiovascular endurance.
Music is especially helpful in maintaining the physical health of seniors. According to the National Council on Aging, every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room after a fall. Many older individuals fear falling so much they stop exercising, which increases their risk for injury or other health challenges.
Assuming the role as a caregiver is a selfless act requiring a level of commitment and patience that can be quite overwhelming. In fact, while caring for a loved one can be rewarding, more often than not, caregivers feel anxious by the amount of care their aging, sick or disabled family member needs.
“Family caregiving cannot be equated to professional caregivers, such as nurses who are taught to remove themselves emotionally after a day’s work,” said Tina Dwyer, RN, Director of Care Coordination for South Shore Health System's Home & Community Care division. “Family caregivers often juggle competing demands with the demands of their own life, which can be quite a challenge."
There are an estimated 65 million Americans caring for a chronically ill, disabled, or elderly family member or friend during any given year—the majority, baby-boomers who are not only managing the lives of aging family members, but also raising children, working full-time jobs, and handling the day-to-day responsibilities in their own lives.
“There is a tendency for caregivers to feel guilty when they are not focusing all their attention on the needs of their loved one,” Tina said. ”Over time, some caregivers may begin to disregard their own health.”
The good news is that through learning the specific signs of caregiver stress, we can effectively build awareness for ourselves and others so that the likelihood of stress-related health implications can be avoided.
The first principle of palliative medicine is to relieve the pain and other distressing symptoms that have otherwise become a burden to those living with serious or advanced illness. In addition to addressing pain or other symptoms systemically, palliative support helps coordinate complicated medical care—helping patients and families understand their treatment options while each patient formulates their personal goals.
In the rapidly changing landscape of health care, palliative care is actually a relatively new specialty—and because of that, it is often misunderstood by patients, families, and even some physicians. We want to eliminate the misunderstandings, so that our patients and families can instead focus on getting the support, counseling and resources to help reduce the stress that often comes with a serious medical diagnosis.
Here are five common myths about palliative care that we would like patients and families to get the facts on:
Topics: Seniors & Aging
Choosing a home care provider to take care of you or a loved one is such an important decision. You want to find a provider who you trust to come into your home and who has the skills and experience to handle your specific needs. With more than 10 million Americans receiving some form of in-home care and a plethora of options available, it’s no surprise that choosing the right home health care agency can seem like a daunting task.
While there are many important factors to consider when choosing the best agency to meet your needs, the following questions can help guide you during your initial meeting with a home health care provider:
Topics: Seniors & Aging
South Shore Health System and Linden Ponds are hosting two free community screenings of the documentary “Being Mortal” on October 26 and November 14. We sat down with Peggy O’Neil Files, manager of Pastoral Care Services at South Shore Hospital to find out why it is so important for people to talk with their family about quality of life at the end of life.
Topics: Seniors & Aging
We all know of or have a parent, a grandparent or a loved one who isn’t so steady on their feet anymore. The truth is, approximately one-third of all people over the age of 65 fall each year, and half of people over age 80 fall at least once a year.
Falls among older adults are the leading cause of non-fatal trauma, accounting for 2.4 million visits to emergency departments every year. Falls can cause life changing injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries, with about one-in-five falls resulting in these types of serious injuries. And sadly, half of patients admitted to a nursing home to recover from a fall-related injury will never return to independent living.