Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
TUESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with dementia and delirium who are taken to a hospital emergency department often do not comprehend why they are there and do not understand discharge instructions from doctors or nurses, a new study finds.
U.S. researchers interviewed 202 elderly patients about why they were in an emergency department and found that those with cognitive impairment (dementia and delirium) were less likely than those with no cognitive impairment to agree with the person who brought them to the emergency department about why they were there.
The study authors also interviewed 115 elderly patients about their discharge and found that those with cognitive impairment were much less likely than non-impaired patients to understand their discharge instructions.
The study results were published online Jan. 21 in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.
"Emergency physicians miss delirium and dementia in the majority of cases because emergency patients are not routinely screened for them. Our study suggests screening for these forms of cognitive impairment in the emergency department is warranted," lead author Dr. Jin H. Han, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., said in a journal news release.
Dementia and delirium affect about 25 percent of elderly patients seen in emergency departments, according to the researchers. Communication problems with these patients "affects our ability to adequately provide quality care for these vulnerable patients," Han said.
"We need to do a better job in identifying older patients with cognitive impairment, but this can be challenging in the chaotic emergency department environment. For this reason, we and several other research groups are trying to develop brief screening tools to help the busy emergency physician better identify delirium and dementia," Han concluded.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about dementia.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Born in 1907, Lillian has seen all kinds of changes during her lifetime - the sinking of the Titanic, two World Wars, the first computer, and now the advent of social networking and tablet computers!
Thanks to the publicity that comes with being dubbed the oldest person on Facebook, she has recently received over 900 Facebook friend requests. She says she has also heard of Twitter, but does not know what it is.
Monday, January 24, 2011
- Forgetfulness and memory lossThe most common symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. However, just because dad can't remember where he put his shoes or calls the grandkids by the wrong name doesn't mean he has Alzheimer's. Anyone can sometimes forget the details of a conversation, but early onset Alzheimer’s causes a person to forget entire conversations that took place only moments ago. Alzheimer's usually affects short-term memory first, meaning the person forgets information that he/she recently learned. They have trouble remembering important dates and events. They ask for the same information over and over again. They may even forget the faces of family members.
- Lack of concentration and confusionGetting confused about times and places is a common sign of Alzheimer's. Your mom or dad may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. People with Alzheimer’s may forget where they are, or how they got there. They might have difficulty understanding that an event happened in the past, or will be occurring in the future, versus something that is happening in the present. They lose track of the seasons and passage of time.
- Losing thingsA person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. For example, misplacing your keys can a happen to anyone, but finding lost keys in the freezer could indicate Alzheimer's. A person with Alzheimer's may lose things and be unable to retrace steps to find them again. They may swear they placed an object in a certain place, and accuse others of stealing it when it doesn't turn up where they expected to find it.
- Difficulty doing familiar tasksAlzheimer’s affects the ability to do normal, everyday tasks. People may have trouble remembering how to drive, how to cook a favorite recipe, or how to play a familiar game. They may start relying more on a spouse or family member to do things for them that they once enjoyed doing themselves.
- Language and speaking problemsPeople with Alzheimer’s have trouble remembering the right words. For example, they say “what-cha-ma-call-it” instead of eyeglasses, or call a watch a “hand-clock.”
- Problems with simple mathPeople in the early stages of Alzheimer's may have difficulty working with numbers, including simple math problems. They may have trouble balancing a checkbook, or calculating simple addition. Along with math, Alzheimer’s can affect one’s abilities related to vision, such as depth perception, judging distance or seeing colors.
- Poor judgmentLook for changes in decision making, rationalizing and judgment skills. A person who has made poor decisions all of their life might not have Alzheimer's. But Alzheimer's could be the culprit when a once logical decision maker who weighed all the options and made sound decisions suddenly exhibits poor judgment.
- Personality changes and mood swingsA person with Alzheimer’s might exhibit changes in personality and sudden mood swings. They could become fearful, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. A once self-confident person might become tentative and shy. They may be easily upset at home, or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
- Changes in grooming and personal hygieneSudden or declining attention to hygiene – not bathing, wearing the same clothes over and over again, not brushing teeth – can point to Alzheimer's disease. When a person once kept her home immaculate all her life, but suddenly stop cleaning and leaves clutter laying around for weeks, it could be cause for concern.
- Withdrawing from friends and familySomeone with Alzheimer’s might start withdrawing from family, friends and activities they once enjoyed. Rather than calling attention to memory lapses or communication issues, they avoid situations where they have to be around others. They are typically embarrassed at their inability to communicate or perform tasks like they once did. Alzheimer’s-related depression also cause withdrawal from social situations.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Staying vigilant against computer scams and other fraud has become a natural part of life for many consumers, yet scams are successfully perpetrated every day. One reason: Individuals who intend to commit fraud have become more creative than ever, and they choose their targets with care. One group of people that scammers like to target is the elderly, believing that older people are less quick to catch on to a potentially harmful scheme than younger people may be. In recent years, as the number of senior homeowners who opt for a reverse mortgage has risen and so has the prevalence of reverse mortgage scams. (For related reading, also take a look at The Reverse Mortgage: A Retirement Tool.)
IN PICTURES: Digging Out Of Debt In 8 Steps
The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is the FHA's reverse mortgage program, which is available to homeowners age 62 and older and can be a valuable financial tool for tapping into home equity and providing income for retirees. Homeowners working with a legitimate reverse mortgage lender will be required to participate in financial counseling to ensure that they understand the loan and how it works.
If you are considering a reverse mortgage, watch out for these potential scams:
- Foreclosure Scams
In this scam, the perpetrators go after seniors who are in danger of losing their home to foreclosure. They artificially inflate the value of the home with the help of a dishonest appraiser, and then obtain a reverse mortgage on the property. After the mortgage approval, the scammers have the seniors transfer the title to them and the seniors are left without a home and without the funds from the reverse mortgage. Another way of defrauding the senior homeowners is to work with a fake financial institution that will inform the owners that they cannot qualify for a reverse mortgage but that they can have a different type of loan. During the closing, the title to the property will be transferred away from the homeowners.
- Equity Theft Scams
These complicated schemes often involve several individuals who work together to buy a distressed property or a foreclosure, then obtain an inflated appraisal and then recruit a senior to repurchase the property and take out a reverse mortgage on the property. Usually the settlement attorney for the reverse mortgage is also in on the scam, so all of these individuals abscond with funds from the reverse mortgage at settlement, leaving the seniors with little or no equity and no cash.
- Free Homes
Scammers and con-artists use advertising to recruit seniors to live in a home so that a reverse mortgage can be obtained on the property. The scammers keep the reverse mortgage proceeds and the seniors pay the property taxes and insurance on the home. Generally, the reverse mortgage is obtained on a false, inflated appraised value. Once the seniors pass away or move, the reverse mortgage lender is stuck with a loss due to the lack of true value in the home.
- Document Fraud
Some con artists simply send letters to seniors about their loan documents, such as a "Reconveyance Deed", requesting money in order to provide them with copies of the deed, a document that should be on file with the lender. Other scam artists charge money to seniors, sometimes thousands of dollars, for information about a reverse mortgage that is available free from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Investment Scams
While there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of investment-scams run on individuals all the time, some are specifically geared to getting the target to "invest" in an annuity or real estate fund affiliated with reverse mortgages. The victims will lose the money they invested when the con-artist, usually someone associated with a fraudulent reverse mortgage lender, will walk away with the funds.
IN PICTURES: Financing For First-Time Homebuyers
FBI Tips for Avoiding Reverse Mortgage Scams
- Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements.
- Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down payment.
- Do not sign anything that you do not fully understand.
- Seek out your own reverse mortgage counselor.
Reverse Mortgage Tips
Seniors interested in learning more about their options for a reverse mortgage should start by going to the HUD website that explains the basics of these loans and has a link for finding a HUD-approved HECM counselor. Another option to try is the National Council on the Aging website. Homeowners can call 800/510-0301 for a free booklet from the National Council on the Aging about reverse mortgages.
Reverse mortgage proceeds can be received as a lump sum, in monthly payments or as a line of credit. The amount to be borrowed depends on the age of the homeowners, the value of the home and how much equity is available. The loan will be repaid when the home is sold or the homeowners passes away. If any equity remains in the home after the loan is repaid, the funds go to the homeowners or their heirs. Homeowners cannot be forced out of their home because of a reverse mortgage, however, they are obligated to keep the property maintained, pay their property taxes and pay for homeowners insurance.
The Bottom Line
Avoiding scams and obtaining legitimate information on a reverse mortgage can make this loan product a valuable financial tool for seniors and their families. Like any mortgage, before you sign the dotted line, you need to consult the appropriate professionals and do your own homework or you risk being taking advantage of by financial predators. (For additional reading, see 6 Tips For Protecting Your Home's Value.)
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/01/21/investopedia50283.DTL#ixzz1BiWPjqIF
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Researchers say while this test is in its infancy, there is cause for excitement because the test allows them to identify biomarkers for any disease to which the immune system reacts. However, additional testing needs to be conducted in a larger patient sampling. The study was published in the Jan. 7 issue of the journal Cell. Researchers agree a blood test would be less invasive than current diagnostic methods, HealthDay News reported.
In related news, investigators at Tufts University asked 1,463 study participants to respond to randomly generated scenarios in which they were asked if they would get a blood test to find out if they had a disease such as Alzheimer's. The scenarios stipulated that the disease was not preventable and that the out-of-pocket fee for the test is high.
Researchers found that the majority of respondents would get the test anyway. Those who did want to know said they'd be more likely to sign up for an advance directive and spend more time with friends and family members. This study was published in the journal Health Economics.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Researchers from Argentina confirmed the link during a study of 360 patients with degenerative dementia.
Some 48 percent of patients diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the second most common cause of degenerative dementia in the elderly after Alzheimer's, had previously suffered from adult ADHD.
DLB is believed to be responsible for nearly 10 percent of dementia cases in older people, however it remains under-diagnosed because it can be confused with Parkinson’s. Both diseases share certain characteristics.
ADHD is one of the most common behavior disorders in child and adolescent psychiatry. The problems it causes, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and doing things impulsively, can continue into adulthood.
Read more: Study: Adults diagnosed with ADHD three times more likely to develop dementia | AHN
Thursday, January 13, 2011
FOX 9 Medical Expert, Dr. Archelle Georgiou, talks about the benefits of getting the vaccine and why so few people may be getting it.