World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017

weaad_rgb_small-1-300x300.jpgToday, June 15, 2017 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Created in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, WEAAD strives to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic issues of elder abuse and neglect. Elder abuse can present in several different forms such as physical or psychological abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and is an important public health and human rights issue that should be recognized as such.

“Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And experts believe that for every reported case of elder abuse or neglect, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.” – USC Center on Elder Mistreatment

For a variety of educational tools & tips on how to identify, address, and prevent these issues, visit the University of Southern California (USC) Center on Elder Mistreatment’s WEAAD website. Information includes:

Show your support for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by finishing the sentence below, downloading the image, and sharing your answer on social media! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WEAAD!

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 2.19.45 PM

Download image here.

For more information on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, click here.

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Delirium and Aging

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-41-51-amDelirium, a medical condition characterized by acute confusion, disorientation, or other mental health disruptions that affect thinking and behavior, affects nearly 7 million hospitalized Americans annually. While this condition can occur at any age, it mainly affects individuals 65 years or older and is often misdiagnosed as dementia.

As stated in an article originally published by Kaiser Health News and shared by Next Avenue, “while delirium and dementia can coexist, they are distinctly different illnesses. Dementia develops gradually and worsens progressively, while delirium occurs suddenly and typically fluctuates during the course of a day.” Particularly susceptible patients are those on ventilators or being heavily sedated in intensive care units, as well as those recovering from surgery.

“After an older adult undergoes anesthesia, they can often experience postoperative delirium,” explained Lee A. Fleisher, MD, chair of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Penn, in a recent Penn Medicine News Blog on postoperative delirium and the uncertainties of anesthesia. “Patients in this state may hallucinate, they may forget why they are in the hospital, or have difficulty communicating or understanding what is going on around them.”

However, delirium can also result from something as simple and easily treated as a urinary tract infection.

According to research published in 2009 and referenced by Next Avenue, an estimated 40% of delirium cases are actually preventable; yet, the underlying cause is still unknown.

With all of this in mind, health care professionals, government agencies, and related nonprofit organizations gathered at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Brain Health Summit to discuss, among other topics, the postoperative risks of delirium and delayed cognitive recovery and whether or not they are significant enough to include in consent and patient education materials. They also considered ways to reduce the risks and to increase research funding.

The Penn Medicine News Blog says that “while the Summit provided some direction and tactics for industry leaders to act upon, there are still other options that can be explored and implemented to advance learning, protect patients, and uncover the uncertainties around anesthesia and postoperative delirium.”

“Encouraging patients to follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly in the lead up to surgery, allowing patients to bring mementos and family photos to their hospital room after surgery, even asking families and caregivers to keep a close eye on small declines in patients’ cognitive function preoperatively – simple things like the patient not being as sharp as he or she once were – may help clinicians properly prepare for patient care, and may help patients readjust after surgery and avoid postoperative delirium,” Fleisher said. “While these have not been scientifically proven to help, we think that even the smallest measures may make a difference for patients who are coming out of anesthesia.”

To learn more about delirium and aging, join the Institute on Aging on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 for our Visiting Scholars Series lecture by Edward Marcantonio, MD, SM.

Dr. Marcantonio is the Section Chief for Research in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research concentrations focus on delirium and cognitive function.

For more information, visit: www.med.upenn.edu/aging/events


Photo credit: news.pennmedicine.org/blog

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2016

WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY (WEAAD)

WEADD-Logo-RGBToday, June 15, 2016, organizations around the world are joining in the mutual effort to promote a better understanding of elder abuse and neglect of seniors “by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect,” according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation and experts believe that for every case reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported, explains NCEA.

By spreading awareness and increasing knowledge on elder abuse, you can help stop this vicious cycle. NCEA created a variety of guides, outreach tools, and fact sheets to share, including:

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS IN PHILADELPHIA

Locally, organizations in and around the Philadelphia area are doing their part to support the wellbeing of our aging community.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) Older Adult Protective Services

“In Philadelphia, all forms of elder abuse can be reported to PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services 24/7 by calling the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040. In fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015), PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services received 3,262 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older adults.”

Learn more at PCAcares.org

CARIE: Center for Advocacy for the Rights & Interests of the Elderly

CARIE’s mission is to “improve the well being, rights, and autonomy of older persons through advocacy, education, and action.” They offer a variety of resources including the “CARIE LINE” and “CARIE OnLINE” telephone and online consultation service, victim’s advocacy programs, transportation problems resolution, and help for people in nursing homes and personal care homes, to name a few.

Learn more at: www.carie.org

The Ralston Center’s Age Friendly West Philadelphia Initiative

“Ralston’s Age-Friendly West Philadelphia Initiative is a collaborative partnership of local and citywide stakeholders, convened and facilitated by Ralston Center, to create age-friendly changes in West Philadelphia.  The initiative is committed to making the physical and social environments in West Philadelphia more conducive to older adults’ health, well-being and ability to age in place.”

Learn more at: http://ralstoncenter.org/

May is Older Americans Month!

Penn’s Institute on Aging (IOA) is celebrating Older Americans Month by sharing healthy aging tips to help older adults in their quest for happier, healthier, and longer lives! Watch the video below for some ways to help improve your physical, mental, and cognitive health!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging and Administration for Community Living have coined this year’s campaign theme “Blaze a Trail.” The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about important issues faced by older adults throughout the country.

This is a way for older American’s to advocate for themselves, their peers, and their communities.

 

 

Older Americans Month in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) will celebrate Older Americans Month in a couple of different ways.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 2.51.28 PMOn Friday, May 13,, 2016, PCA will host their Older Americans Month Health Fair from 8:30am – 1:30pm at the St. Charles Senior Community Center (1941 Christian Street, Philadelphia, PA 19141.) This free event will include health screenings and information, raffles, music, and refreshments. Guests will learn about services to improve physical, emotional & financial health from local organizations, health care agencies & doctors as well as Medicare & Social Security eligibility and safety and legal services for older adults. Screenings will include: depression, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, blood pressure & arthritis. Learn more here.

PCA is also gearing up for their 14th Annual “Celebrate Arts and Aging” series of events which coincide with Older Americans Month. Events include art exhibits, performances and workshops. Special discounts will also be available to seniors for a number of institutions and performances for Celebrate Arts and Aging this year, among them: the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Orchestra. For more information and a full list of Celebrate Arts and Aging exhibits, locations, and discounts, click here.

“Comparative effectiveness research on home-and-community based practices.”

This week, the IOA welcomed Christopher Murtaugh, PhD, Associate Director of the Research Center at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, to the University of Pennsylvania to present “Comparative effectiveness research on home-and-community based practices.”

Dr. Murtaugh started his career as a graduate student at Yale University conducting research on the nursing home population using large data set analysis. Following his dissertation, he went on to work for what is now the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and continued focusing on primarily nursing home care as well as looking at national surveys in terms of the experience of elders and their functional disabilities and transitions over time, all using national, publicly available data sets in addition to Medicare claims data.

Several years later, Dr. Murtaugh decided to move towards community-based care, an area that he has concentrated on for the past 19 years. In his role as associate director, he focuses on increasing funding to conduct research that is critical to informing evidence based around the value of home-and-community based care and to translate their findings for use both by practitioners and policy makers. He has experience in research on the funding of home-and-community based care and alternative approaches, not exclusively on patient functionality and other outcomes, but also how the system is financed and how we might better pay for the type of care that elders need.

Learn more about Dr. Murtaugh’s work here:

* Mary Naylor, PhD, FAAN, RN (reference by Dr. Murtugh) is the Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology and the Director of the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania.

Behavioral Health in the Nursing Home: Building a Web One Thread at a Time

AnnKolanowskiFlyer_Opt2On Wednesday, April 29, IOA Visiting Scholar, Ann Marie Kolanowski, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, professor, Penn State School of Nursing, discussed her team’s research on improving behavioral health and testing non-pharmacological interventions in nursing homes.

Dr. Kolanowski explained that her work has helped to establish significant evidence for non-pharmacological approaches as the first line of treatment for behavioral issues in the elderly, especially since antipsychotic drugs have been linked to adverse effects and even increased mortality. Dr. Kolanowski’s approach relies heavily on understanding the patients interests and abilities and tailoring your approach accordingly. Intervention strategies included group and individual activities that met the needs of each specific patient. Based on this approach, Dr. Kolanowski found that the majority of patients experienced significant improvements in mood and behavior.

Dr. Kolanowski and her team have also developed the NursingHome Toolkit, an online resource with the goal of assisting nursing home staff in the implementation of these non-pharmacological strategies for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. To view the Toolkit, visit: http://www.nursinghometoolkit.com

View the full lecture here.

Meaningful Steps to Healthy Brain Aging

As people are living longer, the idea of maintaining and improving cognitive health is becoming more and more important. “The rates or chronic disabilities among people over age 65 have been decreasing for decades,” but the rates of older adults developing aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other dementias and movement disorders will continue to climb. While our genetics certainly play a role in how we age, they are not a defining factor. There are many meaningful ways in which we can move towards a healthy brain lifestyle to help reduce or delay the affects of age-related changes in cognition and function… and it is never too late to start.

  • Exercise: Our executive functions, “the command and control operations of the brain which help us plan our daily lives”, are most improved by exercise. Combination routines such as biking, swimming, or brisk walking plus strength training or weight baring exercises for as little as 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week enough so that we break out into a sweat is believed to reduce our risks for cognitive impairment as we age.
  • Diet: A heart-healthy diet is a brain healthy diet. Choosing food options such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins like fish and poultry, beans and whole grains and avoiding saturated fats found in red meats, butter, and oils will help maintain both heart and brain health.
  • Social Engagement: Staying socially active and engaging with others also reduces our likelihood of developing cognitive impairment as we age.
  • Cognitively Stimulating Activities: Spending your free time reading the newspaper, doing a puzzle, or playing thought-provoking games such as cards or Sudoku rather than mindless activities like watching television helps to stimulate your mind and reduce your risk for issues with cognition.

With that said, there is another important piece to the puzzle of healthy brain aging. There is a growing need for advances in drug discovery in order to accelerate new therapies and combat the effects of aging-related cognitive changes. We have the ideas, we have the people, and we have the resources but it is up to us to prioritize them if we want to eliminate the devastating dementias and movement disorders that affect the aging community and have an impact on healthy brain aging.

For more tips on healthy brain aging, check out “Brain Health As You Age: You Can Make A Difference!”, a brain health resource developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).