Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain to help us in negotiating our intentions of social interaction and provide an emotional context to conversations.  Although sometimes the physical and social stress factors throw our prolactin, insulin, thyroid and other hormones out of whack but our ability to laugh can bring these hormones in check. This study of humor and laughter and their physiological and psychological effects on the human body is called the Gelotology.

Smile and laughter occur unconsciously and help us live longer and richer lives.  It has been proven to be helpful in lending exercises to many of our muscles in the body in addition to releasing endorphins that make us feel good and triggering a variety of positive physiological responses too. It can make all of us and especially our seniors feel more cheerful and in turn healthier.

Elderly Couple LaughingHence it is one of the best medicines that we have around without any adverse side effects.  It not only supports our immune system, but also improves our blood pressure and stimulates our organs and reduces pain.

According to a recent research laughter is a heart of a healthy life.  We can learn to laugh at any stage of life.  Most of the seniors today find themselves alone in their own homes or in aging-care facilities and assisted living homes.

Some of those who have lost their spouses and their kids have steered away from them are more prone to frequent bouts of depression. A good laughter can help them get rid of stress, worry and depression.  It is an instant stress buster that helps reducing the risk factors for cardiac arrest, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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According to the CDC (the centers for disease control and prevention) some of the most common cancers among men are – prostate, lung and the colorectal cancers. Prostate cancer is also the second common cause of death among white, African American, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic men, and the fourth most common cause of death from cancer among Asian/Pacific Islander men.  It is the most common malignant cancer with the increased incidence over the last decade.

About 1 in 7 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes.It is a form of cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system that lies below the bladder and in front of the rectum). It is more likely to occur in older men but can concurrently occur at any age.

Prostate Cancer ExamAn estimated new cases and deaths from prostate cancer in the United States in 2014 is about 233,000 and 29,480 respectively.  However, cancer is slowly but surely becoming more common in the elderly because of the increase in life expectancy. It usually is a very slow growing cancer, often causing no symptoms until it is in an advanced age. Most of the men with prostate cancer die because of other reasons and many do not even know if they have the disease.  But the cancer becomes dangerous once it begins to grow and spread outside the prostate.

prostate_cancer based on age

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer [Learn More…]

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iHealth Lab Inc. announced the launch of the iHealth Align, the world’s smallest, FDA-approved mobile blood glucose monitor. The meter plugs directly into a smart phone and displays and stores readings using the iHealth Gluco-Smart app.

By displaying readings directly on the phone screen, iHealth was able to shrink the device size to just slightly larger than the circumference of a quarter. The compact size and mobile sync capability make iHealth Align a small and powerful new tool for diabetes management.
iHealth Align GlucoMeter
iHealth also announced the iHealth Simple Savings program to eliminate complexities associated with insurance paperwork by significantly lowering the price of their proprietary test strips. The new price is about one-quarter of the list price of most name brand test strips, placing it at or below the typical insurance co-pay contribution. Users can now purchase iHealth strips and avoid hassles associated with reimbursement for insurance coverage.
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Home is the place where one is always comfortable and the desire to stay at home for as long as possible becomes a question mark as we grow older and as such as we tend to relish our own homes and our familiar surroundings more than any other place. A recent AARP Survey says that over 90% seniors plan to stay at home for as long as possible.

But independent living can be scary when a fall or a medical emergency can also mean a one-way trip to the hospital. On the other hand the family and friends of these elderly do not want them to live alone in old age since most of them do not have any kind of help at hand all the time.

More and more seniors today are living alone at home either due to the passing away of their spouse or their children working elsewhere. Living alone makes them more anxious as compared to any other age groups for several reasons: they experience more losses and suffer more pain, are more often on multiple medications that can exacerbate anxiety and have ailments like the Alzheimer’s disease or depression.  medical alert

Approximately two-third of these seniors are suffering from some chronic illnesses viz. low blood pressure and muscle weakness in the lower extremities that makes them more prone to falling and the subsequent injuries.  Most of these falls and accidents occurring at home are one of the top cause of death and disability particularly when they are alone.

A simple fall can make them disoriented, immobilized or knock them unconscious as such they are unable to call for help immediately.   In such circumstances the medical alert systems work as communication devices to provide them access to medical help anywhere at home or outside.  Even though these medical alert systems cannot prevent accidents and other medical emergencies, they can certainly minimize the effect of enabling a quick response from neighbors, EMS and the loved ones.

The fear of a medical emergency is a common anxiety factor that lingers with the elderly especially when they are alone. This can lead to panic, phobias and depression.  Mostly, it is the worry of facing an uneventful and emergency situation that keeps them tied at home and being afraid of going out.

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What is elder abuse? Millions of elderly are abused, neglected and exploited everyday regardless of their ethnic, social and economic background. And the abusers are none other than their own family and friends, or the caretakers and staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities etc.

Around 90% of the elder abuse and neglect incidents is by a spouse or a close family member. Until recently, the concept of elder abuse was hidden from the public eye and was considered a private matter. But today it has become a subject of public health and is regarded as a social problem.

On June 15, 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and World Health Organization at the United Nations General Assembly launched the resolution of 66/127 and designated this day as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).  According to the latest data 1 out of every 10 older American aged 60+ is a victim of elder abuse of different forms viz. physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect and abandonment. The elderly financial abuse costs older Americans about $2.9 billion per year that of course is highly under reported to the authorities.

Types of elder abuse

Only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported.  Most of the geriatricians are aware of different kinds of elder abuse (neglect, physical, psychological, financial, sexual but they are typically unaware of the impacts over the individuals who are experiencing it including emotional distress, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, depression, attempts at suicide and self-harm, social isolation, financial loss and negative impacts on physical health.

Most of us react with horror to the reports of elder abuse in the American society, it turns out to be a universal issue. It is a problem that exists not only in the developing countries but also in the developed countries. As the world population is growing older, so is the problem of elder abuse.

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Happy Father’s Day – June 15, 2014!

Father’s Day is this Sunday. It is observed every year on the third Sunday in the month of June.  In the US it was started in the early 20th century to complement the Mother’s Day celebration. It is a celebration honoring fathers and their influence in the society. Even though the research stats say that […]

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Casey Kasem Affected by Lewy Body Dementia Which Is Difficult to Differentiate from Parkinson’s Disease

Update 06/15/2014: Casey Kasem died early Sunday, June 15, 2014. “The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian,” his children Kerri, Mike, and Julie Kasem said in a statement. The wife of ailing radio personality Casey Kasem was served Friday with a California court order that temporarily suspends her powers to determine her […]

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Minnesota Is The Healthiest State For Seniors, Not Florida, Not Hawaii

The State of Minnesota is the Healthiest State for Seniors – adults aged 65 and over according to the recently released America’s Health Rankings Senior Report 2014 by United Health Foundation. Winter favorites Hawaii and Florida have come at positions 2 and 28. The report ranked Mississippi the least healthy state for seniors preceded by Louisiana, […]

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Risks of Treating High Blood Pressure in the Elderly

Rise in blood pressure in the elderly has traditionally been regarded as a normal part of aging, but lately it is perceived as a condition of serious illness and morbidity that can potentially lead to myocardial infarction. More than half of the elderly population is susceptible to hypertension with the blood pressure reading of 140/90 […]

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Lewy Body Dementia in the Elderly Population – Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors

What is the Lewy body dementia (DLB)? Lewy body disease is a kind of dementia.  It usually is because of the degeneration in the brain cells and is a decline in the cognitive abilities like thinking, memory, language etc. It is not a rare disease.  In fact it is estimated that it affects around 1.3 million […]

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Vitamin E Reduces the Progression of Symptoms in some Alzheimer’s Patients

Researchers have long trodden the paths to discover the ways to slow down and control the progression of Alzheimer’s disease but all their endeavors have been in vain.  Undoubtedly there have been a few prescription drugs and medications available; nothing has proven to be a potential treatment as of now. In December 2013 JAMA (the […]

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