In old age, many people are not able to take care of themselves, in terms of their health, safety, and well being. Therefore, they often move to facilities that provide them assistance.  These facilities are referred to as assisted living facilities and provide general care delivery and management services.  They are a combination of housing, personalized help, supportive services, and healthcare assistance for your elderly loved ones. They often provide personal care services like meals, housekeeping, transportation, and assistance with activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, toileting, medication, etc).

The concept of assisted living communities emerged in the late 1990s as the baby boomers began to grow old.  At that time, continuous care of the elderly became a requirement, particularly for those who could not live independently but also did not need the 24-hour medical care and attention of nursing homes.  Consequently, various attempts were made to provide varied services to seniors under one umbrella. The residents in these assisted living facilities remained independent, as compared to those who were living in nursing homes, though they had constant supervision.

Assisted living falls in-between home care and nursing homes.  Before the concept of assisted living came into being, a person who needed professional care went to a nursing home, even though the care didn’t require the intensive supervision and control of a nursing home. The fairly new alternative of assisted living provides a more home-like environment for people needing or anticipating help with activities of daily living or incidental activities of daily living, though 24-hour nursing care is not a necessity.

Assisted Living and Activities of Daily Living

Despite the advantages of living in assisted living for many seniors, there are also disadvantages. Examples of both are discussed below.

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) engulfs a person mainly by the presence of sticky deposits of protein called amyloid that the human body makes naturally. But this protein tends to get accumulated in their brains in the form of a plaque in the Alzheimer’s patients. Beta-amyloid is the chief component of the plaques. As these plaques grow, they damage the nerve cells and cut off their ability to communicate with other cells. For a long time the scientists have been struggling to find ways to remove plaque either with a drug or a vaccine, but unfortunately this has not proven successful.

Latest Alzheimer's researchCurrently there is no cure for the disease, but the scientific research is probably bringing us closer to the breakthroughs. The new research by the British, American and Canadian scientists has been hailed as the most important breakthrough in the disease yet. In fact the preliminary results appear to be safe with no side effects. It holds true for some patients who are relatively in the early stages of the disease, who have lost some memory but not all. For these kinds of patients there is a chance of hopefully halting the progression of the disease.

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Although domestic violence has been prevailing in the American society since a very long time, but often times it’s just brushed away. Only since the past few decades, it has been recognized as a major social problem and is widely characterized as a pervasive and a universal issue that occurs in every culture, country and age group and affects people from all the socioeconomic, educational and religious backgrounds. It is a common problem in both – the same-sex and the heterosexual relationships.  Even though it has always been regarded as a problem that was best handled without legal intervention, domestic violence is now treated as a criminal offense.

stop-domestic-violenceThe National Elder Abuse Incidence Study (NEAIS) is the first and the most relevant study dealing with the incidences of elder abuse in the US.  The study estimated that nearly half a million people over 60 years of age are involved in domestic abuse. Domestic violence is an infringement of physical, sexual and emotional harms on to one’s partner with whom s/he has a steady ongoing relationship.

A recent research revealed that the police force in the US spends more than 33% of their working hours responding to the calls that involve domestic violence. Approximately 25% US elderly deal with domestic violence and elder abuse in their lives. With the aging baby-boomers population the domestic violence involving 65 years and older is on the rise. The perpetrators mostly are the close family members viz. current or the former spouses, partners, adult children, extended family and in some cases caregivers.

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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

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iHealth Launches World’s Most Portable Mobile Blood Glucose Monitor and Simple Savings Program For Test Strips

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 […]

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Seniors Leverage Medical Alert Systems to Maintain Their Independence

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 […]

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15

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 […]

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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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