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Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and  Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners  Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys,  and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer  at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.

 

 

 

Dear Jennifer,

I am writing to sound off. I got a call from the (name withheld) hospital in Syracuse. They said my father was there. I was shocked!  I just talked to him that morning and he was going to go visit his friend who lives near him.  I called his friend and my father never got there. Somehow he ended up in his car in Syracuse! I couldn’t believe my ears.  They said he was confused.  Well, I couldn’t just hop in my car and drive out there, I was at my job. I made arrangements to take the next day off. The hospital people said he had dementia. My father never had any dementia. They wouldn’t listen to me. They said they wanted to discharge him and I needed to take him to my house to stay with me because he was too confused to be alone.   

I love my dad, but I don’t have any room at my place other than a couch. They were real pushy with me and I didn’t know what to do, so I took him (and I still have to go back after his car and they are after me about that too.) I got him home and got some food into him and took him over to see his doctor. By the time we got there, my father was acting completely like himself. He didn’t want to believe I had picked him up from Syracuse.
His doctor didn’t find anything wrong with him, and we are going to run some tests and he’ll get a CT scan, but why couldn’t they do that at the hospital? And he does NOT have dementia. All of us family are taking turns staying at his place until we get it all sorted out. My blood is boiling over all this.  

Thanks for letting me spout off,
Ruth

Dear Ruth,

Oh boy. I surely cannot tell you what happened to your father’s health that brought on the confusion and I hope the doctors have some answers for you. As for the hospital’s insistence that you take him home, this has become common. The emergency rooms are backed up. Hospitals have to do something, so everyone gets a little shorter stay so other people can take a turn. Currently hospitals check the patient over. If there isn’t anything acute going on, they prefer to have the follow up done from home. It will take some time for all of us to adjust to this new approach.

I recommend that you not let your father drive again until his problem is sorted out. He may need to have some supervision for his safety as he didn’t recall the event and therefore we don’t know if this has happened before at his home and he wasn’t aware of it Write an email to me if you need more help and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Warmly,
Jennifer

PAIN AND THE OLDER ADULT

We simply do not know enough about the interplay between nerves, emotions, cognition, personality with pain perception and tolerance. In short, each of us has our own sense of pain and what each of us can tolerate. Today’s article is a discussion about pain from my own perspective and experiences.

It is my observation that anyone who experiences pain for the first time is startled by the sensation. This startle reaction becomes anxiety if pain is anticipated in the future. I believe the more pain an individual experiences, the more our remarkable bodies adapt. (Please note, we are not discussing individuals who have pain phobias or who faint after a needle puncture.)  If an individual has tolerable pain and must make it through the day somehow, the individual will likely learn to “shrug it off.”

By the time a person is 80 or older, there may have been many painful situations which have been “shrugged off” and therefore sub-acute levels of pain may not be evident by complaint or expression. Therefore, we may need to look for other manifestations of pain such as irritability and difficulty sleeping (pain is the number one reason elderly do not sleep well.) It is also possible for the individual to have increased confusion from the combination of pain stress and sleep deprivation.

If you have concerns about yourself or your loved one, talk to the doctor about a trial of pain medication. It just may make all the difference.

 

Rochester

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Brain Workout Trivia

Which of these animals is NOT native to Australia?
A. Kangaroo
B. Koala bear
C. Dingo
D. Rabbit
 
Brain Workout Trivia is the brainchild of John C Sproul
For more trivia visit www.funtrivia.com

Answer: The correct answer is D. Although you may have seen pictures of very large rabbit herds in Australia, they actually are an invasive species. They were introduced to Australia in the late 1700s as a food source. A few got loose, and with few natural predators they reproduced rapidly. Soon rabbits had become a major threat to native wildlife and a destroyer of farmland. Nowadays, Australians do their utmost to eradicate them.