Health Info & Resources for Seniors
A ground-breaking advancement in surgery occurred in 1990 when a pair of Argentinian surgeons successfully repaired a large aneurysm in the artery of a 70-year-old man’s abdomen. What made this surgery so significant is they reached the aneurysm by making a small incision in the patient’s groin, threading a wire to the aneurysm and opening a graft inside the vessel diverting the blood flow away from the aneurysm. This restored the patient’s blood flow to the legs and prevented the risk that the artery would burst, causing him to bleed to death.
Medicine has progressed dramatically over the past 20 years, but perhaps no area has evolved more quickly than surgery. “In the 1990s, we performed surgery totally differently,” said Marian McDonald, MD, Chief, General Surgery, St. Luke’s University Health Network. “The change is as great as the difference between a rotary phone and the latest smart phone.” Today, the majority of surgeries are performed using minimally invasive procedures. To describe the impact, Dr. McDonald referenced gall bladder surgery. In the 1990s, surgeons reached the organ by cutting through the patient’s skin and muscle. As a result, patients spent many days in the hospital and needed several weeks to recover.
You don’t have to hire a personal trainer or join an expensive gym to stay fit. Just get moving. To encourage you to get off of the couch, local hospitals often provide free fitness opportunities and sometimes even offer incentives for your participation. Among these is Get Your Tail on the Trail, the grassroots community health program offered by St. Luke’s University Health Network and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Started in 2013, the program encourages people to use the D&L Trail System and other trails and waterways throughout the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas.
Wound Care Specialists Can Help You Heal
“People with diabetes are at risk for developing hard-to-heal wounds that can cause serious infections”, says wound care specialist Steven Bowers, DO, Network Medical Director of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at St. Luke’s University Health Network. “Diabetes and wounds are a dangerous combination” Dr. Bowers says. “Left untreated, wounds can become infected. These infections can be quite serious and can result in amputation or even death.”
When you were young, you thought nothing about a late-night pizza delivery or a run to an all-night greasy diner. For many older adults, however, such an indulgence today would result in a painful, restless night. “Over the years, we’ve become more susceptible to developing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause acid indigestion in the throat or a burning sensation in the chest, commonly called heartburn”, said Noel Martins, MD, of St. Luke’s Gastroenterology Specialists.
Caring for an elderly person can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. Many people have no idea where to start, what questions to ask, what resources are available etc. To get help and relief consider hiring an aging care expert. They are typically called Geriatric Care Managers. Their experience and knowledge about senior care issues and local resources are especially helpful when you’ve run into a difficult or complex situation with your family or older adult.