Health Info & Resources for Seniors
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for older adults, says St. Luke’s clinical therapist Amie Allanson-Dundon, but there are ways you can enhance not only your own mental health, but that of your older loved ones. Even before the pandemic, older adults were already at risk for serious illness, says Allanson-Dundon, Network Director of Clinical Therapy Services. Add the fear of catching COVID with the normally higher rates of social isolation among older adults, and it’s not surprising that seniors are feeling increased stress. Moreover, the older adult population has suffered the greatest number of severe illnesses and deaths, with many seniors losing long-time friends and loved ones.
The availability of home health and hospice services can help patients retain their residence of choice, which is often their own home, but it’s important to have a clear understanding of what each benefit entails. Lisa Giovanni, MSN, RN, president of St. Luke’s Visiting Association, explains that while both home health services and hospice programs provide medically necessary, intermittent home visits, their focus is quite different. Both services are covered by Medicare and Medicaid and most commercial insurances.
A disease that typically first develops in children and teens, asthma can develop at any age but is often more difficult to diagnose in older adults, says St. Luke’s pulmonologist Neal M. Fitzpatrick, MD, of St. Luke’s Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates.
"We should have gotten the COVID shots" My husband and I were scheduled for our COVID shots on Friday. The previous week, I suggested that we be tested for the COVID. The nurse told us that we both tested positive, but I must go to the hospital for more testing. My husband and I did not feel sick. The next day, my son took me to the hospital emergency room and I was admitted. Medication was administered and I was informed that I was diagnosed with pneumonia, COVID, and a pulmonary embolism. My husband and I did not feel ill. My husband stayed home, and after a few days, felt worse.
As a senior — or caretaker of a senior — you’re well-aware of the factors that play a role in healthy aging. From getting quality sleep and eating a balanced diet to consistent exercise and participating in meaningful activities, there are many proven approaches to improving the aging process.
Remember your sense of freedom when you passed the driver’s test and got that coveted license? Suddenly, with keys in hand, you were no longer dependent on others to take you where you wanted to go. It is no wonder then, that taking away a license can be heartbreaking for both the driver and those forced to revoke it, says geriatrician Roopa Anmolsingh, MD.
“There’s a well-defined entry point for starting to drive, but there’s no exit point that tells you when you should stop driving,” says Anmolsingh, of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates. “I always get asked if driving is a right or a privilege. Regardless, we know it’s very important for a person’s self-esteem and independence. It provides a sense of freedom.”