ElderCarelink Blog

Constipation and elders

by Dorian Martin
July 26th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Thanks to his diuretics, my 86-year-old father is beating a regular path to the bathroom. “Get out of my way,” he jokingly yells down the hallway — and sometimes, not as jokingly, tells one of the dogs, “Move!” But despite his constant presence in the bathroom, Dad often complains of constipation.

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Pets provide mental, physical benefits to elders

by Dorian Martin
July 23rd, 2012 at 10:53 am

One important caregiving lesson I’ve repeatedly learned is that animals have an amazing ability to bring comfort to the elderly.

Example 1. My mother (who had Alzheimer’s disease) calmed down when I’d bring my Miniature Schnauzer, Zoe, for a visit to the nursing home. I’d put Zoe on Mom’s lap and push Mom’s wheelchair to the visiting area as Mom patted Zoe’s head. Invariably, we’d have a great visit if Zoe was there.

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Caregivers: Store fentanyl patches safely away from children

by Dorian Martin
July 16th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Recently, my neighbor came over to provide some handyman help. Tagging behind him was his nearly three-year-old daughter, who has a penchant for picking up anything interesting that she sees. To make sure she didn’t venture off into areas where I couldn’t see her, I raced around the house closing bedroom doors. However, I neglected to close the door to Dad’s bathroom.

In hindsight, the omission was a mistake. That’s because Dad often leaves his fentanyl prescription on top of the bathroom vanity. The transdermal system, which looks like a clear adhesive bandage, releases a narcotic pain medicine over a three-day period. Dad uses it to ease his chronic back pain. Yet, fentanyl can have deadly consequences for young children (and pets) that are exposed to the skin patch through swallowing it or placing it on their skin.

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Guard against prescription mistakes after hospitalization

by Dorian Martin
July 10th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Like many people his age, Dad is on multiple medications that have been prescribed by several doctors. Therefore, we’ve come to depend on Dad’s pharmacist to help make sure he doesn’t have any drug interactions when he’s prescribed something new. But new research underscores that that safety net doesn’t always work.

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Mobility assistive devices can help elders remain active

by Dorian Martin
July 6th, 2012 at 11:09 am

For approximately six years, Dad has used a cane to help him walk once he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in his lower back. But I started noticing recently that Dad’s balance has periodically been a little shaky even with the cane, so I encouraged him to get a walker.

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