Dan Easton

/Dan Easton

About Dan Easton

Director of Social Media - Senior Care Central, LLC

Glaucoma Symptoms

Glaucoma Symptoms

Background

Glaucoma is a group of degenerative eye diseases with various causes that leads to progressive optic neuropathy, in which the optic nerve is damaged by high intraocular pressure (IOP), resulting in blindness. Glaucoma is a leading cause of visual impairment and the second leading cause of blindness in the United States; it occurs more often in those over 40, with an increased incidence with age (3% to 4% in those over age 70) (Fingeret, 2010; Kennedy-Malone et al., 2000; Podolsky, 1998).

Risk factors

Unlike cataracts, there are some ethnic distinctions with the development of glaucoma. African Americans tend to develop it earlier than Caucasians, and females more often than males. Glaucoma is more common in African Americans, adults over age 60 (especially Mexican Americans), and people with a family history (NIH, 2013). Other contributing factors include eye trauma, small cornea, small anterior chamber, cataracts, and some medications.

Signs and symptoms

Although the cause is unknown, glaucoma results from blockage that limits the flow of aqueous humor, causing a rise in intraocular pressure (IOP). Two major types are noted here: acute and chronic. Acute glaucoma is also called closed angle or narrow angle. Signs and symptoms include severe eye pain in one eye, blurred vision, seeing colored halos around lights, red eye, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Symptoms may be associated with emotional stress. Acute glaucoma is a medical emergency and persons should seek emergency help immediately. Blindness can occur from prolonged narrow angle glaucoma.

Chronic glaucoma, also called open angle or primary open angle, is more common than acute (90% of cases are this type), affecting over 2 million people in the United States. One million people probably have glaucoma and don’t know it, and 10 million people have above normal intraocular pressure that may lead to glaucoma if not treated (University of Washington, Department of Ophthalmology, 2008). This type of glaucoma occurs gradually. Peripheral vision is slowly impaired. Signs and symptoms include tired eyes, headaches, misty vision, seeing halos around lights, and worse symptoms in the morning. Glaucoma often involves only one eye, but may occur in both.

Treatment

Since there is no scientific evidence of preventative strategies, early detection in those at risk is important. Treatment is essential to prevent loss of vision, because once vision has been lost to glaucoma, it cannot be restored. Diagnosis is made using a tonometer to measure IOP. Normal IOP is 10–21 mm Hg. Ophthalmologic examination will reveal changes in the color and contour of the optic nerve when glaucoma is present. Gonioscopy (direct exam), which is performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, provides another means of evaluation. Older persons and those at higher risk should have a yearly eye exam to screen for glaucoma.

Treatment is aimed at reducing IOP. Medications to decrease pressure may be given, and surgical iridectomy to lower the IOP may prevent future episodes of acute glaucoma. In chronic glaucoma, there is no cure, so treatment is aimed at managing IOP through medication and eye drops. Consistent use of and correct administration of eye drops is important. Older adults should be assessed for safety related to visual changes and also reminded to schedule and attend regular visits with their ophthalmologist.

Adapted from Mauk, K. L., Hanson, P., & Hain, D. (2014). Review of the management of common illnesses, diseases, or health conditions. In K. L.
Mauk’s (Ed.) Gerontological Nursing: Competencies for Care. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

Glaucoma Symptoms

For more information on Glaucoma, visit the NIH:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/glaucoma/htm/index.htm

 

By |2019-07-05T17:32:25-05:00July 10th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Glaucoma Symptoms

Skin Cancer Warning Signs

bigstock-Mature-Couple-In-A-Playful-Moo-5106837

With summer upon us, we are happy to get out and enjoy the change from the long Indiana winter. However, prolonged exposure to that bright sunshine can have dire consequences for us as we age. The risk of skin cancer is higher in older adults, and the major risk factor is sun exposure. Although there are other less serious forms of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell), malignant melanoma is the most dangerous kind, accounting for more than 8,700 deaths per year (American Cancer Society, 2013).

As we age and our skin becomes more fragile, sun exposure can take its toll. You can be proactive in preventing skin cancer by following some simple tips:
Wear sunscreen when out in the sun and choose SPF 15 or higher every day, but choose SPF 30 with a waterproof barrier for long exposure. Avoid tanning booths. Wear clothing and hats that protect you from exposure. Ask your primary care provider to perform a skin check with your yearly physical, or visit your dermatologist if you have concerns. Know your own skin and check it regularly using the ABCDE method. Report any suspicious lesions to your doctor right away for follow-up.

The ABCDE method can help us remember the warning signs of skin cancer:
A = Asymmetry (if a line is drawn down the middle of the lesion, the two sides do not match)
B = Border (the borders of the lesion tend to be irregular)
C = Color (a variety of colors is present; the lesion is not uniform in color)
D = Diameter (MM lesions are usually larger)
E = Evolving (note any changes in shape or size, or any bleeding)
The good news is that even the most serious kind of skin cancer can be nearly 100% curable when detected early.

So, enjoy the sun, but be sun smart as well!

By |2019-06-30T09:03:17-05:00June 30th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Skin Cancer Warning Signs

Guest Blog: Burnout: Tips for Family Caregivers

Happy woman with elderly mother

By Dr. Nanette J. Davis, Ph.D.

Caregiving has often been compared to a roller coaster ride, with its inevitable ups and downs. This is especially true as your loved one deteriorates and faces the end of life. If you’re one of the 65 million family caregivers who has been feeling overwhelmed for too long, “burnout” may have set in.

Take that first step. Identify and claim the full range of your emotions—the anger, indifference, anxiety. In a recent study, 50% of family caregivers confessed to feeling depressed and some 69% admitted that frustration drove them to place their loved one in care. You may be experiencing the following, as well:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion over role reversal
  • Loss of interest
  • Withdrawal or isolation from friends and other support persons
  • Irritability
  • Illness
  • Poor sleep
  • Desire to harm self or others

These unwanted reactions can also be compounded by the guilt and shame about feeling this way. Here are a few suggestions that might make a big difference.

  1. Make a point to engage in outside activities for maintaining a sense of health and well-being. Sure, it could feel like “one more thing” to do. But if you choose your outside activities wisely—staying away from demanding people or events—you could feel surprisingly refreshed.
  2. Seek and accept outside help. Once you admit to yourself and others that you can’t do it alone, the burden suddenly lifts. Good starting points are: local organizations, social service agencies and faith communities. Don’t overlook family, friends and neighbors who may be able to lend a hand.
  3. Allow your loved one plenty of opportunities to practice functional skills—as hard as it may be. Feeling as independent as possible satisfies a basic human need, even for a seriously ill person.
  4. Consult with a geriatric specialist, pastor or counselor about the right course of action if your loved one has become overly dependent or has exhausted your resources—physical, emotional or financial.
  5. Admit that you are juggling multiple roles, and engaging in an ever-so-delicate dance of support. The dance can go on as long as you allow the role of who leads and who follows to shift as circumstances change.
  6. Pay attention to your own needs. You can achieve balance when you include time to sleep, exercise, eat and attend to your own medical needs. Time spent with family, friends or just being alone helps you bounce back, too.
  7. Practice saying—maybe even forcefully—“no” when appropriate, and “yes” when someone offers to help.
  8. Seek out quality respite care.
  9. Enjoy an occasional movie or lunch with a supportive friend.
  10. Don’t expect too much from yourself.

Continue to recognize, acknowledge and accept your difficult emotions, so you can then work on setting boundaries, letting go of control and developing coping skills. For example, meditation and yoga can be incredibly relaxing.

Your commitment to your loved one can be a renewable resource if you take the right steps and are willing to change strategies when the “same ol’, same ol’” isn’t working anymore.

You can visit Dr. Nanette’s ABCs of Caregiving blog at http://www.abcsofcaregiving.com/

 

 

 

By |2019-05-13T09:16:27-05:00May 14th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Burnout: Tips for Family Caregivers

Four Ways to Help Seniors Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is a serious issue for older adults. Between three and fourteen percent of seniors experience symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosable disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Even though they don’t have a diagnosable disorder, another 27 percent also experience symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis that have a significant impact on their day-to-day functioning.

If you have a parent or loved who may be struggling with anxiety, keep these four tips in mind to help them manage symptoms in a healthy way.

1. Recognize the Signs
The first step to helping a loved one manage anxiety is being able to identify their symptoms. Common signs of anxiety disorders include:

• Excessive fear or worry
• Refusing to do activities they used to enjoy
• Being obsessed with a routine
• Avoiding social interactions
• Sleep troubles
• Muscle aches and tension
• Shakiness or weakness
• Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs

2. Let Them Know You’re There for Them
Many seniors are hesitant to talk about their struggles because they don’t want to be a burden. If you think your parent or a loved one is dealing with anxiety, it’s important for them to know that you’re there for them and aren’t judging them.

3. Prevent Falls
As they age, seniors typically struggle with impaired balance, which can cause a lot of anxiety and make them worry about falling and getting hurt.

One way to show the senior in your life that you support them is to take steps to prevent falls and help them feel safe in their homes. Some ways you can do this include:

• Installing grab bars in the bathroom
• Removing loose rugs and other slip hazards
• Rearranging cupboards and cabinets so items are within easy reach
• Investing in a medical alert system

4. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help
You should also encourage your parent or loved one to work with a professional.

Make an appointment with their doctor and let them know what you’ve noticed. You may also want to schedule an appointment with a therapist or hire a home care aide to come in and check on them a few times a week.

There are lots of things you can do to help a parent or loved one manage their anxiety in a healthy way. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with these four tips.

By |2019-04-18T09:12:07-05:00April 18th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Four Ways to Help Seniors Manage Anxiety

Guest Blog: Five Jobs For Seniors That Will Combat Loneliness

lonly man

 

While many seniors enjoy leaving the workforce and retiring after years of hard work, some find the transition a difficult and lonely experience, especially those who live alone or far away from family members. It can be hard to get used to filling up the days without work — and co-workers — to help pass the time, and at times it’s equally difficult to create new friendships.

While it can be daunting at first, taking on a new job is a great way to form new bonds and friendships, stay active, and keep living a fulfilling life after a big change. Here are five great jobs for seniors who want to fill their days with people and activity.

Dog-walking

Chances are there are dozens of pet owners nearby who are in dire need of a responsible caretaker for their pets. Rover.com can help you find jobs in your area and will set you up with pet owners for a meet-and-greet. Once you find the job that’s right for you, the site will even handle the financial end of things. And for extra cuddle time with a sweet creature, you can also sign up to be a pet sitter.

Greeter/Hospitality

Restaurants, hotels, and retail stores are just three businesses that require greeters and hospitality, and while the duties vary, this can be a wonderful job for active seniors. It allows you to work with people while maintaining flexible hours, and many stores offer an employee discount on some of their items.

Tour Guide

Museums, hotels, and historical buildings are a few of the businesses that require tour guides, and these will likely offer flexible hours while still giving you the chance to socialize.

Tutor/Music Teacher

If you have experience in education, art, or music, you might consider tutoring or teaching lessons. Check Craigslist.org for job posts and consider advertising your services on social media, or even on a flier at your local supermarket.

Going through such a huge life change can be difficult at first, but there are plenty of jobs available for seniors who need flexible schedules and want to keep loneliness at bay.

Jenny Wise is a stay-at-home mom and home educator. She and her husband decided to homeschool when their oldest was four years old. During their journey, they’ve expanded their family and have faced many challenges. But they’re happy to have overcome each one. Jenny writes about her family’s experiences and homeschool, in general, on her new blog, SpecialHomeEducator.com.

 

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By |2019-03-31T19:48:10-05:00April 2nd, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Five Jobs For Seniors That Will Combat Loneliness