Health risks of Korean War vets

Close to 2 million American soldiers fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. More than half of those who served in what is often called the “Forgotten War” are still alive. Most of these soldiers were born during the 1920s and 1930s. They are now in their 80s and 90s, with some cresting... Read More

Constructive criticism: When to speak up

Caring for a family member often involves collaborating with other relatives. Sometimes you will agree. Sometimes you won’t. Debating every item may not be the best use of family time. In some situations, the wisest course is to be quiet and let others do it their way. That said, there are times when you should... Read More

Would having a dog help? A fish?

Increasingly, research shows that older adults can benefit in myriad ways from the companionship of an animal. Physical health benefits Pets seem to help us stay calm in the midst of stress: Reduced blood pressure and heart rate. Some research shows improvement even when the “pet” is fish swimming in an aquarium! Strengthened immune system.... Read More

When you can’t hold a funeral

Between travel concerns and restrictions on group gatherings, holding a traditional funeral can be challenging. Many families are turning to “virtual funerals” using video conferencing programs, such as Zoom. About 20% of funeral homes offer virtual services. And there are online companies that specialize in funerals. They assist with everything from sending out invitations and... Read More

Supporting a person with arthritis

Arthritis is a difficult condition to understand as an onlooker. The pain is invisible and unpredictable. Some days are good. Other days are not. Arthritis challenges the affected person’s ability to accomplish the basics—simple tasks, such as opening jars or walking up stairs. Such disability can generate feelings of frustration and low self-worth. The chronic... Read More

What is palliative care?

Life with a serious illness is not all dreary and glum. The condition and its symptoms can certainly take over. But daily life continues. And patients are more than their disease. Like everyone, they need to eat, walk, talk with friends and family, and enjoy pleasant activities. Palliative care is an extra layer of support. Its... Read More

What is “mindfulness,” anyway?

Many people confuse mindfulness with meditation and Eastern religions. Mindfulness is a skill gained by training your mind to observe life situations in a less emotionally charged way. It is a mental skill that gives you a less-cluttered perspective. It lowers daily stress and is particularly helpful when making important decisions under duress. Mindfulness is... Read More

Nonverbal signs of pain

Dementia itself does not cause physical pain. But people with dementia still encounter pain, just like anyone else: headaches, arthritis, tummy aches. They just can’t describe it. They might even deny having pain when you ask because they don’t understand the question. Learn the nonverbal signs of pain so your loved one doesn’t suffer. (Your... Read More

BPH: Weighing surgical options

Ever wondered why older men seem to need to urinate frequently? An enlarged prostate gland is likely to blame. The condition, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is so common that it affects 90% of men by age 80. The prostate gland is roughly donut shaped and is located below the bladder. The urethra, the “tube”... Read More

Getting the most from doctor visits

Time with a doctor is precious—and that creates pressure to make the most of each visit. Whether your loved one’s next appointment is in person or through telehealth, a little preplanning will go a long way to making it a productive session. Here are some helpful tips: Identify the goal. Are you seeking a diagnosis... Read More