The Good Death: Seniors Find Peace at the End of Life

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History has amply displayed one incontrovertible fact – everyone dies. Given our human condition, the big question some of us would like to know is, “When is it going to happen?”

Another big question is, “What is a good death?” I feel comfortable saying I have a unique, “hands-on” perspective on this often-avoided topic. Derived from professional and personal experiences, mainly working in the wonderful world of geriatrics and, unfortunately, having endured several years of Stage IV cancer treatment myself, I ...

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Seniors and Pets: The Transforming “Power of Paws”

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Over the course of our lives, it is likely there will be moments when we are “fed up to here” with family members, co-workers, even friends – basically, anything that resembles a human being.

It is less likely that we’re anything less than enamored with our pets (although the occasional in-home “accident” or wandering episode might cause an anxious moment or two).

Yes, we love our animal friends, and they love us back, unconditionally and with a fervor that cannot consistently be ...

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Chronic Illness: How Seniors Survive Medical Hardships

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Chronic illnesses, especially in senior citizens, can be frustrating and even traumatic events for both patients and their caregivers. As a disease progresses, there is often a seemingly endless scope to the physical hardships, the cost of treatments and the sometimes invasive attempts to cure the illness. Worse still are the considerable emotional costs for all involved.

Although it is difficult to determine an exact number, we know that millions of Americans today face one of many chronic illnesses. The most ...

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The Isolation Trap: How to Help Seniors Stay Socially Connected

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In the normal course of life, most of us go through occasional periods of isolation and loneliness. For the elderly, these “lonely patches” tend to be more frequent and more pronounced and can lead to emotional strain and even acute depression.

Author Richard Leider reports that transitions (career change, divorce, retirement, moving, losing a loved one) play a key role in isolation and says seniors are more vulnerable to isolation due to sometimes frequent life transitions and also living alone – ...

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Elder Law: Protecting Seniors from Financial Fraud

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Even for the healthiest and most sharp-minded of seniors, the deluge of paperwork required to capitalize on senior entitlements is enough to make one’s head spin. There is a great bit of fine print and no shortage of potential pitfalls. This is true for enrolling in Medicare supplemental policies, taking full advantage of VA benefits, and a myriad of other senior programs and policies designed to ensure happy and healthy golden years.

But there is a safety net. Lately there has ...

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Genetic Testing: Using Your Family Genes as a Guide to Your Medical History

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It’s an honest question to ponder: If a parent or sibling suffers from a particular medical condition, does that mean you are predisposed to “catch” the same illness? The honest answer is: Genetics is a complicated beast – it can either work for or against you.

Most of us on average inherit 35,000 unique genes from our parents, genes which determine our appearance, personality and medical conditions. And the assignment of these features is like a lottery of sorts – some ...

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“Brain Health”: Fighting Alzheimer’s through Exercise and Diet

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Who among us doesn’t worry that our minds will give out before our bodies do? Personally, it’s one of my biggest fears. And clinical evidence suggests this concern isn’t merely paranoia. For most of us, our bodies will outpace our mental facilities.

At the extreme end of the spectrum is Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. A staggering 5.5 million Americans are affected by this horrible affliction.

The great news, however, is that researchers are making considerable strides in the ...

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Organ Donors and Recipients: Giving the Gift of Life

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A sobering fact of life is that many of us at some point may need an organ transplant. If you are among the pool of people needing such a procedure, you are not alone. In the U.S., 85,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants.

Organ transplants are far more common than many people realize, although they are not widely publicized for sake of privacy and HIPPA compliance. Some donor recipients, however, put themselves out there as advocates. One is ...

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Balance is Key: Traditional vs. Alternative Medicine

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One of the most important choices a person can make in his or her lifetime is deciding on which path of healthcare treatment to pursue: traditional, alternative or a combination of both.

Most alternative methods are not considered a part of the traditional healthcare system, but those who do “go off the grid” for treatments such as acupuncture, osteopathy, reflexology and herbology, cite “wonderful outcomes.”

An interesting fact is that seniors 65+ are among those who embrace alternative medicine the most, as ...

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‘Tis the Season to be a Caregiver

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Although the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are a time of great joy and fellowship, many folks (even the most chaos-tolerant among us) will admit to facing at least some stress, whether the source is gift selection, kitchen duty or trying to keep the peace in a fractious family.

And if you’re the primary caregiver for an elderly relative, the stress is compounded by the day-to-day realities of that responsibility. While there’s a tendency to recall the past—those “happier” and “easier” times ...

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