Advances in the healthcare industry have uncovered treatments that can be used for most health concerns. As people grow old, it is common to use regular medications to help with the management of chronic conditions. Do you use prescriptions on a daily basis? Do you have a family member that uses medications regularly?

Older Adults and Medication Use

While the medications can be helpful, they aren’t effective if the patient doesn’t take the right pills. Aging adults often find it difficult to keep track of the dosages and frequency. Medications are more difficult to manage when a person is working with multiple doctors. The taking of multiple medications, known as polypharmacy, could result in serious side effects and drug interactions. The best solution is to talk to a Senior Care Pharmacist who can offer personalized recommendations.

What is a Senior Care Pharmacist?

A Senior Care Pharmacist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the management of medications and lifestyle for seniors. The interest of the patient is the highest priority, and the pharmacist works in concert with the prescribing physician to find the best solutions for the patient.

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is an evaluation that can be used to determine the effectiveness of the medications. A Senior Care Pharmacist will put together a plan that outlines the most appropriate, safe, and effective use of prescribed medications. The goal is to ensure that the patient is using the drugs correctly, avoiding as many side effects and interactions as possible.

Working with a Senior Care Pharmacist

Why should you consider working with a Senior Care Pharmacist?

Sarah Lorentz, PharmD, APh, Director of MTM Services at UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, explains. “Studies have shown that although people over 65 years old make up 15% of the population, they account for over 49% of hospital readmissions due to medication side effects.  Pharmacists are trained healthcare professionals who can help prevent hospital readmissions, especially in the senior citizen population, by reducing polypharmacy and ensuring that older adults are taking the safest, most effective medication therapy,” says Dr. Lorentz.

At Windward Life Care, our team is focused on the health resources that can improve your lifestyle. We are proud to partner with UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy, giving our clients access to the services that are available from a Senior Care Pharmacist. Contact us to learn more about the services that are offered.

According to the US Census Bureau, it is estimated that there will be over 72 million people over the age of 65 by the year 2030. Not only is the large Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age, but medical advances are increasing the average lifespan of people in the United States.

Older Adults and the Risk of Substance Abuse

As the population of older adults expands, so do  concerns for their health. Historically, there haven’t been high rates of substance abuse in this age group, though it is thought that past rates may have been under-reported. Research is showing substance abuse to be a growing public health concern for people 65 and older. It is now estimated that more than a million people past retirement age abuse alcohol, drugs, or both. As a result, many families are facing the challenges of caring for an aging parent while managing substance abuse issues at the same time.

Why is Substance Abuse a Growing Concern?

The numbers vary depending on the reports that you read. But, there is no question that the incidence of substance abuse is growing in all age groups, including older adults. What is causing the increased risk?

One potential cause lies in the change in attitudes about the use of drugs and alcohol. For example, Baby Boomers have had more exposure to illicit drugs in their lifetimes and thus may normalize the use of substances that past generations have avoided. Unfortunately, this may also increase the Baby Boomers’ likelihood of experiencing the negative effects of drug use such as health issues, family issues, and overdose.

Another issue is that the use of prescriptions is growing in the United States, and some of these medications can lead to addiction. It is common for people to look for a “cure” in medications, resulting in an increase in drug use. Older adults suffer more physical ailments than younger adults, and tend to use more prescription medications. These can interact with each other in a harmful way, as well as produce negative effects with mixed with alcohol and illicit drugs. Older adults also metabolize certain substances like alcohol, more slowly, making them more susceptible to intoxication. This can lead to falls and injury.

Finally, older adults face life changes that can lead to increased use of substances, such as the death of a spouse or partner; loss of independence; and social isolation.

Professional Assistance for Substance Abuse Problems

Older adults can benefit from treatment, so family members and professionals should not be afraid to bring up their concerns. If you suspect that a family member is struggling with an addiction, then it is essential to find the right treatment program. Talk to us at Windward Life Care, and we will support you in finding the services that best meet the needs of your family.

February is a time when people often discuss matters of the heart. Instead of only focusing on relationships this month, it might be a good opportunity to learn more about cardiovascular health as well. Your daily choices play a big role in heart health, and these lifestyle habits might be the life-or-death choices that impact your cardiovascular system.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men. As men go through the aging process, it is necessary to make cardiovascular health a higher priority. Not only do you need to learn more about heart disease, but you also need to watch for symptoms that could indicate a need for medical care.

Tips to Protect Your Heart

You can manage your risk of heart disease by implementing a few important health tips:

  • Increase Fiber Intake: Instead of loading your plate with processed carbohydrates, fill up with high-fiber foods. Enjoy whole grains, vegetables, and fruit to reduce your risk of heart disease and manage your blood sugar levels at the same time.
  • Cut Back on Saturated Fat: There is a reason why saturated fat has earned a bad reputation. These “unhealthy fats” play a role in the development of heart disease. Limit your fat consumption to 20 – 35 percent of your caloric intake, and focus most of those calories on unsaturated fats. These fats come from almonds, walnuts, avocados, and olive oil.
  • Boost Your Heart Rate: Regular exercise is important to get your blood pumping and strengthen your heart. It is best to start a new exercise plan under the supervision of a doctor. Start with basic exercises, then increase the intensity and duration over time.
  • Maintain Preventive Care: You still need to visit the doctor, even if you aren’t feeling sick. Men don’t go to the doctor for annual checkups as often as women. But, these appointments are essential to check heart health by measuring blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Stay consistent with regular checkups with your doctor.

Following these tips will not only reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, but they will help to improve your overall health. If you need help finding the right medical services, then you are invited to talk to our team at Windward Life Care for more information.

Glaucoma has been identified as one of the main causes of vision loss in the United States. This group of eye diseases results in optic nerve damage because of increased pressure in the eye. When the pressure goes up, the damaged optic nerve causes vision loss.

January is glaucoma awareness month, so it is a good chance for you to learn more about the disease and options to prevent serious eye problems

Know Your Risk Factors

The problem with glaucoma is that there are usually no warning signs that something is wrong. The change in vision is so gradual that the person doesn’t realize there is a problem until it is too late. Once the disease reaches advanced stages, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the damage. The only solution is to stop the progress to preserve the remaining eyesight.

How can you be proactive? It is important to know your risk factors. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, individuals most at risk include people who:

  • are over age 40
  • have family members with glaucoma
  • are of African or Hispanic heritage
  • have high eye pressure
  • are farsighted or nearsighted
  • have had an eye injury
  • have corneas that are thin in the center
  • have thinning of the optic nerve

have diabetesmigraines, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body.

When to Call an Eye Doctor

You might be able to identify several signs of glaucoma, such as:

  • Tunnel vision
  • Patchy spots in the visual field
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights, especially at night

Additionally, you need to stay consistent with eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They will not only check your vision, but also test for a range of eye diseases, including glaucoma.  These appointments will help you identify the problems in the early stages, giving you the option to pursue a treatment plan to prevent or slow the vision loss.

Do you need assistance finding the right eye care professionals in your area? Windward Life Care is here to offer the assistance that you need. We recognize the importance of experienced, trustworthy medical professionals. So, our team will gladly support your efforts for prevention and health maintenance. Call today to learn more about the services that we can provide.

According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. With over 30 million people suffering from the disease in 2015, these numbers are rising every year.

November is American Diabetes Month, which is a great opportunity to learn more about the disease. Whether you have been diagnosed or you are at high risk for diabetes, some things can be done to manage your health.

Interesting Facts about Diabetes

An estimated 30% of people with diabetes are living with the illness without knowing that they have it. About 95% of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Type 2 diabetes often starts without any symptoms and is not diagnosed until the disease process is well underway. So, it is important to implement healthy habits in the spirit of prevention.

People with diabetes have a high risk of developing heart disease, as well as Alzheimer’s dementia. Diabetes can also lead to blindness. Taking control of your health means that you can potentially avoid these complications.

Even though your risk of diabetes increases based on your family history or ethnicity, it doesn’t mean that you will necessary develop the disease. Genetics are considered less important than lifestyle and behavioral factors.

How to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Given the prevalence of diabetes, everyone should learn more about the disease to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Suggested prevention tips include:

  • Moderate weight loss, approximately 5% to 7% of body weight (just 10 lbs in a 200 lb individual).
  • Regular exercise 5 days a week (for 30 minutes)
  • Maintain a healthy diet with low-fat meals
  • Skip sugary drinks and other highly processed carbohydrates
  • Quit smoking

Your doctor can help you assess your risk for diabetes by testing your weight and blood sugar levels. Then, a personalized plan can be put together to help with prevention.

Putting Together a Personalized Health Plan

If you want to protect your health, then it is important that you work with an experienced medical team. At Windward Life Care, we will help you connect with the healthcare providers who will support your goals. Talk to us to learn more about the services that are available.

The Importance of Your Family Health History

Did you know that National Family Health History Day falls on Thanksgiving? This awareness day was declared by the Surgeon General in 2004. As we get closer to the holiday celebration, it is a great time to consider the information that you have about your family health portrait.

Why does it matter if you have information about the history of health in your family? Common diseases often run in families, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If a doctor can trace the history of the disease in your family, then the information can be used for preventive treatments. Doctors will have a better chance of predicting the disorders that you might face. Then, you can take action to protect your health and avoid these diseases.

Not only can trends be identified for common health concerns, but doctors can use the information for other rare conditions as well. For example, a medical professional might look for the risk of sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis.

Complete Family Medical History

If you want to gather a complete history of the medical conditions in your family, then it should include:

  • Records of your medical history
  • Records of your parents’ medical information
  • Details from 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-degree relatives: siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
  • Ethnicity information

A complete medical history should include three generations, with as much information as possible.

How to Create Your Family Health Portrait

The Surgeon General has created an easy tool that can be used to compile your information. Click here to access My Family Health Portrait. You can enter the information, and then see details about your risk for specific health concerns.

The information gathered in this tool can be given to your healthcare provider. Make sure to save the information so that it can be updated as things change in the future.

Help Finding Medical Resources

It can be a challenge navigating the health care system. If you need someone to help, then you are welcome to talk to our team at Windward Life Care. We provide the tools and resources that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.