Chapter 15: Complicating Ailments and Issues

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Find more resources at the end of many chapters in the book.

Until now, we have concentrated on progressive stages in the aging process and given your loved one and you, the caregiver, advice about how you should think about each stage and the appropriate settings. Our journey has taken us from aging in place, in which a senior remains fully independent and in robust health, through hospice care. We have ordered the chapters sequentially, as though you were dealing with your loved ones physical and mental health as it declined over time.

Here we’re going to change the focus a bit and look at a cluster of ailments and loss of skills that can occur at any time through the stages of decline. In this chapter, we will define each component, explain how it can make care more difficult, and make suggestions about how to treat it.

Components of Geriatric Syndromes

Here we rely largely on an authority at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Jane F. Potter, M.D., the Harris Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the medical center’s department of internal medicine and recent past president of the American Geriatrics Society. The purpose of this chapter is to alert you to special situations that require your attention and advocacy with health care providers. The situations covered in this chapter include:

  • Side Effects of Multiple Medications
  • Medicine Safety Starting Points
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Falls and Lack of Mobility
  • Vision Loss
  • Hearing Loss
  • Incontinence
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Persistent Pain
  • Sleep Disorders

Review additional chapters of Stages of Senior Care:

Previous: Chapter 14: Bereavement  
Next: Chapter 16: Difficult Situations