Posts Tagged ‘senior health’

Things Every Senior Should Discuss With Their Doctor

senior healthOne important way to maintain good health while aging is to create an open and honest relationship with your doctor. Sharing with your doctor what is important to you while also addressing your physical and personal challenges is critical to your health and safety.

Getting older doesn’t mean giving up your favorite activities. Having discussions with your loved ones and doctor about what is meaningful creates an understanding of what quality of life means to you. It is important to continue to enjoy an active lifestyle – traveling, participating in physical activities such as water aerobics, and meeting up with friends to play games like Bridge.

While it is important to maintain a good quality of life, it is also critical to make sure you are safe while doing so! Part of your discussion with your doctor should include identifying what your physical limitations are and any barriers to performing your activities of daily living. It is important to mention if you experience any falls, changes in vision, or complications from any chronic conditions such as heart, neurologic or musculoskeletal disease.

Maintaining regular wellness visits or follow-up exams with your primary care physicians gives you the opportunity to have these discussions with your doctor and open up a dialogue about what is important to you with the focus to keep you healthy and active. Talk to your doctor about what quality of like means for you so that you can create a safe way to keep doing what you love to do!

1. Osteoarthritis

Sore, stiff or painful joints are often a sign of osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis affecting older adults. Common joints affected by osteoarthritis include the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

It is important to share with your doctor if you are having pain in any of these joints to rule out other diseases that may mimic the symptoms of osteoarthritis. You may need diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray, to provide a clear picture and diagnosis of your condition.

If osteoarthritis is diagnosed, it is important for your doctor to understand how your joint pain is affecting your daily life. Working together with your primary care doctor, and possibly other specialists such as a physical therapist and/or orthopedic specialist can be instrumental to limiting your pain so that you can maximize your function and quality of life.

Therapies that you may discuss with your doctor and specialists can include, but are not limited to:

  • A healthy diet, with nutritional supplementation for healthy bones and joints
  • Medications, which may range from topical creams to over-the-counter and prescribed meds
  • Physical activity, including physical therapy and guided musculoskeletal training

2. Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. It can strike at any age, but the risk of developing coronary heart disease increases as we age. Older individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic health conditions that can lead to heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Your doctor can discuss your risk of developing heart disease. Together, you can create a plan that helps you improve your heart health, which may include:

  • Eating a balanced diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
  • Getting physically active
  • Limiting alcohol use
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing chronic health conditions
  • Quitting smoking

3. Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 1.7 million new cancer cases in the U.S. alone in 2019. Those statistics may sound scary, but advances in screening, diagnosis, treatment, and management are empowering more individuals to survive cancer. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates the number of cancer survivors is expected to increase to 20.3 million individuals in the U.S. by 2026, compared to 15.5 million in 2016.

One of the biggest risks for developing cancer is advanced age. The NCI found that the median age for a cancer diagnosis is 66 years.

You can manage your cancer risk with regular check-ups with your doctor. Today’s screening tests are effectively identifying and diagnosing cancer in its earlier stages – getting you the treatment you need for a better outcome.

Talk to your doctor about your cancer risk and what cancer screening test is right for you. If you notice any troubling symptoms, don’t wait for your annual exam – schedule an appointment today.

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need when you need it. With more than 2,800 doctors and 300 locations, including 11 hospitals, as well as primary care offices, urgent cares, and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. Find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.

or call us at 404-778-7777

About Dr. Footman

Eleni Footman MDEleni Footman, MD, began her studies by completing a bachelor’s degree in Health Science at the University of Florida. Following her collegiate studies, she completed two years of post-baccalaureate clinical research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with a focus in Sickle Cell Disease. In 2009, she transitioned to Georgetown University School of Medicine for her medical degree. She participated in the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2013 where she explored how end-of-life and advanced care planning was approached by Internal Medicine residents in their ambulatory clinic settings. Following this, she completed a three-year Internal Medicine residency at INOVA Fairfax Medical Campus in Fairfax, VA. She completed her medical training at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell where she obtained training for her Geriatric Medicine fellowship. She now works as an outpatient Geriatrician with Emory Healthcare and as a house call physician as part of the Emory Domiciliary Care program.

Her professional interests include caring for and advocating for seniors in the clinical setting but also in the community and at the home setting with a long term professional interest in house call medicine and domiciliary care. She is very passionate about keeping seniors as functional as possible with an emphasis on fall prevention. She enjoys being an advocate and support for families and caregivers and, most importantly, aims to optimize the quality of life for each of her patients.

Coordinated Care Centers: A New Care Model for Older Adults

Emory Coordinated Care Centers promote wellness in older adults. The goal of the care center model is to educate patients and promote quality of life.Leaders from Emory Healthcare and California-based Caremore published an article in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) Catalyst presenting early results and highlights from the coordinated care program both company’s worked to launch in August 2014.

So what is a coordinated care program?

Coordinated care programs seek to streamline healthcare for older adults. As people age, they may find themselves juggling multiple doctors’ visits, chronic disease treatment plans and a number of daily medications.

To simplify this process, the Emory Healthcare Network opened two Emory Coordinated Care Centers, as well as several satellite locations, which use multi-disciplinary health care teams to improve quality of life for its patients. These centers are part of Emory Healthcare Network Advantage, a program that focuses on high-risk Medicare Advantage patients who either have, or are at risk for, chronic health problems such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“The goal of the Emory Coordinated Care Centers is to promote wellness in the older patient population,” says Anthony Nguyen, M.D., regional medical officer at Emory Healthcare. “Many older patients have multiple chronic diseases that affect their health over time. With many different medical problems, medications and providers, it may become difficult for a patient to understand everything that is happening with their health.”

A New Approach to Health Care

“Often times, patients have many medical conditions and require care from multiple physicians,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Unfortunately, it’s common that patient care becomes fragmented. The Care Center team works to bring all of the patient’s information together.”

He adds, “The coordinated care center approach is different from the standard model of care because it focuses on the continuum of care. Our goal is to educate patients to be active in their own wellbeing to promote quality of life.”

Many of the services in the Care Centers are provided at low or no cost to patients to remove barriers to care. The model promotes preventive and proactive care rather than sick or reactive care.

Nearly a dozen programs are offered at the centers, including Healthy Start , a comprehensive assessment that identifies a patient’s health risks. Each of the programs supplement care patients receive from their PCPs and specialists.

The Coordinated Care Teams

The coordinated care teams include medical professionals who educate patients and help them manage conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or heart failure. This team includes:

  • A physician
  • A registered nurse outpatient case manager
  • A social worker
  • Advanced care providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants
    Staff at Emory Coordinated Care Centers get nearly two months of comprehensive, interdisciplinary training.

“To provide the best patient experience and great clinical outcomes, everyone must work together,” explains Dr. Nguyen.

“The care center works very closely with a patient’s primary care physician to ensure we have the same goals for their care,” he says. “The coordinated care center model works collaboratively with the primary care physician and everything we do in the Care Center is communicated back to them. We don’t replace the primary care physician, but rather supplement their care.”

Once patients are part of an Emory Coordinated Care Center program, the team follows up with them on a regular basis by phone and schedules Care Center appointments as needed.

“If the chronic diseases are managed well, the rate of disease progression may be slowed, leading to a higher quality of life,” says Dr. Nguyen.

How do people become patients

Patients who already see a primary care doctor in the Emory Healthcare Network and are members of a participating Medicare Advantage plan can talk to their physicians about the program or simply call to make an appointment for a HealthyStart.

In addition, Emory Healthcare Network patients may be referred to an Emory Coordinated Care Center by a physician who cared for them during a hospital stay

Read about the early results of this model at the Emory News Center.

Top 5 Gifts for Dad, even after Father’s Day

Summer is right around the corner which leads to the perfect opportunity of getting and staying healthy. Partaking in activities to stay healthy is extremely therapeutic and a complete bonding experience, especially, when you have great company. So why not incorporate Father’s Day and the gift of health and appreciation year round?

Below, we’ve highlighted the top 5 (healthy) gifts for Dad.

Get Involved
Everyone loves a shopping spree; why not take dad for a nice stroll around the mall, a shopping plaza or grocery shopping. Window shopping can also be fun too, with exceptional company.

Reduce Stress
Great stress relievers are often ones that allow you to place focus on other things and/or other tasks. Why not grab dad and start on a fun handy man project, develop story-time together or participate in a fun debate.

Get Fit
Go for a walk, play a game even consider horseplay (be careful of course). Day to day movements can even be amped up a bit to provide a great cardiovascular workout.

Heart Healthy
Why not treat your wonderful Pops to a nutritious breakfast in bed. While you’re at it, plan your day to include some active fun.

Get Checked
It’s extremely important to get regular, health screens. Although, it’s dreaded by most, why not take your dad with you! It would cut the wait time in half and provide great support during the visit.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality lists the following as top health screen choices for males.

• Cholesterol Check. Have cholesterol screened at least every five years, starting at age 35. Have it done at age 20 if you smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of heart disease.

• Blood Pressure. Have it checked at least every two years.

• Colorectal Cancer Tests. Begin testing at age 50.

• Diabetes. Have a test done if male has high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Prostate Cancer Screening. A doctor should be consulted about the risk and benefits of performing the prostate-specific antigen test, or the digital rectal exam.You can find more information about prostate cancer screening by Dr. Viraj Master on the Advancing Your Health blog site.

For more information on how to keep your Dad healthy and male health screening test visit the Agency for Research and Quality and Emory Healthcare’s, Advancing Your Health blog about Prostate Cancer Screening.

Seniors Tango Their Way to Improved Mobility and Coordination

A pretty remarkable study is currently being conducted at Wesley Woods Towers, part of the Wesley Woods Health Center. Researchers are incorporating the tango, yes the Latin American ballroom dance, into senior life at the retirement community. The hope is that its effects will positively benefit mobility, balance, and motor skills of the 20 senior participants. The study, being spearheaded by Atlanta Veterans Affair researcher Madeleine Hackney, PhD, involves seniors ranging in age from 60 to 95 who will participate in 20 tango classes over a period of ten weeks.

To gauge the effects of the dance classes, after all 20 classes have been completed, each senior will participate in a series of standardized assessments to measure the specific physical and emotional benefits achieved from the dance program. However, according to some participants, benefits are already being seen.

For example, Ed Sporleder, a 77-year-old dance program participant notes, “Some people who were having a tough time walking are now able to walk with coordination and larger steps to propel themselves forward. The Emory volunteers are marvelous, and everyone is having a wonderful time.”Wesley Woods Seniors Tango Dancing Video

More than just improved mobility and emotional well being, the tango may also prove to help seniors with low vision and impaired coordination. As Hackney remarks, “There is evidence that it may help frail, older individuals with sensor motor impairments, in terms of balance, gait and coordination. Tango also incorporates the healthy and safe use of motor skills that may be impaired by low vision and other health challenges, such as Parkinson’s disease. […] Tango has simpler basic step elements and less restricted movement patterns than dances like the waltz and foxtrot. Tango dancers must plan their movements ahead of time but because of tango’s great flexibility, dancers can expand their motor repertoire through movement improvisation.”

We will continue to follow this extraordinary story and study and will be sure to follow up via our blog to share the results.