Caregiving

The plight of nursing home residents in a pandemic

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Many nursing homes have had high rates of illness and deaths from COVID-19 and efforts to keep residents safer have caused widespread isolation. As states loosen restrictions, what does the path forward look like?

Helping people with autism spectrum disorder manage masks and COVID-19 tests

Robyn Thom, MD

Contributor

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges for people with autism spectrum disorder. Adapting to wearing face masks and the experience of a COVID-19 test are particularly challenging, but there are strategies that can help these individuals meet the challenges.

What works best for treating depression and anxiety in dementia?

There is evidence that antidepressants are not effective in older people with dementia. Emerging research suggests that nondrug, psychosocial interventions are the most effective treatments for depression or anxiety in older adults with cognitive impairment.

The role of our minds in the avoidance of falls

Brad Manor, PhD

Contributor

In older people, the majority of falls occur when someone is standing or walking while also performing a separate cognitive or motor task. These tasks require more cognitive effort as we age, but focus and awareness can prevent falls from happening.

What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia?

When people with dementia start exhibiting agitated behaviors, doctors often prescribe medications, but these have risks of serious side effects. A new study found that nondrug interventions were more effective than medications in reducing agitation.

What is palliative care, and who can benefit from it?

Palliative care improves comfort and quality of life for people with serious illness and their families, yet many people who could benefit from these services are not taking advantage of them.

Preventing falls in older adults: Multiple strategies are better

Brad Manor, PhD

Contributor

Falls among older adults are on the rise, but most are preventable. To do this, interventions must target the multiple factors that contribute to falls, taking steps to minimize them or prevent them entirely.

Post-hospital syndrome: Tips to keep yourself or a loved one healthy after hospitalization

Post-hospital syndrome is a period of vulnerability after a patient is discharged from the hospital that leaves a person at increased risk for rehospitalization. Patients and their loved ones can take steps to minimize or prevent effects of post-hospital syndrome.

Self-care for the caregiver

Marlynn Wei, MD, JD

Contributing Editor

The challenges of caregiving can easily lead to burnout. If you are a caregiver it’s extremely important to pay attention to your needs and make sure you care for yourself physically and emotionally.

Leaving time for last words

When a person needs to be intubated to help them breathe, they are unable to speak, and if something happens it’s possible for someone to die without a chance to have a final conversation with their loved ones. But it’s possible for doctors to adjust intubation protocol to allow for such a conversation.