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Simple modifications can make a home safer for family members with dementia. "More than 15 million Americans, usually family members or friends, provide unpaid caregiving to people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, according to a 2014 report by the Alzheimer's Association."

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Kerry Mills, coauthor with Jennifer Brush of the book I Care: A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia, says this process is similar to that of new parents making a house "childproof." Many of the concerns are similar, such as stairs, electrical sockets, sharp objects, and swimming pools.


Mills suggests several modifications to make a home safer for someone with dementia.


* Outside doors. Place bells on doors and install motion sensors with lights or alarms to indicate when someone leaves the house. Additional lighting at entrances is also important to minimize falls.


* Stairways and hallways. Reflective tape strips on stair edges increase visibility. Remove obstacles, mats, or other tripping hazards. Handrails in hallways and stairways provide stability. A gate on the stairway helps prevent falls. Make these areas well-lit.


* Bathroom. A raised toilet seat helps both the individual with dementia and the caregiver so he or she does not need to lift the person on/off the toilet. Grab bars inside and outside of the tub, and a nonskid surface in the tub, reduce falls. Colorful tape at the edge of the tub or shower increases visibility. Reduce the water temperature or install an antiscald valve to prevent burns and remove drain plugs from sinks or tubs to avoid flooding.


* Lost. Provide your loved one with an identification or GPS bracelet, in case he or she wanders. Label clothes with the person's name, contact information, and condition.-News and Experts Press Release, 1/16/2015




Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are common and costly. The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society backs an initiative by the American Nurses Association (ANA) to reduce CAUTIs. Through an assessment and decision-making tool, registered nurses (RNs) and other clinicians can use this bedside tool to determine the best care.


"The CAUTI Tool incorporates best practices, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The CAUTI Tool is a one-page guide to assist clinicians in determining whether it's appropriate to insert a urinary catheter; recommending alternative treatments for urinary retention and incontinence; evaluating indicators for timely catheter removal to prevent harm; and following a checklist on catheter insertion and cues for essential maintenance and post-removal care."-Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society Press Release, 2/10/2015



It seems a shift is occurring in the types of wellness programs desired by employees. In the past, Lee County, Iowa, employees were encouraged to take part in a 10-week program and be reimbursed by the county for completion. However, Benefits Coordinator Brandi Hull said the popularity of the program is decreasing. In recent years, the number of people participating in the Live Healthy Iowa Challenge has declined.


Hull sent out a survey, asking if the employee had ever taken part in the program, if he or she planned to participate this year, and what would entice him or her to take part in the program. It turns out many people desired something new or fun. "I also learned that 60% of the respondents wanted full or partial reimbursements to a gym membership," Hull said. She also reported that many employees wanted something lasting longer than 10 weeks; they needed something to get them through the winter months.- Accessed 4/21/2015



Spontaneous preterm delivery appears to double a woman's risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD), according to results of a study published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (doi:10.1177/2047487314566758). The findings resulted from a systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 significant cohort studies from five European countries. Sample sizes ranged from 3,706 to 923,686, with follow-up from 12 to 35 years.


Analysis of the results demonstrated that spontaneous preterm delivery was associated with statistically significant increased risks in all parameters measured:


* the risk of fatal and nonfatal ischemic heart disease increased by 38% (hazard ratio 1.38)


* the risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke increased by 71% (HR 1.71)


* and the risk of overall fatal and nonfatal CVD more than doubled (HR 2.01).



Despite heterogeneity among the individual study results, the investigators of this analysis said the increased risks for women with a history of spontaneous preterm delivery were "observed consistently" when compared with those in women with term delivery, and they described the positive association as "robust." Preterm delivery, defined as delivery before 37 weeks, occurs in 12% to 13% of pregnancies in the United States, and 5% to 11% in Europe. Around one-third are medically indicated, often because of preeclampsia and fetal growth restrictions.


Karst Heida, MD, lead study author, said, "There was as yet insufficient evidence to include spontaneous preterm delivery in the accepted cardiovascular risk charts or in the standard prevention guidelines." Heida agrees that a history of spontaneous preterm delivery may identify women who are at an increased risk of CVD and that such women should be encouraged to optimize modifiable risk factors to reduce their risk of future CVD.-European Society of Cardiology Press Release, 2/9/2015



The teen years are an emotional trip. It seems the trip is getting increasingly difficult, especially for girls. New research notes emotional problems are on the rise, with a 55% increase between 2009 and 2014. Other measured areas, such as mental health and behavioral issues, did not see a notable rise during the same period. Some feel social media, increasing academic pressure, and stress over body image are fueling the increase in anxiety.


"The research, conducted by University College London (UCL) and the Anna Freud Centre, compared the mental health of 1,683 11 to 13-year-old boys and girls in 2009 with the same number of pupils in 2014. The pupils were matched by age, gender, ethnicity, eligibility for free school meals, and the overall socio-economic mix of their schools. According to figures published in the Journal of Adolescent Health (Volume 56, Issue 5, pp. 502-507), the number of girls at risk of emotional problems rose from 13% to 20% in 2014 - meaning that, in an average class of around 30 pupils, where previously one or two girls might have exhibited emotional problems, now there would be three."


Elian Fink, PhD, lead author, said: "Five years is a relatively short period of time, so we were surprised to see such a sharp spike in emotional problems among girls.... This makes us think that there must have been significant changes over the past five years which have specifically affected young girls."- Accessed 4/21/2015



"I am not altogether sure how to think of heaven. Jesus offered a series of metaphors for the kingdom of heaven, each rich with suggestions, all of them ambiguous.... As I spend these lengthening hours in bed, it helps me to go through a litany of trust, commending to God's care each beloved person, one by one, praying for deep reassurance that they will be held in that care as they go through their mourning. They will die, as I will, when the times comes, and I see that part of my work now is to confront my death in ways that may encourage them in facing their own. Letting go is a lesson we get over and over, in small ways and larger ones, each time preparing for this last letting go. As Mary Oliver writes so helpfully, we are called to 'love what is mortal,' and 'when the time comes to let it go/let it go.'"-From A Faithful Farewell: Living Your Last Chapter Well by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, 2015, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker, JCN Associate Editor