What Are the Risk Factors of Glaucoma in Seniors?

glaucoma in seniorsThe term glaucoma refers to various eye disorders, all of which are progressive and tend to result in damage to the optic nerve (which is a bundle of roughly one million nerve fibers that are responsible for transmitting visual signals from the eye to the brain). Glaucoma is considered to be loss of vision as a result of damage to the nerve tissue.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the form of glaucoma patients experience most often, and it’s caused by an increase in the pressure of the fluid in the eye. Such pressure can cause gradual damage to the optic nerve over time and loss of nerve fibers. It can ultimately result in vision loss and even blindness.

1) How Old You Are

Most people over 60 are at risk, but African Americans tend to experience an increased risk after age 40. After these markers, the risk for glaucoma goes up each year.

2) Your Race

African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to develop glaucoma and to experience permanent vision loss as a result. Asians are more likely to develop angle-closer glaucoma, with people of Japanese descent being especially more likely to get low-tension glaucoma. Latin Americans are most at risk in very elderly populations.

3) Your Family History

If your family has a history of glaucoma, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.

4) Other Medical Conditions

Having certain medical conditions can increase the chances you’ll also develop glaucoma. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and low blood pressure have all been linked to glaucoma. Many people worry about high blood pressure (which can cause vision loss from glaucoma if left untreated), but few people worry about their blood pressure getting too low (hypotension). Nevertheless, hypotension is as serious a medical condition as hypertension and can cause damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.

5) Physical Injuries In And Around The Eye

Getting hit in the eye isn’t just extremely painful, it can also cause the pressure in the eye to escalate, either immediately after the injury and/or some time after the incident itself. Severe trauma to the eye can also dislocate the lens, which causes the drainage angle to close, thereby increasing pressure on the eye and causing all sorts of problems.

6) Other Risk Factors Related To The Eye

The anatomy of the eye itself varies slightly from person to person and the unique way your eyes are constructed might put you at an increased risk for glaucoma. For example, how thick your cornea is and the appearance of your optic nerve can both provide an idea of your personal risk for glaucoma. Conditions you might have developed over time, such as retinal detachment, tumors and any kind of inflammation in or around the eye, can all cause and/or exacerbate glaucoma. Some studies have also suggested you might be at increased risk for glaucoma if you’ve experienced a lot of nearsightedness.

7) Use Of Corticosteroids

Use of corticosteroids for an extended period of time has been linked to secondary glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a frightening prospect that can seriously inhibit our independence along with our vision. Because age is a primary factor in the development of glaucoma, you should be especially vigilant in looking out for it as loved ones get older, especially if they have one or more of the other risk factors.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How To Talk To Your Kids About End-Of-Life Care

end-of-life careNot everyone wants to think about what will happen as they age, especially when it comes to considering possibilities like dementia or a stroke leaving them incapable of making decisions about their own health. But the fact that those possibilities are so frightening is exactly why it’s important to talk to your children about end-of-life care now, before things take a turn for the worse.

Nevertheless, many people continue to put off having this extremely important conversation because it makes them so uncomfortable. Here are some ways you can ease the stress on both you and your children.

1) Plan ahead.

By doing your research ahead of time, you can plan for what comes next. Know what the average costs of end-of-life care are and put a plan in place for how you’re going to pay for it. Even if you don’t currently need an assisted living facility, doing your research and knowing where you want to go if it comes to that can make the transition that much easier on both you and your children.

Not only will this step make you feel better, it will make the idea more palatable for your children. Even those who don’t want to think about what’s coming will most likely find comfort in knowing there’s a plan in place and what that plan is. It will let them see it’s not so bad after all and will create a guideline for them to follow when it’s time to put the plan into action.

Be sure to write everything down and make sure everyone involved has a copy so there will be no second-guessing in the event of an emergency.

2) Talk about it early and often.

You don’t necessarily need to have one big Talk with your children about what they should do as you age. You can drop it into conversations throughout your lives together. As situations arise with friends and family, you can mention what you want done if you ever end up in a similar situation. Make it a two-way conversation by asking them what they think they would want if they found themselves in a vulnerable position. It can help introduce empathy into the discussion by forcing them to consider the situation from the other side, making them more likely to see things from your perspective, and by extension, respect your wishes.

3) Use media to help you broach the subject.

No one likes to hear the words, “We need to talk,” and trying to start a conversation that way can sometimes have the unintentional effect of making everyone defensive before the conversation has even begun. In order to avoid that, you can watch a show or movie together that addresses the issue. Talk about a book or show them an article you recently read on the topic. Use that as an icebreaker to start discussing the issue in general before moving on to what you specifically want to happen at the end of your life.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Top 5 Questions Answered About Elder Law

elder lawThe following are some top questions asked about elder law and the answers to them.

Q: What is an elder law attorney?

A: Elder law attorneys are lawyers whose specialty is helping seniors with a variety of legal issues. The specialty of elder law came about in the 1980’s when it became clear that the difficult issues confronting seniors, such as nursing home care, were way beyond the expertise of general practice attorneys.

Elder law attorneys can help families with:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • Guardianship
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Social Security

Elder law is unlike other areas of law. If is defined by the needs of the client rather than by a particular field of law. Therefore, elder attorneys are so aware that the needs of their clients usually extend beyond basic legal services. Elder attorneys are linked to a network of professionals who serve the senior population in their community.

Q: Should I buy long-term care insurance for my elder?

A: With nursing home care now costing as much as $10,000 per month across the country, a long-term care need can deplete the best planned estate. The purchase of long-term care insurance can be vital for an elder needing care, as well as for their family and main caregiver. One great plus of this insurance is that most plans now cover care at home or at an assisted living community.

The downside to this is the premiums, which most seniors can’t afford. There is also the refusal of the insurance companies to guarantee the rates. Another downturn is that the people who want to purchase these policies are often turned down for health reasons. To avoid this, purchase this kind of policy while you are young and healthy. You can also shop around as every company has their own underwriting criteria.

Q: When do I need a guardianship?

A: The standard that determines when a person will require a guardian differs from state to state. There are even differences within the states, depending on whether a complete guardianship is needed or a conservatorship is needed over finances. Normally, a person is judged to need a guardian when they show a lack of capacity to make responsible decisions on their own.

Q: What long-term services can an elder get as a veteran?

A: The Veterans Administration offers many long-term are options through its health plan. Some long-term care services are limited to certain veterans: nursing home and domiciliary care are not automatically available to all veterans that are enrolled in the VA health plan. Veterans with service-connected disabilities receive priority or nursing home care. A domiciliary is a VA facility that provides care in a home-like setting for veterans disabled by age or disease who are not in need of acute hospital stays and do not need skilled nursing services provided by a nursing home.

Q: When should you start taking social security?

A: As you near retirement, you need to decide when you will start taking your social security benefits. You have 3 choices:

  • Begin taking benefits between age 62 and your full retirement age
  • Wait until your full retirement age
  • Delay benefits and take them any time up until the age of 70

More than 2/3 of people take theirs early. Some of them don’t have a choice. They need the money. But it might make more sense for others to delay benefits. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision that depends on whether you keep working, your health, your life expectancy, your spouse’s needs, and retirement plan availability.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.