Helpful information from repuatable sources about caring for yourself or a loved one who has a debilitating condition.

Hearing loss occurs in approximately one in three people age 65 to 74 and nearly one in two people age 75 and older in the United States, making it one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability, a report that highlights the importance of hearing health to communication and overall quality of life, and proposes recommendations to increase the availability and affordability of hearing health care.

NIA-funded research has indicated that hearing loss may impact cognition and dementia risk in older adults. A 2011 study found that older adults with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than older adults with normal hearing. In fact, there was a relationship between level of uncorrected hearing loss and level of dementia risk: mild hearing loss was associated with a two-fold increase in risk; moderate hearing loss with a three-fold increase in risk, and severe hearing loss with a five-fold increase in risk. (Lin et al., 2011).

Furthermore, a more recent study found that cognitive abilities (including memory and concentration) declined faster in older adults with hearing loss, as compared to older adults with normal hearing (Lin et al., 2013). These observations by scientists raise the question: can cognitive decline and/or dementia onset be slowed or stopped by correcting hearing loss?

Trial launched to test hearing intervention impact on cognitive decline

The NIA has recently funded the Aging, Cognition, and Hearing Evaluation in Elders (ACHIEVE) clinical trial led by Drs. Frank Lin and Josef Coresh at Johns Hopkins University to examine the potential benefits of hearing rehabilitation. ACHIEVE will recruit 850 cognitively normal adults aged 70-84 with hearing loss from four locations (Hagerstown MD, Jackson MS, Minneapolis MN, and Winston-Salem NC). Individuals will be randomly assigned to either the hearing intervention (hearing needs assessment, fitting of hearing devices, education/counseling) or control intervention (health education).

ACHIEVE participants will be followed for three years and information on hearing function, cognition, and demographics (e.g. age, sex, education level) will be collected at several timepoints. The primary outcome of the study will be to determine if the hearing rehabilitative intervention changes the rates of cognitive decline as compared to the group receiving health education. Additionally, the researchers will examine if the intervention impacts physical and social functioning, quality of life, and physical activity.

This trial should further our knowledge on the relationship between age-related hearing loss and cognition and dementia. For further information on the trial, please visit www.achievestudy.org.

References

Lin FR, Metter EJ, O’Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementiaArch Neurol. 2011;68(2):214–220.

Lin FR, Yaffe K, Xia J, Xue Q, Harris TB, Purchase-Helzner E, Satterfield S, Ayonayon HN, Ferrucci L, Simonsick EM, Health ABC Study Group. Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adultsJAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):293–299.

Information provided by NIA (National Insittute on Aging)

Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 vitamins—vitamins C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate).

Vitamins have different jobs--helping you resist infections, keeping your nerves healthy, and helping your body get energy from food or your blood to clot properly. By following the Dietary Guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from food.

Minerals also help your body function. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities. Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.

Vitamins and minerals are measured in a variety of ways. The most common are:

mg – milligram
mcg – microgram
IU – international unit

Your doctor might suggest that, like some older adults, you need extra of a few vitamins, as well as the mineral calcium. It is usually better to get the nutrients you need from food, rather than a pill. That’s because nutrient-dense foods contain other things that are good for you, like fiber. Look for foods fortified with certain vitamins and minerals, like some B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D. That means those nutrients are added to the foods to help you meet your needs.

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Dietary supplements are substances you might use to add nutrients to your diet or to lower your risk of health problems, like osteoporosis or arthritis. Dietary supplements come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, gel tabs, extracts, or liquids. They might contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs or other plants, or enzymes. Sometimes, the ingredients in dietary supplements are added to foods, including drinks. A doctor’s prescription is not needed to buy dietary supplements.

Should I Take a Dietary Supplement?

Do you need one? Maybe you do, but usually not. Ask yourself why you think you might want to take a dietary supplement. Are you concerned about getting enough nutrients? Is a friend, a neighbor, or someone on a commercial suggesting you take one?

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Long distance caregiving tips for success

If you live an hour or more away from a person who needs care, you are a long-distance caregiver. This kind of care can take many forms—from helping with money management  and arranging for in-home care to providing respite care for a primary caregiver and planning for emergencies.

Long-distance caregiving presents unique challenges. If you find yourself in the long-distance caregiving role, here is a summary of things to keep in mind.

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Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and well-being.

Older people who don’t get enough of the right nutrients can be too thin or too heavy. Some may be too thin because they don’t get enough food. But others might be overweight partly because they get too much of the wrong types of foods. Keeping track of what you are eating could help you see which foods you should eat less of, more of, or not at all.

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