168 episodes

In today's busy society, people aren't typically thinking about aging or elder care. By 2030, there will be more older adults than children under age 5 for the first time in human history. Here's a fantastic podcast with different topics ranging from clinical care of older adults to things that family caregivers need to know. Hosted by Dr. Melissa Batchelor (MelissaBPhD) 'This Is Getting Old' highlights all of the things we need to do to create an age-friendly world - because when things are age-friendly, they are friendly for everyone.

This Is Getting Old Podcast with Melissa B PhD Melissa B PhD

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

In today's busy society, people aren't typically thinking about aging or elder care. By 2030, there will be more older adults than children under age 5 for the first time in human history. Here's a fantastic podcast with different topics ranging from clinical care of older adults to things that family caregivers need to know. Hosted by Dr. Melissa Batchelor (MelissaBPhD) 'This Is Getting Old' highlights all of the things we need to do to create an age-friendly world - because when things are age-friendly, they are friendly for everyone.

    EP170: Dementia 101

    EP170: Dementia 101

    The challenges caused by dementia can affect your ability to function in your daily life.
    —Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
     
    What are the different types of dementia and how to differentiate them?
     
    Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect memory, language, problem-solving, and thinking skills, impacting your daily life.
     
    Tune in to today’s episode where I’ll explain in detail what dementia is, discuss common types, and share insights on how to recognize them and access the FREE handout that you can download: 10 Warning Signs  of Alzheimer’s disease and a checklist of things your provider should check if you’re worried about your memory or the memory of someone you love.
    COMMON SYMPTOMS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
    ALZHEIMER’S DEMENTIA
    Alzheimer's dementia stands as the most common form of dementia, comprising 60-80% of cases. Recognizing its symptoms is crucial, including difficulty remembering recent conversations, names, or events, reduced enjoyment of activities, communication challenges like struggling to find words, and the overall impact on language use and understanding.
    VASCULAR DEMENTIA
     
    Vascular dementia is a condition that affects thinking, planning, judgment, memory, and other cognitive processes due to brain damage caused by reduced blood flow. This may show signs like slurred thoughts or decision-making challenges. Everyday tasks, such as filling out forms or planning events, may become a bit harder. It's important to notice these signs early for timely help and support.
     
    FRONTOTEMPORAL DEGENERATION (FTD)
     
    Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a progressive brain disease. This means over time; it causes parts of your brain to deteriorate and stop working.
    There's also a lot of denial that there is a memory problem and you may see less emotional expression, known as either having a flat affect or being apathetic. Notably, this is the type of dementia Bruce Willis is dealing with. When reports surfaced about his memory issues, they linked it to aphasia - the struggle with using and understanding language.
     
    PARKINSON’S DEMENTIA (PD)
     
    Parkinson’s disease can cause a form of dementia known as Parkinson’s dementia (PD). This condition is marked by a decline in thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving.
     
    Parkinson’s dementia often involves falling, distinguishing it from others. While Lewy body and Frontotemporal dementia also involve falling, the direction varies – forward for Lewy body and backward for Parkinson's.
     
    LEWY BODY DEMENTIA (LBD)
     
    Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Early symptoms of Lewy body dementia include sleep disturbances, vivid visual hallucinations like seeing bugs or strangers, and difficulty with visual-spatial awareness, affecting one's sense of space and time.
     
    Get your FREE downloads at https://melissabphd.com/  from the Blog page that goes with this episode or using the links below.
     
    10 Warning Signs: https://melissabphd.com/10warningsigns/
    Diagnosis Checklist: https://melissabphd.com/diagnosischecklist/
     
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    About MelissaBPhD
     
    Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse Please visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly, and/or support future episodes of the podcast. Within the first 18 months of launching this podcast, we reached a ranking of top 10% globally. 
     
    The best way you can help the podcast continue to grow is to LIKE the podcast with a thumbs up, SHARE the podcasts you like with others, SUBSCRIBE, and LEAVE A REVIEW. These things only take a minute of your time, but they really do help increase my rating and ranking; but more importantly, these actions help other people find the podcast. 
     
    For the most u

    • 15 min
    EP169: Dressing Your Age with Cyndy Porter

    EP169: Dressing Your Age with Cyndy Porter

    When someone insists that you should “dress your age,”
    it's inherently an ageist remark.
    —Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
     
    What does it mean to be told that you need to “dress your age”? At its core, being told to “dress your age” is an ageist statement. 
     
    Has anyone ever said something along these lines to you? Or maybe you restrict yourself by saying that you’re “too old” or “too young” to wear a certain style of clothing or shoes? Or have a certain hairstyle? Or how you wear your makeup? 
     
    In today’s episode, I am joined by Cyndy Porter who is a certified image consultant, personal stylist, fashion expert and award-winning photographer based in northern Virginia. I worked with her personally in 2015 ~ and today, she and I are going to have a conversation about owning your style at any age.
     
     ▶ Dressing Your Age with Cyndy Porter
     
    Feeling youthful goes beyond appearances and fashion choices; it's an inner outlook on life that defines us. In my field of work, I've had the pleasure of encountering numerous amazing individuals in their 90s who radiated youthfulness. Similarly, I've come across some less vibrant 40-year-olds who see the world through hazy lenses.
     
    It goes back to who you are, staying youthful and being positive and keeping those mental thoughts in the right place then showing up in the world in a way that represents that. 
    Cyndy emphasizes that it all comes down to self-confidence, regardless of your age. Style and fashion are employed as tools to present the best version of yourself. While people may think that's superficial, a change in a piece of clothing or lipstick makes transformational changes in people's lives. 
     
    When it comes to developing or revamping our personal style, there are some key elements we should keep in mind. Cyndy refers to these as the Principles of Design and Art, and they include:
    Emphasis
    Scale
    Color
    Contrast
    Repetition
    Unity and Variety
    Principles of Design and Art - https://successthrustyle.com/principles-of-design-and-art/ 
     
    Dressing well and dressing according to one's body type, personality and values ultimately creates a timeless sense of fashion and boosts long-lasting confidence. 
     
    Find out the five adjectives that will perfectly describe the image you aspire to achieve for yourself and the avatars that will clarify your signature style
     
    Adjectives Worksheet:
    https://successthrustyle.com/style-adjective-worksheets/ 
    Success Thru Style Avatars: Free PDF:
    https://successthrustyle.com/success-thru-style-avatars/
    Your Own Style Summary Sheet:
    https://successthrustyle.com/resources/style-summary-sheet/
    Cyndy Porter is an image consultant and personal coach who works with professionals helping them look and feel confident and attract success. She received her degree in marketing, from California State University, Chico. She spent 20 years as a sales and marketing professional in high-tech companies. Her stops included WAIS (one of the first Internet companies in existence) and Kodak. Her final stop on the corporate ladder was as a divisional Vice President of Marketing at American Online (AOL). Thereafter, Cyndy became an award-winning professional photographer. She is a certified image consultant and story coach. Her clients have gone on to start their businesses, multiply their incomes, change careers, be promoted, and forge healthy relationships.
     
    How to Connect with Cyndy:
    Cyndy’s website: https://successthrustyle.com/ – Book a Strategy Call 
    Watch Cyndy’s TEDx Pearl Street Talk - https://successthrustyle.com/cyndys-ted-talk/ 
    You can also find her on:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/successthruStyle/ 
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cyndyporter/ 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/successthruStyle/ 
    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cyndyporter/ 
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    About MelissaB

    • 27 min
    EP168: How Does Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Progress?

    EP168: How Does Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Progress?

    The speed at which dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person. 
    —Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
     
    How does Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress?
     
    The speed at which dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person based on a lot of factors. 
     
    Tune in to today’s episode where I’ll talk you through the progression of dementia through the different stages and access two free resources that you can download: One on the 10 Warning Signs  of Alzheimer’s disease and a Checklist of things your provider should check if you’re worried about your memory or the memory of someone you love.
    PRECLINICAL ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
    Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative disease that starts with preclinical Alzheimer's disease which is age-related memory changes. Symptoms are usually noticeable, but not significant. People will report growing trouble with their memory, such as forgetting names of people they've known for a long time. Or trying to remember where they put their keys or their wallet – but in most cases they do remember these things later. 
    MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
     
    Over time, this forgetfulness may develop into a true mild cognitive impairment. At this stage, there’s much clearer evidence of memory loss that the person’s close family and friends will notice, but not other people. Biomarkers may show up on a PET scan or an analysis of the cerebral spinal fluid and the brain is not able to compensate as well.
    MILD DEMENTIA
     
    The next stage is mild dementia which is a moderate level of cognitive decline. We can detect clear signs of this disease in a clinical situation and will have the biomarker changes. With careful evaluation, people in this stage often have trouble remembering different parts of their personal life experiences and may not be able to understand current events or have more trouble with math.
     
    There's also a lot of denial that there is a memory problem and you may see less emotional expression, known as either having a flat affect or being apathetic. 
     
    MODERATE DEMENTIA 
     
    The next stage is moderate dementia. Memory issues are going to show up on a clinical exam. People living in this stage have trouble remembering important parts of their life, including their address, the names of their close friends or family members, their hometown, or what school they went to. 
     
    While they have trouble with recent memories, a lot of times, the major life events from their past are still retained, and they can still get to the bathroom and eat by themselves. But they would not be safe to stay at home alone.
     
    SEVERE DEMENTIA
     
    The next stage is Severe dementia. The person has occasional trouble remembering the name of their spouse, partner, or caregiver. They will continue to have a hard time recalling recent life experiences or events. And they will have trouble counting down from 10. We may see some changes in personality and behavior, trouble with sleeping and may begin to need assistance for basic daily activities.
     
    SEVERE/ END-STAGE DEMENTIA
     
    The last stage is Very severe or end- stage dementia where the person has lost all of their independence related to thinking, memory and control over their body. They are going to need assistance with eating, bathing and using the bathroom. They will become incontinent, and they have lost the ability to use and/ or understand words. They will become bedridden and begin to have trouble with chewing and swallowing food. When someone gets to end stage dementia, they typically do not live longer than six months.
     
    Get your FREE downloads at https://melissabphd.com/  from the Blog page that goes with this episode or using the links below.
     
    10 Warning Signs
    Diagnosis Checklist
     
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    About MelissaBPhD
     
    Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAA

    • 14 min
    EP167: How is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Diagnosed?

    EP167: How is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Diagnosed?

    There is no single test that can determine if you have Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or a blend of both. 
    —Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
     
    Have you ever wondered why it takes so long to get to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia? 
     
    The good news is that it should take a bit of time – because it is a diagnosis of exclusion – meaning any other issues have to be ruled out. So it’s a little more complicated than a single test can tell us.
     
    In today’s episode, I will walk you through the types of tests, exams, and screenings that should be done to help your provider get to a diagnosis. Stay tuned! 
     
    ▶ How is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Diagnosed?
     
    Investigating possible causes and early diagnosis is important because:
    While there is no cure, there may be another underlying cause that is treatable/ reversible, or you have time to make lifestyle modifications that may help manage the disease.
    It can explain why you’re having a harder time with your memory or decision-making
    You can make decisions about your future and communicate those to your loved ones
    There isn’t a single test. Any type of dementia is a “diagnosis of exclusion.”
    HISTORY 
    PHYSICAL EXAM
    MEDICATION RECONCILIATION
    COGNITIVE SCREENINGS
    BLOODWORK
    BRAIN SCAN
    HISTORY
    Social History (modifiable risk factors)
    Family History
    Medical History – chronic diseases
    Surgical History – history of post-op delirium
    Review of systems
    PHYSICAL EXAM
    Vital signs
    Head-to-toe
    MEDICATION RECONCILIATION
    Review of prescription medications, supplements and over-the-counter medication
    COGNITIVE SCREENING
    Screening for Depression
    Screening for Memory Issues
     
    Basic parts of the test measure:
    Orientation (date, day, year, month)
    Language (verbal fluency and naming)
    Reason and computation (calculation and abstraction)
    Visuospatial ability (replicating a 3-D image, clock drawing test)
    Executive function (problem-solving)
    Memory
    Mini-Cog
    Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE)
    Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA)
    Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam
    Online test can be found here; there are 4 version that you can download or you can take it online
    BLOOD WORK
    BRAIN SCAN
    Head CT and MRIs – Look at brain structure 
    PET Scan – Uses a small amount of radioactive substance to measure
    brain activity; can measure abnormal protein deposits in the brain
    SPECT: Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography - A nuclear test that looks at blood flow and activity.
    Get your checklist at  https://melissabphd.com/diagnosischecklist/
     
    #alzheimers #dementia #alzheimersawareness #caregiver #dementiaawareness #alzheimersdisease #seniorliving #homecare #healthcare #health #caregiversupport #care #memorycare #aging #thisisgettingold #melissabphd
     
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    About MelissaBPhD
     
    Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly, and/or support future episodes of the podcast. Within the first 18 months of launching this podcast, we reached a ranking of top 10% globally. I have all of you who’ve been with me on this journey so far to thank for that! 
     
    The best way you can help the podcast continue to grow is to LIKE the podcast with a thumbs up, SHARE the podcasts you like with others, SUBSCRIBE, and LEAVE A REVIEW. These things only take a minute of your time, but they really do help increase my rating and ranking; but more importantly, these actions help other people find the podcast.
     
    For the most up-to-date news and information about the podcast and other products and services I am offering

    • 18 min
    EP166: Improving Memory by Avoiding These 7 Drugs

    EP166: Improving Memory by Avoiding These 7 Drugs

    Be especially cautious with anticholinergics if you are concerned about your memory, diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or dementia, or want to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. 
    —Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
     
    Anticholinergics are medications that block acetylcholine, a crucial neurotransmitter in the body. This blocking leads to lower brain function and can cause drowsiness. While some people take these drugs for their sedative effects, these drugs can be problematic for someone who has a vulnerable brain – meaning a person already experiencing memory problems.
     
    Research links anticholinergic drugs to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and hospitalizations in older adults. The American Geriatrics Society warns against these drugs, listing them on the Beers List updated in May of 2023 of medications older adults should avoid or use cautiously.
    Common Anticholinergic Medications to Avoid
     
    Anticholinergics are present in allergy medicines, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and many over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
     
    Here are seven types of anticholinergic medications that older adults should be cautious about:
    Sedating antihistamines: e.g., diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a prime example as a medication that is available over-the-counter but has strong anticholinergic activity. Non-sedating antihistamines, such as loratadine (brand name Claritin) are less anticholinergic and are safer for the brain.
     
    PM versions of OTC pain medications: Most OTC pain medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen (brand names Tylenol and Motrin, respectively) come in a “PM” or night-time formulation, which means a mild sedative — usually an antihistamine — has been mixed in. The same is true for night-time cold and cough medications such as Nyquil.
     
    Medications for overactive bladder: These include bladder relaxants such as oxybutynin and tolterodine (brand names Ditropan and Detrol, respectively).
     
    Medications for vertigo or motion sickness: Meclizine (brand name Antivert) is often prescribed to treat benign positional vertigo. It’s also used to treat motion sickness.
     
    Medications for itching: These include the strong antihistamines hydroxyzine (brand name Vistaril) and diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl), which are often prescribed for itching or hives.
     
    Medications for nerve pain: An older class of antidepressant known as “tricyclics” isn’t used for depression that much any longer, but these drugs are occasionally still used to treat pain from neuropathy. Commonly-used tricyclics include amitriptyline and nortriptyline.
     
    Muscle relaxants: These include drugs such as cyclobenzaprine (brand name Flexeril) and they are often prescribed for back or neck pain.
    Also Paxil (paroxetine) is an SSRI-type anti-depression/anxiety drug that is anticholinergic which is why this drug is almost never prescribed for older adults by a provider with expertise in geriatrics. However, other SSRIs, including Lexapro (Escitalopram), Celexa (Citalopram), and Zoloft (Sertraline) are not anticholinergic, which is why SSRIs aren’t on the list above.
    Find out if you are on an anticholinergic medication by consulting a list or using an "anticholinergic burden scale" calculator.  If you discover that you or a relative is taking such medications, consult a doctor or pharmacist to discuss potential adjustments, safer alternatives, or non-drug treatments.
     
    Read more about the BEERS LIST here: 
    👉🏻https://www.americangeriatrics.org/media-center/news/many-older-adults-take-multiple-medications-updated-ags-beers-criteriar-will-help
    #anticholinergicdrugs #anticholinergics #alzheimers #dementiarisk #caregiver #aging #thisisgettingold #melissabphd
     
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    About MelissaBPhD
     
    Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse

    • 7 min
    EP165: 10 Tips for Preparing for a Primary Care Medical Visit

    EP165: 10 Tips for Preparing for a Primary Care Medical Visit

    Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it comes to medical appointments.
    —Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
     
    Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it comes to medical appointments. Even helping an aging parent with medical visits can be challenging with so many different health record portals and not all systems or providers talk to one another.
     
    In this week’s episode, I’m sharing 10 Tips for Preparing for a Primary Care Medical Visit. 
     
    1. Create a Medical Information Folder or Binder:
    Organize important information, including a list of medications, medical history, and any allergies.
    Organize all of your After Visit Summaries from your provider(s)/ specialist(s) after your appointments – you can keep these as far back as a year; then move them over to another binder and keep them in a safe place in case you ever need them again.
    Keep a front section with abbreviated notes about all medical encounters in chronological order.
    Separate each section with a tab so you can find information easily.
    2. Maintain a Daily Journal:
    Important information to track daily includes taking all medications (or reasons why taking medications has been challenging); daily or weekly weights with dates/ times taken (along with other vital signs); meal intake percentages; sleeping patterns; physical activity patterns; and a log of the person's behavior, symptoms, and any changes in their condition.
    Keep an on-going list of questions that come up each day (or week) to ask your provider.
    3. Schedule Appointments at the Best Time:
    Choose appointment times when the person with Alzheimer's is usually more alert. 
    Avoid scheduling times when they typically experience sundowning (increased confusion and agitation in the late afternoon and evening).
    4. Bring a Companion or Record the Visit as a Memo on Your Phone:
    Have another family member or friend accompany you to the appointment. 
    This person can provide support, take notes, and offer comfort to the individual with Alzheimer's.
    Record your visit so you can listen to it later to make sure you understood everything that was said.
    5. Prepare a List of Questions:
     
    Before the appointment, review your list of on-going questions and write down the questions or concerns with your most pressing questions listed first.
    By doing this, you won't forget important questions and helps to make sure all of your questions were answered.
     
    6. Be Ready for Behavioral Changes:
    Individuals with Alzheimer's may exhibit challenging behaviors during medical visits. 
    If you sense a problem arising, stop and think through the C3P Problem-Solving Framework (Change the Person, People or Place – listen to the full episode for more details on this) and see if you can identify the reason and fix it before the behavior becomes difficult to manage.
    Inform the doctor if you anticipate any specific issues and discuss strategies to address them.
    7. Bring Comfort Items:
    Pack items that provide comfort to the person, such as a favorite blanket, a book, a family photo, or a playlist of calming music.
    8. Update Emergency Contact Information:
    Make sure the doctor's office has the right phone numbers & updated emergency contact information for both you and the person with Alzheimer's.
    Provide clear instructions on how to reach you in case of any issues.
    9. Communicate Changes in Function:
    Report any changes in the person's cognitive or physical abilities since the last visit. 
    Let the doctor know if the person can't do things they used to do. 
    This helps the doctor understand how the disease is going, will be better able to guide you about what to do next, and make necessary adjustments to the care plan.
    10. Know the Plan for Follow-Up Care:
    Talk about what comes next, like

    • 14 min

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