Elderly people suffering from advance dementia may not find life that easy. Alzheimer’s is the most common advanced dementia and most often, people at nursing homes don’t see many days left for them.

There is a recent study by DK Kiely and colleagues of Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research in Boston Massachusetts. They found out that hospice people are more likely to receive opioids on a regular basis to reduce pain and for dyspnea treatment. However, these elderly have many unmet needs.

In this study, 323 nursing home residents were monitored with advanced dementia for the period of six months. Twenty six percent of them were referred to hospice. A hospice is someone who is nonwhite in race, has eating problems and had fewer than 6 months to live. The hospice residents are the ones who were most likely to be treated with opioids for pain. This is given with oxygen, scopolamine, morphine and hyoscamine.

This study was published in the December 2010 issue of Journal of American geriatrics Society. It was noted that dementia is a disabling illness. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of this which has no cure and affects up to 5 million Americans. Risks of developing Alzhemer’s can be reduced by trying Mediterranean diet and physical activities.