Family inHome Caregiving Blog
For the third year in a row, Social Security, VA, disability and federal retirement recipients will receive a cost of living increase (COLA) of less than 2%. The increase, beginning in January, will officially be announced on Wednesday and most seniors don't think it will be enough. "For the middle class, for people that don't qualify for low-income programs, they are dipping into savings or they are borrowing against their homes," Mary Johnson of The Senior Citizens League, told the Monterey Herald. Sadly, for the first 35 years the COLA was less than 2% only three times but in recent years this has become common. This will be the fifth time in six years that it's less than 2%.
The front page of The Monterey Herald carried a heartwarming story of Pacific Grove's Lucrecia "Bevva" Cambas who just turned 100 years old. Born in Argentina, in 1914, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 38. She was interviewed sitting in her living room playing the piano, her own composition of a tango. She is a composer, a pianist, artist and composer and now an Octogenarian. It's wonderful to hear stories from people like this. Bevva taught literature, history, language and drama as well as founding the Spanish-language theater, La Farsa, while an employee at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Economic cutbacks at MIIS forced her into retirement at age 62. Little did she know her retirement would last so long! We have had many clients at Family inHome Caregiving over the years which were over 100. Most of our current clients are in their 90's. They all have great stories like Bevva and most have a very positive outlook on life which has taken them far. Bevva has some great advice to give to us all. "The big secret is love the life. Life is beautiful."
Much has been written about how good the Mediterranean diet is for you. Dr. Michael Roizen, the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, a specialist on having a healthy body and brain, recommends adding the following foods to your diet:
• Omega – 3 fats
• Salmon, trout
• Flax seeds
• Chia seeds/grain
• Caffeine In tea, coffee
• Flavonoids and polyphenols
• Brown rice
• Almost any fruit or vegetable
• Apples (especially skin)
• Insoluble fiber
As well as avoiding the following
• Avoid saturated fat (more than 4 grams in a meal)
• Trans fat (totally)
• Added sugars, syrups (any)
• Any grain but 100% whole grain
Soda and other product that are high in sugar are also to be avoided, and for added health to the brain he recommends:
• Social connections
• A purpose in life
• Mental game stimulation
• Challenging new tasks
• Deep breathing
• A few (1-2) minutes of very intense exercise three times
a week following 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise
(heart rate greater than 80% of 220 minus your calendar
age): the single most important item in this section
These are all good suggestions. At Family inHome Caregiving, we stress eating right, getting the appropriate amount of exercise and social interaction is also very important.
I am happy to say that business is booming at Family inHome Caregiving! We have had a greater than anticipated influx of new Clients over the past two weeks, many of which have been referrals from past and current Clients. Our reputation for having the best caregivers in Monterey County is growing. We are currently looking for a handyman as well as qualified caregivers.
Family inHome Caregiving of Monterey is seeking compassionate, mature and dependable caregivers (Companion Aides) who want to improve the lives of our elderly Clients by providing in-home, non-medical care, particularly those seeking live-in positions or those who can work 24-hour shifts. Our services include:
Monitoring of safety while bathing
Information and referral services
Other services that improve the safety, security and quality of life of seniors.
If you believe you would make an exceptional Companion Aide, we would love to hear from you! We prefer those with experience helping the elderly, disabled and others with mobility problems. Having cared for those with dementia and/or Alzheimer's is a plus. To work for us, you must have excellent references, a clear criminal record, a good driving record, and an insured reliable vehicle. To apply, please visit our web site www.fhcofm.com, click on careers where you can fill out an application online. We have immediate openings all over Monterey County. Service areas include:
Aromas, Carmel, Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Del Rey Oaks, Gilroy, Gonzales, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Marina, Monterey, Morgan Hill, Moss Landing, Paicines, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Prunedale, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Sand City, Seaside, Soledad And Tres Pinos
Who says that there is no such thing as a free lunch? Senator Bill Monning & Assemblyman Mark Stone are holding a two hour presentation on fraud prevention Tuesday, October 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Oldemeyer Center at 986 Hilby Avenue in Seaside. Senior Citizens and their families are invited to attend the Town Hall entitled "Schemes, Scams & Rip-Offs" which will be followed by a luncheon. You must RSVP in advance with Francine at 899-6809. This is a great opportunity to learn about the latest scams against seniors, which can change from day to day. At Family inHome Caregiving we see seniors abused financially all of the time. Sometimes these scams come from the outside, but they are often done by those the senior believes are friends or even their own family. If you hire a caregiver, make sure that they are bonded and insured. Many seniors hire caregivers off of Craigslist.com with disastrous consequences.
I've written many times on my blog about excess sugar increasing the risk of diabetes. I was glad to read that Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have all announced that they will try and reduce the calories we are getting by 20% over the next decade. The Clinton Global Initiative was responsible for pressuring the soda industry to focus on marketing smaller sized drinks, bottled water and diet drinks (although the jury is out on the latter, with some researchers saying diet soda may actually increase the risk of diabetes). Many seniors have already switched to more healthy options, with the caloric intake from drinks falling by 12% between 2000 and 2013. It's part of a broader trend in America, with seniors paying more attention to a healthier diet.
Although diabetes is a huge problem in this country, Federal researchers say the rates of diabetes growth (it's doubled over the past two decades) may be leveling off. Currently, 9.3% of the population (about 29.1 million people) have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This generated $245 billion in medical costs in 2012. A key driver of the slowing growth rate is a plateauing of obesity rates. About 95% of diabetes are Type 2, and many in this group are obese. Although the number of diabetes cases are still rising, if people can be educated that eating right and getting enough exercise can significantly reduce their risk of getting diabetes, we may be able to turn this trend around.
More and more people are getting direct results of medical tests due to a Federal rule which went into effect in April. These were once guarded by doctors and other medical professionals but the new Federal rules override a number of state laws which prevented consumers from getting direct access to this data, although there is currently a 30-day delay to give physicians time to review them before patients can. Many doctors, however, will give you a copy immediately if you ask. As a result, some laboratories and medical facilities are trying to get more consumer friendly. For example, Quest Diagnostics launched a secure patient website called MyQuest by Care360 where patients can go to review their tests within 48-72 hours or get them on a cell-phone app. This is great progress because many of us get anxious after getting tests done so it's nice to be able to get access to the results quickly.
Most people believe that asthma is caused by a reaction to pollen, food and other allergens. Researchers are focusing on another type which is a bit more mysterious called nonalergenic asthma (when the body acts in the same way with constricted airways, wheezing and coughing, but it's not due to an allergen). With a typical asthma outbreak, your immune system becomes overactive because of pollen or some other factor. With nonalergenic asthma, however, the body's immune system isn't involved. The latest study from the Columbia University Medical Center found that one factor may be related to chemicals which are included in plastic products. Another study from Weill Cornell Medical College found that when a normal type of fat in the lungs isn't present (which oddly enough occurs often in obese people), the risk of asthma goes up significantly. The number of people diagnosed with asthma jumped from 5.5% of the population in 1996 to 8.4% in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. I'm glad more issue is being paid to this growing problem.
Many people aren't even aware of what palliative care, often referred to as hospice care, is. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine, the research branch of the National Academy of Sciences, found that end-of-life care needs a revamp in order to save costs and improve patient care. "What we call for is that there be an opportunity for discussions with clinicians throughout the life cycle and not just one time," Phillip Pizzo, co-chair of the panel and former dean of the Stanford University Medical School, told The Wall Street Journal. "It's part of the process of living," he said. The committee believes that one change that should be made is that you currently can't have access to Hospice via Medicare until a doctor says that you have less than six months to live. This rule should be changed if people can benefit from the extra care earlier, the committee said. It pointed out that many people are in and out of the hospital repeatedly which costs more than if they were on hospice care. Make sure than you have an up-to-date POLST (Physician's Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) and let your doctors and your family know what your wishes are for end of life care.