Posted on 03 October 2010. Tags: alzheimer's, Aromas, big sur, California, caregiver, caregiving, carmel, carmel highlands, carmel valley, Dementia, elder, elder care, gilroy, hollister, Hospice, king city, live-in, marina, memory walk, monterey, Moss Landing, pacific grove, pebble beach, private duty, prunedale, salinas, sand city, seaside, senior, senior care The upcoming mid-term elections have both Republicans and Democrats targeting an important voter segment: senior citizens. I hope you all go to the polls! The Wall Street Journal ran an article 9/29 talked about the growing battle over a number of issues, including Health Care and Social Security. With inflation at a stand still causing the elderly to get by without cost of living increases necessary to cover rising health care and other day-to-day costs, these are hot issues.
According to the article, Republicans are focused on telling elderly voters that the Democratic health care overhaul will cripple Medicare by cutting $50 bil. from the program, while Democrats are telling older voters that the Republicans wan to gut Social Security, with some calling for a partial phase out of this money into private investment accounts.
This is a terrible idea in my opinion. At my last job I watched a man who was almost 70 and just getting ready to retire sitting at his computer crying as the market crash wiped out much of his 401K plan which he had planned to tap to have a peaceful and happy retirement. This was a few years ago but I just saw him last week–still sitting at his desk and unable to retire.
One problem these lawmakers may not have considered is the growing number of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. My company, Family in Home Caregiving of Monterey, services these people with private duty caregivers which drive all over the peninsula to meet whatever needs they have. From Salinas to Gilroy to Monterey, our caregivers sometimes take the place of family, and we form a special bond with them. A frequent problem is getting them to take their medications. Many are forgetful or just don’t care. We don’t delve into their financial situations, however, I have spoken to many other people in the industry and there are a lot of seniors slipping into dementia and Alzheimer’s which unfortunately haven’t prepared for this situation with a living trust or someone who can take over their affairs. What would happen to these people if their social security were invested in the stock market and we had another prolonged economic downturn? It’s unlikely they would be able to make the proper financial decisions in order to protect their assets. My company motto is to allow seniors to remain independent and live in their own homes as long as possible. One sad story I recently witnessed was a caregiver looking for a job because the person she was caring for was being foreclosed on and they had to move in with a relative. I hope politicians don’t enable this to happen by throwing what should be a safe annuity payment, social security, into the volatile stock market. In the 2008 presidential election, voters 65 and older were 16% of the vote. 30% of voter were over 60 in the 2006 mid-term elections–I hope to see more seniors at the polls in these important elections. Posted on 03 October 2010. Tags: alzheimer's, Aromas, big sur, California, caregiver, caregiving, carmel, carmel highlands, carmel valley, Dementia, elder, elder care, gilroy, hollister, Hospice, king city, live-in, marina, memory walk, monterey, Moss Landing, pacific grove, pebble beach, private duty, prunedale, salinas, sand city, seaside, senior, senior care There was a disturbing story in the New York Times today about patients in nursing homes having to go out to pain clinics to get medication because of a policy many live-in facilities have which will not allow them to dispense certain medications without a written or faxed prescription from the Doctor on file.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is now scrutinizing this practice, which can result in seniors being in pain for days before the proper paperwork arrives. The practice is an unfortunate consequence of the DEA cracking down on abuse of prescription narcotics, which some people get filled and then sell on the black market. Some unscrupulous Doctors have even been involved in this practice.
The DEA has also examined some nursing homes which allegedly dispensed narcotics without a written order from a Doctor, resulting in the current situation where some of the elderly living in assisted living facilities are left to suffer in pain, particularly on weekends when it’s difficult to get in touch with their primary care physician. Even on a good day Doctors are busy–according to the medical directors association, a doctor at a nursing home typically writes 169 prescriptions per month for a controlled substance. And many assisted living facilities don’t have a Doctor on staff causing further delays.
I’ve written on my blog many times about the unintended negative consequences of the new health care reform laws, which is costing seniors time and money. And many of them simply don’t have an abundance of either. I founded my company, Family inHome Caregiving of Monterey to help seniors from of all walks of life stay in their own homes and remain independent. I have Clients all over the county from Pacific Grove to Castroville and Salinas, and up to Moss Landing and Aromas. They are thankful that there is someone to help.
For many of them, we stop by and make sure they take their meds, get a hot meal, and get out and about and socialize with others which improves their mental faculties. They are the lucky ones who have friends and family looking after them, or have had the foresight to put money away and establish a trust or buy long-term health care insurance so they can be taken care of properly.
Unfortunately, there are millions of others which are shut away in nursing home and have no one looking after their best interests. As the NYT article pointed out, this often results in pain and suffering. It’s bad enough being left on your own with no friends and family, I hope the DEA can resolve this issue quickly.
Posted on 03 October 2010. Tags: alzheimer's, Aromas, big sur, California, caregiver, caregiving, carmel, carmel highlands, carmel valley, Dementia, elder, elder care, gilroy, hollister, Hospice, king city, live-in, marina, memory walk, monterey, Moss Landing, pacific grove, pebble beach, private duty, prunedale, salinas, sand city, seaside, senior, senior care New theories and possible solutions to treating Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia appear in the press on a weekly basis. The latest report in the Monterey Herald this week called attention to a recently published study with a new theory by Alison Goate of Washington University in St. Louis, MO in the PLoS Genetics journal. For a full copy of the study, click on this link.
Much of the research on Alzheimerse revolves around beta-amyloid plaque, although success has been mixed–I wrote in my blog about Eli Lilly’s pulling a promising new drug (Semagacestat) from the market in August after finding that those on the drug fared worse than those given a placebo.
The more recent report focused on protein tangles that clog brain cells. This could determine how quickly a person develops symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. This, paired with a second protein called tau, might signal how aggressive the onset of the disease becomes. The research report found that patients with mild Alzheimer’s and high levels of tau harbored a genetic alteration that predicted that they would worsen faster. The race is on now to figure out how to lower tau levels in patients which could be developing Alzheimer’s Disease, because this could slow down its onset. The new study posits that both proteins, tau and amyloid, play a role in how quickly people develop Alzheimer’s. Many harbor the disease for years, even decades, without showing symptoms. The study from Goate showed that there was up to a seven-fold difference in how quickly people deteriorated if they had a gene which caused them to produce abnormal tau. Genetic testing may one day be able to uncover signs that people are going to develop Alzheimer’s and many other terrible diseases. Although the research is promising, unfortunately it’s just the first-step in what is likely to be a long research project to explore this line of thought. Goate told a reporter that tau is just likely to be one of many genetic markers to be discovered that impacts Alzheimer’s Disease. That’s one reason I am a major supporter of the Alzheimer Association’s annual Memory Walk, their largest fundraiser of the year. This great organization is the largest private funding group for Alzheimer’s Research and the Family inHome Caregiving team has raised over $20,000 for this noble cause. To track our progress or find out more about the event (10:00 a.m. at the Custom House in Monterey on Saturday, October 16) click on this link. As always, thanks for your support.
Physical Therapists Offer Home Safety Tips To Avoid Falls
As the nation observed the third annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 23, the American Physical Therapy Association urged older adults to take a moment to complete a room-by-room checklist to identify and repair possible fall hazards in their homes and begin an exercise plan to reduce chances of falling and risk of injury. "It’s critical that seniors remain active in and outside their homes to help reduce their risk of falling," says APTA spokesperson Patrice Winter, PT, MPT.
"However, hazards in the home are one of the leading causes of falls in older adults. Removing throw rugs, rerouting electrical cords, and installing handrails are simple ways in which one can make a home safer. Furthermore, an older adult’s risk of falling can be decreased through an individualized exercise program, designed by a physical therapist, to improve his or her strength, mobility, and balance."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults ages 65 and older fall each year in the United States. Falls are the leading cause of deaths due to injuries and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma for the aging population. In addition to addressing home safety and exercise, older adults should ask all health care providers to review their medicines — both prescription and over-the counter — to reduce side effects and interactions. They should also have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
Family inHome Caregiving Blog
by Richard Kuehn on 11/22/15
Resveratrol, a compound which is found in
grape skins, helps prevent cancer by killing damaged cells before they can
replicate, according to a new study which was done at the University of
Colorado. Red wine is heavy in the
compound although if you don’t drink alcohol you can also get it via eating
grapes or having a daily cup of low-sugar grape juice.
by Richard Kuehn on 11/21/15
It may be common sense that
Vitamin D is good for you but Dr. Steven Masley, author of “The 30-Day Heart
Tune-Up” says that there is more to it than that. Having low levels of Vitamin D can actually
increase your risk of stroke or heart attack, says Dr. Masley. He recommends everyone ask their physician to
test their blood to gauge the level of Vitamin D in their system so that they
can find out the proper dosage of a supplement to take.
by Richard Kuehn on 11/21/15
Most of us will come down with some type of
skin cancer during our lifetime.
Although sunblock goes a long way towards warding off this condition,
researchers also say that wearing colors like red or blue as opposed to
something lighter such as white or yellow can help protect areas not covered by
sunscreen. In addition, the researchers
also recommend wearing a broad-brimmed hat.
by Richard Kuehn on 11/21/15
Rosemary and thyme, believe it or not, are
the latest ingredients which can help ward off cancer. Researchers at Kansas State University found
that adding these two herbs to a marinade at least one hour before soaking your
meat in it helped reduce cancer by as much as 87%. That’s due to the fact that doing so puts a
nice char on the meat and also introduced antioxidants into the meat.
by Richard Kuehn on 11/21/15
Drinking bottled water has become very
trendy, although researchers are now saying that drinking water out of a
plastic water bottle can be dangerous. A
recent study found that about one-third of bottled water brands contained
carcinogens which exceed state or industry standard levels. You may be better off drinking filtered water,
by Richard Kuehn on 11/21/15
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is
supposed to be good for you. However,
researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health are now warning that almost
75% of cans tested containing vegetables and other foods contain a chemical
called bisphenol A (BPA) which increases your risk of getting cancer. The study found that those who ate one
serving per day of canned soup for five days had a 1,000 increase of BPA in
their urine compared with those who ate fresh soup. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell which
brands of canned foods have BPA so researchers recommend steering clear and
eating fresh or frozen foods.
by Richard Kuehn on 11/20/15
If you are new in town or looking to meet new
friends, there is a group called Dine Out Seniors who will have their next
meeting on Tuesday, November 24 on the patio at the Toro Place Café at 665
Highway 68 in Salinas. I have been there
many times myself and it is absolutely delicious. Come
meet up at 11:00 a.m. and order either breakfast or lunch. For reservations, please call either 917-1269
by Richard Kuehn on 11/19/15
MSQLP, a non-profit group focused on
improving the lives of families with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease,
will host a Family Caregiver Support Group on Friday, November 20th
at the Marina Library at 190 Seaside Circle in Marina (in the Community Room)
from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Family and
friends are welcome to attend the meeting which occurs on the third Friday of each
month. For more information, go to
831-883-7507 or www.msqlp.org.
by Richard Kuehn on 11/19/15
If you are new in town or just in need of
some new friends, there is a group called Dine Out Seniors which has their next
meeting tomorrow, Friday November 20, at the Crazy Horse Saloon at 1425 Munras
Avenue in Monterey. Join them for a nice
thanksgiving lunch buffet. For more
information or to make reservations, please call 917-1269 or 443-0333. The price of the lunch is $10.99
by Richard Kuehn on 11/17/15
The Salinas Senior Center will be hosting a Thanksgiving
dinner on November 18th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m at Hartnell College
which is located at 411 Central Avenue in Salinas in the Student Center,
Building C. They will be serving a
traditional turkey dinner with all of the trimmings and dessert. Reservations are strongly recommended. The cost is $10 for members and $12 for
non-members. Call 757-6030 if you plan