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Republicans Toying with Social Security Privatization Plan Which Could Be A Disaster For Seniors
Posted on 03 October 2010. Tags: alzheimer'sAromasbig surCaliforniacaregivercaregivingcarmelcarmel highlandscarmel valleyDementiaelderelder caregilroyhollisterHospiceking citylive-inmarinamemory walkmontereyMoss Landingpacific grovepebble beachprivate dutyprunedalesalinassand cityseasideseniorsenior 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.
Lost and Alone in a Nursing Home, and Without Proper Medications, Seniors Suffer
Posted on 03 October 2010. Tags: alzheimer'sAromasbig surCaliforniacaregivercaregivingcarmelcarmel highlandscarmel valleyDementiaelderelder caregilroyhollisterHospiceking citylive-inmarinamemory walkmontereyMoss Landingpacific grovepebble beachprivate dutyprunedalesalinassand cityseasideseniorsenior 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.
Alzheimer’s Disease: Oh What a Tangled Web the Brain Weaves
Posted on 03 October 2010. Tags: alzheimer'sAromasbig surCaliforniacaregivercaregivingcarmelcarmel highlandscarmel valleyDementiaelderelder caregilroyhollisterHospiceking citylive-inmarinamemory walkmontereyMoss Landingpacific grovepebble beachprivate dutyprunedalesalinassand cityseasideseniorsenior 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.

For regular readers of my blog, you know that I own a company which provides private duty caregivers to people all over Monterey Country, from Carmel and Pebble Beach up and down to King City and up to SalinasMarina and Seaside. Unfortunately, many of them have dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, and are hoping for new drugs to come on the market as there are scant few to treat the 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 in Monterey CA Offer Home Safety Tips To Avoid Falls
Posted on 30 September 2010. Tags: exercise programhealth care providersPatrice WinterSeptemberside

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.

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To learn how Family inHome Caregiving can help you care for an elderly loved one in the Monterey area, visit

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Carmel, CA Cancer Surgery : Can Robots Help?

by Richard Kuehn on 08/12/14

There has been a lot in the news recently about the potential for replacing humans with robots in many aspects of our lives, including caregivers, nurses and other people who touch our lives.  Although the cost cutting element is appealing, it's not clear that it will work in real life situations.  The jury is still out on the subject, however a recent study found that doing surgery on bladder cancer with a robot did not reduce procedural complications than having the surgery done by a human.  So, I am happy to report that humans are here for long term care.

Carmel, CA Can Google Come Up With The Answer To How To Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer And Other Deadly Ailments?

by Richard Kuehn on 08/09/14

With billions of dollars of cash in the bank, Google has been looking to diversify into new areas and medical technology is a key initiative.  Their latest project is called the Baseline Study, where the company will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from thousands of people to create a full picture of what a healthy human being should look like.  The company has almost 100 experts in the fields of physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology which are working in the Google X division (this segment heads up the company's research).  The researchers will use Google's massive computing power to analyze the data and look for biomarkers which may be used to find things like why some people's bodies break down fatty foods effectively and other important markers.  Google is tapping into the potentially huge market of disease prevention, rather than treatment.  

Carmel, CA Mediterranean Diet Gets More Good Press

by Richard Kuehn on 08/08/14

There has been a lot of press recently about how good a Mediterranean diet is for you, and the magazine Diabetes Forecast had some great suggestions in their latest issue which are delicious and also are good for you.  The diet revolves around eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, herbs and spices and olive oil.  Seafood is also an important part of the daily diet, as is eating eggs, lower-fat chees and yogurt only in moderation.  Red wine may also play a role.  A Mediterranean-style eating pattern has been found to lower the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, high LDL (bad cholesterol), heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.  It has also been shown to protect against chronic diseases, memory problems and certain types of cancer.  It also improves the health of people with certain diseases like diabetes.  So get out your knives and chopping block, and start cooking some nice healthy Greek food!

Gilroy, CA Caregiver Private Duty In Home Senior Companion Aide Jobs Available (Also Carmel, Hollister, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas & San Juan Bautista)

by Richard Kuehn on 08/07/14

Gilroy, CA Caregiver Private Duty In Home Senior Companion Aide Jobs Available (Also Aromas, Carmel, Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Del Rey Oaks,  Gilroy, Gonzales, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Monterey, Morgan Hill, Moss Landing, Pacific Grove, Paicines, Pebble Beach, Prunedale, Salinas, Sand City, San Juan Bautista, Seaside, Soledad And Tres Pinos)

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:

        Caring companionship

        Meal preparation

        Incidental transportation

        Running errands

        Light housekeeping

        Medication reminders

        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, 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

Carmel, CA Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Demand Up At Hospitals

by Richard Kuehn on 08/05/14

Sadly, research has shown that nurses typically spend less than two hours of a 12-hour shift in direct patient care while working at hospitals.  The rest of the time is spent looking for supplies and medications or missing test results and filling out paperwork.  As the health care reform laws kick in, hopefully this will change.  Many hospitals are trying to transfer duties like paperwork to Certified Nursing Assistant's (CNAs) so that nurses can have more direct contact with patients and their families.  This is extremely important now that patients are being discharged more quickly in the past as the nurse needs to sit down with the patient, their family, caregivers and other interested parties and explain what needs to be done after the discharge.  I have seen many cases where patients are rushed too quickly out of the hospital and it often results in repeat visits, which hospitals are penalized for under the new health care reform laws.

Carmel, CA Medicare Fund Healthier Than It Was Once Thought

by Richard Kuehn on 08/05/14

The Congressional Budget Office is saying that the outlook for Medicare is not as bleak as they once thought, and that it will remain financially solvent through 2030, five years longer than previously expected.   This is a huge change from their last outlook in February of this year when they said the fund for seniors would run out of money in 2025.  Medicare spending on health care costs has been growing slower than expected and the economists are now predicting that this trend will hold.   "It's pretty great news, and what's striking is that as costs increases have come down, all of the quality measures have gone up," John Rother, CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care, told the Wall Street Journal.  I hope that these positive trends continue.  It's a huge swing in a short amount of time.

Carmel, CA Lab Tests To Become Regulated By The FDA

by Richard Kuehn on 08/04/14

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will start regulating laboratory testing, something which has been vehemently fought against by laboratories and pathologists because they say it would stifle innovation on new tests.  As a compromise, the FDA has said it will phase in the rules over a nine year period and focus in the short term on tests where a wrong result would have the highest risk to the patient.  "Just as drugs need to be safe and effective for treating diseases, medical devices used to help diagnose disease and direct therapy also need to be safe and effective," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg told the press.  I agree.  Historically, test kits and systems sold to hospitals, labs, physicians and the public have been regulated but if a test is developed by a laboratory and used there it's not, which doesn't seem to be fair.

Carmel, CA Asthma Rates Declining

by Richard Kuehn on 08/04/14

A new survey found that 7.4% of Americans have asthma, down from the 8.6% reported over the last several years.  The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is great news.  However, the CDC's lead author Jeanine Schiller is cautious because the rate is still high.  "I wouldn't say it's good news-yet," she said.  Experts aren't sure what causes asthma but it can be triggered by many things including smoke, air pollution, pollen and (believe it or not) cockroaches.  If you have asthma, one of the best things to do is try and avoid pollen.  Make sure that you get rid of anything in the garden that you think is triggering your attack and replace it with something which doesn't leave you with a coughing fit.

Carmel, CA Robot Caregivers, Real Or Fiction?

by Richard Kuehn on 08/03/14

There was an interesting story in The New York Times called "The Future of Robot Caregivers" in which the author (Louise Aronson, associate professor of geriatrics at the University of California San Francisco) said that each time she makes a house call, she stays much longer than she should.  Because she is compassionate, she sits and talks with the senior and lets them tell stories even though she knows her reimbursement rate from Medicare will be the same regardless of how much time she spends with the patient.  Sadly, she writes, "I can and do, write prescriptions for her many medical problems, but I have little to offer for the two conditions that dominate her days : loneliness and disability."  This is something we often see when we go out to talk to a family.  Often times, caregivers are needed just to make sure the senior gets some social interaction and doesn't become depressed and stop eating.  The author goes on to write, "What she needs is someone who is always there, who can help with everyday tasks, who will listen and smile.  What she needs is a robot caregiver."  The fact is, many people simply can't afford to have a human caregiver there 24-hours a day and indeed researchers are working on prototypes of robot caregivers.  I am not sure that they will evolve to a human-like state enough to replace real caregivers in my lifetime, but it's an interesting concept to try and find ways to use technology to keep more seniors out of nursing homes.

Carmel, CA Stroke And Heart Attack Prevention Not Helped By Niacin, Which Can Have Fatal Side Effects When Taken With Laropiprant

by Richard Kuehn on 08/02/14

There have been a number of studies questioning the use of niacin in order to prevent high cholesterol.  A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that not only is there little benefit to taking niacin in order to prevent a heart attack or stroke, it also comes with significant risks.  As many as one in 200 of those taking niacin in combination with laropiprant, a drug used to reduce facial flushing caused by niacin, may have died.  This drug combination was also found to cause gastrointestinal problems, musculoskeletal infections, bleeding and diabetes.  There are almost 700,000 prescriptions for niacin in the U.S., so talk to your doctor about this study if you are currently taking it.   

Family inHome Caregiving, In-Home Care, Carmel, CA