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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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Pebble Beach, CA CalPERS Temporary Raises Vehemently Opposed By Governor Brown

by Richard Kuehn on 08/23/14

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 340 in 2012, a bipartisan bill which was designed to save taxpayers money by capping benefits on state government pensions.  It increased the retirement age, stopped so-called pension "spiking" (which is special pay for things like paying library workers assigned routinely and consistently to the circulation desk) and required state employees to pay at least half of their pension costs.  However, CalPERS approved by a vote of 7-5 temporary raises which Brown is now saying is another way to try and spike pensions, and he has been pretty vehement about his opposition.  "CalPERS got it wrong.  The vote undermines the pension reforms enacted just two years ago.  I've asked my staff to determine what actions can be taken to protect the integrity of the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act," said Governor Brown.  This issue will be hotly debated as local government employees are also participants in the CalPERS pensions.  

Pebble Beach, CA Caregiver Elder Abuse Case Settled : Make Sure Your Caregiver Is Bonded And Insured

by Richard Kuehn on 08/22/14

A local caregiver pleaded no contest to felony elder abuse by neglect under circumstances that would likely result in great bodily damage or death as well as failing to file tax returns and making false representations to obtain unemployment benefits in the state of California.  Unfortunately, under the plea agreement she is only expected to get probation and will have to pay restitution.  During the time she was a caregiver, police and fire officials were repeatedly called to help the senior that she was taking care of.  In addition to not properly taking care of the senior, she had the nerve to take cash under the table and collect unemployment insurance while she was actually working.  Although it's more expensive, in the long run it can save you money and heartache to hire a caregiver through a company like Family inHome Caregiving.  We constantly hear of elder abuse horror stories after people hire caregivers that are not bonded and insured.  In this current case, the state and the IRS can go after the senior for paying the person under the table and not withholding taxes.  It's a terrible risk to take.

Pebble Beach, CA Hospice Foundation Gets A New Name

by Richard Kuehn on 08/22/14

Hospice Foundation hosted an open house and unveiled its new name, Hospice Giving Foundation.  The Hospice Giving Foundation does fundraising and then disburses the money to local hospice caregivers.  "As the need for and appreciation of hospice care grows, we want to make sure that people understand who we are, what we do, and why it's so valuable," CEO Siobhan Greene told the Monterey Herald.  "We screen for excellent hospice care providers, raise funds and award grants so that everyone can have access when they need this critically important service," she said.

Monterey, CA Caregiver Private Duty In Home Senior Companion Aide Jobs Available (Also Aromas, Carmel, Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach & Salinas)

by Richard Kuehn on 08/20/14

Monterey, 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, 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

Monterey, CA CHOMP And Other Hospitals Are Working On Improving The Environment To Help The Healing Process

by Richard Kuehn on 08/19/14

Hospitals have typically been drab facilities with few amenities but that has been changing in recent years.  CHOMP, for instance, has valet parking for its cancer clinic, and many hospitals across the country are trying to improve the quality of food and audio and video equipment to make patients feel more at home.  The environment certainly plays a large part in how quickly one recovers after having major surgery.  Studies have shown that there is a direct link between the content of images and the brain's reaction to stress, pain and anxiety and hospital executives are now considering how to choose artworks based on these studies.  "These are not just accoutrements or aesthetics anymore," Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health, told the Wall Street Journal.  It's a good trend and thankfully most hospitals have an affiliated non-profit foundation which can get major donors to buy the artwork so it doesn't cut into their bottom line.

Pebble Beach, CA Medicare Fraud Still A Huge Problem

by Richard Kuehn on 08/18/14

The government has gotten kudos for catching some big fish committing Medicare Fraud over the past couple of years.  However, as The New York Times pointed out today, there is still a long way to go.  There is a massive $100 million system in Baltimore, Maryland which goes through Medicare claims looking for suspicious patterns to try and combat the massive amount of Medicare fraud.  We're now spending about $600 million a year to fight the $60 billion per year in fraudulent claims, but the Times article says myriad outside contractors being used by the government are rife with conflicts of interest and other problems.  "It's pretty dysfunctional because the contractors don't communicate with each other, Orlando Balladares, a fraud investigator, told The New York Times.  I hope more oversight of these outside contractors is done.  We're relying on them to recover roughly 10% of all spending on Medicare each year which is attributable to fraudulent claims.

Pebble Beach, CA Need Surgery? AARP Has Some Good Tips To Follow Prior To Going Into The Hospital

by Richard Kuehn on 08/17/14

The average American has to go into the hospital for surgery 9 different times during their lifetime.  A recent article in AARP The Magazine had suggestions to prepare yourself for going into surgery.  One of the most important ones was that if you smoke, you need to quit prior to the surgery.  Smokers have nearly double the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or other severe complication during or immediately after surgery.  Stopping for even a few weeks can change your odds significantly.  You should also have your blood sugar levels tested.  Having high blood sugar during surgery quadruples the risk of dying during surgery and triples the risk of wound infection.  Cutting down on alcohol consumption and getting in better physical shape will also give you a better shot of making it through a major surgery.  Your drug regimen and nutritional supplements should also be discussed with your physician.  Gingko biloba (a memory booster), for instance, can cause dangerous bleeding during surgery, while Valerian (used for sleep disorders) makes going under anesthesia dangerous.  Stop taking nutritional supplements two weeks prior to surgery and make sure you are getting enough to eat.  Fifteen percent of patients are dangerously undernourished prior to surgery so buy some Ensure or another supplement may be a good idea.  Finally, physicians say that if you have heavy snoring, this should get checked out.  Patients with sleep apnea are much more likely to have problems breathing during surgery.  I thought these were great tips.  Many of them I was unaware of.  

Pebble Beach, CA Retirement Planning At A Late Age : Longevity Insurance Is Making A Comeback

by Richard Kuehn on 08/16/14

People are living longer and longer, which is great as long as they remain healthy and have enough money to keep up their current standard of living.  So-called "longevity insurance," which hasn't caught on much with senior citizens, is likely to make a big comeback according to the latest issue of Kiplinger's Retirement Report.  These are deferred income annuities which allow you to pay an insurance company a lump-sum premium instead of monthly payments, which entitles you to a fixed monthly lifetime payment in future years.  The average buyer is 59 years old and defers payments for seven to eight years, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.  A 60-year old man who invested $50,000 would get $6,340 per year if he started payments when he hit 70, or $17,570 a year if he waited until he was 80.  Talk to your financial advisor before making such an investment, however, because there are complicated rules revolving around IRS requirements that require minimum distributions beginning at the age of 70.5 years old.

Pebble Beach, CA : Medicare And Insurance Companies Scrutinizing Compounded Medicines

by Richard Kuehn on 08/15/14

Insurers are expected to battle consumers over many claims for compounded medicines, which are something your doctor specifically prescribes as a potion and is done as a custom job at the pharmacy.  The drugs can be extremely expensive.  "There are absolutely situations where compounded medicines are appropriate," but in other cases the products are "unsafe or overly expensive," Dr. Sumit Dutta told the New York Times.  Bringing the issue to the forefront was a recent indictment of 15 doctors, chiropractors, pharmacists and financial brokers who are accused of engaging in fraud by inappropriately prescribing compounded medicines.  Compounded medicines help many of the elderly.  For instance, your doctor can request a compounded liquid version of a formulation if a loved one is not able to swallow pills.  But stories of inappropriate compounds abound, including two pain creams mentioned in the article that cost between $2,400 to $4,100 for a 30-day supply.  If Medicare fights you on reimbursement for a compounded drug, it's possible to contest their decision with the help of your physician.  

Pebble Beach, CA Social Security Retirement Age Can Be Confusing, Talk To A Financial Planner

by Richard Kuehn on 08/15/14

Many people are unclear about the financial implications of filing for Social Security at an early age.  The latest issue of Kiplinger's Retirement Report covered many issues, with one of the most important points being that you can change your mind about your decision within 12 months of claiming benefits.  Essentially, you revoke your application by filing form SSA 521 and must repay any of the benefits that you have received.  This may be worth it over the long-term.  You should speak to a financial planner if you are in this situation.  Even if the 12 months have passed, you can suspend your benefits if you are at or above the full retirement age.  This will cause you to stop receiving benefits   Again, this is a complicated situation and should only be done in conjunction with a financial planner, accountant or someone else that you trust to figure out what is your best strategy.

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