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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.

…continue reading from medicalnewstoday.com

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

Family inHome Caregiving Blog

Community Hospital Of The Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, Having A Number Of Events This Month At Its Peninsula Wellness Center

by Richard Kuehn on 05/15/15

The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, is celebrating the fourth anniversary of its Peninsula Wellness Center at 2920 2nd Avenue in Marina by having a series of events including:

May 11-17 is Group Dynamics Week, with Kickboxing, Zumba, TRX demo, etc.

May 18-24 is Fitness Week, with free screenings for blood pressure, body fat, BMI and introduction to treadmill and free weights. 

May 25-31 is Senior Living Week, with a national senior fitness day celebration on May 27.  They will also be having a TRX demo, a healthy back class and more.

For more information, call 883-5656 or go to www.peninsula-wellness-center.com

Pebble Beach, CA Pets Can Be Good For Your Physical And Emotional Health

by Richard Kuehn on 05/15/15

Pets can be an amazing enhancement to your life.  Most people are well aware of the emotional perks you get from having a loving pet, but many don’t know that there can be physical effects as well.  New research from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences found that while many pet owners seem unmotivated to exercise for their own health, they will do so for their pets.  When veterinarians prescribed exercise for an overweight pet, both the human and the pet lost weight and kept blood-glucose levels stable.  Another study from the American Heart Association found that a 12-minute visit with a dog not only lowered blood pressure and breathing rate, but also decreased the release of hormones which are associated with anxiety.  

Pebble Beach, CA POLST, Will And Living Trust Should Be Drawn Up Before It Is Too Late

by Richard Kuehn on 05/14/15

It’s critical to get important papers drawn up such as a POLST (Physician’s Order For Life Sustaining Treatment), living trust and will before it’s too late.  A story in the New York Times today pointed out that studies show that simple math problems and handling financial matters are typically one of the first skill sets to go when a person comes down with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.  Research has also found that even people with normal cognitive function may reach the point where financial decision making becomes more challenging.  “A person can appear to have their wherewithal cognitively, but not have the ability to understand money in the same way anymore,” Helen Clark, a retired registered nurse and family therapist, told The New York Times.  That’s why it is so important to have these legal documents drawn up while you are still thinking straight.  We also recommend that people talk to their friends, family and anyone involved in their financial or medical affairs to tell them personally how they want to be treated should various scenarios occur.  This sometimes doesn’t come across fully in legal documents and so it’s better to do it in person so there isn’t fighting amongst family members should you go into the hospital or become impaired in some manner.

Pebble Beach, CA Alzheimer’s Caregivers Have Hope : New Drug Trial Shows Promise

by Richard Kuehn on 05/12/15

Some of the best researchers in the country are embarking on an unusual drug trial; testing a pill that could prevent or delay some of the most devastating diseases of old age, including Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. The focus is not to prolong life. Rather, the objective is to allow people to live their final years without an increasing risk of chronic disease as they move towards their final days. Believe it or not, there are a half dozen or more drugs which appear to delay the aging process. Experiments have been done on animals and there have been observational studies on humans. Thanks to the American Federation for Aging Research for funding this important project. We have been big supporters of the Alzheimer’s Association over the years as my grandmother and father both had this terrible disease when they died. It would truly be a miracle if one of these drugs worked.

Community Hospital Of The Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, Having Their Living Well Workshop Starting On May 16 At The Oldemeyer Center in Seaside

by Richard Kuehn on 05/11/15

The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, has a number of great classes including the “Living Well Workshop” which was developed at Stanford University to help those living with ongoing health conditions and chronic diseases.  The six class series starts on May 16 at 11:00 a.m. and goes to 1:30 p.m. and is only $15, which is refunded if you complete all six classes.  For more information on the classes (which will be held at the Oldemeyer Center at 986 Hilby Avenue in Seaside), call 625-4867.  Pre-registration is required. 

Pebble Beach, CA Alzheimer’s Association Gets Great PR For The Longest Day

by Richard Kuehn on 05/11/15

NBC's medical drama The Night Shift cast Eoin Macken (TC Callahan), Jill Flint (Jordan Alexander) and Ken Leung (Topher) are starring  in a new public service message inviting people to take part in Alzheimer's Association The Longest Day.  "Here on set, our days can be pretty long, but not nearly as long as they are for families affected by Alzheimer's. There are over five million Americans living with the disease, and more than 15 million who serve as their caregivers," says Flint in the cast message.  Held on June 21, the longest day of the year, teams around the world come together to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's care, support and research by participating in an activity that they love from sunrise to sunset.  The event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. Teams are encouraged to create their own experience as they fundraise and participate in an activity they love to honor someone facing the disease.  We have long been a supporter of this great non-profit which has free services to the community for those struggling with this terrible disease.  For more information about The Longest Day, please visit alz.org/tld

Community Hospital Of The Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, Having A Number Of Events This Month At Its Peninsula Wellness Center

by Richard Kuehn on 05/11/15

The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, is celebrating the fourth anniversary of its Peninsula Wellness Center at 2920 2nd Avenue in Marina by having a series of events including:

May 11-17 is Group Dynamics Week, with Kickboxing, Zumba, TRX demo, etc.

May 18-24 is Fitness Week, with free screenings for blood pressure, body fat, BMI and introduction to treadmill and free weights. 

May 25-31 is Senior Living Week, with a national senior fitness day celebration on May 27.  They will also be having a TRX demo, a healthy back class and more.

For more information, call 883-5656 or go to www.peninsula-wellness-center.com

Monterey Seniors Won't See Reduction In Bus Service As Had Been Planned

by Richard Kuehn on 05/11/15

Monterey-Salinas Transit will indeed receive funds due to it, averting what could have been a massive layoff resulting in a 35-60% reduction in overall bus service.  The Department of Labor has ruled that an objection filed by a transit workers union trying to block a grant to the bus system was insufficient.  MST will now receive a $4.5 million reimbursement for operating funds and won’t have to lay off more than half of its bus drivers, something which had been planned for in its Emergency Service Reduction Plan.  Ironically, the layoffs would have been forced by legal documents filed by the employee’s own union, The Amalgamated Transit Union which had contended that the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 violated its collective bargaining rights.  This blocked a total of $1.4 billion in Federal Grants.  This would have caused a sad situation for seniors, which even under the staffing system that is in place now at MST doesn’t provide enough service in the county for senior citizens.

Pebble Beach, CA Happy Mothers Day!

by Richard Kuehn on 05/10/15

Happy Mother’s Day!  It was heart warming to read that Alliance on Aging was once again able to warm the hearts of many Monterey County residents via its “I Remember Mama” program.  Each year, the non-profit collects donations which go towards buying flowers which went to 2,200 women in 76 nursing homes and senior assisted-living facilities across the county.  Thanks to Alliance on Aging and The National Charity League, a national mother-daughter non-profit.  Mother and daughter teams from this non-profit delivered many of the flowers to the nursing home residents. Most were delighted saying they had no family to visit them.

Monterey, CA Baby Boomers Ponder How Much Money They Need For Retirement

by Richard Kuehn on 05/09/15

There has been so much volatility in the stock market in recent years that many baby boomers are confused about how much money they need for retirement.  Even financial planners don't have a harmonious view on this issue.  The most widely referenced rule of thumb (known as the 4% rule) found that retirees who withdrew 4% of their initial retirement portfolio balance and then adjusted that dollar amount for inflation each year created enough funds to last them for 30 years.  But people are living longer now and interest rates are so low that some wonder whether this rule, which was first developed by a financial planner named Bill Bengen in 1994, still holds true.  Some new and alternate rules to ponder are:

Guyton and Klinger's decision rules where withdrawals are increased each year to match inflation but not when the portfolio loses money.  If the withdrawal rate ever rises to more than 120% of the initial rate, that year's withdraw is cut by 10%.  In good years, withdrawals may increase by 10%.

Bengen's floor-and-ceiling rule calls for withdrawing a given percentage of your initial retirement portfolio.  Each year thereafter, the withdrawal goes up by inflation.  After that, withdrawals could increase by up to 25% in bull markets and decrease by not more than 10% in bear markets.

This is a lot to ponder, but it's an important decision for retirement as the last thing anyone wants is to run out of money after they are retired.

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