Family inHome Caregiving Blog
A new study which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly half of women who get early-stage breast cancer can avoid chemotherapy (the usual treatment) altogether. The research project found that by studying the genetic makeup of the cancer patient via a genomic test, physicians can find out which women have a very low risk of recurrence and can, therefore, avoid the chemo. The new study is one of the largest and most rigorous trials of genomic testing and oncologists are relieved to see this data. Chemo can be extremely draining and it is great to find that in many instances it is unnecessary.
It’s obvious that those still working need to keep track of their credit score for a number of reasons. However, even after retirement it’s prudent to take a look at this metric as well, for a number of reasons. First, many seniors still use credit cards and getting the lowest rate possible is in your best interest. You may want to switch credit cards periodically as well to take advantage of offers for free airline tickets, cash back, etc. In addition, you may one day decide you want to take a reverse mortgage, and your credit score will be very important at that time. Taking a peek at your credit report will also help to keep you alert to potential identity theft and fraud. If you are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia and you have power of attorney, you may find that you want to put a freeze on their credit file so they don’t suffer from elder abuse fraud.
Venture capitalists are now venturing into a place they have never gone before—building complexes for the elderly which are reimbursable by Medicare and MediCal. Up until a year ago, Medicare and MediCal would only reimburse non-profits for housing the elderly. However, a new program called PACE (the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) was introduced to help seniors remain at home and not have to be moved to a facility. Medicare and Medicaid are hoping the program will save millions of dollars by keeping senior citizens out of nursing homes. Companies like InnovAge are aggressively expanding with the help of private equity funds to build day care centers with beauty salons, exercise facilities and programs to help those with dementia. They also provide day trips and many have myriad physicians, nurses and other medical professionals on staff, all courtesy of Medicare and Medicaid. Many fear that putting seniors in the care of venture capitalists could be dangerous as they are clearly focused on the bottom line. Those operating under the PACE program are generating profit margins as high as 15% compared to 12% for nursing homes. Operators are pressing for more video conference calls with physicians rather in person visits and other measures to save costs. Medicare and Medicaid pay PACE an average of $76,728 per person per year. This is below the average cost of a nursing home but is still a staggering sum. It remains to be seen whether this program will work and whether a for-profit company will move into Monterey, which just saw its last day care center run by a non-profit (Central Coast VNA & Hospice) shut down. Such a facility is badly needed in Monterey.
Retirment planning can be extremely difficult and so can deciding how much you can safely withdraw from your nest egg without running out of money. As people live into their 90’s and 100’s, the potential of running out of money when you need it the most is real. Robert Powell, editor of Retirement Weekly and a regular contributor to USA Today recently wrote a column stating that the 4% rule (that you can withdraw 4% per year from your retirement and it would last for 30 years) has been thrown out the window now that interest rates are close to zero. One analyst, Evan Inglis who is a SVP at Nuveen Asset Management and a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, recommends dividing your age by 20 (for couples use the younger spouse’s age). For instance, if you are 70 the calculation would be 70 divided by 20 which means you can withdraw 3.5% per year. Someone who is 80 could withdraw 4% (80 divided by 20 = 4). Others recommend changing the 4% rule to a 3% rule which is more conservative. Other factors to consider are whether you have long-term care insurance (LTC). If you don’t, you will need to save more for when you need in-home care or you have to enter a facility. Income taxes should be considered as well, in addition to factoring in whether or not you want to leave a significant amount of money for your heirs.
A remarkable finding was made in a recent Alzheimer's study; changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease can be seen as early as childhood in some people who have a heightened generic risk. Published in the journal Neurology, this new theory is groundbreaking—there may actually be different types of the disease, and one may be a developmental disorder that begins much earlier in life than was thought up until now. The study looked at the APOE gene, which each person has two copies of, one inherited from each parent. Children were studied at those which had the so-called e4 variant of the gene (the version most associated with heightened Alzheimer’s risk) and they had a significantly smaller hippocampus than those without it. This is the part of the brain which is involved in memory formation and having a smaller one signaled the possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It is great to see how fast research is developing in this area. Regular readers of my blog know that both my grandmother and my father had this terrible disease when they passed away, and I have been working diligently with the Monterey Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to raise money to find a cure. In addition to being the largest private funder of Alzheimer's research in the United States, they have support groups and a 24-hour hotline (800-272-3900) where a dedicated staff member can help you if you are struggling with caring for a loved one with the disease. To make a donation, click here.
Soledad, CA Caregiver Private Duty Home Care Aides (HCAs) : Senior Companions (Also Aromas, Big Sur, Carmel, Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Del Rey Oaks, Gilroy, Gonzales, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Marina, Monterey, Moss Landing, Morgan Hill, Paicines, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Prunedale, Salinas, Seaside, San Juan Bautista, Sand City 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 (Home Care Aides or Senior Companions) 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 who want to improve the lives of our elderly Clients by providing in-home, non-medical care. 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 Home Care 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, Big Sur, 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
Sadly, Monterey Peninsula College has canceled its certified nursing assistant (CNA) program which began on June 24 and was expected to finish in October. However, there were compliance concerns with The Learning Oasis, the contractor that was providing the classes. After the state completes a compliance review, the college will announce how it will try and provide courses in the future.
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, is having a number of great classes this summer including a supermarket tour with a registered dietician as your guide. Learn to use nutrition labels to make smart decisions about the food that you buy. For more information or to register, call 625-4646 or go to www.chomp.org/classes. There is a fee of $20 per person or $25 per couple and the tour will run from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the Lucky Market in Marina.
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, is having a number of great classes this summer including one on the hidden facts about sugar on August 31 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Montage Wellness Center in Salinas (in the conference room). Learn how to spot the various kinds of sugar in our foods and how to avoid excessive sugar. For more information or to register, call 625-4646 or go to www.chomp.org/classes.
Many cancer patients are shunning traditional chemotherapy in favor of immunotherapy, which uses your own body’s immune system to fight off the cancer. It works by helping the immune system recognize cancer as a threat, and then attack it. Chemotherapy, on the other hand, can actually break down your immune system, making it weak. There have been remarkable stories of tumors melting away and terminal illnesses going into remissions that have lasted for years. Although it’s true that the cancer may come back at some point, adding several years to someone’s life is a precious gift, particularly if their quality of life can be improved by not having to take draining chemotherapy drugs. “This is a fundamental change in the way that we think about cancer therapy,” Dr. Jedd Wolchok from Memorial Sloan Kettering, told The New York Times. Researchers are working on two different types of promising immunotherapy. One creates a new, individualized treatment for each patient (personalized medicine) by removing some of your own immune cells, altering them genetically to kill cancer and then infusing them back into the bloodstream. Another treatment involves mass-produced drugs that don’t have to be tailored to each patient. The drugs use immune cells by blocking a mechanism called a checkpoint which cancer can use to shut down your immune system. What a great period in time this is for cancer treatment.