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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

Family inHome Caregiving Blog

Carmel, CA Social Security COLA Predicted To Be 1.7% : Official Announcement Will Be Out Wednesday

by Richard Kuehn on 10/19/14

For the third year in a row, Social Security, VA, disability and federal retirement recipients will receive a cost of living increase (COLA) of less than 2%.  The increase, beginning in January, will officially be announced on Wednesday and most seniors don't think it will be enough.  "For the middle class, for people that don't qualify for low-income programs, they are dipping into savings or they are borrowing against their homes," Mary Johnson of The Senior Citizens League, told the Monterey Herald.  Sadly, for the first 35 years the COLA was less than 2% only three times but in recent years this has become common.  This will be the fifth time in six years that it's less than 2%.  

Pacific Grove, CA Octogenarian Tells Her Life Stories To Monterey Herald Reporter

by Richard Kuehn on 10/19/14

The front page of The Monterey Herald carried a heartwarming story of Pacific Grove's Lucrecia "Bevva" Cambas who just turned 100 years old.  Born in Argentina, in 1914, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 38.  She was interviewed sitting in her living room playing the piano, her own composition of a tango.  She is a composer, a pianist, artist and composer and now an Octogenarian.  It's wonderful to hear stories from people like this.  Bevva taught literature, history, language and drama as well as founding the Spanish-language theater, La Farsa, while an employee at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  Economic cutbacks at MIIS forced her into retirement at age 62.  Little did she know her retirement would last so long!  We have had many clients at Family inHome Caregiving over the years which were over 100.  Most of our current clients are in their 90's.  They all have great stories like Bevva and most have a very positive outlook on life which has taken them far.  Bevva has some great advice to give to us all.  "The big secret is love the life.  Life is beautiful."

Pacific Grove, CA Mediterranean Diet Still Being Touted By Experts

by Richard Kuehn on 10/18/14

Much has been written about how good the Mediterranean diet is for you.  Dr. Michael Roizen, the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, a specialist on having a healthy body and brain, recommends adding the following foods to your diet:

• Omega – 3 fats

• Salmon, trout

• Walnuts

• Flax seeds

• Chia seeds/grain

• Caffeine In tea, coffee

• Tumeric

• Flavonoids and polyphenols

• Blueberries

• Brown rice

• Almost any fruit or vegetable

• Spinach

• Tea

• Tomatoes

• Onions

• Apples (especially skin)

• Insoluble fiber

• Barley

• Quinoa

• Chia

As well as avoiding the following

• Avoid saturated fat (more than 4 grams in a meal)

• Trans fat (totally)

• Added sugars, syrups (any)

• Any grain but 100% whole grain

Soda and other product that are high in sugar are also to be avoided, and for added health to the brain he recommends:

• Social connections

• A purpose in life

• Mental game stimulation

• Challenging new tasks

• Deep breathing

• Meditation

• A few (1-2) minutes of very intense exercise three times

a week following 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise

(heart rate greater than 80% of 220 minus your calendar

age): the single most important item in this section

These are all good suggestions.  At Family inHome Caregiving, we stress eating right, getting the appropriate amount of exercise and social interaction is also very important.

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

by Richard Kuehn on 10/18/14

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 Elder Abuse Town Hall Being Held By Senator Monning & Assemblyman Mark Stone On October 28 At Oldemeyer Center

by Richard Kuehn on 10/18/14

Who says that there is no such thing as a free lunch?  Senator Bill Monning & Assemblyman Mark Stone are holding a two hour presentation on fraud prevention Tuesday, October 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Oldemeyer Center at 986 Hilby Avenue in Seaside.  Senior Citizens and their families are invited to attend the Town Hall entitled "Schemes, Scams & Rip-Offs" which will be followed by a luncheon.  You must RSVP in advance with Francine at 899-6809.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the latest scams against seniors, which can change from day to day.  At Family inHome Caregiving we see seniors abused financially all of the time.  Sometimes these scams come from the outside, but they are often done by those the senior believes are friends or even their own family.  If you hire a caregiver, make sure that they are bonded and insured.  Many seniors hire caregivers off of with disastrous consequences.

Pacific Grove, CA Diabetes Update: Soda Makers Agree To Market Lower Calorie Options

by Richard Kuehn on 10/17/14

I've written many times on my blog about excess sugar increasing the risk of diabetes.  I was glad to read that Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have all announced that they will try and reduce the calories we are getting by 20% over the next decade.  The Clinton Global Initiative was responsible for pressuring the soda industry to focus on marketing smaller sized drinks, bottled water and diet drinks (although the jury is out on the latter, with some researchers saying diet soda may actually increase the risk of diabetes).  Many seniors have already switched to more healthy options, with the caloric intake from drinks falling by 12% between 2000 and 2013.  It's part of a broader trend in America, with seniors paying more attention to a healthier diet.   

Pacific Grove, CA Diabetes Cases Appear To Be Slowing, Say Federal Researchers

by Richard Kuehn on 10/17/14

Although diabetes is a huge problem in this country, Federal researchers say the rates of diabetes growth (it's doubled over the past two decades) may be leveling off.  Currently, 9.3% of the population (about 29.1 million people) have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  This generated $245 billion in medical costs in 2012.  A key driver of the slowing growth rate is a plateauing of obesity rates.  About 95% of diabetes are Type 2, and many in this group are obese.  Although the number of diabetes cases are still rising, if people can be educated that eating right and getting enough exercise can significantly reduce their risk of getting diabetes, we may be able to turn this trend around.

Pacific Grove, CA Seniors Can Now Get Access To Medical Tests Quickly

by Richard Kuehn on 10/17/14

More and more people are getting direct results of medical tests due to a Federal rule which went into effect in April.  These were once guarded by doctors and other medical professionals but the new Federal rules override a number of state laws which prevented consumers from getting direct access to this data, although there is currently a 30-day delay to give physicians time to review them before patients can.  Many doctors, however, will give you a copy immediately if you ask.  As a result, some laboratories and medical facilities are trying to get more consumer friendly.  For example, Quest Diagnostics launched a secure patient website called MyQuest by Care360 where patients can go to review their tests within 48-72 hours or get them on a cell-phone app.  This is great progress because many of us get anxious after getting tests done so it's nice to be able to get access to the results quickly.      

Pacific Grove, CA Asthma With Seniors Is Not Always Related To Pollen

by Richard Kuehn on 10/16/14

Most people believe that asthma is caused by a reaction to pollen, food and other allergens.  Researchers are focusing on another type which is a bit more mysterious called nonalergenic asthma (when the body acts in the same way with constricted airways, wheezing and coughing, but it's not due to an allergen).  With a typical asthma outbreak, your immune system becomes overactive because of pollen or some other factor.  With nonalergenic asthma, however, the body's immune system isn't involved.  The latest study from the Columbia University Medical Center found that one factor may be related to chemicals which are included in plastic products.  Another study from Weill Cornell Medical College found that when a normal type of fat in the lungs isn't present (which oddly enough occurs often in obese people), the risk of asthma goes up significantly.  The number of people diagnosed with asthma jumped from 5.5% of the population in 1996 to 8.4% in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.  I'm glad more issue is being paid to this growing problem.

Pacific Grove, CA POLST Form Can Help You Get Hospice And Other Care You Might Need Later In Life

by Richard Kuehn on 10/15/14

Many people aren't even aware of what palliative care, often referred to as hospice care, is.  A recent report by the Institute of Medicine, the research branch of the National Academy of Sciences, found that end-of-life care needs a revamp in order to save costs and improve patient care.  "What we call for is that there be an opportunity for discussions with clinicians throughout the life cycle and not just one time," Phillip Pizzo, co-chair of the panel and former dean of the Stanford University Medical School, told The Wall Street Journal.  "It's part of the process of living," he said.  The committee believes that one change that should be made is that you currently can't have access to Hospice via Medicare until a doctor says that you have less than six months to live.  This rule should be changed if people can benefit from the extra care earlier, the committee said.  It pointed out that many people are in and out of the hospital repeatedly which costs more than if they were on hospice care.  Make sure than you have an up-to-date POLST  (Physician's Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) and let your doctors and your family know what your wishes are for end of life care.

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