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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 New Mammography Test Called A Tomosynthesis Holds Promise

by Richard Kuehn on 07/24/14

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that adding a newer test called a tomosynthesis to a traditional digital mammogram can significantly increase the detection rate for breast cancer as well as reduce false positives.  The new procedure is almost identical to a mammogram, except the new test equipment moves around the breast as it does digital imagery, rather than staying stationary like a traditional mammogram.  The procedure is new and so the equipment is expensive.  Only 1,100 of 13,500 mammography units in the U.S. can perform the new procedure.  However, as the technology gains in popularity, this number will likely grow significantly.  There are more than 38 million mammograms performed in the U.S. each year. 

Salinas, CA CEO Of Natividad Medical Center Resigns Abruptly

by Richard Kuehn on 07/23/14

Natividad Medical Center CEO Harry Weiss announced that he is resigning his post effective on Friday after service in that capacity for almost six years.  Weiss said, "I am very grateful for and want to honor the growing list of NMC’s team?led innovations and successes over the past seven?plus years, including the following:

 • NMC has virtually erased all hospital?acquired infections in recent years.

• NMC has made material improvements in its Quality of Care scores known as “Core Measures.”

• NMC has made material improvements in its independent Patient Satisfaction scores.

• NMC started a vaginal delivery after previous C?Section program, the only one in the region.

• NMC added dedicated 24/7 anesthesia for its OB program back in 2009.

• NMC totally revamped its Hospitalist program.

• NMC added the Rapid Medical Examination in its Emergency Department.

• NMC achieved a “Center of Excellence” rating in Bariatric Surgery.

• NMC expanded its D'Arrigo Family Specialty Services.

• NMC was selected to move forward to serve the region for Level II Trauma.

• The expansion of the physician residency program.

• The imminent opening of a new 20,000 square foot family practice residency clinic on the 3rd floor of building 400 by the end of 2014.

• Nearly $50 million in new capital improvements for NMC.

Carmel, CA Prostate Cancer Treatment Used For Decades Found To Have Little Use

by Richard Kuehn on 07/23/14

One of the most common treatments for men with early-stage prostate cancer is a drug therapy (called androgen deprivation) to suppress their production of testosterone.  However, the results of a major new study from Rutgers Cancer Institute which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found little use for this treatment.  "There are so many side effects associated with this therapy, and really little evidence to support its use," said Dr. Grace Lu-Yao, the lead author of the report.  "I would say that for the majority of patients with localized prostate cancer, this is not a good option," she said.  There are significant side effects to this therapy, including impotence, diabetes and bone loss. One physician, Dr. McKiernan, told the New York Times that the results of the study were eye-opening and even alarming.  "This isn't the first study that suggests that there's no added benefit to this therapy.  But there are still a fair number of doctors recommending it and patients receiving it.  Today it is estimated that at least 25% of men over the age of 75 are considered "chemically castrated" due to receiving this treatment.  Men are usually put on the drugs for life, which substantially raises their risk of fractures, hot flashes, diabetes and heart disease.  

Carmel, CA Diabetes : Tips To Prevent Low Blood Sugar

by Richard Kuehn on 07/18/14

The number of cases of diabetes in the United States continues to soar.  If you have been recently diagnosed with the disease, you need to study the subject and find out what you can and can't eat, and tell your friends and family know what to do if your blood sugar gets dangerously low.  One publication that I like to read is called Diabetes Forecast.  In their latest issue, they had an article entitled 10 ways to prevent low blood sugar.  Their suggestions included:

Understanding your medications;

If using a fast-acting insulin, pay attention to blood glucose levels one to two hours after injection;

Avoid insulin mix-ups;

Know the symptoms;

Follow the "Rule of 15";

Carry a glucose source at all times;

Wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM);

Get enough sleep;

Eat when you plan to eat; and

Pay attention to physical activities.

To read this and other insightful articles, Click here.

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Runs Rampant : The Attorneys At Legal Services For Seniors Can Help

by Richard Kuehn on 07/18/14

Sadly, the number of financial elder abuse cases continues to be on the rise.  Often times, seniors are abused by a friend, relative or someone else that they trust.  Legal Services for Seniors offers free help from qualified attorneys which may help you get some of your money back if you have been a victim.  "We provide full legal representation to seniors in Monterey County for those 60 years of age and above at absolutely no charge," executive director Kellie Morgantini told the Carmel Pine Cone.  They also help with disputes with Social Security, health care providers, housing rights, wills, probates, guardianships and other conflicts.  "What we tell people is that elder abuse appears in many different forms.  It can be financial, it can be physical, or it can be a combination of both," said Morgantini.  About 30-40% of the cases that Legal Services for Seniors fields involves Internet and phone fraud.  Don't fall for these scams where people tell you that you have won something but you have to send in money in order to collect your prize.  There are many different scams and they are constantly changing.  If you feel you have been or could be defrauded, give these free attorneys a call at 899-0942.

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

by Richard Kuehn on 07/17/14

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

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Update : 66-Year Old Woman Gets Nine Year Prison Term For Scamming Friends Out Of $6 Million

by Richard Kuehn on 07/17/14

A 66-year old woman who bilked dozens of local seniors out of millions of dollars couldn't keep her mouth shut in court and ended up getting an even longer sentence than expected when the judge said a letter which was supposed to be a mea culpa for her crimes actually made things worse.  The contents of the letter were not made public, but the woman's defense attorney's argument for a three-year sentence fell flat on the court and the judge said of the letter, "I just don't see in this letter true remorse and true acceptance of responsibility."  Barbra Alexander was sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing $6.3 million from people who thought they were her closest friends as well as others who heard about her on her financial radio talk show called "Money Dots".  Alexander also was a partner in Monterey-based APS Funding from which she embezzled money to pay some investors in the Ponzi scheme she was sent to prison for, as well as buy jewelry and do a $200,000 kitchen remodel.  "The deceit was particularly painful because the victims are folks who thought they had a relationship with Ms. Alexander," said Judge Koh.  "You ended my trust in my fellow man forever," a 70-year old woman told the court.  She had to borrow money from relatives to travel to the trial after losing everything.  Another 62-year old woman ended up living in her car and selling her wedding ring to pay for medication following the collapse of Alexander's Ponzi scheme.  For this, nine years doesn't seem long enough.

Carmel, CA Alzheimer's Caregivers Have Hope : Research Shows Music Really Does Sooth The Soul

by Richard Kuehn on 07/15/14

I saw an early release of a wonderful movie called Alive Inside, the winner of the Sundance 2014 Audience Award.  Thanks to Jack Nybloom and the Camera Cinemas for putting this screening together (it will be available in theaters next month).  The movie tells the story of a number of victims of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, M.S. and other debilitating conditions which went from an almost comatose state to literally coming alive when they were given iPods loaded with the music that they love.  It was wonderful to see their eyes light up, with some of them getting up and dancing when they were previously depressed, lifeless and often bed-ridden.  It's amazing to see the power of music and what it can do to people that are ill.  Regular readers of my blog know that both my father and my grandmother had Alzheimer's disease when they passed away.  Typically, as Alzheimer's victims grow older, they lose short term memories but often revert back to another time, sometimes their childhood but often a happy time during their lives.  My grandmother thought she was in her 40's when she was in her 90's and I would often see her staring in the mirror, perplexed by the image she saw.  I witnessed the "Alive Inside" phenomenon with my grandmother on a number of occasions.  Once, when she was given a new medication she suddenly "woke up" and remembered everything except the last five years.   She didn't know where she was and she was terrified.  But often times it was music that would awaken her.  We would often take her to a place in Carmel Valley where she would dance with cowboys as if she didn't have a care in the world.  This movie is amazing in that it shows how music and memory are correlated. are trying to raise money in order to help these seniors which have severe memory disorders.  One of the saddest things about the film is that it interviewed a gerontologist who said he was free to write thousands of dollars per month in prescriptions but was unable to get a patient reimbursed for less than $100 for an iPod despite the fact that it may be much more effective than adding on another prescription.  Hopefully can change that.  There are now 100's of MUSIC & MEMORY Certified Care Facilities across the nation, but there should be thousands.  Please help them if you can afford to.

Carmel, CA Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) Management Competence Under Fire

by Richard Kuehn on 07/15/14

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the most trusted agencies in the Federal Government, is now in the public cross-hairs after mishandling anthrax which has called the whole agency's testing and emergency practices into question.  In addition to potentially exposing dozens of its employees to the deadly bacteria, the chief of the agency Dr. Thomas Frieden, was called into the limelight after his workers accidently shipped a dangerous strain of avian influenza to the Department of Agriculture.  That virus, known as H5N1, has already killed more than half of the 650 people who have been exposed to it over the years.  "I was, just frankly, stunned and appalled," Dr. Frieden told The New York Times.  Sadly, Dr. Michael Bell, who was appointed by Dr. Frieden to a new position overseeing laboratory safety, said that researchers are so tired of the daily grind of working with deadly microbes that they have ceased following safety protocols.  With the current mess still ongoing at the Veterans Administration, the Obama Administration will now have its hands full trying to save another once-venerable health institution.

Carmel, CA Alzheimer's Disease Linked To Preventable Vascular Risk Factors Such As Physical Inactivity, Smoking, Midlife Obesity And Diabetes

by Richard Kuehn on 07/14/14

A new research project which was published in the journal The Lancet Neurology found that over half of the world's Alzheimer's cases may be preventable.  The project found evidence that a number of potentially modifiable risk factors (diabetes, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, physical inactivity, depression smoking and low educational attainment) lead to the disease.  Surprisingly, the highest correlation in the world was with low educational attainment, although in the U.S., physical inactivity ranked the highest.  The researchers suggested that improved access to education to show people that the prevalence of vascular risk factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, midlife obesity and diabetes (as well as depression) could lead to Alzheimer's disease.  Thanks to the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (in the U.K.) for funding this interesting research project.  Regular readers of my blog know that both my father and my grandmother had Alzheimer's disease when they passed away.  It's a terrible disease for which there is no cure.  I am currently raising money for the Alzheimer's Association's annual Walk to End Alzheimer's event.  If you can afford to help, please click here.

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