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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

Monterey, CA Alzheimer's Association Holding Care Academy Workshop On February 24

by Richard Kuehn on 02/23/15

The Alzheimer's Association is having their "Care Academy Part 2" which is a workshop that describes approaches that meet each individuals needs when dealing with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.  If you are caring for a loved one with this terrible disease, please contact this great organization at 1-800-272-3900.  The meeting will be on Tuesday, February 24 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at their Ryans Ranch Office at 21 Lower Ragsdale Drive.

Carmel, CA New Superbug Linked To Commonly Used Tool In Hospitals

by Richard Kuehn on 02/22/15

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned doctors and hospitals on Thursday to use extra caution in disinfecting a hard to clean medical scope which is spreading powerful new superbugs which have caused infectious outbreaks all across the country.  The tools, called duodenoscopes, are used on about 500,000 people per year.  About seven patients, including two which have died, have been linked to the contaminated tool while 150 others are known to have been exposed to the bacteria.  The FDA is analyzing new disinfecting protocols but has yet to come up with a solution.

Carmel, CA Nursing Homes Get New And Improved Medicare Rating System

by Richard Kuehn on 02/22/15

There has been quite a bit of frustration amongst consumers who rely on government ratings to choose a nursing home for their loved one, only to find up that the facility doesn’t live up to its high rating.  That’s because much of the data reported to Medicare on which the ratings are based is self-reported by the nursing home and not verified by government officials.  I was happy to read that new ratings have just been released which are based on tougher standards.  Under the new guidelines, nearly a third of the nation’s nursing homes got lower scores on the government’s five-star scale.   To see how nursing homes fare under the new guidelines click here.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Case Ends In Tragedy

by Richard Kuehn on 02/22/15

We see cases of elder abuse on almost a daily basis and the latest one in Salinas ended in the worst possible outcome, murder.  Prosecutors say a man with a prior conviction in the 2005 shooting of his stepfather is the prime suspect in the murder of his 70-year old father whom he was living with.  The son has a history of mental illness and has been booked into the Monterey County jail on the charges of elder abuse and murder.

Monterey, CA Hospitals Trying To Keep Patients Out Of The Emergency Room To Save On Medicare Costs

by Richard Kuehn on 02/21/15

A Philadelphia hospital is trying a novel experiment whereby it will invest $20 million to open two urgent-care centers, one just three blocks from the hospital, to try and encourage people with non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries to go to urgent care rather than the emergency room.   Unlike other urgent care centers, these will have video links to the hospital which will enable physicians to interact with patients in urgent care and even after they go home via a cell-phone app.  Under the Affordable Care Act, medical facilities receive cost benefits from Medicare if they can find ways to treat people at a lower cost.  Since ER’s and hospitals are the most expensive place to treat a patient, you may see more hospitals embracing this model.  

Cancer, CA Possible New Treatment On The Way For Diabetics Using Stem Cells

by Richard Kuehn on 02/21/15

A new study which was published in the Journal Cell showed that scientists have found a way to turn human stem cells into insulin-producing cells in almost unlimited quantities.  Prior to this study, it was believed that this could be done in only a small quantity of cells.  These newly reengineered cells lowered blood glucose levels when they were transplanted into diabetic mice.  Scientists believe they may be able to develop casings for the new cells so that they aren’t rejected and they can then be ingested by diabetics which will allow them to produce insulin normally.

Cancer, CA Possible New Treatment On The Way For Diabetics Using Stem Cells

by Richard Kuehn on 02/21/15

A new study which was published in the Journal Cell showed that scientists have found a way to turn human stem cells into insulin-producing cells in almost unlimited quantities.  Prior to this study, it was believed that this could be done in only a small quantity of cells.  These newly reengineered cells lowered blood glucose levels when they were transplanted into diabetic mice.  Scientists believe they may be able to develop casings for the new cells so that they aren’t rejected and they can then be ingested by diabetics which will allow them to produce insulin normally.

Carmel, CA Cancer Treatment Getting A New Class Of Drugs Called Immunotherapy

by Richard Kuehn on 02/18/15

There is a clinical trial for a new class of drugs called immunotherapies which use your body’s own T Cells to fight cancer.  Rather than attacking the cancer directly, they help the body’s immune system fight tumors, attacking the proteins that disguise the disease from T cells.  The scientific community has high hopes for this class of drugs which may be used on patients with stage four cancers for which there is little hope for with current treatments.

Carmel, CA Getting A Blood Transfusion Is Getting More Complicated As Technology Develops

by Richard Kuehn on 02/17/15

Hospitals and blood banks are working to deal with new information researchers have found that there are many genetic variations in blood types which need to be considered when doing blood transfusion.  A mismatch can be fatal so it’s important that the medical community move quickly with this new information.  The U.S. is the first country to test a system called Precise-Type which offers much more accurate results than traditional lab testing.  Scientists have already discovered 33 blood types and the list is growing.

Pacific Grove, CA Late Night Snacking Can Lead To Diabetes

by Richard Kuehn on 02/16/15

Midnight snacking has always been viewed as a no-no by the medical community.  A new study, however, gives proof to this advice.  Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies analyzed eating patterns of lab mice and compared those which ate a high-fat food whenever they wanted to others who only at during an eight-hour window.  The study, which was published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that the mice that ate at all hours soon grew chubby and unwell, with signs of diabetes.  Those eating in an eight-hour window gained little weight and developed no metabolic problems.  

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