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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

Monterey County Fair Hosts Senior Day On September 3

by Richard Kuehn on 08/23/15

The Monterey County Fair will be opening soon (held from September 2-7) and September 3 has been dubbed seniors day.  There will be free admission as well as health screenings, live entertainment, free event bags and computer help.  Call 372-5863 or go to

Monterey, CA Bayonet And Blackhorse Golf Course Hosts Happy Hour August 28 For Seniors

by Richard Kuehn on 08/23/15

If you are looking to get out and meet new friends and get a good meal as well, there is a group called Dine Out Seniors Which Meets Regularly.  Their next meeting will be on August 28 at 4:00 p.m. at the Bayonet and Blackhorse Golf Course on One McClure Way in Seaside (this is the old Fort Ord Officer’s golf course).  There will be a happy hour with appetizers served.  Call 917-1269 for more information or to make reservations.

Carmel, CA Right To Die Bill Revived In The State Senate

by Richard Kuehn on 08/23/15

Legislators in Sacramento are once again reviving the right to die bill, which could give terminally ill Californians the same rights as those in Oregon, enabling them to end their life on their own terms.  Many people don’t want to spend their final months or days in pain and being a burden to their friends and family.  They want to be remembered as healthy and full of life.  The Catholic Church and others have vehemently opposed the legislation, which faces an uphill battle.  "People are counting on us to win the freedom to end their life the way they choose," Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, (D-Stockton), coauthor of the legislation said Tuesday at a news conference to unveil "The End of Life Option Act,'' now bill AB 2x-15.  "We will use whatever means are available to us. We wanted this to go forward."

Carmel, CA Alzheimer’s Association Offers Free Online Classes

by Richard Kuehn on 08/22/15

The Alzheimer’s Association is a great non-profit that has support groups and can help you deal with this stressful situation of caring for someone with increasing memory loss.  They have a number of in-person classes and support groups, and if you aren’t able to attend in person click here for online webinars such as:

Conversations about Dementia
Learn helpful tips to guide you in having difficult conversations with family members, including going to the doctor, deciding when to stop driving, and making legal and financial plans.

Compassionate Communication: Connecting with a  Person with Alzheimer’s
Communication is more than the ability to exchange words—it is the ability to connect with someone. This program will provide strategies on improving overall communication skills in connecting with memory-impaired individuals.

Healthy Habits for a Healthier Brain
For centuries, we've known that the health of the brain and the body are connected. But now, science is able to provide insights into how to optimize our physical and cognitive health as we age. Join us to learn about research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement, and use hands-on tools to help you incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging.

Help & Hope in Alzheimer's Science and Care 
In recent years we have entered a period of tremendous advances in Alzheimer research, encompassing genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's, imaging studies to identify Alzheimer's in the living brain, blood tests and other biomarkers that may one day be used to diagnose Alzheimer's, how our lifestyle influences our risk of Alzheimer's as we age, and more.

Lo básico: lapérdida de memoria, la demencia y la enfermedad de alzheimer

La enfermedad de Alzheimer y otras demencias relacionadas no son una parte normal del envejecimiento.  Lo Básico: La Pérdida de Memoria, La Demencia y La Enfermedad de Alzheimer es un taller presentado por la Alzheimer’s Association, para todos los que quieran saber más acerca del Alzheimer y otras demencias relacionadas.

Responding to Challenging Behaviors: Successful Strategies and Interventions
Provides participants with helpful tips to address behavioral aspects of dementia.  The program shares examples of some of the most common behaviors associated with the disease, and empowers caregivers to try a new approach.

Basics of Alzheimer's and Dementia for LGBT Care Partners
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not a normal part of aging. This webinar provides an overview about dementia and LGBT caregiving concerns. The featured speaker is David Troxel.

For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272-3900 or drop by their office at 21 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite B, in Ryan Ranch in Monterey.  Family inHome Caregiving is currently raising funds for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  If you would like to make a donation, click here.

Carmel, CA Retiring Baby Boomers Pouring More Money Into Annuities

by Richard Kuehn on 08/22/15

Annuities are gaining popularity as a huge number of baby boomers retire and seek financial stability in their golden years.  However, you need to be careful in choosing an annuity.  Fees can be high and yields are tied to interest rates so they are currently low.  There are also different types of annuities.  Variable annuities feature stock-market funds while the more conservative (called fixed or guaranteed-rate) have bond like yields which are currently paying only 2-3%.  Since interest rates are likely to rise, it’s prudent not to lock up a lot of funds in a guaranteed-rate annuity now.  Rather, many seniors are putting money into short-term t-bills, saving the funds to buy these instruments after the Fed hikes interest rates.

Carmel, CA Obese Diabetics May Have To Undergo Surgery To Go Into Remission

by Richard Kuehn on 08/21/15

It’s no secret that there is a strong link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes and recent research shows that surgery may be the best way to go.  Published in the journal JAMA Surgery, the research shows the superiority of bariatric surgery over lifestyle changes in resolving the chronic condition involving high blood sugar.  In the trial, obese adults with diabetes were randomly assigned to one of two surgical procedures or intensive lifestyle intervention and followed for three years.  Forty percent of those who had received a gastric bypass procedure and 29% who received a gastric band were considered in remission from diabetes and no longer needed to take medication after three years.  By comparison, no one in the group who received intensive lifestyle intervention resolved their diabetes.  Talk to your physician about your options if you are extremely overweight and diabetic.


Carmel, CA Breast Cancer Diagnosis Doesn’t Mean Surgery For Many Women, According To A New Study

by Richard Kuehn on 08/21/15

Most women who are diagnosed with Stage O breast cancer opt for a lumpectomy, a mastectomy or a double mastectomy.  However, new research which was reported yesterday in the journal JAMA Oncology indicates this might not be necessary.  This is a huge finding for the 60K American women who undergo this surgery each year.  The study showed that women who underwent this surgery had about the same chance of dying of breast cancer as the general population and the few that did die did so despite having the surgery.  This study is likely to be hotly debated in the medical community.  Ask your oncologist about it if you receive a Stage O diagnosis.

Carmel, CA Caregiver Alert : Seniors On High Blood Pressure Meds More Prone To Fall In The Summer, Particularly Women

by Richard Kuehn on 08/21/15

Older people that are taking blood-pressure medication may need lower dosages during the hot summer months to help prevent fainting, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine.  The study found fainting episodes, called syncope, were significantly more common in summer than in winter among patients taking antihypertensive drugs. Almost 75% of patients with summer syncope were aged 60 or older.  Summer syncope was associated with dehydration and was more common in women.  By contrast, more men developed syncope in winter.

Carmel, CA Jury Still Out On Statin Alternatives

by Richard Kuehn on 08/20/15

I wrote recently on my blog about a new class of cholesterol lowering drugs (alternative to statins) which are hitting the market.  However, like so many new drugs, they are very expensive and insurance companies will be watching closely to see who they are prescribed to.  The first of the new drugs to be approved by the FDA was Praluent, from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi SA and will launch at a list price of $40 a day, or $14,560 a year. The FDA is expected to approve a second drug, Amgen Inc.’s Repatha, by August 27.  Many insurers plan to require rigorous evaluations before authorizing prescriptions, to make sure patients can’t get their cholesterol down with traditional statins.  Between 10% and  25% of people who have tried statins report having muscle pain, which limits the dose they can tolerate or precludes them from taking a statin at all.   “Clearly there is a group of patients that has statin intolerance,” said Leslie Cho, section head, preventive cardiology and rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. A study she led involving about 1,600 patients with initial complaints of statin intolerance found that just over 70% could actually take the medicines, while about 30% were truly statin-intolerant.  

Carmel, CA Nursing Homes And Rehab Facilities Bill Medicare As Much As Possible

by Richard Kuehn on 08/20/15

The Wall Street Journal broke a story about nursing homes bilking Medicare, something which has been going on in the industry for many years.  The story talked about Jack Furumura who became severely dehydrated in 2013 and shed more than 5 pounds, partly because staff in his rehab facility didn’t follow written plans for his nutrition or the facility’s policies, a state inspection report showed.  During many of his 21 days there, the 96-year-old man suffering from dementia received two hours or more of physical and occupational therapy combined, records show.  That qualified as what Medicare terms an “ultra high” amount of therapy to help with tasks such as walking, even as he deteriorated. And it allowed the nursing-home operator to bill Medicare top dollar for his entire stay.  Patients getting ultrahigh therapy—at least 720 minutes a week—generate some of nursing homes’ biggest payments from the taxpayer-funded program.  If you have a loved one entering a rehab facility, keep an eye on their care, particularly with dementia patients, who can’t look out for themselves.

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