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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 Aspirin Can Help Prevent Another Heart Attack

by Richard Kuehn on 04/21/15

There is more evidence in a study which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that taking aspirin regularly after having a heart attack can prevent you from having another one.  The jury is still out, however, on whether you should take it if you have not had a heart attack.  A Japanese study of older adults, none of whom have ever had heart problems but all of whom had at least one risk factor found no significant difference in the number of heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths between those taking aspirin and those not taking it.  Experts caution against quitting taking aspirin if you are already taking aspiring regularly.  Talk to your doctor if you are unsure.

Monterey, CA Alzheimer’s Disease, Other Dementia Are Big Risks As We Grow Older

by Richard Kuehn on 04/21/15

Meditation can not only help you relax, but experts are now saying that it can help regulate your attention span and emotions.  In short, it’s good for the brain and can make your life feel unhurried, sharp, focused and more patient with others.  We are at increasing risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia as we go older and anything we can do to clear the mind and have time to think deeply about issues can stimulate the brain.  Doing puzzles and word games can also be helpful.

Monterey, CA Social Security Payments Would Be Eliminated For High Income Seniors If Governor Chris Christy Becomes President In 2016

by Richard Kuehn on 04/20/15

The Presidential Elections are more than a year and a half away but already the political rhetoric is starting to heat up in advance of what will likely be a heated election.  Governor Chris Christie (Republican, New Jersey) has called for a cutback in Social Security payments for many senior citizens, a very risky campaign strategy.  His proposal is that all Americans would pay into the system but high-income seniors wouldn’t be able to draw any benefits at all.  He also plans to raise the retirement age to 69 from the 67 it is scheduled to be raised to by 2027.  The announcement came shortly after two Democrats who are rumored to be running for President in 2016 (Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley) both called for expanding Social Security benefits.  “Washington is afraid to hve an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with the people of our country,” Christie said in New Hampshire, the first state to hold a presidential primary election.  “I am not.”

Monterey, CA Drug Company Going To Court Against The FDA To Get Patent Protection Extended For Abilify

by Richard Kuehn on 04/20/15

In a surprising move, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company is suing the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in an attempt to stave off competitors from making generic versions of its popular Abilify antipsychotic drug which generated $4.9 billion in U.S. sales last year.  Its patent expires next year, putting billions of dollars at risk.  Otsuka is trying to use a rare loophole in order to keep its patent enforced.  Since the FDA approved Abilify last December to treat children suffering from Tourette syndrome, it received a so-called orphan designation.  This is given to drug companies which have a treatment on the market which is used for a rare malady like Tourette, giving companies a financial incentive to produce drugs for rare diseases which is typically not profitable.  If Otsuka is successful in keeping this orphan designation for all drug sales, it would be able to keep generic versions of Abilify off of the market for another seven years.  Since 90% of its sales come from this one drug, the entire company is in jeopardy if it doesn’t receive an extension on its patent protection.  

Monterey, CA Medical Device Approval Process Needs To Be Revamped, Says Insurance Companies

by Richard Kuehn on 04/20/15

It’s not surprising that a number of health insurance companies are calling for tougher rules for approving and tracking medical devices given the recent spate of recalls and problems with equipment.  There have been faulty hip replacement devices, equipment used in hysterectomies which have been found to spread cancer, and numerous other instances of unsafe devices hitting the market.  They have resulted in pain, injuries, repeated surgeries and in some cases death.  America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association which represents insurance companies in the U.S., is calling for changes in the FDA system known as the 510(k) approval system which clears tools deemed substantially similar to those that are already on the market without having to have them go through clinical trials.  This has resulted in devices hitting the market which are later found to be unsafe.  

Monterey, CA Obesity Linked To Nickel Which Is Found in Many Foods

by Richard Kuehn on 04/19/15

Avoiding foods which are high in nickel can significantly decrease body fat and body-mass index in overweight women, particularly those who are in menopause or are allergic to nickel.  According to a new study, many overweight and obese men and women have unusually high levels of nickel in their system.  The metal is found in water, soil and food and is the most common metal allergy.  Many of the foods which contain high levels of nickel, unfortunately, are good for most people.  They include whole grains, legumes, cocoa and some vegetables.  I was surprised by the fact that 13% of women and 2% of men in the general population are allergic to nickel.  Most of them probably don’t know it.  

Monterey, CA Obesity Linked To Nickel Which Is Found in Many Foods

by Richard Kuehn on 04/19/15

Avoiding foods which are high in nickel can significantly decrease body fat and body-mass index in overweight women, particularly those who are in menopause or are allergic to nickel.  According to a new study, many overweight and obese men and women have unusually high levels of nickel in their system.  The metal is found in water, soil and food and is the most common metal allergy.  Many of the foods which contain high levels of nickel, unfortunately, are good for most people.  They include whole grains, legumes, cocoa and some vegetables.  I was surprised by the fact that 13% of women and 2% of men in the general population are allergic to nickel.  Most of them probably don’t know it.  

Monterey, CA Kidney Stones Increasingly Common With Senior Citizens

by Richard Kuehn on 04/19/15

Kidney stones  affect more men than women, but a new study which was published in the Journal of Urology suggests the gap may be narrowing. Greater increases in overweight and obese women compared with men along with lifestyle pattern are responsible for this trend, according to the researchers.  The study also found that kidney stones are increasing in senior citizens when historically the rate at which kidney stones are found in elder Americans had been on the decline. 

Monterey, CA Puppy Love Has Been Proven To Exist

by Richard Kuehn on 04/19/15

Although many use the term puppy love to describe young love, researchers have found that there is indeed a sort of love transmitted between humans and puppies when they gaze into each other’s eyes.  According to a new study which was published in the journal Science, when a dog stares at a human, its levels of oxytocin (known as the love hormone) rise and as this chemical is secreted it causes the human to gaze back longer at it.  

Monterey, CA Stroke Victims Should Use A One Prong Cane When In Recovery

by Richard Kuehn on 04/18/15

People recovering from a stroke walked significantly farther and faster, and used less oxygen with a standard cane than other walking devices, according to a study which was published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation.  On average, the study participants using a single-point cane walked 144 yards versus 110 yards with the quad cane and 89 yards with the walker.  Walking speed was about a half a foot per second faster with the single-point cane than with other aids.  Oxygen consumption, but not heart rate, was significantly lower with the single point cane.  This is an important study because minimizing unnecessary energy consumption is important after a stroke, as patients often require more energy than healthy people.  With a single cane, stroke recovery patients used less energy while walking the same distance.  Researchers cautioned that stroke patients with poor balance and/or mobility issues may still need to use a walker.

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