Family inHome Caregiving Blog
CHOMP has a number of upcoming events and classes this summer such as the Better Bones and Balance talk which will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays between September 1 and October 22 either from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the main CHOMP facility in the "It's My Life studio." Learn Pilates-based exercises in order to correct posture, strengthen muscles and improve balance and flexibility. Exercises are done either in a seated or standing position. The class is designed for those who have difficulty getting up and down. For more information, call 1-888-452-4667 or got to www.chomp.org.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed adding a sugar guide to food. I think this is a great idea. The proposed rule would set the recommended intake of added sugar for packaged food and beverages at no more than about 200 calories a day, or 10% of the 2,000-calorie diet generally used for nutrition guidance. That would cap intake at about 13 teaspoons of added sugar—or a bit more than in a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, which has nearly 10 teaspoons. The FDA said a fresh review of dietary research indicates that a healthy diet, which would decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks below current U.S. eating patterns, is likely to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease. Sugar currently is one of the few major food components that doesn’t have a recommended consumption level on U.S. food labels, because the FDA hadn’t proposed a specific limit. Critics have blamed pressure from food companies.
The Peninsula Wellness Center (near Home Depot at 1910 North Davis Road in Salinas) is having a pre-opening celebration this weekend on August 1 (from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a free BBQ) and on August 2 (from noon to 3:00 p.m.) where there will be fun, food and more! There is a 25,000 square foot facility with lap and warm water pools; a group exercise studio, sports performance studio and state-of-the-art equipment, for more information, call 1-855-902-4848 or go to www.peninsula-wellness-center.com
If you are looking to meet new friends, there is a group called "Dine Out Seniors" which is having their next meeting on July 31 for lunch at 11:30 a.m at Applebee's on 1301 North Davis Road in Salinas. Seniors who are divorced, widow/widower or new to the area are invited to attend. Please call 917-1269 or 442-0133 to reserve your spot. At Family inHome Caregiving, we believe the key to longevity is good nutrition, the proper amount of exercise and plenty of social stimulation. Without the latter, you can feel lonely and depressed. This is a good opportunity to make new friends!
The Alzheimer's Association will be holding a "Dementia Conversations" workshop on July 31 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at their Ryan Ranch location at 21 Lower Ragsdale Drive in Monterey. At this event, you will receive tips on having an honest and caring conversation with a family member about going to the doctor, deciding when to stop driving and more. For more information, call 1-800-272-3900. Regular readers of my blog know that both my grandmother and my father had this terrible disease when they passed away, and I have been working diligently with the Monterey Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to raise money to find a cure. In addition to being the largest private funder of Alzheimer's research in the United States, they have support groups and a 24-hour hotline (800-272-3900) where a dedicated staff can help you if you are struggling with caring for a loved one with the disease. Family inHome Caregiving will be attending the Monterey Memory Walk. We are currently the number one fundraising team. If you would like to walk with us, to join our team or to donate, please click here.
After decades of increasing their daily caloric intake, Americans are now eating less, which hopefully will reduce the number of diabetes cases. Calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject, more than 40 years ago. The declines cut across most major demographic groups — including higher- and lower-income families, and blacks and whites — though they vary somewhat by group. The reversal appears to stem from people’s growing realization that they were harming their health by eating and drinking too much. The awareness began to build in the late 1990s, thanks to a burst of scientific research about the costs of obesity, and to public health campaigns in recent years. Still, more than a third of American adults are still considered obese, putting them at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Americans are still eating far too few fruits and vegetables and far too much junk food, even if they are eating somewhat less of it, experts say. Hopefully, this trend will reverse, resulting in a reduction in overweight Americans.
There's a dearth of drugs on the market for Alzheimer's disease, a debilitating condition for which there is no cure. Sadly, the drug-industry trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, recently released a report calculating that 123 experimental therapies for Alzheimer’s disease failed between 1998 and 2014 while only four drugs made it to market. One ray of hope; Those with mild Alzheimer’s disease who started taking an experimental drug developed by Eli Lilly & Co. early in the course of their disease fared better than patients who started later in a clinical trial. Called Solanezumab, the drug may slow the decline of memory and function in mild Alzheimer’s patients, despite prior studies with negative results. A separate, continuing study due to end in late 2016 is designed to more definitively test its efficacy and safety. The new results showed that the patients who started therapy earlier retained an advantage in cognition and daily function over those who started later, and that this difference persisted for two years. Unfortunately, most of the drugs which have been brought to market only last a year or two, there is no long-term cure. Regular readers of my blog know that both my grandmother and my father had this terrible disease when they passed away, and I have been working diligently with the Monterey Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to raise money to find a cure. In addition to being the largest private funder of Alzheimer's research in the United States, they have support groups and a 24-hour hotline (800-272-3900) where a dedicated staff can help you if you are struggling with caring for a loved one with the disease. Family inHome Caregiving will be attending the Monterey Memory Walk on September 26 starting at Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey. We are currently the number one fundraising team. If you would like to walk with us, to join our team or to donate, please click here.
I just wrote on my blog about a new cholesterol drug which comes with a price-tag of a whopping $15K per year. Now comes news that more than 100 oncologists from top cancer hospitals around the U.S. have complained vehemently about soaring cancer-drug prices (which rose 12% last year and are expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 11.6% per year through the year 2020)/ They have called for new regulations to control them. In an editorial published in the Mayo Clinic’s medical journal, the doctors focus attention on the financial burden to patients, saying the out-of-pocket costs are bankrupting many just as they’re fighting a deadly illness. Patients “have to make difficult choices between spending their incomes [and liquidating assets] on potentially lifesaving therapies or forgoing treatment to provide for family necessities,” the doctors write in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a monthly peer-reviewed journal. As a result, about 10% to 20% of cancer patients don’t take their treatment as prescribed, the doctors say. The average price of new cancer drugs in the U.S. increased five- to tenfold over 15 years, to more than $100,000 a year in 2012, according to the Mayo Clinic journal editorial. Some of the newest therapies, including those that harness a patient’s immune system to fight tumors, cost about $150,000 per patient a year. A top physician from Memorial Sloan Kettering recently warned that as doctors prescribe more cancer drugs for use in combination, the annual price could approach $300,000 per patient a year. “What we’re fighting is the greed. The greed and the additional maneuvering that is being exercised after you’ve already recouped what you’ve invested. There is no control, no regulation,” Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic and the first signator on the new editorial, told The Wall Street Journal. It will be interesting to see if regulators step in and pressure pharmaceutical companies to lower prices.
As expected, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug on Friday called Praluent, the first of a new class of powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs that is injectable, not in pill form. The big surprise: the drug, made by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals which was expected to be priced at $7,000 to $12,000 a year was actually priced at a hefty $14,600 per year. The drug could be prescribed to 8-10 million Americans who are at high risk for heart attacks and strokes and can't get their cholesterol under control with statins that are currently on the market. “This could become the most expensive medication that we use,” Troyen Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer at CVS Health, the pharmacy-benefits manager and drugstore chain, told The Wall Street Journal. Unlike drugs for cancer or multiple sclerosis, which can have six-figure annual price tags but are taken by relatively few people, these new drugs could go to several million people. Adding the price, plus the expectation that patients could stay on them for 20 to 30 years, Dr. Brennan said, creates a multiplier effect that could lead to a potential $50 billion to $100 billion-a-year national tab.
Government pension cuts, it turns out, are not that easy to do. A flurry of cities and states across the nation have tried to slash pensions, only to be met with a flurry of lawsuits. There have been perplexing results in the litigation. In Arizona, California, Oregon and New York, for instance, the courts have ruled that pension plans for existing workers cannot be cut. They can be cut, however, for new hires. But in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and South Dakota, the courts have given government officials free reign to cut pension benefits. “It’s a real hodgepodge, and in a lot of states, I don’t think it’s completely clear,” David Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told The New York Times. I guess we should be thankful we live in a state where pension benefits are guaranteed.