Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Mickey Rooney Testifies on Ending Elder Abuse

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Today, the Senate Special committee on Aging hears from Mickey Rooney. Mr Rooney is a victim of elder abuse.

http://aging.senate.gov/

Stop elder abuse now.

The Committee will hold a hearing on March 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm in Dirksen 106. The title of the hearing is: “Justice for All: Ending Elder Abuse, Neglect and Financial Exploitation”

Alzheimer’s and Managing Money are Challenging Eldercare Issues

Monday, November 1st, 2010

When someone shows signs of dementia, or Alzheimer’s, one of the initial concerns is about finances. How are Mom and Dad managing their money?  Are they paying their home and car insurance? Are they paying their utility bills? Are they easy targets of elder abuse?

Determining when a person with dementia needs someone else to manage their money, or when someone is no longer capable of entering into a legal contract is not always easy. There is no exact answer or solution. Often doctors, lawyers and financial advisers are working in a “gray area.”

If you have concern that a loved one may not be capable of managing their money on their own, you may want to talk to them directly about it. Many times they will deny there is any trouble, and will say they don’t need help. Chances are they know they need help, and they are afraid. They don’t want to lose their independence or dignity. Some people won’t know when they need help. Talking about it opens the door for accepting assistance.

A next step would be to accompany your loved one to their physician’s visit, notifying the doctor ahead of time of your concerns. It is often times easier for an older person to accept a directive from a doctor rather than an adult child.

If your loved one needs help, you can assist in many ways, ranging from: monitoring their accounts online for suspicious transactions; helping them write their checks and managing the checkbook, and taking over all of their bill paying and financial responsibilities. Watch for potential elder fiduciary abuse through junk mail schemes, such as letters telling them they won the lottery or notices asking them to send money to “save their social security.”

This article touches on some of the thoughts and questions involved in the topic of elders and their finances. http://tiny.cc/ledrf

A geriatric care manager can be an excellent ally when talking to a loved one about difficult topics, or assess the situation neutrally and professionally.

Trust your instincts and watch for signs that your loved one may need more assistance. Be sensitive and compassionate, keeping in mind it is probably a sensitive and powerful issue for everyone involved.

Shriver Report – Alzheimer’s Impact on Women: Aging Pro’s Answers

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The Shriver Report: A Women’s Nation Take on Alzheimer’s was just released. The Report is a collaboration between Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer’s Association, exposing the epidemic’s effect on women as caregivers, advocates and people with the disease. Maria is getting people talking about Alzhiemer’s disease!

Alzheimer’s is a women’s issue. According to the report, women make up two-thirds of the people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. and account for 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. This means that 10 million women either have Alzheimer’s or are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. 40 percent of the caregivers interviewed said they felt like they had no choice in assuming the caregiving role. These numbers continue to grow, daily.

Alzheimer’s disease is costly. Governments, businesses and families spend $300 billion a year on Alzheimer’s disease. Yearly, it costs about $56,000 to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, which is typically paid for by families. Daughters, sons, spouses will give up their jobs, savings, time, health, and sanity to help care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

A woman with Alzheimer’s has unique challenges. Since women tend to live longer, they are more often widows who may not have a spouse to care for them as the disease progresses. She may be caring for other family or friends, so as she declines the others will need to find different caregivers. Women tend to be the “glue” in the family, and as her disease progresses her family may no longer remain as cohesive.

A woman as a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s experiences challenges as well. She is more likely to be depressed, and according the Report, 68 percent of women who were caregivers experienced emotional stress, and 51 percent of them said they suffered from physical stress. Most caregivers don’t self-identify as caregivers. They just think a loved one needs help and they are going to help. They don’t know they need to ask for help, and don’t realize what a toll caregiving is taking on their lives and health. Caregivers often put aside their own needs and dreams to take care of their loved ones. Daughters experience a role reversal, now needing to take an in-charge position with their parents.

The Shriver reports asks some questions, and I have the following answers:

How can we relieve the emotional stress on families? Caregivers need support, education and resources. The needed resources are often available, but it’s very difficult to find them when you need them. Lack of information promotes fear. That is why I launched www.AgingPro.com. It brings all the resources, professionals, education and support for eldercare to one place. Care coordination is also crucial, and part of the Healthcare reform legislation. Certified Geriatric Care Managers provide an invaluable communication link between doctors, community care providers, persons with Alzheimer’s and their family. Care Managers are invaluable, yet for some are not affordable. Pilot community care coordination programs do exist, and we need more. We need more support groups, both in-person and online. Adult day respite programs need to focus on early and moderate stage memory loss, not just later stages.

How can we prepare for Alzheimer’s possibly hitting our own family? Few want to talk about it. Some don’t even want to say the word. Yet it’s a natural part of life and will affect all of us in one way or another. I’m referring to Aging. Aging has become a taboo subject in our American culture, something we pretend isn’t there. If you read the paper, watch TV, or go on the Web, you mostly see images of youth, thinness, wealth and beauty. However, we are beginning to realize our population is aging – and so are we.
I’m here to tell you that getting older can be a positive experience and have its own unique rewards. Contrary to the whispered implications, it doesn’t have to be a time of withering away and going to a nursing home. Fun, happiness, success and fulfillment aren’t just the things of youth; they can be enjoyed abundantly throughout life. Older adults can stay independent, active and vital as they age. Getting older CAN mean getting better, if you have the right attitude, information and resources.
So first, we need to be willing to have discussions about aging, starting in our families and communities. Ask each other – when you get older, where do you want to live? What is your ideal vision? It is very helpful to create a “Plan B.” Just as we would prepare for an earthquake, we prepare for the potential of Alzheimer’s in the family. Plan A is what you’d like to happen, Plan B is what you will do if Alzheimer’s strikes you or your family. Plan B is created by: educating yourselves about the signs and symptoms of the disease; pre-planning your legal matters (creating a will, trust and durable power of attorney for healthcare and finances); saving money for your long-term-care, or purchasing long-term-care insurance; educating yourselves about the choices of housing and care; and locating the professionals and resources available to help out along the journey.

How can government, business, nonprofits and the press effectively call attention to the threat of Alzheimer’s and implement solutions? More education and awareness campaigns can be created – public service announcements, television series on different eldercare topics (similar to the new “Hoarders” series), celebrity involvement – to help shift the old negative stereotypes of aging and eldercare, and to help the millions of caregivers that don’t know how to access the services or find the support they need. Maria Shriver, the aging field needs your voice!

An example of a creative television show might be Extreme Makeover, Grandma Edition. Make over the home of an older person  –  repairing and/or modifying their homes so they can continue to live independently. There are many inspiring stories of need and courage among caregivers and elders!

Businesses can provide eldercare services, counseling and care coordination as part of their Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Non-profits can provide more grant money to elder care topics. Solutions to Alzheimer’s now include: information, support and best practice guidelines.

The topic of Women and Alzheimer’s is so important. It is where the pain points of love, guilt, money and time intersect – a perfect fit for government, the press and business to join in the cause.

The issues of women, Alzheimer’s and eldercare are many-faceted and deeply layered. More money for Alzheimer’s research is needed. More support and education are also needed on all eldercare topics. Most family caregivers for the elderly are trying to do what’s best for their loved ones. They don’t know where to turn to get help. The stress of caregiving affects their work, finances, and physical and mental health. Caregivers  need a place to connect, to learn, be inspired and empowered. AgingPro.com is that place, the “Waiting for Superwoman, Caregiver Edition.”

Where are all the Eldercare Services?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I just came back from an elder abuse prevention meeting. There was a guest there whose dad was a victim of elder abuse recently. She was very upset that when she and her sister were looking for elder abuse resources, she couldn’t find them anywhere. Her dad has since died. This abusive situation (by a hired caregiver) created so much stress in their relationship that they didn’t get along the last year of his life. She hasn’t had a full nights sleep since. She’s hurt, mad and sad.

This renewed my passion for bringing all the services for eldercare services to ONE PLACE – This is why I created www.AgingPro.com.  My aim is that no other family member would lose sleep over edler abuse or be so hurt that they couldn’t find the best care for their loved one.

AgingPro.com brings all the eldercare services to one place, online. There are good people out there doing good work – it’s just very hard to find them!

We need support, marketing, and funding to make AgingPro.com truly the Google of Eldercare.

Spread the word – everything you need for eldercare is in one place. Come check us out!

Thank you for your support.

Today is World’s Alzheimer’s Day!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Today is World’s Alzheimer’s Day!  This is a great opportunity to pause, and send your prayers, love and Light to each person affected by this disease.  Thank you!

Did you know that Dementia care costs around 1 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)?

Hospital and Nursing Home Discharge: You Have a Right to Appeal

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

When you or a loved is discharged from a hospital or nursing facility, it can be a very stressful process, and can be even more difficult if the patient, and their family or caregiver, are unaware of their options.  Medicare beneficiaries have important rights to receive proper medical care.

When a Medicare patient enters a hospital or nursing facility, there are strong financial incentives to discharge the patient as quickly as possible.  Medicare usually pays hospitals flat rates, based on the type of medical problem being treated.  If the hospital spends less money on medical care than Medicare pays, it makes money, but if the hospital spends more than Medicare pays, it loses money.  Therefore, the doctors and care providers in these facilities are urged to quickly discharge Medicare patients.

To protect patients from being discharged too quickly, Medicare gives the patient the right to appeal hospital discharge decisions. When a hospital, doctor, or Medicare health plan informs you of your planned date of discharge, it is important to tell them immediately if you think you are not ready to leave.  If your concerns about early discharge are not resolved through the staff, you should request an appeal.  Medicare will continue to cover your stay, as long as you file the appeal before you are discharged.

When filing an appeal:

  • It is best to file your appeal on or just before the planned discharge date.
  • To file your appeal, call Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) at 1-800-841-1602.
  • Tell HSAG why you object the planned discharge and provide supporting information.
  • After you file your appeal, the hospital (or your Medical health plan) must give you a Detailed Notice of Discharge that explains the reasons it thinks you are ready to be discharged.
  • The hospital must send a copy of your medical records to HSAG for its review.

HSAG will usually inform you and the hospital of its decision within one day of receiving the necessary information, and is required to do it by telephone and in writing.  If HSAG decides that you are not ready to be discharged, Medicare will continue to cover your hospital stay.  However, if HSAG finds that you are ready to be discharged, Medicare will continue to cover your services until noon, of the day after HSAG notifies you of its decision.

SOURCE: www.canhr.org

Reduced Social Activity Linked to More Rapid Loss of Motor Function in Older Adults

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Loss of muscle strength, speed and dexterity is a common consequence of aging, and a well-established risk factor for death, disability and dementia. Yet little is known about how and why motor decline occurs when it is not a symptom of disease.  Motor functions enable us to act and move.

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found that, among the elderly, less frequent participation in social activities is associated with a more rapid decline in motor function.   “It’s not just running around the track that is good for you,” said Dr. Aron Buchman.  “Our findings suggest that engaging in social activities may also be protective against loss of motor abilities.”

These results raise the possibility that motor function decline can be slowed by encouraging people to engage in social activities, such as doing volunteer work, visiting friends or relatives, or attending church or sporting events. 


“There is gathering evidence that physical activity is only one component of an active and healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown, for example, that increased cognitive and social activities in the elderly are associated with increased survival and a decreased risk of dementia,” Buchman said. “Our study extends these findings, showing that social activity late in life is closely linked with healthy motor function.”

See full story Rush.edu

Firm Pushed Drug It Knew Didn’t Work

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

AP
Health insurers and states are suing Eli Lilly Co. over the way it marketed Zyprexa, an antipsychotic medication. Zyprexa was the firm’s best-selling drug in 2008.
(June 15) — Phamaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. urged doctors to prescribe its drug Zyprexa for elderly patients with dementia, even though the company had evidence the drug didn’t work in such cases, Bloomberg News reported.
The Bloomberg story is based on company documents that were unsealed in insurer lawsuits against the company over Zyprexa. Lilly began promoting the drug for use in elderly patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in 1999, even though it had been approved only as a treatment for schizophrenia. The company also tried to get doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to elderly people struggling with moodiness and insomnia.

It’s unclear whether Lilly accepted the offer, Bloomberg said. It noted that a rival pharmacy company, Express Scripts Inc., also sent out letters touting Zyprexa. CVS and Express Scripts are not defendants in the lawsuit.
Zyprexa was Lilly’s best-selling drug in the U.S. in 2008, bringing in $14.6 billion. The documents were released as part of a $6.8 billion lawsuit over Lilly’s marketing of Zyprexa. Twelve states are also suing Lilly over the same matter.

How Can I Make My Aging Parents Do What I Want?

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I had two calls just today on a similar topic — How can I make my aging parents to “do what I want.” This question comes up a lot. The adult child sees mom or dad living in, what they consider, less than the best situation and the child thinks that things would be so much better if only they would do “X” (such as move closer to her, move to an assisted living or get caregiving in the home). The only problem is, Mom or Dad doesn’t want to do “X.”

The main thing to remember is this: People (everyone, including your parents) have the right to make their own decisions (even if they look like really bad decisions to you) for as long as they have “capacity.” Basically, “capacity” means that they understand the consequences of their decisions – the ability to receive, evaluate and communicate a decision to others. If they have advanced dementia or are in a coma, they probably don’t have capacity. Physical frailty is not sufficient in determining capacity.

If they have capacity, you can talk to your older loved one to see if they want to cooperate with what you have in mind, but if they don’t want to, nobody can make them. If you feel they aren’t safe and they refuse to get help, you could report them to Adult Protective Services (APS, available nation wide).They will do an assessment and determine if the person is safe or if they need a guardian. Powers of Attorney are documents a person signs, designating someone else to make decisions for them if they are no longer able to (such as for health care or financial decisions).

Ideally, everyone involved would talk and come up with a plan to support the older loved one in getting what they want while remaining safe and happy. If your mom or dad doesn’t want to change, the best you can do it make a “Plan B” – an alternative plan to implement when the “crisis” happens. Usually, an incident like mom falling and breaking a hip forces change. If you have a Plan B, you can sleep easier knowing you won’t be caught by surprise, because you know what your options are.

Answers to all your eldercare questions, and options for “Plan B” can be found in AgingPro’s Eldercare Basics E-Book. http://www.agingpro.com//store/Eldercare_Basics.htm

You can have peace of mind when you know you’ve looked at all your options, and made the best decision you could in the moment.

New U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Supports Long Term Care Workers

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

The new U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post regarding the article: “Taking Care of Our Caregivers”. Sebelius explained that the Department of Health and Human Services is deeply concerned about the needs of long-term care workers and maintaining an adequate and high-quality workforce. To view: http://tiny.cc/U4y9L

Watch the “Alzheimer’s Project”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Beginning Sunday, May 10, 2009, tune into HBO’s “THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT,” a groundbreaking documentary series that will change the way America thinks about Alzheimer’s disease. This four-part film, airing over three nights exclusively on HBO, gives the public a rare inside look at the faces behind the disease and the forces leading us to find a cure. With Maria Shriver.


Swine Flu Prevention Tips

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

6 Steps to Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Stop Germs

1.  Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2.  Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4.  Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6.Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

One-stop access to U.S. Government information on swine, avian and pandemic flu:
http://www.pandemicflu.gov.

What can you do for your country, and yourself?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

We had an historic inauguration of our 44th president last week. He asked for each of us to look at where we might be able to change in order to help our country. Caregivers are serving already, making a significant difference to our country by keeping the long term care costs lower.

As caregivers, here are some questions to reflect upon if you are called to…

1.  How can I take even better loving care of myself?
2.  How can I serve my community or my family?
3.  What can I give back?
4.  Are there ways that I can take better care of the environment?
5.  Are there ways I can better live within my financial means?
6.  Is there an area in my life where I might better choose peace?

Family Caregivers are Answering Obama’s Call to Service

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Are you making you making your community or world a better place by being of service? President Obama has made national service an important cause – and wants to make it possible for all Americans to serve their country.

34 million family caregivers have already been answering Obama’s call to service. A study by AARP (“Valuing the Invaluable”) shows that family caregiving the U.S. reached $375 billion in 2007.  That exceeds the $311 spent by Medicaid last year!

Family caregivers also give an average of $5,531 of their own money to care for their parents. They tend to struggle with physical and financial issues of their own, and be more stressed.

Many times, family caregivers could use to be of greater service to themselves, while taking care of others.  Access to needed resources, self-care and health promotion and having a support system to talk to about the challenges of caregiving is critical.  www.AgingPro.com offers the national resources, education and community to help caregivers reduce stress and increase peace of mind.

Family caregivers – thank you for your service!

Create Your Living Will so Your Long Term Care Wishes are Honored!

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Here’s my pitch for everyone to have their own power of attorney for health care and living will. If and when something happens and you’re not able to verbalize what treatment you want, it is important to have this document!  It’s the only way to assure you will get just what you want. Do it today!

Here is one resource:

The Five Wishes document helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself.  It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it looks to all of a person’s needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Five Wishes also encourages discussing your wishes with your family and physician. Get yours at www.agingwithdignity.org. Order for $5 each.

Vitamin B3 a memory enhancer?

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Vit B 3 or Niacin has been know as a cognitive enhancer for a long time.  It also has a profound effect on cardiovascular problems, in particular high cholesterol.  It is not recommended for people who have high blood pressure, a frequent problem in the older population.  To find Niacin in an amount that would be sufficient you could try the Niacitol from Pure Encapsulation.  It comes in 1500 mg which is very close to the amount they suggested in the British study. 

Information from Bertrand Babinet PhD., LAc.

Obama asks for a National Day of Service January 19, 2009

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Being of service always makes me feel better!  Getting out of my own “stuff” and giving of my overflow relieves tension and brings joy.  I’ve heard “service is its own reward” and that has been my experience.  So, here’s an opportunity!

President-elect Obama has called for January 19, 2009, the day before the inauguration, to be a National Day of Service.  Get involved with helping your community by finding a service project near you – go to this website and enter your zip code.   http://www.usaservice.org/content/home/

Benjamin Button strikes a chord

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Over the holidays I chose not only to relax, but went to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a movie recently released depicting a man aging in reverse.

I work with older people everyday, as a geriatric care manager. I also have a 19 month old daughter. I often come home after visiting clients, struck by the similarities between the human experiences of those in old age and infancy.  Diapers, soft foods, a limited vocabulary, dependency on another, and the need for patience, compassion and a sense of humor from those who are caring for them.

This topic of aging is rich with material! The movie moved me to think about friends, human kindness, love and loss.  I was awash with memories and reminded of how important it is to cherish each moment (this too shall pass) and to follow my heart, no matter what. I was moved by the women caregivers in this movie who had such compassion.  They demonstrated the capacity to love what others might consider unlovable.

I was also reminded that we are all ordinary in older age in that no matter what kind of material success we have created or not created in our lives, our physical bodies all go through a similar process in our passing from this world.

I’d be curious to know what the movie struck in you! Let me hear from you.

Gratitude is the attitude!

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

What a difference an attitude makes!

I’ve been aware of feeling kind of “funky” over the last couple days, but didn’t know exactly why. It hit me tonight that I’ve been focusing on all the “bad” news in the media – the economy, the war, the bailouts, the political corruption and more. I’ve been allowing it to affect me and bring me down.

What I know is that in the past, when I have focused on what I am grateful for, what I appreciate and what is good, I feel much better! A simple thing like an attitude of gratitude can be so powerful.

So, I tried a little on tonight.  I began celebrating the things I was calling negative or irritating. I took a different perspective and embraced (loved) what I resisted. I loved that my daughter was up way past her bedtime. I loved that I’ve gained a couple pounds lately. I loved the pain in my neck. I loved that this economic condition is giving me a chance to relook at my priorities – to fine tune my effectiveness and focus. I am grateful for what I have (and am willing to let go of the expectations about what I think I should have).

Just saying those things makes me feel lighter and less “down.” My attitude is the one thing I have control over – all the time. I am choosing to feel hopeful and optimistic and grateful.  There is so much to be thankful for. There is beauty all around me, and I can make the choice to look.

P.S. It’s almost a full moon tonight. Have you looked up lately?  Enjoy!

6 Questions Caregivers Can Ask Themselves to Make This a Truly Happy Holiday Season

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Have you recently found yourself thinking about the upcoming holidays with a sense of dread? Perhaps you see yourself sitting at the table surrounded by your family, the smells of turkey and pumpkin pie wafting in from the kitchen, but you are overcome with a sense of sadness or disappointment. Now that things may be different with your parents, it’s a good time to ask yourself, what do I really want my holidays to look and feel like? Traditions are funny things. They can be comforting and depressing all at the same time. But you have the power to create the experience you truly want.

You might ask yourself these questions about what you really want this holiday season:

1. Do I like my family traditions just as they are, or am I participating to make someone else happy or comfortable?

2. Where do I want to be?

3. Who do I want to be with?

4. What experience am I looking for?

5. Is there a new tradition I want to start this year?

6. How can I get the experience I most desire?

Once you are clear about your ideal vision for your holidays, find a way to communicate that to the people closest to you. Families do not always embrace change right away, so be prepared for some resistance. If you are patient and allow your family to process the idea of making changes in a gradual way, you may be surprised by how many will eventually welcome the new traditions and thank you for leading the way to happier holidays for everyone!