Teepa Snow discusses dementia, Alzheimer’s and what you need to know. Learn more…
Teepa Snow discusses dementia, Alzheimer’s and what you need to know. Learn more…
My interview with Harry Lorraine is a must listen. Harry is touted by Time Magazine as the “The Yoda of Memory Training.” He talks about untrained vs. trained memory, “senior moments,” help for those with forms of dementia and much more…a must listen! Click here.
On January 1, 2011, baby boomers began turning 65-years-old. In fact, a baby boomer will turn 65 every eight seconds, and by 2030, there will be twice as many people over the age of 65 as there currently exist today.
As baby boomers begin to reach retirement age, more and more discussion is taking place about the aging process. One topic being discussed among families, aging in place, is the idea that it is normal for the majority of people to want to live at home as they age. The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0, Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge” (September 2010) states “although a large majority of older Americans say they want to Age in Place, it is often more easily said than done. Today’s care infrastructure, technologies, existing housing, funding sources,
and the businesses and services available for Aging in Place are not being fully
realized in order to achieve the promise most hope for as America ages.”
Though staying at home is certainly the choice of the elderly, it may not be the safest or least costly choice. Below are a couple examples of comments I’ve heard from clients which are all too common:
“I promised my wife I would never put her in a convalescent home,” said a caring husband about his wife with Alzheimer’s who is also a fall and wander risk. NOTE: The home is not safe for someone in her condition. The husband is in poor health and all three children live out of state and have jobs and their own children to take of.
“I gave my word to my father that he would not go to a nursing home, and if needed, I would make sure he gets the proper care at his home. He has lived in this home for the last 50 years.” NOTE: Because of the father’s condition, he cannot be left alone, so in order to live at home, he needs 24-hour assistance, 7 days per week. Due to the significant cost for this, the father’s money will be depleted in less than one year.
There are two misconceptions that many have regarding long-term care:
1. “If I don’t stay home, I’ll need to go to a Nursing Home”
There was a time when nursing homes were the main type of facility for long-term care. Many of us remember going to visit loves ones at these locations with horrible smells and less than adequate care. Today, nursing homes are mainly set up for short-term stays after being hospitalized for recovery and strengthening. Those who need to be in nursing homes for long-term care are either on Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) or need medical care (i.e. – IV’s, feeding tubes, wound care, coma care, quadriplegics). Most people still believe that if they are not taken care of at their own home, they will have to go to a Nursing or Convalescent Home. That is simply not true.
2. “Assisted Living is another name for a Nursing Home”
There are approximately 1,300 Nursing Homes and just under 8,000 Assisted Living locations in the State of California. Therefore, far more people who need assistance reside in assisted living versus skilled nursing. Assisted Living options range from small, family Residential Care Homes to larger, full-service communities with hundreds of residents. The smaller locations are similar to living in someone’s home with live-in caregivers who provide assistance. The larger locations (communities) are more like Senior Apartments with caregivers providing 24/7 assistance.
More and more seniors are becoming residents of small, large and specialized Assisted Living facilities including dementia care. Generally speaking, Assisted Living is for people that need help with the activities of daily living (ADL’s). ADL’s are considered the routine activities that people tend do everyday without needing assistance. There are six basic ADL’s, including eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence.
Be careful of the promises you make to loved ones regarding long-term care. You may be promising something that could be less safe at a far higher cost.
Frank M. Samson is Founder of Senior Care Authority based in Sonoma and also hosts “The Aging Boomers” on KSVY 91.3 or can be listened to live at www.ksvy.com, every Monday at 2pm PT. The company provides free assistance to families in helping them find the best Independent, Assisted Living and Residential Care Homes for their loved ones. He can be reached at 707.939.8744 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. The company website is www.seniorcareauthority.com.
The Aging Boomers
Katherine Forsythe, MSW is a counselor, coach and educator. I was able to interview her about many of the areas we face during the holidays. If you’re older, younger, single, married, have a partner or just want to learn while being entertained at the same time, you must listen to this!
Keeping track of seniors with Alzheimer’s
The e-mail alert shouted its message: “Missing Person with Alzheimer’s. PLEASE HELP.” It was sent to Alzheimer’s Assn. chapters and to law enforcement officials within hours after an Orange County woman disappeared while on a short trip to visit a friend…
That story has a happy ending, but many confused seniors who become lost are never found again. The Alzheimer’s Assn. estimates that 60% of individuals with Alzheimer’s will wander at least once during the progression of the disease. Up to 70% of these individuals wander more than once, and up to several times. One study reported that nearly half of those not found within 24 hours die — usually from dehydration, exposure or injury.
For elder care assistance in the Sonoma CA area, visit www.seniorcareauthority.com.
For elder care information and assistance in the area, visit www.seniorcareauthority.com.
(ARA) – Who says you can’t teach a mind new tricks at any age? Recent research shows that Americans have the power to positively influence their brain function throughout life – an important realization that is especially relevant for the more than 78 million baby boomers in the United States. Brain health is one of the top health-related concerns of aging populations and has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control as a public health priority.
“The fear of memory loss and losing brain capacity looms large among the minds of boomers,” says Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a leading neurologist and author of “The Memory Cure.” “But we can maintain and even improve our brain health as we age. In fact, our brains have the ability to grow and change throughout life.”
Dr. Fotuhi debunks four common myths surrounding the brain and aging.
1. The brain stops growing after childhood.
A decade ago, many experts would have scoffed at the idea that the brains of adults, particularly older adults, could grow or develop in any significant way. But that has changed. Research increasingly suggests that each time a new skill is learned, such as playing an instrument, speaking a foreign language or even dancing, new pathways are formed and areas of the brain may grow, even well into the later years. Physical and mental exercise can alter specific brain regions, improving in cognitive function. Brain growth isn’t just for kids.
2. Once I start experiencing memory loss, it’s all downhill and there’s not much I can do.
Actually, there are a number of things you can do to improve your memory throughout life, even if you are already noticing changes. Exercise, challenging mental activities, social engagement and diet adjustments have all been shown to have positive effects on cognition and memory. In fact, a new study published online in May in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, showed that healthy people with memory complaints who took algal DHA capsules for six months had almost double the reduction in errors on a test that measures learning and memory performance versus those who took a placebo, a benefit roughly equivalent to having the learning and memory skills of someone three years younger. DHA (or docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid and a building block for the brain. Algal DHA products comparable to those used in this study can be found at major retailers like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens under the Algal-900 product name – look for the life’sDHA seal on these supplements to ensure you are getting an algal DHA source. For more information on foods, beverages and supplements that contain algal DHA, visit www.lifesdha.com.
3. Memory problems must mean Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people, young or old, worry that mild forgetfulness must be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. But most people are worrying needlessly – research shows that more than 80 percent of people will never get Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts now believe that it is time to redefine everyone’s understanding of age-related memory loss and dementia. Emerging research indicates that many people experiencing memory loss and dementia actually have mixed pathologies in their brains. In fact, very few senior citizens have “pure Alzheimer’s disease.” Instead, late-life cognitive impairment may in fact be a result of multiple “hits” to the brain, from a variety of risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, head trauma and poor diet. The good news? There is the opportunity to influence brain health and function by incorporating lifestyle factors like exercise, a healthy diet, stress reduction and intellectual and social engagement. Regardless of family history, the choices a person makes in life may be able to slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline or help prevent it altogether.
4. Brightest equals youngest.
Today’s society does place an emphasis on age but, keep in mind, people over 65 rule the country. The majority of legislators, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, judges, economists and CEOs are not in their 30s or 40s, but seasoned veterans who bestow several decades of experience and expertise. Along with gray hairs come both knowledge and wisdom and you do not have to look far to find inspiring stories of accomplishment, creativity and reinvention in the second half of life. To see some inspiring profiles of aging and learn more about the actions you can take to ensure that you build and maintain a mind that is healthy and beautiful for an entire lifetime, go to beautiful-minds.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
By Frank M. Samson
What is a Caregiver exactly? The Department of Health and Human Services defines them as “a person, either paid or voluntary, who helps an older person with the activities of daily living, health care, financial matters, guidance, companionship and social interaction. A caregiver can provide more than one aspect of care. Most often the term refers to a family member or friend who aids the older person.”
“Put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others” is something you hear each time a flight is taken. A similar concept should be used when taking care of an elderly parent or other loved one. It’s difficult enough for the caregiver to manage their personal life without the added responsibilities of providing in home care and managing various aspects of someone else’s life as well. There is proven research showing caregivers are less healthy than non-caregivers, both physically and mentally. This research is based on higher hospitalization rates, higher death rates and higher levels of depression. Additionally, those who have other responsibilities, including being a spouse, parent and/or employee are likely to deal with more everyday stress.
According to the American Medical Association, caregivers are often so concerned with caring for their relative’s needs that they lose sight of their own well-being. Below is a caregiver stress test which will help determine where the caregiver may stand:
Caregiver Stress Test
Score each item as:
2-Once or twice
In caring for a loved one, how often do you have the following experiences:
__Being tired, not sleeping enough
__Poor appetite or overeating
__Being physically exhausted
__Feeling “burned out”
__Being utterly drained of feeling
*If your score is 60 or above, the stress associated with being a caregiver is beginning to take its toll.
*If your score is 90 or above, the caregiver is living with burnout.
In my day-to-day work, I personally witness caregiver stress as a common phenomenon, but the good news is the caregiver can manage stress and improve their physical and mental health to benefit themselves, their parents and others who depend on them. Following are some options to consider:
* Exercise – The strength to handle an aging parent and exercise is a great stress reliever.
* Healthy Diet – Having three balance meals a day is a minimum necessity.
* Regular Check-ups – When caring for someone else, as a caregiver – you can not ignore the signs of your own health.
* Professional Home Care – Ongoing help from professional caregivers or just temporary relief – respite care.
* Assisted Living Homes or Communities – Safety should be the number one priority for your loved one. There are various affordable options available.
Frank M. Samson is Founder of Senior Care Authority based in Sonoma. Which provides free assistance to families finding in-home care, independent and assisted living for their loved ones. Reach him at 707.939.8744 or e-mail at email@example.com. The company Web site is http://www.seniorcareauthority.com.
Frank M. Samson
Providing senior care for a loved one can be overwhelming both emotionally and financially. According to the 2009 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, median annual costs for various types of senior care in the Bay Area can reach burdensome levels:
Adult Day Care – $20,410 annually – based on eight hours a day, five days a week.
In-Home Services – Assistance with activities of daily living, including dressing, personal hygiene, bathing, etc. – $52,634 annually, based on 44 hours a week.
Assisted Living Facility –$39,960 annually – private one-bedroom
Nursing Homes – $82,125 – semi-private, and $102,018 – private, annually
I hear stories daily from adults regarding the financial challenges associated with providing their aging parents with assistance. Such assistance may be provided at home, assisted living facilities, residential care homes or nursing homes. As they go through the process, seniors commonly say, “I do not want to be a burden on my kids as I age.” I’ve highlighted below some of the options that will help pay, fully or partially, for needed assistance or care:
Most private health insurance plans follow the same general rules as Medicare. If any long-term care is covered, it is usually for only skilled, short-term and medically necessary care. Homecare is limited only to medically necessary skilled care. Custodial or personal care is not covered by health insurance. The coverage in a skilled nursing facility must follow a hospital stay and is limited up to 100 days. If you meet Med-Cal’s financial eligibility status, you must select a skilled nursing facility that accepts Medi-Cal.
Long Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance could be the best investment one can make. Unless medically necessary, you can avoid skilled nursing facilities by residing at assisted living facilities, residential care homes or at a home with the needed in-home care. This type of insurance makes it much easier to cope with most otherwise uncovered health issues as you get older.
Long-term care insurance should be as important as your healthcare insurance, life insurance and homeowner’s insurance. Generally, long-term care is needed for conditions that cannot be cured or healed, and for helping people with routine activities such as dressing, bathing, transferring, continence care, toileting and eating. Long-term care insurance extends for a long period of time, covering care for various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Long-term care insurance, which can reduce the burden from your family and your peace of mind, should be a very serious consideration.
There are various ways you can use your life insurance to help pay for long term care, including accelerated death benefits, viatical settlements and life settlements.
Accelerated Death Benefit – An accelerated death benefit is a life insurance death benefit paid in cash in advance, tax free.
Life Settlements – Life settlements give you the ability to raise cash by selling your life insurance policy at its present value. The proceeds may be used for any reason including paying for long term care.
Viatical Settlement – This settlement allows you to sell your life insurance policy to a third party and use the money your receive to pay for your care. This option is only possible if you are terminally ill.
Veterans Aid and Attendance
The aid and attendance pension benefit offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs may be available to wartime veterans and surviving spouses who have in-home care or who live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. The current monthly benefit can be up to $1,948.
Though there are minimum qualifications, I have listed the prerequisites for review below:
* Served in the military during time of war, or spouse.
* Have less than $80,000 in investments excluding home/car. Note: There are other options still to consider if this wasn’t checked.
* Monthly income less than the monthly cost of care including prescriptions. Need help from others in one or more of activities of daily living.
* If surviving spouse, married to the veteran at the time of death.
* Have sufficient resources to pay for care while awaiting a decision from the VA – may take up to four to 12 months.
As you can see, while providing senior care for your loved one may be emotionally and financially challenging, there are a variety of available options to substantially ease the burden.
Frank M. Samson is Founder of Senior Care Authority based in Sonoma The company provides free assistance to families in helping them find in-home care, independent and assisted living for their loved ones. He can be reached at 707.939.8744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The company Web site is http://www.seniorcareauthority.com.
“It’s on the Tip of My Tongue”
By Frank Samson
Loss of memory or cognitive decline shows up in the little things first. You have a harder time calling to mind the names of people and places; you have something on the tip of your tongue, but just can’t remember what it is, you go into a room to get something and can’t remember what it was. The prefrontal cortex, which is your search engine for your memory, can’t call it up. Everyone has this happen at some point in his or her life. When this happens the hippocampus kicks in to provide other associations to try to jog your memory, but those names and places which used to come easily become more difficult.
Getting older is unavoidable, but falling apart mentally or physically is not. The biological mind-body connection becomes more important as you age. After all, a sound mind won’t do you much good if your body fails.
Brain-function research shows that as you age the cells throughout your body gradually loses its ability to adapt to stress. In the brain, when neurons get worn down from cellular stress, synapses erode, which eventually severs connections. Dendrites physically wither and you start losing a signal here or there. Losing a signal here or there isn’t such a big deal at first, because the brain is designed to compensate by rerouting information around dead patches in the network and recruiting other areas to help with trafficking. The good news is your brain is a social network; it thrives on making new connections and is constantly rewiring itself and adapting⎯provided there’s enough stimulation to spur the growth of new neurons.
Memory is possible because of your neurons. Neurons are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that process and transmit information. Neurons never actually touch each other. They reach toward each other across a gap (synapse) with their axons and dendrites (hair-like filaments that project out).
With that thumbnail sketch, it’s time to dig into practical applications that can help you with age-proofing your memory. In the book, Age-Proofing Your Memory by Dr. Arlene Taylor PhD and Dr. Sharlet Briggs PhD, they encourage you to think of exercises and information as “fun education” that can help you delay the onset of symptoms of aging and slow down any tendency toward memory loss⎯especially intelligent/creative memory.
You no doubt have heard of the importance of physical exercise for building muscles, conditioning the heart and lungs. It turns out that moving your muscles produces proteins that travel through the bloodstream and into the brain, where it plays a pivotal role in the mechanisms of your highest thought process. Exercise is said to set the stage for learning.
Any intellectually challenging activity is believed to stimulate dendritic growth, which adds to the neural connection in the brain. The brain thrives on novelty. Keep your brain active each day. Learn something new by taking classes at local adult education centers or community colleges, attend seminars or lectures, play games, try memory exercises, read, write, work crossword or other puzzles
According to Miriam Nelson, PhD, a scientist at Tufts University biologically, it is possible to reverse the aging process by 15 to 25 years. You only have one brain with which to remember, and only you can take care of it. The sky is the limit when it comes to stimulating your intelligent/creative memory.
Frank M. Samson is Founder of Senior Care Authority based in Sonoma. The company provides free assistance to families in helping them find In-Home Care, Independent and Assisted Living for their loved ones. He can be reached at 707.939.8744 or e-mailed at email@example.com. The company website is http://www.seniorcareauthority.com.
By Frank Samson
As I advise people on care options for their family members, most are surprised to learn about various nuances of insurance coverage as well as the various long term care options available.
See if you can answer these True or False statements.
1) T or F – There are approximately 25 licensed assisted living locations in Sonoma County.
2) T or F – Insurance coverage for Homecare is limited only to medically necessary skilled care.
3) T or F – Fewer than 15 percent of the elderly needing care live in nursing homes.
4) T or F – Most of our parents prefer to stay at home and it is the best place for them.
5) T or F – Medicare does not pay for long-term care.
6) T or F – The leading cause of death among seniors (65 years +) are falls.
7) T or F – In order to be eligible for Medi-Cal, you must exhaust your financial assets and have very limited income.
8. T or F – Less than ten percent of personal care costs in the U.S. are paid by private long-term care insurance.
9) T or F – Long-term care insurance are not for those who are financially secure.
10) T or F – The highest percentage change for cause of death is Alzheimer’s disease.
1. False. There are nearly 200 assisted living locations (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly) in Sonoma County. Options range from small, family Residential Care Homes to larger, full-service communities with hundreds of residents.
2. False. Though non-medical homecare is not covered by health insurance, some is covered by long-term care insurance. Non-medical or personal assistance may be help eating, bathing, or going to the bathroom. It may be a ride to the doctor or the grocery store, or help balancing a checkbook or cooking dinner.
3. True. Most of us get this care at home or in the home of an adult child or relative, not in a nursing home. In fact, nearly 80 percent of the frail elderly and the disabled live at home.
4. False. Of course each situation is different, but living at home can be lonely and often dangerous. If your mom or dad needs lots of help, there are several options which also may be less expensive than staying at home in a potentially unsafe environment.
5. True. Neither will Medicare Supplement insurance. These programs will pay only for limited nursing home or home health care, and only after a patient is discharged from the hospital.
6. True. In 2006, there were 16,650 fall-related deaths or 37% of all deaths among the elderly. In 2007, 3,134,935 seniors experienced an injury. Most seniors were injured by a fall: 1,927,766 seniors or about 62% of all senior injuries.
7. False. The misconception is you have to spend all your money to qualify for Medi-Cal. This isn’t always true. You may be able to protect your assets by utilizing different legal trusts such as special needs trust, irrevocable trust or a revocable living trust. However, once qualified for Medi-Cal, there are limited long-term care options.
8. True. More than 80 percent of Americans have health insurance, usually through their jobs or from Medicare. Yet only seven percent of us have long-term care coverage. That is the real crisis of the uninsured.
9. False. Long-term care insurance is extremely important for those at any income level. On average, Assisted Living costs are $40,000 per year and Nursing Homes average $82,000 per year. A Long-term insurance option is part of the new Health Reform Plan called The CLASS Act which will offer only minimum coverage, but it’s a start.
10. True. Between 2000-2006, Alzheimer’s disease had a 47.1% increase as cause of death. All other major causes of death decreased – Heart disease (-11.5%), Breast cancer (-0.6%), Prostate cancer (-14.3%), Stroke (-18.1%).
Frank M. Samson is Founder of Senior Care Authority based in Sonoma and also hosts “The Aging Boomers” on KSVY every Monday at 2pm beginning May 3rd. The company provides free assistance to families in helping them find In-Home Care, Independent and Assisted Living for their loved ones. He can be reached at 707.939.8744 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. The company website is http://www.seniorcareauthority.com.