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Pain management is the process of bringing pain under control. Pain can be a problem with many people at the end of life. Persistent pain can accelerate the decline in health due to poor nutrition, depression, lack of social stimulation and lack of exercise. Persistent pain becomes a form of disability, interfering in the ability to perform common daily tasks. Here is a list of problems that pain causes to one's self or to others:
 
·It is difficult to sleep
·It is difficult or impossible to pursue hobbies or personal activities
·Exhaustion can become a constant companion
·Depression is a very likely outcome
·There is little desire to eat
·It is difficult to enjoy the companionship of one's family
·There is reluctance to move about or exercise
·The patient and the caregiver become more isolated from the community because of the disability
·Family and friends who are caregivers become exhausted because of constant worry.
 
Chronic pain is a problem most often experienced by terminal patients who are dying from cancer.Non-cancer patients at the end of life may have other pain-causing conditions.This may be caused by such conditions as neuropathies, chronic back disorders or arthritis.
 
Chronic or ongoing pain only adds to the suffering of a critically ill person. If the pain can be brought under control, a seriously ill patient can have a better quality of life for the remaining time available to him or her.
 
Constant pain can also bring on depression, which in turn could lead to suicide. Many people who cannot endure chronic pain take their own lives or seek out assisted suicide. Pain management may be a better alternative than suicide, not so much for the patient but more for the family. If a loved one takes his or her life, that can produce a permanent scar of shame or guilt within the family.
 
The most common line of treatment in pain management is the use of medications. There are a number of helpful medications and herbal remedies to relieve chronic pain.Psychologists who specialize in working with clients who have chronic pain are also available.The human brain has a great deal of power over the pain a person feels and with correct therapy a person may be able to alleviate some of his or her suffering.
 
 

Adult children are moving back home with mom and dad in record numbers these days. It’s often not the child’s choice, but rather as a result of circumstances, that parents and grown children find themselves as roommates once again.

The conditions that may force an adult child home include downsizing, divorce, the need to care for an aging parent, or money issues related to student loans or under- or unemployment. In 2010, the country’s college graduates owed an average of $25,250 in loans, according to CNN Money. That is 5 percent more than the class of 2009 owed. The unemployment rate for the 2010 class was 9.1 percent, the largest on record. Compare that to the 20.4 percent unemployment rate for people who didn’t go to college (College Access & Success Project on Student Debt, 2009).

No matter an adult child’s education level, debt loads are high and income opportunities are increasingly limited. Therefore, many adult children are moving back in with their parents out of necessity.

The movement to migrate back to mom and dad’s has been a few years in the making. Bankrate.com says that three-quarters of 2008 college graduates said they actually planned to move back in with their parents after graduation. In 2006, that figure was two-thirds, which is still a staggering number (Collegegrad.com).

“To a certain extent, it’s a sign of the economy,” says Certified Financial Planner Craig Skeels of Apex Wealth Management Group in Oxnard, Calif. “If it continues to be a prolonged recession with more cuts in jobs, we may see a lot more adult children moving back home than what we’re experiencing today.”

The adjustment for the parents and the adult child can certainly test the relationship. Mom and dad are at a new stage of their lives now compared to when the child was living at home before. If they aren’t already retired, they are perhaps, at the very least, used to the freedom of not having children around. The adult child may have anticipated being out on their own at this point, and it could feel unnatural to be back in mom and dad’s house. The latest census figures reveal that upwards of 80 million “empty nesters” are finding themselves with at least one grown child living at home. These adult children have been referred to as the “boomerang” generation.

Making the new living situation work
Both parties can make it work and even thrive if conversations and agreements occur before or at the beginning of the new living arrangement. Troublewith.com, a website of Focus on the Family, offers these tips for a smooth integration and to minimize conflict.
  • Discuss the terms – The sooner that ground rules and expectations can be established from both sides, the better. This can occur even before moving day arrives. Examples include overnight guests, loud stereos, chores, meals and food.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – How long will the child be staying in the home? Is rent or a contribution to the household expenses a reasonable request? All relationships are better with good communication.
  • Maintain a healthy relationship – Every situation is different, and some are quite complicated. Here are some tips for keeping the relationship intact:
    • Trust adult children to make wise choices. We all learn by making choices. The adult child needs to have the opportunity to make their own choices, even under the parents’ roof.
    • Try not to give advice unless it is solicited from the child. This may be difficult because the parent is aware of much more of the child’s life than it he or she were living outside the home. Again, the child needs the opportunity to grow on their own even though mom and dad are close by.
    • Communication is key. Regularly discuss how the situation is going. Everyone involved should be allowed to bring up issues, clarify expectations or simply clear the air.
Negotiate issues upfront and write them down if necessary. Fox Business News suggests creating a timetable for eventual financial independence. This can begin with fiscal responsibilities in relation to the household including food, utilities and gas for the car. Ultimately, the family needs to be on the same page and working toward a common goal. Fox Business News states in a comment to the parents, “Find the right balance between offering support and taking care of yourselves. You don’t need to fall back into the roles you each played during the years of active parenting –parents giving and the kids receiving. If the parents have been enjoying an empty nest, continue doing just that.”

Generally, the rules for the adult child will be very different than when they were growing up. As long as the grown child acts responsibly, such as holding a job, contributing financially or helping with meal preparation and household chores, he or she deserves the same liberty to come and go as any adult.

Respect for the personal boundaries and preferences of both sides is crucial to the success of this living situation. With predetermined boundaries, good communication and an agreement to revisit and, if necessary, adjust the arrangement along the way, parents and children can create a very comfortable home for all involved.


When faced with life altering issues such as illness, death, and depression, seniors may find themselves in an unfamiliar position of dealing with heavy feelings and how to move forward. Perfectly capable adults who are distraught like never before may suddenly wonder what to do when confronted with overwhelming emotions.

Today’s seniors grew up in a time when people often didn’t share their feelings openly. It was not socially acceptable to disclose secrets of life-threatening illness or feelings of hurt or depression. However, today’s society is not only accepting of a person in a vulnerable state, but it also offers avenues for guiding that person to many types of support groups. Isolation is no longer necessary. Others are experiencing similar issues and are willing to share and provide a safe place to show up and ask for help.

Adult children or caregivers may often be the first line of defense when a senior is struggling. Family can be a good place to start to find support. Even seniors who are reluctant to share their emotions or feelings may seek help from their adult children or caregiver first. While that may be a good option for some people, it may also be a relief to find support outside the immediate circle of contacts.

When the adult child or the caregiver is ill-equipped to counsel the senior, or if they themselves need help, support groups may be the answer. Support groups are available for any ailment or situation. It just takes the willingness to participate and a little research to find the right one.

What is a support group?
The good news is that support groups exist for all kinds of ailments and situations. While many groups hold meetings in hospitals, churches, schools, homes, libraries, or community centers, others are available online. The Daily Strengthwebsite offers immediate access to anonymous support groups who meet online. People who are dealing with common types of issues come together and strengthen each other by sharing their feelings, experiences, and suggestions related to those issues and their own situation. Participants can relate to what others in the group are going through and therefore don’t feel alone.

Group leaders may be professional facilitators, such as nurses or psychologists, or peers may lead. It is up to the group members to decide what they are seeking from their leader. Trained facilitators offer a more professional approach to dealing with the issue at hand, while peer groups tend to offer more emotional support and a shared experience approach.

Additionally, support group participants often benefit from information shared during meetings. Genetic Healthsays that oftentimes people in support groups easily share information about medical treatments, research, and strategies for dealing with an ailment. Other helpful information can also include public policy, legal resources, privacy laws, protection from discrimination, and connections to financial assistance and scholarships. Uncovering this information on one’s own could take months with a concerted effort, but in a support group, that information is shared readily.

Tips for finding a support group

  • Talk to your doctor or the hospital
  • Ask friends who have gone through the same experience
  • Search online for local meetings
  • Check online for resources such as online support groups , blogs, or chat rooms that are focused on your issue
  • Contact focused associations such as the American Cancer Society or Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Another great resource for discovering the appropriate type of support is the Mental Health America website, which guides visitors to support groups. One may also visit the Mental Health America affiliate website, which is an excellent resource for support groups by state.

Characteristics of a good support group
While each person will seek something different from support groups, participants must ultimately feel comfortable attending meetings and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The common characteristics that generally create a well-functioning group are:

  • Prompt response to inquiries about the group
  • Up-to-date and reliable information
  • Strong leadership
  • Access to professional advisors who align with the group’s interest
  • A clearly stated and practiced “confidentiality policy”

The Mayo Clinic says that the benefits offered by support groups are unmatched and unlimited for a person struggling with an issue. People get something different out of the same meeting, depending on where they are in their experience and how willing they are to accept help. Benefits from joining and participating in a support group are:

·Feeling less lonely, isolated, or judged

·Gaining a sense of empowerment and control

·Improving coping skills and adjustment

·Engaging in an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about personal feelings

·Reducing distress, depression, or anxiety

·Gaining a clearer understanding of what to expect with one’s situation

·Learning about new medical research

·Getting practical advice or information about treatment options

·Comparing notes about resources such as doctors and alternative options

Seniors who are dealing with new issues or issues that continue to plague their daily lives and hinder them from enjoying a productive life should investigate support groups. An adult child, caregiver, friend, or doctor can help find the right place for the senior to engage in getting help through the unique opportunity of support groups.

Adult children and caregivers also have access to support groups. Being responsible for a senior’s care can be frustrating, emotionally and physically draining, and overwhelming. People often need help, and sometimes that help is just a support group away from changing a life.

Shingles is a serious infection for anyone, but especially for seniors. An estimated one million people in the United States get shingles each year, and most of those are age 50 and above (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases). About one-third of the people who get shingles will develop serious complications, and the complications caused by shingles are increasingly more common after age 60 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). One in five of those inflicted with shingles will have pain that lingers long after the shingles episode is over (AfterShingles.com).
 
Your doctor can discuss the necessary steps to help prevent a shingles outbreak or minimize its severity. Because seniors are more at risk for acquiring shingles and are most acutely affected by a shingles episode, they should be aware of the signs and symptoms and the actions to take in case of an outbreak.

Shingles comes on very quickly and manifests itself as a painful rash of blisters, usually concentrated around either the left or right side of the torso. A person who has had chickenpox is more likely to develop shingles later in life because shingles is caused by the same varicella-zoster virus that evokes chickenpox. The virus lays dormant in the body after chickenpox has come and gone, but it can flare up at any time, returning as shingles. Shingles is more common in people with immune systems weakened by chemotherapy, radiation treatment, transplant operations, stress, and HIV infection.
Early detection and immediate treatment with medication are key to combating shingles. For best treatment results, a person should see a doctor at the first sign of shingles. The doctor can determine if blisters are shingles just by looking at them and will administer treatment right away. The initial symptoms of shingles are typically felt on only one side of the body or face. These signs are tingling, itching, and burning or shooting pain. A person may also experience achiness, headaches, fever and chills, and fatigue. A rash and fluid-filled blisters soon follow and remain for up to 14 days.

The condition of pain following a shingles episode is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and can last for months or even years. In fact, a person has an increased chance of getting PHN as they age. A 50 year old has a 50 percent chance of developing PHN. An 80 year old has an 80 percent chance of developing PHN (Aftershingles.com).

The most common symptom of PHN is the acute sensitivity of the skin where the shingles rash occurred. The skin is hyper-sensitive to the lightest touch from clothing, a gentle breeze, or even a change in temperature. The affected area may also remain an abnormal temperature, appear discolored, sweat more, or lose muscle tone. Medications are effective in dealing with the pain associated with PHN.

To help a person keep track of the pain experienced after having shingles, Aftershingles.com offers this Pain Checklist and Discussion Guide. This is helpful information for a doctor to have when he or she begins treating the condition.

Complications can also occur when shingles appear on the face, which can lead to problems with hearing and vision. If the shingles infection gets into the eye through the eye’s ophthalmic nerve, damage can occur to the cornea, leading to temporary or permanent blindness.

No cure exists for shingles. It is not life threatening, but it is painful. Shingles must be treated with medication such as acyclovir, valacyclovir and famcyclovir. The sooner a person begins treatment, the better the chance that the severity and the length of the outbreak will be reduced and subsequently, that long-term pain associated with a shingles episode will be less as well.

The best line of defense against shingles is a vaccine injection, usually given in the upper arm.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the shingles vaccine for people over age 60. It prevents the reactivation of the virus in the body, and while not 100 percent effective, the vaccine may reduce the intensity and length of a shingles outbreak. Medicare or other health insurance policies may not cover the vaccination, so check your policy for coverage.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the shingles vaccine is not recommended for people who:

? Have ever had a life threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of the shingles vaccine.
? Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, lymphoma, or leukemia
? Are receiving immune-system-suppressing drugs such as steroids, adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), radiation, or chemotherapy
? Have active, untreated tuberculosis
? Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant

Medical experts estimate that the vaccine could prevent 250,000 cases of shingles annually, and another 250,000 cases would not be as severe (NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).

A quick response to symptoms of shingles will make a big difference in how the infection progresses, the resulting pain and any complications. Ask your doctor about the shingles vaccination, and take control of preventing shingles.


Reprinted by Always Best Care Senior Services with permission from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) program provides the advanced knowledge and practical tools to serve seniors at the highest level possible while providing recipients a powerful credential that increases their competitive advantage over other professionals. The CSA works closely with Always Best Care Senior Services to help ABC business owners understand how to build effective relationships with seniors based on a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. To be a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) means one willingly accepts and vigilantly upholds the standards in the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility. These standards define the behavior that we owe to seniors, to ourselves, and to our fellow CSAs. The reputation built over the years by the hard work and high standards of CSAs flows to everyone who adds the designation to their name. For more information, visit www.society-csa.com.

Always Best Care Senior Services

Always Best Care Senior Services (http://www.alwaysbestcare.com/usa/ca/san-diego/san-diego) is based on the belief that having the right people for the right level of care means peace of mind for the client and family. Always Best Care Senior Services has assisted over 25,000 seniors, representing a wide range of illnesses and personal needs. This has established the company as one of the premier providers of in-home care, assisted living placement assistance, and skilled home health care.

 
Get Your Act Together -- Plan for Long Term Care

Here is a brief outline of the process of creating a long term care plan:

Providing Planning Documents and Instructions

Include sample planning documents to be given to family members or trusted advisers. This includes instructions regarding wishes pertaining to care preferences, wishes pertaining to end-of-life, wishes concerning preferred medical treatments, desires for disposition of property and instructions to the Care Advocate or Personal Care Representative. These instructions do not replace formal legal documents designed for the same purpose but will provide in one place the preferences further outlined in legal documents. Family should be referred to legal documents if they exist.

Determining a Care Advocate in Advance

The Care Advocate or Personal Care Representative represents the interests of a loved one receiving care. This person could also be the caregiver, a child, a friend or a trusted adviser. This Care Advocate plays an important role in making caregiving decisions, in arranging funding for services, in arranging services and in coordinating care. The person could also be given responsibility with a power of attorney or as a representative.

Planning for End-Of-Life

Issues considered are preplanning of final arrangements, expressing wishes for a place to die and information and instructions for advance planning documents. Forms are provided for instructions on providing these services.

Preparing Legal Documents and End-Of-Life Arrangements

Detailed instructions on arranging estate planning documents and establishing various powers of attorney. We recommend using an attorney.

Providing Financial Information for Future Care Costs

This form is provided to the family with a listing of assets, income and insurance plans. Particular funding strategies for long-term care services are detailed.

Providing Copies of Checklists for All Involved in Care

Each checklist provides specific instructions in a particular area of long-term care services or provider settings. These instructions allow the caregiver and/or the Care Advocate to make informed choices in choosing settings and services. The intent is to save these people a great deal of time, heartache, stress and money in choosing services and settings for the loved ones.

Making Your Wishes Known

This final step is the most important. No plan has value unless those involved in making the decisions are aware of it.

 
Always in Touch

Introducing Always in Touch - a free telephone reassurance program that provides a friendly voice each weekday for seniors and disabled adults. Always in Touch provides daily socialization and the reassurance that the senior "is not alone."

http://ping.fm/RU0M3

Introducing Always in Touch....Anyone can fall or become ill during the night. If someone lives alone, a fall or illness during the night can be disastrous. Who will know? When will help come?

Introducing Always in Touch - an absolutely free telephone reassurance service sponsored by Always Best Care Senior Services.

We provide a daily "safety check" phone call and peace of mind to seniors who live alone.If you or a loved one would like to receive a free phone call every day, Monday thru Friday, contact us today!

http://www.always-in-touch.com/

 
For an interesting article:

Dementia Bingo: Easier to play, and it may help patients

http://ping.fm/Pfast

Although the “dog days” of summer are dwindling, many cities still experience highs temperatures and low in precipitation. For some, this is only a minor inconvenience that requires a little planning and extra protection. But, for the elderly population the stress of intense heat can affect them a little differently.

Heat stress is a serious condition that can affect the body’s natural ability to deal with hot temperatures and regulate homeostasis in the body. Heat stress can include different levels of heat related illness. Two of the most common types of heat stress are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illnesses that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Heat stroke is the most serious heat related illness. It is identified by the body’s inability to control the body’s temperature, primarily by sweating and cooling the body down. The sudden spike in the body’s temperature can result in serious injury or even death if emergency medical assistance is not provided.

According to the Center for Disease Control, elderly people are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons related to the aging process. Two common reasons are they more likely to have chronic medical conditions that change normal body responses to heat, and they are more likely to use prescription medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature and possibly inhibit perspiration. Listed below are some ways to help elderly friends, family members and even neighbors to protect themselves from the heat:

1.) Make sure they are in an air conditioned environment -- if transportation is a problem, offer a ride to an air conditioned environment.

2.)Discourage the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

3.)Check to see if they are consuming an adequate amount of non-alcoholic beverages as appropriate to their medical conditions.

4.)Offer to provide support in the form of a phone call or a ride to doctor to help clarify the adequate amount of fluids with current their prescribed medications or health condition safely. (Some seniors are on “water-pills” or have fluid restrictions for chronic illness management.)

5.)Visit or check on older adults personally or with the support of family and friends at least twice a day at designated times. If possible, create a set schedule, and have a written safety plan in place with the elderly person in case they do not answer so they know what to expect.

6.)Consider using a senior service company to check on the elderly person if you live far away or do not have the family and friends available to provide this kind of support.

Overall, following these basic guidelines can help create a safer environment for our older loved ones and neighbors.

by Angela T. Graczyk, RN

Listed below are 14 areas of private sector advisors or providers supporting long term care. We believe the average American is not aware of many if not all of these important services.

These are the specialists, advisers or providers that can make the difference in allowing someone needing care or his or her family to have a choice in care options. Without help, they family may not always choose the best care settings. Without help, untapped sources of government or private funding to pay the costs of care may go unrecognized. Much of this advice and many of these services will also help improve the condition or the environment of someone needing long term care.

Families that are prepared for care in advance and understand the services available are going to be significantly more successful than families that use a last-minute "do-it-yourself" approach. As a general rule, using a professional will save help conserve assets, uncover unknown sources of funding and relieve stress on family caregivers.

Here is a list of these services

1. Geriatric and Professional Care Managers or Geriatric Specialists
2. Geriatric Medical Services
3. Medical and Non-Medical Home Care Services
4. Home Maintenance, Transportation & Chore Services
5. Home Disability Support and Medical Alert Systems
6. Elder Law and Estate Planning Advice
7. Elder Mediation Services
8. Guardianship and Trust Administration
9. Financial Services Specialists
10. Reverse Mortgage Specialist
11. Seniors Relocation and Real Estate Specialist
12. Hospice Care Provider
13. PrePlanning, PreNeed Funeral Providers
14. Veterans Benefits Consultant

To learn more about these services and how they support family caregivers please contact Always Best Care Senior Services at 619-757-1114.

 

 

Seniors who live at home, and especially those who live alone, should have an emergency response system in case of a medical emergency, a fall, or other trauma. Even seniors in good health are at risk of falling or otherwise injuring themselves at home, where accidents are most common. An emergency alert system can mean the difference between life and death in many circumstances.
 
Emergency alert systems have evolved over the years and are much more comprehensive today. Generally, the systems have a pendant and a console that communicate together wirelessly. Users frequently wear the pendant around their neck, but may also wear it around their wrist or hips. The user can push the button on the pendant in case of an emergency, or if they are close enough, they can press the emergency button on the console itself.
 
Once the button is pressed, a call is sent over the phone lines or the Internet to a service representative at the alert system provider, who then contacts emergency medical responders or the user’s emergency contacts, depending on the specific situation.
 
Unlike a cell phone, which may be out of reach and difficult to dial in an emergency, an emergency alert system is worn on the body and is easy to operate. Here are some of the important features to look for when shopping for an emergency alert system:
 
Monitoring Services
 
· 24/7 Monitoring Facility
· Fire and Smoke Monitoring
· Medical Monitoring
· CO2 Monitoring
 
Equipment
 
· Look for equipment that has an operating range of at least 600-1,000 feet between pendant and console
· Emergency response base station that communicates with equipment
· Pendant or wristband
· Water resistant
· Battery backup
· Wall-mounted emergency button
· Two-way communications
· Regular check-ins from emergency service provider
 
Professional in-home caregivers, like those from Always Best Care, can help seniors obtain and set up their emergency response system from their home with ease, helping seniors living at home maintain their independence while staying safe and secure.

 

Identity Theft Prevention and Recovery
Identity theft can happen at any time to anyone. Thieves are very creative and are always looking for new methods to access personal information for their own gain. The information thieves are looking for is not always clear – some things are obvious like Social Security numbers, others are not, like family relationships and insight on your personal life.
Protection
Here are 10 important tips to follow for preventing ID theft …
1. Only carry what you need - leave extra credit cards, checks and documentation with sensitive information (Social Security Cards) at home when shopping or leaving your home. When carrying Medicare information it is best to carry a copy and black out the first five numbers of the Social Security number which most hospitals will accept.
2. Consider carrying your wallet in your front pocket, in a neck pouch or in a fanny pack on the front of you.
3. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, even at social or religious gatherings where you feel safe and comfortable - thieves can be lurking anywhere.
4. Keep an itemized list of the cards you do carry on a daily basis along with the check numbers you carry so that if your belongings are stolen you can quickly call and report the stolen cards to the card companies.
5. Before allowing company into your home, always lock up personal information and laptops and log off and shut down your computers.
6. Be especially cautious of using the ATM. Try to always go into the bank, but if you do use an ATM, only use ones that are lit and take your receipt with you and shred it.
7. Deter crime from your home with lighting, radios and televisions. Use timers or motion detectors on outdoor lighting if you can afford it, or leave lighting on at night when you are away.
8. Never give out personal information to someone reaching out to you via phone, email, instant message, text message, door-to-door or through social media. If you receive a call from a company requesting personal information, inform them you will hang up and call their primary company phone number to ensure the call is legitimate.
9. Use secure, non-personal passwords that contain both capital and lower case letters, numbers and unique symbols (!*@$).
10. Be cautious with your generosity - make a charitable giving plan and do not deviate from it. Check out the legitimacy of every charity before giving them your hard earned money.
Recovery
If your identity has been stolen, the sooner you discover it, the sooner you can take the steps necessary to fix it. Do not let fear, ignorance or embarrassment keep you from doing what you need to do to protect your finances, your property and most importantly, yourself!
 
 
What victims should do next …
1. Let all of your creditors know that your ID has been stolen. Be sure to keep track of who you talked to, when you talked to them and their job titles, and phone numbers. Remember, the sooner you notice and report any discrepancies on your accounts, the easier it is to dispute them.
2. Close your accounts. Send confirmation that you are closing your accounts in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep copies of everything.
3. When you open new accounts, put passwords on them (do not use a password that relates back to personal information that someone can guess).
4. Contact the issuing agency of any IDs that were taken - driver's license, state ID, employment ID. Do not just cancel and replace, ask the agency to put a caution or flag on your file so nobody else can get replacements.
5. File a police report and make copies of that report to send to your creditors. Do this in person rather than using an automated report. If your police department does not take identity theft reports, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incident Report." If you are still unable to file a report, contact your state Attorney General to find out exactly what your state law is in regards to identity theft.
6. Find out from each creditor just what it is you need to do to clear up the mess, and then do it, keeping track of everyone you talk to and everything you do.
7. Once all the disputed charges have been taken off your accounts and everything is resolved, have those companies send you a letter that states in writing that the disputed accounts are closed and the fraudulent debts discharged. File and keep copies of these letters to use if this erroneous information reappears on your credit report.
8. Follow up to make sure everything has been taken care of and keep checking your accounts regularly.
9. Report the theft or fraud to the three major credit bureaus. Have them place a fraud alert on your account so that new lines of credit cannot be opened without explicit confirmation by you.
10. Do not fall for so-called credit repair scams. The only information that can be removed from your credit report is inaccurate information, and that is something you can do for yourself.
 
Reprinted by Always Best Care Senior Services with permission from
Senior Spirit, a publication of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.
The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) program provides the advanced knowledge and practical tools to serve seniors at the highest level possible while providing recipients a powerful credential that increases their competitive advantage over other professionals. The CSA works closely with Always Best Care Senior Services to help ABC business owners understand how to build effective relationships with seniors based on a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. To be a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) means one willingly accepts and vigilantly upholds the standards in the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility. These standards define the behavior that we owe to seniors, to ourselves, and to our
fellow CSAs. The reputation built over the years by the hard work and high standards of CSAs flows to everyone who adds the designation to their name. For more information, visit www.society-csa.com.
 
 
Always Best Care Senior ServicesAlways Best Care Senior Services (www.alwaysbestcare.com/) is based on the belief that having the right people for the right level of care means peace of mind for the client and family. Always Best Care Senior Services has assisted over 25,000 seniors, representing a wide range of illnesses and personal needs. This has established the company as one of the premier providers of in-home care, assisted living placement assistance, and skilled home health care in the United States.


BOSTON (AP) — New research boosts the "use it or lose it" theory about brainpower and staying mentally sharp. People who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, a study of nearly half a million people in France found.

It's by far the largest study to look at this, and researchers say the conclusion makes sense. Working tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged — all things known to help prevent mental decline.

"For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent," said Carole Dufouil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government's health research agency.

She led the study and gave results Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston.

About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. In the U.S., about 5 million have Alzheimer's — 1 in 9 people aged 65 and over. What causes the mind-robbing disease isn't known and there is no cure or any treatments that slow its progression.

France has had some of the best Alzheimer's research in the world, partly because its former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made it a priority. The country also has detailed health records on self-employed people who pay into a Medicare-like health system.

Researchers used these records on more than 429,000 workers, most of whom were shopkeepers or craftsmen such as bakers and woodworkers. They were 74 on average and had been retired for an average of 12 years.

Nearly 3 percent had developed dementia but the risk of this was lower for each year of age at retirement. Someone who retired at 65 had about a 15 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared to someone retiring at 60, after other factors that affect those odds were taken into account, Dufouil said.

To rule out the possibility that mental decline may have led people to retire earlier, researchers did analyses that eliminated people who developed dementia within 5 years of retirement, and within 10 years of it.

"The trend is exactly the same," suggesting that work was having an effect on cognition, not the other way around, Dufouil said.

France mandates retirement in various jobs — civil servants must retire by 65, she said. The new study suggests "people should work as long as they want" because it may have health benefits, she said.

June Springer, who just turned 90, thinks it does. She was hired as a full-time receptionist at Caffi Plumbing & Heating in Alexandria, Va., eight years ago.

"I'd like to give credit to the company for hiring me at that age," she said. "It's a joy to work, being with people and keeping up with current events. I love doing what I do. As long as God grants me the brain to use I'll take it every day."

Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association, said the study results don't mean everyone needs to delay retirement.

"It's more staying cognitively active, staying socially active, continue to be engaged in whatever it is that's enjoyable to you" that's important, she said.

"My parents are retired but they're busier than ever. They're taking classes at their local university, they're continuing to attend lectures and they're continuing to stay cognitively engaged and socially engaged in their lives."
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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Online:
 

Alzheimer's info: http://www.alzheimers.gov

Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org

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As the economy improves, many people are still hanging on tight to their finances. Given the economic decline that we experienced in the last few years, this is not a bad idea for anyone. Seniors are no exception to this new habit. If your senior relative is considering ways to save more money, they can start in the following few areas.
  • Look at monthly bills – Many monthly bills are reoccurring. Take a close look at these bills to see which ones can be reduced. Many companies, especially utility companies, offer senior discounts or plans that help those on a fixed income to be able to afford the services a little easier.
  • Cut grocery costs – Your senior’s in-home care provider can help your loved one clip coupons on a weekly basis in order to cut grocery costs down. In addition, they can shop the sales at the local grocery stores and purchase store brand products rather than being brand specific, in order to save more money.
  • Join free senior activities – Many communities offer free services and entertainment for seniors. Your home health care provider can help your relative find appropriate activities to help keep him or her active without having to go over budget.
  • Plan for gift giving – Staying organized with gift giving can also help seniors save money. When they consider a majority of the gifts they will need to buy each year, they can shop at any time, paying close attention to sales rather than shopping right before the occasion. This enables them to purchase what they really want to give their loved one while saving money at the same time.

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The medicine cabinet is one area of anyone’s home that typically gets overlooked as a place to clean or organize. Because medicines only have a limited shelf life, it is important to go through it once in a while to remove expired medicines as well as any that might interfere with new medications a senior may be taking.
  • Start with expired medicines – Go through the cabinet at least once per year and remove any that are expired. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the proper method of disposal before tossing them though, not every medication can just be thrown in the garbage.
  • Stock up on necessities – Every medicine cabinet should have the basics, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, antiseptic for cuts and burns, bandages and remedies for stomach aches or heartburn.
  • Keep prescription medicines close – Try to avoid putting prescription medicines in the back of the cabinet where they might get ignored. If they are something that needs to be taken on a daily basis, keep them up front where they will be noticed and taken in a timely manner.
  • Talk to the doctor – Seniors should talk to their doctor about the over-the-counter medicines that are safe for them to take, including pain medicines, cold or flu medicines. Some might pose a problem if they are mixed with certain prescriptions. Knowing what is safe to take and what is not will also help keep the medicine cabinet organized.
Your senior’s in-home care professional can help him or her keep the medicine cabinet organized and free from medications that should not be in there, whether they are expired or not safe to take. This will help to ensure the safety of your senior when you cannot be there.

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Summer sometimes means more traveling and sightseeing for families. Depending on your health and abilities, you likely won’t have to change your vacation plans, but you may have to be willing to alter them a bit to make things easier for yourself. A few simple changes can help you enjoy summer plans.
  • Make plans to have a driver – Having a driver can sometimes be easier on everyone, especially if you think anyone in your party will need breaks whether to use the bathroom or simply to stretch their legs.
  • Bring plenty of supplies – While you don’t want to over pack, you want to be prepared. Have plenty of changes of clothes as well as plenty of emergency supplies including necessary and emergency medications, first aid supplies, food and water.
  • Determine necessary accommodations – If you require any special accommodations, try to arrange for them ahead of time, whether with the airlines, hotel or any other establishment to make things easier.
Before you travel, take the time to talk with your home health care to determine exactly what you will need to bring along. The person that works closely with you will have the best insight as to what will make your vacation the most comfortable and memorable as possible.


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Whether in attempts to maintain personal safety or due to the warnings of concerned family and friends there are some common misconceptions of senior exercising. There is no reason the elderly can't work out as effectively as everyone else. Following are five delusional reasons seniors can't exercise and the reality of each fallacy.

Misconception #1: You're going to continue to age anyway. Exercising serves no purpose.

Reality: Alzheimer's, colon cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity are a few of the conditions you can improve or avoid by participating in physical activity regularly. Doing exercises and strength training will help you to live longer and feel younger. With the progression of your workout routines you will notice improvements in your endurance and flexibility.

Misconception #2: You need your rest. Exercising is too strenuous for the elderly.

Reality: An inactive lifestyle is unhealthy for seniors. In fact, inactivity leads to the inability to function on your own. Have you ever heard that saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it."? That's true. You didn't spend years in school to gain the education you needed to be successful in your chosen career to let that knowledge just go away after you've retired. You didn't work very hard for years to be the best you could be in your field or build your own business so you could sit around in your senior years and deteriorate. An active lifestyle lowers the risk of living in a world of illness, medication, doctor's visits, hospitalization which is neither attractive nor entertaining.

Misconception #3: If you exercise, you may lose your balance and fall.

Reality: In actuality regular exercising reduces the risk of falling. When you exercise frequently you build strength and stamina. The constant activity enhances your balance and averts loss of bone mass.

Misconception #4: You're already too old to begin exercising; it's too late.

Reality: It's never too late. You're never too old. Chances are if you were into health and fitness when you were younger, you are still working out to some extent. But if you've never exercised, or you stopped awhile back for some reason, no problem. Start with something easy and work your way up. A short walk is a good starting point. Just don't overdo it. It's OK if you walk for only ten minutes. In no time at all you will be able to walk for 30 to 60 minutes and ready to move on to more challenging exercises.

Misconception #5: Your mobility is limited. You can't exercise because you're disabled.

Reality: No problem! It's a challenge you can meet. An increased range of motion is only one of the benefits you can enjoy when you do chair aerobics. You can also improve your muscle tone and support cardiovascular health. Other exercises you can do are lifting weights and stretches. If you are wheelchair bound water aerobics will exercise your entire body. It will help you to build strength and endurance.



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Many elders think that feeling depressed is a natural part of the aging process. This is not true. While many elders suffer from depression, they don't necessarily have to feel that way.

Recognizing the signs of depression is the first step in handling it. Has your elder stopped doing the things he or she once enjoyed? Has personal care declined? Is your elder unnaturally quiet or lash out in anger? These are signs of depression.

It is important to bring up these symptoms with your elder's doctor as soon as you see them. While it can be treated, chances are good that treatment will not be the same as it would be for someone younger.

A younger person might be prescribed antidepressants. An older person is probably taking medications for other conditions and may be unable to take an antidepressant. There is also some evidence that certain types of this medication aren't as effective for seniors.

Instead, counseling or group therapy may be suggested. Increasing social interaction can be a good means of countering the isolation some elders feel.

Exercise is another area that could help ease depression. As an added benefit, exercise can also be beneficial for cognitive function. Elders dealing with cognitive decline are likely to feel depression.
While supplements may not be a good idea for an elder, due to drug/herb interactions, aromatherapy could be useful. The essential oils of chamomile and lavender are considered particularly useful. If the elder needs mental stimulation, oil of peppermint is another good product. On the oil of peppermint, be sure to keep children under the age of two away from this oil. Just the scent can cause serious breathing problems.

Depression can be beaten, but only if it's recognized. Look for symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible for the best results.

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Our bodies seem to follow a bell-curve of strength that starts at our infancy and ends with our life. It is important to understand the elders body and its limitations when seeking activities to share with them. This may mean speaking with the senior's doctor or listening to any pain or exhaustion that they might experience from doing some activities. This article presents some suggestions for activities that may often be well appreciated well over age 65.

One fun activity to share is taking a moment to enjoy the rich beauty nature has to offer. You may take a day to walk in the park, watch the birds or go on a kayaking adventure. If you bring a camera, a good project may be to make a scrapbook of all your outdoor excursions and the birds you see. Many people enjoy the outdoors, so it may be great to find an outdoor activity that you both enjoy. You could also take turns introducing one another to your favorite outdoor activities. If the elder enjoys going for walks in the park and your hobby is drawing landscapes or fishing, you could take the time to share each one. By introducing one another to your favorite outdoor activities, you may find a great new hobby and create a memorable experience together.

There are many sports that you also may enjoy together that are not physically demanding such as tennis, swimming, horseshoes and golf. It is important to speak with the elder's doctor provider before playing sports, to make sure that they have permission. In some cases, the elder may have a condition preventing them from playing high intensity sports. If this is the case, there are plenty of other activities that the professional may recommend.

Your community may have a center designed for these activities like a YMCA or a country club. Some high schools or universities will allow visitors to use their athletic facilities during specified hours, contact your local schools to ask about these opportunities. There may also be putt-putt golf courses, local parks and beaches in your area for you practice athletic activities or just appreciate the outdoors. If you enjoy exercising, Yoga and Thai Chi are also ways to stay physically fit and are often recommended for the elderly.

When the elder is exercising, it is important to warm up and cool incrementally. This is encouraged for anyone exercising, but is more important as we get older. By stretching, you are preventing your body from being sore or exceptionally tired after workouts. You are also greatly reducing the chance of injury of you and the elder. We can often be exited to begin with our activities for the day, but a simple ten-minute stretch can go far.

The elder you are caring for may not be capable of some activities and tasks that many can do. Some may have medical conditions or be on medication and have orders from their doctors to avoid such activities. For other elders, their physical condition may make some activities both dangerous and extremely time consuming. Shopping can be perceived as a simply task to some, but for the elderly it can become difficult and dangerous.

The elder may have trouble finding their way to the store, remembering what they need and is risking physical injury. By helping the elder shop or do other activities, you are making their lives easier and may be preventing serious injury. If you are unsure what activities the elder would like help with, do not be afraid to ask. By helping with too many activities without being asked, you may be harming their pride and feeling of independence.

It is often important to ask elders before helping, unless you believe that they are in physical danger of completing the task. By automatically helping you are sending the message that the elder is incapable of properly completing the task him or herself. Having difficulty completing tasks that were once considered simple may be embarrassing and diminish someone's pride.

If you prefer to grow your own food for fun or enjoy natural foods, you may also help the elderly in their garden or create one. Having a garden may reduce stress and strengthen your emotional bond by creating life together. Gardening can be a simple activity or a very complex career. No matter what your skill level, there are many resources available to get you and the elder started on gardening. Some plants take less skill to grow than others; growing wild flowers may be easier than growing prize winning squash. If your gardening skills are hopeless, there is always the option of growing weeds. Although, some believe that they only come up when they are not desired.

Once you have collected the bounty in your garden or at the supermarket, you may help the elder prepare meals. If they are independent, the senior may not go through the effort of preparing full meals and may not have a well balanced diet. Cooking meals may be a fun way to help improve the physical and emotional health of the elder you care for, while improving your skills to impress guests. It may help to make large portions of meals or extras, so that the elder may easily prepare the meals again to enjoy your kitchen creation. If you or the elder does not enjoy cooking, they may be eligible for the meals on wheels program in your local community.

If you prefer literature or the arts to other activities, you may read or write with the elder that you are caring for. Our eyesight may decrease drastically as we age and reading small text may become difficult. Other people may develop arthritis and experience pain while gripping a pencil to write. For some elders, this loss can be devastating. Some people have retirement dreams of reading every day or writing a novel, just to discover that their physical condition prevents them from achieving this.
By helping the elder in these simple activities, you may just be working with them to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Even if the elder does not aspire to be the next Herman Melville, reading and writing is an essential activity in today's society that you can help them to do.

A great way to spend time with one another and spread the value of knowledge may be to share your favorite books or poems. The elder may be aware of amazing classics novels and poems that you have not yet discovered and you may have insight on the latest best sellers. Together, you can share the rich experience of reading and explore new books.

You may also take a trip to your local art museum or gallery to share the art and educational experience with a loved one. Before you go, make sure that the elder can properly see so that they are not disappointed when entering the museum. Some paintings are positioned far from the eyes and some museums may prevent visitors from getting too close. If a distance rule exists at your local museum or gallery, try calling ahead and asking if they can accommodate the elder.

If you and the elder prefer creating more than observing, there are many low cost arts and crafts projects available online. Creating artwork and following instructions may give seniors a sense of accomplishment and pride. Their creation will be with them forever as a trophy to their achievement and with you as a reminder of your compassion. Sometimes local art centers have art classes available for painting, clay or mosaics and theatre. These classes often charge a fee, although they may have a discount for seniors or may be able to make accommodations upon request.

There are many other activities that you can share with the elderly. The important thing is to be creative and select things that you both enjoy doing. You can introduce one another to new activities, but no one likes to be forced into activities that they do not enjoy. If the elder asks you to do an activity that you do not enjoy, there is no need for you to continue doing it. If the elder seems to not enjoy an activity you share with them, recommend something else.


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Sports-related concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries have grabbed headlines in recent months, as the long-term damage they can cause becomes increasingly evident among both current and former athletes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of these injuries occur each year.

Despite the devastating consequences of traumatic brain injury and the large number of athletes playing contact sports who are at risk, no method has been developed for early detection or tracking of the brain pathology associated with these injuries.

Now, for the first time, UCLA researchers have used a brain-imaging tool to identify the abnormal tau proteins associated with this type of repetitive injury in five retired National Football League players who are still living. Previously, confirmation of the presence of this protein, which is also associated with Alzheimer's disease, could only be established by an autopsy.

The preliminary findings of the small study are reported in the online issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, the official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.

Previous reports and studies have shown that professional athletes in contact sports who are exposed to repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries may develop ongoing impairment such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative condition caused by a build up of tau protein. CTE has been associated with memory loss, confusion, progressive dementia, depression, suicidal behavior, personality changes, abnormal gait and tremors.

"Early detection of tau proteins may help us to understand what is happening sooner in the brains of these injured athletes," said lead study author Dr. Gary Small, UCLA's Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging and a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the

Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. "Our findings may also guide us in developing strategies and interventions to protect those with early symptoms, rather than try to repair damage once it becomes extensive."

Small notes that larger follow-up studies are needed to determine the impact and usefulness of detecting these tau proteins early, but given the large number of people at risk for mild traumatic brain injury - not only athletes but military personnel, auto accident victims and others - a means of testing what is happening in the brain during the early stages could potentially have a considerable impact on public health.

For the study, the researchers recruited five retired NFL players who were 45 years of age or older. Each had a history of one or more concussions and some were experiencing cognitive or mood symptoms. The players represented a range of positions, including linebacker, quarterback, guard, center and defensive lineman.

"I hope that my participation in these kinds of studies will lead to a better understanding of the consequences of repeated head injury and new standards to protect players from sports concussions," said Wayne Clark, a player in the study who had normal cognitive function.

For the study, the UCLA scientists used a brain-imaging tool they had developed previously for assessing neurological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. They employed a chemical marker they created called FDDNP, which binds to deposits of amyloid beta "plaques" and neurofibrillary tau "tangles" - the hallmarks of Alzheimer's - which they then viewed using a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, providing a "window into the brain." With this method, researchers are able to pinpoint where in the brain these abnormal proteins accumulate.

After the players received intravenous injections of FDDNP, researchers performed PET brain scans on them and compared the scans to those of healthy men of comparable age, education, body mass index and family history of dementia.

The scientists found that compared to the healthy men, the NFL players had elevated levels of FDDNP in the amygdala and subcortical regions of the brain. These regions control learning, memory, behavior, emotions, and other mental and physical functions. Those players who had experienced a greater number of concussions were found to have higher FDDNP levels.

"The FDDNP binding patterns in the players' scans were consistent with the tau deposit patterns that have been observed at autopsy in CTE cases," said study author Dr. Jorge R. Barrio, a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Each of the research volunteers also received a standard clinical assessment to gauge their degree of depression (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, or HAM-D) and cognitive ability (Mini-Mental State Examination, or MMSE). The players had more depressive symptoms than the healthy men and generally scored lower on the MMSE test, demonstrating evidence of cognitive loss. Three players had mild cognitive impairment, one had dementia and another had normal cognitive function.

Elevated levels of FDDNP have been shown in studies to be associated with cognitive symptoms in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and dementia, according to Barrio. The FDDNP signals appear to reflect a range of mental symptoms that have been observed in CTE cases, he noted.

Although the FDDNP marker also binds to another abnormal brain protein called amyloid beta, previous autopsy studies have shown the amyloid plaques are observed in less than a third of CTE cases in retired football players, suggesting that the FDDNP signal in the players represents mostly tau deposits in the brain.

"Providing a non-invasive method for early detection is a critical first step in developing interventions to prevent symptom onset and progression in CTE," said Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center. "FDDNP is the only imaging marker currently available that can provide a measure of tau in living humans."

According to Small, a recent study of more than 3,400 retired professional football players showed that they had a higher-than-average risk of dying from Alzheimer's disease. Small's team also is studying lifestyle interventions for delaying the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms. His new book "The Alzheimer's Prevention Program," released in paperback this month, features the latest research on this topic and offers the public practical strategies for protecting brain health.

Research into CTE and the long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries such as sports-related concussions has been picking up momentum.

"It is the holy grail of CTE research to be able to identify those who are suffering from the syndrome early, while they're still alive. Discovering the effects of prior brain trauma earlier opens up possibilities for symptom treatment and prevention," said study author Dr. Julian Bailes, director of the Brain Injury Research Institute and the Bennett Tarkington Chairman of the department of neurosurgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem based in Evanston, IL.


The study was funded by the Brain Injury Research Institute; the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Fund for Alzheimer's Disease Research; the Ahmanson Foundation and the Parlow-Solomon Professorship.

UCLA owns three U.S. patents on the FDDNP chemical marker. Small and Barrio are among the inventors. Disclosures are listed in the full study.

Additional study authors included Vladimir Kepe, Ph.D.; Prabha Siddarth, Ph.D.; Linda M. Ercoli, Ph.D.; Dr. David A. Merrill; Natacha Donghue, B.A.; Susan Y. Bookheimer, Ph.D.; Jacqueline Martinez, M.S.; and Dr. Bennet Omalu.



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