Senior Living Blog

November Is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

 Surprising Facts You Might Not Know

Although Alzheimer’s affects approximately 1 in every 2 families in the U.S., and has been extensively covered in the media, there’s still quite a bit of information about Alzheimer’s that you might not be aware of.

Dennis Fortier, president and CEO of Medical Care Corporation, which specializes in helping physicians evaluate patients’ memory and cognitive functions, writes in Caring.com, an online resource for caregivers of older adults, that there are numerous vital facts about Alzheimer’s that you might not know—and that might surprise you. Here is a summary:

Alzheimer’s is usually detected at the end-stage of the disease. On average, Alzheimer’s follows a 14-year course from the onset symptoms until death. Surprisingly, we usually diagnose Alzheimer’s in years 8-10 of the disease course. We diagnose Alzheimer’s disease far too late to optimize the effects of available treatments.

Memory loss is not a part of normal aging. Many patients with symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease do not seek treatment—partly because they dismiss those symptoms are being the normal and untreatable effects of aging. A startling number of doctors incorrectly believe that memory loss is inevitable with age. Be aware that memory loss is not a part of normal aging and timely medical intervention is critical. 

Current Alzheimer’s drugs may be more effective than you think. One reason that current treatments are often deemed ineffective is that they are prescribed for patients with end-stage disease and massive brain damage. With earlier intervention, treatment can be given to patients with healthier brains, who will likely respond more vigorously. A great start would be to intervene earlier with the treatments we have.  

Alzheimer’s disease can be treated. With a good diet, physical exercise, social engagement, and certain drugs, many patients (especially those detected at an early stage) can meaningfully alter the course of Alzheimer’s and preserve their quality of life. Be aware that “we have no cure” does not mean “there is no treatment.” 

Better drug treatments for Alzheimer’s are on the way. Some very promising drugs, based on sound theoretical approaches, are in FDA clinical trials right now. It is possible that an effective agent is already in the pipeline.

Taking care of your heart will help your brain stay healthy. Brain health is very closely tied to the health of your body, particularly your heart. Researchers have shown that high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity contribute to greater risk for cognitive decline. Be aware that maintaining good vascular health will help you age with cognitive vitality. 

Managing risk factors may delay or prevent cognitive decline. Well-identified risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include diabetes, head injuries, smoking, poor diet, lethargy, and isolation. All of these risks are manageable, and publicizing them is one purpose of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Be aware that many risk factors for Alzheimer’s can be actively managed to reduce the likelihood of cognitive problems as you age.

It’s Cybersecurity Month

This October enjoy all that fall has to offer. There are the changing leaves, delicious fall recipes and the warmth and comfort of a cozy home.  After all, October is a month when we retrench back into our homes as the days grow shorter, and the temperatures get colder.  While spending more time indoors, many of us will also be spending more time on our computers searching out the latest deals, connecting with friends and family and getting the latest news. And while we like the convenience of doing such activities in the luxury of our favorite chair, there are some precautions to consider to make using our computer is a safe place.

In fact October is Cybersecurity Month.  In order to help make individuals and businesses more informed the National Cyber Security Alliance offers many tips to help us all stay more protected.

Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips:

  • Keep a clean machine: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
  • Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.
  • Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

For more great tips and information visit http://www.staysafeonline.org.

Flu Season Begins

October marks the month when flu vaccinations become available. The flu can make existing health conditions worse and is especially dangerous for people with chronic health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, which often affect older adults. Seniors with these conditions are more likely to develop complications from the flu that can result in hospitalization and even death.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the single best way to prevent the flu is to get an annual vaccination, which is recommended for everyone aged six months and older, with rare exception.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, if possible by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

We encourage all seniors to consult with their physicians about getting a flu shot this year.

For more information about this year’s flu season visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2015-2016.htm

It’s that time of year again—Medicare Sign Ups October 15-December 7, 2015

 

It’s October which means Fall Open Enrollment begins for Medicare. During the Annual Coordinated Election Period, which runs from October 15th through December 7th, people with Medicare can change their choice of health coverage (whether they receive that coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan or traditional Medicare), and add, drop or change Medicare Part D drug coverage. It’s very important that Medicare beneficiaries review their drug plan annually.

Why? Because Medicare private drug plans can make changes each year; changes can include which pharmacies are in their networks as well as which drugs are covered and the costs.  Most people can only change their plans during the Fall Open Enrollment Period.

Find out whether medications you are taking will be covered on your plan next year.  If your physician had to submit a prior authorization exception request and you need the same medication  next year, call your plan to find out what you need to do to make sure that your plan continues covering your medication.  Your physician may need to submit a new request and he may be able to do so before the end of the year to ensure that your coverage continues without interruption.

Now is the time to be asking questions! For more information visit http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/the-medicare-annual-coordinated-election-period-has-begun/

Time to Start Walking

The United States Surgeon General wants to see you walking! Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking and asks individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.

Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease

The Surgeon General’s report discusses the health benefits of walking and calls on individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.  Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease, and only a quarter of high school students get the recommended amount.  Physical inactivity contributes to heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer, which account for 86 percent of our nation’s health care costs.  Building walking into daily life can reduce disease and save money.

According to Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The key is to get started because even a small first effort can make a big difference in improving the personal health of an individual and the public health of the nation.

The advantages of walking are numerous:

  • A low-intensity exercise that is easy on your joints and muscles
  • No equipment necessary
  • Male or female, walking strengthens your heart
  • Walking 90 minutes per week can prevent cognitive decline
  • Improves overall fitness and can prevent physical disability in older persons
  • Relieves stress
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Builds aerobic fitness (which leads to more heart healthy benefits)
  • Walking is a ‘weight-bearing’ activity, meaning it helps to fight against osteoporosis

To read the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and learn how to promote walking, please visit www.surgeongeneral.gov.

October is Long Term Care Planning Month- how is your plan coming?

October is Long-Term Care Planning Month

Do you have a plan in place?

This month (and any month) seniors are encouraged, and those acting on their behalf, to develop a plan to help meet the high costs of long-term care. For the most part, a majority of long-term care costs are not covered by most health insurance plans or Medicare. That is where planning for Long-Term Care becomes so important. We encourage families to explore long-term care planning options.

There are of course advantages to planning ahead before the need arises. By preparing for the future, you can make choices for how and where you wish to spend your later years. It also removes the burden from adult children and others to make choices for others, a task not often envied by most.

Currently, Medicare only covers medical and rehabilitative care (doctors and nurses) and does not cover non-medical care including help with activities of daily living (ADLs). Medicaid will cover the cost of long-term care but only after an individual has depleted all their assets, and the choice of Medicaid facilities or Medicaid in-home services are very limited.

What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is a range of services and supports residents may need to meet their personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:

Why Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care?

  • Long term care is a leading cause of catastrophic out-of-pocket health care costs for the elderly and their adult children.
  • By planning ahead, seniors will increase the time they have for saving up sufficient money to get the help they want when they need it.
  • By planning ahead when senior are in relatively good health they greatly increase the chances for qualifying for Long-Term Care Insurance which will cover most, if not all, of their non-medical long-term care costs.

There are a number of ways to get started in planning. Many insurance companies

Offer Long Term-Care insurance. Also here are a couple of very helpful sites to begin navigating this process https://www.longtermcarelink.net and http://longtermcare.gov

As you age, you can feel better knowing there are steps you can take to  ensure that your wishes, both medical and financial, are carried out the way you want them.  We encourage you to start this month, in taking a look at your future.  We are here to help if you have any questions.

5 Trusted Strategies When Researching Assisted Living & Memory Care

See a change in your parent or loved one that leads you to believe they might benefit from an assisted living community? You don’t know where to turn. As the healthcare industry experiences a digital boom, 77%  of us begin our healthcare search online, according 2015 Healthcare Consumer Trends survey. But how do we know who and what to trust?

Here are 5 of the most trusted locations to help you begin your search!

  1. Always talk to your family, friends, and neighbors first – word of mouth is powerful
  2. Connect with people who serve seniors such as,
    • Senior centers
    • Rehabilitation Centers
    • Clergy
    • Meals on Wheels volunteers
    • Pharmacists and Dieticians
    • Hospital Administrative staff, nurses, and paramedics
    • Physical, occupational and speech therapists
    • Physicians, including ophthalmologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and geriatricians
    • Psychotherapists, psychologists and licensed counselors
    • Home care and hospice providers
  3. Research online reviews. Review sites publish reviews of local businesses, written by people who have had first hand experiences with the business. The top sites we recommend are Google and Yelp. Some review sites even help users find out which assisted living community will provide the best care for aging parents.
  4. Go to their Facebook page! Check out the vibrancy of the community. Do they go out on outings? Are they consistently connected to family, friends and the community? Are they promoting health and wellness? Do the residents look inspired or challenged? Are they happy?
  5. Call a handful of your favorite communities and set up a tour with your loved one. Experience first-hand what is offered at each community while asking questions.

Alzheimer’s Update

The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2015 took place in July in Washington, DC.  The conference provides the opportunity for dementia researchers around the globe to come together and share their study results, with the aim of stepping closer to prevention and treatment strategies for Alzheimer’s and other dementias The conference reported some very promising results highlights include:

Promising new data results for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Results from more than a dozen experimental drug studies show the research community attacking Alzheimer’s disease from multiple angles, targeting the underlying causes and some of the most pernicious symptoms.

28 Million Baby Boomers will get Alzheimer’s disease
Projections reported by The Lewin Group for the Alzheimer’s Association show that 28 million American baby boomers will get Alzheimer’s by midcentury — a deluge that will consume nearly 25 percent of Medicare spending in 2040 — unless there are significant advances in treatment and prevention.

Type 1 diabetes identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease
The study looking at a healthcare database of more than 490,000 people over 60 years old found that participants with T1D were 60 to 93 percent more likely to get dementia compared with people without diabetes, even when the diabetes is treated. More research is needed to validate this finding and investigate the biological reasons for the increased risk in T1D.

Early education impacts future risk for Alzheimer’s disease

Two studies from Sweden suggest a correlation between childhood school performance (ages 9-10) and the development of late life dementia.

Women are at greater risk for cognitive decline and dementia
Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Women are also more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s. The most recent data show that 63 percent of all unpaid Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.

Researchers report new ways to predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease

Studies indicate that brain scans, memory tests and body fluids may hold the keys to understanding a person’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, even among those who don’t have memory and thinking problems associated with the disease.

Physical exercise may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia
We know that regular physical activity may reduce the risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Three new research studies demonstrated the value of moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, finding that this type of exercise may help them live better with the disease.

 

Different types of Senior Living options

In today’s marketplace there are variety of housing and care types from which to choose from including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care. We can help assess you or your loved one for the most appropriate environment based on your needs. While there are many different types of senior living options available, here is a very brief description of the most common. At  our community Claremont Place Senior Living, we specialize in serving residents who seek Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care.

  • Independent Living Communities offer private dwellings for active older adults. Dining facilities, housekeeping services, transportation, and 24-hour staffing may be offered on site, as well as medical, dietary and other assistance when needed.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer many levels of options under “one roof” providing a continuum of care. It is different from other housing and care options for seniors because it usually provides a written agreement or long-term contract between the resident and the community, for housing, and services.
  • Assisted Living Residences provide a combination of housing, personalized support services and health care designed to meet the individual needs of seniors who require help with daily activities.
  • Nursing homes or Skilled Nursing Facilities provide 24-hour skilled nursing care for residents who require a high degree of assistance and medical care. They provide care for chronic conditions, short-term convalescent or rehabilitative care.
  • Memory Care Communities have specially trained staff, licensed nurses, secure facilities, and cognitive and physical therapies for person-centered care designed for residents with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia illnesses.

We are happy to help you learn more about the many different senior living option available and to assist you in finding the best solutions for you or loved one.

Famous Quotes About the Month of August

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.”—Kent Nerburn, American writer

 

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and scholar

 

“I bet deep down you still wish your mom would take you clothes shopping every August for the new school year.”—Bridget Willard, American worship leader

 

“The English winter—ending in July, / To recommence in August.”—Lord Byron, English poet

 

“Smell brings to mind … a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.”—Diane Ackerman, American writer

 

“That August time it was delight / To watch the red moons wane to white.”—Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet

 

“The trees tremble with delirious joy as the breeze / Greets them, one by one—now the oak / Now the great sycamore, now the elm.”—From the poem “In August,” Hamlin Garland, American poet

 

 

“I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones / The black rain, the white hills, when once / I loved only my happiness and you.” —From the poem “Dark August,” Derek Walcott, Saint Lucien poet and playwright.