Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cost to Caregivers Relative to Dementia Patients.

I found an article on the "A Place for Mom" website describing what it costs caregivers and/or families in monies, caring for those with dementia. They have facts and figures from the Alzheimer's Association from 2012. I found it amazing that 1 in 3 seniors die with some form of dementia. This write-up has so much information that I think it best if I copy it here.

"Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have a devastating impact not only on the health of older adults, but also on the well-being of caregivers—and on the government programs tasked with shouldering much of the cost burden. In 2013, the total cost of caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise to $203 billion, about two-thirds of which is accounted for by Medicare and Medicaid. And that’s just the monetary cost. The non-fiscal impact on families and caregivers is just as staggering, taking its toll on physical and emotional health. We took an in-depth look at the Alzheimer’s Association’s latest annual report, 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, and below is a summary of the major facts everyone should know about the current state of Alzheimer’s and dementia in America.

How Many Americans Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but other conditions such as frontotemporal lobe degeneration and Parkinson’s disease can also cause dementia. In 2013, 5.2 million Americans are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease, 5 million of whom are aged 65 or older. That adds up to 11 percent of adults 65 and older, and 32 percent of people 85 and older who have the disease. The overall numbers for dementia are more difficult to pinpoint, but the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) estimates that 13.9 percent of Americans over age 71 have dementia.

The incidence of Alzheimer’s increases dramatically with age, and the overall numbers are expected to rise due to the large baby boomer population reaching age 65. There are a few complicating factors to these numbers, though. The major problem is that, currently, Alzheimer’s disease is under-diagnosed. As many as half of the 5.2 million people with the disease may not know they have it. However, new criteria for Alzheimer’s diagnosis were adopted in 2011, including criteria for detecting Alzheimer’s in the preclinical stage using biomarker tests and other cutting-edge science.

How Many People Die of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Deaths from other major causes have been decreasing, but deaths from AD are on the rise. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in America, and the 5th leading cause of death in seniors age 65 and older. But it’s very hard to pinpoint the exact number of deaths from Alzheimer’s. Currently, the CDC only counts those for whom Alzheimer’s is listed as the primary cause of death. However, if someone with Alzheimer’s dies from an acute condition such as pneumonia or malnutrition—conditions that may be a direct result of Alzheimer’s—they may not be included in the tally of AD deaths.

For instance, in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, 83,494 people died from Alzheimer’s, but approximately 400,000 people died with Alzheimer’s. Also, having Alzheimer’s dramatically increases the likelihood of death, regardless of the recorded cause: 61 percent of people with AD are expected to die before age 80, compared to 30 percent of those unaffected.

A Portrait of Alzheimer’s Caregivers

80 percent of caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia are unpaid caregivers, usually family members—that translates to more than 15 million people. 62 percent of those are women, and nearly half are taking care of a parent. Caregivers of people with dementia usually assist more extensively than other types of caregivers, helping with mobility, feeding and toileting as well as dealing with behavioral problems associated with dementia. On average, each caregiver provides 21.9 hours of unpaid care per week, for an estimated economic value of $216.4 billion. Many caregivers suffer from high emotional stress, as well as financial strain, job stress and other difficulties, as a direct result of caregiving.

In this year’s Alzheimer’s Association report, special focus was placed on long-distance caregiving. For caregivers of someone with dementia who was 50 years of age or older, about 15% of those must travel an hour or more to reach the care recipient. About one in five long-distance caregivers is a primary caregiver, helping with the same activities of daily life that local caregivers do. However, long-distance caregivers face more pronounced difficulties with coordinating care, communicating with providers and other family members, and handling care expenses, among other things.

The Cost of Dementia Care in America

The number of seniors with dementia is projected to increase over the coming years, so it’s not much of a surprise that the overall amount spent on care is expected to balloon, too. The aggregate cost of care for people with Alzheimer’s is estimated at $203 billion for 2013; Medicare and Medicaid account for $142 billion (about 70 percent) of that amount, while out-of-pocket expenses account for $34 billion.

Per person, that amounts to an average of $45,657 per year of health care dollars spent on dementia sufferers, compared to $14,452 per year for those without dementia. Dementia’s cost can be even higher if the person is in a residential facility. Scary as those numbers may be, experts estimate the overall spending on people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to rise to $1.2 trillion in 2050. The good news is, with accurate knowledge of the situation regarding dementia in America, government agencies, health care providers, caregivers and families will be better able to plan for a future in which the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s can be quickly diagnosed and treated with all the tools currently at our disposal."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Caregiver's Support Kit.

“There are only four kinds of people in this world. Those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady (from the National Caregiving Foundation website)

The mission of the National Caregiving Foundation:

is to meet both the direct and indirect needs resulting from the impact of catastrophic diseases on our society. The mission is accomplished by:
· Disseminating educational information
· Distributing support materials that ease the burden of those affected by the diseases
· Increasing public awareness


This foundation offers a FREE support kit for those people who are now taking on caregiving responsibility. Although the foundation has this kit for those families facing Alzheimer's, this Caregiver's Support Kit is appropriate for any family. All you have to do is call the toll free phone number on their site. There is also another number for returning wounded veterans. It is part of the 'Care for Wounded Soldiers' program.

There is also a long list of 'hot line' phone numbers for a wide variety of organizations that many of us can use. Check it out to see if it can help you find help.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Geriatric Care Manager and When to Use One.

(picture from 'caring.com' website)

One position that I have been coming across a lot lately has been the 'Geriatric Care Manager'. I see it a lot in the websites dedicated to elderly parents and caregivers. 'Caring.com' had an interview with Kaaren Boothroyd who is the executive director of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Their NAPGCM site educates consumers on the role of the GCM and how to find one.


Facts:

The average lifespan in the U.S. is 78.2 years.
On average 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 every day.
There are 40 million people – more than 13 percent of the U.S. population – who are 65 years or older.


This role of geriatric care manager came about from the changing family life, where a lot of adult children live away from their parents or have work lives that cut down on the time they can spend taking care of mom and/or dad. Kaaren lists reasons what people should consider before hiring a GCM and what the benefits are to doing this.

What should people consider before hiring a geriatric care manager?

Person has limited or no family support.
**Family has just become involved with helping the individual and needs direction about available services.
**Person has multiple medical or psychological issues.
**Person is unable to live safely in his/her current environment.
**Family is either "burned out" or confused about care solutions.
**Family has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with loved ones' chronic care needs.
**Family is at odds regarding care decisions.
**Person is not pleased with current care providers and requires advocacy.
**Person is confused about his/her own financial and/or legal situation.
**Family needs education and/or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia.


What are the benefits of hiring a geriatric care manager?

Help meet goals of older adult and all involved.
**A care manager's knowledge, education, training, and experience can objectively help set realistic expectations while addressing obstacles that might be present.
**Often families are overwhelmed with the many options presented. A care manager can efficiently streamline decision making.
**As a neutral third party with knowledge of issues of older adults, a care manager can often help resolve conflicts that a more emotionally involved party can't.
**A care manager can often be a cost-effective alternative to families doing it themselves. Knowledge of entitlement programs, the elimination of often hours of research, reduction of time off from work and crisis-based travel can prove to not only provide positive outcomes but save time and valuable financial resources.
**Avoid problems. The proactive nature of care management can help avoid many of the unfortunate problems that face older adults.
**Supervising caregivers, home safety precautions, and safe financial management can be vital parts of a care manager's role.
**Avoid family conflicts. Having a facilitator to assist with difficult decisions can maintain family stability. Difficult decisions including end of life, driving, and relocation can be addressed in a positive manner.


I would suggest that you could probably talk to your parent's doctor or medical professional, or local social service agency and gather information on a GCM in your area and talk with your family to see if you need one. I have read in other posts that there may be a fee involved - whether it is a one time fee or a fee for each consultation, I do not know. Something else to ask.

Lastly, I just found a section on the 'caremanager.com' site that states that:

Care managers can often help parents who are concerned about a young adult or middle-aged adult child with disabilities. These care managers have experience and credentials to work with all ages. The care manager conducts a comprehensive assessment and helps the family plan for the current and future needs of their adult child.

Helping with:

**Physical Disabilities
**Developmental Disabilities, (e.g. Intellectual Disabilities /formerly called Mental Retardation, Down’s Syndrome, Autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome)
**Brain Injury
**Mental Health Problems
**Chronic or Serious Illnesses of any type

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Respecting Life

(picture from The Mother of Life website)

The following was written for us by a friend, David O'Connell, who runs 'The Mother of Life Center' in Providence RI. The center 'actively promotes the Gospel of Life of the Catholic Church through prayer, direct counseling, and assistance to pregnant women and girls, and advocacy. We also provide education to the public through various media and seminars'. I can attest to his speaking to adolescents. He once spoke to our church youth group (ages 11-12) who, I have to admit were not really into it -- at first. After about 10 minutes, they were all eyes on David, questions being asked. I asked him to write something for the blog since the world tends to be one that loves to toss whatever is too much to deal with, not needed and unfortunately that sometimes means a life -- young or old. I am seeing that even with the elderly, if it becomes too much to medically treat someone, then 'other' care measures can come into play.

Here is David:

How many times have you made a comment defending the right to life of unborn children, and heard a pro-abortion response that was purely emotional, or completely ignorant of the facts? This is a common occurrence today, especially with people under 25 years old, who have been robbed of the truth by our pagan culture and a Godless educational system. To illuminate their minds, your normal reply would be to start at the beginning, by noting the clear distinction between human persons and members of the vast animal kingdom, or describing the obvious presence of a living, animating soul within the growing human embryo from conception onward. Or you might present the first necessary principle for establishing a good society: Justice. If the listener has genuine good will, he will be led to think logically, starting from the basic facts, to arrive at the solid conclusions that inform a caring, pro-life attitude.
Should we blame these young, pro-abortion teens and adults for believing the hedonistic propaganda they’ve been fed all their lives? Most of the time we should not, since they have often been unsuspecting recipients of the moral poison flooding their minds year in and year out. To make matters worse, our message about human life as God’s greatest gift has consistently been distorted or gone unreported in the media, as when the TV networks totally ignored the 2013 March for Life in Washington with over 500,000 dedicated pro-life citizens in attendance.
Facing such opposition, and yet armed with the truth, we must double our efforts to reach this generation and the next one with the powerful message of Life. We can create new opportunities to present the reliable pro-life arguments according to Natural Law, the laws of nature, Catholic theology, science, medicine, psychology, anthropology, history and common sense, all of which demand that every innocent person be protected from violence and murder. This positive effort inspired by our love for young people requires only two things: Initiative and Resources. The first of these, Initiative, comes from you as a passionate follower of Christ who wants to improve our world and perhaps save the lives of some unborn babies as a result. The decision to act is half the battle.
The second requirement, Resources, is what the veteran activists of the pro-life movement can provide. We stay abreast of all the issues touching on human life and the threats to it, including abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, stem cell research, contraception, in vitro fertilization and others. Many of us are ready and willing to come to your parish or youth group to present the plain facts and moral teachings that lead men and women to wise decisions, physical and spiritual health and a happy life. When more people are equipped with the truth and inspired by the grace of God, they become allies in this crusade for life, unborn lives will be saved, the virtues will be promoted and selfish acts can be resisted, as the culture slowly becomes more intelligent and supportive of the human person.
Please contact an experienced pro-life speaker in your area to discuss a presentation to the youth and adult groups in your parish or community. You will be helping them discover the best reasons for following God’s plan in their lives, and fulfilling your responsibility to spread the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ in this Year of Faith.

List of Senior Discounts.

I found this list that someone sent me about a year ago (so I don't know what still is included or if any percentages have changed) but I thought it might come in handy if you visit any of these places. Some offer discounts for people over 50 years old - others have discounts for older folks. It would be good to ASK FIRST. Of course, just ask wherever you go if that establishment offers senior discounts.

Restaurants
> * Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
> * Arby's_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1361) : 10% off (55+)
> * Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
> * Bennigan's: discount varies by location
> * Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
> * Boston Market_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1286) : 10% off (65+)
> * Burger King: 10% off (60+)
> * Captain D's Seafood: discount varies on location (62+)
> * Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
> * Chili's: 10% off (55+)
> * CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
> * Culver's: 10% off (60+)
> * Denny's_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1470) : 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
> * Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)
> * Einstein's Bagels_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1336) : 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
> * Fuddrucker's: 10% off any senior platter (55+)
> * Gatti's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
> * Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
> * Hardee's_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1328) : $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
> * IHOP: 10% off (55+)
> * Jack in the Box_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1344) : up to 20% off (55+)
> * KFC_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1218) : free small drink with any meal (55+)
> * Krispy Kreme_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1016) : 10% off (50+)
> * Long John Silver's: various discounts at participating locations (55+)
> * McDonald's_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1525) : discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
> * Mrs. Fields_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/146) : 10% off at participating locations (60+)
> * Shoney's: 10% off
> * Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
> * Steak `n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
> * Subway: 10% off (60+)
> * Sweet Tomatoes 10% off (62+)
> * Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
> * TCBY: 10% off (55+)
> * Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)
> * Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
> * Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
> * Wendy's: 10% off (55+)
> * White Castle_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1415) : 10% off (62+)

Retail and Apparel
> * Banana Republic_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/891) : 10% off (50+)
> * Bealls_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1599) : 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
> * Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
> * Big Lots_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1577) : 10% off
> * Bon-Ton Department Stores_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1890) : 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
> * C.J. Banks_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1135) : 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
> * Clarks : 10% off (62+)
> * Dress Barn_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1635) : 10% off (55+)
> * Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
> * Hallmark_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1249) : 10% off one day a week (date varies by
location)
> * Kmart_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/870) : 20% off (50+)
> * Kohl's_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/313) : 15% off (60+)
> * Modell's Sporting Goods_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/855) : 10% off
> * Rite Aid_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1254) : 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
> * Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
> * The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
> * Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55+)

Grocery
> * Albertson's: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
> * American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)
> * Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
> * DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
> * Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
> * Fry's Supermarket: free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55+)
> * Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
> * Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
> * Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
> * Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
> * Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
> * Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
> * The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
> * Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)
> * Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
> * Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace: 5% off (62+)

Travel
> * Alaska Airlines_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/286) : 10% off (65+)
> * Alamo_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1059) : up to 25% off for AARP members
> * American Airlines_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1620) : various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
> * Amtrak_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1108) : 15% off (62+)
> * Avis_ (http://brad/ sdeals.com/go/m/1150) : up to 25% off for AARP members
> * Best Western_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/983) : 10% off (55+)
> * Budget Rental Cars_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/869) : 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
> * Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Clarion_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1701) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Comfort Inn_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1702) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Comfort Suites_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1075) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
> * Dollar Rent-A-Car_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/69) : 10% off (50+)
> * Econo Lodge_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1704) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Enterprise Rent-A-Car_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/79) : 5% off for AARP members
> * Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
> * Hampton Inns &am p; Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
> * Hertz_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1559) : up t0 25% off for AARP members
> * Holiday Inn_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/414) : 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
> * Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
> * InterContinental Hotels Group_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/418) : various discounts at all hotels (65+)
> * Mainstay Suites_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1703) : 10% off with
> * Mature Traveler's Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Marriott Hotels_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/303) : 15% off (62+)
> * Motel 6_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1324) : 10% off (60+)
> * Myrtle Beach Resort: 10% off (55+)
> * National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members
> * Quality Inn_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1700) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Rodeway Inn_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1705) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Sleep Inn_ ( http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1472) : 20%-30% off (60+)
> * Southwest Airlines_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/909) : various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for
discount)
> * Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50 and up
> * United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
> * U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

> Activities & Entertainment
> * AMC Theaters_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1279) : up to 30% off (55+)
> * Bally Total Fitness_ (http://bradsdeals.com/go/m/1060) : up to $100 off memberships (62+)
> * Busch Gardens Tampa : $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
> * Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
> * Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
> * U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services inc luding camping (62+)
> * Regal Cinemas: 30% off
> * Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
> * SeaWorld Orlando: $3 off one-day tickets (50+) Cell Phone Discounts
> * AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99/month (65+)
> * Jitterbug_ (http://www.greatcall.com/) : $10/month cell phone service (50+)
> * Verizon Wireless_ (http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller?
> * Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+)
> * Check out our Secret Cell Phone Discounts_(http://www.bradsdeals.com/blog/2011/04/19/cell-phone-discounts/) to view all
cell phone discounts available to you!

Miscellaneous
> * Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (60+)
> * Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)

Since many senior discounts are not advertised to the public, advice to men and women over 50 is to ALWAYS ask a sales associate if that store provides a senior discount. That way, you can be sure to get the most bang for your buck.





Monday, March 18, 2013

Government Benefits You May Not Be Aware Of.

I was reading through an email sent to me by Caring.com, a site I just found out about this past weekend that deals with caregivers and seniors. In the site I saw a post called "9 Government Benefits You Might Be Missing Out On" It is under Government Benefits. It describes different areas of help your elderly parent or family member may be able to take advantage of. Here is a quick review of the 9 (take a look at the site for more information):

1. Social security payments to dependents: these are payments made to the spouse of the deceased or any children or stepchildren under 18 years of age. The widowed spouse must be over 62 or over 50 if disabled. If this spouse is caring for children under 16, then age does not matter. Grandchildren might also collect. Check with your local Social Security Office.

2. Shoes for diabetics: anyone who is diabetic and eligible for Medicare Part B and meet your yearly deductible.Then Medicare can pay for possibly 80% of the cost. You get custom made shoes and 3 pairs of inserts. You need to be under a doctor's care for diabetes management and suffering from serious foot problems. You will need prescription from your doctor or podiatrist. Please talk to you doctor or podiatrist to see if you qualify.

3. Free rides: for people with mobility problems and seniors who need transportation to appointments and activities. These may vary but usually it is a van that brings you door-to-door; you need to schedule it - need to make an appointment. Local aging service agencies will be able to give you more information.

4. Low-interest loans for small businesses affected by disaster: any business or non-profit damaged in a disaster, up to $2 million in low-interest, long-term loans. A lot of seniors still work, maybe still own a business; contact the Small Business Administration.

5. Home or car modifications for veterans: veterans with a disability can look into this. This is for a loan or loan guarantee to buy a house or car, or make modifications to an existing house or car. If you have a veteran family member take a look at the Veterans Benefits.

6. Free credit check: open to everyone. Just make sure you go to the federally authorize website to make sure you can take advantage of all 3 of the major reporting companies.

7. Therapy for Alzheimer's patients: for patient's with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia covered under Medicare Part B. You may be able to get out-patient occupational, speech, and/or physical therapy. Your doctor needs to prescribe therapy and use a Medicare certified therapist. If you have Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage might help.

8. Burial benefits for veterans: for veteran's approved for eligibility through Veteran's Administration. You get a headstone, grave site and maybe a burial allowance. This is normally in a national or state veteran's cemetery. The VA may help with burial in a private cemetery - just check.

9. Help with household chores: for those over 60 and disabled - you may get home, yard, and moving help. Check with a local service Agency on Aging to get the details. There may be a fee involved.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Websites to Look At.

Sunday's paper had its Parade Magazine; in it was a short list of websites that would be helpful to a variety of people with a variety of medical situations. The article was in the 'Stay Healthy' section. There were 2 that I visited quickly to get an overview of and they looked good.


One was MyAutismTeam.com for parents of children with autism. The flagship social network site of MyHealthTeams, MyAutismTeam .com helps users connect with similar parents and add them to their "team" (much like following someone on Twitter). Members can also search among more than 30,000 autism specialists and autism-friendly businesses in their local community—all recommended by other members.

The second one was Caring.com for adults caring for aging parents, spouses, or other loved ones with debilitating diseases. In 2006, when co-founder Andy Cohen was caring for his mom (who had lung cancer), he couldn't find information online on how to hire a nurse, navigate Medicare, or answer any of the hundreds of other questions he had. Now, nearly 2 million people visit his website each month for support and local senior care referrals.

Take a look to see if they can provide any additional resources to help with your current situation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

iPad Workshop.

I attended an iPad workshop that Will's teacher had told me about. It was given by a local company, Tech Access, that evaluates and gives special needs students communication devices to use while in school and to take home during this time as well. There were only a few of us there but this seems to be a useful tool for those specializing in Speech Therapy and are teacher assistants working with special needs students (one other person was a parent).

While the instructor went over all the basics of how to set it, use it, make folders, delete icons, etc., we did touch upon some apps that are good for special needs. Going through the App Store can take time - as he said - you really have to be specific or you get thousands of results. There are free apps and those with a small fee, as well as those that can cost upwards to $200.00 (US dollars). The program we use for Willie is called 'Assistive Chat' which I think was about $35.oo US dollars. Others at the workshop were using 'Proloquo2Go' which runs about $200.00 It depends on what your child can do -- "Assistive Chat" is more for someone who can type and knows words; Prologuo has pictures that you can use along with words. One way to help with this dilemma is to go to AppShopper. This is NOT connected to Apple. There you will find a lot of apps for iPads and iPhones as well as Macs, along with their price changes (if applicable), new apps, app updates. Check it out - great site!! One drawback, even on the 'iTunes store', is that the majority of apps are for younger children, not high school. Even though he does work like a younger student, the pictures and manner of presentation is too young for him. So if you have a pre-schooler or elementary aged child -- you are good to go!!

One good one for those who like to 'see' the results of an action -- 'Songify'. Speak or breath into your Android device and the app will turn the action into a song.

Also, he mentioned a website called 'Moms with Apps'. While this site will include all sorts of apps for all varieties of skills and needs, it also invites app developers to share their programs -- see "App Friday". I checked out 'App Resources for Special Needs', went to 'Mashable article on iPads and disabilities' and not only found apps for children but a couple of them for seniors: one memory practice one that was created by someone who's mom has Alzheimer's and two for medication reminders (though one was NOT available in the US store). You can check out a previous post regarding 'Tech Items for Seniors' that had ideas from 'Senior Savvy' regarding the same.

Of course YouTube has everything!!! The instructor was talking about different types of a stylus pen for people who cannot type and have a hard time holding onto a pen - type device. Of course you can buy one but you can also make your own. Check out a variety of YouTube videos to make one. TechAccess also has instructions.

Spend some time in the 'iTunes store' and the 'AppShopper'. Check with your child's teacher and speech therapist so see what will be good. Find a workshop in your area. Time well spent!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Possible Options for Making A Safer Home: Part 2

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM A BOOK OFFERED BY 'AARP' (AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS) - "THE DO-ABLE RENEWABLE HOME". IF YOU WANT TO MAKE ANY OF THE CHANGES FOR SOMEONE, I WANT TO SUGGEST THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR LOCAL BUILDING INSPECTOR OR A GOOD CONTRACTOR TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE FOLLOWING THE BUILDING CODES. WE HAD A CONTRACTOR DO THE CHANGES FOR MY MOTHER AT HER PLACE SO WE COULD BE AT PEACE WHEN WE DECIDE TO SELL IT, ALL WOULD BE FINE. I AM STARTING FROM WHERE I LEFT OFF IN THE SAME TITLED POST - PART 1. AGAIN -- I WILL NOT GIVE DIMENSIONS, JUST IN CASE MEASUREMENTS CHANGE WITH CODES. (pictures from searches on MSN.com)

If you have an elderly parent or someone using a walker or a wheelchair, you may need to adjust the door frame size. The book states you should have easy access through at least 1 entry door, though preferably 2 for fire exits, and all doors along the accessible routes between kitchen, bedrooms, dining room, bathroom and any other rooms that are used on a daily basis.

Four main reasons people have a problem using doors:
*width -- too narrow for wheelchair and/or walker;
*landing -- floor space on either side of the door is too small for someone using a wheelchair or walker to be on & open the door;
*hardware -- a latch or lock is too hard to reach and operate, or hard to operate based on the limited dexterity of person's fingers;
*weight -- door or door closer/spring too strong to easily open.

**When it comes to the width of a door frame - you can of course open the width of the frame/cut out a whole new frame. There are 'swing clear hinges' which will enlarge the opening by 1 1/2" to 1 3/4". You can remove the 'door stops' (creates a stop for swinging doors) and then re-install them about 3" above the floor. This adds about 3/4" to the opening. Remove the entire door by taking out the pins from the hinges. If you think you will not re-install another door, you can then fill the holes putty or spackle and repaint/refinish.
**With landings, you may have to relocate walls or partitions, or just remove the door, or install an electronic door opener.
**Hardware: choices are latches, locks, thresholds, kickplates, vision panels, automatic door openers.
Use a latch that requires no fine gripping or strong twisting like a lever arm.
Locks: to see whether your locks can be used by an elderly parent, you can of course ask them to try or, if your the person is arthritic, you can use your closed fist to see if you can open it. Best replacement might be a level style lock,either changing the one you have or adding on an extension to the knob. Magnetic cards might work or remote control locks. Thresholds can be a hazard if there is about 1/2" change in height; so either remove them or make a ramp. Kickplates can reduce wear & tear on a door and should be thin so will not reduce the opening. A vision panel (glass panel in a door) can be used on a door that normally might stay closed. The glass panel will allow people to see on the other side if anyone is coming & reduce the possibility of someone getting knocked over by the door opening. If you want some type of automatic door opener, you can do your own by using a system of weights & pulleys or install one that uses a remote button and sensor.

There is more to come. Hope this starts people looking around at their parent's home and thinking.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Heart of a Caregiver.

The Healthy Living magazine from Sam's Club had an article on 'Heart health and the caregiver'. Caring for anyone, be it a child, spouse, or elderly parents, lets people's heart grow with the time involved, challenges, and responsibility. Not only does their heart grow in love with this caregiving but it also may grow in its experience with emotional and physical stress. So caregivers need to take care of their own hearts.

In this article. according to "The Family Caregivers Alliance", caregivers are more at risk for developing of cardiovascular syndromes such as high blood pressure or heart disease and women who care for spouses are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and high levels of cholesterol. I looked around their site to find some of this information, I could not BUT there is a lot of information here - so it probably is there but just takes awhile to see it. What this site does mention is that caregivers tend to have more clinical depression than others. Plus they take more prescription medication, like for anxiety & depression, than their peers.

You, as a caregiver, need to make sure you are in the best physical shape you can be in. I know I felt stress between taking care of Will and wanting to have time with my other guys and making sure mom was OK and had what she needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a variety of topics for women to help them stay healthy. The Sam's Club magazine highlights some of their advice for the folks you take care of:

* Be informed -- learn about your family member's condition and needs. Talk to their doctors/healthcare providers. Check your local housing and health services. That way you can make good decisions.
* Get support -- the Red Cross, local hospitals, or non-profits may have support groups or have classes to stay to be informed.
* Be an advocate -- learn your legal rights. Check the Americans with Disabilities Act & the Family Medical Leave Act. Keep a documented history of medical issues so other family members and any other caregivers know your loved one's needs.
* Be empowering -- celebrate your loved one's accomplishments and milestones. Focus on positive things.

MOST OF ALL:

* Take care of yourself -- be reasonable with your own expectations. Set time for yourself and take breaks. (picture from Caregiver Alliance)

Popular Posts

4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload

ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink

Ranting

You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

Post Pictures

All pictures, unless otherwise identified, are from 'Clipart'.
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