Caregiver News Roundup Sunday April 25, 2010
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday March 28, 2010
Health Reform Includes a New Long Term Care Program – The new health reform law includes the CLASS Act, a new long term care insurance program administered by the federal government. The program would be available for working adults to purchase and would cover many traditional long term care services plus respite care, transportation, home remodeling and assistive technologies.
What Is in the Health Reform Bill – The new health reform law will make changes to our current system including expanding coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, providing new consumer protections for the insured and closing the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole."
Memory Can Fade Quickly Even Before Alzheimer’s Disease – Patients with mild cognitive impairment, the stage before Alzheimer’s disease, lose their memory twice as fast as people not suffering any impairment. Once Alzheimer’s sets in, memory loss increases to four times as fast as people not suffering from the disease.
Study Identifies Which Diseases Are Most Likely to Put Seniors in Medicare "Donut Hole" – A new UCLA study has found that seniors suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes and dementia are the ones most likely to hit the Medicare Prescription Drug "Donut Hole."
Rheumatoid Arthritis Is on Rise in American Women – A new study published in the March issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism has found that rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise with American women, especially white women. The study found that the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in men had leveled off but was continuing to rise by 2.5% per year with women.
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday March 14, 2010
Some Older Patient’s Treated in Emergency Room’s Are Getting Wrong Medications – A new study has found that it is common for patients 65 and older treated in Emergency Rooms to receive incorrect medications.
New Alzheimer’s Test Offers Opportunity for Early Detection – The Computerize Self Test (CST) is a new and simple test for medical professionals to use in identifying Alzheimer’s disease. New research has found that early detection of Alzheimer’s is important in treating the disease so CST raises the possibility of more effective therapies.
Mediators Focus on Elder Issues – Mediators have been used for years to avoid court appearances in divorces and other disputes. Now they are becoming a popular way to deal with family disputes over eldercare.
Numbers of Years a Person Smokes Is Key Factor in Lowering the Risks of Parkinson’s – A number of studies have shown that smokers are less likely to contract Parkinson’s disease. A new study has found that the key factor in lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease is the number of years a person has smoked rather than how much they smoked. An important note – smoking does not eliminate your risk of getting Parkinson’s and has other serious health impacts.
Deciding on the Right Care for Elderly Parents – Finding the correct care solution for parents with declining health is difficult. Finances, the patient’s needs and the person’s personality will all come into play when deciding whether or not to care for the parent at home or move them to a facility.
Stress and Isolation Are Major Problems for Caregivers – A new article in the Atlantic Monthly highlights the stress and isolation people caring for family members/loved ones face and discusses the lack of a strong support infrastructure for caregivers.
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday February 28, 2010
Brain Images Suggest Alzheimer's Drug Is Working – New image technology suggests that Bapineuzumab, a new Alzheimer’s drug, is working. Studies show the drug reduces clumps of plaque in the brain by 25% which is important because plaque is an underlying cause of Alzheimer’s.
Ibuprofen May Reduce Parkinson's Risk – A new study from Harvard University has found that taking Ibuprofen may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The research showed that people who took three or more Ibuprofen tablets a week had a 40 percent lower risk of contracting the illness than those who didn't take it.
Video Games May Help Battle Depression in Seniors – A new study has found that “exergames,” video games that combine game playing with exercise, can help improving the symptoms of subsyndromal depression (SSD).
Rapid Image Analysis Method Helps Diagnose Alzheimer's Disease – A study from Finland has found that MRIs of the brain can be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s quickly. Up until this study, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has been done by review of the symptoms without the aide of brain images.
Cell Phone Use May Protect Seniors from Alzheimer’s Disease? Interesting New Research
Kathy N. Johnson, PhD, CMC is a Certified Care Manager and the Co-Founder of Home Care Assistance, Inc. She holds a Doctorate in Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Kathy is committed to serving the needs of seniors nationwide.
Did you ever think that talking on your cell phone could actually be good for you, even help to protect or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s? Recently the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published an article about a study done by University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). In this study researchers found that exposing electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones, to older Alzheimer’s mice actually helped to erase Alzheimer’s effects and prevented Alzheimer’s from young mice.
In older mice the electromagnetic waves erased brain deposits of harmful protein beta- amyloid and in the younger mice the waves prevented the build of this protein completely. The accumulation and build-up of protein beta- amyloid on the brain is the signature of the Alzheimer’s disease. Many treatments for the Alzheimer’s disease target beta-ayloid.
This study consisted of 96 mice, some that were genetically altered to develop memory problems that imitate the Alzheimer’s disease as they get older and some without any genetic predisposition. All of the mice were exposed to electromagnetic waves from cell phones for two 1 hour periods each day for seven to nine months. All of the mice cages were arranged to be centrally located around an antenna generating cell phone signals.
The effects of the young mice that had no signs of memory impairment and were genetically altered with the Alzheimer’s disease had their cognitive ability protected. They performed just as well as the mice without dementia on memory and thinking tests and skills.
When the older mice with Alzheimer’s that had already shown signs of memory loss were exposed to the electromagnetic waves their memory impairment disappeared. Even normal mice after several months showed their memory was performing at above normal levels.
Though the effects did take months to acquire, it can be suggested that in humans a similar effects could be achieved aster years of cell phone electromagnetic wave exposure. This could be a drug free and non- invasive way to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s in humans.
“If we can determine the best set of electromagnetic parameters to effectively prevent beta-amyloid aggregation and remove pre-existing beta amyloid deposits from the brain, this technology could be quickly translated to human benefit against AD” said USF’s Chuanhai Cao, PhD, the other major study author. “Since production and aggregation of ß-amyloid occurs in traumatic brain injury, particularly in soldiers during war, the therapeutic impact of our findings may extend beyond Alzheimer’s disease.”
During the period in which mice were exposed to the cell phone waves there was a slight increase in brain temperature, but this only occurred after months of exposure. Researchers suggest that the increase in brain temperature contributes to the removal of the protein beta-amyloid by causing brain cell to release. As well as the increase brain temperature increases blood flow and therefore increased energy in the brain. Therefore the results explain why the normal mice have above normal level memory and skills tests.
This study suggests that cell phone electromagnetic waves are not harmful at all to the human brain, but in fact are beneficial in many ways. Though there is still speculation on whether electromagnetic waves can cause brain cancer. Some other researches argue that after 10 years of cell phone use that chance of someone having a brain tumor doubles. However, other argues that there is less than a one percent chance that will ever happen.
Researchers have concluded that there was no evidence of abnormal growth in any of the mice studied with their brain or other organs.
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday February 14, 2010
Study Finds Working Caregivers Are More Likely to Have Health Issues
Being a caregiver is an incredibly stressful experience and a new study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute has some startling conclusions about its impact. The report examined employees serving as caregivers and found that they are more likely to suffer from health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and depression than their co-workers.
Some of the key findings in the study include:
- Caregivers have health costs which are 8% higher than people who are not caregivers and cost employers $13.4 billion a year.
- Employees serving as caregivers were more likely to report poor health than their co-workers. For example, 17% of female employees ages 50 and older who were caregivers reported fair or poor health compared to 9% of non-caregivers.
- Employed caregivers find it difficult to take care of their own health care needs and are less likely to get preventive care such as mammograms, annual physicals and preventive health screenings.
Caregiver News for Sunday January 31, 2010
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday January 17, 2010
Innovative Products for Aging Seniors and their Caregivers (Part 1 of a 3 Part series)
A broad range of innovations for seniors were debuted at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show(CES) in Las Vegas, from automatic fall detection devices and brain exercise software to iPhone applications and new health websites. Without question, cutting edge technology for seniors is emerging quickly and becoming more user-friendly.
This being my first time at CES, I came away amazed and overwhelmed after 3 days of walking through 3 major exhibit halls that each seemed larger than football stadiums. With over 2,500 exhibitors and over 125,000 attendees, this was a candy store moment for the techie in all of us.
This conference was so vast that I am addressing it in 3 parts beginning with this post. Part 2 of this series will address lifestyle technologies for boomers and seniors and in Part 3, I will write about the Silver Summit, a conference on aging and technology that took place during CES.
Since eCare Diary is dedicated to seniors and caregivers, I will focus this review on new technologies relevant to managing care for aging loved ones.
1) Wellcore’s new Personal Emergency Response System is a new lightweight, wearable, and wireless clip-on device that monitors movement, especially a fall. If your parent or loved one falls, an email or SMS text message will alert you immediately without their having to push a button triggering the added step of an operator making a phone call. The base unit with one clip-on device retails for $199 along with a monthly service fee of $49. An additional clip-on is $99. The product will be available for purchase in March. For information, visit www.wellcore.com.
Healthcare Reform Helps Pay for Long Term Care
Assistance to help people pay for the costs of long term care has been included in both the House and Senate healthcare reform packages. This bill, known as the CLASS Act, establishes a voluntary, affordable government long term care insurance program.
The coverage is designed to keep people in their own houses and out of institutions like nursing homes whenever possible. Some of the services covered under the CLASS Act include home care, respite care, home modifications, transportation, and assistive technologies.
The premiums will work in a similar manner to life insurance and will vary based on age at the time of purchase. They are expected to increase periodically with age.
In order to qualify for benefits, an individual is required to be 18 years old or older and have paid monthly premiums for at least 5 years. In order to receive coverage, a person must:
- Be unable to perform two or more activities of daily living (ADL) e.g. eating, bathing, dressing, transferring.
- Have a cognitive disability that requires supervision or hands-on assistance such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis or traumatic brain injury.
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday January 3, 2010
Senate Passes Healthcare Reform Bill – The US Senate passed a healthcare reform bill on Christmas Eve. The House of Representatives passed a bill in November. The two bills will be merged and a final vote is expected by late January.
Alzheimer’s May Lessen the Risk of Getting Cancer – A new study found that people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s are 69 percent less likely to get cancer than people not suffering from the disease.
Nursing Shortage Is A Concern for Baby Boomers – The US is expected to face a nursing shortage just as the baby boom generation begins to retire. By 2025, the US will be facing a shortfall of 260,000 nurses.
Healthcare Will Need to Change as the Nation Ages – A report from the Institute of Medicine says US is not prepared for the coming boom of senior citizens. A major concern is a lack of medical professionals, such as geriatricians, to treat aging conditions.
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday December 20, 2009
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday December 13, 2009
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday December 6, 2009
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday November 29, 2009
A Message From the Founders: What We’re Thankful For
For this Thanksgiving holiday, we have so much to be thankful for.
We thank all of you, the community of eCare Diary caregivers, visitors and partners, who’ve helped make the site a success in such a short period of time. Our mission was to create a centralized place where caregivers could find help, information, and the support they need. John and I developed this site based on our own personal frustrations as caregivers with the hope that future caregivers would never have to go through what we did.
I am thrilled to report that in only 10 weeks since eCare Diary went live, the number of visitors and registered users more than exceeded our expectations. Response to the site has been amazing! We are overwhelmed by the emails offering thanks, support and terrific new ideas.
We are thankful for our experiences as caregivers. It wasn’t a role we expected or wanted. No one wants to watch their parents suffer through long term disease. However, while those were very difficult, sad times, that experience gave us a hard and fast education on long term care. We were exposed to information, resources and communities that lead to the creation of this site.
We are thankful for the loved ones in our lives more than ever. When you’ve suffered loss and death, you appreciate the people in your life in a whole new way. Around the holidays, John thinks about his parents a lot wishing that they were alive to have met our daughter, Avery. Their absence makes me more thankful than ever that my parents are still alive, and I appreciate them more profoundly.
We are thankful for our daughter Avery who just turned 19 months old. She has opened our hearts in ways we never expected. Giving birth to her reminded us of the preciousness and volatility of human life, interestingly similar to what we observe as caregivers.
We are thankful that eCare Diary is becoming a family affair. John’s sister, Polly Whitehorn, recently joined us as Director of Special Events and Outreach. Formerly of the Arthritis Foundation, Polly’s experience and networking has been invaluable in getting the word out about eCare Diary. Susan’s brother, Kevin Kim, has also joined eCare Diary as Web Designer. We are so fortunate to have his talent for developing clean, consumer-friendly designs; he is in the process of redesigning the site for eCare Diary 2.0 coming soon!
We are thankful for many new friends we’ve made and partnerships we’ve formed. Their generosity and assistance have helped propel eCare Diary. We thank and acknowledge them below.
We wish you a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!
Bill Walters, CEO of ALTHA (a hospital trade association), for featuring a 2 page story on eCare Diary in ALTHA’S quarterly newsletter
Denise Brown, creator of Caregiving.com (blog for caregivers), for inviting John to write a 3-part series on his caregiving experiences with his father
Howard Gleckman, author of Caring for Our Parents, for his long term care expertise
Margery Pabst, author of Enrich Your Caregiving Journey, for her caregiving expertise and articles
MarketWatch.com for inviting John to write “Obamacare: Why it’s Different This Time”
Chris Lombardi, of WomensVoicesForChange.org, for publishing my article “Sex in the Workplace: A Caregiver’s Story”
Jason Alba, Founder of JibberJobber.com (a relationship management website for professionals and entrepreneurs), for his advice, constant support, and plugs
Katherine Lewis, of CurrentMom.com (a blog for tech mom entrepreneurs), for publishing my story, “Becoming An Accidental Entrepreneur”
Karla Lightfoot and Stella Grizont, of LadiesWhoLaunch.com (women entrepreneurs website), for promoting the site and connecting me to an amazing community of female entrepreneurs
Jean Levin, founder of Caring From a Distance, for her advice, thoughts and insights.
Facebook Fans & Friends, your thumbs up and support encourage us all the time!
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday November 22, 2009
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday November 15, 2009
Medicare Prescription Drug Enrollment Begins - The annual enrollment period for the Medicare Prescription Drug program starts November 15 and ends December 31. Seniors are encouraged to shop around for the coverage that best fits their needs.
Caregiver Crunch Coming – The aging of the baby boomers, fewer family members and the increasing number of children not living near their parents is going to create a shortage of family caregivers in the near future.
New Law Prohibits Genetic Discrimination – A new law will prohibit employers from requesting genetic tests or considering genetic history in hiring, firings or promotions. The law also prevents health insurers from requiring genetic tests as a condition of coverage or to set premiums.
Lupus Drug Submitted to FDA for Approval – Experimental Lupus drug Benlysta has completed its first round of testing and is headed to the FDA for approval. If approved, the medicine could be available by late 2010.
Gene Mutation Is Linked to Parkinson’s Disease – A study in Natural Genetics has found that mutations of the alpha-synuclein gene and microtubule associated protein tau increase the risk of getting Parkinson’s disease.
Caregiver News for Sunday November 8, 2009
Healthcare Reform Passes House of Representatives – A bill to reform the US healthcare system passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 220-215. The bill includes a requirement that all people have health insurance, eliminates denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and provides a new regulatory structure for the health insurance industry.
Flu Facts for Patients for Dementia – The Alzheimer Foundation issued a list of tips for patients with dementia and the flu. One of the most important things is to look out for both Swine Flu and regular flu since both viruses will also be of concern this winter.
More Evidence That Alzheimer’s Is Hereditary – A Dutch study has found that about 60% of the risk on contracting the disease is based on genetics. A gene called apolipoprotein E is believed to be the cause. People with a variant called APOE e4 are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those without it.
Discovery of New Protein Offers Hope for Parkinson’s Patients – Scientists at Iowa State University have discovered the presence of protein kinase-C, a dopamine killer. In people suffering from Parkinson's Disease the brain cells producing dopamine die. It is hoped that knowing what causes these cells to die will lead to a cure.
It’s National Family Caregivers Month – President Obama has declared November Family Caregivers Month to recognize the extraordinary work of this group of people
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday November 1, 2009
Geriatric Care Managers: What They Are and How They Help
Today I attended a conference for professional geriatric care managers (GCMs) in New York City. I had an idea of who they are and what they do, but admittedly, wasn’t one hundred percent clear. Interestingly, I learned today that many people don’t know who they are or that their service even exists. Today I got my education and would like to share it with you.
Who & What
GCMs are professionals who conduct in-depth assessments of elderly clients to identify solutions and suggest a customized care plan. Their knowledge, experience and network can help families navigate the complex system of eldercare. They can assist with a wide range of topics:
Financing care (long term care insurance, Medicare, Medicaid)
Placement in care facilities (such as adult daycare, nursing homes, assisted living facilities)
Finding home care agencies
Home living space and design
GCMs can also serve as a third party when families are having trouble discussing care planning amongst themselves. They can guide the conversation and even help families through conflicts.
Caregiver News Roundup Sunday October 25, 2009
Swine Flu Emergency Declared – President Obama declared a swine flu emergency Saturday. This allows hospitals to move emergency services for swine flu into non-emergency room settings which will help speed treatment and protect non-infected patients.
Swine Flu Hits Children and Young Adults the Hardest – Of the 1,000 people who have died from swine flu, approximately 100 have been children. It is believe that swine flu is hitting this population harder because their immune systems have not been exposed to as many viruses as older people.
Sex in the Workplace: A Caregiver's Story
The David Letterman scandal has motivated me to share a painful story about sex in the workplace involving a caregiver and my grandfather. As my grandfather gets older (he’s 90 years old) and nearing the end of his life, forgiveness has been on my conscience.
My grandmother was young in her 50’s when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a degenerative disease that causes inflammation of tissues around the joints. Before it really debilitated her, I used to visit her after work and on the weekends to help. I’d run errands, take her for walks, give her baths, do her hair and put on her makeup. I did all of these things with great love and pleasure.
I am so grateful for these bonding moments with her because they are seared in my memory and my heart.
In retrospect, I wish I could have been her full-time caregiver when the disease got worse. She was living with my grandfather. Their 50 year marriage had very deep bonds, but was very bitter because of past jealousies, infidelities and separations. In spite of all this, they stayed together because that’s what people of their generation did.
Sunday Caregiver News Roundup
eCareDairy.com blog is starting a new feature today which is the Sunday Caregiver News Roundup. We will review important news stories from the previous week with a quick summary of the article and a link to it.
Swine Vaccine Shortage Predicted – The Centers for Disease Control is predicting a shortage of swine flu vaccine. Only 28-30 million doses will be available instead of the 40 million predicted over the summer. The cause is delays from vaccine manufacturers.
Argument About Swine Flu Vaccinations Continues – Concerns about the safety of the swine flu vaccine has fueled debate whether or not people should get a vaccination.
Study Says Surfing the Web Can Help Slow Dementia – A University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) study showed increased brain activity for seniors with dementia who spend at least one hour a day on the Internet. It appears that the old adage of use it or lose it is really true.