Nexium, a popular drug used to treat heartburn, shows an association with dementia. The word "association" is important because although the drug has been associated with dementia, whether or not drugs like Nexium actually cause dementia remains to be determined. The study which found the apparent association is an observational study. This means it is not a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Therefore it can only suggest a linkage and not actually prove that PPIs cause dementia.
The German study published in the medical journal JAMA Neurology found that seniors who regularly took proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid were 44% more likely to end up with dementia. Proton-pump inhibitors, commonly used to decrease acid in the stomach, are used by more than 15 million people, according to NPR.
The study followed more than 73,000 elderly participants to track their use of the drug class and incidence of dementia, so it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Prilosec is made by Procter & Gamble, AstraZeneca makes Nexium, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals makes Prevacid.
Previous studies have shown that proton pump inhibitors as a drug class might also increase risk of heart disease and chronic kidney disease.
If you are a senior who is taking a proton pump inhibitor here is what you need to understand according to Shawn Bridley, a board certified geriatric pharmacist/ senior care pharmacist
Valentine’s Day is a day of love, gifts and spending time together. Although the focus of this holiday is often on romantic love, there is no reason it must be that way. You are free to show affection and appreciation for all the people in your life on V-Day, including your special senior. Take a look below to see how to spread Valentine’s Day joy – possibly with senior care at home.
Say it with flowers
Who can deny that flowers are a timeless way to show your devotion? A lovely floral arrangement can be even more meaningful to a homebound senior who may rarely get such gifts. In addition to classics like roses, consider sending their favorite blossom or one that reminds them of their childhood. Better yet, why not deliver a bouquet in person?
Sweet as candy
Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are available everywhere this time of year – at the grocery store, pharmacy, and even the gas station. While a sweet treat can brighten someone’s day, many seniors have diet restrictions due to a medical condition. Patients with heart disease often have to limit fat and salt, and diabetics can’t have too much sugar. Instead, consider sugar-free candies and confections to indulge without danger. Check with your loved one’s nutritionist or physician to get a list of approved treats.
Share an outing
Homebound seniors can often feel a little stir crazy – and you might too if you had to stare at the same four walls every day! Why not plan a field trip as a Valentine’s gift you both can enjoy? The excursion doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, it may be best to keep it short and simple. Some seniors tire more quickly, and health problems may mean a high level of activity are ill advised. Lunch out at a café, a movie outing or cultural event like an art show can be a refreshing break from daily routines.
Reminisce . . . or not
For some seniors, Valentine’s Day can be bittersweet. If your elder recently lost a spouse or partner, the holiday can make them sad. Some seniors may want to process their grief by looking at family albums, watching home movies and reminiscing. But others may find these feelings too painful to explore. Respect your senior’s preference and help them cope however they are most comfortable.
There’s no place like home . . . senior care at home
Home care is one of the most valuable gifts you can give your loved one. Having someone come over to assist with meals, clean the house and provide transportation can reduce stress on your senior. Setting up home care is an investment to keep your loved one healthy, safe and in their home where they prefer to be. It’s the gift that keeps on giving long after Valentine’s Day cards have been opened, chocolates eaten, and flowers have faded away. Offering senior home care demonstrates that you love them not just on certain holidays, but every single day of the year.
Check out our ELDER CARE BOXES! THESE MAKE GREAT GIFTS FOR YOUR SENIOR LOVED ONE DURING ANY HOLIDAY!
If your loved one needs help, look to the trained and compassionate staff at Care Dynamics Senior Care to help you make the best decisions about in-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.
in-home Senior care made simple.
You are likely to be reading this because you are thinking about home care services either for yourself or a loved one. Perhaps this is the first article you have clicked on, or you have been reading and reading and you are overwhelmed with the many choices of long term care and senior home care services. I want to help bring some clarity to an often overwhelming process. The purpose of this blog post is to provide an overview of the types of home care services available so you can understand the industry and be one step closer to making an informed decision.
When it comes to long term care there are a variety of options, including facility care, adult day care services, family caregivers and private home care. For the purpose of this blog post, I will be focusing on private senior home care.
What is Senior Home Care?
Senior home care is the provision of necessary support services that can range in hours from 1 hour to 24 hours a day. Senior home care services are often delivered in the comfort of home, making it a preferred care option for many. However, home care services can also be provided as supplemental care in Adult Family Care Homes and Assisted Living Facilities for those who require or desire one-on-one care.
Once you have decided on senior home care services your next step is determining the level of care required. Thankfully, Care Dynamics Senior Care can help you with the process and works in conjunction with your primary care physician (or care team) and family to best determine the type of care that is needed.
Companion Care and Homemaker Care
A popular, hands-off care option is homemaker companion care. This type of care provides hands off care, social interaction and support. Duties may include laundry, housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, playing games, and maintaining social calendar, to name a few.
Personal care provides assistance with what is known as “Activities of Daily Living (ADL)”. These are:
Live-in Care vs. Hourly Care
Live-in care provides around-the-clock supervision and companionship in the security and privacy of your own home. A key difference in live-in care versus hourly care is the continuity of care that it provides. You don’t have to worry about frequent changes in caregivers—having to get acquainted time and again.
Hourly care can be customized to fit your schedule and needs. Whether it’s one hour a day once a week, or 24 hours a day 7 days a week, hourly care provides the level of attention that you need.
Creating Your Care Plan
The process of creating the care plan that is right for you or your senior loved one is a collaborative effort. You will work closely with a Senior Care Coordinator to develop a plan that will keep your loved one safe and happy. At Care Dynamics Senior Care, we work with a team of care professionals to provide you with the best care at the most affordable price. If you have questions about senior home care services and creating a care plan that’s right for you, please contact Care Dynamics Senior Care.
Cary Carbonaro, financial planner and author of The Money Queen’s Guide, has two major pieces of advice for women in their sixties who are retiring or about to retire.
Carbonaro suggests that if you’re in your sixties, you should also re-evaluate your investments and consider reducing your risk by changing your mix of stocks and bonds. You need that money to last for your lifetime. View the video below for more tips from Cary Carbonaro.
One in three women die from heart disease and stroke each year. Roughly 55,000 more women than men die, annually, because of cardiovascular disease. 90% of all women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
Fortunately, the numbers can also be encouraging. 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education. Friday, Feb. 5 is National Go Red For Women Day. Reach for the bold color in your wardrobe and get a conversation started about heart health and continue to build on progress that has been made.
The American Heart Association has a tool on its website called Life's Simple Seven that is designed to help people make changes that could help save lives. They include: Manage Blood Pressure; Control Cholesterol; Reduce Blood Sugar; Get Active; Eat Better; Lose Weight; and Stop Smoking.
Is your diet "brain healthy?"
According to new research, there's a diet that could decrease the brain diseases that put seniors at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. It's called the MIND diet and is said to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's by as much as 53% depending on how closely the diet is adhered to. Here are some of the food items that are, and are not,"brain healthy" according to the MIND diet:
What's brain-healthy, what's not?The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups:”
Read the full article here.
Recommended vaccines for seniors.
Did you know that your elderly loved one is more likely to die from the flu or pneumonia than they are to die in a car accident?
Flu and pneumonia combined rank seventh on the list of leading causes of death among seniors 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The good news: decreasing your loved one's chances of contracting these—and other—preventable diseases is as simple as getting a shot (or two) in the arm. These vaccines may be necessary even if they were received as a child or in younger adulthood.
The CDC recommends the following vaccines for the elderly (Click to view most recent CDC Adult immunization recommendations):
It's important to check with your loved one's healthcare provider or pharmacist to make sure they are up-to-date on all of their suggested vaccinations. In the state of Florida, and several other states, a immunization certified pharmacist may be able to administer any of these vaccines, at a local pharmacy.
Fifty years ago, the average life expectancy in the United States was 65. Today, the life expectancy is over 70 for men and even higher for women, and the fastest growing group in the United States is persons over the age of 85. By the year 2040, it is estimated that there will be more than 1 million people in the United States reaching the age of 100. With longer life expectancy comes the need to plan not only for retirement, but for possible long-term health care. “Americans are living longer and the consequence is more people needing long term care,” Jessie Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance said.
When many people think about preparing for future healthcare, they automatically think of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, but those options aren’t always the best or even the most popular choice. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), 1.8 million individuals live in nursing homes. In comparison, the same source shows that 7.6 million individuals receive in-home care for terminal illnesses, long-term health issues, or permanent disabilities.
Long-term care insurance is an important investment, and a frequently misunderstood one. According to AALTCI research, half of all newly opened long-term care insurance policy claims paid for in-home care.
“Contrary to what most people think, the vast majority of long term care insurance pays for care in the home or in assisted living communities, not in skilled nursing homes,” Slome said. “Consider long term care insurance as nursing home avoidance protection.”
Currently, in-home care services cost anywhere from $14 to $28 per hour. However, the cost of long-term care is expected to increase in the next few decades. Thirty years from now, the annual cost will increase approximately 330 percent or around $300,000 per year, for in-home care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities will increase even more. Even with savings and investments, it can be difficult to prepare for such a high-cost situation, which is why long-term care insurance is a smart investment in the long run.
Some may not see the value of long-term care insurance because they see it as an expense rather than an investment. According to policyholders and industry experts, however, the cost of in-home care can ruin you financially if you are not prepared.
Hattie Hall, an in-home client of Care Dynamics Senior Care, said purchasing a long-term care insurance policy was the best financial decision she ever made. “I don't even want to think about the type of financial devastation it would have caused if I wouldn’t have had long-term care insurance,” Mitchell said. “I would be lost without it.”
The cost of a policy depends on many factors such as sex, age at application, health at application, the amount of coverage you want, and any discounts for which you qualify. AALTCI says that any buyer can purchase a good coverage plan for $1500 to $2690 per year. A couple in good health, both in their 60s, could get a combined coverage plan for just $1945 per year. Most plans have options to add more coverage over time.
Key Things to Consider When Purchasing Long Term Care Insurance
There are many options when deciding what type of long-term care insurance policy to purchase. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is most insurance companies will only cover the cost of in-home care when it is clear that the caregiver is helping with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are non-medical needs, and include basic routines such as bathing, eating and getting dressed. But what other factors play a role in the type of policy you choose? There are four main factors to consider:
The next thing to consider for your policy is the benefit period. For in-home care, the benefit period is anywhere from 3 to 5 years on average. The benefit period begins at the time that you claim your policy. Most insurance companies also offer a “pool of money” concept, in which you multiply your daily benefit amount by the number of days in your benefit period. For example, if you choose to receive $200 per day for five years (1,825 days) that comes out to $365,500. If you use the total $200 every day, then your period will last just the five years. However, if you only use $100 per day, it would double your benefit period, making it last 10 years. According to completelongtermcare.com, 91 percent of all people will have a claim that last 5 years or less, so most people can get what they need with a five-year benefit plan.
The third thing to consider is the elimination period. This is this waiting period from when a claim is made to when the policy pays out benefits. Most companies offer anything from zero-day (first day) coverage to a 365-day max, with exceptions in some states and special cases. Another option is a split elimination period, in which you have a 90-day period toward facility care and a zero-day period toward home care. This would be beneficial if a policyholder eventually ends up in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. It is important to know if the elimination period is counted by calendar days or by the number of days that a policyholder actually receives care. In the latter case, it may take longer to receive benefits.
The final factor to consider is inflation protection. There are four levels of inflation protection in long-term care insurance policies. The first is no protection, which is self explanatory. In this plan, the buyer should get as much daily protection as possible to make up for inflation costs. This plan is best for older buyers (over 80). The next level is the guarantee purchase option, in which there is either no up-front cost added, or a minimal charge. Every two to three years, the daily benefit can be increased with no additional underwriting. The cost of each new increase is based on the age of the insured, so this option is best for buyers in their 70s.
The next option is simple inflation, which adds 40 to 60 percent to the premium. Every year, it automatically increases the daily benefit by five percent. In about 20 years, the daily benefit will be doubled, making this a good option for buyers in their 60s. The final option is compound inflation. Compound inflation can double your premium, but it also adds five percent to the daily benefit, doubling it in 14.5 years. This is a good option for anyone under 60 years old. All inflation plans can also have additional features, optional riders, and exclusions, so it’s important for each buyer to examine his or her individual case and decide what works best.
Every state now also provides a partnership policy option. This is when private insurance companies partner with state Medicaid programs to cover individuals who have exhausted their long-term care insurance benefits. This is a good option for low-income individuals who want to protect their assets. However, check to be sure that Medicaid in your state will cover the cost of home care.
Given the number of available options and features listed above, it’s easy to see how with a bit of research, a person can find the right long-term care insurance policy for their unique needs and situation. It is important for buyers to understand their policies to ensure that insurance companies fulfill their promises. While the value of long-term care insurance is proven, policies can be difficult to decipher and the options for coverage can be overwhelming. The help of a professional, such as a Care Dynamics Senior Care Advisor, can be crucial to getting the most out of your policy.
Care Dynamics’ team of professionals can help educate seniors on long-term care insurance policies, and help them manage and analyze existing policies. Care Dynamics Senior Care acts as an advocate – negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of seniors and policyholders.
“They are professionals. You just know you’re in good hands with them,” Hall said of Care Dynamics Senior Care. “With a company like Care Dynamics, I don’t really have to worry about the claims process or anything else. I just get to focus on my own health and on getting well.”
Though the average life span continues to increase year after year, one fact remains: everyone is aging. At some point, even the healthiest seniors will likely begin to have trouble performing activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are routine tasks that include getting in and out of bed, bathing, getting dressed, and preparing meals. As daily life becomes more difficult, an aging senior should ask, “What’s my plan?”
Adult children and families of seniors should look out for red flags that may indicate that their loved one needs help. Some common signs are social isolation, poor nutrition, trouble with ADLs, and creating (or failing to avoid) home safety hazards (i.e. a curling iron left on next to curtains, stove eyes left on, etc). Children should also ask themselves what their long-term plans are for their aging parents. When difficulty with ADLs occurs due to aging, there are a few common responses to consider.
One common response is having an aging loved one move in with children or other relatives. According to the American Community Survey, 9 percent of seniors live in a household headed by their relatives. In 2010, there were 7.1 million multi-generational households in the United States – and that number continues to grow. This option happens frequently because it can be more financially feasible for an aging person. Some also see it as a good bonding exercise for their family.
However, more and more adult children are becoming a part of the “sandwich generation”– middle-aged adults who support an aging parent as well as grown children. Adding a senior to a household often creates a financial burden on the family. It also adds new family dynamics – for example, it may be hard for an aging mother to live with her daughter, who is a mother herself. Given that care needs of seniors frequently increase over time, resources and time of the adult child can easily become exhausted.
If a senior wants to “age in place” and remain in his or her home, hiring an in-home caregiver can be a great option. Professional Caregivers are trained to provide help with ADLs, and can also serve as a companion for seniors living alone. Unfortunately, the costs of an in-home caregiver can add up. The national average cost for in-home care starts at around $18 per hour, according to Care Scout. Many seniors may only need help for a few hours per day, but some need around the clock care. Seniors and their families should think about how to cover the cost of a caregiver if the need arises. Options like long-term care insurance and Veterans’ pension programs can help pay for in-home care needs, needs which would otherwise quickly exhaust a senior’s savings.
An alternative to having an in-home caregiver is an assisted-living community. There are many different styles of these residential-type communities, like apartments or single rooms. Adult family care homes and assisted living facilities provide more personal care than a caregiver or a retirement community, but not round-the-clock medical care like a nursing home. In these facilities, there is usually 24-hour staff and help available, but independence is encouraged. Dining areas and recreational opportunities allow seniors to have social interaction with others. While assisted living is a great option for seniors needing help with ADLs, it can be impractical due to high costs. The national median cost of a one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility is $42,000, according to the 2014 Cost of Care Survey. There are also limited resources to help cover these costs; Medicare does not apply to assisted-living facilities, and Medicaid may only provide a limited benefit. Also, seniors may be reluctant to leave their home and move to a new environment.
A final response to aging is simply living alone for as long as possible. The Administration on Aging found that around 29 percent of elderly adults lived alone in 2010, and almost half of women over 75 lived alone. While living alone at home is a popular choice among seniors, it may not be the smartest. Nearly 12 percent of seniors over 65 need assistance with long-term care to perform ADLs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation . Remaining in one’s home without assistance may provide a sense of independence, but the dangers it presents can outweigh the advantages.
With each passing year, physical and mental deterioration can make even one’s home an unsafe place. The stairs that were not a problem at 65 can become a hazard at 80. Slippery floors can cause more falls as one continues to age. Being isolated can cause loneliness, which may begin to take a toll on a senior’s physical health. Living with loneliness increases the odds of death by 45 percent, according to a study published by the Public Library of Science. Unfortunately, many seniors live alone for financial reasons, such as a low income or limited savings.
Aging is inevitable, which means planning for it is not only a smart decision, but also a common sense decision. Seniors and their children can work together to decide the easiest, best and most financially smart way for them to receive help with ADLs. Having a set plan can help seniors and families avoid last-minute decisions, and will provide a smooth transition for everyone.
Dementia is a catch all term for the many diseases that cause memory loss, behavioral problems and cognitive decline in seniors due to physical changes in the brain. Of these different diseases, Alzheimer’s is the most widely recognized and currently affects 5.4 million Americans – accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Alzheimer's is frequently diagnosed once other forms of dementia have been ruled out, as only an autopsy can definitively prove its presence.
Currently there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s – however, research on developing a cure continues. Current treatments aim to temporarily slow down the worsening effects of the disease, and to improve the quality of life for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
It is important to remember that Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys brain cells and that patients have little to no control over their behavior. A healthy adult brain has 100 million nerve cells, or neurons, with long branching extensions connected to each other at 100 trillion points. These connections are called synapses, and information flows through them in tiny chemical pulses. Different patterns and strengths of signals move constantly through the brain’s circuits, creating the basis of memories, thoughts and skills. In Alzheimer’s disease, this transfer of information at the synapses begins to fail, the number of synapses declines and eventually the cells die. Brains with advanced Alzheimer’s show dramatic shrinkage from cell loss.
At Care Dynamics we know that extra care, patience, understanding and specialized knowledge is needed when looking after clients who suffer from Alzheimer’s – and we use these areas of expertise to provide a more excellent care experience for our patients.