Monthly Archives: June 2011

Seniors Falling Is All Too Common

Do you remember your parents telling you to stand up straight, don’t slouch at the dinner table, balance a book on your head while walking? Did they also send you out to play at the first sign of light with a reminder to get yourself home by dinner? If so, you, like many in the Baby Boomer group is no stranger to realizing now why that advice was important and why we need to continue to impart the same to our children and grandchildren. Fitness and good posture are preventative measures to falling.

Every day hundreds of seniors over the age of 65 fall down and cannot get themselves up. They end up with serious or at least temporary injuries from these falls.

The main reason seniors fall is a loss of balance, changes and shifts in the body’s center of gravity and the loss of bone density and muscles happening at the same time make these ‘changes’ ones that need our full attention.

Falls can and do decrease mobility and many times cause seniors to reduce their activity. They may become less independent and less socially active. In essence, the fall changes their lifestyle. Compounding the problem is the fact that many seniors do not ‘share their fall’ with their doctor or family members because they fear losing their independence. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens, because they stifle the chance for rehabilitative care and/or supportive preventive measures. So in the long run they actually hasten the loss of their independence.

Read the FULL article here

Plan For The Worse…Live For The Best

Here is what I know – At 59 I’m healthier than either of my parents were at age 59. I have never smoked. I’m fairly active and exercise some but not overly. I eat fairly well, but not always. I drink socially but not in excess. So what are my odds of remaining healthy and being able to care for myself? Better, I’m sure than my parents but the fact remains that the odds of something happening to me beyond my control still exists. Any number of accidents could befall me. What then?

We Boomers don’t like to think or talk much about aging. For us, and many in our generation, the idea of needing long term care is down the road a ways.

We avoid discussing these issues for several reasons; most notably as discussed above is that of denial. Secondly, I think that we have come to expect that the government will take care of us through Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Unfortunately, we ignore the fact that these programs are not fail safe measures of obtaining care especially if we want to remain in our homes. Yes, it is likely some form of government benefits will be there but statistics and finances will make it more difficult for us to receive these benefits.

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What Is Home Health Care?

Simply stated it is the physical and mental supportive system and care services provided to those persons wishing to remain in their homes or assisted living apartments by a caregiver, caregiving agency, and/or assisted living environment when they can no longer perform (without help) the day-to-day activities of everyday living.

Today, many persons are opting for home care, and or home care assistance in assisted living environments as outpatient care has become the ‘norm’ for hospitals and insurance companies. Home care is appealing to many of us as we most often feel that our home is an extension of ourselves.  Receiving ‘in-home-health-care’ can be a great benefit to those recovering from surgery or other medical procedures that can limit their ability to easily take care of themselves, or maybe they just require a little extra help managing things as they grow older or maybe they are learning to live with a medical condition or disability. Whatever the scenario, I urge you to review and consider the questions below as this ‘issue’ nears closer to you and yours.

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Time To Stay Hydrated!

Heat waves are upon us and summer has yet to be officially announced so be sure to alert the seniors around you (as well as others) to stay hydrated! Dehydration is dangerous and specifically more so in the summer months when seniors are most vulnerable. Seniors often forget to drink enough fluids and now when the temperatures are soaring it is even more crucial to their good health to be well hydrated…

Dehydration impacts our senior population frequently because
· Those with dementia often ignore the body’s cue for thirst
· Chronic illness, such as diabetes, and taking certain medications are risk factors.
· Even those seniors in good health tend to underestimate how much water they need
· Seniors may be weak and/or tired and may not have the energy to get up and get a glass of water.
· Seniors many times suffer from incontinence and hence limit their water intake to prevent ‘accidents’

Dehydration may cause:
· Confusion, fatigue, fainting, and unconsciousness.
· Kidney, bladder and bowel problems
· Muscle cramping
· (Depending on illnesses and medications being taken) toxin build up

To stay hydrated in it is best to:
· Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
· Encourage seniors (and others) to keep a glass or bottle of water handy
· Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as they are high in water content.

Healthcare: Make Your Voice Heard

Several weeks ago I wrote a column in relation to some proposed changes to Healthcare in America and my thoughts regarding those changes. Low and behold others must have felt the same. I think we should all take another long hard look at this ‘healthcare proposal’ of Paul Ryan’s and all others that are presented and then we must be prepared to voice our approval or dislike – loudly!

I have said it before, the Boomers have a strong influence and lately with the mortgage fraud and financial manipulation of securitized investments, many of our contemporaries have seen their retirement funds dwindled to nothing or near to nothing. On top of all that some government leaders, such as Ryan, were thinking of causing those very same Boomer-Seniors to have less health support as they age.

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Getting The Most From Medicare Drug Plans

Thanks to Robin Smith for this informative article

While the majority of the healthcare delivery system is plagued by runaway costs and obtuse and arcane billing prac­tices, consumers often overlook aspects of their benefits that can actually save money, and possibly improve their health. All Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (aka “Part D”), include underutilized features that seniors who take multiple medica­tions may want to utilize. The first is medication manage­ment provided by the plan at no additional cost to the client. Details on this service, as practiced by individual plans, are in the membership booklet, or can be explained by calling cus­tomer service. Secondly, if the senior has a drug prescribed by the doctor which is not in (or has been removed from) the plan’s formulary, the senior does have avenues available to get the plan to cover the drug. Called “step therapy,” the patient’s doctor can write a letter to the plan, stating the rea­sons why the patient must receive the drug. Reasons can in­clude things like: all other drugs for the condition have been tried and failed, interaction with other drugs the client is tak­ing, etc. Once again, the membership book outlines how this benefit may be accessed.

Patients should always discuss whether or not they can afford the drug the doctor has prescribed, as cost is one of the main drivers of medication non-compliance. 78% of the drugs pre­scribed in the USA are now generics, although there is recent evidence that Big Pharma is fighting back by slowing the manufacturing of generics to create shortages. For seniors on multiple medications, consultations with pharmacists are free of charge. To prepare for a pharmacist consult, the FDA has a list of things the senior should bring. Seniors should always include non-prescription drugs on their lists, as drugs like Ty­lenol PM, with an active ingredient of Benadryl, can have very bad side effects when taken by the elderly.

When Medicare Open Enrollment comes around again, sen­iors can bring their medication list to Walgreens or CVS to determine the best PDP plan for them for 2012, free of charge