Welcome ...

All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Most Dangerous Room in the House?

By Paula Span

One of the first things occupational therapist Lois Glover noticed while scrutinizing the bathroom in Irwin Berch’s airy house in Burlingame, Calif., was the gouged wall.

Mr. Berch lived on his own and managed fairly well at 91. But as Ms. Glover put it, “As we get older, toilet seats get lower.” Mr. Berch had been holding onto the doorknob for support as he stood up from the toilet; sometimes, the door swung away and struck the wall.

A towel rack was coming loose, Ms. Glover observed. Mr. Berch confessed he had been using it to steady himself as he stepped in and out of the shower. Read the full article

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aphasia: Facts & Tips for Better Communication

By Jason Young, MS

Most people have not heard about aphasia, nor do they know the term until someone in their family or a friend acquires aphasia. Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Effective communication is crucial to comprehensive assessment of mental problems occurring in seniors. Learning more about aphasia can be an excellent way to improve ones skills in providing care.

Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain. It occurs most commonly from a stroke and particularly in older individuals. But brain injuries resulting in aphasia may also arise from head trauma, from brain tumors, or from infections.

The condition can be so severe as to make communication with the patient almost impossible, or it can be very mild. It may affect mainly a single aspect of language use, such as the ability to retrieve the names of objects, or the ability to put words together into sentences, or the ability to read. More commonly, however, multiple aspects of communication are impaired, while some channels remain accessible for a limited exchange of information. It is the job of the professional to determine the amount of function available in each of the channels for the comprehension of language, and to assess the possibility that treatment might enhance the use of the channels that are available.

Important for caregivers to keep in mind is the wide range of severity that aphasia can encompass. Some people are able to understand others with almost no problems while their speaking is most affected. Others experience the reverse scenario of interpreting speech being difficult while verbalization comes very easily.

First and foremost we must exercise patience in allowing the processing time needed by those affected with aphasia when communicating. We are often compelled to “fill in the blank” for the person who is having trouble completing a thought. Many times a greater amount of time must be dedicated to completing what would normally be a short discussion. We must also not be quick to “reword” what we are saying when the aphasic person is having trouble understanding us. Often times changing the wording only complicates things further. Restating your questions / statements rather than rewording them will often produce better results in communication.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Senior Housing and Long Term Care providers and advisors offering "Funding Solutions" programs all across the United States

By Chris Orestis

In reaction to the deepening economic crisis; "senior living" advisors and the companies that provide independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities and skilled nursing care have begun actively offering "Funding Solutions" programs to seniors and their families. Deep losses in the value of homes and investment portfolios, as well as the decline of long term care insurance companies, have had a very painful impact on people preparing to enter the stage of life where living at home alone is no longer a viable option. Making this move is difficult both emotionally and financially-and the difficulty has been made much greater over the last year.

What was once an area largely left up to the individual to figure out on their own, has now become a critical area for support and action by senior living companies and advisors. The range of financial services include: life insurance settlements, bridge loans, VA benefits, real estate programs, and other innovative ways to help people bridge possible financial gaps preventing them from accessing the housing and care that they most need.

With the economy continuing its downward climb for possibly years to come, it is important to see the kind of action being taken by the industry charged with caring for our nation's elderly to put information and financial tools into the hands of the people that need it most.
To learn more visit the Life Care Funding Group web site or call 888-670-7773

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Panel of Experts continues to grow

Aging with Grace is excited to announce the newest addition to our Ask an Expert panel. Chris Orestis, president and a principal with Life Care Funding Group, is an acknowledged national expert on insurance and long term care issues.

His Blog on senior living issues has become one of the more popular forums on the internet about the impact of the economy and politics on seniors and their housing and long term care needs. Learn more about senior funding alternatives and life settlements on the Life Care Funding Group web site.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Polypharmacy" the newest buzz word

Move over “aging in place” and make room for “poly-pharmacy” the newest buzz word/phrase in the senior services industry. Poly-pharmacy generally refers to the use of multiple medications by a patient often when they are not clinically warranted.

Hospitals nationwide have established requirements that a total identification of all medications taken by a patient be completed and analyzed before admission, and that all prescriptions be written by a hospitalist and fulfilled at a single pharmacy. A hospital discharge planning team is now mandated to review all medications with the patient before discharge to home.

To address this growing concern especially among the elderly and their families, Aging with Grace is offering the RxGuardian, a free service to help identify potential drug interactions, allergic reactions and possible drug efficacy. The following article highlights this growing problem…read more

Monday, May 18, 2009

Welcome Sheri L. Samotin...

Aging with Grace is pleased to announce a new addition to our panel of experts. Sheri L. Samotin, President of LifeBridge Solutions. With more than 25 years of business and management experience LifeBridge Solutions provides the necessary expertise and skills to help people with Insurance claims advocacy and daily money management. Learn more

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If It’s Friday… It Must Be Time to DENY That Claim!

by Sheri Samotin

I can’t be sure, but after many years of fighting on behalf of patients to get insurance claims processed correctly, I’m convinced that something special happens on Friday afternoons in claims processing departments. Let’s call it the “clean desk rule”; maybe claims processers can’t go home for the weekend until they clean their desks. And, what’s the easiest way to do that? Well, how about pretending those claims don’t exist at all! Sweep them right into the virtual recycle bin, and start fresh on Monday morning. Seriously, the number of times I’ve been told that a claim that was submitted electronically for an established patient was “not received” is remarkable, so my theory can’t be all wrong. Or, if that tactic was used last time, maybe this time they’ll try to say that the provider is “out of network”. Sound familiar? You’ll be unhappy to know that you’re not alone. Read the full article

Thursday, May 07, 2009

HBO series on Alzheimer's disease and those whose lives it touches

HBO: Documentaries: The Alzheimer's Project: Watch the Films: The Memory Loss Tapes

Posted using ShareThis

Does the Buck Stop Here? If your parents’ money is disappearing, you need to intervene.

By Patricia Grace

Often, an Aging with Grace eldercare specialist will be asked, “If I sign the monthly agreement for my parents’ assisted living community, will I be responsible if they run out of money?” The answer is no. Debt is nontransferable from your parents to you, even if you are the designated power of attorney. The exception would be if you cosigned a bank loan, auto loan, or something similar that would list you as co-debtor.

Speaking with parents about their finances often makes us uncomfortable. I was raised in a family where money was never discussed in front of the kids. Let’s face it: many of us don’t want to engage in the money conversation with our spouse, let alone our dad! However uncomfortable the subject might be, it is necessary.

Reckless use of credit cards, unpaid bills, and large purchases that are completely inappropriate for an elder’s lifestyle can be confirmation of escalating dementia. Isolation can lead to excessive TV watching and channel surfing that allows an older person to find many different shopping channels and infomercials. You might discover evidence of large contributions to TV ministries and charities. Out of loneliness, a person finds inclusion and can be drawn in by the need to be part of a “family” or community that is doing good works. Perhaps they see their name on the donor list that crawls across the bottom of the television screen, or they receive personalized thank-you letters and donor gifts. All of this encourages them to give more. They may order gadgets and gifts because this provides them with the opportunity to chat with the call center attendant and the UPS delivery man.

If this is happening with your elderly loved one, it might be an indication that they need more social interaction from family or additional social activities that can be provided by adult day care or a senior center program.

As caregivers, we must recognize that our role extends beyond making sure our loved one is physically safe. It also includes helping to ensure their financial safety.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Aging with Grace introduces…Ask the Expert

As the solution to elder caregiver stress - Aging with Grace is reaching out to other “experts” in the vast field of senior care and caregiver services to provide our members with the opportunity to ask specific questions to our panel of experts. We are “kicking off” the program by introducing Jason Young, MS, hospital based clinician for cognitive impairments & geriatric-psychiatric disorders at The Lifespring Center at Hillside Hospital, Pulaski, TN. Through his ability to effectively communicate with families Jason is able to educate them about the growing problem of misdiagnosing common psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety for dementia.

Ask An Expert : Should my loved one be placed on an antidepressant as has been recommended by their physician?

By Jason Young, MS

The subject matter of this blog post is being produced in recognition of “National Anxiety And Depression Awareness Week” which is commemorated on May 3rd – 9th, 2009. I feel that addressing the use of antidepressants would be a great way to help families who have ever contemplated the appropriateness of such medications for their loved ones.

There are so many things that can be discussed in reference to psychotropic medications. I am going to focus on questions that you, as family members, can ask yourself in deciding if antidepressant medication therapy is the right choice for your loved one. Hopefully after reading this article, you will have the information available to assist that doctor and / or facility in making the best determination. Read the full article

Monday, May 04, 2009

Is Alzheimer's a Memory Disability?

By Laura Bramley

I wanted to get a read from people, some input, perhaps even a reality check...
I think that Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia ought to be thought of as a memory disability, a disability of memory. To be sure, it's a little different than your typical disability such as paralysis, missing limbs and the like, but there was a time, not so long ago, that having such a disability meant that one resigned oneself to a life behind closed doors, not being able to go anywhere, completely dependent upon caregivers for everything. That's where we are at with dementia right now. We are at the stage where people in wheelchairs were when they had no ramps to get on the sidewalk from the street, where there were no lifts into the bus and when there were no ramps to get into buildings and no open door buttons. Read the full article...

Search This Blog

Blog Archive

Helpful Resources

Low Vision Therapy Services

Children of Aging Parents (CAPS)

Well Spouse Association

U.S. Administration on Aging


Nursing Home Compare

Senior Safety Online

Mature Market Institute

Connections for Women

50Plus Realtor

Alzheimer's Speaks

Official VA Website