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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Experts optimistic about solving puzzle of Alzheimer's

Research into Alzheimer's disease has reached a point of significant potential, even as the disease's looming impact on society grows more and more dire, experts say.
Some leading scientists, in fact, worry that we may not be doing enough to press forward with key advances and new insights into Alzheimer's, the most common type of dementia among older people.
An estimated 5.3 million U.S. residents have the disease, which results from the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain and leads to memory loss, impaired judgment, wandering and, as it progresses, to the inability to perform such normal daily functions as dressing, bathing and eating.
As the population ages, the number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to spike dramatically. Today, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every 70 seconds, according to the Alzheimer's Association -- a number expected to rise to once every 33 seconds in a few decades.

Learn more...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Barefoot seniors more likely to fall

A pair of recently released studies examines potential causes of falls. One study finds seniors' footwear to be a factor, while another looks at ways to predict falls among Parkinson's patients.

Researchers from the Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research have found that seniors who go barefoot or wear only socks around the home are at greater risk for falls.

Read full article...

Friday, June 25, 2010

VA makes filing claims easier and faster

From: Rita Files, Veteran Service Representative

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is reducing the paperwork and expediting the process for veterans seeking compensation for disabilities related to their military service."These reductions in paperwork, along with other improvements to simplify and speed the claims process, symbolize changes underway to make VA more responsive to veterans and their families," VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said.

Disability compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to a Veteran for disabilities that are a result of - or made worse by - injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training.

Pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans with limited income, and who are permanently and totally disabled or age 65 or older. Read full article...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A cell phone that does just about everything!

ActiveCare Inc. last week announced the availability of its new ActiveOne PAL (Personal Assistance Link) handset. The handset, also a cellular telephone, has one-button service where, when activated, a live operator greets each caller by name, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ActiveCare services range from GPS location and fall detection, by the built-in accelerometer, to turn-by-turn directions and simple phone connections. The device can also receive daily activity and medication reminders

"For a small portion of the cost of in-home care or assisted living facilities, seniors using ActiveCare can receive similar practical services, allowing them to have the confidence to continue living in the homes they love, knowing that they can get help whenever and wherever they need it," said James Dalton, Chairman and CEO of ActiveCare.

Features of the ActiveCare CareCenter line of services include:

■One Button CareSpecialist – The ActiveCare CareCenter maintains general health records on all members and recognizes member special needs. Reminder or check-in calls can be scheduled to keep seniors on track with daily activities, meals or medicines while providing reassurance to caregivers.

■GPS location identification – The ActiveCare PAL handset’s built-in Global Positioning System knows member locations at all times. When connected to the CareCenter, users can get turn-by-turn directions, roadside assistance or location identification to provide for a loved one, caregiver or emergency services, if needed.

■Fall Detection – The ActiveCare PAL handset’s built-in accelerometer notifies the CareCenter when it detects a fall. An ActiveCare CareSpecialist communicates with the member to identify proper next steps, ranging from false alarms or minor stumbles to necessary emergency services.

■Phone Book and Call Transfer – The ActiveCare CareSpecialists keep member’s phone books on file for anytime access. A user simply pushes a button, is greeted by name and can be connected to their grandchild, doctor, friend or relative. Members can also be connected to their local pharmacy, transportation service, restaurant or any place of business or person they choose.

■GPS "virtual fence" – For memory-impaired members, caregivers can establish a virtual fence, ranging from a few blocks to a few miles, around a certain zone. Should the member go beyond the established zone, caregivers or contacts are alerted by a CareSpecialist for more information.

■Emergency Services – The CareSpecialists at the ActiveCare CareCenter are trained in the same manner as emergency 911 medical dispatchers and can stay on the line with callers while they wait for help to arrive. Additionally, with the on-file knowledge the CareCenter keeps on each member, CareSpecialists are easily able to provide medical history, conditions and/or medication information to emergency services, speeding care and reducing time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Fine Art Of Transparent Caregiving

by Gary Barg,Editor-in-Chief, Today's Caregiver

From a young age, my grandfather was a fiercely independent man. As a 17-year-old, he jumped off a Russian ship into the Baltimore harbor and became an American citizen as quickly as he could. At 35 years of age, he enlisted to fight in World War II. After the war, he moved to Miami and started a painting contracting company. He went to college after he retired and became president of the Miami Art League when many of his compatriots were enjoying a more restful retirement.

In 1995, he started to develop signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of the family from that point forward was to create a sense of what I call “transparent caregiving.” We constructed a world where he felt he was still in charge, but where he was also safe from harm.

Through our efforts, Gramps’ world became a stage, and we all happily took on our roles. The home health aide, who stayed with him and his wife, became his “personal assistant;” the adult day care center where he spent the day became “his job.” We wanted to make sure he kept his sense of independence for as long as possible. These were the days before “smart home” technology, so our oversight goals were a lot more challenging than they would be today.

Thankfully, home safety technologies have come a long way since then. As well as using the traditional call buttons, you can discreetly monitor the safety of your loved one from your mobile phone. Sensors can be placed in the home to help him or her stay independent, yet allow you to know if your loved one fell in the bathroom, hasn’t gotten out of bed all day or opened the refrigerator for the past two days.
These new technologies can balance safety with independence, maintaining dignity and self-reliance for your loved one while providing peace of mind for everyone involved. As my family found out years ago, a little honest playacting goes a long way; yet I am gratified that technology has made the art of transparent caregiving easier than it has ever been. And that deserves a standing ovation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Decade Of Alzheimer's Devastating Impact

In 1999, Tom DeBaggio was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. He was 57. Soon after the diagnosis, he began talking with NPR about his illness. He wanted to document his decline, to break through what he called the "shame and silence" of Alzheimer's.

NPR's Noah Adams started the visits with Tom, his wife, Joyce, and his son, Francesco, at DeBaggio's Herb Farm and Nursery in Chantilly, Va.

"I still talk, I still stand up on both feet, I still look the same — maybe they go out of here and say, 'Doesn't look like anything wrong with him.' And of course you don't see it," he said in 1999.

Over the course of a year, Tom DeBaggio described his growing confusion with language: the sudden, inexplicable tears. And the waves of anger that came with Alzheimer's.

Read full article...

Alzheimer's Study: evidence slim on preventive advice

A comprehensive analysis by an independent government panel has found that there is not enough scientific evidence to date to support the advice doctors currently give - such as exercising, doing crossword puzzles or eating a Mediterranean-style diet - for preventing or controlling symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

As rates of age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease have continued to rise in the U.S. - largely because Americans are living longer and the over-65 population has swelled to record highs - researchers have worked relentlessly to understand the causes of these mind-robbing diseases and to help prevent or slow their progression. To clarify the state of the current evidence and offer physicians clearer treatment guidelines, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in early 2009 commissioned a detailed analysis of existing studies, covering 165 papers published between 1984 and 2009. (See how to prevent illness at any age.)

Read full article...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aging: One-third of US adults plan to care for themselves

WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- One-third of U.S. adults plan to take care of themselves as they age but 90 percent expect the Internet and social networking to help, a survey indicates.

The online national survey of 1,020 U.S. adults -- 7 percent ages 18-29, 19 percent ages 30-40, 63 percent ages 41-64 and 9 percent age 65 and older -- was conducted by CommonHealth Action with the support of Betah Associates, Inc.

Sixteen percent say they are unprepared to provide for personal needs as they age, 47 percent say they are somewhat prepared, 27 percent say they are prepared to provide for their personal needs and 6 percent say they very prepared.

Outside of the 32 percent who anticipate taking care of themselves, 18 percent say they anticipate relying on spouse/partner for care; 21 percent say they plan to rely on children, friends or other relatives; 11 percent say they anticipate paying for professionals; and 4 percent say they don't think they will be able to afford any care.

Fifty-four percent say they are not confident at all that the federal government will support their needs, while 39 percent say they are somewhat confident.

Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed were women and 21 percent were male; 59 percent are married, 14 percent are divorced and 18 percent single. No further survey details were provided.

The full report is scheduled to be posted to the CHA Web site in August.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Help Celebrate 5th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15

Help the fight against elder abuse on Tuesday, June 15 with various partners throughout the country and celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEADD). The key objective of is to raise awareness of elder abuse (which encompasses neglect and mal- or mistreatment) throughout the world.

Learn more about elder abuse...

Monday, June 07, 2010

In celebration of the elderly Part III of a Part V series

The following is Part III in a series of V that will highlight extraordinary people and businesses that have made a positive impact on the elderly and the eldercare industry:

Bob DeMarco, founder & Editor Alzheimer’s Reading Room

Bob DeMarco learned about Alzheimer's the hard way--by observing it from the front row. Realizing quickly that being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is not a spectator sport…the Alzheimer’s Reading Room was born.

While reading, researching, and searching the Internet, he recognized there was a need for concise, high quality information that an Alzheimer's caregiver could relate to in their everyday life. He knew from first-hand experience that Alzheimer's caregivers are thrust into their role with little or no experience, training, or education about Alzheimer's disease. As a result, they are overwhelmed and many suffer from depression.

Prior to moving to Delray Beach, Florida to take on the full time caregiver role for his 93 year old mother Dotty, Bob was CEO of a software development and marketing company based in Reston, Va. Before then he had a string of successful accomplishments on Wall Street with Bearn Stearns, Daiwa Securities America, Spencer Trask and Salem Partners.

As he gained experience in caring for his mother, he started writing more about the success he and Dotty were having in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. He learned that the more he allowed her to do the more she could do. Additionally, he found that there really are practical solutions to the problems that face Alzheimer's caregivers each day. Bob also learned the great sense of accomplishment in being a caregiver. He realized that he was not alone, millions of families walk in his shoe each and every day.

As the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room which he started to keep track of the thousands of articles and many books he was reading about Alzheimer's disease and dementia; he has written more than 1,510 articles with close to 9,000 links on the Internet.

Articles written by Bob have been syndicated on Reuters, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner, Chicago Sun Times, Houston Chronicle, Livestrong, Cox News, and Palm Beach Post (to name a few).

Friday, June 04, 2010

Census Bureau Says Aging Baby Boomers Will Increase Dependency Ratio

The U.S. Census Bureau is reporting that the dependency ratio, or the number of people 65 and older to every 100 people of traditional working ages, is projected to climb rapidly from 22 in 2010 to 35 in 2030. After 2030, however, the ratio of the aging population to the working-age population (ages 20 to 64) will rise more slowly, to 37 in 2050. The higher this old-age dependency ratio, the greater the potential burden. The expected steep rise in the dependency ratio over the next two decades reflects the projected proportion of people 65 and older climbing from 13 percent to 19 percent of the total population over the period, with the percentage in the 20 to 64 age range falling from 60 percent to 55 percent. According to the report, minorities would comprise 42 percent of the 65 and older population in 2050, more than double the proportion they comprise today (20 percent). Likewise, among those 85 and older, 33 percent are projected to be minority in 2050, up from 15 percent in 2010.

"This rapid growth of the older population may present challenges in the next two decades," said Victoria Velkoff, assistant chief for estimates and projections for the Census Bureau’s Population Division. "It’s also noteworthy that those 85 and older — who often require additional caregiving and support — would increase from about 14 percent of the older population today to 21 percent in 2050."

The findings are contained in the report, "The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050," which presents information on how the age structure of the overall population and the composition of the older population in terms of age, sex, race and Hispanic origin are expected to change over the next four decades. The report provides an analysis of national population projections released in August 2008.

Cancer and Age: Why We May Face a Tradeoff Between Cancer Risk and Aging

It's long been clear that cancer is a disease of aging. While children and younger adults are of course afflicted by certain types of the disease, the vast majority of cases occur in people over 50. But from that simple observation, researchers are just beginning to tease out the intricate connections between the biological processes driving both the disease and the aging process. Though the research is in early days, they're discovering how the two may be linked, and even how the forces of evolution may have produced a tradeoff: the ability to protect against cancer at the expense of a faster aging.

Judith Campisi, a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Buck Institute for Age Research, sees the relationship two ways. First, she says, the same forces that damage our genes likely drive both cancer and aging. For example, oxidative stress, a type of DNA damage caused by free radicals and other molecules, has been associated with both processes, says Steven Austad, a biologist at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center. (Austad is also deputy director of research at the American Federation for Aging Research, which funds studies on aging and age-related diseases.) Any biological processes that protect against oxidative stress and other forms of DNA damage are "unequivocal good guys," says Campisi. "They protect against cancer, protect the genome, and protect longevity."

Read full article...

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