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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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Role Reversal - When Parents Resist

by Patricia Grace, National Senior Care Examiner, Examiner.com

Your parents are getting older. You see things slipping. The house is not as clean as it once was, your mother is increasingly forgetful, your father has lost weight,and you are concerned about their safety when they drive. So as a responsible child you bring up the subject. How do your parents react? They are angry. They feel like you are trying to tell them what to do. Maybe they feel like you want to move them out of their home and place them in a retirement facility.
Sometimes your mother complains about the burdens of caring for your father. Other times she tells you everything is fine. You spend as much time helping as possible, however it is never enough. You talk to your parents about retaining outside help, they resist and refuse. What do you do? What can you do?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who thinks of Alzheimer's in someone so young?

by Kathleen Fackelmann, USA TODAY

Patty Smith was a top sales consultant for BB&T bank in Washington, D.C., when suddenly, at age 49, her performance took a dive. She'd fumble for words. She'd forget appointments. She'd stop abruptly in mid-sentence, forgetting what she was about to say.
"I thought it was stress," Smith says. Her foggy thinking made selling bank services to corporate clients nearly impossible. She took the summer of 2005 off, hoping to regain her mental agility. By that fall, however, her brain fog hadn't lifted. Back at the office, Smith went from being a top producer to the bottom of the pack.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New York City tries to be a better place to grow old

by Anemona Hartocollis, writer New York Times

New York City has given pedestrians more time to cross at more than 400 intersections in an effort to make streets safer for older residents. The city has sent yellow school buses, filled not with children but with elderly people, on dozens of grocery store runs over the past seven months.

The city has allowed artists to use space and supplies in 10 senior centers in exchange for giving art lessons. And it is about to create two aging-improvement districts, parts of the city that will become safer and more accessible for older residents.

People live in New York because it is like no place else — pulsating with life, energy and a wealth of choices — but there is some recognition among city planners that it could be a kinder and gentler place in which to grow old.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

House calls may help frail elderly

Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News

From the back window of his rowhouse, Karl Schwengel can see the U.S. Capitol. But the 11 blocks might as well be so many miles, because he can barely walk across his bedroom, let alone go for a stroll.

Schwengel, 79, has congestive heart failure and arthritis. And though he lost 60 pounds during a recent hospital stay, he still weighs in at 260 pounds.

Last year, he was retaining so much fluid that his calves were "almost the size of basketballs," he says, and walking became nearly impossible. When he traveled to a clinic or the hospital for medical treatment — an ordeal in and of itself — he relied on neighbors and an unofficial godson to take him.

All that began to change about six months ago when a local community group put him in contact with the Medical House Call Program at Washington Hospital Center. Now a doctor or nurse practitioner visits him every month to check his vital signs and medications and work with him to improve his health. A physical therapist recently joined the Schwengel team, and now he's practicing using a walker at home. "The doctor says we’re going to work on one problem at a time," he says.

In this era of assembly-line appointments, when you're lucky to get 10 minutes of face time with a physician, the idea of doctors making house calls seems old fashioned. But for frail, elderly people with multiple health problems, bringing the medical establishment to the patient makes sense.

Because it's hard for these patients to get to the doctor, small problems languish and turn into larger ones. Eventually they land in the emergency room or hospital. They recover — but then, all too often, the cycle starts over again.

Home visits make financial sense as well, notes Jim Pyles, a Washington lawyer and member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians. "We found that you could afford to treat a patient for a whole year at home by avoiding just one hospitalization," he says.

Washington Hospital Center’s program, which started 11 years ago and serves roughly 600 patients, has reduced expected hospitalizations among participating patients by almost two thirds, says gerontologist George Taler, co-director of the program.
Now that program and similar ones may get their turn on a national stage.

The health care overhaul creates a three-year Medicare demonstration project to test the home visit concept on 10,000 of the sickest, most-expensive-to-treat Medicare enrollees. To be eligible for the project, called Independence at Home, patients must have multiple chronic conditions and be unable to perform normal daily activities like bathing and dressing. They must also have been hospitalized or needed other high- cost care in the last year.

Health care organizations that participate in the project won't receive any money up front. If they succeed in cutting treatment costs by 5 percent, improving health outcomes and getting positive patient reviews, the groups share in any further savings. The program is slated to begin by January 2012, but some supporters are pushing for a faster start.

Supporters say the project is a recognition of the increasing importance placed on growing old at home, rather than in institutions. "It will help expand these programs and acknowledge Medicare’s role in them," says Elinor Ginzler, a senior vice president at AARP.

But making a success of these program is no simple task. Although Medicare pays practitioners more for home visits than for clinic visits, it doesn't pay for time spent traveling or for coordinating patients' care.

Clinicians working for Chicago-based Home Physicians see just 10 or 11 patients a day, far fewer than the 30 or more patients an office-based doctor would typically see, says Craig Reiff, CEO of Home Physicians, a 15-year-old private company whose 60 clinicians — including primary care doctors, podiatrists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — serve 12,000 patients in Chicago and Baltimore.

To make the visits pay, Reiff says he has to schedule his clinicians' visits carefully. And he notes that they make calls in tight geographic areas: "It could be very difficult to make it work in rural areas," he says.

Practitioners have had no trouble reaching Karl Schwengel's home in Washington.

"They've done everything in the world for me," he says. With their help, he hopes to keep losing weight and learn to walk again. "There are so many things I want to do," he says. "I want to take my dog for a walk across the park."

Or maybe, to the Capitol.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Turn 70. Act Your Grandchild’s Age.

by Kate Zernike, The New York Times

Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday last week by playing at Radio City Music Hall and saying his new hero is B. B. King, still jamming in his 80s.

Ringo at 70: ‘I’m Not Hiding From It, You Know’ (July 6, 2010)
Robert Butler, Aging Expert, Is Dead at 83 (July 7, 2010) Joining Mr. Starr in his 70s next year will be the still-performing Bob Dylan (“May you stay forever young”) and Paul Simon (“How terribly strange to be 70”). Following soon after will be Roger Daltrey (“Hope I die before I get old”) and Mick Jagger, who is reported to have said, several grandchildren ago, “I’d rather be dead than singing ‘Satisfaction’ at 45.”


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The heat is on…

As Kenny Loggins would sing, the heat is on! And with the increased heat & humidity researchers caution that the elderly need protection from these extreme conditions.

In her most recent Examiner.com article, Patricia Grace, National Senior Care Examiner,writes why the heat and the elderly are not always a good combo.


Monday, July 05, 2010

"July 4, 1776 - Nothing of importance this day.”

- Diary of King George III of England

Little did he know…

It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities of the 4th of July – backyard barbeques, a mini-vacation, time with family and friends … but let’s not forget what we’re celebrating.

On July 4, 1776, a mixed group of mostly soft-spoken, hard-working men signed the Declaration of Independence. It was bold, it was rebellious, and it was treason. At the time, those 56 men were subjects of King George, and they knew that signing that Declaration could cost them their lives. But they felt so strongly that their America should be free, they took that risk.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
- John Adams, 1776

Let’s not forget this beautifully-crafted document, the bold courage it took to sign it and the freedoms we now enjoy because of it.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Physical Activity Levels Linked to Cognitive Impairment - in Primary Care, Exercise & Fitness from MedPage Today

By Todd Neale, MedPage Today

For women, being physically active throughout life appears to lower the risk of cognitive impairment in old age, a cross-sectional study showed.

Physical activity levels in the teenage years, at age 30, at age 50, and after age 65, were associated with significantly lower odds of having impaired cognition as a senior, according to Laura Middleton, PhD, of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, in Toronto, and colleagues.

However, being active as a teenager was most strongly associated with a lower chance of late-life cognitive impairment, the researchers reported online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.


The Hard Work of Dying

by Stan Goldberg, PhD & award winning author of Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage At the End of Life.

Imagine that you’re preparing for a thirty-day trip to a foreign country and you’re limited to taking only what can be carried in a backpack. Your decisions on what to take or leave behind will determine the quality of your experience. Too many items and the weight will be burdensome. Not enough of the right ones and you might be forced to neglect some basic needs. We make decisions of this type daily. Take what’s important, leave behind what isn’t. But we tend to oblivious to the importance of these decisions for possibly the most momentous journey of our lives—our death.

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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