Caring for the aging loved ones is a catch 22, of the sorts, difficult to do but difficult not to do. Mixed feelings and the call of duty leave family caregivers with a constant stress and a lot of guilt. Carol Mithers, a Los Angeles-based journalist, found a different edge to this duty. In her article Suddenly, They’re gone, published on March 22, 2013, in the New York Times old age-blog, she talks about the other side of care-giving for the elder and that side is the sense of loss after they passed. She says “… When you care for the old, life can go on unchanged for years. Then suddenly, without much warning, everything shifts… after (they) passed … I have my life back now, but that fact is less simple than it was before. When I look at the mementos I’ve inherited, the crumbling photo albums, cookbooks that smell of cigarette smoke, ’50s furniture and cut glass, I also see where they used to sit, in other places and rooms. I miss the quiet afternoons, the houses that eventually came to feel like home, in cities I’ll never again have reason to visit. I miss it all. I miss them…” Read the full article
Are you caring for someone with dementia?
Looking for ways to cope and to provide the best care possible?
This brand new 8-week program is specifically designed for professional and family caregivers of persons with dementia. It is also appropriate for health care professionals serving dementia patients. Learn how the practice of mindfulness can help you cope with the challenges and stresses of dementia care, and also greatly improve the experience of the person in your care. This intensive course requires that you practice in between classes. You will be rewarded with a transformative experience that will sustain you over the long course of the dementia caregiver journey.
The course will be taught by Marguerite Manteau-Rao, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker and clinical supervisor with expertise in dementia caregiver training. She is the CEO and co-founder of the Presence Care Project, and a contributor to the Huffington Post.
Free Information Session:
Thursday, January 24, 2013: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Anyone interested in this program is strongly encouraged to attend the free information session.
Thursdays, February 7 – March 28, 2013
7:00 – 9:30 pm*
*Note: Class on February 7 & March 28 will be from 7:00-10:00 pm
Daylong retreat: Sunday, March 17, 2013
9:30 am – 4:30 pm
UCSF Osher Center For Integrative Medicine
1545 Divisadero Street, San Francisco
$295 plus $25 materials fee
Institutional group discount available
For questions, call 415.353.7718
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age!
Early onset (also known as younger-onset) Alzheimer’s affects people younger than age 65. Nearly 4 percent of the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s have early onset. Doctors do not understand why most cases of early onset Alzheimer’s appear at such a young age. Many people with early onset are in their 40s and 50s. They have families, careers or are even caregivers themselves when Alzheimer’s disease strikes. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people have early onset.
Join our support group to connect with others in your similar situation for advice, friendship, education or just a friendly shoulder for you and your caregivers or loved ones.
Free. No preregistration required.
Sponsored by the Community Health Resource Center (CHRC) and Living Well Assisted Living at Home
CPMC Pacific Campus
2100 Webster Street, Room 106
San Francisco, CA 94115
Fourth Wednesday of the Month, 4:00pm — 5:30pm
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Guest post by Elizabeth Carrollton (*)
If you’re having trouble managing medications, you’re not alone. Nearly 60 percent of seniors forget to take one or more of their daily medications. With more than half of today’s seniors taking five or more prescription medications on a daily basis, and a quarter taking 10 to 19, it’s no surprise that many have a hard time keeping track of them all. If you’ve just had hip replacement, you’ve got more pills to manage than usual. The last thing you need right after surgery is a medication problem, so taking some steps to ensure that your medications are managed efficiently is wise.
Medication Mistakes Can Have Serious Consequences
About 30 percent of hospital admissions in people over the age of 65 are caused by missed doses of medications or accidental overdoses. Common symptoms of medication mismanagement include dizziness, nausea, confusion, memory issues, sleep disturbances, poor balance and falling, incontinence and hallucinations.
Tips for Better Medication Management
When pills are taken routinely, it can be easy to miss dose or forget that you’ve already taken one and accidentally double-up, no matter what your age. One of the best ways to avoid inadvertent misuse of medications is a medication log. Keep a notebook with your medications, and record each dose when it is taken. Another way to keep medications organized are medication boxes that allow you to set up doses for the week, with each little compartment marked with the day and time each dose should be taken.
Interactions are common in people taking several medications. Taking a current list of medications with you to medical appointments can help guard against this problem. Be sure to include dosages of each medication and all non-prescription medications and supplements used. Always use the same pharmacy, and go over your medication list with your pharmacist periodically to double-check for potentially dangerous drug combinations.
Managing Pain Medications after Hip Replacement
Managing your pain medications efficiently after hip replacement is important. Over-reliance on pain medications and the antidepressants often prescribed with them after surgery is common, and can make recovery a longer and more difficult process. Overuse can inhibit healing, interfere with mobility and even increase the pain these drugs are meant to treat by making the nervous system hypersensitive to pain.
Additionally, overuse of pain medications can mask symptoms of complications. After surgery, your pain level should steadily decrease. If yours isn’t, call your doctor. Complications can happen and have been more common over the last few years due to faulty hip implants, several of which have been recalled for high rates of failure and complications.
Metallosis is one of the most serious problems seen with these implants, which happens as metallic implant debris builds up in soft tissues. It can cause severe hip pain and swelling, as well as tissue and bone death that can lead to implant loosening or failure. Thousands have been affected by these recalled devices and have had painful and costly revision surgeries to repair the damage. Hundreds of hip replacement lawsuits have been filed by injured patients in response to the health problems and expenses caused by faulty hip implants.
(*)Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.
Marianne Gontarz York, L.C.S.W., tell us that as a career MSW Gerontologist and a photographer, she discovered “…early on that photographs can be useful as powerful therapeutic tools. Everyday photographs – found in albums, boxes, framed by the bedside, mounted on walls, posted on mirrors and refrigerators – offer personal and professional caregivers wonderful opportunities to begin conversations, develop relationships and offer older adults the opportunity to engage in meaningful interactions through reminiscence. The professional caregiver can also take reminiscence to the next level and conduct life reviews… “…Early pioneer PhD psychologists in the field of PhotoTherapy describe photographs as “mirrors with memories.” Every photograph has stories to tell, secrets to share and memories to bring forth. Each photograph serves as a visual prompt for clients to relate their interpretation of what was going on in that frozen moment in time. It is truly amazing that a photograph, a thin piece of paper holding an image, can transport us back in time. And we respond to the image as if it were in the present. There is a tremendous amount of information embedded in each and every photograph. For this reason photographs are great tools to encourage our clients to talk about their memories and reminisce…” Read More
by Stone Hearth News
For those 65 and older, falling can be fatal; in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among this age group, and some 40 percent of seniors fall at least once each year. Additionally, one in four who sustains a hip fracture from a fall will die within a year, and another 50 percent will never return to their pre-fall level of mobility. With May designated as Older Americans Month, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) is using the occasion to share with seniors steps they can take to prevent potentially life-threatening falls.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging (AoA), one in every eight Americans is now 65 or older. “This means that a size-able segment of the population is at risk for falling,” says Jonathan Scheff, M.D., chief medical officer for Health Net, Inc. “For the elderly,” he adds, “falls often lead to a downward health spiral, so the key is taking steps to prevent falls in the first place. Older Americans are living longer than ever, and our goal at Health Net is to help them avoid debilitating injuries and enjoy their golden years.”
As parents grow older, they face challenges that their adult children may not know how to address. The children may support their parents’ desire to continue living independently, but have concerns about their safety and well-being. One way to help resolve these conflicting emotions, and determine if the parents need assistance, is through an assessment. See what this assessment implies.
Elinor Ginzler, AARP’s Director of Livable Communities, provides tips and guidance on how to do an assessment, as well as on how to evaluate your loved ones’ legal and financial needs. Watch the Video: Assessing the Situation.
If you’re doing an assessment on your own, use the following list as a guide. Gently explore as many of these areas as you can to get a full picture of your loved one’s life. Assessment checklist.
If you are in the predicament of starting to take care of a loved one, check the 8 rules for new caregivers.