Reasons why older people are skipping their vaccinations

December 13th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

old man bow one's head on his wife shoulderOver 65% of thepeople living in US get their annual flu shot. However, the percentage has recently dropped to 63. Every year, the estimated number of people getting hospitalized with the flu is somewhere at 220,000 according to the CDC. Between 50 and 70% of these people are seniors with ages over 65. Older adults cannot afford to get sick, and common health concerns such as the flu can greatly affect their overall wellbeing.

In 2014, nearly 61% of older people have got pneumococcal vaccines. These are meant to protect the body from infections that might cause meningitis and pneumonia. Basically, there’s no improvement; thus, meaning that millions of seniors out there are still vulnerable. Why aren’t people getting vaccinated? What are the main reasons for them to skip on such important health measures?

Increased health coverage for senior adults, yet no reaction

 Nearly 58% of seniors have gotten a tetanus shot over the past 10 years. However, only 14% has got the advised dose of the well-known Tdap vaccine; which protects against whooping cough and diphtheria as well. Grandparents need to take better care of themselves because they’re the ones that spend more time with grandkids that are too young to get any type of vaccine.

Why aren’t seniors getting vaccinated? One of the main causes is because they don’t have coverage. Even though the FDA has approved many of the above over 10 years ago, people are still ignorant. Some seniors don’t even know that they can get affordable healthcare. In 2014, only 31% of people over 65 had health insurance. The numbers have increased dramatically, although if people they don’t get informed, they can’t know how much these shots cost, or if they cost at all.

Missed opportunities

 Medical experts claim that vaccines are not part of the medical routine of older people. That may be one of the main reasons people don’t get vaccinated. However, when kids come in for a checkup, the first thing that the pediatrician recommends is a vaccine. Seniors often have more severe medical issues. Most specialists focus on other health concerns in the oncology or cardiology sector; almost no physician cares about common conditions, such as the flu.

It is important for older people and their caregivers to discuss more about the importance of vaccination. There are useful guidelines and even a quiz on the CDC website that provides lots of useful advice. For shingles, the most recent vaccine called Zostavax may reduce the risk of contracting a disease in seniors by nearly 50%. The problem is that the vaccine is short on supply, and things haven’t changed since 2012. Also, the increased price may also be an impediment, as not many seniors can afford it.

In a recent study, performed in the summer of this year, the statistics show that almost 40% of older people who asked for it couldn’t pay for it with their own money. Zostavax is covered by the Affordable Care Act only if the patient also has private health insurance. Many seniors don’t have that sort of coverage.

Effectiveness of vaccines on older people

As opposite to Zostavax, many specialists agree that Shingrix – a newcomer, is a lot better. Apparently, it can reduce the incidence of contracting shingles to 90%. But, the efficiency doesn’t seem to be lower in seniors like Zostavax. Shingrix comes with its fair share of side-effects. It demands a second dose after a few months from getting the first. Many people will forget about that aspect. Also, the manufacturing company hasn’t settled on a final price. However, if the vaccine gets approved by the FDA and the CDC recommends it, Shingrix may become extremely useful. But that will only happen if the people remember that they need a second shot.

Public health leaders are not very eager to find out what the FDA has planned. In 2017, an estimated number of 1 million people will get shingles in the US. The CDC doesn’t want to wait, and compels older adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible and avoid hospitalization. Some nursing homes, like Forest HC in England help with short-term recovery, but the bottom line is seniors need to take better care of them to avoid any unnecessary post-operative following their lack of immunity. They must become more aware that their bodies are vulnerable, and many are willing to do that if they can get more affordable health insurance.

Ways for Seniors to Improve Mental and Physical Health

December 8th, 2016 by Doris Bersing
Living Well, Be active as you grow olderEasy Ways for Seniors to Stay Healthy

In a time where daily stress is almost a given, it’s important for us to take care of ourselves.

Seniors, especially, need to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety as well as ways to actively improve physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that, and most of them are more simple than you might think. Here are a few of the best.

Engage in daily exercise

Exercise is important for everyone, but for individuals over the age of 50, it’s imperative. Getting in at least thirty minutes of workout time every day will help improve your mood and overall health, and it might be a good way to socialize, as well. Start a walking group with friends or neighbors, or invite your spouse or coworker to a swim aerobics class. Having someone to talk to will make you look forward to working out rather than dreading it.

Consider a pet

If you don’t already have a pet, consider getting a dog or cat. Animals can help reduce anxiety and even lower blood pressure, and they are wonderful companions. Dogs are also great motivators on days when you don’t feel like exercising, because they’ll always be up for a walk!

Stay in touch

When life gets hectic, we sometimes forget to stay in touch with loved ones. Make it a point to sit down and write a letter to someone you care about, or give them a call. Set aside time on a specific day every week to do it so you’ll have no trouble remembering.

Eat well

Your diet can have a very specific impact on your health and how you feel, so make sure you’re not overloading on refined sugars and carbs, which can make you feel sluggish. Lots of leafy greens, fish, nuts, and fresh fruit will go a long way toward helping you feel better in every way.

Get some rest

You might think you’re getting enough sleep, but if you feel tired all day it’s possible you need to take another look at your habits. Are you lying awake for a long time at night? Taking long naps during the day? Try staying away from the television, computer, or smartphone for an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, read a book or take a long hot shower. Get yourself relaxed before bed to ensure you’ll sleep and feel rested when you get up.

Get creative

For retirees, especially, the days can seem long and uninspired. If you find yourself feeling unfulfilled, try a new hobby. Get creative and take up a painting class, or try gardening or woodworking. Allowing yourself to create things and try something new will open up a whole new world, and you may just find happiness there.

Staying active and keeping your mind healthy and alert will ensure you’ll be feeling good and ready to tackle anything, no matter what your age is.

Parkinson’s Disease: Symptoms and getting the right treatment underway

November 29th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Dementia CareParkinson’s is a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system. In the beginning, the patient experiences mild tremors and rigidity in their limbs. As the disease progresses, the physical problems intensify.  Automatic movements like blinking, gesturing and even smiling are no longer controlled. Apart from stiffness in walking, patients begin to move slower and they must drag their feet to take a step. Speech patterns slow down as well, and in time the patient will become unable to communicate.

Unfortunately, Parkinson’s disease doesn’t have a cure. However, patients can delay the onset of the disease with the right medication. People who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s don’t have enough dopamine in the brain, which means medication to substitute or increase dopamine levels are required to delay the materialization of the disease. In some cases, medication doesn’t work. The solution can be surgery to boost symptoms through regulating specific regions inside the brain.

Getting the right treatment

Parkinson’s disease manifests differently from patient to patient. Mild symptoms are not treated, and a specialist may just recommend monitoring the process of the disease. Drugs may be recommended when the patient start shaking; your physician may also recommend physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy. As far as medicine is concerned, the most common type is Levodopa.

Levodopa has been used for several years, and in nearly all patients with PD the drug has rendered results. When taking this medicine, the body transforms it into dopamine. At first, the patient is given a small dose and as the disease progresses, the amount is increased. In most cases, Levodopa is combined with another drug called carbidopa (or benserazide). These are meant to prevent levodopa from converting into dopamine the moment is reaches the bloodstream. The goal is to reduce side-effects and boost the amount that the brain need to function properly.

Dopamine agonists

With a similar role as dopamine, dopamine agonists act on the brain receptors. Basically, the medicine is a dopamine substitute. But unlike levodopa, they don’t have to go through a conversion process as soon as they reach the body. Several of the most common types are rotigotine, ropinirole, and pramipexole. Less used alternatives are bromocriptine, pergolide, and cabergoline; these are alternative because they may have some side-effects (even though it doesn’t happen often), such as heart valve thickening and lung tissue scarring.

Caring for a patient with Parkinson’s disease

 People who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease depend on professional caregivers for many different activities – from helping them move around the house and get dressed, to taking them to the doctor, cooking, and eating. The disease is a progressive one, and in time the need for a caregiver becomes substantial. Caregivers have the expertise to help a patient accept and understand the disease. If you have a parent of loved one diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the best thing that you can do is become their caregiver, or hire someone to assist you. The job is a challenging one, so whatever you choose to do just remember that the experience will be emotionally and physically demanding.

Get involved

Physicians advise caregivers to attend regular appointments. It is the best way for a doctor to understand the needs of your patient, as well as monitor the onset of the disease and recommend treatment. Keep in mind that Parkinson’s may trigger dementia. The patient may experience memory loss and difficulty understanding what happens around them.

  • Reach out for help and connect with family and friends face to face
  • Stay active and find the strength to be there for your loved one
  • Get informed and know as much as possible about the materialization of the disease
  • Compel your loved one to rest and include more foods based onomega-3 fats (these have a key role in brain health)
  • Consider putting your parent in a adequate nursing home. This is always a difficult task, shopping around for the best place. In UK care homes London are very well sought after, and they provide excellent services. In USA, you can check Caregiving.com to find facilities and their qualifications depending in your geographic area.

Parkinson’s is a nerve-racking progressive disease. Both sufferers and caregivers must learn to accept it. Rather than think about the worst-case scenario, it’s best to stay positive. Consider proper treatment and have a conversation with your parent about professional help, either at home or in an assisted care facility.

Alone at Home: Aging in Place

November 5th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Aging in Place

The senior age comes with its own challenges and concerns. Being alone and aging in place at this stage is difficult especially when you have no one from the family there to offer you at least emotional if not physical support. However, we must always see the good side of every living experience and find the way in which to ensure a joyful road through life. Being self-aware of your current conditions and always keen on ensuring proper health for yourself is the best thing that you can do when you are alone at home and may not receive any help. Knowledge is power and the more you know about your challenges and assets, the more planning you can do and hope for safety and wellness in your golden years. Knowledge is power and hope is everything.

Also, turning to professionals to offer you advice and proper care in your own home is another solution that you can consider when the situation requires it. Older people should never be ashamed or scared to ask for professional support from those who can help them do what they cannot do anymore or simply help them keep their health and overall lifestyle in good conditions.

Living Alone at Home: Receiving Support from Specialists or Friends

Certain seniors decide on their own to live alone at home whereas others do not have the possibly to receive care in specialized centers. However, they also have the possibility to receive support in the comfort of their own home when the situation requires it. They may have someone visiting them every day to check their health status and offer support and advice for a healthy life.

Also, they can also have someone check on them less often when their conditions do not require daily support to ensure a proper life. It is all according to their needs and requirements. However, constant support is usually recommended for seniors living alone in their home. Sometimes, even a good word can mean a lot for them.

When specialized help is not possible, such support can also be offered by senior friends. They have the same age, a similar perspective on life and they can offer each other what they need in terms of emotional and physical support. It is always better to share life with someone else than to be always alone. Intimacy and privacy are also important in their life because they still want to be independent and feel free every day.

However, as much as we all need friends and support from time to time, seniors should also rely on their friends and spend time together as often as they can so that they might not feel the lack of human contact and emotions in their life.

Survival at the Senior Age: Relying on Yourself and Others

The elderly stage of life does not necessarily have to mean lack of independence or the inability of taking care of yourself. If you have adopted a healthy lifestyle up until now you are probably more than capable of taking care of yourself. However, certain health issues or concerns are inevitable at every age. It is then that you must go to specialists and make sure you follow their recommendations in terms of medical treatments and general activities that might keep you in shape.

Moreover, sharing your current living conditions and experiences with other people going through the same stage is essential. You may be able to help your friends with something they cannot do and they might offer you support in what you need as well. Sharing is caring at every age. Just because you are older now and may not have family members there for you should never mean that you must be alone. Reach to those who understand you as well as to professionals who work with passion in the senior care industry to get what you need in life at this stage.

The Joy of Living Decently when You Are Older

Joy should never be left out of the equation of life no matter what age we are. The same way we enjoy life when we are young when pure joy and happiness are all we know, we can also include this feeling in our senior stage of life. Our colleague Francis Edward from Forest Health Care, recommends: “…Make the best of what you have available now and make sure you live a decent life no matter what the numbers show in terms of age…”  and we add to that, do not hesitate to ask help from experts in your area as needed.

 

Wills, Trusts and Aging Parents: Nov 10, 2016

October 27th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Five experts join in a panel discussion on wills, trusts and aging parents Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Northgate Mall Community Room, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Women’s Collective of Marin, a professional association hosting panel discussions by women for women on topics that women care about. Speakers for this event include estate planning attorney Hilary Spaulding Namnath; gerontology expert Dr. Doris Bersing; home health advocate Terri Abelar; and banking expert Karen Hawkey. Certified financial planner Kathleen Nemetz will moderate.

The event begins with hors d’oeuvres, and mix and mingle networking. The panel discussion follows at 6 pm. There is no charge to attend.

Panelists will address the issues baby boomers commonly face when managing their older parents. Often these issues center on whether mom or dad has created a will or trust, or arranged the necessary finances for a long retirement. Other issues are provoked by declining health, capacity or mobility.

Read speaker bios.

Date & Time
Thursday, November 10, 2016
5:30 — 7pm
Location
Community Room, Northgate Mall
2nd flr., behind food courts
Las Gallinas and Northgate Drives
San Rafael, CA 94903
RSVP
Registration is recommended

Health And Safety Tips For Seniors Living With Dementia

October 24th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Managing DementiaDementia can affect a person in any number of ways, so it’s important to take care of the mind, body, and spirit in equal measure after a diagnosis of the disease. Although it is associated most closely with memory loss, there are physical and emotional tolls as well. It is most commonly caused by changes in the brain brought on by Alzheimer’s disease or more than one stroke and can bring on violent behavior, problems with language skills, and trouble with day-to-day activities.

For individuals who have not been placed in assisted living but need help in their day-to-day, there are many things for loved ones to think about concerning their safety and wellbeing. It’s helpful to go around their living space and assess any possible dangers or hazards; upgrades may need to be made in order to keep them comfortable, happy, and safe. Jim Vogel, offers here few of the best tips on how to do just that.

Encourage cognition: It’s important for sufferers of dementia to keep their minds active, so encourage them to play word games or simply tell stories about their life. Remembrance is a good thing, even when it involves a sad memory, because it keeps the individual in the present and helps them focus.

Keep them social: Loneliness can quickly lead to depression, so it’s important to make sure your loved one stays active and social. Help them find a group activity or club to join, such as a book group that meets once a week. Finding something they love and can stay active in will help immensely with mood and cognition, and it will give them a goal as well as something to look forward to.

Daily exercise is a must: Daily exercise is great for the body, but it’s good for the mind and mood, too. Activity can boost brain function and help stimulate positive feelings, so help your loved one get out and get moving. Daily walks in sturdy shoes are perfect, as is swimming, golfing, gardening, and anything else they might enjoy that won’t put a strain on them physically.

Safety measures: It’s important to know what your loved one’s specific needs are before assessing their living space. If dementia has progressed to a certain point, you might consider implementing safety measures such as door alarms and personal emergency alarms. Look around every room and check for properly installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, adequate lighting, and trip hazards such as slippery rugs, clutter, or furniture. Bathrooms will need to be checked for safety hazards as well; non-slip rubber mats should be placed on the floor and in the tub, and handrails or shower seats are always advisable. And if you’re loved one takes any medication, take control of their daily doses. Doing so will help them avoid becoming addicted to medications, such as opioids, and dangerous side effects from incorrect dosage.

If the dementia diagnosis is linked to Alzheimer’s, it’s important to understand the side effects of both, as they may differ from person to person. Alzheimer’s can cause physical issues such as vision loss and balance problems, so it’s imperative to make sure your loved one’s home can accommodate them safely. Stairs may be a problem to navigate; make sure the handrails are in good shape and the stairwell is well lit.

Lastly, keep up good communication with your loved one and make sure they know you’re there for them. Help them keep in touch with other family members and friends and offer to assist them with doctor appointments; every little thing helps.

 

Can the Health Care Reform Really Help with Long Term Care?

October 24th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

healthcare reformThe health care system plays a very important role for every country around the world. Through well-established rules and laws as well as a good health reform, the long term care can and should be constantly improved. This way, every citizen of every country might benefit from the best health care conditions no matter the situation. There are numerous factors that add up to the equation. All of these highly influence the overall results of the quality of national long term care. Let’s analyze this more in detail below.

The Effects of the Well-being of the Families on the Stability of the National Economy

A good, effective health care system is first of all good for the citizens of any country or better said for any human being on Earth. We all need medical care sooner or later and a perfectly established system can only prove to be beneficial for us. Moreover, when families in a certain state are doing well from this point of view as well as others, this is also highly beneficial for the overall quality of the national economy.

All these factors go hand in hand. As a result, when all details are carefully considered, the end-results are noticeable and beneficial both for the citizens and the country they live in. The nation’s economic stability highly depends on the well-being of its inhabitants. Moreover, it is also influenced by proper support systems ensured for people dealing with health disabilities. These focus on offering them the chance to integrate well in society.

The state in itself could not help with long term care better than by imposing effective health reforms. These should be developed for the citizens and by keeping their needs and requirements as the main concern and focus. The factors involved in this case are numerous and varied. However, proper care for patients should always be on top of the list. As a result, every new rule and any new system should come accordingly.

A Good Health Reform for Restoring National Prosperity

The reality is that many people are skeptical when they hear about the health reform. Their concerns are not necessarily related to the existence of the health reform but rather to how effective it might actually be for the overall national well-being.

There is nothing wrong with the concept itself. However, it is more than important to make sure that the rules will ensure the well-being of the country and its citizens. Moreover, such changes should not bring any negative effects or leave any type of needs uncovered. The purpose is to restore prosperity for families as well as the national economy and the fiscal health.

A well-established health reform developed by specialists with both theoretical and practical experience is essential. Furthermore, it will ensure affordable health care for everyone. Moreover, it is also vital for slowing general price growth in the case of health entitlement programs

expenditure

Focus on the Needs of People Who Need Long-Term Care

When it comes to long-term care, a health reform becomes even more important and necessary. Why is that? Because these people need a perfect system to ensure that their needs are fully covered the entire period of time they need proper care. It is not about going to the doctor for a single visit or treatment in their case. They need constant assistance, proper medication availability and prescriptions. They also need people specialized in offering them the support they need.

Furthermore, the need for long-term care is not just limited to people reaching their senior age. There are also numerous adults and young people dealing with health issues that require long-term care. A health reform should include all these situations and establish the perfect conditions for all citizens. No need to just encourage families to plan ahead. These people need serious, realistic solutions that will be advantageous both for them and the national economy system.

A Serious National Concern

All in all, the great majority of Medicaid spending goes for appropriate services for long-term care patients. A good health reform could target such needs of the population. This would allow it to strengthen the healthcare requirements of the citizens thus ensure a stronger Medicaid system for the future.

There arealso certain Medicaid post-acute type of care services that could find place in the system. These could fill-in for certain long-term care needs that might be uncovered at the moment due to system breaches. There are effective solutions to find and adopt such as good care homes in London but this is only possible through a well-established system like the national health reform.