Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Godspeed from the Yellow Wall[paper


clipped from yellowwallpaper.net
My Mom died this afternoon at 2 PM
My sister and I were fortunate enough to be with her when she stepped fully into the afterlife
We noticed her hands becoming cool and her skin color changing.  Her breathing became shallower and shallower, and I knew she was on her way.  She took a last breath and was gone.

That moment was like a window flying open.  My mother’s spirit took off and all the bottled-up feelings came loose.   There has been so much grieving over the past few years–in increments–that right now I only want to piece together the mother I had for the first fifty-two years of my life.  I’m heartbroken but relieved that she might now be able to understand the past few years–why she couldn’t stay in her home, why her mother never came to visit her.

We each have to come to terms with death in our own way.  It’s not any nobler or braver to be an atheist than it is to believe in God.  The noble part is living by your beliefs.

 blog it

The Allure of the Forever Stamp


On May 12 the price of a stamp is rising by one cent. (a 2.4 percent increase). Right now you have the opportunity to lock in the 41 cent price forever. Is there any doubt, given the cost of gasoline, that the price will be rising again soon? This might rank as one of the best investments opportunities for businesses in a long time.

The stamp is quite handsome as you can see.
Risky investments and rising prices seem to be everywhere these days
For the past year, branches have been selling “The Forever Stamp” for 41 cents each
INSERT DESCRIPTION
“The stamp will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes,” the agency promises.
As the penny increase of May 12 nears, the forever deal is proving irresistible to millions of Americans, according to today’s news release:
In the past several weeks, Postal Service customers have been buying Forever Stamps at a rate of about 30 million per day, bringing the amount sold to more than 6 billion since they were first offered.
The Associated Press further detailed the climb, reporting forever stamp sales of $267,696,023 in March, $207,900,132 in February and $115,303,031 in January

When the standard stamp switches to 42 cents, so will the forever version, thus commencing a new round of forever stamp stockpiling.

 blog it

Monday, April 28, 2008

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's


Don't forget. Free cone day at Ben & Jerry's is Tuesday, April 29, 2008.
To find a scoop shop near you Go Here. Enjoy!!!

blog it

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers


Follow the link to get your free copy.
clipped from www.alz.org

Tackle the challenges of caregiving with this free football style "playbook" by Frank Broyles, former Athletic Director of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. The Playbook is an engaging, how-to guide written for those who care for someone with Alzheimer's. Coach Broyles cared for his late wife Barbara, who had Alzheimer's disease.

“My wife Betty is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. The minute I received the ‘Playbook,’ I sat down and read it word for word. What a huge blessing for me to find a straight forward, 'been there’ account of what lies ahead.
Thank you!"
John Cater
Richmond, Texas
 blog it

Friday, April 18, 2008

Incontinence Drugs May Hurt Memory


Several years ago I refused to allow my mother to be medicated with depression drugs. Instead, I decided to work very closely with her to try to bring her out of her "funk". Exercise, a good diet, lots of patience and fostering a "secure environment" worked.

Later I discussed my mother's incontinence with her doctor. He told me he could "prescribe" something. With Alzheimer's as a variable in the equation I decided against it. I tired to get my mother to visit the toilet as often as possible. While this was very trying and difficult, I was eventually able to get her into a pattern of going even when she did not feel it was necessary.

It takes lots of patience and perseverance to accomplish these goals. I am not saying its easy. I do believe its possible to improve situations if you can get a new pattern of behavior established.

I did get lots of communication tips from The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with 'Alzheimer's-Type Dementia'




Thursday, April 17, 2008

Alzheimer's Reading Room: Book buzz: Pausch's Last Lecture is a good one


clipped from www.usatoday.com
Professor delivers 'Lecture': Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture makes its debut at No. 2 on USA TODAY's Best-selling Books list, but Pausch, who is dying of pancreatic cancer, says sales aren't the reason he wrote the book.
"I personally only cared about the first three copies, which are for my kids," he says. The book, written with Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Zaslow, builds on a "last lecture" Pausch gave in September at Carnegie Mellon. Many in the publishing world believe Lecture will be the next Tuesdays With Morrie, which became a publishing sensation. It, too, dealt with wisdom imparted by a dying professor. Hyperion has had nine printings; 2 million copies are in print.
GALLERY: Pausch's life in photos

blog it

What Does Martha Stewart Know About Caring for the Elderly?


clipped from blogs.wsj.com
The list of witnesses testifying before the Senate Special Committee on Aging this afternoon includes the predictable academic docs and health-world leaders, along with a striking anomaly:
Martha Stewart
You ask: What, is she going to teach the Senators a cute way to fold napkins when they have their parents over for dinner or something? No, smarty, it turns out that Martha Stewart knows more about this stuff than you think.
Drawn to the issue by the experiences of her aging mother, who died last year at 93, Stewart grew interested in the field and wound up giving $5 million to Mount Sinai, which created the Martha Stewart Center for Living.
The suggestions in her prepared testimony seem pretty sensible, highlighting three lessons: pay attention to coordination of medical care, support those caring for the elderly, and plan early at the family level to be ready to care for aging relatives.
Institute of Medicine report

blog it

Adult day care gives caregivers a break


Medicaid or private insurance occasionally will pay for the care, which can range in price from $31 a day to $130 a day.

Adult day care gives caregivers a break

When Dick Lundgren realized that caring for his wife was taking a toll on his own health, he turned to adult day care.

Lundgren, who lives south of Seattle, found a program that catered to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and made arrangements for his wife, Dorothee, to go there two days a week.

The break was good for both of them, said Lundgren, whose wife was diagnosed with the progressive brain disease seven years ago. He recently placed her in a group home that provides round-the-clock care to six residents.

“I firmly believe, looking back, that (day care) gave me a chance to keep my wife home a year longer,” the 61-year-old said.

Finding the right adult day care center can offer respite to caregivers while offering their charges a chance to socialize and take part in supervised activities. Facilities vary from those that focus on medical care to those that are mostly recreational, offering games, gardening or crafts.

There are about 3,500 providers across the country, according to industry experts, who say the number grows annually. In recent years, churches, nursing homes and national franchises have opened day care centers.

Finding the right center
"Medicaid or private insurance occasionally will pay for the care, which can range in price from $31 a day to $130 a day. The average cost is about $61 a day, according to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, in Washington. Many facilities offer a sliding scale based on income.

Deciding what works best for your family requires doing some homework, said Elinor Ginzler of the AARP, the senior advocacy group.
# First, decide whether the older person needs a health-based program staffed with medical professionals. Even a more recreational center should have a nurse or doctor on staff. Patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other chronic health conditions probably require a center that focuses on care.
# The AARP or local Area Agency on Aging should have a list of providers. Only about 6 percent of adult day-care centers are accredited, but most are inspected by state agencies, said Peter Notarstefano of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Practices and policies vary by state, but the inspection records should be available for review, Ginzler said.
# Visit the facility to meet the staff and ask about its training policies, experts advise. Watch the interactions between staff and clients, the quality of the programs, and the cleanliness of eating areas and bathrooms.

“See how engaged people are,” said Donna Schempp, a program director at the Family Caregiver Alliance in San Francisco.

“Are they sitting around in wheelchairs and being ignored or are people trying to engage them in different kinds of activities?”

The workers should seem interested in their elderly charges and treat them kindly, said Lundgren, a board member of Washington Elder Care, a group working to create a local day health program geared to dementia patients.

“It’s always the people and their attitude and their commitment to their work,” he said.
# Ask to see a schedule of activities. If possible, come back for an unscheduled visit during an activity your loved one might enjoy, and see how it’s run.

Mealtime also is a good time to visit and see how workers treat clients, said Notarstefano.
# Look for a center that satisfies the caregiver’s needs as well as the loved one. Most centers serve lunch, but many provide other services, including transportation or medical screenings. Some may offer bathing services and transportation to doctor’s appointments.
# Find out whether the center takes field trips, uses volunteers or invites in children for special programs, said Ginzler.

“Adult day centers should encourage and promote opportunities to engage in the world around them,” she said. “That should include bringing the world in and going out into the world.”
# Find out whether the staff will help participants use the restroom, and how they handle episodes of incontinence, suggested Nora Gibson, executive director of ElderHealth Northwest, in Seattle.

“Many older adults need assistance or reminders to go to the bathroom,” she said. “You don’t want anyone to have the humiliation of going home in wet pants or a wet dress.”
# Find out what type of training the center requires for employees and whether it provides ongoing training. Centers should continue to train staff for the duration of their employment, Ginzler said.
# Many centers will help families introduce the idea of day care to their loved ones. Directors often suggest stressing the opportunities for socialization and organized activities. Many will invite the potential participant in for a meal or activity. Others encourage seniors to try out the facility for a week or two.


The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease and Memory Loss in Later Life


Boomers to flood medical care system


The report from the institute, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, said:
- There aren’t enough specialists in geriatric medicine.
- Insufficient training is available.
- The specialists that do exist are underpaid.
- Medicare fails to provide for team care that many elderly patients need.



Health care system not ready for aging boomers

WASHINGTON - Millions of baby boomers are about to enter a health care system for seniors that not only isn’t ready for them, but may even discourage them from getting quality care.

“We face an impending crisis as the growing number of older patients, who are living longer with more complex health needs, increasingly outpaces the number of health care providers with the knowledge and skills to care for them capably,” said John W. Rowe, professor of health policy and management at Columbia University.

Rowe headed an Institute of Medicine committee that released a report Monday on the health care outlook for the 78 million baby boomers about to begin turning 65.

The report from the institute, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, said:
# There aren’t enough specialists in geriatric medicine.
# Insufficient training is available.
# The specialists that do exist are underpaid.
# Medicare fails to provide for team care that many elderly patients need.

The study said Medicare may even hinder seniors from getting the best care because of its low reimbursement rates, a focus on treating short-term health problems rather than managing chronic conditions and lack of coverage for preventive services or for health care providers’ time spent collaborating with a patient’s other providers.

The American Medical Association responded that seniors’ access to Medicare in coming years “is threatened by looming Medicare physician payment cuts.”

“This July, the government will begin steep cuts in Medicare physician payments, and 60 percent of physicians say this cut will force them to limit the number of new Medicare patients they can treat,” the AMA said in a statement.

AARP, the organization for older Americans, said the report highlights the growing need for immediate action to improve and strengthen the health care and long-term care work force.

“We know the problem, and we know how to begin to fix it,” said AARP President-Elect Jennie Chin Hansen.

The group said it is endorsing a bill by Sens. Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Susan Collins, R-Maine, intended to steer caregivers towards geriatric and long-term care roles, and create an advisory panel to analyze this critical sector and make recommendations to tackle its changing needs.

The report found there are about 7,100 doctors certified in geriatrics in the United States, one per every 2,500 older Americans.

Turnover among nurse aides averages 71 percent annually, and up to 90 percent of home health aides leave their jobs within the first two years, the report said.

Geriatric care training
But while today’s elderly tend to be healthier and live longer than previous generations, people over 65 to have more complex conditions and health care needs than younger folks.

The report urged that all health care workers be trained in basic geriatric care and that schools increase training in the treatment of older patients.

The federally required minimum number of hours of training for direct-care workers should be raised from 75 to at least 120, the report said, noting that more training is required for dog groomers and manicurists than direct-care workers in many parts of the country.

And it said pay for geriatric specialists, doctors, nurses and care workers needs to be increased.

A doctor specializing in elderly care earned $163,000 on average in 2005 compared with $175,000 for a general internist, even though the geriatric specialist required more training.

The report also urged training for family members and other informal caregivers who assist the elderly.

The study was sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Retirement Research Foundation, California Endowment, Archstone Foundation, AARP, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation and Commonwealth Fund.

The National Academy of Sciences is an independent organization chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific matters.


The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease and Memory Loss in Later Life


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Vigorous Exercise Slows Aging


Well, we knew it. Now the studies confirm it. Vigorous walking for an hour a day five times a week can chop a dozen years off the biological age of people 64 and older, according to Roy Shephard, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, reported online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
A review of recent studies in patients age 64 and older showed that such a regimen can boost maximal oxygen intake by about 25% within three months, effectively decreasing biological age by about 12 years. That sounds good to me!

Labels: ,

 blog it

Off Track: Save Your Favorite TV Show


Have some fun.
clipped from www.usatoday.com

It's that time of the year again when flailing television shows need all the help they can get, which is where you come in. Take our survey and vote for the shows you just can't live without next season.

VOTE: Which shows do you want to see back next season?
clipped from www.zoomerang.com

Within the next few weeks the networks will determine which of this season's TV series will return next fall. Tell us — and the networks — what you hope happens to these shows. Please select "Keep," "Drop," or "Don't Care" from the tab under each show. We'll reveal the results later this month.

 blog it

Save Your Favorite TV Show


Off track but a little fun.
clipped from www.usatoday.com

It's that time of the year again when flailing television shows need all the help they can get, which is where you come in. Take our survey and vote for the shows you just can't live without next season.

VOTE:  Which shows do you want to see back next season?
clipped from www.zoomerang.com

Within the next few weeks the networks will determine which of this season's TV series will return next fall. Tell us — and the networks — what you hope happens to these shows. Please select "Keep," "Drop," or "Don't Care" from the tab under each show. We'll reveal the results later this month.

 blog it

Study to Look at Writing as Stress-Reducer Among Alzheimer's Caregivers



A University of Iowa researcher is conducting an Internet-based study to see if writing about their thoughts and feelings about care-giving can be a strategy to help those family caregivers reduce their stress.

Alzheimer's Caregiver Study Invites Participants

Newswise — For families who provide care to Alzheimer's patients, stress and isolation can be a burden that's hard to carry. A University of Iowa researcher is conducting an Internet-based study to see if writing about their thoughts and feelings about care-giving can be a strategy to help those family caregivers reduce their stress.

Family members who provide care for patients with Alzheimer's or other conditions of memory loss will be asked to write about their experiences related to their care-giving roles for 20 minutes on three occasions during a week. Participants in the study may write in their homes or wherever they have access to a computer that is most convenient to them.

Participants in the study do not need to be "good writers" or worry about spelling or grammar because it is the effect of the writing that is being studied.

As a means to measure the effect of the writing on reducing stress, study participants also will be asked to complete five questionnaires.

Howard Butcher, Ph.D., UI associate professor of nursing and principal investigator of the UI Informatics Initiative-funded study, will evaluate whether expressing stress and other emotions in writing is a helpful way to deal with the often difficult emotions of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or a condition that involves problems with memory.

Written expression has been used with people who have experienced stressful and traumatic situations such as job loss, abuse, natural disasters and loss of a spouse. The strategy involves participants writing about their thoughts and feelings. Previous research by Butcher has shown that this type of writing promotes psychological and physiological health benefits after just three 20-minute writing sessions.

The studies have shown that writing helps trauma survivors make meaning out of their life circumstances. This cognitive process can result in physiological changes in the autonomic and immune system by reducing stress and facilitating coping.

For more information about participating in the study, visit https://swee.iowa.uiowa.edu or call Butcher at 319-335-7039.


Duke Experts On Aging Pen Alzheimer's Guide


clipped from www.nbc17.com
Dr. Murali Doraiswamy and social worker Lisa Gwyther of Duke University have almost 40 years of combined experience working with and caring for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Their new book, "The Alzheimer’s Action Plan," was written to answer many of the questions they have received about diagnosis and treatment.
“Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease, so the more people know, and the more they know about how to approach this issue, the more in control they’ll feel and the less frightening it’ll be,” said Gwyther.
It also presents some hard facts about mistakes that are often made by healthcare professionals, whom Doraiswamy said often have varying levels of understanding of the disease.

blog it

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dying 47-Year-Old Professor Gives Exuberant ‘Last Lecture’


Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
clipped from www.youtube.com
 blog it

The Last Lecture




Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Give Me 5 Campaign to Help Women Identify Strokes


I was surprised to learn this, "Women especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for almost 70 percent of the deaths from stroke"
clipped from www.aan.com
Help your patients recognize the five signs of stroke

The "Give Me 5" uses easy-to-remember words to help identify the five signs of stroke. The key words are:

  • Walk—is their balance off?
  • Talk—is their speech slurred or face droopy?
  • Reach—is one side weak or numb?
  • See—is their vision all or partly lost?
  • Feel—is their headache severe?
  • campaign coincides with new research released in February showing a tripling in the rate of strokes among middle-aged women
    This surge of strokes in middle-aged women in a short period is very alarming,
    visit www.giveme5forstroke.org to obtain more information
    "Women especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for almost 70 percent of the deaths from stroke,"
    Actress Morgan Fairchild cared for her mother, whose first stroke occurred in 1997.

    Visit www.giveme5forstroke.org/healthcare for tools and resources for physicians from all three organizations.

    Visit the AAN's Press Room at www.aan.com/go/pressroom to download the press release.

    blog it

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    PET scan can aid dementia diagnosis



    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    Say Hello to ‘Dr. Nurse’


    If you are a caregiver like me you will realize the importance of this new breed of nurses.

    Physicians and the medical field are resisting this new change.

    Not only are nurse doctors necessary they will be welcomed with open arms by our aging population.
    clipped from blogs.wsj.com

    Nursing schools are making a push to award doctor of nursing degrees, a move that has some physicians and nurses worried, the WSJ’s Laura Landro reports.

    []

    A fresh supply of well-trained primary care practitioners could help counter a physician shortage.

    The goal is to create “hybrid practitioner” who will have more skills and training than a nurse practitioner with a master’s degree

    But wait, nurse advocates say, there’s a nursing shortage too.

    “Nurse practitioners with master’s degrees are already filling the primary care shortages and providing quality, cost-effective care, many times in places that physicians are unwilling to practice,” says Wendy Vogel, a nurse practitioner specializing in oncology at Blue Ridge Medical Specialists in Bristol, Tenn.

    “Nurses with an advanced degree are not the same as doctors who have been to medical school,” says Roger Moore, incoming president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
     blog it

    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    Lilly Launches Its First Phase III Trial for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease


    clipped from www.prnewswire.com
    Late-stage IDENTITY study of once-daily, oral agent is now enrolling
    patients
    Eli Lilly and Company
    (NYSE: LLY) has announced today the start of a Phase III clinical trial
    studying LY450139, an investigational gamma secretase inhibitor for the
    treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
    Slowing the rate of disease progression could preserve independent
    functioning and quality of life for Alzheimer's patients in the milder
    stages of the disease, potentially delaying the onset of the severe stages
    of the disease.
    LY450139 is being tested
    to see if it can slow the progression associated with Alzheimer's disease
    by inhibiting gamma-secretase, an enzyme that can create a sticky protein
    called amyloid beta.
    IDENTITY is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that
    will be conducted in the U.S. and 21 additional countries.
    information regarding the IDENTITY trial, including global
    recruitment sites, may be found at clinicaltrials.gov

    blog it