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5 Tips That May Prevent Alzheimer’s

By Karla Bowsher – HealthcarePages.com

Today, one in eight Americans over the age of 65 live with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This progressive brain disorder causes brain cells to degenerate and die, which results in a continuing decline in memory and other mental functions. Alzheimer’s literally shrinks the brain. Each year, Alzheimer’s costs 79,000 people their lives, making it the sixth leading cause of death. It also costs American society – $200 billion this year alone, according to the Alzheimer’s Association‘s projection.

Scientists haven’t yet discovered a proven way to cure or prevent the disorder, but recent research connects certain lifestyle changes with decreased chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Considering that these lifestyle changes will improve your physical health or mental function even if Alzheimer’s weren’t a concern, you have little to lose…

  • Exercise your brain.
  • Two studies published last week by the American Academy of Neurology support existing evidence of a connection between your mental activity now and your mental acuity later in life. In other words, keeping mentally active appears to preserve your mental skills, which may otherwise weaken with time. Examples of ways to challenge your brain include reading, playing board games, and doing crossword puzzles.

  • Exercise your body.
  • This tip is also backed by numerous studies – of mice and humans. The Mayo Clinic has even called exercise the “best bet” for preventing Alzheimer’s. Note, though, that “exercise” in this case means getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes several times a week.

  • Protect your health.
  • A study published by the American Academy of Neurology last year found that seniors who rated their health as poor had greater chances of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. A second study published last year found that even a modest reduction of certain medical risk factors – smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyles, midlife high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression – could prevent 3 million cases of Alzheimer’s worldwide.

  • Protect your mental health.
  • A 10-year study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in November connected poor psychological health (specifically depression and anxiety) to a greater chance of dying from Alzheimer’s Disease.

    As if you needed another reason to relieve stress, “One possibility, the researchers propose, is that chronic levels of psychological distress may raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Persistently high levels of cortisol, in turn, may have toxic effects on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is critical for memory.”

  • Learn a foreign language.
  • An article about the benefits of being bilingual, published in The New York Times last month, cited a recent University of California-San Diego study. It found that people with a higher degree of bilingualism were more resistant to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In other words, the more proficient you are at a second language, the later the disease onset.


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Coping with Alzheimers

By Linda Doell – www.moneytalksnews.com

Do you find yourself or a loved one making small money mistakes on an ongoing basis?

We all make the occasional mistake, from the occasional bounced check to incorrectly counting out change. But consistent money missteps, like forgetting bills or falling victim to scams, should set off warning bells.

Research has shown money mistakes can be an early clue to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to die and impairs function. One in eight older Americans – an estimated 5.4 million people – are living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here are more details and steps you can take to protect yourself and your family’s finances.

1. Early Clues to the Disease

Research headed up by Daniel Marson, a neurology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, showed a marked difference in the ability to solve money problems among those with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

In one study, test subjects were asked to identify coins, count money for a purchase, explain what a check was, read a bank statement, determine a fair price, and analyze a bill. The study showed the more progressed the disease was in a participant, the less likely they were to problem solve.

In another of Marson’s studies, seniors with mild symptoms were unable to explain the risks of telephone solicitations, something that can result in being victimized. ”There’s an epidemic of financial exploitation aimed at people with mild cognitive impairment,” Marson told Kiplinger.com.

The sooner you think Alzheimer’s could be a problem, the sooner you need to get your financial house in order.

2. Possible Costs

Ongoing medical care is one of many expenses to plan for. The Alzheimer’s Association estimated a whopping $200 billion was spent in 2012 on care for those with dementia. It typically costs $214 a day, or $78,110 a year, just for a semi-private room in a nursing home.

Other costs as the disease progresses can include home safety modifications, adult day care services, in-home care services, prescription drugs, and medical equipment.

3. Getting ready

If you confront dementia, either personally or with a family member, prepare as soon as possible.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends doing a complete review of all financial documents and organizing them in one place, including:

  • Bank and brokerage account information
  • Deeds and any mortgage or ownership documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Monthly and outstanding bills
  • Pensions and other retirement benefits
  • Rental income documents
  • Social Security payment paperwork
  • Stock and bond certificates

4. Setting Financial Goals

Keep in mind you’ll have to prepare for future care as well as ongoing financial commitments like paying bills and making investment choices. A family member or trusted financial adviser can help you find possible financial assistance and help set up investments.

Some sources for help from The Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Use the Eldercare Locator online or call (800) 677-1116
  • Check the online directory of the Financial Planning Association or call (800) 322-4237
  • Use the online directory of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys


 

5. Legal Considerations

Establish who will be responsible for financial, legal, and their decisions when you or a loved one are no longer able to do so. One way to do this is to grant a durable power of attorney.

The power of attorney will give authority to a person you choose to make decisions on your behalf. As a legal document, however, the power of attorney must be signed while the person granting the power is still mentally competent.

While states have differing standards, as long as the effects of the disease are minor, the person generally will be considered competent, according to FindLaw.

Hope for the future

New research studies were announced just this week aiming at finding new treatments for the disease. The National Institute on Aging announced Monday a five-year project including four major studies to develop new treatments. The research will be done by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study, a national academic network.

“The ADCS is a key initiative in the federal program to discover, develop and test new Alzheimer’s treatments and diagnostic tools. Over the years, it has proved invaluable in advancing our understanding about the disease and how to conduct research in this challenging area,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. in a statement announcing the studies. “I am particularly excited that this round of studies will use what we have learned by testing interventions pre-symptomatically, as early as we can in the development of the disease, where we now think the best hope lies for keeping Alzheimer’s at bay.”

Here’s to hoping the studies are successful in finding new treatments and the government’s goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025 succeeds.


blog-stethscp_at-home

Care For The Sick At Home With The Help Of Good-Quality Hospital Supplies

By Ann Pan – HealthcarePages.com

In today’s modern world, the sick is always treated with ease with all the number of clinics and hospitals around. Likewise, in case of need for medicines, drug stores are sprouting everywhere like mushrooms. All of these developments contribute to maintaining excellent health among people of all nations. However, there are instances when a patient would rather recuperate at home instead of at the hospital.

Predictably, this will result to a lowered level of intensity when it comes to health care. That is, until top-quality hospital supplies from Hospital Supply Direct was made available for everyone to avail. One such product that is needed by patients wanting to recover at home is a top-quality mattress. As a result of all these innovations, there is hardly any difference at all today when you choose to recuperate at the hospital or to recover at home.

Hospital supplies are products whose availability is rare at best. And even if there were many suppliers of these in one locality, the problem that is usually encountered is about the quality of such products. Another roadblock is the fact that such hospital supplies like finding a quality mattress are very expensive.

Hence, although recovery at home may present a lot of advantages especially from the point of view of saving on costs, many are taken aback with these prohibitive factors. Thankfully, such problems are no longer hindrances today.

One of the most important hospital supplies that you will need at home when you are sick is a fine quality mattress. This is important because the kind of surface you sleep on can decide whether you will recover quickly or you will spend a long time in bed, knowing that your condition has become worse. While you may think that your bed at the bedroom will be enough, this belief is often unfounded.

Not all mattresses are the same and the one you have at home is definitely different from the ones used in hospitals. At Hospital Supply Direct however, you will be able to purchase the best mattresses that are used only in hospitals. One such type of bed is the university mattress. Unlike ordinary mattresses, this comes in a double-layer construction. As a result, it is sturdier than ordinary mattresses.

Moreover, cushion is not sacrificed and you will still get that feeling as if you are sleeping on a surface of cotton. Because of these properties, your back will not sag, which is the common cause for backaches and injuries to the spinal cord for those who spend a long time in poor-quality beds.

One way that you can purchase such supplies like a mattress is through the Internet. And when buying from online dealers, there is none that can match the customer care and affection that Hospital Supply Direct provides their clients. When you want to purchase from them, simply access the site and fill out a purchase form. Depending on your location, they offer free shipment, so buying from them is definitely a wise decision.




blog-gracefully_older

7 Keys to Growing Old in Your Own Home

I found this great article about some of the plans you need to make in order to stay in your own home as you grow old. In addition to these tips, Mastercare is available to help with many of the day to day tasks as well both chore work and health related care. Happy Planning!

 

Aging in place requires planning ahead.

By Paula Spencer Scott – Caring.com senior editor

Want to live in your home for the rest of your life? Boost your odds by “future-proofing” now. Older adults who are most likely to remain in their homes have successfully arranged their houses and lives in ways that maximize their ability to weather the physical and practical setbacks often associated with getting older — setbacks that can make living independently more challenging.

Here are seven ingredients you’ll want to have in place in order to age in place:

  • 1. A single-story floor plan
  • Sure you can get up and down stairs easily now. And sure, many spry octogenarians can do the same. But what if you break a bone and require extended bed rest?

    What if you become confined to a wheelchair? It’s possible to convert a downstairs room to a bedroom, but not so easy to live on one floor if the only shower is on an upper floor.

    Think ahead about how you can convert to all-on-one-floor living, should the need arise. You may need to remodel to add a full bath on the ground level, for example, or insert a door to provide privacy in a downstairs room.

    The living space also needs to be all on one level. Split-level homes can be problematic because wheelchairs and walkers can’t easily navigate from one room to the next.

  • 2. Basic safety upgrades
  • One’s risk of falling increases with age, often due to medications or certain health conditions. Installing secure grab bars and wall-to-wall carpeting (or bare wood floors, no throw rugs) are smart safety upgrades that will help you avoid broken hips — one of the most common reasons older adults are forced to leave their homes.

    Familiarize yourself with the basics of bathroom safety and other home care safety, and start to slowly make your home safer for future needs.

    Don’t overlook good lighting. Dark hallways and burned-out bulbs are a common contributor to accidental falls. Did you know an 85-year-old needs about three times as much light as a 15-year-old does to see the same thing?

  • 3. Accessible utilities
  • Sure you can reach tall cupboards, stacked washer-dryers, and back burners easily now. But it’s likely that won’t always be the case. Even something as simple as a doorknob may be difficult to open if you develop arthritis or other disabilities.

    At least one lower countertop, a taller toilet, and a front- (rather than top) loading washer and dryer raised up from floor level are all examples of slightly modified household items that become easier to use later in life.

    Lever-type door handles, paddle faucets, and curb-less showers make these devices easy to use even in the event of arthritis or other disabilities affecting mobility.
    Familiarize yourself with the principles of universal design, for a home you can live in forever — bringing together safety, convenience, and style for residents of any age.

  • 4. Transportation options
  • Some 90-somethings are still on the road, but that doesn’t mean that all should be. For many older adults, giving up the car keys becomes an unwelcome but inevitable rite of passage.

    See what kinds of transportation alternatives are available in your location: Will you be able to count on family to transport you? Use local paratransit? Public buses? Are taxis an inexpensive distance from the grocery store? Can you safely walk or use a wheelchair to get to shopping?

  • 5. Emergency alerts
  • Living alone is great. But if you need help, how will you summon it? Fortunately, a wide range of new emergency-alert systems and medical alert systems are on the market. Some personal emergency response systems are meant to be worn, so you can call for help even if you fall.

    Or you can install emergency buzzers that call for outside help in the bathroom or kitchen, where falls and accidents are common.

    Also available: Monitoring systems that rely on sensors to track movements, such as how long someone spends in the bathroom or whether the front door is opened — providing a safety net of information for an outside family member.

    At minimum, you’ll want up-to-date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a way to make sure that batteries are replaced regularly if you can no longer climb a ladder to do this.

  • 6. Outsourced home maintenance
  • Older adults tend to focus on the inside of their homes. But what about the outside? Someone will need to tend the lawn, blow leaves out of gutters, shovel snow, replace roof tiles, and so on. Think through how you’ll make this happen and whether you can afford to outsource this work to outside companies or individual contractors.

  • 7. Automated bill pay and other transactions
  • Switching over to automated financial systems will eliminate your need to go out and do banking in person.

    You may be surprised just how many aspects of life you can automate to help you continue living at home, including Social Security payment deposits and other government benefit deposits, pharmacy refills, and even grocery orders.

    The more aspects of life that can be managed electronically or delivered to your door, the less you’ll have to rely on others, enhancing your odds of independent living.

    Of course, a rich social network is also a key ingredient to successfully living in your home forever — but ideally, you want those interactions to be born of wanting to be together, rather than needing to rely on others for everything in order to function.