Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Instructor Sue Kopczynski, M.S.W., will lead the following sessions at Collinwood Terrace Assisted Living (4518 54TH St., San Diego 92115):
May 20: What is Normal Aging & Dementia? Family Coping & Communications
May 27: Managing Behavior, Interaction Techniques, Physical Care, Environmental Needs
OBJECTIVES: To understand dementia, normal aging, understand the family system & communications management of behavior, create a successful environment
REGISTRATION: 1-800-736-6674. NOTE: You must sign up at least one week prior to the date to reserve a seat.
MORE INFORMATION: The George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers Web Site
Monday, March 29, 2010
Pet and animal therapy is an important part of our Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers' programs. Twice a year the San Diego Zoo Express visits our center in Chula Vista to share some of the zoo's attractions with our participants. This year they were treated to visits with an alligator, hedgehog, screech owl, armadillo, parrot and echidna. The last animal is one of two mammals that lays eggs and is also the oldest animal at the world-famous zoo.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Are you 60 or older and in need of food? If so, you may qualify for a program that provides free food each month.
The San Diego Food Bank currently is enrolling eligible applicants into its Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides food to low-income seniors, pregnant women and mothers with children under age 6.
To apply, you'll need to visit the nearest distribution site, which you can find by calling 211 or 866-350-3663. You'll need to bring:
- Photo ID
- Proof of income and/or Medi-Cal card
- Proof of address (such as a utility bill)
Income Eligibility for Seniors:
- Maximum Monthly Income for a One-Person Household: $1,174
- Maximum Monthly Income for a Two-Person Household: $1,579
- Maximum Monthly Income for a 3-Person Household: $1,984
- For each additional household member: +$406
Monday, March 22, 2010
The San Diego News Newtork has a special project, Women in History Month, which highlights the advances women have made during the past century. We thought it was a perfect way to showcase to one of our Hillcrest Center participants: 103-year-old Beulah Magruder, whom we earlier introduced on this blog. And the editors agreed!
SDNN: Beulah Magruder is 'Outliving' Us All
Beulah has lived with her daughter, Josie Magruder Rhodes, for some time now and, like many caregivers, Josie has wanted to commemorate her mother's extraordinary life but is often overwhelmed by daily duties. As her mother advanced in years, Josie began to realize just how much her mother has contributed to some of the great movements of our time, particularly women's rights. "Every year I come to appreciate more and more everything that my mother did, for me and for many, many other people through her activism and volunteer work."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By now, most of us are well aware that the state of California has been hit especially hard by the Great Recession and been forced to severely reduce funding to health and human services, including adult day health care programs and those they serve. Already crippled by cutbacks, these services are again “on the chopping block” as legislative committees begin to look for more ways to close a huge budget deficit.
Glenner Centers’ CEO, Kelly Focht, M.S.W., is one of two advocacy captains in San Diego County working with a statewide organization to convince legislators that an investment in adult health day care services is not only fundamental to saving lives but also to saving the state a great deal of money.
While Glenner Centers are focused on assisting the memory-impaired, it is one of 21 adult day care centers in San Diego and more than 300 throughout California that provide critical services to a much broader group of people with psychiatric, developmental and physical disabilities that require home and community-based services in order to function optimally. Without these services, individuals are at risk of becoming more ill and ending up in emergency rooms and long-term skilled nursing facilities, which average a monthly cost of $4,000 to $6,000 compared to $1,500 to $2,000 for adult day care.
If adult day health care is eliminated as a Medi-Cal benefit, low income, medically at-risk individuals will lose this cost-effective skilled nursing care provided at the adult day health care center. Services include: nursing, mental health services, social work, physical, occupational and speech therapy; medication management; dietary and transportation services. All of these services allow individuals to maintain the life skills required for their own sustainability. Similarly, caregivers who must work to support their families are at risk if their loved one can no longer attend an adult day health care program.
Lawmakers appear to understand the gravity of the issue, as Kelly and other members of the Sacramento-based California Association for Adult Day Services appeal to individual state Senate and Assembly members to not make further cuts in funding.
“I’ve spoken to them on the human costs of further budget reductions,” Kelly said. “We are encouraging our local political leaders to visit our programs so they see firsthand how important these programs are and why they need to stay in place.”
“We need to continue to help those who cannot help themselves,” she added.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Health care professionals have long known that regular exercise carries many physical, mental and emotional benefits. Researchers continually show us that, among other benefits, exercise helps mitigate and perhaps even alleviate depression. That’s also true of those with Alzheimer’s Disease, where as many of 87% of older AD patients suffer some form of depression, according to Clinical Gerontologist.
At our Glenner Centers in Chula Vista, Hillcrest and Encintas, daily exercise is encouraged through walks around our facilities and chair calisthenics. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University explained in one study why exercise may be so important to AD patients:
There is a great need for non-pharmacological interventions for depression in moderate to late stage AD. These individuals are less able to participate in talking therapies and more at risk for adverse effects of antidepressant medications than are other depressed older adults.
It's important to note that caregivers, too, can help stave off depression and remain physically and mentally healthy through daily exercise as well.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Last night NBC Nightly News devoted a health segment to AD's increasing impact on minorities during its evening newscast. "Right now there's a diagnosis of Alzheimer's about every 70 seconds - a rate the [Alzheimers] Association says will double by the mid-century mark," anchor Brian Williams reported.
Much of the focus of medical research has been on physical health - such as sleep, exercise and diet. But more physicians like Dr. Mendelson now argue more needs to be made of connections between healthy attitudes and emotions as a way to keep many diseases, including Alzheimers and other dementia-related illnesses, at bay.
"Research has shown that people that have long histories of Major Depression are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's Dementia than those that do not. Reduction of stress further decreases the likelihood of dementia. Indeed, studies have shown that people who describe themselves as calm, relaxed, and self-satisfied can reduce their risk of Alzheimer's by one half."
Not only is finding a sense of purpose a way to remain healthy, but it's also among the most inexpensive prevention methods. Notes Dr. Mendelson:
"It is time that we return to simple, inexpensive, but effective measures to reduce the numbers of people who develop Alzheimer's, as well as to reduce the enormous financial burden on our country and families. Thus, the most important part of the finding that a sense of purpose can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's may be one that was not mentioned by the authors of the study. What they might have mentioned is the fact that a strong sense of purpose in life is absolutely free."
Monday, March 8, 2010
Today she's written a particularly poignant post called What Caregiving Taught Me. We highly recommend you head over a view her list of lessons. Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite:
After a decade of caring for my mother who had Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, then brought her into our home the last 2+ years of her life, this is the distilled version of what caregiving taught me. I am profoundly grateful for these lessons.
1.To stand up for myself, and caregiving will give me plenty of opportunities to do so.
2.There is a time in life in which you sacrifice for someone you love–and a time to stop sacrificing.
3.It takes humor to tackle the big scary things in life, like caregiving, disease, and death.
4.Caregiving will inevitably bring out the worst–and the best in me.
5.Caregiving will change me, but it’s up to me to determine how.
Now, head over to read the other 15 lessons included in the post.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Here's what the column had to say on that matter:
As the population continues to age, perhaps the greatest health benefit of regular physical activity will turn out to be its ability to prevent or delay the loss of cognitive functions. The new study of 3,485 healthy men and women older than 55 found that those who were physically active three or more times a week were least likely to become cognitively impaired.
One study conducted in Australia and published in September 2008 in The Journal of the American Medical Association randomly assigned 170 volunteers who reported memory problems to a six-month program of physical activity or health education. A year and a half later, the exercise group showed “a modest improvement in cognition.” Various other studies have confirmed the value of exercise in helping older people maintain useful short-term memory, enabling them to plan, schedule and multitask, as well as store information and use it effectively.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
For many of us, chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and dementia can capture and ultimately cut off our later years, but researchers are discovering that those who continue to live vigorously well into their 90s and 100s have some common traits. A New England study of 850 near-centenarians found the majority of participants were:
• Lean in weight
These same researchers looked through data for clues to centenarians’ exceptional resilience.
From the evidence gathered so far, it appears that for the most part, people who live to 100 and beyond do not necessarily avoid the chronic diseases of aging that normally claim the rest of us after midlife. About 40% of centenarians have experienced one of these illnesses in their lifetimes, but they seem to push through them without long-term problems or complications. And when they do get sick, according to a study conducted in 1996, they are less likely to log time in the intensive-care unit (ICU) and often require less-expensive care per admission — at least compared with the cardiac surgery, chemotherapy and other ICU procedures that many of their younger elderly counterparts need.
The article goes on to discuss other studies done specifically on the brain to identify ways to prevent or slow degenerative diseases, such as those that affect our families at Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers.
As the brain ages, it weathers a constant onslaught from these destructive oxygen ions. The body is able to patch over tiny dings and cuts in the genome, but over time, the genetic fixers can no longer keep up, and the function of the gene is compromised. The balance between wear and repair may be the key to a healthily aging brain. By scanning the genomes of centenarians, Yankner hopes to isolate the genes — and the biological processes attached to them — that help them stay ahead of the damage. Those might then be harnessed to give noncentenarians the same edge.
That work might also begin to explain the growing body of evidence behind the use-it-or-lose-it hypothesis, which suggests that people can improve their odds of remaining mentally alert by keeping their minds engaged. Learning a new language, picking up a hobby and maintaining a rich network of social connections are all ways to keep brain neurons firing.