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Senior Stats ******

Senior Stats ******

We reviewed statistics for “major health problems for seniors”! Find the * in the following article and create your TO-DO’s to live the best and healthiest life you can.

So, let’s take a stroll through the statistics according to the CDC in 2018. Ranked in order of most common:

  1. Heart Disease /Stroke
  2. Cancer
  3. Respiratory Disease (Pneumonia)
  4. Injuries / Falls
  5. Diabetes
  6. Alzheimer’s / Neurological System
  7. Musculoskeletal System (Arthritis)

The American Heart Association numbers should be the most frightening. More seniors die of heart attacks and strokes than all forms of cancer combined. NOTE: Almost twice the number of women die of heart attacks than men, every year. So, learn your numbers B/P, cholesterol and blood sugar. *

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer. According to the Heart, Lung, Blood Institute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as, bronchitis emphysema can be significantly improved if you STOP SMOKING. *

According to both the Mayo Clinic and CDC falls and injuries from car accidents are the fourth highest cause of death. Quick trick keep a copy of your living will in your glove compartment and always wear your seat belt.  AAA has a free program to help you adjust your seat belt and rear-view mirrors to the safest position. *

Falls in the home are more complicated, as the reasons are so varied:

  1. What medications are you taking? Check with your pharmacist if any new interaction from medications may cause you to be unsteady. *
  2. Have you fallen before? Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be Honest and let your primary care doctor know. *
  3. Keep moving.  Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention by walking, water workouts or tai chi or just natural movement throughout your day Activities that keep you moving improve strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Ask your doctor for vestibular training with your physical therapist if falling has become an issue. *
  4. Remove home hazards around your home and keep it well lit. *
  5. Use assistive devices such as hand rails or grab bars in the shower, if necessary. *

Diabetes kills men and women in equal numbers. A 2016 CDC report 29.1% of the population had diabetes and 86% were pre-diabetic!  96% of all diabetics are Type 2 which can most often be treated without medication by losing weight, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. *

According to the National Alzheimer’s Association one of three over 70, two out of three over 80 may begin to show the signs of some form of dementia. Even scarier is that 67% of the care givers die first. The best defense is learning something new every day. * So, do the crossword puzzle one day, then Word Find and then Sudoku the next.  Another “trick” is learning to do as much as you can with your non-dominate hand: brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat a meal (at home) as that fires up all the neuron connections on the “unused” side of your brain. *

Arthritis seems to be so common, that it is a surprise when you talk with someone our age that does not have it as a complaint.  There are two common forms of Arthritis: Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid. Arthritis is described as the inflammation of one or more joints, most common in people over 65.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, occurring when the cartilage protecting your bones wears away over time. This damage can impact multiple areas of your body but is most common around the joints in your hands, hips, knees, and spine. While you can’t really reverse the effects of osteoarthritis, there are ways to treat it. According to WEB MD the most common treatment is to increase your calcium intake to around 1,200 milligrams per day* You can get this extra calcium from foods like tofu, leafy greens, and yogurt as well as supplements.*  Also, try to avoid foods high in phosphorus such as red meats and soft drinks, as these can promote bone loss.* Try to exercise more frequently if possible, and do weight-bearing exercises like running, walking, and weight lifting as this will help your bone density. *

Rheumatoid arthritis, is the tougher of the two and first thing to do is implement an early and aggressive treatment strategy to reduce inflammation, with a rheumatologist. Drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help ease the pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Corticosteroids can also slow down disease activity and make your arthritis more manageable. Best to find a good rheumatologist and follow their guidance.

So how many * are you willing to own up to? Each asterisk represents something that you can do today to lead a healthier life and offset these statistics. Be outstanding and be the healthiest senior you can be!  

ER or Urgent Care?

ER or Urgent Care?

Where to go when I am sick or hurt?

It’s important to understand when you should go to an urgent care center. Urgent Care facilities are popping up everywhere it seems. So, when are these the best option for care? These facilities are not appropriate for life threatening illnesses or injuries. It is important to note, if your injury or illness is on the list of most commonly treated symptoms, but is determined to be severe enough you may need be transported to a local emergency room. A trained medical professional will make that decision.

These are the most appropriate reasons to go to an Urgent Care:

  1. Strep throat. Strep throat is highly contagious. An urgent care clinic can usually test, diagnose, and treat the infection immediately.
  2. Minor sprains and breaks. Most urgent care clinics have X-ray on site. If you suffer a sports injury or any type of serious fall, ice and rest the injured area as you head to an urgent care center.
  3. Flu shots and cold treatment. Urgent care centers will treat flu and cold symptoms. There are medications that can reduce the duration and impact of flu, and they work best if taken in the first two days of infection.
  4. Cuts and minor wounds. Stitches for minor cuts can easily be handled by an urgent care clinic. They can also provide tetanus shots and prescribe antibiotics, if needed.
  5. Tick bites. A tick bite is no minor bug bite. These  can be dangerous are best treated with early detection for potential Lyme disease.

In addition to injuries, people go to urgent care facilities to be treated for “feeling sick”. These illnesses usually found to be not life-threatening. They can be treated , most commonly, with antibiotics or other specific medications. Some of the most common illnesses that are treated in an urgent care facility include:  Urinary tract infections, Yeast infections, Pink eye, Mono, Bronchitis, Colds/Flu, Ear Infection.

Sometimes, you may not know exactly what is wrong. In these cases an urgent care facility is a reliable starting point. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: Swollen glands, Rash, Sore throat, Diarrhea, Headaches or any unexplained pain or swelling, these can usually be treated as outpatient. Realize, if  it is determined you do not belong in an urgent care, a trained professional will make sure that you are moved to the appropriate facility, by ambulance if necessary.  They will then notify the facility that you are on your way.  This allows the receiving facility to be prepared and saves time and in some cases lives.

Many Urgent cares now take online booking and will let you know how long a wait might be. So, think before you rush into an emergency room and get the bottom of the triage totem pole. Be educated about what kind of facilities are around you, so when you are in need of making that big decision you are ready.

Home Care / Home Health Care / Assisted Living What and When

Home Care / Home Health Care / Assisted Living What and When

Understanding In-Home Care Options and How to Manage Services. Part One

Finding the correct match for “Need to Providers” has become increasing difficult. The need can spontaneously appear with any sudden health crisis. I hear all the time “I don’t need this, now” and sadly more often “I wish I had known this 2 months ago”.   This will be in two parts, the first here is understanding home care options.  I will follow with how to manage services.

To get the best answers it is always safest go an expert.  Carol Connor business is to get the patient or family to the correct service provider. She does the “Need to Provider” connection.

Carol, can you give us an overview of what you are seeing in our community?

I find many residents of Sun City love your life and enjoy being active, but for many it is becoming harder to accomplish what you want to do. Sometimes, bodies just can’t keep up with our spirit. Chronic conditions like arthritis, progressive diseases like Parkinson’s or sudden events like falls or even stroke are limiting our activity level. We’re not ready to give up our circle of friends and our interests, we just need a little help. Adding care in the home can make all the difference in recovery from an illness or maintaining a good quality of life. It can provide daily or weekly support for things like safe showering, meal preparation, exercise, transportation and more to keep you going strong. As with much healthcare, there is a lot confusion about care in the home, what it can do and who pays for it.

Carol where is the best place to start?  I think need to understand what does Medicare is and what it covers.  Let’s start with what Medicare IS?  Medicare is health insurance for anyone over 65 or who is under 65 and receiving Social Security Disability. Medicare covers all or part of the costs of physician visits, hospital stays, short term rehab after a hospital stay and some medical equipment. It does not cover long term care. It does cover some limited temporary home healthcare after a hospital stay or when there is a nursing need, i.e. wound care, to be met.

Carol are you able to simplify the difference between Home Healthcare and Home Care?

Home Healthcare services, ordered by a physician, are nursing or therapy visits to homebound patients by a licensed RN, LPN, Licensed Therapist. It’s typically recommended after a hospital stay or for those with ongoing skilled nursing needs. Wound care, ostomy care, tracheotomy and ventilator management and other complex care, performed by a nurse. Home healthcare is limited to nursing visits plus physical, occupational and speech therapy for home bound patients.  These visits are paid for by Medicare, as long as they are medically ordered as a skilled need.

Home Care services provide Certified Nursing Assistants or aides to assist with activities of daily living (ADLs.) They can assist with bathing, dressing, hygiene, toileting, meals and transportation. They are not permitted to dispense or touch medications Home healthcare is limited to physician ordered nursing visits plus physical, occupational and speech therapy for home bound patients.

How much does Home Care cost?  Costs are calculated on an hourly rate and is based on the shift, the day of the week, the length of the visit and the number of hours per week. The scope of care will also impact your rate. Weekend and evening hours are typically billed at a higher rate than day shift during the week. Shorter visits are billed at a higher rate. Maintaining a regular schedule is important. It is much easier to find a qualified care giver if hours are consistent.  While some home care services can provide a caregiver on short notice, home care is not “on demand” for sporadic needs. Pricing may vary with agencies but the range is typically $21/hour-$26/hour.

Carol how can we maximize home care service: Think about your goals for goals for home care and discuss them with your physician first to see if any can be ordered as home healthcare and not paid for as out of pocket.   Then discuss with the caregiver you will be working with to  provide both assistance and engagement during their visit. Share as much information about the person needing care as you can. Background information like interests (former and current), activity level, education, cognition and personality gives the team insight into how to interact with and stimulate your loved one. When aides stay on their phones or preoccupy themselves to pass time, they are likely to annoy or aggravate both the family and  the client needing care. For dementia patients, it can create agitation or a feeling of “being guarded.” Collaborate on a list of tips, games, outings, activities, music, conversation topics, etc the patient enjoys to help the caregiver successfully connect with their client. Is exercise or time outdoors important? Share any routine or schedule that you’re using, as well as any risks to watch for. Is your loved one prone to falls or wandering? Do they prefer to do as much or as little for themselves as they can? Make the aide aware and offer tips on how you successfully manage that. Remember that there’s learning curve for both you and the care staff. Work with the care team to help them understand the person as well as the physical need, and get to know the caregivers. If you feel a particular caregiver is not a good fit, explain why to your case manager and work together to find a better fit.

Agencies employ many caregivers and fitting the pieces of their schedules together among several clients is like working a puzzle in some cases. Like any working person, caregivers need to know they will consistently have work. Frequent cancellations or changes to your schedule can affect how secure in their position and aide feels. Shorter shifts are harder to fill than longer shifts on a regular schedule. Let the agency know if your hours are specific or if you can be flexible for the right caregiver. Find out their policy on filling a shift when one of their caregivers is out sick or on vacation. If it’s critical that the shift is filled, let them know that up front. Cases can be opened quickly, sometimes even the same day, but understand that the first few shifts will be filled with caregivers available on short notice. It may take a few days or a week until a consistent caregiver and good fit is available. Agencies will do their best to provide the best team member as quickly as possible.

Is it right for you? Home care and home health can be great options for helping someone stay in their home. It can aid in recovery from medical events and help sustain someone with chronic conditions. It should enhance their quality of life at home and in the community. If care needs start to exceed 8 hours/day, or if your loved one is at risk of wandering or living in solitary , it’s time to look at other options like day care or assisted living. Caregiver burnout in families is very real and will cause mental and physical decline for both the caregiver and the person they are caring for. The national statistic can be as high as two out of three can predecease the ailing person.

Communication is everything. If your social circle has dwindled and your stress level has increased, your own health is being impacted. Talk with family, a trusted friend, or a support group to help manage the stress and to support you as you care for someone. If it’s time for a change, contact a senior care advisor like 65 Senior Street to help guide you through options for communities that will fit your need.

Medical Health History. How do I write mine?

Medical Health History. How do I write mine?

To create a detailed health history you should include:

•Individual contact information for each of your physician practices ie.. orthopedic, arthritis, gynecology, cardiac, internal medicine, neurology etc.
•Each section should include test results that have been done in the past such as any lab test, blood work, EKG, scans, MRI’s.
•Highlight past complications to surgeries and include anesthesia difficulties.
•Document activities you are currently doing to focus on a healthy lifestyle.
•Encourage to give a real account of daily alcohol and drug use.
•Specifically document if they are ½ dosing of medications
•Give specific drug sensitivities and allergies
•Be as specific as possible on family past medical history including age and cause of death.

Reasons why your Living Will should be in your glove compartment and your travel suitcase?

Reasons why your Living Will should be in your glove compartment and your travel suitcase?

Why do you need to have a Living Will
A living will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments. The most important fact is that paper copy of Your Living Will  must be WITH you when you enter the hospital.  Not in your safe deposit box, Not with your children and Not as part of your electronic medical record.  Your spouse vocally sharing your wishes is NOT legally binding.

Realize if you arrive in an ER unconscious, we have mere minutes to determine what you want done and comply with your intentions.

Your Living Will guides your medical decision-making in the event :
You are unable to make medical decisions
You are in the medical condition specified in the state’s living will law
(such as “terminal illness” or “permanent unconsciousness”)
Other requirements also may apply, depending upon the state.

A medical power of attorney (or healthcare proxy) allows you to appoint a person you trust as your healthcare agent (or surrogate decision maker), who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf. Before a medical power of attorney goes into effect a person’s physician must conclude that they are unable to make their own medical decisions. In addition:
If a person regains the ability to make decisions, the agent cannot continue to act on the person’s behalf.
Many states have additional requirements that apply only to decisions about life-sustaining medical treatments.
For example, before your agent can refuse a life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, a second physician may have to confirm your doctor’s assessment that you are incapable of making treatment decisions.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Advance directives are legally valid throughout the United States. While you do not need a lawyer to fill out an advance directive, your advance directive becomes legally valid as soon as you sign them in front of the required witnesses. The laws governing advance directives vary from state to state, so it is important to complete and sign advance directives that comply with your state’s law.   Also, advance directives can have different titles in different states.

Emergency medical technicians cannot ask for a Living Will  or medical powers of attorney BY LAW ( 1962 SC)  in South Carolina. Once emergency personnel have arrived, they must do whatever they are able to stabilize a person for transfer to a hospital, both from accident sites and from a home or location. Upon review of the Living Will and after a physician fully evaluates the person’s condition and determines the underlying conditions, advance directives can be implemented

North Carolina (CMC Pineville SCCL closest hospital) ) does honor advance directives from another state; others will honor out-of-state advance directives as long as they are similar to the state’s own law.
Advance directives do not expire. An advance directive remains in effect until you change it. If you complete a new advance directive, it invalidates the previous one.
You should review your advance directives periodically to ensure that they still reflect your wishes. If you want to change anything in an advance directive once you have completed it, you should complete a whole new document.
For more information go to : The Vial of Life Program ……

What is Durable Power of Attorney or Healthcare Power of Attorney

What is Durable Power of Attorney or Healthcare Power of Attorney

HCPOA or DPOA understand the differences so you can get the services you require.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) and Why do I Need One, is a question being asked more frequently.  It is important to understand how it is different than a Healthcare Power of Attorney.  Is it to be effective now or when I am incapacitated?  What can you do to make sure it can it be enforced? I have been asked many of these questions and sought out the knowledge of Mallissa Church an expert attorney in this area.

Durable Power of Attorney

What does it do?
Identifies a designated person –an Agent -who may make decisions for you, the Principal, and handle your personal business on your behalf.
It is a flexible document –as Principal, you may designate as many or few powers to your Agent as you wish.
It gives you peace of mind knowing you and your personal affairs will be managed by someone you trust.
Why do I need it?
It provides a seamless process for someone else to help you and help manage your finances and personal affairs if you become ill or incapacitated. It can prevent the need for someone to seek Guardianship and Conservator-ship.
It allows you to make decisions about specific powers you want to grant and the persons to whom you grant them.

South Carolina just enacted a new General Durable Power of Attorney Statute (effective January 2017). The new law is more comprehensive and includes new requirements not previously included in the old statute.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA)is power to make healthcare decisions. Note not all healthcare providers honor a General Durable Power of Attorney with healthcare decisions.  An HCPOA can be made effective immediately, before you are incapacitated. Healthcare Power of Attorney, designates someone to receive healthcare information about you and make specific healthcare decisions on your behalf.  It does not grant any powers regarding financial decisions. It does allow you to make specific end-of life decisions becomes effective only effective after you are incapacitated

Durable Power of Attorney can be used as a Medicaid and Long-Term Care Planning Tool. It will help in qualifying for Medicaid using Spend-Down principal. DPOA allows your Agent to strategically make gifts to decrease your assets.  This agent can include spend-down assets by paying “reasonable compensation” to the Agent. DPOA may retain Home Services, Home Health Assistance and Select In-Patient Care for the Principal.  The new statute allows you to permit your Agent to retain home services, health assistance if you need it and also select in-patient nursing care for you.

The new South Carolina revision allows you to sue anyone who doesn’t honor the document (and recover costs). Your Durable Power of Attorney must meet the following requirements:
The document must be executed like a Will.
Meet the statute requirements.
Be recorded at the Register of Deeds office in the county where the Principal lives.
The new statute also provides a form your Agent may complete indicating your intent for the Durable Power of Attorney to be effective immediately.

These are some basic facts that will be useful in moving forward to obtain the necessary documents should you or a loved one become unable to care for themselves.  This is an area where you really do need to get professional advice before you really need it.