Alzheimer’s Statistics

EDITOR: These [reposted 2015] stats are from Alzheimers.net, an online community dedicated to education, advocacy and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s to give caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. I added a short section on the impact of sleep duration & quality and a related infographic.

Alzheimer’s Statistics Worldwide

2015 Alzheimer's Statistics

  • Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind)
  • Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)

Read More …

When Caregiver Robots Come for Grandma

Failing the Third Machine Age: When [Caregiver] Robots Come for GrandmaWhen Robots Come for Grandma is a long and thought-provoking article by Zeynep Tufekci, published in 2014. It builds a case against “caregiver robots,” arguing that they are both inhumane and economically destructive. She got me thinking, and I hope this has the same effect on you.

I would have liked to add my own perspectives and contrarian view with links to related articles here at Modern Health Talk. I’d start with Will Robots Take Over in Health Care? Unfortunately there was no space to add comments, so I use her article as a basis for mine and hope you’ll share your thoughts in the space I give below. Read More …

How to stay connected with parents from far away

When mom got dementia, I was stuck overseas.

When mom got dementia, I was stuck overseas. (Photo credit: Chad King, https://www.flickr.com/photos/chdwckvnstrsslhm/208884800/sizes/z/, Some rights reserved)

By Daniel Lewis

Following my mom’s diagnosis of dementia, I got stuck. I was in shock and had no idea what to do since I was working abroad. I couldn’t leave my job, my kids and my home overseas to come back and take care of her, and I felt incredibly guilty for that. I have no siblings and no relatives that could help, so I had to find a solution. Read More …

Medical Alert Systems

Reviews.com recently published a review of The Best Medical Alert Systems, and they gave me permission to repost it here as long as I met their requirements.

Three out of our four final contenders shared the exact same technology. Clockwise from the top left: Acadian On Call, MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical.

Medical Alert Systems — Help at the push of a button

Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they prefer to live in their own homes, and most expect to stay there. It’s called “aging in place” and put simply: no assisted living facilities. Family members want to respect these wishes, but the risks are real. According to the National Council on Aging, one in three adults age 65 and older experience a fall each year, let alone other emergencies. The best medical alert systems address these risks with reliable devices that can connect seniors with help, keeping them safely independent — and giving family members one less thing to worry about. Our top pick, Bay Alarm Medical, goes even further with attentive, personable service. In an emergency, we’d feel comfortable with a loved one in the company’s hands. Read More …

Getting Disability Benefits as a Caretaker

Getting Disability Benefits as a Caretaker

By Bryan Mac Murray, Outreach Specialist, Social Security Disability Help (Not affiliated with Social Security Administration)

Applying for Disability on Behalf of Someone Else

The Social Security Administration (SSA) knows that disability applicants are not always physically or mentally able to complete the application themselves. For this reason, there are processes in place that allow a caretaker to apply for Social Security disability benefits for someone else. Read More …

Smart Elder Orphans Prepare for Aging Stages

Asian woman is an Elderly Orphan living alone but with a plan for future care needs. She's an example of how to prepare for aging stages.

Image source: Huffington Post

By Carol Marak, Aging Advocate and Senior Care Contributor (original at Huffington Post)

This article about “Elder Orphans” is the second in a series, describing how to prepare for aging stages by first knowing what they are. If you missed the first article, here’s your chance.

I got interested in creating and sharing my own plan with Huffington Post readers after reading umpteen studies of senior isolation and how the harmful effects devastate our mental and physical health. Living alone suits me but isolation certainly does not. That’s why at age 64, I think a lot about my latter years. But doing that is a challenge, and even the renown geriatrician, Dr. Bill Thomas, admits to the misconceptions of aging.

Humans have a limited ability to predict accurately or even imagine the needs of their future self. That’s especially true when the future has scary possibilities.[EDITOR: See my collection of Famous False Predictions.]

However, if I don’t want to be stuck in suburbia away from social connections, an amped-up imagination is needed, with helpful tips from readers like you.  Read More …

Elder Orphans living alone need to avoid social isolation

Seniors living alone and socially isolated are Elder Orphans.

Source: Huffington Post

By Carol Marak, Aging Advocate and Senior Care Contributor (original at Huffington Post)

Seniors living alone and socially isolated are Elder Orphans. The deeper my age propels into my senior years, long-term care planning cannot delay. This is the first of a series on how I plan to avoid the problems of elder orphans. Like most over 60 years of age, we haven’t planned well, and adults like me who live without a spouse or children cannot afford to put it off. Even my parents delayed making arrangements. But they had four children they could rely on for care. I don’t, nor does my sister or many of my friends. But since I work with aging experts at SeniorCare.com, there’s no excuse to let the loose ends dangle. Read More …

What Caregiving Looks Like, Really

Caring for RobertaAccording to AARP, more than 40 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for elderly family members or friends. On average they spend more than 24 hours a week providing this service, with the value of their time alone estimated at $470 billion a year, and that’s before considering the impact on their career advancement from taking time off, or their own health from the added stress.

To put that $470B into perspective, it’s more than total Medicaid spending ($449B), and close to the annual sales of the four largest U.S. tech firms combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Microsoft), which came to $429B in 2013.

The following six short videos, each just 3 minutes or less, show what caregiving looks like. They’re from a contest sponsored by AARP and the Ad Council to feature the care given by friends and family. But what about those seniors who don’t have a support system? With changing demographics, their numbers are increasing, even as there are fewer left to provide care.

Figaro

This first video, which shows friends taking on the role of “family” caregivers, earned AARP’s top prize.

In the Moment

In this 2nd place video, the brother and sister team of Jeff & Patti work together to help their 92 year-old mom Lulu live in the moment even as she struggles with dementia and the loss of short-term memory.

The Baton – Kaypri Marcus

Kaypri speaks of how thankful she is to have the opportunity to finish her mother’s autobiography about being a southern white woman involved in the civil rights movement. This reminds me of the importance of leaving a legacy and capturing your story while you can. (See related articles here).

The Van

Donating an unneeded van was a random act of kindness, and an unexpected blessing, for this family since their own minivan often needed repair and was on its last leg with more than 270,000 miles.

Roberta’s Home

92 year-old Roberta’s daughter and grandson moved in to help her stay in the home she designed and built. Barbara’s role reversed from daughter to caregiver, and Blake formed a much deeper relationship with his grandmother.

It Takes a Family

This short shows what can happen when a wife becomes a caregiver and then needs to rely on additional help from her children and their spouses.

Share Your Story

I love how personal each of these stories are and would like to hear yours in the comments below or via email, and with your permission I’d like to share it as an article here, with whatever photos or videos you provide.

Sleep Problems in Dementia

How to Manage Sleep Problems in Dementia

Click image to view original article.

Sleep problems are common in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They are also a common source of tension for family caregivers, because when your spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s doesn’t sleep well, this often means that you don’t sleep well.

To make matters even worse, not getting enough sleep can worsen the behavior and mindset of someone with dementia. Of course, this is true for those of us who don’t have Alzheimer’s as well: we all become more prone to emotional instability and irritation when we’re tired. Studies have also shown that even younger healthy people perform worse on cognitive tests when they are sleep-deprived. Read More …

The Financial Costs Of Moving Home

The Financial Costs of Moving Home

By JP Adams

Many family caregivers consider moving close to a loved one or parent as they become older. There they can help with cleaning, getting groceries, and driving to doctors’ appointments. Most importantly, this gives them and their loved ones an opportunity to connect.

At the same time, the decision to move home can be challenging. I often hear mixed feelings from families – “I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do,” OR “I want to be with her but I don’t really like the area where she lives.”

One thing is overwhelmingly clear.  Moving home is a significant financial decision. There are costs and benefits.  It’s important to go through each and make a rational decision.  Read More …

Caregiver Frustration to Fulfillment (Mkt. Research)

Caregiver Frustration Survey Reveals Array of Emotions Caregivers Feel in Their Varied Roles

Emotions and the Caregiving Role

Emotions and the Caregiving Role (from CareGiverSupport.org)

By David Inns, CEO of GreatCall

It’s inevitable: our parents and loved ones will get older. It’s also likely they will need care from us. We know this, yet our role continues to be shockingly difficult. We struggle, in part, because there is no set of Caregiver Rules to read or follow, let alone a map of where to go for resources and support.

A recent study of more than 1,000 family caregivers conducted by the independent research firm Cognise for my active aging technology company GreatCall, shows that nearly one-third struggle in their caregiving role and want tools to help them and their family members.  Read More …

Home Renovations that can Save the Estate

Jack and Jill, a Mother Goose nursery rhyme

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.

By Wayne Caswell

Scenario ONE

Jack and Jill were in their late 60s and had been married for 37 years when Jack suffered a severe stroke and required care beyond the abilities of his partner. After leaving the hospital, he went into a nursing home, and the family home was sold to pay for his care, which was expensive and projected exceed $84,000 per year.

Jill couldn’t maintain the big house herself and couldn’t afford it either, so she moved into a small apartment alone, without her lifelong mate. Being separated affected the couple’s morale, but worse was that it affected their health and their finances. Without long-term-care insurance, their life savings were depleted quickly before Medicaid finally kicked in. And now the grown children had two places to visit to support their declining parents. It didn’t have to be that way.

Scenario TWO

Just as in the nursery rhyme, Jack goes home and recovers more quickly there – in familiar and loving surroundings where Jane hires professionals to help care for him. That decision lets the couple stay together, and the kids have just one place to visit.

Universal Design was not offered when they built their home, and even though renovating the home for wheelchair accessibility often costs as much as $50,000, they felt it was financially better than the alternative. The project was entirely funded with home equity, so they didn’t even have to touch their retirement money, or the kid’s future inheritance. You see, Jack and Jill are like most American seniors, 90% of whom would rather live at home as long as possible and are willing to seek help to do that.

Read More …

The Best Smartphone Apps for Caregivers

WebMD MobileBy Glenn Randolph

Caregivers have a demanding job that can be downright overwhelming at times. These days, many caregivers are using modern mobile smartphone apps to do their jobs more effectively. Smartphone apps can be used for countless purposes, such as scheduling, looking up pertinent health information, identifying pills and so much more. What are the best smartphone apps for caregivers? Here are a few of the best to consider using.

This list should help you cut through the clutter of over 1.2 million different apps listed for iOS alone by July 2014. 240 of them were specific to medicine or health care. Read More …

Caretakers harness the Internet of Things

What Caretakers Can Do RIGHT NOW to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

By Beth Kelly

SThe Internet of Thingsocial technology and home automation have moved upstream. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-third of seniors own a tablet or e-book reader. Almost 50 percent of seniors own high-speed Internet access and browse the Web at least 3-5 times per week.

These typing, Skyping, texting seniors are the next beneficiaries of the Internet of things (IoT), the growing network of WiFi-enabled appliances, wearable sensors, automated security systems and other connected devices. For instance, researchers at UCLA are investigating how to use WearSens, a piezoelectric necklace, to remotely monitor breathing patterns of recovering surgery patients. BrainAid offers the PEAT smartphone app to help seniors with memory loss live independently with scheduling assistance.

The revolution is now. Here’s how to get involved. Read More …

Senior Citizen Drug Dependency or Addiction

Drug Money

Drug addiction can easily extend to seniors as they age, develop multiple chronic illnesses, have many pains, and are seen by different physicians who may not know what else the patient is taking.

Contrary to what many people may believe, substance abuse is not just a problem for young, reckless people who are living a party lifestyle. Senior citizens experiencing multiple pains from various ailments may end up abusing prescription painkillers or other substances. Medication abuse knows no boundary of age, and whether a person is 20 or 80, dependency and addiction is a possibility if he or she must use painkillers or similar drugs. It is important for such people to seek substance abuse treatment if they have become addicted or dependent. Read More …

The Cost of Aging in America

 

Income levels for aging Americans are increasing,
but not as quickly as “The Cost of Aging in America.”

The infographic below was produced by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. It explores the serious financial burdens faced by aging Americans, their loved ones, and industry — as well as steps our health care system might take to counteract this trend. I gladly feature it today to complement other articles here about health reform, public policy, and the future of healthcare.

Some highlights:

  • The number of seniors 85 and older will triple by 2050, an important statistic because these are people who need the most expensive care.
  • The cost of healthcare in America is already over $3 trillion/year, and that doesn’t even include the roughly $450 billion provided by unpaid family members.
  • Paid caregivers earn just $18-20K per year, and while demand for their services will likely double by 2022, their wages likely won’t increase much.

Read More …

Helping Seniors Stay Warm in Winter

Click image to see related article at CareGiver Partnership.

Winter weather can mean dangerous conditions for older people, both inside and outside the home, so this infographic by Homecare Together offers helpful tips on how to keep sufficiently warm and keep the heat inside. Afterwards is a text transcript for people who use screen readers.

In addition to helping seniors stay warm, keep an eye out for symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of depression that occurs during winter when there’s less natural sunlight, and keeping curtains drawn to keep in the warmth can amplify the effect. It’s often treated with light therapy using products offered by Intelligent Sleep. Read More …

Curing The Holiday Blues

Ho Ho ChristmasEDITOR: We wish you all a Joyous Christmas, but in case your mood is just Ho Ho, this article may help.

A Long Slide Home

By Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. (Huffington Post)

That’s how a man in his 50s described his life to me: “It’s my long slide home.” He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him.

I often see the holiday blues strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one’s life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression — especially during midlife.

Read More …