Early last year during my certification as a CSA (Certified Senior Advisor) we took part in an exercise that simulated what a senior would hear at various stages of hearing loss. At the medium hearing loss stage over 80% of our group missed 95% of the words. That result changed the way I looked at hearing loss in our senior population. Mike Armstrong an otolaryngologist at Richmond Facial Plastics addresses the seriousness of the equipment available to help with this serious senior issue.
Lisa Marie Blaskie RN, CSA, CCM
Despite remarkable changes in technology, only 20% of patients who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. Reasons vary, but include a lack of awareness among patients and physicians, fear of stigmatization, and failure to recognize the immense value of hearing aids on social life and productivity.
Hearing loss affects 36 million Americans according to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). One third of seniors over 65 have hearing loss, as do half of all people over 75. Surprisingly, 18% of Baby Boomers already experience hearing loss! In 2011, there were 75 million Baby Boomers in America. Ranging in age from 47 and 66, we are generally active, healthy adults experiencing unprecedented prosperity compared to prior generations. We are too busy to ignore our hearing health.
It is time to cast aside the fear of stigmatization with hearing instruments. Consumers have become so accustomed to wearing ear buds and Bluetooth devices that I often must ask patients to remove them before I can examine their ears! Compared to these new status symbols, hearing instruments can be even more discrete, more sophisticated or even colorful, depending on the desires of the user. With almost 20% of Boomers experiencing hearing loss, it should not be unusual to find someone wearing hearing aids – but they may be too small to see.
Consumers and physicians alike may underestimate the impact for seniors of untreated hearing loss on lifestyle and productivity. With losses typically beginning in the high frequencies, many patients believe they can “hear,” but have trouble understanding. High frequency consonants like “th” and “s” drop out, and words like “pea” and “tea” and “key” sound alike. Raising the voice just makes the base tones unpleasantly loud, causing the hearing impaired person to exclaim “I can hear you! You don’t have to shout!” Frustration can lead to poor work performance and social isolation – even to depression.
Despite the prevalence of hearing loss, many seniors and physicians do not know how or where to go for help. Just yesterday, a nurse practitioner acknowledged to me that in five years of family practice, she routinely screened for hearing loss, but never really knew what to do about it or who to refer the patient to. An otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) is a medical doctor trained to diagnose and treat all types of hearing loss – from ear wax to nerve damage. Otolaryngologists are also specialists in tinnitus (ringing) and dizziness. With more than 13 years of college and postgraduate education, the ENT physician is the best place to start for an evaluation of your hearing. To find a board-certified otolaryngologist in your town, visit the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Most otolaryngologists employ a certified clinical audiologist who is an expert in hearing tests and in the latest hearing technology. Many audiologists have completed doctoral degrees in their own field. With today’s technology, tiny hearing instruments can process sounds up to 32,000 times per second, amplifying the missing portion of speech sounds while suppressing common background noises. Trust your hearing to a physician.
If you are currently looking for in-home care in the Palm Springs, CA area, contact the caregivers at ComForcare Home Care Services. We are a home care agency providing many levels of home care service to our seniors, the disabled and our veterans. Call 888-227-8685 for more information.
Mike Armstrong is an otolaryngologist at Richmond Facial Plastics.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Elder Care San Francisco: Talking to Kids About Alzheimers Disease
How to Tell Your Kids About a Grandparent’s Alzheimer’s Disease
What children need to understand about Alzheimer’s
By Paula Spencer Scott
If you have a parent, other family member, or close friend who has Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, it affects not only you; it has an impact on your children, too. The time Grandma blanked on your son’s name? Those overheard long, worried phone conversations with your family about your aunt?
Kids notice more than we give them credit for. They may not understand exactly what’s wrong, or they might mishear “Alzheimer’s” as “old timer’s” disease, but they deserve being included in the situation in an age-appropriate way.
The following suggestions for filling in your kids come from Joyce Simard, a geriatric consultant in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, who self-published a children’s book called The Magic Tape Recorder: A Story About Growing Up and Growing Down.
You can adapt these suggestions to the age of your children.
Explain Alzheimer’s in ways your children can understand
Alzheimer’s is a big word that may not mean much to kids, and “disease” can sound like something catching (which it isn’t). So simplify: “Grandma has a memory problem.” Or, “George has a disease that is sort of like if you had a tape recorder in your head, but the tape recorder is turned off. When he was younger, the tape recorder was on, so he remembers a lot of things from his past.”
At ComForcare, we recognize that there are many reasons why a loved one may need elder care. From seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease needing in home care, to caregivers needing respite care, we are here to provide quality and affordable elder care in Palm Springs, CA and the surrounding communities. Call us for information, 760.898.0000
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
How parents hide dementia in Rancho Mirage, CA
How parents hide dementia
How parents hide dementia provides excellent tips on what to look for and steps to take by Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney, and Mediator for aging related conflicts.
Mon 29 August 2011
Is your mom doing more things for your dad than she used to? She may be covering for his dementia.
But isn’t it normal to become more forgetful as we age? Not according to Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney, and Mediator for aging related conflicts. Rosenblatt stresses that problems with memory are signs of underlying medical issues.
So what do you do? You talk to your parents’ doctor and you request a neurological exam when you see signs that there may be a problem. A neurological exam can rule out extraneous factors that can lead to memory loss. These include medications, infections, stroke, dehydration, sleeplessness, depression, etc. Many of these causes of memory loss can be treated.
There is no one test to determine if your parent has Alzheimer’s Disease. Doctors draw conclusions from symptoms, but the process is not precise. For this reason, it is so important to act as soon as you note changes. Rosenblatt offers four proactive steps:
1. Get a thorough check-up from a reliable MD, preferably a neurologist who specializes in aging patients.
2. Locate and update all estate planning documents. (Use my list of essential documents to make sure you don’t miss anything.)
3. Plan ahead for your parents’ possible care needs.
4. Call a family meeting. Begin early to discuss needs and care plans with your parents and siblings.
Finally Rosenblatt reminds us to trust our gut when it comes to identifying health problems in our parents. We must not develop a false sense of security simply because our parent has not received an official diagnosis. Be assertive in advocating for solid information and be proactive in anticipating your parents’ needs.
For lists discussed above go to http://www.barbaramcvicker.com/blog/ for further information.
ComForcare Home Care Sevices helps many families with their eldercare caregiving needs. If you have questions or need help with in home care for your loved one, call us we are a in home care agency providing in home care inPalm Springs & Riverside County, CA and the surrounding area 760.321.2945 or 800.993.2945 to Lisa Marie Blaskie RN, CCM, CSA
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept 11th: How to Talk About 9/11 with Your Grandkids in Palm Springs, CA
Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept 11th: How to Talk About 9/11 with Your Grandkids
How to Talk About 9/11 with Your Grandkids
by Kristen Sturt
With the tenth anniversary of September 11 approaching, media coverage of the tragedy has been virtually inescapable, even for kids. Many of your grandchildren weren’t around 10 years ago, and may be too young to understand the circumstances or consequences of the attacks. But they will have questions, and it’s important to know how to reply in a way that allows you both to walk away from the conversation feeling satisfied.
Professor of psychiatry and Parents.com contributor Dr. Richard Rende recently addressed the issue. His advice is to raise the subject yourself, before your grandchild does, or before he or she sees something upsetting on the news. In brief, children-directed conversations, Rende writes, it’s crucial to relay accurate facts while remaining sensitive to youngsters’ emotions. While it’s important to educate kids about 9/11, it’s more important they feel safe about their homes and themselves.
The impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
When is Grandparents Day? In 2011, Grandparents Day falls on Sept. 11th
ComForcare Home Care Sevices helps many families with their eldercare caregiving needs. If you have questions or need help with in home care for your loved one, call us we are a in home care agency providing in home care in Palm Springs, CA, CA and the surrounding area 760.321.2945 or 800.993.2945 to Lisa Marie Blaskie RN, CCM, CSA
Monday, September 5, 2011
Social Support Activities Lead to Better Quality of Life As One Ages
August 8, 2011
How important is social support as a person ages? This may seem like an easy question to answer. Most people would not choose isolation and loneliness versus spending time with companions. However, can lack of social support really hinder a person’s overall quality of life?
Lack of social support is related to negative impacts on health and well being, especially for older people. Having a variety of positive social supports can contribute to psychological and physical wellness of elderly individuals. Support from others can be important in reducing stress, increasing physical health and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.
When considering who provides social support for an elderly individual our first thoughts are of family members. While it is true that most support does come from family members, there are many circumstances in which family members cannot be supportive (stress due to responsibilities, illness, death, financial problems, job relocation). In the United States the fastest growing age group of individuals are those 85 years and older. Due to this fact, family supports will inevitable decrease for these older individuals. A need for community-based services is more important now then ever before.
Community-based services can be extremely useful for elderly individuals. Services for older persons can encompass many areas, but one of the most important areas as discussed previously is social support. Support for elderly persons can be found in many places including: senior centers, assisted living facilities, meal delivery, religious affiliations, adult day care centers, etc. These services can provide positive social supports that can help older persons defeat loneliness and isolation. However, social support must encompass more then physical presence or conversation. Studies have shown that social support services should contain quality activities. These activities should promote positive self-awareness.
Self-awareness is key to a person’s overall quality of life and satisfaction. Many leisure social activities can be used to help increase an individual’s self-awareness. Activities for elderly individuals may include reminiscence groups, journal writing, readings of favorite book passages, group exercise, singing groups, etc. Individuals may also feel more self-satisfied if they are part of the planning of social activities that take place.
Two of these community-based service centers that provide quality social support services for elderly individuals are discussed below.
Senior Citizen Centers
Today, there are estimated to be about 15,000 senior centers across the United States. Senior centers act as a focal point for older Americans to receive many aging services. The most common services offered at a senior center include health programs (including Zumba and Yoga), arts/humanities activities, intergenerational programs, employment assistance, community action opportunities, transportation services, volunteer opportunities, education opportunities, financial assistance, senior rights counseling/legal services, travel programs and meal programs. These programs and activities can help promote positive self-awareness.
Lori Beckle describes how participating in her local senior citizens center has given her the independence and life satisfaction she thought was lost when her husband died in 2009. “ I was devastated and so frightened for my future without Ed. He was my only friend and the one I turned to when I felt alone. My daughter invited me to attend our local senior center where a bereavement group was being held for those who had lost a loved one. I met Phyllis during the group and now I have a new friend I call when I become afraid. Phyllis has helped me develop the skills to get through the tough times and focus on my immediate happiness.”
Adult Day Care Centers
According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), there are currently more than 4,600 adult day care centers nationwide. Adult day care is a program in which activities are provided to promote social support and health services to an older adult during the daytime. Most centers operate Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Social support services at an adult day care can consist of musical entertainment and singing groups, group games such as cards, gentle exercise, discussion groups (books, films, current events), holiday/birthday celebrations and local outings. Not only are these social activities provided, but participants of the program can also develop lasting relationships with staff and other participants. Adult day care centers also provide meals and health services. Adult day care centers differ from other programs for elderly individuals, because they allow the participants to develop and increase self-awareness by encouraging independence.
Amanda describes her experience as a volunteer at her local adult day care center. She stated, “ I was involved in planning the activities for Thursday afternoons. I wasn’t sure what kind of activities my older friends would enjoy so I had them share their favorite activities they participated in when they were my age (23). I soon realized that I was hearing the most fascinating stories of hopping trains, college dances, swimming in the lake, etc We decided Thursday afternoons would be spotlights of each individuals’ lives as a twenty-something. One of the participants told me that Thursdays became a highlight for her week.”
Adult Day Care Centers and Senior Citizen Centers help to provide an elderly individual the opportunity to participate in social support activities. Social support activities found in these programs can be beneficial to a person’s quality of life and overall satisfaction. With a higher self-awareness and quality of life an individual can reduce the risks of mental and physical health problems as they age.
ComForcare case managers are available to talk with you and your family about all of your care needs in San Francisco & surrounding SF Bay area . Call us at 800.993.2945 or 760.898.0000
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
There’s an app for that: peace of mind…your loved one is safe is at your fingertips
Technology is double-edged sword. The creative energy used to design and shape the glass in corrective lenses is the same innovation that harms the human body with processed goods and chemical-laden materials. While the merit and detriments of technology are evident in every new invention, technological benevolence has a new ally in the battle of progress: SeniorWatch Calling.
Today’s seniors live longer than ever. According to the Los Angeles times, U.S. males, life expectancy at birth increased by 5.5 years from 1980 to 2006. For U.S. women, life expectancy at birth increased by about three years during the same time period (1). Scientific innovation and its resulting technology have allowed western society’s citizens to elongate their existence. These added years bring many new challenges as seniors need the right kind of support between their vibrant 60’s and languid 80’s. Enter the aforementioned hero: SeniorWatch Calling.
SeniorWatch Calling, available now in the SF Bay Area, is technology’s answer to the perils of aging in place. The program involves scheduled calls, texts, or emails from a SWC representative who will ensure that the contacted elder is doing alright and the adult children are kept abreast of their mother or father’s status. Likewise, a ADT Personal Response System (PERS) will be installed free to provide additional security. You pay only a low monthly charge.
Every person is unique which is why SeniorWatch Calling is tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Monthly care manager visits and monitored medications add further value to SWC as consistency and comfort are chief priorities. SeniorWatch Calling is the only live person national program monitored by RN’s with trained care managers keeping in contact with the senior. Every measure is taken to preserve the independence of seniors for as long as possible.
The 21st century is hallmarked by many forms of new technology. While civilizations tools and amenities are forever changing, its needs remain largely the same. Safety, human contact, and kindness will always be desired. SeniorWatch Calling seeks to provide these unwavering necessitates to seniors across the nation, employing the best of technology for the betterment of all. Go to www.seniorwatchcalling.com to review the various calling plans available or call Cindy or Lisa at 888.603.2945 with your questions.
SeniorWatch Calling case managers are available to talk with you about all of your concerns to keep your loved one safe & independent in Palm Springs, CA & surrounding Riverside County, CA. Call us at 888.603.2945 . Call today to qualify for a 60 day free trial offer for SeniorWatch Calling!
1) “Life expectancy in U.S. is slowing compared with other countries.” BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the health world . Los Angeles Times, 01252011. Web. 15 Aug 2011. .
Friday, August 26, 2011
Senior Safety & Fall Prevention in Palm Springs, CA area
Falls are the number one problem for seniors and the primary reason for an elder losing their independence.
Senior Safety & Fall Prevention
Two calls in the same week, one 83 year old man falls from sitting on his bed and reaching for a sock which fell to the floor— breaks his hip. A few days later, an 86 year old woman falls out of her chair in a Rehabilitation Center as sher bends over to pick up a spoon—severely injures her elbow, though thankfully it isn’t fractured. Both go through the pain, inconvenience and possibly long term effects of a simple accident.
What to do? What can be done to help prevent these falls and injuries which can easily happen in one’s home? A very simple and inexpensive solution which can at least limit these types of falls is using a reacher or grabber. These can be purchased at your local pharmacy or medical supply store.
A Reacher or Grabber can be taken with you when shopping. It can be used in any part of the house, like the kitchen or bathroom. It is a simple tool that eliminates a lot of bending over or bending down which is so potentially dangerous to anyone with balance issues. It is a great gift for your loved one and easy enough to use. It doesn’t have the connotation of weakness or illness but is rather a handy tool to help pick things up with or reach for things in a cabinet or closet. We at Boca Home Care Services hope you’ll consider getting this for the senior in your life. A problem avoided is not a problem.
ComForcare RN’s and Case Managers are available to talk with you and your family about all of your care needs. ComForcare furthers is able to offer you an exclusive guarentee that we will provide to you at least three benefits or services that are not available through any other agency. Find out why we bake up that guarentee with $100, ComForcare is in Palm Springs, CA & the surrounding Riverside County area . Call us at 800.993.2945 or 760.898.0000.