Archive for August, 2010

Illness in the Family? How To Reduce Caregiver Stress in San Diego CA

Illness in the Family? How To Reduce Caregiver Stress
 
(ARA) – Who would ever imagine a healthy college senior might suffer a stroke? But that’s exactly what happened to Nancy Worthen’s daughter, Maggie, at the end of her senior year at Smith College in Massachusetts.

When Maggie fell into a coma after experiencing a brain stem stroke, one of the many stressful challenges Worthen faced was keeping family and friends from around the world updated on her daughter’s condition. "You just have so many people who want information and are trying to reach you," she says. "We wanted to make it simple for people to find out what was happening."

Worthen turned to a resource that’s becoming increasingly popular among families and caregivers of patients who’ve experienced a serious health event like Maggie’s stroke – free, personalized Web pages where they can post information about their loved one’s progress.

"Caregivers face many stresses when dealing with a loved one’s injury or illness, including the need to provide consistent updates to an extended network of family and friends who want to know how the patient is doing," says Sona Mehring, founder of CaringBridge.org, a nonprofit organization that helps caregivers create Web sites for health updates. "Putting information online can be a big stress reliever for caregivers because it allows them to communicate important, and sometimes difficult, information quickly and effectively to a large number of people, without having to repeat the same news over and over again."

Having a Web site "allowed us to tell the story we could never have told to people personally," says Michael Dunn, whose identical twin daughters were diagnosed with neuroblastoma when they were just two months old. "It would have been a much more difficult and lonely time without it."

"It’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves, as well," Mehring says. In addition to using the Internet to stay connected with family and friends, she suggests, caregivers should:

 

  • Talk about it – Don’t avoid telling friends and family; it’s not good for your mental well-being to keep such stressful news to yourself.
  • Ask questions – You’ll hear a lot of medical terminology and treatment options. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek second opinions and even gather information online from credible Web sites. The more you understand the situation, the more you will feel able to cope with it.
  • Try therapeutic journaling – "Many people who use CaringBridge say it is beneficial to write their thoughts and feelings down," Mehring says. "Journaling can bring relief and allow people to focus their thoughts on other important matters. Sometimes it’s easier to write down what you’re feeling rather than speak it out loud."
  • Accept help – People truly care and truly want to help; let them. Post on your personalized Web page what you need and let family and friends in your online community decide how and when they can help. One person might offer to help with transportation to appointments. Another may be able to help with babysitting or cooking meals. "View help as a useful expression of that person’s caring, not as a favor," Mehring suggests.
  • Relax - This is a stressful situation. Patients and caregivers need to take time for themselves. Meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, take time off from work, turn off your phone for a few hours or get a massage.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

For information about care and assistance for your loved one in the San Diego area, visit www.ageadvantagesandiego.com or call  619-660-8881.
 

Online Test to Screen for Early Dementia, Alzheimer’s Available in San Diego

Self-Administered Test to Screen for Early Dementia, Alzheimer’s Available Online

Ohio State Neurologist says it takes less than 15 minutes to complete, is a reliable tool for evaluating cognitive abilities

Senior citizens are besieged by cancer, heart disease and assorted chronic diseases, but what most of them fear most is Alzheimer’s disease or any loss of their mental abilities. Now a neurologist at Ohio State says he has developed a simple, self-test to screen for early dementia that he is making available online.

This self-administered test to screen for early dementia may help speed the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of memory disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. It could also provide health care providers and caregivers an earlier indication of life-changing events that could lie ahead.

…continue reading!

Age Advantage helps many families care for their loved ones in the San Diego area. If you need information, please visit us at www.ageadvantagesandiego.com.

Making The Most Of Old Age In San Diego CA!

A Guide For Making The Most Of Old Age

Exercise, both physical and mental, has beneficial effects on people as they grow older.

Adopting healthful habits can significantly alter the course of aging, even if you don’t start until you are middle-aged or older, growing research suggests.

As more people live into their 80s, 90s and beyond, researchers are increasingly asking what it takes not just to survive but also to thrive in later years. Here is Consumer Reports’ guide to successful aging.

Exercise your brain.

Your brain needs a workout just as much as your arms and legs. Education and an active work life when you are younger can help ward off dementia later, perhaps by building a cognitive reserve so that small losses in function are not as noticeable. It may be equally important to stay mentally engaged after retirement. A study of about 500 men and women 75 and older published in the journal Neurology in 2009 found that they could delay cognitive decline by participating in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, writing and doing puzzles.

Strong social ties can also help.

Harvard researchers followed 16,638 adults 50 and older for six years. Those who volunteered the most and had lots of connections to family and friends were least likely to show declines in memory tests.

Read more… 

 

At Age Advantage of San Diego, we help many families care for their loved ones in the area. If you need help with care and assistance, please visit www.ageadvantagesandiego.com for more information.

Advances in Equipment Adapted for Elders in San Diego CA

Advances in Equipment Adapted for Elders

I’m thrilled by the recent advances in adapted equipment. Books, videos, Web sites, and pamphlets are out there for almost any type of elder care, handicap, or special need. They are more widely available than people think.

Once you determine your elder’s need, you should be able to find adapted equipment that will improve the quality of his or her life.

Adapted equipment draws from a wide variety of products that can help your elder function more independently and/or on a higher level. They can help your elder regain confidence in his or her abilities, and they can even alleviate your elder’s overwhelming fear of being dependent on others.

Along with advancements in medical technology and pharmaceuticals, adapted equipment has come a long way in recent years and can be a vital part of a senior’s later years.

Most people are unfamiliar with adapted equipment, but as a caregiver, you must become aware of this growing field. I’m talking about commonplace products like a wheelchair or an elder-safe stepladder, as well as more obscure products, like jar/bottle openers and grocery store scooters. Other examples include high curved bowls and large-handle eating utensils that help prevent food spills and modified “sippy” cups that prevent liquid from spilling. Anything that can help maintain dignity and independence should be integrated into your elder’s life.

One area that has been improved tremendously is transportation. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans can now be modified before they are purchased or on the aftermarket. No matter what your elder’s handicap may be, vehicles today can be adapted so that even a quadriplegic or paraplegic can operate them.
 

…continue reading HERE

If your family is needing help with the care and assistance of a loved one in the San Diego CA area, visit www.ageadvantagesandiego.com.