Archive for September, 2010

Early Grief and the Long Goodbye in San Diego CA

Early Grief and the Long Goodbye: Grieving Parents Before They Are Gone
By: Carol Bradley Bursack

Nearly everyone involved in caring for aging loved ones is experiencing grief. Often, however, we’re not aware of this grief. We have a parent who used to be strong and capable begin to ask for a little assistance. No big deal, right? We’re happy to help.

But underneath, often unnoticed, there’s a knot in our hearts. We’re grieving the loss – the loss of function that made our parent need to ask for help.

Weren’t they the ones who helped us? Weren’t they the ones in charge?

Generally, these changes are subtle, the grief sneaky. I remember watching my parents age in the normal fashion. I’d occasionally look at them and be startled by the realization that they were aging. But that was all I acknowledged. I never intentionally thought about loss and pain. It dwelled beneath my consciousness.

Then my dad had brain surgery to drain away fluid buildup from a World War II injury. He went into surgery knowing that if he didn’t have it, he would eventually live with terrible confusion. He came out of surgery totally demented. The combination of his age and significant scar tissue, I suppose, was to blame. Whatever the reason, our family was a victim of one of those things that only happens to “other people.”

We were suddenly thrown into a frenzy of action. There was so much to be done; there were so many decisions to make. What was best for Dad? For Mom? I became the primary caregiver, immersing myself in the task of making Dad’s existence worthwhile.

Whatever he imagined was happening, I did my best to make it so. When he was waiting for his medical degree to arrive, I made sure one did (my version looked pretty good, too, hanging on his nursing home wall.). I became his office manager. His music director. Whatever he needed, I did everything humanly possible to provide.

I had several other elders to cope with, as well as a son with chronic health problems. I didn’t have time to think of myself. Now, I look back and see what I did to myself. If I had a good friend going through all I was enduring, I would have been offering to help. I would have recognized that she was grieving the loss of the father she’d known. I would have pressed her to do some things to take care of herself. I would have suggested counseling.

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Caring for Elders in San Diego CA

Caring For Elders – 6 Pitfalls of Providing Care
By Hal Robertson

1. Dealing with a resentful spouse and upset children

If your family is one that likes to do a lot together and are use to weekend getaways, going to kids ballgames all the time, or just spending time watching TV together, major adjustments may have to be made when you become the caregiver for your elder.

This situation can cause feelings of anger and resentment in your spouse and children. They’ll feel cheated that you aren’t able to spend the time with them that you have in the past.

A great way to help them understand the situation is to take them with you when you are caring for your elder. This will help them understand exactly what it is you do, how important it is to your elder and why you haven’t been around at home as much.

Having children help with things such as exercise, or with make up applications may be something your children may enjoy. Not only that, but it will help them in becoming more caring human beings.

2. Feelings of being unappreciated by your elder

This can be a tough situation. Here you are giving your all and making significant sacrifices. Yet, all you hear are complaints, criticism. All accompanied by a complete lack of gratitude from your elder.

The danger here is that you may want to simply give up, begin visiting with less frequency. offering less care – all at a time when your elder needs you more than ever.  Support groups can be good places to turn for help with issues that arise from feelings of being under appreciated, but you may want to turn to someone who you are close to. They’ll be able to provide some objectivity in dealing with the situation.

Keep in mind that if your elder has always been an ornery or ungrateful type of person, they sure aren’t going to change now. But where you are closer to them now, you are going to be impacted by it even more than before. It’s also important to understand, however, that if these ungrateful type of traits are just surfacing now that they are likely tied to their illness and not directed at you personally. It’s very difficult to be treated poorly in either case, but especially so if you’ve never experience these actions from your elder before.

It’s certainly difficult, but you’ll have to try your best to build up a Teflon exterior so that you don’t end up being resentful, rude and obnoxious to your elder when they need your understanding the most right now.

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How To Handle An Elderly Parents Bad Behavior in La Mesa CA

How To Handle An Elderly Parents Bad Behavior

"My mother is driving me crazy!" 

This phrase is uttered (or screamed) by caregivers everywhere who are caring for elderly parents. As if they didn’t have enough to do, caregivers often have to deal with bad behavior by their elderly parents.

The message boards are filled with stories of demanding elderly parents, personality changes, hallucinations, temper tantrums?even abuse. We’ve compiled the top 10 bad behaviors that elderly parents exhibit, along with some tips for coping with them.

Bad behavior #1: Rage, anger, yelling

Age and illness can intensify longstanding personality traits in some unpleasant ways: An irritable person may become enraged, an impatient person demanding and impossible to please. Unfortunately, the person taking care of the elderly parent is often the target.

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Planning For Healthy Aging During Healthy Aging Month in La Mesa CA

Planning For Healthy Aging

(ARA) – Soon, the first wave of baby boomers will turn 65. For some, this milestone birthday may signal retirement; for others it may not. For all boomers, it should mean an increased focus on health care. Baby boomers can take steps now to help ensure many more healthy years.

A focus on early prevention – including regular tests for certain cancers and heart disease, a healthy diet and exercise – is an important start to staying healthy well into the golden years.

Most baby boomers will count on Medicare to support them in their efforts to stay healthy. In fact, Medicare has long been a source of comfort for those 65 and older who otherwise wouldn’t have health coverage. But as more people older than 65 seek care, they may find it increasingly difficult to get in to see a doctor, or they may find that their choice of doctors is limited because of planned Medicare payment cuts to physicians.


"As we age, we have an increasing role to play in our health care to ensure our golden years are healthy ones," says Dr. J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association. "Have regular discussions with your physician about any health problems or concerns you may have and make sure you are up-to-date on preventive exams."

At age 50, it’s important to start annual exams for colorectal cancer, and men should have a prostate exam. For those boomers who weigh less than 154 pounds, screenings for osteoporosis should start at age 60. It’s also important to start annual exams with a physician before you reach age 65 to:

  • Monitor and discuss blood pressure, cholesterol, needed vaccines and tests to monitor or prevent disease.
  • Identify activities and goals to address healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco use cessation, moderating alcohol use and attention to stress and mood.
  • Discuss screenings needed to prevent and/or monitor degenerative or chronic disorders in vision, hearing, bone density, cancer and obesity.

Access to care, choice of physician
Weighing in with legislators is another way boomers can take charge of their health care, because what happens in Washington in the next couple months, with regards to the health-reform debate, could have a significant impact on their ability to see their doctor of choice.

A recent AMA/AARP poll shows that nearly 90 percent of people 50 and older are concerned that the current Medicare physician payment formula threatens their access to care. Without permanent repeal of the broken Medicare payment system as part of health reform, physicians face steep payment cuts which might force them to limit the number of new Medicare patients they can treat.

"Without health-reform action by Congress, the 21 percent payment cut planned for this January puts many physicians in the difficult position of not being able to treat new Medicare patients and still keep their practice doors open," says Rohack. "For years, Congress has taken short-term action to stop the cuts and preserve seniors’ access to care, but they can no longer put a Band-Aid on the problem. It’s time for permanent action to preserve the stability and security of Medicare and ensure seniors can keep their choice of physician."

As the health system reform debate continues, and final legislation approaches, a permanent fix for the broken Medicare physician payment formula must be included to preserve access to care for the millions of baby boomers headed toward Medicare enrollment age. Replacing the physician payment formula with a system that better reflects the costs and practice of 21st century medical care will help improve quality and reduce costs by allowing physicians to increase care coordination, reduce costly hospital admissions and adopt health information technology.

"I encourage all baby boomers to take preventive action now to prepare for a long, healthy life, and to ensure that their physician will still be there for them when they begin relying on Medicare," says Rohack.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Don’t forget Grandparents Day on September 12th and remember, for the best in home care services in the La Mesa CA area, visit

The Changing Face of Elder Care in San Diego CA

The Changing Face of Elder Care
By Michael S. Simpson

There was a time when Mom became too frail to take care of herself the only option was "the old folks home". Now our choices have much improved. We have independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. Many of these have the look, feel and amenities of a resort. In fact many of them refer to themselves as "retirement resorts".

They are really nice but some can be real pricey too. But for the aging loved one who desires to stay in their home, the home where they feel safe surrounded by neighbors who they trust and in the home of memories we now have in home senior care.

Senior care or elder care includes a wide range of services that are provided over an extended period of time to people who need help to perform normal activities of daily living because of cognitive impairment or loss of muscular strength or control.

Elder care can include rehabilitative therapies, skilled nursing care, palliative care through hospice, and social services, as well as supervision and a wide range of supportive personal care provided by family caregivers and/or home health care agencies. Elder care may also include training to help older people adjust to or overcome many of the limitations that often come with aging. If appropriate, elder care can at best be provided in the home first.

Where do we start when looking for resources for elder care for a loved one? Resources that can help the elderly stay in their own home are the first place to start. A variety of independent living services are now available to help the elderly care for themselves in their own home despite their changing physical needs. This may help, delay or totally avoid moving into an assisted living or nursing home.

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For information about how Age Advantage can help you and your family care for an aging loved one in the San Diego area, visit