Archive for February, 2011

Senior Care San Diego CA: How Medicare Works

How Medicare Works
By Stephanie Miles, Caring.com senior editor

Medicare is the government’s contract to provide healthcare insurance coverage for Americans over the age of 65. But, as with all contracts, it’s always smart to read the fine print.

Medicare pays for about half of all medical costs for older Americans, including hospitalization, doctors, some nursing care, some prescription drug costs, and medical equipment and supplies. But there’s much that Medicare doesn’t cover, as well as an alphabet soup of coverages, premiums, deductibles, and eligibility requirements that can be difficult to navigate — especially for someone facing a health crisis.

Here are the basics everyone should know about Medicare, and where to look for more information if you need it:

What is Medicare?

Medicare consists of four categories: Part A covers hospitalization, some skilled nursing facility and home health care, and hospice. Part B covers doctors’ services and outpatient care such as X-rays, laboratory work, some home health care, physical and occupational therapy, and some preventive screening. Then there’s Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, which is Medicare received through a private managed care system such as an HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). When someone enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan, they receive all the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, as well as some additional coverage provided by the private plan. As with other managed care, however, Medicare Advantage plans limit where and how their members may receive care. Finally, there’s Medicare Part D, which consists of private insurance plans that partially cover prescription drug costs.

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Age Advantage caregivers are available to talk with you and your family about all of your care needs, including, how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. Age Advantage is a home care agency providing in home care in San Diego CA and the surrounding areas.

With Cataracts, Misinformation Seems to Abound in San Diego CA

 With Cataracts, Misinformation Seems to Abound

(HealthDay News) — When medical experts talk about prevalence, they’re usually referring to how common a particular disease might be. But in the case of cataracts, they might just as well be talking about how common it is to uncover misinformation and misunderstanding about the condition.

Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness among seniors in the United States, with more than half of all U.S. residents developing the cloudy vision of cataracts by the time they reach 80 years old, according to Prevent Blindness America, a nonprofit group that focuses on eye health.

But eye experts say that people seem to believe things about cataracts that aren’t quite right, including when and how they should be treated. Misinformation often seems to develop innocently enough, with well-meaning folks spreading things they’ve learned by word-of-mouth.

"Sometimes friends give confusing and conflicting information because not every patient is the same or because they’ve heard something from someone else," said Dr. Cynthia Bradford, an ophthalmology professor at the University of Oklahoma’s Dean A. McGee Eye Institute.

Nonetheless, the misinformation sometimes leads people to delay treatment long past when it could help them or to expect too much from treatment for this widespread vision problem.

Cataracts occur when the lens of an eye grows cloudy, according to the U.S. National Eye Institute. Vision might grow progressively cloudy until the person has difficulty seeing, or the person’s vision might take on a brownish tint that makes it harder to distinguish colors.

And that leads to one of the first major myths — that cataracts are something that grow on top of the eye.

"A lot of people think of it as a growth, but it’s almost like honey that’s become granulated," Bradford said. The lens itself is the problem, which is why cataract surgery requires that the lens be removed and replaced.

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Age Advantage caregivers are available to talk with you and your family about all of your care needs, including, how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. Age Advantage is a home care agency providing in home care in San Diego CA and the surrounding areas.

Elder Care San Diego CA: February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

Heart health is an area of grave concern among healthcare professionals, policy makers and the government. Heart disease has killed more Americans than any other diseases or chronic illnesses. It is the leading cause of death among patients of all race, gender and age. About 785,000 patients in the nation suffer their first heart attack every year and 470,000 of them have recurring heart attacks in a year. It has been estimated that heart attack affects one patient in every 34 seconds in America, costing a whopping healthcare bill of $316.4 billion a year. The risks of heart disease also dramatically increases with age affecting one in every five women above the age of 65 as compared to one in every 10 women between ages 45 and 65.

For 37 years, the American Heart Association tirelessly organized and campaigned for the fight against heart disease. February is the ‘American Heart Month’ where efforts are spent to increase awareness and raise funds for research and education on heart disease.

Heart disease is a lifestyle-related condition. Risk factors that can lead to heart disease or stroke are physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and alcohol. As more elderly patients tend to have high cholesterol, high blood sugar or high blood pressure conditions coupled by weaker immunity systems, healthy living to promote elderly health is one of the primary concerns during American Heart Month.

Good heart health can be attained by adopting change in lifestyle, diet and regular monitoring of one’s blood sugar level, cholesterol level and blood pressure. The following are five healthy living tips to good senior health that not only help keep heart disease at arm’s length but also increase one’s quality of life.

Regular Exercise or Physical Activity

Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the best remedy for elderly health and wellbeing. Walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, golf, dancing and others help to build strong healthy hearts and help to improve blood circulation. In fact, statistics show that a sedentary lifestyle is a leading threat to heart health; those who are physically inactive and seldom participate in regular exercise program are 39.5 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke.

Balanced Diet
Healthy living starts with balanced diets rich in fiber and low in trans fat, sugar and sodium. Elderly patients should also consume high nutrient foods that are good for the heart and body as a whole. Greasy food and food high in trans fat found in cooking oil and meat should be avoided to prevent gradual formation of blockage in the arteries especially among elderly patients’ whose body metabolism decreases with age.

Control blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level
Senior health checks should never exclude regular monitoring of seniors’ blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level as these are among the top risk factors to cardiovascular disease. Senior patients can perform regular monitoring of their conditions at home and take precautionary measures such as diet and prescribed medication if levels are higher than normal.

Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Being overweight can also lead to heart disease or stroke; it is as unhealthy to one’s heart as it is to one’s bones and joints. Excessive fats in the body can strain the heart and cause additional stress on the bones and joints. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to good senior health as it helps to prevent adverse conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that can potentially lead of heart disease.

Stop Smoking and excessive Alcohol intake

Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol are harmful habits that are especially damaging to elderly patients. Smoking increases the chances of blood clot and accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, hence increasing the risks of coronary heart disease. It can also increase the chances of a relapse or recurring heart attack. Smoking is also linked to many elderly health conditions such as cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

Age Advantage caregivers are available to talk with you and your family about your live-in home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable home care in San Diego and the surrounding areas.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month in San Diego CA

Cataract Awareness, Conditions And Treatment

The basic definition of a cataract is where there is a clouding of the lens of the eye. When this takes place the light that normally enters the eye is changed or blocked off. Behind the colored iris and pupil lies the actual lens of the human eye. This lens is basically transparent and helps to focus images viewed onto what is called the retina of the eye. The retina is the part of the eye which sends the images that people see straight to their brain to be decoded. The most basic cause of eye loss stemming from a cataract forces vision to become dim or sometimes blurry. So how often do cataracts affect ordinary people in the world? One of the top causes of blindness and poor vision amongst older adults in countries like the Unites States is a cataract. There is an estimated twenty million folks in the USA alone that are around the age of forty, and they all have a cataract. 

It has been proven that literally one half of the people in America will develop a cataract by the time they have reached eighty. There are even studies showing a cataract forming in newborn babies, and some percentage of young people. Nobody really knows the exact reasons a cataract forms, but it has been assumed that they generally come along with age. So the older a person gets the more likely they are to form a cataract. There are also a multitude of risk factors that can cause a cataract. These include diseases like diabetes, extremely hot temperatures, long periods of exposure to the suns UV rays, inflammation of the eye, genetic factors, prolonged use of steroids, diseases that form in the eye, injuries to the eye, and smoking all play a role in the risk of a cataract forming. 

So what are the general symptoms associated with a cataract? It is well known that cataracts cannot cause conditions such as tears, pain, or redness, yet there are a few warning signs a person can use to judge if there is a possibility they have a cataract. These are things like feeling as if there is some sort of film cover, or ghost images and blurry vision. Also if there is a startling feeling that spawns from being exposed to very strong light. Also if the person often has a hard time seeing close-range objects. Sometimes it is even possible to physically spot a cataract, and they will normally have a sort of milky look to them and resemble a yellowish spot in the pupil. So what are some of the treatments that are available for older adults with poor vision? 

It is actually a common fact that most eye problems can be cured if they are treated as soon as they are discovered. Just like with any other disease if it is discovered early there is a much better chance of curing it, and avoid longer-term damages. The most important factor when it comes to safeguarding a person’s vision is taking part in eye exams regularly. Any person who is 65 and older should have a full eye exam completed at least one time every 1 to 2 years. This should be done even if there are no apparent eye conditions at the time. One more step to maintaining healthy vision is to ask the eye doctor for what is known as a dilated exam of the eye, and this just adds an extra level of safety against these sorts of conditions.

The caregivers at Age Advantage are available to talk with you and your family about all of your live-in home care needs. Age Advantage is a home care agency providing quality, affordable home care in San Diego CA and the surrounding areas.