Current Events

 Respite – An Rx That’s Not Written Often Enough

By Jane Ogilvie

June 1, 2017

 

“Burn out” is a term that even Meriam-Webster recognizes is important enough to include in their dictionary, first published in 1828. The term is defined in three ways. I’d like to focus on definition number two: “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration” and “a person suffering from burnout”. I identify most profoundly as a Baby Boomer, long time and long distance caregiver, and professional nurse dealing with the elderly, but I believe it’s the full time, in-home, family caregiver that may suffer the most.

The American Psychological Association is an excellent source that is focused on the effects of family caregiving. If you suspect you’re burned out or that someone you care about may be, please read or pass on this link to the “Caregiver Briefcase”:

Rural and urban areas differ in what they offer to caregivers as far as support goes. Weather may influence mood, with seasonal affect disorder being well documented in northern climates:  County budgets and priorities also influence and may limit opportunities for caregivers to find ways to rejuvenate and maintain a healthy balance. If depression has set in, caregivers may not recognize that respite is what’s needed. Transportation may be an issue.

Respite doesn’t have to mean admitting a loved one into an assisted living for a short period of time. Caregivers may find the time they need to relax and reclaim their lives in simple ways too.

Scheduling respite time may be the key to preventing burnout. On a daily basis, taking 10 or 15 minutes to meditate can rest the mind. Maybe twice a day would help more.

On a weekly basis, scheduling 2 or 3 hours away from the house is important. If safety of your loved one is a concern, look into the various personal alert devices that are available to purchase. If there’s another family member available to stay with your loved one, ask them to commit to being responsible for care while you are gone. If there is no family member available, identify a group of willing friends to fill in and rotate through them week to week. Interview companion care providers and use them when needed. Make use of local Senior Centers and consider adult day care centers or in-home companion care if available.

Here in Pinellas County, Fl. adult day care is helping caregivers to reduce caregiver stress and burn out. Find the nearest one and go for a tour. Find one and give it a try. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t suit the needs of your loved one, find another that does. Like everything else, you have choices. You choose how many days you’d like to have time off, and your loved one will receive the benefits of being with others.

Ruth’s Promise is an interesting and long established adult day care in Largo, Fl. One committed caregiver was its inspiration. It is a weekly event and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church offers itself as the program’s location. Read more about it here: 

Coral Reef Adult Day Care will be celebrating its’ 1st Birthday this July. Coral Reef is serving the St. Petersburg area and offers an authentic and instantly noticeable, at home feel. You can find out more about Coral Reef here: 

These are only two suggestions for fulfilling the caregiver’s Rx for respite care in Pinellas County Florida. Family caregivers are everywhere. Everyone can encourage their friends and family members to read more about how family caregiving can create burn out. Once identified, there is an abundance of information available to help regain a healthy life balance.

Burn out is a legitimate medical state of mind and body. It may be if more primary care doctors would actually write: Begin respite care” on a prescription pad, more caregivers would take it seriously.

Are you a family caregiver who is burned out? What do you do to ensure you receive the respite time that you need in order to take care of yourself? Send your comments to: sensol@seniorsmile.com


WANTED (still) – Affordable Housing for Seniors

By Jane Ogilvie

April 25, 2017

 

I applaud the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging for highlighting issues

related to aging, and their efforts as an organization to explain to others why they should care.

If you’re interested in seniors and the senior market, please read the Best Cities for Successful Aging 2017 Report and Index by authors Sindhu Kubendran and Liana Soll.

The report investigates nine aspects of livable communities for two age groups. The first group is for people between the ages of 65-79. The second age group is for those 80+. Also included is whether there is a commitment by the city’s Mayor to improving conditions that inhibit successful aging.

Here are just a few things which resonated with me in my cursory review of the report.

After participating on the Florida Department of Elder Affair’s Committee for Affordable Assisted Living Facilities, (CAALF) in 2001-2003, a quick analysis of the 2017 Milken Report clearly shows the continuing need we as an aging nation still have for affordable senior housing. What is frustrating, is the fact that a decade and a half after trying to address affordability here in Florida, expensive housing is still the most frequently noted problem on the list of the “best” large and small metropolitan areas to successfully age in.  Only one city in Florida made the best smaller metro areas list. It describes Florida as such: “Gainesville is the only Florida metro on our Top 20 list, despite the state’s reputation as a retirement paradise”. We’re doing better but there remains a lot of room for improvement and living up to our paradise reputation. It’s disappointing that the Mayor of Gainesville has not signed a pledge of commitment as other Mayors on the list have.

Income inequality is another part of the economic picture hindering successful aging. It is mentioned in the report nearly as frequently as expensive housing is. This may help to explain why expensive housing continues to be a quality of life roadblock to successful aging in the US. These report results support the current national discussion about an increasing economic gap. Income inequality and an economic gap are real.

Health related issues were included in this study. “Best” cities for successful aging like cities across the world are reporting problems with increasing numbers of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Depression is on the rise in the “best” cities too.

I was surprised to see that binge drinking is noted about the same number of times in both the larger and smaller metro areas that made the list. It is mentioned in cities that have colleges so you might think the problem is more of a peripheral nature. (Oddly enough, binge drinking wasn’t mentioned in the Gainesville results although University of Florida is located there). However, with depression and dementia rates rising, misuse of alcoholic beverages is a problem for seniors and college students alike, and cities and society in general.

Some of the cities making the list have none, one, or only a couple of Joint Commissioned certified hospitals, five-star rated nursing home facilities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Home Health care providers, dialysis facilities, dementia and Alzheimer’s care facilities.

The report results reflect urgent international cries about the prevalence of and the rising numbers of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Care facilities specifically for those with these brain diseases are sorely lacking. Perhaps equally as urgent is the need for well trained staff that goes above and beyond individual state requirements. The results echo our need for qualified healthcare workers from primary care doctors to caregivers, and the ongoing need for improved patient care in long term care facilities. 

Nutrition and air quality are two other factors considered in this report. Both large and smaller metro areas that were chosen indicate there’s still too much fast food around. There seems to be a desire for greater availability of affordable, more nutritionally sound food.

Apparently, successfully aging people (like younger human beings), want and need clean air. It pleases me to see air quality included in the report. I think we can assume air quality is worth considering since weather reports tell us about visibility, UV index reports to consider to protect out skin, and allergen reports daily. We also hear warnings of extreme temperature conditions that can be fatal to the very young and the elderly. Environmental issues according to this report, do have something to do with your ability to age successfully.

Some cities say there aren’t enough exercise programs or exercise facilities for older people. If you have cheap fast food prices and no exercise, nutrition programs, or community gardens to access, you won’t be aging very successfully no matter where you live.

Finally, transportation continues to be an important issue in the larger and smaller metro areas. Lack of funding for transportation projects for the elderly is mentioned. The cost of available transportation is noted as being expensive in some of these cities. Whether it’s the issue of maintaining a car, or the inability to drive & the need to take alternative transportation, or the lack of bus service routes or taxi, all are factors in helping to explain the ongoing problems older adults have in getting from point A to point B.

Reading the report’s helpful but we need to act. If everyone did something to help, think about where we could be in 10 years.

March 1 2017

Fake Nails - A “Fashionable” Way to Spread Germs

“Hello? Yes. I dialed 1-800-CLN-Nails. Is this the Infection Control Department?

I don’t understand how or why fingernail fashion statements are allowed on anyone whose job requires physical contact with patients.

Why are nurses and other patient care staff members in some healthcare settings allowed to have painted and artificial nails while performing patient care? With regard to the transmission of disease causing microorganisms, not allowing them at all would be useful.

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in nursing school, we could receive a disciplinary warning if our natural fingernails were too long. If you could see them over your fingertips when your palm was facing you, they were too long. No nail polish was allowed either. At the time I thought it was a little radical, but 35 years later, I’m glad it was enforced, and that I made short, unpainted fingernails a priority as part of my professional uniform.

The theory behind short, unpainted nails was the point author Jason C. Goldman made in his 2016 article for BBC Future. Yes, there’s scientific evidence about the number of germs found on painted fingernails whether artificial or natural. Even worse for healthcare facility patients, is how those germ counts increase under longer natural and longer artificial fingernails. You’d better hope the healthcare staff coming near you to “help”, doesn’t have a set of hot pink claws with cute little polka dots on them!

As Jason Goldman’s article points out, it’s a matter of what remains under those nails, unattended to, after a normal handwashing. Even if nurses and other healthcare workers washed their hands every time between touching patients, if they don’t clean the area under their nails they become germ-carrying, super transporters in environments where people’s health is already compromised. Why let this slide when a simple policy and enforcement is all that’s required?

I’m all for scrub uniforms that have pretty floral patterns, animals, or snappy designs. They beat plain old “whites” hands down.

However, sky blue or plum purple nails with glued on rhinestones, Super Bowl champ logos, or green and red mistletoe to celebrate the season, doesn’t make good sense. The data proves it.

 

We Are What We Eat (Or Don’t Eat)

February 1, 2017

How France’s Wild Hampsters May Help Explain Common Symptoms Associated with Dementia

At first glance, the relationship between wild hamsters and “dementia-like behaviors” may seem unlikely, but research studying why wild hamsters were dwindling in population has concluded it’s being caused by a Vitamin B3 deficiency.

Even people with undiagnosed dementia who find themselves unusually irritable, tired, anxious, or are unable to concentrate, may look to the hamster study and find relief simply by making sure they’re getting enough niacin in their diet.

There is an abundance of evidence related to Pellagra, the vitamin B3 deficiency that can cause skin and diarrhea problems, confusion as seen in dementia, and even death. We have our own history of it here in the US.

Just as medical professionals check for urinary tract infections in the elderly matter-of-factly because the connection is strong between UTI symptoms and behaviors, so is the connection between low B3 levels and “dementia-like” symptoms. Here’s an article describing the deficiency and a list of foods that are high in B3:

For those who suspect dementia or have it and see an uptick in symptoms, checking to be sure your niacin level is within normal limits seems to be a sensible, matter-of-factly, first on the list, measure to take, just like checking for a UTI.  A simple review of your diet to see if you’ve been eating enough foods high in niacin is easy to do.

If you’re going for a check-up soon, make a note about your B3 intake and mention it to your Dr.  Lab work could help narrow down problems related to a niacin deficiency and help explain other issues as well.

2016

2016 Wrap Up

 As 2016 comes to an end, we here at Senior Solutions of Pinellas County like to review the year to see what we’ve learned and experienced that will make our business stronger in 2017. Here are a few highlights we’d like to share.

1. Believing since 1998 that we can make life better for ALL of our customers, this year we stepped up and spoke out using our voice to advocate for LGBT Seniors and their loved ones.  As an “ally” we joined others around the country in advocating for aging LGBT individuals to help ensure their so called “Golden” years are at least as good as everybody else’s are.

We’ve always believed that no matter who a person is, everyone deserves the opportunity to receive condition specific care to meet the needs of body, mind, and spirit. Healthcare is HUMAN care, and we all can do better for ALL of our Seniors now and in the future.

2. We continued to learn first-hand with the intensity of a category 3 hurricane for the 5th year in a row, what it is like for an independent, small business owner, legally responsible, long distance caregiver to balance needs of the business, and needs of aging loved ones. Nobody could be more understanding of these matters than us.

3. This year, we continued to strengthen our business network and relationships with those who continue to provide above average, consistent, services to Seniors. We have developed new relationships and affiliations in our network and look forward to partnerships that yield greater potential in addressing needs of Seniors.

At the same time, since 1998, we continue to weed out those who do not meet our business’s fundamental guideline: Would I use or suggest this provider/business owner/physician/attorney/store… for my own parents?

4. Research and continued education on topics that we deal with frequently continued to be high on our list of importance. We all continue to age, but research and developments are static. Keeping up with industry knowledge related to health care, senior living environments, economics & finances, are key to better helping our clients. We study at an international level, who is doing what to improve the lives of Seniors. Our areas of interest continue to be: Dementia(s) including Alzheimer’s, tools providing independence to Seniors and their caregivers (such as The GPS SmartSole (www.gtxcorp.com), care concepts such as building living environments to promote higher quality of life such as http://www.edenalt.org/about-the-eden-alternative/

5. Interacting with international business marketing groups to learn from, and chime in on issues that are of interest and importance to our growth and development and the betterment of live for the elderly in general.

Perhaps most importantly, we continue to look forward the most to helping our clients on a 1:1 basis, whether they’re an individual/ family member, organization or other business entity. We know how important our age related and professional experience is in providing quality services to our current and future customers. We know this experience is not ensured by a particular educational title or achievement. The size of a company, number of employees, or its name familiarity in a community does not ensure quality service.

When our customers do business with us, they know exactly who is handling their account at all times. They know their project or issues are dealt with directly and that they are not farmed out or pushed down the line for others to deal with.

2017 approaches and we look forward to developing new projects that are in the works.

We wish all of our clients, caregivers, and business partners all the best in the New Year.

Jane Ogilvie, Owner

We Could Have Found Elsie Sooner

Elsie Hoy’s story is one of the latest reminders about the relationship between dementia and wandering. Thankfully, hers ended on a happy note.

Though found within 24 hours, Elsie was at extreme risk, starting with the fact that she left her care facility in the evening, in the dark. I wonder if Sundowners syndrome had been identified before this night, and calculated in as a risk factor for Elsie?

An article in Medical News Today dated December 14, 2016, describes Sundowner’s syndrome and the goals of treating it. The article mentions the increased confusion, agitation, and fear that may occur. It advises care givers to be on the lookout for the possibility of sufferers “accidentally injuring themselves”.

Looking down from the window of a jet, the area in which Elsie lives is chock full of lakes and ponds reminding you of Swiss cheese. You might consider the area a suburb- not exactly urban and not exactly rural. There are some well-traveled roadways within conceivable reach for someone like Elsie described as being “very mobile on foot…”. Don’t forget there are still wild animals living in Florida. Though bloodhounds and a police helicopter had been called in to help find Elsie, they were unable to find her.

Do you have a loved one with dementia at home or in a facility? What environmental considerations should be part of your plan to keep your loved ones safe if they “elope”? Do you live near a forested area, highly concentrated urban area, out on the High Plains, or near desert lands?

The fact is, whether living at home in familiar surroundings, or in a care facility, those with dementia and cognitive impairment are at risk for wandering. It happens. If it happens once, the likelihood of it happening again increases. Facilities cannot assume security systems are 100% foolproof, because as we learn about Elsie’s story, we see (again), they are not. Families must recognize these kind of elopements happen no matter what you’re told about a facilities security system. Accidents happen! The systems may be effective 99% of the time but what happens in that 1% scenario where a system is on and working properly, but still a dementia sufferer walks out? We are fortunate to have Elsie safe once again.

The GPS SmartSole locating device can help ensure a faster find in emergency situations like Elsie’s. Had Elsie had this sensible and cost effective GPS device in her shoes that night, family and staff would have been alerted within 10 mins that she was not within her “safe zone”. They could have seen the direction she’d gone in, and if she was still walking or had stopped. Staff, family, or police could have been able to get in the car and go pick her up. No dogs or helicopter would have had to have been called in. Everyone’s anxiety would have been reduced – especially Elsie’s because she wouldn’t have been wandering around all night and part of the morning by herself.

GPS SmartSole locating device is worthy of the public’s attention.

For more information about the device and/or to purchase please click here:

If you are a care facility, own a personal security or home security business, or work in a business where security is an issue, or are an executive who is at risk, please click here for contact information:

#dementia, #wandering, #autism, #caregivers, #safety

December 28, 2016

Support Purple Angels – Spreading Dementia Awareness One Community at A Time

 I’m proud to be a Purple Angel Ambassador, helping to raise awareness about dementia however I can. Advocacy is nothing new for me, but involvement with Purple Angel Dementia Campaign is as of 2016.

Purple Angels are people who want their communities to extend more compassion to those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any of the other documented forms of dementia. We share in the desire to inspire businesses to learn more about dementia, and make small changes to help make their dementia customers have a better experience when serving them. So much can be done and everyone can help. Being aware of and having facts and figures about dementia is the first step forward in improving the lives of millions of people today, and millions more by 2020. If not for Norman McNamara in Devon, UK, there would be no Purple Angels.

If dementia has:

·     touched your life, if a friend or loved one has had it or has it now
·     if you’ve seen people trivialized or talked about as if they’re not there, skipped over in line, or hurried, or in any other way disrespected due to dementia disability
·     you feel this is unacceptable and want to change actions and attitudes

 Please read more and support Purple Angel events in your community.

 I’m looking forward to doing my part in 2017. Please help support dementia awareness events and initiatives in your community wherever you may be.

March 29, 2016

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Presentation of “Money Smarts for Older Americans”
Training Event- “Train the Trainer”
By Jane Ogilvie, Elder Care Issue Consulting

Being an Elder Care Issue Consultant and an advocate for vulnerable seniors, attending today’s presentation by Tamara Lucero (Consumer Education & Engagement, Outreach Coordinator), at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was a terrific way to get current information straight from Office headquarters in Washington, DC. The presentation was held at the Stetson University’s College of Law, Elder Law Center. Tamara delivered an informative session for those like me who are interested in protecting seniors from becoming victims of financial exploitation.

Seniors have a plethora of problems to deal with. One of them is that they are highly vulnerable to becoming victims of financial abuse. The CFPB in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) established the Money Smarts program in response to the growing number of complaints received by the Bureau regarding financial abuse of the elderly. Educating seniors is a top priority.

In an effort to help curb financial exploitation of the elderly, Senior Solutions of Pinellas County is available to share the most current information from the CFPB.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment to discuss a presentation for your business or organization, or, if you are an individual 62+ who feels you may be a victim of unfair or deceptive practices, contact me at: web_info@seniorsmile.com


March 10th, 2016

Elder Law – A Specialized Area of Legal Council
By: Jane Ogilvie, Elder Care Issue Consultant


As an Elder Care Issue Consultant, staying up to date on issues pertaining to legal matters for the elderly continues to be a must. It’s impossible to deliver quality information to clients otherwise.

Yesterday, Princeton Village of Largo ALF sponsored a networking event with guest speaker and Elder Law attorney, Brooks Gentry. The questions posed, and the answers provided prove that legal affairs related to aging loved ones remain complex and ever changing.

Senior Solutions of Pinellas County is proud to say that since 1998 when we began our business, we have consistently encouraged all clients to seek legal council from certified Elder Law Attorneys for specialized legal council. Problems related to family relationships, finances & protection of wealth, abuse, or discrimination can all be professionally addressed through a competent elder law firm.

It’s easier to choose a certified Elder Law Attorney than it is a primary care doctor. There is no health insurance plan determining whom you can and can’t go to, or who will “accept” you as a client. Find an attorney that treats you the way they’d treat the parents of another Elder Law attorney if they had been referred for services. We’re fortunate to have some excellent Elder Law attorneys in Pinellas County along the central coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

If you are caring for an elderly loved one or are aging yourself and have questions pertaining to Elder Law attorneys in our area, please contact Senior Solutions of Pinellas County for further assistance.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – A Care Concern for Everybody with a Brain

 Yesterday, March 4th, 2016, I attended the Florida Gulf Coast Alzheimer’s Association’s “Reason to Hope” event held at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fl....more

Dental Care IS Health Care- So Why is it So Hard To Get As We Age? 

  By Jane Ogilvie, Elder Care Issue Consulting

February 22, 2016

February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month.

February 19, 2016
By Jane Ogilvie, Elder Care Issue Consultant

The funny thing about healthcare is that it applies to all of us, professionals in the industry, and everybody else. We all have eyes. Knowing about conditions that can rob us of clear vision is worth learning about. If you’ve ever known anyone to have MD, you understand the crippling effect it can have upon quality of life. If you haven’t known anyone with it, consider yourself lucky. It hurts to see loved ones develop it. Go here for a description of the disease that is the number one reason for vision loss in people 65+. Read it now while your eyesight is still good. It could become very difficult to do so as time goes by.

February 16, 2016

New Study Results Released on the Risk of Developing Dementia according to Race & Ethnicity

The following article found on SeniorJournal.com cites important research results regarding dementia risk for people 65+. It is the first study to examine dementia risk in the six largest racial and ethnic groups here in the US.

The information is important to all of those who recognize that Alzheimer’s and dementia remains a major healthcare concern. For anyone interested in finding ways to address Alzheimer’s & dementia along with its disabling influence upon quality of life, this report sheds new light upon the subject.

February 12, 2016

We will be participating in a webinar February 12th to learn more about Florida’s proposed funding rates for Medicaid Waiver providers.

This webinar is being presented by WaiverProvider.Com