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Top Health Concerns For Aging Adults

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About How To Help Aging Parents San Diego

About How To Help Aging Parents San Diego

Owner

I’m Kathleen. As a geriatric social worker, my goal is to help answer questions, and provide support to adult children who are up against a problem or situation where they don’t know what to do or where to turn, mainly helping your aging parents. I hold a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Boston University with a specialization in gerontology and I have a passion for helping elderly parents and their families. My fifteen year career as a geriatric social worker has included work in hospice and palliative care, senior home care, senior care assisted living facilities, specialized dementia care, and continuum care retirement communities. I have been privileged to help many elderly parents and their adult children along the way. I am confident my ebook “Choosing Services” can help you to know the next step in how to help your aging parents in San Diego and throughout the USA.

The Latest Aging Parents Articles

New Study – Yoga and Reduction in Dementia Risk

A results of a study led by University of California – Los Angeles Department of Psychiatry were recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (http://www.j-alz.com/) and suggest that yoga and meditation may reduce older adults’ risk of mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, presents in older adults as changes in memory or thinking. Although these changes may be noticeable, they do not interfere with a person’s day-to-day activities. However, MCI is considered a precursor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment/basics/complications/con-20026392). The results of the UCLA study are encouraging and exciting! The study included 25 participants aged 55 and older. At the beginning and the end of the study, participants’ cognitive function and brain activity were measured through MRI imaging and the completion of memory tests. Then for 12 weeks, 14 of the participants took part in a 1-hour Kundalini yoga class once a week and practiced Kirtan Kriya meditation for 20 minutes a day. The practice of Kundalini yoga uses breathing techniques, meditation and chanting. Kirtan Kriya meditation is regularly practiced in India to maintain cognitive functioning and uses chanting, hand movements, and light visualization. The remaining study group participated in 1 hour of memory enhancement training through activities such as crossword puzzles and computer games once a week for 12 weeks, and spent 20 minutes a day completing memory exercises. At the conclusion of the 12 weeks, the researchers found that both groups showed improvements in verbal memory skills – ability to remember names and lists of words. But greater improvements in visual-spatial memory skills – the ability to navigate and remember locations –... read more

How to Help Symptoms of Arthritis

Most of us have heard a concern about aching joints from aging parents and can often see changes in joints such as knobby knuckles or swollen knees. Arthritis may be the cause. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America, effecting more than 50 million adults. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older (http://www.arthritis.org/). The symptoms of arthritis may include swelling, pain and stiffness. Symptoms can be severe enough to change a person’s ability to do daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Although some changes caused by arthritis can be visible, often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. There are many types of arthritis and some types also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type that effects the elderly and occurs when cartilage, the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones within the joints, breaks down and wears away http://nihseniorhealth.gov/osteoarthritis/whatisosteoarthritis/01.html). Symptoms can be managed by using hot and cold therapies, using assistive devices like a cane, walker or a reacher, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers. The pain is real and more movement is probably the last thing on a person’s mind when there is a flare up, but research has shown that exercise is the most effective non-medication way to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Strengthening the muscles around the joint add support to the joint. The Arthritis Foundation is a helpful resource and have arthritis friendly exercise videos available at http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/videos/. Remember to keep your parent’s doctor involved in their care. Talk to their... read more

Cataracts and Aging Parents

    My mother reads a lot, I mean like devouring a book at day is normal for her. So my siblings and I know that to give her books as gifts is a pretty safe bet. When I visited her at the beginning of the year, I saw the books piling up and she was using a book reading light in addition to a mega-watt reading lamp so we arranged for an eye exam. The doctor diagnosed her with cataracts in both eyes. Cataracts cause more vision problems internationally than any other eye condition. They are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye which is normally clear. They can develop in one or both eyes and, if both, one will be worse than the other. The cloudy lens blocks light from passing through to the back of the eye, which allows us to see well-defined images. Seeing through a cataract is like looking fog. It’s frustrating and scary to think of living with impaired vision, especially when you’ve had good vision your entire life. In addition, vision impairment increases the risk of falling and accidents. Falls can be devastating for older adults. If they break a bone, especially a hip, or hit their head, the injury can change the trajectory of their life and severely impair the quality of life. Here are some tips that can help improve vision in the short-term, if the cataracts are not too advanced: Make sure your parent’s glasses are the accurate prescription; Provide a stand-alone magnifying glass for reading; Get brighter lights for the house, especially around stairs; If your parent... read more

Distance Caregiving – Watching for Warning Signs

When you are a long distance caregiver you hope that when your parent says they’re “doing fine” that everything really is just fine. The fact is that seniors usually under report concerns and problems; even serious problems. Why do most aging parents keep the truth under wraps? Thoughts that come to mind are pride, independence, not wanting to feel like a burden. There is also societal pressure to live independently in your home for as long as possible. We’re all familiar with the plea to promise an aging parent that you won’t put them in a nursing home (we may have even asked a spouse for the same promise) or the declaration that the only way they’ll leave their home is “feet first”. If your anxiety level rockets when the phone rings, this is a sure sign that you know things may not be what they seem. There is a tipping point when it’s clear that an elderly parent can no longer live alone or that hired help is needed to fill gaps in self-care. To get a clear picture of where your parent’s risk level is and what changes may be necessary to mitigate those risks, check out the assessments available in the How to Help Aging Parents e-book available on this site (http://howtohelpagingparents.com/). The situations that usually bring everything to the forefront are a crisis hospitalization or a visit home. Hopefully, you can help your parent make changes before a crisis hits and a visit home give you an opportunity to take a good look around at how your parent is functioning. But what exactly are you looking... read more

Long Distance Caregiving

Caring for aging parents is stressful, but caring long distance adds a new twist. A phone call or even a Skype conversation (if your parent is computer savvy) doesn’t tell the whole story and can keep you up at night with worry. Assurances that everything is okay, and that they are managing and that dad is only a little forgetful are found to be the tip of the iceberg when a visit home reveals that more care is needed. Long distance caregivers cannot be on hand to see changes has they happen and the challenge of gathering information and coordinating care is daunting and frustrating. You are not alone. It is estimated that out of the approximately 34 million caregivers 15% live one or more hours away from the person to whom they provide the care (2004 MetLife/National Alliance for Caregiving report). In many situations a sibling or relative living locally are available to support their aging parent, but this can cause family drama and stress. The people providing the day-to-day support can make the long distance caregiver feel that they are not pulling their weight in caring for mom or dad. Although it is not always easy, it’s best to talk it out and come up with a plan that may make things more equal. One example is contributing money to pay for a caregiver once a week to give local caregivers a break. If money is a concern, researching and coordinating services can save local caregivers time and frustration. For those caregivers who are the primary person providing care, it is even more imperative to hold a... read more