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How to Help Parents Resist Scammers

Seniors are the target of criminals who are willing to use every avenue possible to scam them out of money. Scammers prey on victims through intimidation, fear and exploiting a person’s loneliness. Some common scams include: the Grandparent Scam where a caller will pretend to be a stranded grandchild in need of cash; a caller claiming to be from the IRS demanding immediate payment on tax debt to avoid arrest; a caller claiming to be from the local police department with a warrant for arrest unless immediate payment is given; and a caller claiming there is a problem with the persons computer and they require access and payment to fix. Con artists use voice calls over and Internet connection to alter caller ID and could be calling from anywhere in the world, regardless of the area code victims see when they pick up the phone. Callers are rude and scary and there are too many scams to list! A September 2016 article in the Huffington Post “The Top Scams Targeting Seniors and What To Do About Them” at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-cirillo/senior-scams_b_11766650.html provides more information. You can cut down the number of telemarketing calls received by registering a number on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry using  https://www.donotcall.gov/ You can also report unwanted calls on this website. To report a scam call or email to the FBI visit https://www.fbi.gov/tips . Information on internet scams can be found at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/on-the-internet. Talk openly with your parents about the fact that their demographic is the target and help them to know it is okay to be rude or hang up on someone if they suspect a...

Sedentary Behavior and Alzheimer’s Risk

  Researchers at the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada have published the results of a study which suggests that the risk of dementia may be just as high for seniors exhibiting sedentary lifestyle behaviors as for those who possess one copy of the APOEe4 gene. Those who possess one copy of this gene are three time more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without the gene. On the flip side, the study also suggests that physical activity can also decrease the risk of dementia. Arthritis, pain, fear of falling and isolation can all be barriers to older adults adding physical activity into their lifestyle. Just the sheer force of habit may keep them in their favorite chair. To help an aging parent become more active, consider movement they can accomplish while sitting. Some examples are leg lifts or stretches, arm movements or lifting even a can of soup to start. Helping a person ease into change through encouragement is the best approach with those who are experiencing the physical limitations of...

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 –...

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...

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...