• April 15, 2013
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This Full Service Pharmacy Will Shorten Your To-Do List.

You’re going to thank me for introducing you to Surf Med - the latest addition to our directory of trusted, prescreened businesses in South Florida. That’s because this pharmacy, a family run business that’s been around for more than 50 years, does more than fill prescription vials. They carry everything you can think of from home medical equipment and supplies for sale or rent, to scooters and bathroom safety products. They can even assist you in completing the appropriate insurance paperwork.

And here’s the icing on the cake; you can purchase products online and renew prescriptions by phone and have them delivered or shipped. They’re a caregiver’s dream come true. A business that aims to please the locals (and their far away family members) with good service and convenience.

To learn more about how Surf Med can help you manage your own or your parent’s pharmacy needs, visit their listing in our easy-to-use provider directory, or visit their website. You’ll be impressed by all the helpful information and resources they provide.

  • April 18, 2013
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What I Wish I Knew: The Importance Of Having A Trusted Resource While Being A Caregiver

It’s been nearly two years since my father died, and I ceased being an active caregiver. When I look back on my own caregiving experience, there are still things that make me very sad. Yet I’ve never been able to pinpoint what it is that disturbs me so.

Until now, that is. Recently Lisa Huening of the The Shifting Path, a company in Northern California that provides guidance and coaching to caregivers, asked me to participate in an audio series she was preparing called “Things I wish I Knew.” It forced me to rethink some of the missteps I made. There were little ones in the beginning, like hiring a home health company that was not licensed to do the tasks we needed done, and a little more significant later on, such as having a bookkeeper that we knew lacked integrity but not having the courage to rock the boat, and fire her and not understanding that being angry at my father for behaviors he couldn’t help was detrimental to his health --- and mine. Even as I got smarter I still did not recognize subtle signs of both dementia progression and his body shutting down.  I wish I had.

What I realized I needed, and didn’t have, was a trusted resource--someone who could tell me if I was headed in the right---- or wrong direction, and could answer my concerns, and keep me on track, both emotionally and intellectually.  What follows is my edited recorded response to "What I Wish I Knew."

There’s no formula as to who that person can be but it should be someone who can provide some objectivity. If you’re a caregiver and live nearby and see your parents regularly- then it may be a friend who’s been through this journey, a social worker or other therapist who sees geriatric patients, or a senior advocate, who can help you plan and prepare for caregiving and navigate you to resources.  If you live far away from your parent, perhaps you can consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager, who can not only serve as an advocate but also as your eyes and ears when you cannot be there.  Perhaps is could be your parent’s physician, and if they have too many, perhaps you can find a family practitioner or a concierge physician who can serve as their quarterback with the other physicians. 

Do you have a trusted resource---someone who you can turn to for advice or as a sounding board?  Please tell us by commenting below.

  • April 21, 2013
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Give A Gift Of Safety: What You Need To Know About The Beyond Driving With Dignity Program

It's hard to find a palatable solution to the driving dilema that so many of us face with our aging loved ones.  I've written about available driving programs for seniors, and I liked the Beyond Dignity With Driving (BDD) program so much that I became a Certified Instructor so that I could offer it to our Seniority Matters users in South Florida.  Please click here to learn more about the program and to learn how it could be a good fit for your loved one. 

There are two ways you can provide The BDD program to your own parent or other aging relative.

  • There's a three hour, in-home program facilitated by a certified instructor. The program includes easy-to-administer and non-intrusive cognitvie exercises, an in-depth personal interview and a driving exercise in the individual's own car with our professional riding next to them. In the end...should driving retirement be the final recommendation, we will provide you with acceptable alternatives, resources, and a plan to ensure as easy a transition as possible from driving. If, on the other hand, the final recommendation is that the person is a safe driver, we will provide strategies on how to remain that way, and how to recognize changes in this status. 

The cost of this in home, 3-hour assessment is $350.00.  If you'd like to schedule the in-home program or have any questions just give us a call at (786) 537-2400.

  • If you don't think that the personalized self-assessment method is right for your family member, then consider the do-it-yourself approach, where you can use the "Beyond Driving with Dignity workbook. Working through this instrument will also help your family make driving-related decisions that are not only in the best interest of the older driver, but for others on the road as well. The workbook was designed to be used by your family in the privacy and comfort of your own home. If you then find that you change your mind, you can easily arrange the personalized self-assessment. To learn more about the workbook, click here

The workbook costs $27.95. If you'd like to order it click here.

Not sure which way is best for your family member? Give us a call and we'll help you make the decision that's best for you.

  • April 21, 2013
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Senior Drivers: Paving The Way For A Smooth Ride With The Beyond Driving With Dignity Program

If I were to rank the most pressing concerns family members have of their aging parents, driving would be near the very top. And of all conversations caregivers have with their parents, what’s become known as the “taking the keys away” talk is the most dreaded, even more than talking about their finances, or the need for some personal assistance.

Yes, having the driving talk is very difficult, (you can refer to a previous post I wrote "We Need To Talk" which offers some advice and recommendations for readings on how to approach these uncomfortable and sensitive talks) but trust me, actually doing something about it is even more difficult. 

In another recent post, I provided information on programs and resources for Senior Driver Safety. I liked one of the programs, Beyond Driving with Dignity, so much that I became a Certified Instructor so that I could offer it to Seniority Matters users.

What differentiates this program from others is that it's a personal self-assessment that's designed to help the older driver and their family members make the best decisions regarding their driving and keeping them safe.  The exercises in the program will help individuals recognize if and when it's time to stop driving.  This is so much preferable than having a family member "take away the keys."

This program can ideal for those who:

  • Live far from their loved ones and aren't sure of his or her ability to continue driving safely.
  • Need some help and direction plotting the future of of their loved-ones' safe driving career.
  • Don't know how to addresss the driving issue or initiate the driving talk.
  • Don't know what resources are available to you that can help them should they not be able to drive.
  • Want a skilled professional to help bring or maintain calm and stability to what can be a complex family issue
  • Want a program that will help your loved one's ability to remain safe on the road and to continue to monitor their skills as they age.

There are two ways to complete the program.  

A three hour in-home program facilitated by a certified instructor will provide you with acceptable alternatives, resources and a plan to ensure as easy a transition as possible from driving. And if the final recommendation is that your family member is a safe driver, you will be provided strategies on how to remain that way, and how to recognize changes in this status.

Alternatively you can use the "do-it-yourself" approach by using the "Beyond Driving with Dignity workbook which you can easily order. Either way, the program is administered in the privacy of your own home.  

To learn more about the different approaches, their costs, and how to arrange for them, please click here

  • May 17, 2013
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Getting Fit Without Getting Hurt

You're committed to getting in shape or to restarting a long-abandoned fitness routine. You jump into your workout with gusto. Oh oh ! The next thing you know, you're hurting. What happened? Usually, it's because you're doing the right activity with poor form, or too much for a newbie. Or, it could be that you have chosen the wrong activity for your body tor physical conditioning. Here are some things you can do to avoid getting injured.

  • Be realistic about your body's abilities: If you have knee problems, you don't want to do impact exercises like running or jumping rope. A good alternative would be a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer. If you have hip issues, you want to reconsider participating in that spinning class.
  • Hire a trainer: One of the best ways to avoid injury is to have at least a few sessions with a certified personal trainer. A trainer will teach you proper form (body alignment) for weight lifting, running and other exercises. The trainer will also aid in the appropriate progression of weights, exercises and rest periods. Make sure that your trainer is aware of your age (if you're over 50  it's best not to hire someone in their 20's).
  • Don't overdo it: The way to avoid repetitive stress injuries is to not do the same exercise over and over. Shin splints, tendonitis and long-term muscle soreness are often the result of overuse.
  • Give muscles adequate rest: If you do upper body one day, you could do lower body the next and maybe a cardio activity, abs and balance on the third. It's ok to workout every day, just give tired muscles time for rest and recovery. Warm-up, cool down and take it slow: You'll be less likely to get injured if you warm up first. You want a moderately paced cool-down after a workout so that blood doesn't pool in your extremities. Take it slow means "pace yourself."  So, if you're new to weight training, start with weights you can lift for 8 to 15 reps and don't do more than 3 sets. When that gets easy, you can gradually increase the weight and number of sets over time.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Stretch: Find some time in your day to stretch...it's like changing the oil in your car, only for your body!
  • June 20, 2013
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The Healthy Way To Boost Your Energy

It’s not unusual to feel lethargic once in a while, especially if you’ve had a poor night sleep, or you’ve been under a lot of stress. But if you’re finding that you can’t get out of first gear most days without a caffeinated beverage to pick you up, consider this advice from nutrition expert Keri Glassman, on how to boost your energy the healthy way.

Stay Hydrated

“People don’t realize that when they’re not hydrated properly, their energy is lower,” said Keri,  “Sometimes just staying hydrated is the key to feeling better.” She also recommends foods that are high in water volume, such as fruits and vegetables, that have the added benefit of keeping you full. And stick with water and herbal teas, she told me – not sodas or anything with artificial sweeteners.  

Eat Consistently Throughout The Day

Another way to maintain a high energy level is to start your day with a good breakfast and then eat consistently throughout the day. But don’t rely on low-nutrition, grab and go kind of food to get you through the day. “Eat real foods that aren’t going to give you a quick rush and then drop you off,” she explained. “Choose foods that are going to leave you balanced and satisfied. For example, a combination of protein and high fiber carbohydrates. Protein and fat will make you feel more satisfied and carbohydrates will give you more quick energy. But carbs that are loaded with fiber will give you a more steady flow of energy.” 

In addition to fruits and vegetables, examples of dietary fiber include beans and legumes, whole grains and nuts. For health snack suggestions, read Keri's recent blogpost, "Snack, Travel, Pop!"

 

Keri Glassman is a nationally recognized nutritionist and the author of The New You And Improved Diet: 8 Rules to Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever.

  • July 08, 2013
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Silver Sneakers: Fitness And Fun For Older Adults And Seniors

Silver Sneakers is a fun exercise program designed specifically with older adults in mind. It offers a variety of exercise classes, such as: Muscular Strength and Range of Motion, Cardio Circuit to increase cardiovascular and muscular endurance, Cardio Fit...low impact aerobics combined with abdominal exercises and stretching and Yoga Stretch to increase flexibility.

A chair is offered for support in all these classes. There's also a Silver Splash aqua class in shallow water, designed to improve agility, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. Silver Sneakers also provides a fitness center membership to any participating location in the country, which includes (as well as access to the classes) , access to equipment, pool and sauna.

Every participating fitness center provides a Silver Sneakers program adviser to help you enroll and to familiarize you with the equipment.

Many health plans offer Silver Sneakers to people who are eligible for Medicare.

To find out more about this program, go to their website or call 888-423-4632. 

  • July 08, 2013
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Ten Tips For Traveling With Aging Relatives

It's inevitable that we develop some limitations as we age --so being prepared and taking them into consideration as you plan a vacation with an aging parent, grandparent, spouse or even for yourself, will make the trip easier and more enjoyable for the entire family.

Here are some tips that are often overlooked but that can make or break the vacation for seniors: 

  • Have them schedule a visit or speak with their primary care visit who can make sure they're fit for the type of vacation planned.
  • Make sure you purchase travel insurance. This is good for anyone, regardless of age. 
  • Make certain to pack their health insurance and Medicare card along with a detailed list of medications they take.
  • Bring a full supply of all their medications.
  • If traveling by plane, and if necessary, choose seats in the rows designated for "disabled" travelers and  arrange for wheelchair or cart service to and from the gates. 
  • If taking multiple flights, avoid short connecting times.
  • Make sure you're aware about the local conditions of where you're travelling. If the area has uneven cobblestone walkways, make sure you can arrange for transportion to key attractions. If the water is not drinkable, make sure you have bottled water. 
  • When making hotel accomodations inquire about any needs you may have, such as close proximity to an elevator if they use a cane or walker.
  • Use a money belt or a neck-cord wallet instead of a purse or wallet in the back pocket (which is good advice for anyone traveling).
  • And finally---always ask for Senior Discounts.
Below are links to travel websites that provide suggestions and tips for travelling with family members of all ages:
 
  • July 09, 2013
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Having Trouble Finding A Geriatric Physician For An Aging Relative?

Are you having trouble finding a geriatric physician for an aging relative? You're not alone. The paltry reimbursement fees that doctors are entitled to under medicare have made this much needed specialty a very unpopular field to be in. And it's getting worse.

A recent and provocative article by Judith Graham in the New Old Age Blog Walking Away From Medicare, describes one Geriatrician's decision to opt out of Medicare altogether. Instead she created a new kind of practice for older adults in which she conducts comprehensive assessments and evaluates care ordered by other doctors. Her fee? $200 an hour. 

Over 150 comments were posted and they were as interesting and informative as the article. Many criticized her for opting out of medicare and blamed our "for-profit minds" and medical system. Others gave her a "thumbs up" for taking action against a system that doesn’t work.

This story has really gnawed at me--- not because I blame her for “selling out”--- (I don’t think she has),  but because it just lays out in black and white that out-of-the-box solutions will benefit only those with money. And to me, this is very sad reality.

What do you think?

  • August 25, 2013
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Take A Stress Break With Online Guided Meditations

The physical act of meditation, sitting still and quieting the mind by focusing on your breath or a phrase, sounds so simple and delightful. But in a day full of email alerts and deadlines, surrounded by open offices at work, or obligations at home, it can be a challenge to come to a halt for even a few minutes.

But it’s worth trying because the benefits of meditation to our health are undisputed. Rodale cited six ways that we can all benefit from 15 minutes of meditation:

  1. It can improve your working memory and make you more productive
  2. It’s good for surly teenagers (and thus good for you, if you’re a a parent of one)
  3. It can lower your sensitivity to pain
  4. It will keep you happy
  5. By reducing stress, it will help your cardio-vascular system
  6. It will help with menopause symptoms like hot flashes 

Every January, I put “five minute daily meditation” at the top of my list of New Year resolutions but life happens and my good intentions fade away when my calendar begins filling up. That’s why I was excited to discover so many excellent online guided meditations. They really make it easy to squeeze in some decompression time during a busy day whether you’re working at your computer or tethered to your smart phone while you’re out and about. There are lots to choose from, but here are a few that I tried out and recommend:

I particularly liked the guided relaxation sessions at Calm.com. On the home page, you first select the amount of time you have for a “pause in your day;” then you’re instructed to choose your preferred nature scene, (I love the sight and sound of rain, but you might prefer a babbling brook, or breaking waves) and wear headphones if you have them. The female guide has a nice, soft voice that doesn’t compete with the relaxing sounds of nature that you’ve selected.

I also liked Stephen Cope’s Body Scan on You Tube. Cope is a psychotherapist and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self.  He’s on the staff at the beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, where he is the executive director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living. (Their website offers several at home yoga classes too).

The Mayo Clinic offers a relaxing, five minute guided meditation on their website, with a virtual candle flame to gaze at.

Finally, you’re likely to find a meditation that suits you on the website of The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Included among the 15 different meditations is a thirteen minute body scan for sleep meditation and thirty-three minutes of Tibetan Singing Bowls with Michael Perricone, founder of Omstream.com, a website that offers “music that fits your moods.

  • August 25, 2013
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Tai Chi: A Great Way To Reduce Stress And Improve Balance

Tai Chi is a mind body practice that originated in ancient China and has been practiced for thousands of years. It began as a martial art and as it developed it became a method of enhancing physical and mental health.

Tai Chi is now popular in the West, and people all ages and physical conditions can learn it. It involves gentle movements, deep-breathing and moving meditation. It is low-impact, weight bearing and relaxing. It is thought to improve the flow of chi(energy) through the body, thus leading to numerous health benefits.

Some of these benefits are:

  • Better balance and increased strength
  • Less joint pain and stiffness for those who have osteoarthritis
  • Improved sleep quality  
  • Increased vitality
  • Better coordination
  • Greater awareness, calmness and a sense of well-being

To find a Tai Chi class near you go to their website. If you're in south Florida you can call 305-598-3959.

  • October 31, 2013
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Finally A Company That Can Answer Your Medicare Questions.

Does the word Medicare make you feel uneasy? If so, you can be sure you're not alone. With so much complicated information out there it’s so difficult to make informed choices for yourself or an aging relative. You will be happy to be rescued by 65 incorporated. The company, founded by recognized Medicare expert Diane Omdahl and marketing guru Melinda Caughill, has distilled the wealth of Medicare information to create this one-stop-shop for all Medicare needs. And what's more- is that we're thrilled to welcome them as the latest addition to the Seniority Matters Directory. 

The site is a treasure trove of information including videos and white papers, and their online store offers educational programs as well as consulting services on virtually any topic related to the Medicare program. Need to learn the Medicare basics? There’s information. Need to know how to enroll? No worries. Medicare drug plans and costs? It’s all here – even information on Medicare Advantage and Open Enrollment. The beauty is that they're not affiliated with any insurance company: they don't sell insurance nor do they make money from insurance companies or Medicare - They just provide unbiased “credible, correct, complete, and clear information. “

They’re list in  Seniority Matters Directory  and our users are raving. So our directory or their website for information.

Don’t be left scrambling for information. It’s all right there!

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