We Have Moved

We Elderly Care has relocated our offices from 214 E Stuart Ave (Lake Wales) to 229 E Stuart Ave, Suite 15 (across the street in the Arcade Building).

CNA/HHA Help Wanted Highlands County

Looking for CNA/HHA’s in the Highlands County area. Go to our website to begin the process!




Study Links Moderate Drinking to Reduced Risk of Dementia

Study Links Moderate Drinking to Reduced Risk of Dementia

But finding comes with cautions against excessive alcohol use over extended periods

En Español

SUNDAY, Aug. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Moderate drinking may be associated with a reduced risk of dementia in seniors, a new study suggests.

But the study authors stressed that the findings shouldn’t be interpreted as a signal to drink freely. The study only found an association between some alcohol consumption and mental sharpness, not a cause-and-effect link.

Researchers followed more than 1,300 adults from 1984 to 2013. They lived in a white-collar, middle- to upper-middle-class suburb in San Diego County, California. Most were white with at least some college education.

Their thinking and memory (cognitive) skills were assessed every four years.

Among men and women 85 and older, those who drank moderate amounts of alcohol five to seven days a week were twice as likely to show no signs of dementia than non-drinkers, according to the study in the August issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Moderate drinking was defined as up to one alcoholic beverage a day for adult women of any age and men 65 and older, and up to two drinks a day for men under 65.

Heavy drinking was defined as no more than three alcoholic beverages per day for adult women of any age and men 65 and older, or four drinks a day for men under 65.

Previous studies have found a link between moderate alcohol intake and longevity.

“This study is unique because we considered men and women’s cognitive health at late age and found that alcohol consumption is not only associated with reduced mortality, but with greater chances of remaining cognitively healthy into older age,” said senior author Linda McEvoy. She is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

“It is important to point out that there were very few individuals in our study who drank to excess, so our study does not show how excessive or binge-type drinking may affect longevity and cognitive health in aging,” McEvoy said in a university news release.

Excessive drinking over a long period is known to cause alcohol-related dementia.

The researchers emphasized that this study does not suggest drinking is responsible for a decreased risk of dementia. They noted that alcohol consumption, particularly wine, is associated with higher incomes and education levels, which in turn are linked to lower rates of smoking and mental illness as well as better access to health care.

“This study shows that moderate drinking may be part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain cognitive fitness in aging,” study author Erin Richard said in the news release.

“However, it is not a recommendation for everyone to drink,” she added. “Some people have health problems that are made worse by alcohol, and others cannot limit their drinking to only a glass or two per day. For these people, drinking can have negative consequences.”

Richard is a student in a joint doctoral program in public health at San Diego State University and UC San Diego.

More information

The Alzheimer’s Association has more on brain health.

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, news release, Aug. 1, 2017

— Robert Preidt

What I Wish I’d Known About My Knees


Serious questions are now being raised about the benefits of the arthroscopic procedures that millions of people endure in hopes of delaying, if not avoiding, total knee replacements.

The latest challenge, published in May in BMJ by an expert panel that systematically reviewed 12 well-designed trials and 13 observational studies, concluded that arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knee arthritis and meniscal tears resulted in no lasting pain relief or improved function.

Three months after the procedure, fewer than 15 percent of patients experienced at best “a small or very small improvement in pain and function,” effects that disappeared completely within a year.

As with all invasive procedures, the surgery is not without risks, infection being the most common, though not the only, complication.

Furthermore, the panel added, “Most patients will experience an important improvement in pain and function without arthroscopy.”

That, in fact, was the experience of a friend who, at about age 70 and an avid tennis player, consulted the same surgeon who had operated on my knee years earlier. My friend was told he had a torn meniscus that could be repaired arthroscopically, but he chose not to have the procedure. Instead, after several weeks of physical therapy, the pain had subsided, he returned to the court and has been playing without a recurrence for at least eight years.

“Arthroscopic surgery has a role, but not for arthritis and meniscal tears,” Dr. Reed A.C. Siemieniuk, a methodologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and chairman of the panel, said in an interview. “It became popular before there were studies to show that it works, and we now have high-quality evidence showing that it doesn’t work.”

Arthroscopic surgery can sometimes be useful, he said, citing as examples people with traumatic injuries and young athletes with sports injuries. My son Erik is a case in point. When he was 23, Erik was playing basketball when he sustained a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in one knee that was successfully repaired arthroscopically. He’s been playing tennis and basketball on that knee without pain for the last 24 years.

The panel noted that about one-quarter of people older than 50 experience knee pain from degenerative knee disease, a percentage that rises with age. Arthroscopic procedures for this condition “cost more than $3 billion per year in the United States alone,” the report stated, suggesting that it was a near-complete waste of money.

Other common interventions include steroid injections into the knee. These can reduce painful inflammation, but if used repeatedly, steroids can speed the development of arthritis in the joint. A study published in May in JAMA by researchers at Tufts Medical Center found that the injection of a corticosteroid every three months over two years resulted in greater loss of knee cartilage and no significant difference in knee pain compared to patients who received a placebo injection.

The value of the other procedure I had, injections of hyaluronic acid (Synvisc and Monovisc are common brands), has somewhat better research support for patients with knee pain. One large study, published last year in PLOS One, included more than 50,000 patients treated with one or more courses of these injections and compared them to more than 131,000 patients who had no injections.

For those who underwent five or more courses, the injections delayed the average time to a total knee replacement by 3.6 years, whereas those who had only one course averaged 1.4 years until knee replacement, and those who had no injections had their knees replaced after an average of 114 days.

Dr. Siemieniuk conceded that treatment for degenerative knee arthritis can be “frustrating for both doctors and patients” because there is no clear answer as to what will help which patients.

Until there is better evidence, he suggested the following approaches that are known to help keep many patients out of the operating room.

• If you are overweight, lose weight. The more you weigh, the more pressure on your knees with every step and the more they are likely to hurt when walking or climbing stairs.

• Pay attention to the activities that aggravate knee pain and try to avoid those that are not essential, like squatting or sitting too long in one place.

• If the pain is bad enough, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) or an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like ibuprofen or naproxen.

• Probably most helpful of all, undergo one or more cycles of physical therapy administered by a licensed therapist, perhaps one who specializes in knee pain. Be sure to do the recommended exercises at home and continue to do them indefinitely lest their benefits dissipate.

• Consider consulting an occupational therapist who can teach you how to modify your activities to minimize knee discomfort.

5 Signs of Hidden Depression You Should Never Ignore and 5 Ways to Help

By Kat Gal 

Your friend seems fine.

She is social and appears to be cheerful all the time. Her life is in order. She rarely even complains.

There is no way she’s depressed.

The truth is, though… depression shows up differently for everyone.

Not everyone dealing with depression shows it in public. Not everyone struggling sits in the corner, cries all the time or acts withdrawn either.

There are people who have hidden depression and because they hide it so well, it can sometimes be very difficult to support them in getting better and finding happiness again.

But support is crucial and I want to show you how to spot a friend or loved one who may need you during this time… even if they aren’t openly asking for it.

5 Things To Look For With Hidden Depression

1. They may be irritated or angry a lot.

Anger and irritation are two common signs of depression. When you think of depression, you usually think of sadness, helplessness, apathy and melancholia. When someone is angry or irritated, you may mistake it for a bad mood or bad temper. However, anger and irritation are often a way to express depression, especially in men.

2. They may withdraw.

When someone is dealing with depression, it’s common for them to lose all interest in anything, especially in the activities they once loved doing. They may become more withdrawn, sleep in late and call into work more often, etc. Becoming withdrawn can be one of the biggest signs that someone is suffering.

3. They may become flakey and unreliable.

People dealing with depression may make plans with you when they feel up to it or feel pressure to do so, but then they may not follow through with it, cancel or not show up at all. You may consider this rude. If they do this several times in a row, you may even consider cutting ties with them. But be aware, someone who suddenly begins flaking out on you could be secretly depressed.

4. They may be exhausted, have trouble sleeping or sleep too much.

Dealing with depression is difficult and tiring. Everything becomes way too hard, even sleeping and/or staying awake. People with depression may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or may be tired even when they’ve slept all day long. They may be coping with depression by sleeping far too much. Sleep problems and unusual sleep patterns can often be a warning sign of deeper issues.

5. They may suddenly gain or lose a noticeable amount of weight.

There can be many reasons for weight loss and weight gain. People often lose weight because they’ve started eating better and exercising. They may gain weight because of indulging during the holidays, having less time to exercise or having a few too many brownies. A variety of illnesses and health conditions can also cause weight loss or weight gain.

Be careful trying to associate someone’s weight loss or weight gain with depression (or eating disorders) right away. Just keep in mind that not eating enough or eating too much can be a coping mechanism as well. Look for other signs of depression along with the weight fluctuation. If there is no other explanation – an improved diet, more or less exercise, or a medical condition, etc. – it may be a sign of depression.

What Can You Do If Someone You Know May Be Dealing With Hidden Depression?

  • Talk to them. Don’t interrogate them, but be there for them. Genuinely express interest in their lives and well-being.
  • Offer support. Do so by listening and trying to understand, without judgement. Also offer non-emotional support, like cooking a healthy meal or helping them around the house or with their pets of children.
  • Be patient. Depression is difficult. Healing is a difficult journey too. It takes time and may be full of ups and downs.
  • Believe in them. Don’t give up on them, even if they seem to have given up on themselves. Tell them you believe in them and that you believe they can heal.
  • Love them. Tell them that you love them unconditionally. Love them through words and actions.
  • Become vulnerable. You don’t have to do this alone; you are not alone. Just sharing your story can be liberating. This is a great way to begin healing and allowing those that love and care for you to help.
  • Eat better. When you are dealing with depression, sometimes the last thing you want to do is to eat healthy (or eat at all). But an unhealthy diet can lead to further depression. Focus on organic, plant-based whole foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. Your gut influences your brain, so take care of your gut flora and consider adding in a quality probiotic.
  • Move your body. Stretch, walk, do yoga, run, dance or anything you’d like. You don’t have to do too much, but try to move at least a few minutes – preferably 20-30 minutes each day.
  • Be in nature. Connecting with nature is healing. Walk barefoot in the grass. Hug a tree. Watch the sunset. Go for a hike. Swim in a lake. Play with animals.
  • Journal. Journaling is an excellent way to express your emotions, recognize patterns, let go of limiting beliefs and just ‘let it all out.’
  • Do some art. Art is another way to express your emotions, deal with negative feelings and create happiness. You don’t have to be an artist and you don’t have to show your work to anyone. Draw, paint, take photos, make some sculptures, knit, crochet, do some craft work, make a picture album, or color in an adult coloring book.
  • Do something that makes you happy. For now, it doesn’t have to be profound. If watching your favorite show puts a smile on your face, do that. It is important to start somewhere and that looks different for everyone.
  • Start practicing self-love. Do some mirror-work by looking into your own eyes in the mirror and talking positively to yourself. Practice affirmations. Practice smiling.
  • Get professional help. There is no shame in seeking professional support. A psychologist, therapist, counselor or a life coach can help you find answers and find happiness in life.

Always remember that there is HOPE. Help, love and guidance is out there, even when it doesn’t feel like it is. Don’t give up on yourself and most importantly, don’t give up on those you love.

We’re all in this together – no matter what.

7 Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Home Care

7 Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Home Care

Most seniors today report that they would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. But as people get older, a number of age-related conditions can make living at home increasingly difficult.

If you’ve noticed that your aging parent isn’t able to take care of themselves or their homes the way they used to, and suspect that an assisted living community or care home wouldn’t be a good fit for them, it may be time to consider in-home care. Today there are a number of different home care options that can help your parents keep on top of routines and stay happy and healthy, while remaining in their home.

When you give your parent a hug, you may notice that they feel thinner and frailer than before. Or maybe you’ve spotted bruises on their body. These types of physical symptoms may be signs that your parent needs some extra help at home. Significant weight loss can be a sign that your aging parent is struggling to prepare meals for themselves, or that they have trouble getting around the kitchen or possibly remembering how to cook properly (a sign of dementia).

Bruises tend to be evidence of falls or other accidents, although your parent may be reluctant to admit that this is happening. An in-home caregiver can help ensure that your parent is getting the proper nutrition and can help them prevent falls.

2. Decreased Mobility

Trouble walking and moving around can make it tough to complete routine activities of daily living, making in-home care a much-needed help. Mobility issues can have far-reaching effects – making it tough to get around the house (especially if stairs are involved), shower, or go out to buy groceries or for other errands and social visits. This can lead to a host of other problems, from malnutrition to social isolation. Home caregivers can help your parent get where they need to go, on grocery shopping trips and other errands, and provide valuable companionship.

3. Decline in Hygiene and Grooming

One of the biggest indicators that your aging parent needs in-home help is a noticeable decline in hygiene and grooming. This may include infrequent bathing, a strong smell of urine or a general unkempt appearance. Typically hygiene and grooming habits decline when a person is no longer able to keep up with these routines, either physically or due to cognitive decline.

It can be hard for adult children to intervene when it comes to toileting, bathing and other intimate activities of daily living. Even if this isn’t an issue for your family, there will likely come times when you or another family caregiver will need a break. In these cases, personal care assistants can help make sure your parent is able to continue their normal grooming and hygiene habits.

4. Forgetfulness

We all forget things sometimes – the name of that book you read, whatever it is you walked into the room to get. But increasing incidents of forgetfulness over time – especially when it comes to important to-dos like taking medication or paying bills – may indicate that home care help is needed. If your parent’s memory issues are interfering with their everyday activities, it’s a good indication that they should see a physician about their memory problems, as these may be signs of cognitive decline. Working with an in-home care assistant, you can help ensure that your parent stays on top of their normal activities, despite any cognitive decline.

5. Trouble Staying on Top of Finances

If you notice that your parent has a pile of unopened financial statements or warnings about unpaid bills, this can be a major sign that it’s time for home care. Suddenly applying for multiple new credit cards or signing up for pricey memberships or subscriptions can also be red flags.

Trouble handling finances when they were able to do so previously and poor judgment are both common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Although in-home caregivers should not be given access to your parent’s financial information (if needed, your parent should instead designate a trusted family member or other loved one), they can still help remind your mom or dad to stay organized and pay bills.

6. A Dirty, Cluttered Home

Difficulty keeping up with housework is a common indication that an elderly person needs in-home assistance. They may be unable to perform these tasks the way they did before due to mobility issues, cognitive decline, or even depression.

Some signs that your parent is struggling to keep up with the housework may include dust, dirt or grime in areas that used to be clean, excessive clutter or piles of dirty dishes or laundry. Many in-home caregivers provide housekeeping assistance such as cleaning countertops and appliances, sweeping the floor, running the dishwasher and doing laundry.

7. Loss of Interest in Activities and Hobbies

Have you noticed that your parent no longer seems to enjoy many of the hobbies they once enjoyed? Maybe their previously well-tended backyard garden has been neglected, or their weekly card game with friends has gone by the wayside. You might notice that your mom or dad has even given up more sedentary activities such as knitting, reading or watching a favorite TV show.

Losing interest in hobbies and activities can be a sign of numerous underlying problems, notably depression. While an in-home caregiver won’t be able to solve these medical or mental health issues, they can help ensure that your parent adheres to treatment plans, and can provide much-needed help so that your mom or dad is still able enjoy favorite pastimes.

Senior citizens should be getting these vaccinations

Senior citizens should be getting these vaccinations

Vaccine recommendations for senior citizens by U.S. government

The U.S. government has an on-going campaign encouraging senior citizens to get a set of vaccinations recommended by the National Vaccine Program office. Following are the vaccines you need and how to learn more about them.

You may need one or more of these vaccines, even if you received vaccines as a child or as a younger adult.

Ask your doctor which ones are right for you.

Vaccines recommended for older adults can prevent:

Want to learn more about the vaccines you need? Use the Adult Immunization Vaccine Finder to receive personalized vaccine recommendations based on your age, health status, location and other factors.

You can also review the Adult Immunization Schedule  to see which vaccines you may need.

Don’t forget if you are traveling, you may need additional vaccines. See the travelers’ health page.

Talk to your healthcare professional about making sure you have all the vaccines you need to protect your health.

More Information:

·         U.S. Government Site on Vaccinations

·         National Vaccine Program Office

Supporting Family Caregivers After a Loved One’s Stroke


Professional in-home care helps family help their loved one.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke each year. Although stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in America, more people today are surviving a stroke than ever before. Many of these survivors will make a full recovery, usually with the help of stroke rehabilitation. Others will be left with permanent disabilities that include paralysis or weakness, emotional changes, and problems with thinking, speaking and understanding speech.

During the recovery process, and as they are living with any long-term effects of their stroke, survivors often need a great deal of assistance and support for the best outcome and quality of life. Recovery can be lengthy. Patients need help managing their rehabilitation regimen and medications. They often need assistance with personal care and eating. Their home may be in immediate need of modifications to accommodate their reduced abilities and to prevent falls.

Family caregivers can become quickly overburdened as they support their loved one’s care.

It begins at the hospital. Stroke patients may have trouble understanding, much less remembering, information about their condition, care recommendations, and instructions on how to take medications. Dr. Paul Wright of Northwell Health explained, “In the past, you’d have one doctor come into your hospital room and that would be your physician. But over the years, we’ve started developing specialties and subspecialties, and now there are 10 or 15 physicians who show up.” This can be very confusing, and often, a patient’s family must step in to communicate with the medical team.

Next, a stroke patient may be discharged to a rehabilitation center for recovery. But the role of family doesn’t end at that point. Though their loved one is receiving professional care and supervision at the facility, families are still an important part of the care team. They visit their loved one; help navigate medical bills, Medicare and other insurance; work with staff to arrange for medical equipment at home; and schedule follow-up appointments.

Coming home after a stroke

When a stroke patient comes home, the real work begins. Many patients wish to return home as soon as possible, to recover in familiar surroundings while receiving continued treatment at an outpatient rehabilitation center. Yet their care needs may still be great, and living independently and safely requires some help! They most likely can’t drive. Their home may need to be adapted for one-story living if it has stairs and other obstacles. They may be unable to prepare meals or dress without help. The paperwork alone can be overwhelming. This is when the workload of family members really grows. Said Dr. James Burke of the University of Michigan, “Stroke survivors need a caregiver to spend the equivalent of half of a full-time job each week to help them.” His research revealed that “more than half of elderly stroke survivors receive help from a caregiver, requiring 22.3 hours of assistance per week on average. That’s nearly double what elderly patients who have not had a stroke require, at an average of 11.8 hours of help.”

Providing this care can take a toll on spouses, children and other family caregivers, so much so that they raise their own risk of depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, diabetes—and, as might be expected, stroke. Their careers can suffer, along with their financial well-being.

Families can’t do it alone. They should take advantage of support resources in the community, which might include help from other family and friends, and from local senior support organizations. For help with hands-on care and all-around assistance, professional in-home care is a great way to support a patient’s recovery after stroke, while protecting families from stress overload.

Trained, professional caregivers provide:

  • Personal care assistance for clients who need help with bathing, dressing, shaving, going to the toilet, or transferring from bed to chair.
  • Grocery shopping and meal preparation with ingredients and preparation methods that follow the healthcare provider’s recommendations, such as for soft foods.
  • Care coordination and transportation to healthcare appointments and rehabilitation sessions, such as physical, occupational and speech-language-swallowing therapy.
  • Prescription pickup and medication reminders. The caregiver can also be alert for the side effects of medications.
  • Laundry and housekeeping services, as well as the removal of hazards that could cause a fall.
  • Supervision for the client’s prescribed home exercise program.
  • Professionalism that preserves the client’s dignity and normalizes the relationship of client and family.
  • Companionship to brighten the client’s spirits, reduce depression and encourage a safe return to walking, independent eating and other activities as recommended by the healthcare provider.

In-home care supports a stroke survivor’s compliance with medical and rehabilitation goals to help ensure optimum recovery and independence, and to lower the risk of another stroke. Just as important, it protects the health and well-being of family caregivers.

Are my father’s seizures related to his Alzheimer’s?

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

Seizures are, unfortunately, fairly common in Alzheimer’s patients. Seizures can be thought of as small “short-circuits” in the electrical brain activity. They almost always start on the outer surface of the brain.

In Alzheimer’s, as the surface of the brain has some scarring, and is not working as well as it should, this short circuiting can occur. This would be somewhat similar to having small fires in the electrical system of an older house – the wiring is not in perfect order and a short circuit can occur. These seizures are usually well treated with gentle seizure medicines. I particularly like lamotrigine, as I have found that it has the least side effects in a patient with a dementing illness, but of course you should discuss this with your doctor.

As an additional issue, given that he is so young, it would probably be worth while to make sure that he has had a very thorough work-up before accepting Alzheimer’s as the diagnosis. I would err on the side of being overly cautious, and consider obtaining a second opinion from a Cognitive Specialist (Neurologist) at a nearby university.

Is Accepting Hospice Under Medicare “Choosing to Die”?

Hospice is a type of care that focuses on relieving pain and other suffering for patients nearing the end of life. To qualify for Medicare-covered hospice care, a patient’s treating physician must certify that the patient’s illness is likely to be terminal within six months. Once hospice care is begun, there’s no more medical treatment for the terminal illness itself.

Given this requirement of a prognosis of only six months to live, and the ending of treatment for the terminal disease, many people resist hospice because it seems like “choosing to die.” Many people also fear hospice because they believe that all medical care will end. For several reasons, though, neither one of these fears should stop someone from choosing hospice care.

In the first place, the decision to choose hospice isn’t final. If a patient’s condition stabilizes or improves, he or she can give up hospice and return to regular Medicare coverage. All it takes is to have a change of mind about giving up treatment, or a doctor’s advice to try a new treatment. Or for some reason the patient might not like hospice care and prefer to return to regular Medicare coverage. Patients don’t have to give Medicare or the hospice provider a reason — they can end hospice and return to regular Medicare coverage at any time.

Choosing hospice does not mean giving up treatment — and Medicare coverage — for all illnesses or conditions that a patient might have. If he or she has any medical problem other than the terminal illness itself, he or she can receive normal treatment for it and have it covered by Medicare Part B.

Also, hospice provides patients with specialized medical treatment for any symptom of the terminal disease. This care includes any drug needed to stay as comfortable as possible, provided directly by hospice, without having to go to the pharmacy, get a doctor’s prescription, or use other insurance coverage. The same is true for medical equipment such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, or the like.