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  • 04/12/2021 - californiacaregivers
    What Investments Should You Be Prepared To Make In Your Elderly Loved One’s Home?

    There is a fine line when caring for the elderly relatives in your life. You can show how much you care by intervening with their basic needs. But …

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  • 04/05/2021 - californiacaregivers
    This Decreases Your Risk of Dementia Considerably, New Study Finds

    As if you needed another reason to get up and move more, a new study has found that having an active lifestyle can keep your brain healthy, slowing the progression of Parkinson's disease and genetically influenced dementia. In research just published in the journal Neurology, South Korean scientists tracked 173 older adults who had early signs of those disorders; 27% of them had a genetic variant that predisposes people to Alzheimer’s disease.

     

    Using cognitive tests given at the beginning of the study, then one and two years later, researchers found that people who were more physically active experienced less gene-related cognitive decline. “Problems with thinking skills and memory can have a negative impact on people’s quality of life and ability to function, so it’s exciting that increasing physical activity could have the potential to delay or prevent cognitive decline,” said study author Jin-Sun Jun, MD, of Hallym University in Seoul, South Korea. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

     

    What Are Parkinson's and Dementia?


    Parkinson's disease is a disorder caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. The reason those cells die is not fully understood; scientists think a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible. Symptoms include tremor, impaired balance and coordination, limb stiffness, and slowness of movement. 

     

    The genesis of dementia—an umbrella term for a decline in memory, judgment and the ability to communicate—is also unclear overall. This study involved people with a variant in the APOE e4 gene, a predisposition for developing dementia.

     

    Previous studies have found that staying active may delay dementia. In 2012, research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that in older adults, an active lifestyle—defined as participation in mental, physical, or social activity—delayed dementia onset by an average of 17 months. The researchers found that people who undertook more of the three types of activity experienced a greater delay in dementia onset than those who participated in less.

     

    How to Stay Active


    Although experts aren't sure why activity keeps your brain healthy, their message is clear: Use your cognition or lose it. "Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia,” the Alzheimer’s Association advises. “For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.” Even less formal ways of challenging your mind—such as doing puzzles or playing games—are brain-protective.

     

    Additionally, “Staying socially engaged may support brain health," the Alzheimer’s Association says. "Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community — if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an after-school program. Or, just share activities with friends and family."

     

    Also helpful: Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure, getting enough quality sleep, and engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

     

    Read the original article here: https://www.eatthis.com/news-dementia-health-tip-study/

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  • 03/29/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Assisted Living vs. Home Care: 4 Unspoken Health Benefits of Aging in Place

    By Linda Williams

     

    If you’re a senior who has chosen to spend their golden years at home, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, 90% of seniors would opt for aging in place instead of resorting to costly institutional care. Further, aside from assisted living’s high costs, in some cases staying in a facility can deprive seniors of many health benefits that come from aging at home. From offering a safer living environment to promoting a greater sense of independence, aging in place can offer many hidden health boosts. Read on for four unspoken perks of growing old in the comfort of your own home.

     

    Stronger sense of comfort


    “Home is where the heart is” might be a tired cliché, but its message still rings true. Older adults who choose to move into an assisted living facility are forced to adapt to an environment that won’t ever really feel like home. Further, in addition to being uncomfortable, the disruptive changes that come from moving out of your home can result in anxiety and depression. In contrast, those who choose to age in place can continue enjoying a space where they’ve made many happy memories. And thanks to a wide variety of in-home care services like these, seniors who need help getting around the house or making meals can get the support they need from the comfort of their own house instead of relying on institutional care.

     

    Proximity to friends and family


    Not having to leave your favorite down-the-street neighbors is a clear perk of aging in place. And while staying close to friends and family bears obvious social benefits, this aspect of growing old at home also offers surprising health gains. Maintaining close connections with loved ones can help seniors reduce their risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and even lead to increased longevity.

     

    Safer living environment


    The pandemic was just one recent and devastating example of how quickly disease can disseminate in close institutional quarters. Multiple studies have suggested that viruses and other infectious diseases can spread like wildfire in assisted living facilities, putting older residents at risk of developing additional health problems. Choosing to spend your golden years at home helps you avoid the influenza epidemic that broke out in your nursing home’s jazzercise class last year.

     

    More independence


    Senior citizens who choose to grow old at home experience greater freedom and independence than those aging in an assisted living facility. Living at an institution might require you to adhere to a strict daily schedule, whereas aging at home allows you to experience your retirement on your own terms. After all, who wants to give up weekend gardening for stuffy seated exercise sessions? Aging in place allows for a greater level of control over your personal life, resulting in increased happiness and fulfillment – two crucial components to enjoying your old age.

     

    Parting thoughts


    Aging in place is more than just enjoying the autumn of your life in a comfortable environment. Besides helping you avoid expensive assisted living facilities, growing old at home often holds hidden health boosts for seniors. From supporting a safer living environment to providing a greater sense of independence, aging from home offers the health benefits you need most in your retirement years.

     

    Read the original article here:  https://theapopkavoice.com/assisted-living-vs-home-care-4-unspoken-health-benefits-of-aging-in-place/

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  • 03/25/2021 - californiacaregivers
    7 Things Certified Diabetes Educators Want You to Know About Managing Diabetes

    Taking care of yourself is an important part of managing type 2 diabetes.

     

    It often involves making changes to your diet and lifestyle, developing a workout plan, taking your medications, and monitoring your blood sugar level throughout the day.

     

    While managing diabetes can feel overwhelming at first, a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES) can help set you up for success.

     

    More commonly known as certified diabetes educators, these healthcare professionals specialize in educating, supporting, and promoting self-management of diabetes.

     

    Certified diabetes educators work alongside people with diabetes to create customized goals that may help improve both care and health outlook.

     

    Given their training and expertise, certified diabetes educators have unique insight to share about the condition. Here are the top things they want people to know about managing type 2 diabetes.

     

    1. Setting realistic goals can help you stay on track


    Keeping your blood sugar levels at a healthy level when you have type 2 diabetes may require you to make changes to your diet and lifestyle.

     

    Figuring out exactly which changes you want to make can help you overcome obstacles along the way.

     

    “Goal setting is a big part of successful diabetes self-care,” said Kerri Doucette, a certified diabetes educator and diabetes nurse specialist at Glytec, an insulin management software company.

     

    The goals should be challenging yet realistically achievable. They should also be specific, so you know exactly what you’re working toward.

     

    For example, a goal like “exercise more” is somewhat vague and hard to measure. A more concrete goal, such as “take a 30-minute bike ride 4 days per week,” helps you align your focus and make progress.

     

    And if a particularly busy week is making it hard to achieve your goal, give yourself the flexibility to make adjustments, advised Doucette. The key is to figure out what you can realistically accomplish — then set a plan to make it happen.

     

    “Be gentle on yourself when you need to be, but continue to work on smaller, more realistic goals for achieving a healthy lifestyle when life gets tough,” said Doucette.

     

    2. Weight loss takes patience


    Losing between 5 percent and 10 percent of your overall body weight can help make your blood sugar levels more manageable and potentially reduce your need for diabetes medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.

     

    While you might want to change the number on the scale as quickly as possible, patience is key when it comes to weight loss, Doucette said.

     

    “Rapid weight loss strategies may not be a long-term solution for maintaining your weight loss,” Doucette said. “Most patients I have worked with over the years were able to keep the weight off much longer when they lost weight slowly and steadily.”

     

    People who lose weight gradually tend to have more success maintaining a healthy weigh in the long term, per the CDCTrusted Source.

     

    That generally means about 1 to 2 pounds per week, but you can work with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to develop an individualized weight loss plan.

     

    Read the full article here:  https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/tips-from-diabetes-educators#weight-loss-takes-patience

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  • 03/22/2021 - califorrniacaregivers
    Stimulus money and tax breaks: All the extra cash parents and the elderly could get

    Tax breaks and credits could mean way more cash beyond the $1,400 payment for your family this year.

     

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  • 03/19/2021 - californiacaregivers
    How Two Lonely Generations Are Helping Each Other Heal

    Young adults and the elderly were especially isolated in the pandemic. There are efforts underway to help connect them.

     

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  • 03/15/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Your Eyes May Signal Your Risk for Stroke, Dementia

    THURSDAY, March 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Your eyes may be a window into the health of your brain, a new study indicates.

     

    Researchers found that older adults with the eye disease retinopathy were at increased risk of having a stroke, as well as possible symptoms of dementia. And on average, they died sooner than people their age without the eye condition.

     

    Retinopathy refers to a disease the retina, the light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye. It's often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, both of which can damage the small blood vessels supplying the retina.

     

    Retinopathy can lead to vision changes, such as trouble reading or seeing faraway objects. In the later stages, the damaged blood vessels may leak and cause visual disturbances like dark spots or cobweb-like streaks, according to the U.S. National Eye Institute (NEI).

     

    Studies have linked more severe retinopathy to a higher stroke risk -- possibly because both involve diseased blood vessels.

     

    In the new study, researchers found that people with signs of retinopathy were twice as likely to report a history of stroke, versus those with no evidence of the eye disease. Similarly, they were 70% more likely to report memory problems -- a potential indicator of dementia.

     

    Over the next decade, people with the most severe retinopathy faced a two to three times higher risk of dying.

     

    It's not clear whether retinopathy actually foretells a future stroke or memory issues, said lead researcher Dr. Michelle Lin, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

     

    Study participants were asked about stroke history and memory problems at the same time they were evaluated for retinopathy. It's not clear which conditions came first, Lin said.

     

    The next step, she added, is to follow patients with retinopathy over time, to see whether the condition predicts higher stroke risk -- and whether detecting retinopathy makes a difference in that risk.

     

    Lin will present the findings at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting, being held virtually March 17-19. Studies reported at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

     

    Read the full article here: https://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20210311/your-eyes-may-signal-your-risk-for-stroke-dementia

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  • 03/08/2021 - californiacaregivers
    International Women's Day - March 8, 2021

    California CareGivers is proud to support International Women's Day! 

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  • 03/05/2021 - californiacaregivers
    COVID-19 cases in California nursing homes down nearly 98%

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. —  A new report shows the number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes is down. Advocates hope the information leads to skilled nursing facilities being allowed to return to more normal operations.

     

    Skilled nursing facilities were some of the first places to shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

     

    Now, nearly one year later, new nationwide data shows that since December, there’s an 82% decline in new COVID-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities.

     

    As of last month, cases have dropped to the lowest level since May.

     

    The new report also shows a decline in COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes since December.

     

    In California, the news is even more promising. Since December, the number of new cases statewide is down 98%.

     

    "I think the vaccine has had an accelerating impact but it’s also that our facilities have increased their infection control techniques quite a lot. There is more testing available than there had been at all early in the pandemic when there was no testing, no personal protective equipment it was much more difficult to control this virus," said CEO of the California Association of Health Facilities Craig Cornett.

     

    The Folsom Care Center saw its only outbreak in November. Sixty-six residents and 65 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Six residents died.

     

    Currently, there are no positive cases. Seventy-five percent of the 115-member staff has been vaccinated and all but two of the 64 residents have been fully vaccinated. Those two residents chose not to get the vaccine.

     

    Additionally, visitors inside the facility are limited to those caring for residents. Physical distancing, masks and protective goggles are worn by the staff.

     

    Last year, the center installed a plexiglass window with an intercom system that allows residents to visit with loved ones.

     

    "We want to just do what’s best for these residents and try and get back to a more normal society," said Casey Callaway, assistant administrator at Folsom Care Center.

     

    Read the original article here: https://www.kcra.com/article/covid-19-cases-california-nursing-homes-down-nearly-98/35733040

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  • 03/02/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Everything in the stimulus package that parents and the elderly should know about

    A $1,400 check isn't the only thing a new stimulus bill is likely to include. Here are the proposed tax breaks and credits that could bring your family more money this year.

     

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  • 02/26/2021 - californiacaregivers
    What to know about Lewy body dementia

    Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a form of dementia that affects a person’s cognitive abilities and movement. It is a progressive disease, which means that its symptoms get worse over time.

     

    LBD affects an estimated 1.4 million people and their families in the United States. It is the third most common form of dementia, after vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

     

    This article explains the main signs and symptoms of LBD and provides information on treatment and coping.

     

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  • 02/24/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Why Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-Free

    TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers may have uncovered a key reason some people remain sharp as a tack into their 80s and 90s: Their brains resist the buildup of certain proteins that mark Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 02/22/2021 - californiacaregivers
    When Do You Become a Senior Citizen?

    THERE IS NO CLEARLY defined age when you become a senior citizen. Some people might consider themselves seniors when they retire from the workplace, sign up for Social Security or begin to spend their retirement savings, but others aren't ready to call themselves a senior citizen yet.

     

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  • 02/18/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Hundreds in Oakland band together to escort elderly Asian Americans amid rash of violent attacks

    Hundreds of Oakland residents have jumped in to help elderly Asian Americans who have been violently targeted in the Bay Area.

     

    A recent surge in attacks led Jacob Azevedo, 26, to start a social media campaign offering to escort anyone in Oakland’s Chinatown to help assure their safety. Within days, a full-fledged campaign was launched called Compassion in Oakland.

     

    "We strive to provide the Oakland Chinatown Community with a resource for promoting safety and community. We aim to embrace the often forgotten, underserved, and vulnerable. We promote compassion not indifference, unity as opposed to divisiveness. Fostering a more caring and safer Oakland for all," reads the mission statement from Compassion in Oakland.

     

    According to Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading coalition documenting and addressing anti-Asian hate and discrimination, between March 19 and December 31 of last year, Stop AAPI Hate received over ​2,808​ firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and the District of Columbia, and 126​ accounts of anti-Asian hate involving Asian Americans over 60 years old.

     

    "I wasn't intending to be some kind of vigilante," Azevedo told CNN. "I just wanted to offer people some kind of comfort."

     

    "This is important because this community just needs healing," Azevedo said. "There's a lot of racial tensions going on because of the previous president's rhetoric but in general our communities need healing. This is an issue that's been ongoing for a while."

     

    Read the original article: https://www.radio.com/kcbsradio/news/local/hundreds-in-oakland-escorting-elderly-asian-americans

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  • 02/15/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Top 5 Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

    Is your elderly parent at the point where they need more care than you can provide them?


    If so, you’re probably thinking about making alternative living arrangements for them. Two of the most popular living arrangements for seniors are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

     

    But, what’s the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility? How do you decide which is right for your loved one?


    Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about nursing homes vs assisted living.


    1) Activities

     

    Many people are surprised to find out that nursing homes and assisted living homes offer many of the same activities. Loneliness and isolation put older adults at greater risk of developing serious diseases such as depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.


    Both nursing homes and assisted living homes offer a wide array of activities to help keep their residents social and active. Here are some activities you can find in these communities:

     

    • Art therapy
    • Workouts like Zumba and yoga
    • Bingo night
    • Choir and other music activities
    • Discussion groups
    • Excursions to plays, concerts, and other events
    • Cooking classes
    • Holiday programs
    • Board games and cards
    • Ice cream socials and birthday parties
    • Pet therapy


    Of course, both living arrangements also offer family visits.

     

    2) Type of Help Provided

     

    The type of help each facility offers is slightly different.


    Assisted living homes are a great choice for those who want to maintain a social lifestyle but are incapable of living on their own. Those who live in assisted living homes typically need some medication help and nursing assistance, but they don’t require full-time care.

     

    Residents in these facilities typically need help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and arranging medications. Nursing homes, on the other hand, provide a more intensive level of care.


    Typically, those who live in nursing homes suffer from a debilitating mental or physical condition that makes it so they can’t live independently. Some nursing home residents are wheelchair-bound, bedridden, or need the daily help of a skilled nurse.


    Before accepting new residents, nursing homes always require that you bring in a physical exam and a physician’s prescription. The goal of a nursing home is to ensure comfort and safety for their residents by caring for them around the clock.


    In addition to prescription management and help with daily activities, many nursing homes also offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, cognitive therapy, and other rehabilitation services. These homes also offer ongoing preventative and palliative care. If the nursing home is state-funded, then it also offers emergency and routine dental services.

     

    When deciding between a nursing home and an assisted  living community, you need to consider the level of care your elderly parent needs. If they’re in need of more intensive care, then a nursing home is likely the right decision. If they’re still fairly independent and aren’t suffering from any major illness, then assisted living may be the way to go.

     

    Read the rest of the article here:  https://rivercountry.newschannelnebraska.com/story/43346184/top-5-differences-between-assisted-living-and-nursing-homes

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  • 02/11/2021 - californiacaregivers
    How Veterans, designated caregivers can get COVID-19 vaccine from VA

    As of Feb. 3, 2021, VA is providing COVID-19 vaccine to the following groups:

     

    • Veterans living in VA long-term care facilities
    • Veterans who already receive care at VA and are at high risk from COVID-19 based on VA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk criteria. At many VA health care facilities, this group includes all Veterans who are at least 75 years old. Each facility will determine when Veterans in this group can receive a vaccine. They’ll base this decision on vaccine availability, local needs, and the strict vaccine storage and handling requirements of the vaccines.
    • Family caregivers who are enrolled in VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). PCAFC Caregivers are eligible for vaccination when the Veteran they care for becomes eligible. VA will tell the family caregiver if they can get a vaccine when VA invites the Veteran to get one.
    • VA health care personnel. Vaccinating VA health care personnel helps continue to provide care for Veterans.

     

    VA is first prioritizing Veterans who are actively receiving health care from VA. If Veterans are not currently receiving health care through VA, find out eligibility and how to apply here.

     

    How can Veterans find out when they can get the vaccine?


    Veterans and caregivers can sign up for an easy way to stay informed about getting a COVID-19 vaccine through VA at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.

     

    When Veterans and caregivers sign up, VA will also ask about vaccine plans. A local VA health facility may use this information to determine when to contact Veterans and caregivers once their risk group becomes eligible.

     

    Note: VA will contact every eligible Veteran in each risk group. Veterans don’t need to sign up to get a vaccine.

     

    How will VA contact Veterans when they’re eligible to get a vaccine?


    Veterans enrolled in and eligible for VA health care can receive personalized COVID-19 vaccine information from VA in three different ways.

     

    Read the full article for more detailed information: 

    https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/84404/veterans-designated-caregivers-can-get-covid-19-vaccine-va/

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  • 02/09/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Tips for New Home Caregivers

    Get tips for new home caregivers and learn how to break into this rewarding career. You will be the best care provider with these tools of the trade.

     

    Deciding to become a caregiver is an enormous responsibility that you may feel called to in life. Whether you have a loved one that needs care or feel a desire to help multiple people, you need the right type of character and headspace to handle the challenges that come with this career. When you are just getting started, it helps to follow tips for new home caregivers and learn from the experts.

     

    Why You Should Be a Care Provider


    A caregiver’s job is one of the most rewarding careers, but it is not for everyone. You might make a good care provider if you enjoy talking to people and learning about their lives. Good listeners make excellent caregivers, but it is also important that you have time management skills and enjoy making plans. In addition to being organized, you should also be able to receive criticism well and always be ready to overcome a challenge.

     

    Get Certified as a Caregiver


    While the requirements vary by state and depend on what you want to do, you must train to become a care provider. Typically, no previous experience is required, and several organizations offer training programs, including the Red Cross and National Family Caregivers Association. You will learn how to properly assist clients with personal hygiene and other daily activities such as cooking and cleaning their homes. For your clients that require medical care, you’ll also learn things like how and why to prime IV tubing and other advanced medical procedures and techniques that in-home nurses provide.

     

    Pro Tip: Ask your mentors and peers for advice and find ways to connect with support groups online and in person. Caregivers need to be mindful of their own health and wellness!


    Apply To a Healthcare Facility


    Once you have acquired the necessary skills of a caregiver, you can start applying to care facilities. Hospitals, nursing homes, and private centers all need caregivers. You may be sent into a home or asked to provide additional care onsite.

     

    Pro Tip: Work on your interview skills and make sure your resume looks professional. You want to impress hiring managers and your future bosses by showing off your expertise.

     

    Become a Caregiver for a Family Member


    You can become a paid home care provider to assist a family member. It is crucial to speak with loved ones who may need a caregiver early, if possible, so that you can prepare in time. As it is not always possible to prepare ahead of time, you should not hesitate to reach out to additional family members for help when caring for a loved one.

     

    Whether to aid a relative or help during a pandemic, there may be times when you are learning on the job as you go through training. You’ll find that many tips for new home caregivers will only get you so far and that you’ll have to quickly learn the nuances of what is best for each of your clients.

     

    Read the origianl article here:  https://gantdaily.com/2021/02/07/tips-for-new-home-caregivers/

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  • 02/05/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Safeway pharmacies taking appointments in Sacramento County for COVID-19 vaccine

    The county's vaccination website added 11 Safeway pharmacies to their list of places to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

     

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  • 02/02/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Essential workers get lost in the vaccine scrum as states prioritize the elderly

    As a warehouse manager at a Food 4 Less in Los Angeles, Norma Leiva greets delivery drivers hauling in soda and chips and oversees staff stocking shelves and helping customers. At night, she returns to the home she shares with her elderly mother-in-law, praying the coronavirus isn’t traveling inside her.

     
    A medical miracle at the end of last year seemed to answer her prayers: Leiva, 51, thought she was near the front of the line to receive a vaccine, right after medical workers and people in nursing homes. Now that California has expanded eligibility to millions of older residents — in a bid to accelerate the administration of the vaccines — she is mystified about when it will be her turn.

     

    “The latest I’ve heard is that we’ve been pushed back. One day I hear June, another mid-February,” said Leiva, whose sister, also in the grocery business, was sickened last year with the virus, which has pummeled Los Angeles County — the first U.S. county to record 1 million cases. “I want the elderly to get it because I know they’re in need of it, but we also need to get it, because we’re out there serving them. If we’re not healthy, our community’s not healthy.”

     

    Delaying vaccinations for front-line workers, especially food and grocery workers, has stark consequences for communities of color disproportionately affected by the pandemic. “In the job we do,” Leiva said, “we are mostly Blacks and Hispanics.”
    Many states are trying to speed up a delayed and often chaotic rollout of coronavirus vaccines by adding people 65 and older to near the front of the line.

     

    But that approach is pushing others back in the queue, especially because retired residents are more likely to have the time and resources to pursue hard-to-get appointments. As a result, workers who often face the highest risk of exposure to the virus will be waiting longer to get protected, according to experts, union officials and workers.

     

    The shifting priorities illuminate political and moral dilemmas fundamental to the mass vaccination campaign: whether inoculations should be aimed at rectifying racial disparities, whether the federal government can apply uniform standards and whether local decision-making will emphasize more than ease of administration.

     

    Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/31/covid-vaccine-who-should-go-first/

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  • 01/29/2021 - californiacaregivers
    Improving Elder Care With Smart Devices | Avast

    If you’re supporting an elderly member of your family, you might be interested in a collection of home tech devices that can help extend their ability to live more safely and independently. We all need help as we get older, and I write this column based on the experience of my own family and caring for my 95-year-old mother-in-law.

     

    She has been living independently for the past 18 months using these three technologies:

     

    • An Amazon Echo Show: The Echo Show 5 goes $89 and the Show 8 for $129. (These are list prices and are discounted heavily for various promotions.)
    • A Blipcare BP blood pressure monitor: We bought it on Amazon for $159.
    • A Hero automated pill dispenser: It now costs at least $30 per month with a $100 initial purchase and 12-month commitment. There are other plans that cost more and provide additional monitoring and support.

     

    The three devices allow us to ensure that we can reliably dispense her meds, take her blood pressure, and talk to her when we aren’t able to visit. I’ll soon explain the limitations and decisions behind each piece of technology.

     

    When we brought all this gear into my mother-in-law’s medical facility, the staff was impressed and also unfamiliar with each of them, which motivated my purpose in writing this post. Note that my mother-in-law lives independently in an eldercare facility, although step-up care is available in other parts of her building. This is a common arrangement.

     

    Each device works with its own smartphone app to set up, but not to use — that is an important distinction, as my mother-in-law doesn’t have a smartphone. They also all require decent Wi-Fi service in her room, which could be an issue in some facilities. (This means that you should test the signal strength in your family member’s room ahead of time.) All three units sit nestled together on her desk, which is also important, and I will get to why in a moment.

     

    First up: The Amazon Echo Show


    The Echo Show is a voice-activated home hub device, similar to what Google and Apple sell with one difference: it has a very simple video conferencing setup. The video screen (either five or eight inches on the diagonal) is critical, because it allows us to “drop in” on her, have a video chat and see what she is doing. This is critical during the pill-taking and blood pressure processes, which is why all three devices are near each other on her desk, and also used to contact her in case we can’t reach her on her cell phone.

     

    It helps that the Echo Show is very simple to use. You do need a smartphone app to make the call. A second benefit of Amazon’s Alexa line of devices is that they have a better event notification process. This comes in handy for verbal reminders of daily events. Other home hubs, such as those from Apple or Google, aren’t as convenient or as capable in this regard. (Also, Facebook has its Portal, but I haven’t tried it out yet.) It’s worth noting that we have had mixed success with her giving Alexa voice commands. You might want to first try out one of these devices in your own home with your elderly family member and see how things go.

     

    Blipcare’s blood pressure monitor


    The Blipcare device is a bit quirky to set up. It uses its own web server and has questionable security infrastructure, but what is nice is that you don’t need anything else to record blood pressure once you get it working. Results are automatically posted within a few minutes to a special dashboard webpage that family members can check periodically and also share with doctors. If you have two family members to care for, the Blipcare monitor can track their stats separately.

     

    A side note: I’ve been using a different device to monitor my own blood pressure, the Qardio Arm ($99). It requires a Bluetooth connection to share its results, and it could be somewhat difficult for an elderly person to correctly put on themselves in order to get accurate measurements. In any case, I have been using this one for many years. And although have had to replace two of the devices, the company quite willingly sent me these replacements at no charge.

     

    A solution for automated pill dispensing


    Finally, we use the Hero device to automatically dispense my mother-in-law’s pills. It needs to be periodically loaded with them, of course, but it is basically very simple to use — my mother-in-law just presses a button, and the pills drop down into a cup. You set up a schedule and configure which pills get dispensed when.

     

    The notion of having these three devices is to postpone the need for nursing care for my mother-in-law. While these devices aren’t cheap, using them for several months can have a big payoff, especially compared to what the step-up nursing care prices would be.

     

    Importantly, these devices also offer a sense of security for our family. But be prepared: as with any home tech, you should be prepared to do some tech support to handle problems as they arise.

     

    Read the original article here: https://securityboulevard.com/2021/01/improving-elder-care-with-smart-devices-avast/

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