Brain health may soon be proved to be the most important component of healthy living and aging, as our brains connect to all the other functions in our bodies. The human operating system is turning out to be greatly impacted by our state of mind. Researchers now say our brains are the most important organ, creating memories, driving emotions and controlling every movement in our bodies. Now you can be proactive about managing your brain health with an online brain check-up tool.
One of our favorite authors, Deepak Chopra, and his pal Dr. Rudi Tanzi, also have a new book coming out called "Super Genes, Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being", as a follow-up to their book "Super Brain" and you can pre-order it. This book discusses how 95% of disease-related gene mutations are fully deterministic and influenced by diet, behavior and other environmental conditions.
Cleveland Clinic's Six Pillars of Brain Health can help us preserve our memory and lower our risk for brain disease. The recent suicide of actor Robin Williams, who was suffering from Lewy Body dementia, we now know, reminds us how vital it is to be able to properly diagnose our health issues. However, some types of dementia are difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Especially when there is an early onset of Alzheimer's disease, it can be mistaken for schizophrenia, drug abuse and all kinds of ailments that add even more stress to the situation.
Keep Memory Alive is a non-profit organization created to increase awareness and raise funds for the research, management and treatment of brain disorders (they are located in Las Vegas and receive sponsorship money from Caesar's - it's good to know there are gambling dollars going towards something positive). The Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is supported by Keep Memory Alive and treats patients with:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Huntington's Disease
- Parkinson's Disease
- Fronto-temporal Dementia
- Multiple Sclerosis
The Healthy Brains free brain check-up will help you manage your brain health and to be "mindful" of how to best care for your brain. When you take the Cleveland Clinic's free online brain check-up, you can also join their healthy brains research registry which also connects you to a community of people who are willing to participate in clinical research as we work to better understand how to treat illnesses impacting the brain. 6 Pillars for Brain Health
- Physical Exercise
- Mental Fitness
- Food & Nutrition
- Sleep & Relaxation
- Social Interaction
- Medical Health
Clinical trials are necessary to study better ways to treat memory loss. Right now, more than 70,000 volunteer participants are needed for more than 150,000 Alzheimer's Disease and dementia clinical trials. Participants are needed who are both healthy as well as those who already have a diagnosis of memory loss. Find clinical trial openings at Cleveland Clinic. Plan ahead for senior care needs or those of a loved one by learning about what Medicare and Medicaid cover and available care options near you.
Louisiana caregivers are called "Direct Service Workers" and receive this designation when working for senior care companies or as caregivers for the disabled.
The definition by the state of Louisiana of a Direct Service Worker is:
An unlicensed person who provides personal care or other services and supports to persons with disabilities or to the elderly to enhance their well-being. The caregiver is involved in face-to-face direct contact with the person and is compensated through state or federal funds. Functions performed may include, but are not limited to, assistance and training activities of daily living, personal care services and job-related supports. from LAC 48:1 Chapter 92 Sub-Chapter A 9201.
Louisiana private pay senior home care agencies will also hire caregivers who are trained as Direct Service Workers.
Senior caregivers may take an online caregiver training course to obtain the Louisiana DSW training.
Direct Service Worker training includes these topics:
- Abuse, Neglect, Misappropriation of Property
- Staff Ethics for Direct Service Workers
- Human and Civil Rights
- Confidentiality and HIPAA
- Person-Centered Planning, Personal Outcomes and Self-Determination Philosophy
- Incident Documentation and Reporting
- Documentation of Services
- Environmental Emergency Procedures
- Infection Control and Universal Precautions
Louisiana caregivers may take this online DSW Caregiver training and apply for a caregiving job in their area on Caregiverlist.
Memory loss has many forms and there are several types of memory loss and dementia. Seniors and their family members should visit a geriatric medical doctor in order to have a proper diagnosis of the type of memory loss in order for it to be treated in the most effective way.
Alzheimer's disease is just one type of memory loss, although it receives the most attention. I have always said that Lewey Body Dementia was the most difficult to care for, when I organized care for a senior home care agency. It would be especially difficult to live with Lewey Body dementia when you do not know this is what is causing the changes in your brain and behavior.
Late actor Robin Williams
One of the seniors we cared for when I worked at a senior home care agency had Lewey Body dementia and he would sometimes think he was somewhere other than in his living room. If the news on the television was reporting on a robbery, for instance, he might think he was at the scene of the crime and become violent. Out of caring for more than 500 seniors, he was one of the most difficult to safely care for and to staff a trained caregiver who could handle the changes in his personality.
Visual hallucinations and delusions are part of Lewey Body dementia.
Caregivers for seniors should always advocate for diagnosis for the type of dementia the senior is experiencing and this diagnosis should be by an experienced and trained professional - not just the family doctor the senior has been visiting for 30 years, unless they have been trained in testing and diagnosis of memory loss.
Robin Williams death is a reminder to us that it can make a difference to know which type of memory loss a senior suffers from as then everyone can better make sense of the behavior changes. Family caregivers can also take caregiver training courses to learn how to care for a senior as even in senior care there are many skills to learn that can make the aging experience better for everyone.
America's "Oldest Old' are increasing. This term refers to those who are age 80 or older. Media attention recently has focused on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Medicare benefit program and how when it was developed in 1965, the lifespan for an American senior was age 75. This is why Medicare benefits begin at age 65. But today age 75 seems rather young.
Our retirement years are going through an evolution as we realize we are more likely to live to be 100 than just age 75. This requires more money to be saved and for a game plan for a fulfilling lifestyle. But a reality of aging is also the fact that the human body was not built to last forever.
Aging is a natural process, for those of us who will be fortunate enough to experience it.
Doctor Atul Gawande, who has written books such as "The Checklist Manifesto", now has written "Being Mortal" to start a conversation on how accepting the aging process and planning ahead for how you would like for your senior care to be, should become as common as creating an estate plan. While Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care, Medicaid, for low-income seniors with few assets, does pay for an ongoing stay in a nursing home for seniors who qualify for this level of care. Understanding the costs of senior care are as important as choosing the type of senior care you would like, since the government program most of us will be on (Medicare) does not pay for long-term care.
Americans currently do not plan ahead for senior care, a fact all caregivers know.
Read "Being Mortal" and share it with those you care for to begin the conversation about how you would like to grow old, while also addressing the realities of changes that will be a natural part of aging. Think about how seasoned travelers prepare for a vacation: a carry-on bag has a change-of-clothes should our bags be delayed, a copy of our passport is in our wallet....
Dr. Gawande is a gifted writer and his book is an enjoyable read, even though it deals with tough topics. Begin the conversation with your loved ones and with yourself about how you picture your screenplay for growing old. Then you and your caregivers will know where the extra change of clothes are located - and if we even want to bother with them.
Memory loss can be both a concern and fear for everyone. Especially for senior caregivers who have witnessed someone experience memory loss. I had the opportunity to meet former President Ronald Reagan after his memory loss had progressed (he thought he knew me, but for sure we had never met). It was a reminder to me that we are all the same when it comes to aging.
This week, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) has launched a National Memory Screening Program.
National Screening Week is November 1 - 7 of this year.
The AFA is providing free, confidential memory screenings for people that have concerns about their memories. When necessary, individuals will be encouraged to have a follow-up exam by a qualified health care provider and may be directed to appropriate social services and community resources in their area.
The AFA is working toward eliminating the stigma and fears associated with dementia, and providing education for the public about memory problems and how to age successfully. The organization also hopes to alleviate fears for the people who do participate in the memory screening who are not currently showing any signs of memory problems.
Screening sites in your area can be located below.
National Memory Screening Locations
Memory loss has many forms and Alzheimer's Disease is just one type of memory loss. Now that we know late actor Robin Williams suffered from Lewy Body dementia, we can better understand how difficult the changes he was dealing with in his mind were during his last year of life.
Other types of memory loss include:
- Vascular Dementia
- Lewy Body
- Frontal Love Dementia (FLD)
- Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
- Huntington's Disease
- Pick's Disease
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Parkinson's Disease
- Subdural Hematomas
- Brain Tumors
By identifying the type of memory loss, the senior can then be treated correctly. The progression for some types of memory loss, such as Alzheimer's Disease, can be slowed when treated with medications. Many clinical trials are in progress now, to study ways to better prevent Alzheimer's Disease.
Meditation is proving to be an effective way to change the structure of the brain and Deepak Chopra and Rudi Tanzi, both medical doctors, are researching how meditation may be able to prevent or slow down memory loss. The doctors co-authored the book Super Brain where they discuss new ways of using our brains to help exercise it more and create new pathways, which, research is showing, just might be a way to prevent memory loss.
Senior caregiving requires many skills. So many care needs surround the process of caring for a senior as they age. Not only are age-related illnesses advancing, but a senior has friends and loved ones who are passing away along with their own health issues.
This is why caregivers for seniors can greatly benefit from caregiver training. Family caregivers can also benefit from caregiver training. Simple tasks can become difficult when caring for a senior, such as assisting with toileting and repositioning from bed to chair. States are beginning to pass regulations to be sure professional caregivers are trained on HIPAA and elder abuse and are taught emergency safety skills and environmental safety skills. Learning effective communication skills are also a technique caregivers can be taught (and is valuable at any age).
Basic online caregiver training teaches senior caregiving skills and provides a convenient way for caregivers working with seniors in their homes to become trained. As more caregivers will be needed as America's population ages, anyone who may be interested in part-time work can take an online course to become a senior caregiver and apply for a caregiving job in their area.
Seniors usually do not plan ahead for senior care. Anyone in the senior care industry already knows this fact and I remember one time a larger senior home care franchise group shared with me that they had paid a significant amount of money to an advertising agency to research how seniors plan for senior care. The answer? They don't plan for it at all!
This means that the loved ones of a senior - their spouses, children and relatives, are quickly searching for the right senior care option after a medical emergency happens. Where should the senior go for rehabilitation after a stroke? What option is right for them? A nursing home? Assisted living community? Senior home care?
The very next question that is asked is what does Medicare cover?
Family members must first understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and learn which option their parents or another relative they are assisting to find care currently has a coverage plan.
All seniors in the U.S.A. go onto Medicare health insurance but, if they qualify, on the basis of having a very low income and few assets (usually under $2,500), then they will receive Medicaid health insurance.
The biggest difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that Medicaid WILL PAY FOR ONGOING CARE IN A NURSING HOME. Medicare DOES NOT PAY for ongoing senior care.
Learn about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid and plan ahead for your senior care option.
Senior caregivers continue to be needed to keep up with the staffing for senior care. Many seniors require part-time caregiving to maintain a healthy lifestyle in their homes as they age. Senior care companies are constantly recruiting trustworthy individuals to work as senior caregivers.
Caregiverlist's Career Center connects senior care companies with pre-qualified senior caregivers. Many companies hire from 5 to 10 new caregivers each week. As many people think you must be a nurse to do caregiving, we want to explain the caregiving positions that are available.
Anyone with a caring personality who appreciates the needs of an older adult, can become a senior caregiver. Seniors with memory loss, for example, often only need a companion caregiver. Other seniors may be battling an age related illness such as arthritis or diabetes and simply have difficulty with daily tasks and only require a companion caregiver.
Caregiver Duties for Companion Caregivers include:
- Assisting with Meal Preparation
- Organizing Appointment Calendar
- Light Housekeeping
- Engaging in Mental or Physical Stimulation
- Keeping Household Needs Scheduled
- Monitoring Medications
Sometimes adult children who live far away from a parent simply want to know someone is checking in on their parent regularly. All of us will experience some memory loss as we age. A companion caregiver can be there to make sure the senior can safely age-in-place. Companion caregivers are also often hired when a spouse passes away.
Anyone interested in becoming a senior caregiver may take this online course to learn the basic caregiving skills. Refer-a-Friend
to a caregiving job
on Caregiverlist or apply now if you are interested in fulfilling part-time or full-time work in your area. The number of seniors will nearly double in the next decade and this can be an ongoing career.
Online caregiver training
can be taken at your own pace and meets new requirements mandated in California (AB1217), Illinois, Georgia and several other states that now require caregiver training. More than 30 states still do not have legislation mandating senior caregiver training although they often do require licensed senior home care agencies to provide basic training.
Caregivers for seniors often forget to take the time to care for themselves. The emotional aspects of caregiving stay with us throughout the days and nights and this is why senior caregiving really does go beyond the pay. The American Public Health Association works towards keeping all of us healthy which includes considering environmental issues.
Chicago will host the APHA's annual meeting this year, bringing together thousands of professionals working towards good health for all Americans, including seniors and senior caregivers. They are sharing this infographic to showcase that along with health eating habits, clean air, water and energy also are important to maintain good health. In addition, Caregiverlist adovcates for planning ahead for senior care needs, in order to know how to pay for senior care (no, Medicare does not pay for long-term senior care) and what the different options may be for senior home care services and assisted living. In addition, there is a need for more senior caregivers to care for the growing number of older Americans.
Caregivers for seniors are needed. While 10,000 seniors turn age 65 every day, this is not the only reason more professional senior caregivers are need for part-time and full-time job openings. Social demographics have changed in the U.S.A. and couples are having children later in life and pursuing activities and careers which allow them to relocate from the town where they grew up.
Seniors are living longer. A child born in the U.S.A. today can plan to live to age 100. This also means many people will choose to relocate when they reach retirement age. When our lifespan was just 75 years old (when Medicare was created 50 years ago, the age of 65 was chosen because most people would only live another 10 years). Now that we have another 35 years to live after we retire, seniors are moving to new locations to enjoy their retirement years.
Caregivers are needed part-time when a senior may be recovering from a major surgery or rehabilitating from a hip replacement or a fall. Sadly, Alzheimer's disease has become a growing diagnosis and will continue to grow as the population of older Americans grows.
Another reason more caregivers are needed can be understood by reviewing just the care needs for those seniors with Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's Disease in the U.S.A.
- 1 in 9 Americans age 65 and older (11%) has Alzheimer's disease
- About 1/3rd of people age 85 and older (32%) have Alzheimer's disease
- 81% of people who have Alzheimer's disease are age 75 or older
Remember, our former President Reagan needed caregiving services for 10 years while living with Alzheimer's disease.
Caregiverlist advocates for quality senior care with caregiver training tools (online) and an interactive caregiver hiring platform for senior care companies.
Senior caregivers or anyone with a caring personality who would like to become a senior caregiver may apply for a caregiving job on Caregiverlist's Career Center and be considered for part-time and full-time caregiver jobs and C.N.A. jobs in their area. If you know someone who would enjoy working as a caregiver, you may refer them to Caregiverlist's Refer-a-Friend program and be entered to win free caregiver training.
Retirees who are looking for a part-time income along with doing work that can be very fulfilling, can also apply for a senior caregiving job as a companion caregiver. Read about the caregiver job description
and think about people who may be a good fit as all senior care companies are constantly seeking trustworthy individuals to train and hire as caregivers. These caregivers do not do hands-on care assistance (such as assisting with bathing, toileting, dressing, and assisting bed-ridden patients). Instead, they are companions for seniors who may be experiencing memory loss or loneliness. These caregivers keep the senior's day on track and sometimes escort them to appointments and activities.
The labor department has targeted senior care as the top industry for employment growth in the next decade and when you see all of the different senior care options, this prediction makes sense.