Eli Lilly and Co. Study Results: 1 in 5 Patients Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease Don't Have It

National Dementia Week this week sparks conversation about memory loss and the impact this is having on America's seniors.  The longer you live, the greater your chances for developing some form of memory loss.  The two go together.  But now a new survey by Eli Lilly and Company, released today, shows that not everyone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease actually has this form of memory loss.

Eli Lilly did the survey as a way to help promote their imaging agent, called Amyvid, and to receive Medicare approval for reimbursement of this new product.  Amyvid received U.S. market approval last year and would assist in identifying the deposits of a protein called amyloid which is one of two telltale signs of Alzheimer's disease.  The imaging test is called PET, or positron emission tomography.

Performing an autopsy has been the only way to 100% for sure identify these plaques.  The thinking is that by properly diagnosing all Alzheimer's patients, Medicare may actually save money by properly treating everyone for the right type of memory loss.  Estimates are that 7.1 million people will have Alzheimer's disease by 2025.

Someday, there could also be the possibility for everyone to be tested for Alzheimer's disease at a certain age.  The Harvard School of Public Health found that two-thirds of adults would take a predictive Alzheimer's test.

With Angelina Jolie's New York Time's editorial last week, about her decision to proactively choose to have a double mastectomy because of testing positive for the BRCA1 mutation, being able to identify Alzheimer's disease accurately could lead to more preventive treatments.

Senior caregivers working with senior's with memory loss must have special training to understand all of the dynamics of the disease.  One of the biggest challenges of Alzheimer's disease is that it progresses at a different rate in each person.  However, because of the growth in the number of individuals living longer with memory loss, the demand for caregivers continues as senior care companies hire part-time and full-time caregivers each day.  Apply for a senior caregiving job near you or refer-a-friend and be entered to win prizes weekly on Caregiverlist.







24-Hour Home Care's Jessica Parel wins CAHSAH Nursing Scholarship

Congratulations to senior caregiver Jessica Parel, the 2013 CAHSAH (California Association for Health Services at Home) Joan Baier Garland Home Care Nursing Scholarship Winner!

Jessica shared with CAHSAH conference attendees that she at first had diffculty finding her path in life.  However, she then experienced the loss of both of her grandparents who passed away while in hospice care.  This gave her the inspiration to become a senior caregiver and then to begin studies to pursue a degree as a registered nurse.

"I believe I need my clients more than they need me," says Ms. Parel.  Her experience as a senior caregiver has fueled her passion and drive, she says.

Caring for seniors definitely delivers value beyond a paycheck, as senior caregivers enjoy the wisdom seniors are able to share from a lifetime of experiences.

As the senior care industry continues to expand, in order to meet the care needs of our growing senior population (10,000 seniors turn age 65 each day), senior care companies hire new caregivers each week.

Become a professional senior caregiver by taking an online caregiver training course and apply for a part-time or full-time senior caregiving job near your home on Caregiverlist.com.  You may also want to pursue advanced training, just as Jessica Parel is doing, to continue to grow your career in the senior healthcare industry.  Many senior care companies will assist with tuition reimbursement for becoming a certified nursing aide, or you may have an opportunity to win a scholarship, just as Jessica Parel did at this year's California home care conference.

Congratulations and gratitude to Jessica for advancing the benefits that come with working as a professional senior caregiver.



Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013 Endorsed by American Nurses Association

Family caregivers for seniors and professional caregivers truly know the challenges of caring for a senior while they are in a hospital or nursing home which include pitching in to assist the staff.  Many times a Registered Nurse of Certified Nursing Aide simply cannot keep up with all of their patient's needs because they have too many patients or residents to care for during their shift.  Many time nursing homes will even tell families they must bring in their own paid senior caregiver if they want certain tasks managed.

As the owner of a senior home care agency in Chicago, we often had nursing homes such as Warren-Barr, in downtown Chicago, introduce our services at the same time they did the intake with a family for a new senior resident.  They were upfront about the fact that they staffed one Certified Nursing Aide for every 12 or more residents.  We had senior clients in the nursing home who would not be taken for a shower if they did not have a private caregiver.  

Staffing challenges are very real for Registered Nurses who must manage all of the nursing aides and caregivers and often pitch in to perform hands-on care themselves when they do not have adequate staffing.  This is part of the reason for high-turnover in the industry for C.N.A.'s and R.N.'s working at hospitals and nursing homes.

The American Nurses Association has endorsed the bi-partisan Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013 which would make hospitals who receive Medicare funding accountable for providing adequate nursing staff to deliver better care and improve patient safety.  The ANA says ongoing research continues to show that higher staffing levels by experienced RN's are linked to lower rates of patient falls, infections, medications errors and even death.

Similar legislation has been introduced previously in at least 5 sessions of Congress. Some have included protection for nurse whistle-blowers and restrictions on mandatory overtime.  All bills have died in committee.

The current Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013 includes:

  • Requiring hospitals to establish committees that would create unit-by-unit nurse staffing plans based on multiple factors, including the number of patients, severity of the patient's conditions, experience and skill level of the RN's, and the availability of support staff and technological resources.
  • Require hospitals that participate in Medicare to publicly report nurse staffing plans for each unit.
  • Limit the practice of "floating" nurses by ensuring "that RN's are not forced to work on units if they lack the education and experience in that specialty.
  • Allow imposition of civil monetary penalites for knowing violations
  • Provide whistle-blower protections for those who file a complaint about staffing.

Nurse staffing levels and fatigue are repeatedly cited as the primary or secondary factor for accidental events every year.  One of the licensing requirements for hospitals and nursing homes is to have "the necessary staff to support the care, treatment and services it provide" to patients or residents.

Caregiverlist's Nursing Home Directory includes the C.N.A.-to-resident staffing ratio at nursing homes which is often just 1 C.N.A. to every 12 o 15 residents.  Burnout occurs and then what follows is high turnover of C.N.A. employees.  However, some facilities do not experience the 50% or higher turnover because they provide adequate staffing levels, support and benefits to the Certified Nursing Assistants.

C.N.A.'s often will migrate to working for professional senior home care agencies, simply because they enjoy the benefit of providing one-on-one care to just one senior.  Many C.N.A.'s tell us they prefer senior home care because of the quality care they can deliver when just caring for one person at a time. Caregiverlist's Career Center provides information on working as a professional senior caregiver which may require formal training and certification in some states.

Senior home care agencies hire 3 to 6 new caregivers or C.N.A.'s each week, as the industry has grown by more than 40% since 2008.  You may apply for a companion caregiver position on Caregiverlist, reaching multiple companies with just one application.  You may also research Certified Nursing Aide programs and refer-a-friend to a senior caregiver job as the industry is constantly looking for more quality caregivers.





Happy Mother's Day to Our Caregivers and Today's Babies Who Will Live to be age 110+

Today we celebrate Mother's Day and those caregivers who are finding themselves caring for their Mothers and dealing with the transition of perhaps now playing the role of Mother to their own Mom.  Happy Mother's Day to you, however you may have entered into the position!

Motherhood will continue to evolve as the latest news shows a baby born today will have a very good chance of living to be 110-years-old and more than half will surpass age 100.  Living for a century will no longer be rare.  Scientists at the University of California are studying how to prolong life and crossing the bridge into this new territory that ignites emotions and moral questions.

Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder, is one Venture Capitalist financing the research into how to prolong life.  He sees death as a problem we may be able to solve.  However, this type of scientific research is still considered on the fringe of science and includes growing new organs for human stem cells, creating body parts and using gene therapy to treat hereditary diseases.

Mothers may soon be able to know that they can easily give birth later in life......we are already accepting of surrogates for women who are unable to carry a baby and so it may not be too far off to accept a surrogate simply because a women in her 50's decides she is ready to be a Mother.  If you are going to live to be 150, which of those 18 years do you want to stay homebound while rearing a child? Do you want wisdom or physical energy for Motherhood?

There will be much to debate as our society confronts a longer lifespan. If my great-grandmother lived to be 101-years-old and was born before there were airplanes and automobiles, it is natural to accept that soon grandparents will be living past 110. We know how to eat a healthy diet and keep our minds and bodies active to enjoy healthy aging.  We have medications and surgeries such as hip-replacements to replace our worn out parts.  I could live to be 110 and so could all of my friends.  Which also means more years living in Assisted Living communities, most likely, and more years needing a senior caregiver.  

Back in the year 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years.  Now the average lifespan is around age 80.  And that is "average".  More and more of our mothers will definitely be living past the 100-year mark.

One researcher has organized the realities of living longer in this book, "100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith," by Sonia Arrison.  She shares that some babies born today may be able to live to be 150 years old.

Enjoy your time being a caregiver to your Mom today, or to someone who is like a mother to you. 

Medication Reminder App Helps Senior Caregivers

Caregiverlist Weekly Senior App Review

Balance, for Caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, is a new smartphone and notebook app to assist with keeping medications on track for seniors with Alzheimer's disease.

Senior caregivers must juggle many duties each day which may add to the challenges of keeping the senior's medication schedule on track.  Following the proper requirements for taking a medication are vital to benefit from the drug's prescribed benefits and this new app helps make the caregiver's job easier.

None of us have our eyes glued to the clock at all times, and this is especially true for senior caregivers, so trying to remember to take a medication at the same time daily can be a challenge, even if a senior is set in a fairly habitual routine.

Now, thanks to this new app for iPhones and iPads, caregivers and seniors can set reminders to take their pills and keep track of their medication schedule and when they have taken their medication. Think of it as a digital pillbox.

The National Alzheimer Center launched this new smartphone app last month.

In addition to the “pillbox” tool which lets the user track when a senior has taken medication, there is also a spot to keep notes on upcoming doctors appointments and tips for caregivers along with learning materials on Alzheimer's.

The Apple Applications Store lists it under “Balance: for Alzheimer's Caregivers” and has the following description:

“Balance is an essential tool for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients as it enables you to coordinate care among multiple caregivers in real-time. Track physical, behavioral and emotional changes and share them with other caregivers and doctors immediately, coordinate care and medications, learn about the latest Alzheimer’s research and information, and more.”

Launched in March, the app carries a one-time fee of $3.99 and once activated, multiple users may subscribe to the actions of one user in the application. For example, if a senior caregiver uses the application to track notes for an upcoming doctor's appointment and family member accompanies the senior to the appointment, that family member will be able to access the pertinent information for the appointment through the application. Additional features include a chat function to link caregivers with family members and access to the National Alzheimer's Center online store.


App Name:  Balance by The National Azlheimer Center for Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

Cost:  $3.99

Download the application for Apple products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress.  You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease Author Online Chat May 16th

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Alzheimer's disease care know the unique aspects of this disease.  Confusing person, time and place can create an added challenge.  A caregiver may arrive one day to discover the senior with Alzheimer's disease thinks the caregiver is their wife or sister or mother.  "Meet them where they are" is a common mantra used when caring for seniors with Alzheimer's.

A popular book for families and caregivers is "The 36-Hour Day", co-written by Dr. Peter Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.  As a member of the AARP Caregiving Advisory Panel, Dr. Rabins will offer an online chat to answer questions about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia and discuss ways the caregiver can also care for themselves.

Creating a custom care plan for seniors with Alzheimer's disease is important along with understanding the emotional toll the caregiving can take on the caregivers, both professional caregivers and family caregivers.

My own grandfather suffered from the disease and would read the Wall Street Journal upside down and often confuse all of his family members with other people.  These are the extra heart-breaking aspects of the disease for caregivers.

Join Dr. Rabins on Thursday, May 16th from 2pm to 3pm Eastern Time for an interactive chat session.

Online Chat with Dr. Rabins, Co-Author of "The 36-Hour Day:  A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease".

Date:  May 16, 2013

Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Senior caregivers may also find online caregiver training and apply for a senior caregiving job near them, as more companion caregivers are always needed to assist seniors with memory loss.


California Association for Health Care Services Home Care Service Award Winner: Andria Harris

Senior caregivers provide one-on-one care services to seniors in their homes and because of this, often do not enjoy the benefits of interacting with their other team members each day.  But top performers are noticed, because senior's provide positive feedback along with Care Managers and friends and family who interact with the senior and caregiver.

California's association for senior home care agencies celebrated a star-performing caregiver last week during their annual conference in Monterey, California.  CAHSAH's 2013 Annual Conference honored Andria Pharris, a professional caregiver employed by Sheridan Care In-Home Health Care.  Caregiverlist was also honored to be able to meet Andria and experience her warmth and sunny outlook on the fulfillment of working as a professional senior caregiver.  

CAHSAH Caregiver of the Year Winner Andria Harris Interview

How many years have you worked as a senior caregiver?  9 years.

What led you to employment in the senior care industry?  I worked in the airline industry and then after my son was born my Mother encouraged me to look into working as a senior caregiver.  I obtained a Certified Nursing Aide certificate and worked at a rehabilitation center in Santa Monica, California.  I then joined the senior home care agency.

What makes you a star-performing caregiver?  I really endorse senior home care because it allows the senior to remain in their own home and open their own refrigerator door, garden in their own yard and just enjoy their own home.  I find it most fulfilling to share in communicating with them and sharing their day with them.  It is a spiritual experience to spend time with my senior clients.  I enjoy setting a positive example for my son.

Congratulations to Andria Harris for also setting an example for all of us in maintaining a positive attitude and giving a winning smile to everyone she meets.

Liz Cantz, senior vice president of marketing for Sheridan Care says, "We are proud of Andria.  She emulates everything a caregiver should be." 

Caregiverlist's community of caregivers also share their caregiving stories about working as a senior caregiver with some of their favorite clients.  If you know anyone who may be interested in working as a professional caregiver, you may refer-a-friend to Caregiverlist and win prizes weekly and monthly.

 Congratulations Andria Harris!

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week: Beauty from India

Senior caregivers greet each day with new challenges - the one guarantee is that no two days will ever be the same when you are caring for a senior.  Caregiverlist invites professional senior caregivers and family caregivers to take a moment away from the stress of caregiving to enjoy our relaxing photo of the week, of a beautiful scene in India.  Remember, more senior caregivers are needed and if you have taken a break from caregiving and are ready to apply for a part-time or full-time senior caregiving job in your area, you may do so on Caregiverlist.com and you may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly. Caregiverlist's Career Center also provides information about working as a senior caregiver and certified online caregiver training.





"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."

Deepak Chopra

Caregiver Jobs: Shortage of Caregivers Cause for Concern

Caregiving as a profession has grown significantly in the last decade, with a 40% growth in the number of senior home care agencies since 2008.  Caregiverlist's Employment Index profiles the growth in senior home care along with the top cities where seniors age-in-place (or relocate).

Last week, the Wall Street Journal profiled the shortage of C.N.A.'s for nursing homes along with the high turnover and potential need for higher pay and other benefits for certified nursing aides.

Another reason for the shortage of professional caregivers is because many people do not realize caregiving can be a professional job with a career path.  The large growth in senior home care agencies is because senior care is moving to the home.  Seniors often find they prefer one-on-one care in their own home rather than relocating to a nursing home or assisted living community.

This means anyone with a caring personality may be employed by a senior home care agency. In addition, the growth in the number of seniors with memory loss - the Alzheimer's Association reports that nearly 1/3rd of all Americans will have some memory loss, with the risk increasing the longer we live.  This means seniors who are physically healthy -or enjoying healthy aging, will suddenly need caregiving services just to maintain meals and daily activities. 

Companion caregivers assist with medication reminders, meal preparation and daily activities as well as just being a friend to the senior.  Certified Nursing Aides, however, must obtain a certificate in their state by passing a state exam after attending an approved school. C.N.A. programs can be anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks and some programs offer evening courses.

Anyone interested in exploring becoming a senior caregiver can apply for a caregiving job or Refer-a-Friend to be a caregiver to win t-shirts, training and gift certificates each week on Caregiverlist.  Remember, caregiving delivers fulfillment beyond a paycheck while also providing a needed service to seniors.  Online training is also available to gain the necessary skills to provide safe caregiving services and be obtained through Caregiverlist's Certified Training program.



Scooter Store Files Bankruptcy But Will Stay In Business

The Scooter Store will stay in business, it turns out, after pushing hard for seniors to qualify for power wheelchairs and admitting to fraudulent claims.  The Scooter Store continued to operate and continued to push the envelope for "approval" of the medical need for a power wheelchair for seniors, resulting in a raid by federal agents in February of this year.  

Now The Scooter Store blames their former management team for improper business practices (such as requiring their representatives to keep calling new doctors if the first medical doctor turned down an approval for the need for a power wheelchair for a senior).  They went as far as to color-code medical doctors based on how easy or difficult it would be to convince the doctor to approve a senior for a power wheelchair. 

Medicare changed their reimbursements for power wheelchairs to be more in line with what is fair and reasonable and charged in the private sector.  This results in a monthly rental of the power wheelchairs instead of an upfront payment.  Formerly, Medicare payments were in the thousands and The Scooter Store made as much as $5000 or more in profits for each power wheelchair they sold a senior.  In addition, Medicare even created a new category for power wheelchairs to make sure scooters were not substituted, all because of The Scooter Store's fraudulent business practices.

It is interesting The Scooter Store never stepped to the plate to assist the government in ways to innovate and save more money.  Instead they wanted to make a quick buck and profit as much as they could from a program that was meant to truly help those who had lost mobility.

Last year, an independent auditor found The Scooter Store received from Medicare between $46.8 million and $87.7 million in overpayments from May 2009 to May 2011.  The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Health & Human Services Department found The Scooter Store's failure to refund the overpayments breached a 2007 agreement entered into to settle charges that it made false Medicare claims and defrauded the government.

Court documents show The Scooter Store wants to sell substantially all of its assets by the end of July but continue to operate on a diminished basis.

Find a local medical supplier if you truly need a power wheelchair.  Remember, many physical exercises can assist with mobility issues and if a serious medical condition prevents mobility, then certainly a senior's medical doctor will recommend and write an approval for a power wheelchair.  It is important to have a local trusted company fit you for the power wheelchair.  I once had a senior client who required more than 4 visits by the medical equipment company to assist with her power wheelchair adjustments.  The company even removed a door for her and assisted with rug placement and rearranging furniture.  Since Medicare is paying for this service, use a company that can visit your home and assist with all the adjustments.

Here is one of The Scooter Store's mailings which shows they were really trying to get any senior they could to tap into qualifications for a power wheelchair which they were promoting as a "scooter".

 If you are able to buzz around in a scooter, you are not going to have a serious enough medical condition to qualify for a power wheelchair.  Medicare made this distinction very clear to prohibit this type of fraud the first time they sued The Scooter Store.  Yet The Scooter Store continued to try to push sales as you can see in this mailing.  All seniors and caregivers can alert The Inspector General's office when they see something that may appear as Medicare fraud by trying to profit from Medicare or know that there are improper needs assessments. 


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