Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Holiday Depression and Seniors

The holidays can be a stressful for time. The perfect gift takes time to find and money to buy. The holiday meal can takes days to prepare. The visits from friends and family send us hunting for the feather duster and mop. Holidays are fun but exhausting.

Now, add dementia to the typical stress of this time of year. The sights and sounds that used to be so endearing are more irritating that enjoyable. The little children running and screaming their excitement is nerve-wracking. The holiday cards that were once a welcomed review of the past year are now only confusing words from strangers. The holidays aren’t what they used to be.

In order to not just survive but enjoy the holidays, here are some helpful hints when celebrating with a person with dementia:

· Be aware of the volume. If your loved one is becoming agitated, turn down the carols on the CD player or ask the kids to play in another room for a while.

· Introduce everyone. Your loved one may not be able to remember names. Rather than embarrass them, introduce everyone as a means of helping your loved one and easing the tension surrounding their forgetfulness.

· Include the older members of the family. We tend to want to host our families rather than engage them. However, everyone likes to feel needed and giving friends and family a “job” gives everyone a sense of importance, especially folks with dementia. Simple tasks such as polishing silver or folding napkins are non-harmful tasks that folks with dementia can easily recall and complete.

· Be sensitive and accommodating to feelings of loss. Many elderly folks become sad around the holidays. Their spouse and/or friends may have passed away; they may have moved from their long-time family home into an assisted living facility, they may have medical conditions that hinder their ability to be an active participant in the holiday celebrations. Talking about missing loved ones may help the elder to reminisce about their losses. Also, videotaping a child’s school holiday play may allow your loved one to watch little Johnny perform without having to worry about issues of ambulation or travel.

· CALL US! If we can help in any way by either providing you helpful hints, referrals to local resources or an ear to listen to you “vent,” call us at 894-6720. Our goal is to support and encourage families while families support and encourage loved ones.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hurricane Season Is Upon Us. Are You Prepared?

Leon County Senior Care Experts Stress The Importance
Of Disaster Preparedness

Advance Planning Is Often Key To Ensuring The Safety Of Senior Loved Ones

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When disaster strikes, seniors are often among the most vulnerable victims. That’s why Leon County senior care experts are encouraging family members to work with their senior loved ones to help them prepare for the unexpected.

“Hurricanes and other natural disasters present special challenges for seniors and can prove to be deadly for those who have physical or other limitations,” said Debra Simmons, CEO of Senior Transitions. “Because of those special needs, extra measures may need to be taken to ensure seniors’ safety. It’s vitally important to plan ahead – well before disaster strikes.”

Simmons is encouraging seniors with special needs to register with the Leon County Special Needs Registry ( Those listed on the Registry will be among the first evacuated if catastrophe strikes. Special Needs Shelters will be available during evacuations for:
· Those with special medical needs.
· People whose required care exceeds basic first aid provided at general population shelters.
· Those whose impairments or disabilities are medically stable and do not exceed the capacity, staffing and equipment of the special needs shelter.

“We want to raise awareness about the Registry, so seniors and their family members can take full advantage of the potentially life-saving services that are available to them,” Simmons said. “They may also want to consider making arrangements for pre-admission to a care facility in the event of a natural disaster. To do that, they will need a letter from a physician that states where the senior should be taken during an evacuation. Family members should make those arrangements now and include the physician’s letter in the senior’s survival kit.”

Simmons reminds family members that a senior’s survival kit likely will look a lot different from most standard kits. In addition to food, water and other basics, seniors should be sure to include:
· Contact information for physicians
· At least a one-week supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications
· Copies of all prescriptions
· An extra pair of eye glasses
· Extra hearing aid batteries
· A back-up oxygen tank
· Identification and legal documents
· Contact information for family members

“Try to fit everything in an easy to carry back-pack or bag, and make sure identification, prescriptions and other important documents are sealed in waterproof bags,” Simmons said. “And, most importantly, prepare the kit now. If you wait until disaster strikes, it may be too late.”

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tallahassee Nursing Home Cited in Critical Report

Recently a Tallahassee Nursing Home was cited in a critial report. See WCTV report from March 12, 2009.

Tallahassee Nursing Home Cited in Critical Report

Posted: 12:12 PM Mar 12, 2009Last Updated: 1:12 PM Mar 12, 2009Reporter: Kelsey JohnsonEmail Address:

Recent health inspections have found 30 nursing homes in the country that are being black-marked, and one of them is located in Tallahassee.In a story by U.S. News and World Report based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, Capital Healthcare Center located off Capital Medical Boulevard has failed to meet a number of safety criteria. The average number of health deficiencies per nursing home in Florida is 8.Capital Healthcare Center was cited for 26.A few things they were ranked worst for include making sure the nursing home is free of dangers that cause accidents, mistreatment, and theft.We talked the management at the nursing home and they say a statement will be released at a later time.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Month

Macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 15 million Americans. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where the sharpest central vision occurs. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it only leaves peripheral vision, and dim images or black holes at the center of vision. The fastest growing form is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the top cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in adults over 60 in the U.S. For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Rules for How Medicare Pays Suppliers for Oxygen Equipment

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announce changes in the way Medicare pays suppliers for Oxygen equipment. These changes take effect January 2009. You should be aware of the changes and how they inpact you.

The information provided below is from The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare and is for informational purposes only.

"Previously, the law stated that you would own the oxygen equipment after you rented it for 36 months. Under the new law, the rental payments will end after 36 months, but the supplier continues to own the equipment. The new law thenrequires your supplier to provide the oxygen equipment and related supplies for 2 additional years (5 years total), as long as oxygen is still medically necessary.

The monthly rental payments to the supplier cover not only your oxygen equipment, but also any supplies and accessories such as tubing or a mouthpiece,oxygen contents, maintenance, servicing and repairs. Medicare pays 80% of therental amount, and the person with Medicare is responsible for any unpaid Part Bdeductible, and the remaining 20% of the rental amount. By the end of 36 months,total payments from Medicare and you to your supplier would be more than $7,000(based on rental payments of about $200 per month).

Your supplier has been paid over 36 months for furnishing your oxygen and oxygenequipment for up to 5 years, and your supplier is required to continue to maintainthe oxygen equipment (in good working order) and furnish the equipment and anynecessary supplies and accessories, as long as you need it until the 5 year period ends.If you use oxygen tanks or cylinders that need delivery of gaseous or liquid oxygencontents, Medicare will continue to pay each month for the delivery of contentsafter the 36-month rental period. The supplier that delivers this equipment to you inthe last month of the 36-month rental period must provide these items, as long as you medically need it, up to 5 years.

At the end of the 5-year period, your supplier’s obligation to continue furnishing youroxygen and oxygen equipment ends, and you may elect to obtain replacement equipment from any supplier. Your current supplier will probably alert you before the 5-year period is over so that you have time to decide whether to obtain the replacementequipment from them or from another enrolled supplier that you choose if you decide toswitch suppliers. A new 36-month payment period and 5-year supplier obligation periodstart once the old 5-year period ends and the new oxygen and oxygen equipment yourequire is furnished. All of the other rules described in this fact sheet apply to the replacement equipment and supplier of that equipment.

If your supplier is not following Medicare laws and rules, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. The customer service representatives will refer your case to the appropriate area.For more information about Medicare’s coverage of durable medical equipment, to view "Medicare Coverage ofDurable Medical Equipment and Other Devices." You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE. "

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AARP Legislative Update

On Monday, the Florida Legislature began their two week special session to tackle the $2.3 billion deficit for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2008-2009. The legislature has proposed reductions to home and community-based services with even more extensive reductions to nursing homes. AARP has voiced our concern and disappointment for the proposals and the potential ramifications of such actions. Since elders want to remain in their homes as they age, home and community based care services provide the most desirable cost-effective care. Reductions to nursing homes will likely result in cuts to staffing and quality of care for residents. As the state faces an additional budget deficit for 2009-2010, AARP will continue to work to hold the legislature accountable to examine revenue and efficiency options during the 2009 Legislative Session. To that end, AARP has partnered with the Children's Home Society of Florida, Community Based Care of Seminole, Florida Coalition for Children, Florida Tax Watch and groups across the state to form Florida's People - Florida's Promise. This initiative is asking members of the legislature to think of fresh solutions to the budget deficit as opposed to continued cuts to vital services. We will maintain this work during the 2009 Regular Session. Please visit to find out more about this initiative including the revenue and efficiency options we have set forth thus far. You may also visit to learn more about the work AARP is doing here in Florida.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Singing the "Post-holiday" Blues

Finally, the holidays are over!! As the season unfolds and the decorations are all put away for next year, I find myself wondering "What next?". Many of us oftentimes feel this time of year progressively disappointed, sad and stressed.

Imagine for a moment that you have survived many of your cherished friends and family members, or that you have spent the holidays alone. Many Seniors have these feelings, especially during the holiday season. Not only have they survived many of their friends and family they have a deep sadness over the contrast between "then" and "now". The bittersweet memories of the past outshine the present day circumstances and they tend to feel unable to focus or experience pleasure in the "now". Many Seniors find themselves hitting that "reality" brick wall during the holiday season and find themselves feeling that their holiday expectations for the holiday fall, while their feelings of loneliness, sadness and despair plummet.

If your loved one seems a bit "down" and not focused, whether it is "post- holiday" or any other day during the year, there are ways to help. Try to help them realize the "New Year" brings promise. Share with them old photos, get together with old friends and family members they especially enjoy, create "special events" and new opportunities for them to look forward to.

I find that just spending quality time with my loved ones not only makes them feel better but it also makes me feel better.

Some of my most memorable times with my grandparents where the times that they spent telling me of "the good ol' days". I will cherish these memories and often reflect on these throughout the year. I challenge you this year to spend more time with your loved ones, it will make you both feel better, I promise!!