Caregiver Education and Support Programs Provide Positive Impact

White Paper Abstract: According to statistics by the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately 52 million informal and family caregivers provide care to an adult that is ill or disabled in the United States. The majority of caregivers are 35 to 64 years old, and an estimated 60 percent are also working outside the home. A proactive approach to this growing dilemma through caregiver education and support programs allows employers to provide an invaluable benefit, while increasing employee loyalty and productivity.

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Top Holiday gifts for those with Dementia

I'm sure if you have a loved-one with Alzheimers, what to get them as a gift can be difficult. Here are some excellent suggestions.

Top Holiday Gifts For Those With Dementia
By Susan Berg

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Buying a gift for them for the holidays is not difficult if you keep a few things in mind.

First you should know the persons likes and dislikes. Also important is knowing their strengths and weaknesses. In addition consider, when purchasing a gift for someone with dementia, keeping their mind and body active. Also think about a gift that will keep on giving long after Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza or other celebrated holidays are gone Keep in mind, also, that gift selections should change as Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, progress

Gifts that keep dementia persons' mind active

S.1577 - Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007

A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to require screening, including national criminal history background checks, of direct patient access employees of skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, and other long-term care facilities and providers, and to provide for nationwide expansion of the pilot program for national and State background checks on direct patient access employees of long-term care facilities or providers.

SenseCam Aids Patients with Memory Problems

"A small digital camera developed by Microsoft Research could boost memory in people with dementia and possibly mild forms of Alzheimer's disease. SenseCam is worn around the neck and automatically takes a wide-angle, low-resolution photograph every 30 seconds. It contains an accelerometer to stabilize the image and reduce blurriness, and it can be configured to take pictures in response to changes in movement, temperature, or lighting. An entire day's events can be captured and downloaded onto a PC where software converts the pictures into a short movie displaying the images at up to 10 frames per second, to allow patients to view a day's events in a few minutes to jolt their memory. "Not only does SenseCam allow people to recall memories while they are looking at the images, which in itself is wonderful, but after an initial period of consolidation, it appears to lead to long-term retention of memories over many months, without the need to view the images repeatedly," says neuropsychologist Emma Berry."

Caregiver Candidates

According to an article from AARP, and number of the current political candidates are caregivers themselves.

For example, Hillary Clinton’s mother lives with her in her Washington, DC home, and, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of American Democratic presidential hopeful, John Edwards has aging parents in long term care.

I have no idea how that fact may or may not shape their policies, but, I like seeing how they are real people who face some of the same things we do. Even though they may have more resources than we regular folks have, there is a universal emotional and time impact that caring for an aging parent enacts.

Grassley Seeks Probe On Antipsychotic Use In Nursing Homes

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a letter on Tuesday asked HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson to examine the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes, the possibility of payments to physicians who prescribe the medications and the drugs' cost to Medicare and Medicaid, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to a Journal article published on Tuesday, which Grassley cited in the letter, antipsychotics have become the most expensive class of medications for Medicaid. Nursing homes often administer the medications to dementia patients to quiet their symptoms.

In 2005, Medicaid spent $5.4 billion on atypical antipsychotics, not including rebates that the federal government might receive. Grassley also asked CMS for information about how the agency responds to nursing homes that misuse antipsychotics, a practice he called "disturbing and alarming."

Update on Medicare Therapy Caps and ADA Restoration Act

MS Exceptions Set to Expire on Medicare Therapy Caps
Rehabilitation therapy under Medicare might no longer be affordable for some people living with multiple sclerosis and other conditions. The exceptions process to Medicare's arbitrary reimbursement limits, or therapy caps, on rehabilitation services is set to expire on December 31, 2007.

MS activists have long been determined to eliminate Medicare therapy caps altogether on reimbursement for physical therapy (PT), speech language pathology, and occupational therapy (OT) services. In 2008, the therapy cap reimbursement level is scheduled to be $1,810 for PT and speech therapy, and a separate cap of $1,810 will apply to OT services.

Nursing Homes Often Medicate Residents Without Psychosis

"In recent years, Medicaid has spent more money on antipsychotic drugs for Americans than on any other class of pharmaceuticals," largely because nursing homes are "giving these drugs to elderly patients to quiet symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia" -- conditions for which the drugs are not approved by FDA, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to CMS, 21% of nursing home residents who do not have a diagnosis of psychosis are prescribed antipsychotic drugs. "The growing off-label use of antipsychotic medicines in the elderly is coming under fire from regulators, academics, patient advocates and even some in the nursing home industry," the Journal reports.

Christie Teigland, director of informatics research for the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging -- a not-for-profit industry group -- said, "You walk into facilities where you see residents slumped over in their wheelchairs, their heads are hanging, and they're out of it, and that is unacceptable." According to Teigland, her research shows about one-third of dementia patients in nursing homes in New York state are receiving antipsychotics, with some facilities dispensing the drugs at rates as high as 60% to 70% of patients.

Aging is a Business and Economic Issue

Like other CEOs, I’m concerned about stemming “brain drain” amid a mass retirement and experience exodus in Minnesota.But a more immediate economic and competitiveness issue is how to deliver and pay for senior care to assist our current employees who are dealing with their aging parents. Absent innovation, the human and financial costs of a much larger, longer-living senior society will weaken other investments designed to enhance Minnesota’s competitiveness and make this state livable for a lifetime.

If my 86-year-old mother-in-law suffered a significant medical event that required care, I would have the luxury of being able to call upon any number of experts within Ecumen for guidance on what to do next, so she could live as fully and independently as possible.

Kerrey Joins Gingrich On Plan for Elderly Care

WASHINGTON — The Democratic head of the New School and a Republican former House speaker are urging presidential candidates to take up the issue of long-term care for elderly Americans, a problem that they warn will worsen with the retirement of the baby boom generation in the coming decades.

Bob Kerrey, the university president and a former Nebraska senator, joined with Newt Gingrich yesterday to release a 94-page report calling for a federal overhaul of the long-term care system that would be financed with a combination of public and private dollars.