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Elders Financially at RiskThe holiday season often brings together family and friends that don’t see each other very often. This presents an opportunity to help stem the spread of an unfortunate epidemic in the U.S., namely the proliferation of financial fraud and exploitation of our elderly. In addition to discussing the implications of the “fiscal cliff” tax code changes and other year-end matters, we can do a great service by discussing some ways to protect the elderly from financial fraud and exploitation.

While approaching the subway in Barcelona a couple of years ago, my family and I witnessed a pickpocket attempting to lift a wallet from the back pocket of a man a mere five feet in front of us. The man detected the thief, but before he could grab the perpetrator, the thief fled. Based on what he shouted, the near victim was clearly a local.

When I’m on vacation, I’m a tourist and sadly look the part with camera and kids in tow. The pickpocket did not try to take anything from me or my wife or children and there was a reason for this. Most thieves would prefer easy targets to difficult ones. We’ve traveled the world and to some notorious havens for theft from tourists, like the Circumvesuviano train that runs from Naples to Pompeii, without ever having anything stolen, knock on wood. We pack things up pretty tight, hold our bags, packs and purses securely, don’t keep valuables in accessible pockets, and are attentive to what’s going on around us.

Full story of elders financial risks at Financial Advisor

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Elderly Fall Prevention within the CommunityThe community-based, grassroots approach that made Mothers Against Drunk Driving successful in curbing impaired driving is needed to prevent falls among the elderly, says a kinesiologist.

Falls prevention isn’t a health-care problem, says Alan Salmoni, a professor at Western University who taught at Laurentian University for more than 25 years.

“If you don’t have the community on board … it isn’t going to work,” Salmoni said during the lunch break at an all-day forum on falls prevention held by the North East Local Health Integration Network and Laurentian University.

Falls prevention doesn’t work unless you involve everyone from those who do snow removal to the mayor, said Salmoni.

About 6,000 people in northeastern Ontario, most of them seniors, visit hospital emergency departments every year because of falls. About one in five is hospitalized as a result.

If we continue to think falls prevention is a health-care system problem, “we’re not going to get very far because it can’t possibly be solved that way,” said Salmoni, “because that’s not where the problem is.”

Full story of fall prevention at The Sudbury Star

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Self Neglect Number One For Elder AbuseMost of the reported cases of elder abuse in this area have to do with “self-neglect,” said Kate Kenna, regional director of Northeast Human Service Center which covers four North Dakota counties — Grand Forks, Walsh, Nelson and Pembina.

For the nine months leading up to June 30, she said, reported cases fell into these categories:

35: Self-neglect (hygiene, moldy food, going without basic substances)

11: Neglect

7: Physical abuse

4: Financial exploitation

In cases of self-neglect, “neighbors, the family, friends or pastors may be trying to help, but it feels bigger than what they can handle,” Kenna said.

In cases of neglect, someone else is responsible for the elderly person’s welfare, but is not stepping up, she said.

“When the calls come in, our staff member asks a few screening questions. If the person is in imminent danger, we’d want to get out there right away. We may involve law enforcement.”

Police or sheriff’s officers would determine if a crime has been committed, she said. If so, the matter becomes a criminal case.

Full story of elder abuse at Grand Forks Herald

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Elderly and Their Pets

November 26, 2012 | Elderly care, Elderly Health, Nursing Homes | No Comments

Elderly and Their PetsUnderstanding why elderly pet owners develop deep and meaningful relationships with their pets is clear – pets provide essential elements of unconditional love and companionship for seniors.  For these reasons, family members may choose to give a pet to their aging parents during the holiday season.  A pet in the elderly household does more than lift spirits, they provide a motivation to be needed, to feel touch, be emotionally close to and to have someone to talk to.

Pets are often a much-needed stimulus for seniors to stay healthy while maintaining a responsible role in caring for their furry friend, according to Pernille Ostberg, MBA, RPh, president and CEO of Matrix Home Care. “However, we encourage the gift-giver to make certain the pet is well-trained so they can be an asset in a senior’s home, not a liability,” she said.

Kat Macenas, co-owner of Leader of the Pack canine services in Delray Beach, Florida, specializes in behavioral training for dogs and cautions that elderly pet owners need to understand their limits.  “A smaller dog that needs less care is better suited for a senior, because the owner may not be able to do it all,” she said.

Full story of the elderly and their pets at The Sacramento Bee

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End of Life Care ChoicesTerminal cancer patients who receive information early about end-of-life care receive less medical care during their last days and are more likely to enter hospice, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings suggest that early discussion about the likely outcome of a terminal illness can dramatically change a patient’s end-of-life decision-making.

According to the study, which was carried out by a team led by Dr. Jennifer Mack of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, national guidelines suggest that doctors begin discussions about end-of-life care shortly after diagnosing a terminal illness. But, the researchers write, it has been unclear whether such conversations actually affect end-of-life care.

To find out, Mack and her team studied 1,231 patients who had stage IV lung or colorectal cancer and survived at least a month after the study began but died during the 15-month period of the study. The researchers recorded when patients had end-of-life discussions with their doctors and kept track of the care they received.

Full story of terminal patients at the Los Angeles Times

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Elder Care RobotsIn 2003, BusinessWeek interviewed Joseph Engelberger, the robotics pioneer who helped invent the first industrial robot. The article was entitled “How Robots Lost Their Way.” Included in the story was a plea for money to build an eldercare robot that Engelberger thought could be built with then-current technologies, rented for $600 per month, operated at a cost of $1.25 per hour (compared to healthcare homeworkers who cost around $15 per hour) and developed at a cost of less than $700,000.

“The robot I’m working on will be two-armed, mobile, sensate, and articulate. It doesn’t need to communicate a great deal to meet the needs of an 85-year-old. A human can ask: ‘What’s for lunch?’ and the robot can respond with what it’s able to make, or it can say: ‘We’re going to Johnny’s,’ or ‘We just had lunch.’ The voice recognition, behavioral systems, and artificial intelligence necessary to do this are ready. Most of the other technologies are, too. We don’t need more navigation developmentgetting around an apartment is easier than moving through a hospital or on Mars, which robots do now. I could prove this functionality with the right partner for about $700,000 in 14 months or less.”

It was an interesting proposition in 2003, and now, nearly a decade later, it’s only become more interesting, as the need for eldercare technology rapidly increases. I wondered what would Engelberger say about his proposal today, so I tracked him down and phoned him.

Full story of elder care robots at IEEE Spectrum Technology

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Nursing Homes and Health Agencies Face ChallengeTaking care of the elderly is never an easy job, but doing so in a crisis situation such as the double whammy of super storm Sandy and Wednesday’s nor’easter is particularly challenging.

“From the nursing home perspective, one has to do all of the things that you have to do at home on steroids,” said Audrey Weiner, president and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare, which has nursing home campuses in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester as well as 1,000 home care clients and 800 day care clients.

For starters, by law, nursing homes have to have extras of everything – water, food, medicines, linens – as well as have generators that have been topped off and properly tested, Weiner said.

Staffs in the disaster area put in double shifts and slept at the facilities so that residents had continuous care and little break in their routines – something important to residents who may be easily confused or upset.

Full story of nursing homes and health agencies at Healthcare Finance

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