Aging Answers

Aging Answers

Aging Answers July 2015

Take Control of Prescriptions. Young Aging Loved Ones Don’t Have To Navigate The Pill Maze Alone

A bit of arthritis. High cholesterol. Diabetes. Aging takes its toll on everyone. As health issues mount, so do the number of prescription medications. A hodgepodge of pill bottles lining a kitchen windowsill or crowded into a bathroom drawer can be a dangerous way to manage medication.

Take one drug twice daily, another only at bedtime, a third with meals — it’s easy to make a mistake. Aging family members can have a difficult time sorting through an ever-increasing assortment of prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and other supplements. The problem can be magnified by possible memory and other issues.

Personalized Help Via Technology

While the everyday pill box can help keep things organized, there are organizations around the region that sort and deliver prescriptions in personalized pouches. One example is the Cleveland area-based Exactcare Pharmacy.

With no additional cost beyond the usual pharmacy charge, the company will provide an in-home assessment of all medications that someone takes.

A trained staff member looks at every prescription and over-the-counter medication, contacts each physician to review dosages and other details and turns the information over to the company’s online pharmacy. All insurance claims and other paperwork are handled by Exactcare. Drugs are sorted and packed into carefully marked pouches that detail the day, time and other dosage information. The box of drugs, including any inhalers, diabetic supplies and over-the-counter medicines, is delivered to the home with no shipping charges, says Dale Wollschleger, company founder and president.

It’s best suited for people who take five or more medications regularly. Antibiotics, for example, are taken for a specific amount of time and don’t lend themselves to the program.

Wollschleger, a pharmacist, had worked with mental health patients and devised a system to help them take multi-doses of medications. He knew the system could be helpful to others, so he started Exactcare.

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Aging Answers July 2015

Get Moving. Exercise Offers Many Benefits for Older Adults

If the older adult in your care has health problems, he or she may have a hard time starting or consistently doing exercises. Those health problems may reduce energy levels or make activities feel too difficult.

However, there are easy exercises for those who do not have much energy or do not feel well. Getting started is the hardest part. You can help your loved one start at a lower level that he or she can tolerate before building up to recommended levels of activity.

If you do the exercises together, not only will you gain the benefits of the exercise, you will be spending quality time with your loved one and may find that some of the stress associated with caregiving is reduced.

BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

Older adults who regularly exercise or maintain high levels of physical activity have a better quality of life, as well as improved memory, mood and ability to do daily tasks. Physical activity is important, and possible, even for people who have physical health, memory or mental health problems. Although health problems can make it challenging to be physically active, exercise can still be beneficial.

Even older adults with severe memory problems experience benefits from regular exercise. Early findings from a study by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging — the Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s Disease study — show that exercising helped improve the ability for people with dementia to do daily activeties, such as dressing, bathing and walking. The exercises helped improve their mood, too.

CREATING AN EXERCISE PLAN

The American Heart Association recommends that older adults spend two and half to five hours per week doing moderate-intensity exercise; or about 30-60 minutes a day, five times a week. This can be done all at once or in increments as little as 10 minutes at a time.

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Aging Answers July 2015

Celebrate Summer Safely. Tips to keep your loved ones safe during this warm season

The weather is turning warmer and for many, thoughts are turning to the dozens of great outdoor parks, fairs and festivals that Ohio’s communities offer.

The Ohio Department of Aging, through its STEADY U and HEALTHY U initiatives, urges all Ohioans to think about health and safety while enjoying the festivities.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO STAY SAFE THIS SEASON:

● As much as possible, stick to paved surfaces and sidewalks. Consider using a cane or walking stick for off-road walking.

● Trash, hoses and cables in walkways can cause you to slip or trip.

● Heavy crowds can affect the way you walk and cause you to trip or be knocked over. Consider attending events and attractions during off-peak times, such as early in the day and on weekdays, to avoid large crowds.

● Dehydration and exhaustion can make you unsteady on your feet before you realize you feel tired or thirsty. Take frequent breaks to sit down and rest. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids to stay hydrated. Watch for signs of dehydration and heat-related illness, such as muscle cramps, light-headedness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, flushed or clammy skin and disorientation. Seek cool environments and medical attention if you experience symptoms.

GET THE MOST OUT OF SUMMER DESTINATIONS:

● Make a budget for your visit. Know how much you expect to spend for travel, parking, admission, food, gifts and other expenses.

● Contact the venue in advance to ask about discounts on admission, food or gifts for veterans, seniors or groups.

● Call ahead to ask about wheelchair or mobility scooter rentals and prices, or if you can bring your own. Ask if there are any areas of the venue that are not accessible for people with limited mobility.

● Bring any necessary medications with you in a sealed, waterproof container, along with a list of the medicines you take and dosage information.

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Aging Answers September 2015

College Savings Plan Options

College costs are skyrocketing. National average costs for one year at a public university are $18,943 and $42,419 for a private school.

They simply take the annual number and multiply it by four, or the number of years it used to take to get a 4-year degree. Those numbers do not reflect current reality; the average number of years it takes to get a bachelor’s degree at a public school is 6.2 years, and 5.3 years for a private school.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a college grad will earn on average $2.4 million during their working years as compared to a high school graduate’s lifetime earnings of $1.4 million, a difference of $1 million. In addition to higher earnings, college graduates have greater employment opportunities and lower rates of unemployment.

So, what’s the best way to save for college for your child or grandchild? The three best options are to put money into a Coverdell Education Savings Account, a 529 Plan or a Uniform Transfer to Minors Act Account (UTMA). There are pros and cons to each and each offers different tax savings and terms.

COVERDELL ACCOUNT

The Coverdell Account can provide the most tax savings if you use the funds for higher education expenses or K-12 costs. These include: tuition, books, equipment and room and board. That’s because the money can be invested and grows totally tax-free. But if you take the money out for some other reasons, you’ll pay income taxes and penalties. You can only put in $2,000/year total from all sources. With the Coverdale account, the beneficiary of the account can be changed, at any time, to another faily member. Or you could take the money back with a 10 percent penalty and taxation on the growth.

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Aging Answers September 2015

The Joy of New Adventures. An active lifestyle helps one local woman with her spirit, body and mind.

Carol Stanley’s weekly life is filled with exercise — like a new stand-up board class — getting together with friends and family, volunteer work of providing Sandtray Therapy, yoga and meditation with her husband Jim, 78, and following her passion for nature.

The 77-year-old retired elementary teacher and clinical counselor doesn’t show signs of slowing down.

“When we retired, we had a goal to continue to feel alive and to be present in the moment,” says Stanley during an interview at her home in the Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson. “I believe in life and more life.”

TRAVEL BENEFITS

As teachers — Jim was a college professor of international relations and political science — both always seemed to have a sense of adventure.

The couple, who has lived in Ohio since 1979, often traveled and even lived in Hong Kong for a short time when Jim participated in a exchange program.

Stanley says at age 30, she decided to become healthier. She started exercising, studied to improved her nutrition and got more spiritually connected.

“Being in nature is essential since I was about age 40 when I went on a 10-day wilderness canoe trip in Algonquin National Park in California and heard my first loon and hugged my first tree,” she says.

This passion for nature carried on throughout her retirement, as she is known to hike or bike around area parks, as well as take out-of-state trips to explore new trails — to places such as Switzerland, Norway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Stanley says they have found creative ways to be active.

The recent trip to the Smoky Mountains provided an opportunity for her to do an eight-mile hike and for her husband to participate in a photography workshop, which is a hobby he loves.

To help cover costs of the trip, she agreed to listen to a two-hour presentation, after which she received three free nights at a Holiday Inn near the Smoky Mountains park area.

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Aging Answers November 2015

Special Pension Benefits For Veterans

Each year on Veterans Day, we should all take a moment to reflect on our U.S. veterans. We need to thank each one for their service knowing they protect our country and sometimes have to sacrifice themselves on our behalf.

When our veterans grow old and need assistance with their daily activities, the Veterans Administration can provide monetary support. Many veterans and surviving spouses are not aware that these benefits exist.

The veteran’s assistance program goes back to 1636, when Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony fought with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims enacted a law from English law that reads, “If any man shall be sent forth as a soldier and shall return maimed, he shall be maintained competently by the colony during his life.” In 1789, U. S. congress passed as law that pensions were to be provided to disabled veterans and their dependents; in 1811, the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was completed.

“Aid and attendance” is a commonly used term for this little-known veteran’s disability income. The official title of this benefit is “pension.” The reason for using “aid and attendance” to refer to pension is that many veterans or their single surviving spouses can become eligible if they have a regular need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver or if they are housebound. Evidence of this need for care must be certified by VA as a “rating.” With a rating, certain veterans or their surviving spouses can qualify for pension.

There are different income categories for pension, but the highest could pay as much as $2,120 a month in income to a qualifying veteran with a spouse. A single veteran could receive as much as $1,788 per month. The surviving spouse of a veteran could receive as much as $1,149 a month.

A study commissioned by VA in 2001 estimated that over the next 14 years, only about 30 percent of eligible veterans or spouses would apply for pension.

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Aging Answers November 2015

Safety In Numbers. Local Veterans Band Together to Help Each Other

Ray “Doc” Tutolo was 20 when he was assigned to the first Marine division Delta 1/7 (First Battalion 7th Marines) in 1967 and went on to serve as a combat medic in the Vietnam War. He was a 24-year-old man when he thankfully came back home, but didn’t receive much of a welcome compared to other soldiers in wars before his tour of duty.

Now Tutolo wants to help other veterans who need a place to share their stories—and maybe, their pain and hopes for the future. Below, he answers questions about his goal.

How do you think veterans are treated today?

Veterans are treated a lot better than during the Vietnam War. Vietnam was 10 years long and everybody was tired of the war. Today, the veterans are respected more and I’m really glad for that.

What is the name of your organization that helps veterans?

Christ Community Chapel Military Outreach. Both younger and older veterans need a safe place to share. Twenty-two veterans a day are committing suicide. So we want to reach veterans from every age group to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

The Family Outreach is the parents’ group. The parents pray for each other and the family members that are currently serving. They will post their names and pictures. They will send packages and letters to encourage them and let them know how much their service is appreciated.

The Veterans Circle group consists of veterans who have served and would do anything for each other. We are truly a band of brothers. As the group expands and continues to grow, we will mentor younger veterans coming home. The Veterans Circle will reach out to serve other veterans in the community.

Why is it important to help those who served in our Armed Forces?

We know that those who have been fighting and in combat have issues to deal with that make it hard for them to reach out.

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Aging Answers November 2015

Getting back to being Yourself

Eliza Jennings understands that recovering from a surgery, major illness, or injury can be a difficult time for both patients and their families. The rehabilitation process varies from person to person, whether recuperating from joint replacement surgery, or adapting to life changes caused by a stroke, heart attack, or accident. Comfort, care, and communication are top of mind concerns for everyone during the transition from hospital to home.

With a national reputation for innovation and excellence in care, Eliza Jennings offers advanced rehabilitation methods and a full range of therapies that promote a return to a productive and fulfilling lifestyle. Eliza Jennings specializes in neurological, musculoskeletal, and orthopedic rehabilitation services. Working with the individual, family, and physician, an interdisciplinary team of therapists, clinicians, and social workers create a personalized treatment plan that enables the individual to progress in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs. Eliza Jennings utilizes clinical, social, and educational measures to assist those who require rehabilitation services. Daily therapies make for part of all individual-specific treatment plans.

An experienced clinical team of physical, occupational and speech therapists offer comprehensive rehabilitation services to help patients achieve their greatest possible level of independence, allowing for a safe return home or to a lower level of care.

The rehab team helps individuals regain strength and range of motion, overcome obstacles, and successfully accomplish routine activities of daily living. It is the goal of the staff to assist each patient with the process of restoration, improvement, and eventually – self-sufficiency. In many cases, additional therapy is prescribed at the time of discharge. If this is the case, individuals are referred to Eliza Jennings home health or outpatient therapy, depending on the circumstances, where they can expect the same quality of care and services.

Rehabilitation therapy is not only for those recovering from an acute illness, injury or accident.

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