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Mental Health,
Why Everyone Should See A Shrink

This post is a discussion about depression, a medical condition. I am not a doctor. Therefore, any information gathered here which you feel you may have to act upon needs to be discussed with your physician or health care professional.

To be honest, I had my doubts about using depression as a topic for the blog. Not that I don’t think it’s important or relevant, but because I knew I would have to divulge things about myself that, to this day, I feel uncomfortable discussing. However, since this is a post about the stigma associated with anything that has to do with mental health, discussion and openness is exactly what it needs. My diagnoses of depression came about seven years ago and, like many people who suffer from this illness, it was a complete surprise. But fortunately, the diagnosis arrived at just the right time.

I had been languishing in a nursing home for nearly a year and a half when they sent me to a local hospital to have some tests done for a thyroid problem I may have had. An ambulance transported me there because, despite physical therapy, I still no longer had the use of my legs. They had atrophied to a point where I needed a wheelchair to get around. I knew I was a mess physically. However, it was not until my second day in the hospital, that I realized the non-physical aspects of why I could no longer walk or even stand up.
Like many of us, I had an aversion with speaking to psychologists or, even worse, psychiatrists.
As a patient in a nursing home, they require a psychologist visit me twice a year. I hated it. Not so much because I thought psychologists had no merit, but because of the questions they asked. After the first minute, I knew they were not interested in improving my state of mind, but to cover their (and the nursing home’s) butt in case I offed myself. The first question every one of them asked was “Have you ever had thoughts of ending your own life?”

Not “How are you” or “Do you have any problems you would like to discuss?” All they were interested in was whether I might kill myself on their watch. I usually just threw them out of my room.

Consequently, when a woman came into my hospital room the next day and announced that she was a Psychiatrist, I naturally wanted to throw her out as well. It’s a good thing I didn’t.

First, she asked if it was okay for her to speak with me. I grudgingly said yes.

Quite expecting the usual inquiry as to whether I wanted to kill myself, I was surprised when she asked, “What are you doing here?” Nobody had ever asked that question of me before, let alone cared.

I explained that I was there to have some tests on my thyroid. She said she was actually more interested in why I was in a nursing home.

I asked her how much time she had.

“All the time you need”, she said. I proceeded to go over the previous ten years of my life, after which she said the most profound words I had ever heard. “You’re depressed, and from what you have told me, you have every right to be.”

That was the first time they ever mentioned the “D” word regarding my physical condition. I won’t say it did not take me by surprise. We we went on talking for another twenty minutes going over specifics and how just recognizing that the condition existed was the first step in treating it. Until that moment I had not spoken with anybody about how I was handling everything that had happened. I felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders.
She told me she would prescribe an anti-depressive. A pill, she said, that would help me cope with my present condition and, even possibly, aid in my rehab and eventual recovery. It thrilled me and caused me some concern.
Would this medicine make me loopy, or dopey, or light-headed? She assured me it would not.
“They designed the medicine to take the edge off of difficult situations so you will continue with your daily activities unencumbered by thoughts of gloom and doom”, she added.
Finally, I’ll be able to see the light at the end of what, until now, had been a very dark tunnel.
They discharged me from the hospital a week later with a diagnosis and cure for my thyroid problem and with a new outlook on life. I could face the depressing atmosphere prevalent in all nursing homes and rehab facilities with new hope. Eventually, I got out of that wheelchair and back to some form of normalcy. I also found that my mind was clearer than it had been for a long time. This enabled me to make wiser choices as to my future care and life after the nursing home. I am still taking this medication under the direction of my present doctor who concurred with the psychiatrist’s course of treatment.

Not only do I have a better outlook on life, but I have a whole new understanding and appreciation for mental health professionals and how failure to recognize and treat conditions of the mind can lead to years of needless pain and stress.

I urge all of you to consider your mental and your physical condition when speaking with your doctor. The following article best explains the signs and symptoms of depression and related conditions.........
“Depression and Older Adults

Depression is more than just feeling sad or blue. It is a common but serious mood disorder that needs treatment. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, and working.

Older woman with depression looking out a window when you have depression, you have trouble with daily life for weeks at a time. Doctors call this condition “depressive disorder” or “clinical depression.”

Depression is a real illness. It is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. You can’t “snap out of” clinical depression. Most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.
Depression Is Not a Normal Part of Aging

Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is NOT a normal part of aging…”

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Be wary of dynamic pricing practices in some
Assisted Living and Memory Care

A big part of what my job has evolved into is not only finding the right place for a clients seeking Assisted or Memory Care, but providing a written report detailing, among other things, an apples-to-apples comparison of costs over time.

What’s the big deal?

If you don’t pay attention, it can cost you plenty. Thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars over time.

Unfortunately, it's not simple. There are a lot of things you need to pay attention to.

First, please understand that very few Assisted Living and Memory Care communities offer a fixed, all-inclusive price, meaning that after your loved one has had an assessment by a nurse, you are given a set monthly fee, regardless of whether their care level or number of medications increases. That set monthly fee remains stable for one year from move-in, with typically a 3-5% cost-of-living increase once a year (unless there is a drastic change in care needs, for example, after a stroke, needing much more medical oversight and care, as well as a two-person assist).

Continue reading >> https://www.wral.com/what-is-that-price-again-be-wary-of-dynamic-pricing-practices-in-some-assisted-living-and-memory-care/18313524/

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Ageism: A ‘Prevalent and Insidious’ Health Threat

It happened about a year ago. I stepped off the subway and spotted an ad on the station wall for a food delivery service. It read: “When you want a whole cake to yourself because you’re turning 30, which is basically 50, which is basically dead.”

After a bunch of us squawked about the ad on social media, the company apologized for what it called attempted humor and what I’d call ageism.

Maybe you recall another media campaign last fall intended to encourage young people’s participation in the midterm elections. In pursuit of this laudable goal, marketers invoked every negative stereotype of old people — selfish, addled, unconcerned about the future — to scare their juniors into voting.


Can you retire on a cruise ship?
By Laura Hill

When it comes to retirement options, the idea of living out your golden years on a cruise ship could sound too good to be true. You may have seen stories about how retiring at sea could be practical and affordable. Sounds idyllic, right?

There you’d be, floating around the tropics, Antarctica or Europe, peering out at glaciers, palm-lined beaches or the Hong Kong skyline from your private stateroom. Daily maid service. Gourmet dining. Nightly entertainment. Your own concierge. And all for about what it costs to live on land, whether it’s in your own home or a senior living community.

But if this all sounds too good to be true, it may be. There are a verifiable few who have pulled up onshore stakes and settled permanently or semi-permanently on a cruise ship, and more who spend part of their time ensconced in shipboard digs, but they are few and far between, probably for good reason.

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We got it

If you have suspected that you (as an Older American) have steadily been losing respect, you are not wrong. While Americans never venerated its old people, we were at least shown a modicum of respect. Now, not only are we not given respect, even our dignity is at risk. We consider senior citizens today social pariah out to strip younger Americans of their heritage, their fortune and the air they breathe.
They blame us for everything from ruining the Social Security system, depleting Medicare, and poisoning the air and water. All because we had the audacity to live longer than they expected us to.
They signed the Social Security Act into law by in 1935. . .
“If we look at life expectancy statistics from the 1930s we might come to the conclusion that the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would work for many years paying in taxes, but would not live long enough to collect benefits. Life expectancy at birth in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women, and the retirement age was 65. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due mainly to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood.”*
It looks like a little miscalculation by President Roosevelt and his economists back then put us in this hole. But, who could have foreseen the technological advances in medicine that would postpone the sting of death.

The future of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the environment and all the other ills that plague us are all very heady and heavy topics and any attempt to understand them, let alone try to solve them, would be futile. Therefore, we have to narrow the scope a little and try to deal with the lack of respect on a more personal level.
Residents of assisted living facilities are perfect examples of how veneration of old people has declined.
The problem stems from an inability to correctly define the status it assigns A.L.F. residents. What are we exactly?
Are we guests like in a hotel? If so, they treat us as no hotel guest has ever been. At least not in any hotel still in business.
Are we patients like in a hospital or nursing home? Although we are “assisted” with daily life chores and they dispense medicine like in a hospital, we are not patients.
Are we wards of the state? Maybe. Room and board, for many of us, is subsidized by Medicare and Medicaid. Hence the institutional-like treatment and attitude taken by many of the staff.

Maybe we are chattel or a commodity like sheep whose only worth lies in our ability to increase the occupancy rate of the facility to qualify for additional government aid.  I can only say, “We don’t get no respect.”

Perhaps a personal encounter will better illustrate what I mean. As usual, it occurred at in the dining room.
Last Wednesday’s breakfast menu advertised poached eggs as the main course. Unfortunately, the cooks here do not understand how to make a poached egg. What we get is a hard-boiled egg without the shell. An example of egg-injustice not lost on many of the diners here at the A.L.F. Frequently, we have mentioned this atrocity to the chef who has promised to correct this abomination. He has not kept his promise.
I took this as, not only a breach of an implied contract, but as a personal affront to both me and my fellow residents. To put another way, DISRESPECT! I sent the over-cooked eggs back with the server and asked for real poached eggs. And, if there was a problem with me getting them to please have the food service manager come out to see me.
Naturally, I did not get my eggs. But I got a visit from the manager prompting a tirade of verbal fisticuffs which ended with the manager telling me, “IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T EAT IT.”
Luckily for him and my fellow diners, those words stopped me in my track. Never have they spoken like that in all the five years I have been here. And, while I could have hurled a crap-load of vindictive language at him, I thought better of the idea and held back., I am a gentleman after all.
I pondered going to the administrator and reporting the incident, but I’ll let it go, this time.
I could site other incidents of lack of respect towards our residents by staff, but this one was personal. I will not let it happen again. Sadly, it will continue here and anywhere seniors are in the presence of those who take us for granted. Which, is mostly everybody.

Is there a solution?
Not if we do not assert ourselves. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “As free born and free-bred Americans, where no man is superior or inferior.” Or, maybe we could give some people a good beat-down. Either will do………………….

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Dementia Prevalence And
Care In Assisted Living

By David Reed

Assisted living residences are state-regulated residential long-term care settings. They are also referred to as residential care, basic care facilities, enriched housing programs, personal care homes, and shared housing establishments. 1 These residences are highly diverse, but they all serve older adults and provide supportive care, typically including at least two meals a day and twenty-four-hour supervision.

The number of assisted living residences has increased in part because of concerns related to the care provided in nursing homes and better overall health of people who require supportive, but not nursing, care. 2 As of 2010 there were 31,100 assisted living residences across the United States that provided care to 733,000 residents. 3

The regulatory oversight of assisted living residences remains in flux: In 2012 alone, eighteen states made regulatory changes. Those changes affected the criteria for residents’ admission and retention, medication management, and staffing levels, as well as other issues.

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Making smarter decisions about
where to recover after hospitalization

Every year, nearly 2 million people on Medicare — most of them older adults — go to a skilled nursing facility to recover after a hospitalization. But choosing the facility can be daunting, according to an emerging body of research.

Typically, a nurse or a social worker hands out a list of facilities a day or two — sometimes hours — before a patient is due to leave. The list generally lacks such essential information as the services offered or how the facilities perform on various measures of care quality.

Families scramble to make calls and, if they can find the time, visit a few places. Usually they're not sure what the plan of care is (what will recovery entail? how long will that take?) or what to expect (will nurses and doctors be readily available? how much therapy will there be?).


Most U.S. Middle-Class Seniors Will Lack Funds
for Assisted Living by 2029

By Dennis Thompson

A decade from now, more than half of middle-class seniors in the United States will be unable to afford needed housing and personal assistance, a new study contends.

The number of middle-income people over 75 will nearly double to 14 million by 2029, up from about 8 million today, projections show.

About 54% of these seniors won't have enough money to afford an assisted living facility or the kind of personal care that would keep them in their own homes, the researchers reported.


Why You Need a Great Credit
Score in Retirement Too
By Rita Williams

Think only young people need to establish great credit scores? That's understandable. Credit cards are marketed to college students looking to work toward financial adulthood. The thinking is that folks in their early 20s can prove their ability to handle credit responsibly, and sail on from there.

But retired people also need to make sure their credit scores are rock solid, and to try improving them if not. Banks, credit unions, and other lenders base the interest rates they offer, as well as fees, on an applicant's credit score. It's not just interest rates, either -- getting any credit may be hard if your score is lackluster.

What's a good score? Lenders usually use a score from a company called Fair Isaac (FICO), though there are many sources. FICO looks at your credit history, crunches the data, and assigns you a credit score of between 300 and 850. A score of 800 or above means your credit is excellent. A score from 740 to 799 is very good. A score between 670 and 739 is good. A score between 580 and 669 is fair. A score of less than 580 is poor.

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