Protect Our Most Vulnerable Citizens

As you have probably seen on the news we have been working very hard to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe.  At the moment, the law does not adequately cover caregivers who work in people’s homes.  So, if someone is caught stealing or abusing a senior or child for the first time, they are not convicted and their crimes are wiped from any record. The law that protects these criminals is called Georgia’s First Offenders Act.

We at AmeriCare know that this is wrong. Our President, Doug Lueder is the Legislative Chair for the NAIPC in Georgia and has been working diligently with Senator Albers to close this loophole.

Senator Albers has proposed Senate Bill SB207 in order to amend Georgia’s First Offenders Act and we need your help to get it passed!

Please take a moment to contact your local legislators to show your support of this bill!

Here is a sample email that we ask you to copy/paste to send to your local legislator.

Dear XXXX,

I am concerned about the most vulnerable members of our society who need care in their homes.  I want their caregivers to be honest and protective and believe that the loophole created Georgia’s First Offenders Act should be closed.

Please vote for Senator Albers proposed Senate Bill SB207.

Gratefully,

Signature

The following link will provide you with your local legislators based on your home address.

http://votesmart.org/

Thank you so much for you help. Together we are going to make a difference.

Best wishes,

Americare

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March 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

We Have A Good Thing Bowling

 

“A new study of seniors age 75 or older found that participants who were active physically, mentally, and socially were most likely to live past age 90.” via Alfa’s blog – Exercise, Leisure Activities & Social Connections Linked to Longevity

We at AmeriCare GA believe in promoting an active senior life for our clients. One of the current trends we are seeing for active seniors is Nintendo’s Wii Bowling. Not only is it an effective way for seniors to exercise, but they are having fun and interacting socially as well. Researchers out of San Diego, California have said there are studies proving that depression in seniors lessens with the use of the Wii.

Nintendo’s Wii Bowling is a great activity for seniors because it can be played standing up, sitting down, or even in a wheelchair. Moving the Wii-mote focuses on hand-eye coordination, and helps on strengthening and stretching muscles without damaging muscles or joints. Plus it is a fun activity for when family or friends come to visit, for everyone to get involved in.

Now let’s take basic Wii Bowling a step further.  Dennis Berkholtz is the founder of the National Senior League which “brings independent senior living communities, CCRC’s, assisted living communities, rehab centers, nursing homes, affordable housing communities and senior centers from across the country together for fun and competition.” (www.nslgames.org) The NSL is a national competition league for Wii Bowling and was started in 2009.

The NSL offers, for a small fee, to set up as many teams created of 4-6 people to bowl against senior teams throughout the United States. This is all done via the internet. Dennis sets up the schedules for teams to play against each other, and posts them on the NSL website. The teams then have the chance to bowl from Monday through Thursday at any time that is convenient for the players, and then post their scores by 9 pm Thursday night. On Friday morning both teams will see how they stacked up against each other. Teams never have to travel to have fun!

Dennis places teams into divisions based on abilities. These teams can compete casually, or they can compete to be a part of a State, Regional, or National Championship. If competing competitively, teams can expect to play for up to 10 weeks. Otherwise, for causal competitors, you can expect to bowl for 6-7 weeks.

If this sounds like fun for seniors in your community, we recommend you check out the National Senior League website at: www.nslgames.com. You can contact Dennis via phone at 435-714-9491, or email at dennis@nslgames.com . If you get a chance, ask Dennis about the time he played in the 1972 Munich Olympics for the USA Handball team, and then came back for the Olympics in 1976 as the USA Handball coach. 

AmeriCare GA can’t wait to hear about all of the Atlanta Wii Bowling teams!

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March 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

We Need Your Help!

Please support us in our initiative to amend Georgia’s First Offender’s Act!

As you may know, our very own Doug Lueder has been working closely with Senator John Albers in an effort to provide the safest environments possible for our clients- and now we need your help!

Senator Albers has proposed senate bill SB207 in order to amend Georgia’s First Offenders Act. Please take a moment to contact your local legislators to show your support of this bill! The following link will provide you with your local legislators based on your home address.

http://votesmart.org/

Thank you so much for your support!

March 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm 1 comment

Debate Over Brain Scans and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a very common disease among most of our clients here at AmeriCare Georgia. Should brain scans for our aging loved ones with suspected Alzheimer’s be covered by Medicare? We found an informative article from New York Times that gives great insight from both viewpoints on this recent debate.

An expert panel convened by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded that data supporting use of the scans was weak. This controversy deserves attention because these scans are rapidly becoming available across the country, along with proposed guidelines for use from the Alzheimer’s Association and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

These tests cost about $3,000- an amount that puts most families out of reach. Currently, Medicare does not pay for these tests, but the government later this year will use expert panel findings to determine whether or not this policy needs to be changed.

So, how useful is this information?  Many pro-Medicare coverage standpoints suggest that these image tests could help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia at an early stage. Many neurologists such as Stephen Salloway at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University raise questions such as, “Should I tell my patients that we have a test available to help clarify their diagnosis but we can’t use it because Medicare doesn’t cover it?”

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The scans definitely help identify which disease people may be, or have the potential to, suffer from. If scans show lack of amyloid plaques, distinct characteristics of Alzheimer’s, doctors can rule out Alzheimer’s and pursue other lines of medical inquiry. If tests come back positive, doctors would be able to rule out conditions like frontotemporal dementia and motivate patients to start being active about Alzheimer’s prevention.

On the other hand, although Alzheimer’s is linked to amyloid plaques, the roles have not yet been definitively established. They could easily serve a function not yet discovered or understood. Research finds about 30 percent of older adults with no symptoms of dementia have been found to have amyloid plaque buildup in their brains.

“I see a big potential for overuse and misuse,” warned Dr. Raymond Faught, Jr., a member of the Medicare advisory panel and a professor of neurology at Emory University in Atlanta.

The Alzheimer’s Association and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging tried to address this controversy in their latest stated guidelines. These guidelines suggest that scans should be considered for patients with Alzheimer’s type symptoms but “an unclear clinical presentation”; those who develop dementia symptoms before the age of 65; and those with “persistent” mild cognitive impairment.

Tests should not be given to normal patients or those who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the guidelines continue to state.

Chairwoman of the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee Rita Redberg states, “We were there to evaluate the impact of this test on patient outcomes. But all of the speakers said there wasn’t any data linking amyloid scans to outcomes… They presented evidence that the test is very good at identifying amyloid, but they did not present evidence that it was very good at identifying the clinical presence of Alzheimer’s disease.”

What do you think, readers? Should Medicare cover these tests? Do you think your aging loved ones who show possible Alzheimer’s symptoms would benefit from knowing definitively that they do, or don’t have Alzheimer’s?

February 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

At Risk? February is American Heart Month

Eat right. Get regular exercise. Don’t smoke. Live longer.

AmeriCare Georgia aims to promote this simple advice to not only our clients, but to everyone we know, as it can add years to your life.

February is American Heart Month– a time to raise awareness about how prevalent heart disease is and steps people can take to protect themselves from it.

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“Heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S. of both men and women,” said local Alexandria, Louisiana cardiologist Dr. Michael Smith. “And much of it is preventable.”

As caregivers, it is crucial for us to be aware of the preventable measures to take control of these factors and effective lifestyle changes.

High blood pressure and elevated levels of “bad cholesterol” can be treated with medication and changing harmful daily routines. Combating obesity and sedentary lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

As heart disease continues to be a common misfortune, it is possible you or your aging loved ones might come across some myths that should be put to rest!

“I don’t have to worry about heart disease until my 40’s or 50’s.”

Research has shown people can start building plaque in their arteries as early as seven or eight years old, making it SO important to start building good eating and activity habits at a young age.

“Heart attacks are a much bigger issue for men than women.”

Heart disease is just as common in men as it is in women. Statistics show it causes death in women at a rate up to ten times higher than breast cancer.

“Shooting pains in my chest is the tell tale sign of a heart event.”

Pressure in the chest (not so much pain) is often one of the major signs of heart distress. Unfortunately, many people do not show any signs of a heart event- proving the point that prevention is always going to be more effective than intervention! 

February 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm 1 comment

New Numbers on Elder Care

Here at AmeriCare Georgia we pride ourselves on providing quality care to your loved ones as they age in place. Caregiving can be an exhausting responsibility for family members and friends- fortunately we are here to help!

The New York Times has summarized a recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that asked about a key activity for millions of people- elder care. The numbers reveal a staggering number of people involved in the process of care. In the past three months, 39.8 million people over age 15 have provided unpaid care to someone over the age of 65 “because of a condition related to aging.”

Further findings show that between 22 and 23 percent of those ages 45 to 64 identified themselves as elder care providers, along with 16 percent of those over age 65. Almost a third of them are taking care of two older people or more. And 23 percent also had a minor child in their households that required care.

Family caregiving has been a subterranean activity for a long time, unpaid, usually unmeasured, and unfortunately often unappreciated. Feeling the pressure of looking after your aging loved ones can impact your life in many ways- influencing work, childcare, and personal satisfaction.personal_care

We founded AmeriCare Georgia on the principles of taking on these responsibilities of caring for and ensuring comfort and safety of your aging loved ones.

Hear from some of our clients and how AmeriCare Georgia has made such a positive impact not only on their aging loved ones’ lives, but on theirs’ as well!

“I can wholeheartedly recommend AmeriCare Georgia. I was so impressed with their promptness and professionalism. Every phone call was returned in a timely manner. And I was even able to get a caregiver for my 85 year-old father-in-law within one day!  Their caregivers were perfect matches for our loved one.  Everyone on the staff is friendly, caring, knowledgeable and helpful. I received many follow-up phone calls along the way during my father-in-law’s care. This is especially helpful and comforting when you’re trying to care for someone out-of-state.  They made me feel like he was the most important patient to them. They always were aware of his need and our family’s personal concerns.   Check lists for care were completed and conscientiously performed.  The range of care that AmeriCare Georgia offers is amazing- we are currently using them for the second time!” –Denise Martin

“My brother was in a terrible automobile accident in April. The accident left him paralyzed below the shoulders. After 8 months in 4 different hospitals he is finally home living with me! While he was in the hospital I was making all the necessary contacts for us to be prepared for his arrival home. After speaking with numerous people in the industry it was evident that AmeriCare Georgia was the first choice for assistance with home care needs. I contacted the owner Doug Lueder directly and after our first conversation I was confident that I would use their services. Doug is an honest, dependable, caring, motivated and responsible owner with lots of love and passion for what he does. Doug could relate to all I was going through as he has had a similar experience with his brother. Doug went above and beyond his responsibility to ensure I was well prepared when my brother arrived home. Doug provided me with contacts for handicapped accessible vans and programs that are available to help with some of the cost. Doug calls me weekly just to check in and make sure everything is going well. We have employed one of his caregivers Monday through Friday 24 hours a day and it is going great with no issues. If you want a caring and responsible company to assist you with any home care needs I would recommend calling Americare Georgia first as they will not let you down. Thank you Americare Georgia for all that you have done for me and my family in this time of need. I could not have done it all without Doug’s guidance and expertise.” –John Black

January 28, 2013 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

2013 Flu Season Key Notes

Recent CDC data shows that the flu struck early this season, shooting up in December when it usually peaks in January, and it struck hard (already widespread in 47 states).

According to FLU.gov, 90 percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.  Because your immune system weakens as you age, people ages 65 and older are even more susceptible to developing the flu.

The CDC has released their “What You Should Know for the 2012-2013 Influenza Season”. Here are a few key points we took from the Q & As that hold valuable advice and precautions for you and your aging loved ones to take!APTOPIX Flu Season_Cala

How well is the vaccination working this season?

The CDC conducts studies each year to determine how well the vaccine protects against illness. Findings from early data show that the 2013 vaccine is reducing the risk of not having to go to the doctor for influenza by 60 percent for vaccinated people.

Are vaccinations still available?

Yes! For this season, manufacturers projected that they would produce 135 million doses of flu vaccine. Although more than 128 million doses have been distributed, there are still some available- the sooner the better!

A blog post posted in early 2012 gave some insight on immunizations for the elderly and other steps that they should take in order to ensure the best health possible during this winter season. AmeriCare Georgia Director of Nursing Karen Rawls summarizes some of her recommendations.

  • First and foremost, understand the effectiveness of frequently washing your hands and get in the habit of doing so.
  • Give elderly more nutrients, not needles. Older people have often have inadequate diets, and unfortunately with aging and illness comes the increase necessity for vital nutrients.
  • Increase intake of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Selenium, and Zinc. Build immune systems by ensuring plenty of sleep and a diet full of fruits and vegetables.

January 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

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  • Protect Our Most Vulnerable Citizens March 20, 2013
    As you have probably seen on the news we have been working very hard to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe.  At the moment, the law does not adequately cover caregivers who work in people’s homes.  So, if someone is caught stealing or abusing a senior or child for the first time, they are not […]
    americareblog
  • We Have A Good Thing Bowling March 8, 2013
      “A new study of seniors age 75 or older found that participants who were active physically, mentally, and socially were most likely to live past age 90.” via Alfa’s blog – Exercise, Leisure Activities & Social Connections Linked to Longevity We at AmeriCare GA believe in promoting an active senior life for our clients. […]
    americareblog
  • We Need Your Help! March 5, 2013
    Please support us in our initiative to amend Georgia’s First Offender’s Act! As you may know, our very own Doug Lueder has been working closely with Senator John Albers in an effort to provide the safest environments possible for our clients- and now we need your help! Senator Albers has proposed senate bill SB207 in […]
    americareblog
  • Debate Over Brain Scans and Alzheimer’s February 19, 2013
    Alzheimer’s is a very common disease among most of our clients here at AmeriCare Georgia. Should brain scans for our aging loved ones with suspected Alzheimer’s be covered by Medicare? We found an informative article from New York Times that gives great insight from both viewpoints on this recent debate. An expert panel convened by […]
    americareblog
  • At Risk? February is American Heart Month February 7, 2013
    Eat right. Get regular exercise. Don’t smoke. Live longer. AmeriCare Georgia aims to promote this simple advice to not only our clients, but to everyone we know, as it can add years to your life. February is American Heart Month– a time to raise awareness about how prevalent heart disease is and steps people can […]
    americareblog
  • New Numbers on Elder Care January 28, 2013
    Here at AmeriCare Georgia we pride ourselves on providing quality care to your loved ones as they age in place. Caregiving can be an exhausting responsibility for family members and friends- fortunately we are here to help! The New York Times has summarized a recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that asked about […]
    americareblog
  • 2013 Flu Season Key Notes January 14, 2013
    Recent CDC data shows that the flu struck early this season, shooting up in December when it usually peaks in January, and it struck hard (already widespread in 47 states). According to FLU.gov, 90 percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.  Because your immune […]
    americareblog
  • New Year’s Resolutions for Aging Loved Ones and Their Families January 3, 2013
    Happy New Year from AmeriCare Georgia! The time has come again to set some resolutions as we enter a new year full of fresh beginnings and opportunities. With 2013 upon us, many of us take on resolutions, hoping to better our lives this year.  We at AmeriCare Georgia challenge you to focus on making resolutions […]
    americareblog
  • Start the New Year in a Youthful Spirit December 12, 2012
    As 2012 comes to an end, it is important to rekindle your positive attitude and outlook on life for the upcoming year. Al Weatherhead from Parentgiving.com gives great advice on how to stay young at heart and mind to maximize your life. We thought this would be great inspiration as 2013 approaches! He begins by […]
    americareblog
  • Don’t let winter wreak havoc on your heart December 4, 2012
    December is here and as we enter holiday mode in full swing, chest tightness or racing heart rates may become more common for your aging loved ones. After November’s feast and the constant holiday parties throughout December, life can seem like an endless series of prepping, planning, eating, and visiting- exhausting! We found a great […]
    americareblog