Jul 02 2010

Senior Scams Thriving In Florida

It’s something I think about all the time – could my elderly father be victimized by a scam. Maybe it comes in a phone call to his apartment in a continuing care retirement community. Or through the mail. Thank goodness at least he doesn’t use email!

Now this investigation by the Orlando Sentinel proves my concerns are valid. The first sentence reads, “If your parents are 60 or older and live near here, chances are they’ve been scammed.”

That’s a scary thought, but one we should all be aware of. The full Orlando Sentinel article offers helpful information.

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Jun 22 2010

Alzheimer’s Study Recruiting Participants

Do you have a loved one who is experiencing memory problems that are affecting his or her daily activities? If so, please read below about a study being funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is a two-year, $24 million study called the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Grand Opportunity (ADNI GO), and researchers are looking for participants at sites across the country.

From the Study Coordinators:
Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you were unable to recall things which were once so simple to remember? An estimated 5.3 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s and every 70 seconds another person develops this disease! I am contacting you today on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS)  to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to encourage otherwise healthy adults with early complaints of memory problems to participate in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Grand Opportunity (ADNI GO). ADNI GO will build on the unprecedented momentum and success of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a landmark study to find more sensitive and accurate methods to detect AD at earlier stages and track its progress through biomarkers.

By being able to recognize changes in the brain, scientists hope to treat memory loss and other symptoms of AD before they appear, but the only way to recognize what these changes are and learn more about who is at risk is through the participation of volunteers. “We cannot end this terrible disease unless we know more about it,” says Dr. Paul Aisen, M.D., director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS). “That is where the amazing volunteers, their friends and their families can make the difference in our success.”

 Dr. Maya Angelou – the eminent poet, author, educator, historian and professor at Wake Forest University – is working with researchers to ask you and your loved ones to be part of the ADNI GO study. Click here to hear from Dr. Maya Angelou.

If you, a friend, or a family member is experiencing early signs of memory loss, you may be eligible to participate in this groundbreaking ADNI GO study that may help bring us one step closer to finding a cure. Please visit http://adcs.org/Studies/ImagineADNI.aspx or call the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center at 1-800-438-4380 for more information on study sites in your area.

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Apr 29 2010

Exercise, Nutrition Help Seniors Age Well

Arthur Miers is a freelance writer based in Montreal who blogs on issues relating to active living, exercise, and health. He shares this guest post with Florida Senior Living Advisor regarding the value of exercise for seniors.

Maintaining good physical and mental health past the age of 60 is necessary to maximize life expectancy and quality of the golden years. Seniors who exercise regularly and monitor their diet experience increased levels of energy and general sense of well-being. The human body declines at an increasing rate of speed as seniors head towards the geriatric stages of life. Keeping the body fresh and the mind sharp will prolong the efficiency with which the body works.

After the age of 60, in terms of physical health, any regimen of physical activity and senior exercise should only be started with the approval of a physician. Low-impact workouts are ideal for the senior body, particularly in the 60s and 70s. Swimming and jogging are ideal for seniors looking to optimize cardiovascular workouts without putting too much stress on the joints. Of the two options, swimming is far less stressful on the joints but can be taxing for those who are not experienced. Swimming works more muscle groups than most other exercises and provides an excellent workout for establishing endurance. Any cardiovascular activity will be helpful in keeping the heart rate low. Heart problems are more common over the age of 60 than any other age demographic.

Nutrition plays a critical role in maintaining health and vibrancy past the age of 60. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids and low in cholesterol help to keep the body functioning at its highest level. Lean poultry, vegetables and most fish are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein. In addition to helping with levels of cholesterol and lean proteins, fatty acids are considered brain foods. Nuts also fall into the brain food category, reserved for foods that promote brain health.

Learning new skills and revitalizing neglected talents are positive ways to engage the brain in active processes past the age of 60. Mental acuity is as vital as physical well-being in keeping a positive mindset and high energy levels. The best way to ensure a healthy body and mind into the years of senior-citizenship is to focus on making positive changes in all aspects of personal well-being. Changing habits in one area may prove effective in enhancing one area of life, but no improvement in overall levels of energy and emotional well-being will be seen if other aspects of the body or mind are neglected. Many communities offer classes and publications for health and wellness over the age of 60. It may be beneficial to group up with other individuals in an effort to form committed bonds with a common goal. Groups of people who start exercise programs together are less likely to discontinue their regimen.

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Apr 13 2010

Auto Insurance for Florida Seniors

Following is a guest post from AutoInsuranceTips.com, a website dedicated to providing quality information and personalized tools to the consumer. Their experts, who have a combined 100+ years experience in the auto insurance and auto safety industries, divulge tips, debunk myths, and dispel commonly held misconceptions about purchasing auto insurance policies and filing claims.

Thinking about retiring in Florida? There are many things to consider when choosing a retirement community such as lifestyle preferences, access to activities you enjoy, etc. However, cost is almost always a deciding factor to consider, and one that you may not be thinking about is the variance of Florida auto insurance based on region.

Here are some quick facts on Florida auto insurance premium averages for 2009-2010:

  • Males typically have higher rates than females.
  • Premiums usually increase as you get older.
  • Miami premiums are one of the highest in the state for seniors.
  • Venice, Stuart, Gainesville, St Augustine premiums are among the lowest for seniors.
  • Rates vary based on coverage amount, driving record, and even the type of car you drive. The easiest way to compare Florida car insurance premiums is to get free auto insurance quotes online.

2009 – 2010 Sample Florida Auto Insurance Rates by Region, Gender and Age
The rates below are for 6 month premiums. The first number is the best rate found, the second number is the median rate for the demographic. Rates are based on standard coverage amounts and limited underwriting criteria. Your actual rates may vary.

Region Gender

65 yrs old

75 yrs old

80 yrs +

Venice Male








Key West Male








Tallahassee Male








Stuart Male








Delray Beach Male








Pompano Beach Male








Gainesville Male








Vero Beach Male








Miami Male








Tampa Male








Orlando Male








St. Augustine Male








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Apr 05 2010

Experience Corps Pairs Older Tutors with Young Students in Need

I just learned of a wonderful program that trains adults ages 55+ to volunteer in classrooms, tutoring children from in reading and math. It’s called Experience Corps, and it currently operates in 22 cities, with 2,000 volunteers serving nearly 20,000 students. Unfortunately, none of those 22 cities is in Florida, but according to the group’s website, they hope to double in scope in the next five years, and with our large population of older adults in Florida, it seems likely they would establish a program in our state.

That sounds like a win-win for everyone involved – young and old. A study of the program by Johns Hopkins University found that older Americans can delay or actually reverse brain aging at a neurological level by tutoring young children in reading and math. The study involved Experience Corps volunteers working in Baltimore City schools.

“We found that participating in Experience Corps resulted in improvements in cognitive functioning and this was associated with significant changes in brain activation patterns,” said study leader Michelle Carlson. “Essentially the intervention improved brain and cognitive function in these older adults.” Carlson is now expanding her research to see if the program can directly impact the volunteer’s risk of developing dementia.

Additional studies indicate the kids are also benefiting from this program. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louise found that over a single school year, students with Experience Corps tutors made over 60 percent more progress in learning two critical reading skills – sounding out new words and reading comprehension – than similar students not served by the program.

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Mar 05 2010

Healthcare Associated Infections

With my elderly father hospitalized due to a fall last week, I have not had time to write for this Florida Senior Living Advisor blog. So I am thankful to Barbara Dunn of haiwatch.com for submitting this guest post on healthcare associated infections. It is particularly timely information for me as my father now goes on his fourth day in the hospital. With his body weak from the fall, I can easily see how he might be susceptible to infection. And the Hand Hygiene guide offers useful information for all of us – young, old, hospitalized or not.


When someone enters the hospital, he expects to get better of course, not worse. Unfortunately, all too often patients become terribly ill from an infection they didn’t have before entering the hospital. These infections are known as HAIs – healthcare associated infections or hospital acquired infections. With the increase in resistant bacteria, HAIs are on the rise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at any point in time, 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from infections acquired in hospitals.

Unfortunately, hospital or clinic visits are almost unavoidable and usually unplanned. That is one reason it’s even more important for anyone to know the basics of HAI prevention. Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly) the most important methods to prevent HAIs are simple hygiene and sanitation. Cross contamination, also called contact transfer, is the number one cause of HAIs and fortunately, the easiest to tackle. See the following PDF with patient tips:

Patient’sGuide to Hand Hygiene

Two other common HAI types are ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP) and Surgical Site Infections (SSIs). There are things both patients and health care professionals can do to prevent HAIs. The ‘Not on My Watch’ Campaign aims to educate both groups about the best ways to prevent infections.  

You can get more information on healthcare associated infections at www.haiwatch.com.

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Feb 22 2010

Vision Problems in Elderly May Contribute to Dementia

My elderly father recently underwent cataract surgery, and it has lead to a dramatic improvement in his vision. But the true benefits go far beyond better eyesight. Now that he can see more clearly, he is participating in activities at his Florida continuing care retirement community more. He is spending time in his building’s library, reconnecting with his lifelong love of reading that in recent years had become more of a strain than a joy. And he is spending more time outside going for walks with friends.

By improving his vision, the surgery has ultimately improved the quality of his daily life. And a new study indicates it may also have reduced his chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

The  study, from the University of Michigan Health System, reports that elderly people with untreated vision disorders are significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The study used Medicare data and shows that those with poor vision who visited an ophthalmologist at least once for an examination were 64 percent less likely to develop dementia.

The findings may create a new way of looking at poor vision in the elderly: as predictor of dementia rather than as a symptom after the diagnosis.

For the study, Mary A.M. Rogers, Ph.D., and her colleague Kenneth M. Langa, M.D., Ph.D.,analyzed data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study and records from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Our results indicate that it is important for elderly individuals with visual problems to seek medical attention so that the causes of the problems can be identified and treated,” Rogers says. The types of vision treatment that were helpful in lowering the risk of dementia were surgery to correct cataracts and treatments for glaucoma, retinal disorders and other eye-related problems.

Proper vision is a requirement for many of the activities that previously have been found to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These include reading, playing board games, other mentally stimulating activities, social networking, as well as physical activity such as walking and routine exercising. A visual disorder may interfere with normal mobility and may also hinder a person’s ability to participate in such activities, as it was in my father’s case.

“Many elderly Americans do not have adequate health coverage for vision, and Medicare does not cover preventative vision screenings for most beneficiaries,” Rogers says. “So it’s not unusual that the elderly receive vision treatment only after a problem is severe enough to warrant a visit to the doctor when the problem is more advanced.”

According to a survey conducted by the National Eye Health Education Program, less than 11 percent of respondents understood that there are no early warning signs for eye problems such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. However, vision problems and blindness are among the top 10 disabilities among adults and can result in a greater tendency to experience other health conditions or even to die prematurely.

“While heart disease and cancer death rates are continuing to decline, mortality rates for Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise,” says Rogers. “So if we can delay the onset of dementia, we can save individuals and their families from the stress, cost and burden that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The study was based on the surveys and medical information from 625 people compiled from 1992-2005. Only 10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who developed dementia had excellent vision at the beginning of the study, while 30 percent of those who maintained normal cognition had excellent vision at the onset of the study. One in five Americans who are over age 50 report experiencing a visual impairment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and the number has doubled since 1980. It is expected to be as high as 13 million by 2050.

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Feb 12 2010

Have A Great Senior Love Story? Send It In!

Love is in the air – again. In my last post, I told you about a contest for love stories sponsored by Emeritus Senior Living. Now I found out about a Florida-based marketing & PR firm that is seeking submissions of senior love stories for a book. The Ehlers Group, a firm that specializes in marketing programs for senior housing communities, is kicking off its “365 Senior Love Stories” quest on Valentine’s Day.


“We are often inspired after meeting residents at our clients’ communities,” said Janis Ehlers. “They often have such rich histories. From their first meeting and courtship to when they married and their early lives, these are wonderful heartfelt stories that need to be written down.”

The idea for the book was sparked during a recent visit to The Carlisle, a retirement community in Naples, Fla. Residents Jim and Winnie Perrill shared the story of their second marriage with Ehlers, who thought the romantic couple’s life sounded like a Lifetime Television movie.

“They are so in love and happy,” said Ehlers. “Everyone enjoys hearing a great love story.”

Entries for 365 Senior Love Stories must be submitted by May 31, 2010. So you have three and a half months to interview mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, and get it written (400 words is the limit and that’s really not much). What do you get for your effort? For the 365 chosen – the joy of seeing your work in a published book. In my opinion, whether your submission is chosen or not, you may find that the process of writing a small piece of your family’s history will be rewarding on its own.

Additional submission guidelines include:

  1. At least one party must be at least 70 years at the time of submission;
  2. Both parties be living when the submission is made;
  3. The submission may be written by the couple, relatives or third-parties on their behalf;
  4. Submissions must be no more than 400 words (include how the couple met, courtship, wedding ceremony, length of marriage, etc.);
  5. Submissions must be typewritten and include the full names of the couple, address and telephone contact information for verification;
  6. The published story will contain only first names and ages;
  7. Submissions without telephone numbers cannot be considered;
  8. Submissions may be rewritten, edited and shortened at the discretion of the book authors;
  9. Book authors reserve the right to select the love stories for publication and will notify the submitters in advance of the selection;
  10. If you would like to submit a photo(s), it could be a wedding photo, a picture of the couple when they met or a recent photo;

Pictures need to include the couples’ names and a photographer’s name if credit is required. Photographs altered in any fashion are not accepted. Pictures can not be returned.  Image requirements: JPEG file format and 300 dpi. Please provide pictures that avoid red-eye, busy backgrounds, etc. Image where the couple’s heads and eyes are on the same level are preferred.

To submit a Love Story, please email SeniorLoveStories@TheEhlersGroup.com. For more information, please call 954-726-9228 or visit 365SeniorLoveStories.blogspot.com.

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Feb 07 2010

Senior Living Provider Looking for Love Stories

As I’ve watched my father’s relationship with his dear friend Ginny grow closer and closer over the last 20 months, it has demonstrated to me that love really can blossom later in life.  He and Ginny are just one of the many happy couples I see when I visit their Florida continuing care retirement community. So with Valentine’s Day coming up in a week, I wanted to share this contest sponsored by a national senior living provider. Following is the information from their website:

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Emeritus Senior Living, a national provider of assisted living and Alzheimer’s and related dementia care services to seniors, is holding a Facebook contest that encourages fans to share personal and family love stories.

Emeritus’ “Lifetime of Love” contest gives fans the opportunity to share their own love stories, or family love stories that have been passed down from parents and grandparents. Fans are encouraged to post their love stories as comments to the “Valentines Day Contest” tab on the Emeritus Senior Living Facebook page. One grand prize winner will receive a $500 American Express gift card. Twenty additional winners will receive a $100 American Express gift card. All winners will be announced via Facebook on February 15th, 2010.

The inspiration behind the Emeritus “Lifetime of Love” contest comes from sharing the personal stories and journeys of many of the residents who live at its 316 communities across the country. Among the residents who have shared their heartwarming love stories with Emeritus are four Garden Grove, CA couples who are scheduled to renew their wedding vows at Emeritus at Garden Manor community in a group ceremony on February 12th, 2010.

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Jan 26 2010

Link Between High Blood Pressure and Dementia

It’s common knowledge that high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health consequences. Now new research has found high blood pressure may also make you more prone to dementia as you age.

The research, from the National Institutes of Health, suggests that hypertension – blood pressure readings of 140 over 90 or higher – may cause a kind of scarring that interferes with communication between brain cells. That scarring, known as white matter lesions, has been linked to development of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the elderly. Researchers have found an increase in white matter lesions with each 20-point jump in systolic pressure above the recommended limit. Systolic pressure is the bigger of the two numbers. Those scars can start building up in middle age, although the resulting memory problems may not appear until decades later.

“If you look … for things that we can prevent that lead to cognitive decline in the elderly, hypertension is at the top of the list,” Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, told The Associated Press. Age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia that affect about one in eight people 65 or older.

This evidence of a link is strong enough that the National Institutes of Health will soon begin enrolling thousands of people with high blood pressure into a major study. The aim will be to see if pushing blood pressure lower than currently recommended might better protect not just hearts, but brains.

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