AuthorChris Fulton

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Sometimes We All Need Reminded

In times past, a string around an index finger was the universal symbol of a reminder. Today, I have reminders virtually everywhere. I believe every electronic device I own will remind me of the things I need to do. My e-mail, phone, and iPod – all have calendars with alarms to tell me what to do. The running joke for those of us who use the e-mail calendar “Outlook” is the reminders come so frequently that most of us don’t even bother to read them. I just click it off with only a glance. As I write this, my Outlook calendar says I have “17 Reminders”. Hopefully, most of it got done because it will be several minutes until I take the time to sort through them.

In addition to these reminders, I have many people in my life who remind of the things I should be doing. It’s a given that my pastor reminds me every week what a Christian life should contain. My early twenties daughter reminds me I should be dressing, behaving, and generally paying attention to modern culture. Friends at the gym remind me to work and not talk. Coworkers remind me to work and not talk. My boss reminds me to work and not …well you get the idea.

Sometimes in today’s world, I really wonder if I ever have to think for myself and remember anything. It is so easy to get into routines and follow the lists of to do tasks and reminders – to not think for myself and just do what I am “supposed to do”. When I get the time, I actually think about the things I want to do and my thoughts are where I want them, I realize that I should spend my time very differently than my reminders show. I should be doing less administration and spending much more time with the people we serve. I should be doing more for the others around me and worrying much less about whatever silly daily task I have let bog my day down. Sometime along the way, I really should look at the good we do for the folks who need us. Productivity isn’t the paperwork I produced, but the lives we changed.

My next reminder on my Outlook calendar should say “make someone smile” or “check in on someone who is alone.” The beauty of working at Faith in Action is that if I just work hard and fast enough I can do just that and still keep up with the reminders that never stop. I think I will create a reminder for each day of the week that will improve the lives of those around me. Maybe if I write enough reminders I can make a difference to those who use CFIA. It’s worth a shot. Now if someone will just remind me to do it.

Thanks to Lori Fry at Collinsville Faith in Action for this week’s blog.

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Three Things You Thought You Knew About Hospice

Join Hospice of Southern Illinois in their celebration in November of National Hospice Month. During National Hospice Month, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and Hospice Organizations across the United States encourage others to emphasize the importance of quality end-of-life care for all Americans, regardless of age, diagnoses or location of care. It is during this month, we take a stand to speak out to help bring awareness to the communities we serve!
Hospice is often and unfortunately misrepresented to the general public. Often seen as the people who “come at the very end” or when someone is “giving up”, hospice is very much the opposite.
1. Did you know hospice services can be utilized for up to 6 months?
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s NHPCO’s Facts and Figures on Hospice, “The median length of service in 2012 was 18.7 days. This means that half of hospice patients received care for less than three weeks. The average length of service increased from 69.1 days in 2011 to 71.8 in 2012.” These statistics tell us that a large percentage of patients are not receiving the full benefits of hospice care. Although we are seeing a slight increase in the average length of service, why don’t we see more people utilizing the hospice benefit longer? Some could be attributed to disease criteria, acceptance, or access to care. If patients, however, had 6 months to fully reflect and experience their end-of-life journey, maybe more people would have the opportunity to die their way: with dignity and grace.
2. Choosing quality of life does not mean giving up.
When people elect their hospice benefit, it definitely doesn’t mean they are “giving up”. It can be hard for family to see that. Their mind says, “Treatment means fighting for life”. Consider weighing the pain, suffering, and symptoms that may be associated with treatment. Choosing to forego curative treatments could alleviate certain stressors, symptoms and expenses. This is different than giving up. This is simply choosing quality of life, which take tremendous courage. Celebrate that decision and celebrate the time there is left with loved ones, while feeling as good as possible.
3. Dying can be peaceful and graceful.
Death is very sad to accept and discuss. It is, however, unavoidable that we will all die. It is difficult to accept and reflect on this time and plan for a peaceful and graceful journey. Further, it is definitely not easy to understand how dying can be peaceful and graceful, but it is possible. Hospice of Southern Illinois can make it easier to understand, especially the longer the service is utilized. Nurses and hospice aides can address the physical/medical needs of patients; the counseling team can address emotional and spiritual wishes of the patient and family; and volunteers can provide companionship and relief of caregiving to let the family focus on being a family during the important time that is left. All members of the team are instrumental in assisting the patient and their family to honor the goals of care until the end of their journey. When the goals of care are honored, dying then becomes more peaceful and graceful.
Learn about Hospice of Southern Illinois, getting hospice services, and having your questions answered. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 800-233-1708 or visit our website for more information, www.hospice.org.
Source: http://www.nhpco.org/sites/default/files/public/Statistics_Research/2013_Facts_Figures.pdf

Hospice of Southern Illinois
Your Community-Not-For-Profit Hospice
618-235-1703
www.hospice.org

 

Tanks to our friends at Hospice of Southern Illinois for providing this blog.

2014 Medicare Open Enrollment

What Will You Find During Medicare Open Enrollment?
October 15 – December 7

Your health needs change from year to year. And, your health plan may change the benefits and costs each year too. That’s why it’s important to review your Medicare choices each fall. Compare your current plan to new options and see if you can lower some costs or to find a plan that better suit your needs. Open Enrollment is the one time of year when ALL people with Medicare can see what new benefits Medicare has to offer and make changes to their coverage.

Whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll still have the same benefits and security you have now:

• Certain preventive benefits – including cancer screenings – are available at no cost to you when provided by qualified and participating health professionals. The annual wellness visit lets you sit down with your doctor and discuss your health care needs and the best ways to stay healthy.

• Medicare will notify you about plan performance and use its online Plan Finder to encourage enrollment in quality plans.

• In 2015, if you reach the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, you’ll get a 55% discount on covered brand name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs.

It’s worth it to take the time to review and compare, but you don’t have to do it alone. Medicare is available to help.
• Visit Medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.

• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day/7 days a week to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

• Review the Medicare & You 2015 handbook. It’s mailed to people with Medicare in September.

• If you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get Extra Help paying your prescription drug coverage costs. For more information, visit socialsecurity.gov/i1020 or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.

• Get one-on-one help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit Medicare.gov/contacts or call 1-800-MEDICARE to get the phone number.

This message is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

SHIP Contacts for Illinois:

Illinois Department on Aging Senior Health Insurance Program-  1-800-252-8966

AgeSmart Community Resources-
618-222-2561 or 1-800-326-3221  AgeSmart can connected you to your local community SHIP Counselor in the Illinois Counties of: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington.

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Domestic Violence and Older Adults

Domestic Violence in Older Couple Relationships

When society talks about domestic violence (DV) the discussion normally focuses on couples that are young, dating or recently married. But, DV can happen in any relationship. DV is an pattern of violence or intimidation by an intimate partner, which is used to gain power and control. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victimized by a partner at some point in their lives.
Sometimes DV starts early in the relationship and just continues in various ways throughout the entire lifespan. For elderly victims there were few options to leave a violent relationship as DV only became recognized as a crime in Illinois in 1986. Prior to the passing of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) there was little that could be done to get the assistance that is needed to find safety from ongoing abuse.

Rarely though violence can begin in a relationship as they age where there were no indications of abuse earlier. Though no relationship is “perfect” some normal lifespan stressors may exacerbate personal issues. Retirement, increased time together, medical issues and other changing roles can make it necessary to learn new skills to weather the changes that naturally occur.
Widows and widowers may encounter an abusive partner if and when they begin a new relationship. If abuse was not present in their previous relationship they may be taken aback and not know what to do or where to find help. They may be embarrassed or fear being alone again if the relationship ends.

DV is a crime that is mostly committed by men, but women can be violent, also. All DV is wrong. Sometimes there is substance abuse, money stressors, or depression present in the abuser but none of these are excuses that justify hurting someone else. The longer the abuse goes on it may be more difficult for the victim to leave and the abuser often interprets that as their actions must be right. It is not about the abuser not being able to control themselves or their anger; they use their anger to control their victim and get their way.

What should you look for when you think DV may be present in a relationship?

You may have a friend or family member that you think may be in an unhealthy relationship or you may be wondering if you, yourself, are being abused. Do you recognize any of these characteristics?
• Intense jealousy
• Needing to keep the partner abreast of their whereabouts constantly
• Name calling
• Physical assaults like: grabbing, pushing, slapping, holding you down, threatening with a weapon
• Forcing sexual activity, including: intercourse, coercing you to watch pornography, inappropriate requests for unwanted activities
• Making financial decisions that put the families future at risk; refusing access to medical care or assistive equipment
• Isolating you from friends and family.
• The relationship seems “too good to be true”
• Past abuse. The best indicator of future DV is past DV. It may escalate over time or there may be long periods of time where the abuse seems to have ended. There may be a “cycle of violence” with periods of tension, explosions, apologies and even times that seem perfect.
Help is available and it is free!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it is an important time to learn the facts. To find your local resource contact AgeSmart Community Resources (800-326-3221) and they can share the closest agency. Together we can create peaceful lives, households and communities!

Information gathered from the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Author tag–Debby Mize, BS ICDVP
Director Peacework Consulting

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

 

Help Finish the Fight Against Breast Cancer
Join the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk
Significant progress in the fight against breast cancer has been made in recent years, but more needs to be done. Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in the U.S. other than skin cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. The chance of a woman developing invasive breast cancer at some time in her life is about 1 in 8 and in 2014, approximately 232,670 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,400 will die from the disease in the U.S.

To change these stats and the course of breast cancer forever, the American Cancer Society created Making Strides Against Breast Cancer community walks in 1993 as a rallying cry to build awareness and generate funds to fight the disease. In that time, 10 million walkers have collected more than $594 million and this year, hundreds of walkers will participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of the Metro-East on October 11th at Rock Springs Park in O’Fallon, Illinois.

“Making Strides Against Breast Cancer brings communities together as the most powerful force to end breast cancer,” said Brett Schuette, Senior Representative of Community Engagement. “The progress we are making is remarkable, but more people are needed to help finish the fight.”

Making Strides proceeds are used by the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research grants, offer free patient/caregiver services, provide in-depth cancer information, and support legislative advocacy to make sure cancer patients have access to the care they need.

Call your local American Cancer Society office at 618.288.2320, #3 or visit makingstrideswalk.org to help continue saving lives.

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Simple tips for lowering fall risk in older adults

Simple tips for lowering fall risk in older adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls.  Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults.

How can older adults prevent these falls?  Environmental and health factors  can  both lead to falls.  Listed below are some preventative actions that older adults can take to decrease their chance of falling both in and out of the home.

Health Factors:

  • Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.
  • Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update their eyeglasses to maximize their vision.  Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for some activities such as walking outside. Clean eyeglasses regularly.
  • Talk to their doctor about adequate calcium and vitamin D intake—from food and/or from supplements.
  • Do weight bearing exercise.
  • Get screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis.

Environmental Factors to consider (this list does not include all potential hazards, but is a good place to start.)

  • Place lamps and a cordless phone within easy reach of the bed or often-used chair.
  • Ensure there is a clear pathway between the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Set up nightlights in the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Keep a flashlight close to the bedside and another in the kitchen in case of emergencies.
  • Discard all throw rugs.
  • Ensure suitable chair heights, including tub and toilet seats.
  • Double check shoes for proper fit, preferably they are low heels and slippers with non-skid soles.
  • Ensure there is a long-handled shoehorn to assist putting on footwear.
  • Organize clothes and necessities so they are within easy reach.
  • Maintain assistive devices, such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs and others in good working order
  •  Add grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet
  • Add railings on both sides of stairways
  • Improve the general  lighting in the home.
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Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provide eligible seniors with resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from approved farmers’ markets.  The purpose of the SFMNP is to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables with low income seniors and to expand the awareness, use of and sales at farmer’s markets.

Low-income seniors generally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185 percent of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines (published each year by the Department of Health and Human Services), are the targeted recipients of SFMNP benefits.

In Illinois checks for seniors are distributed at local senior

Facilities through the cooperation of the Illinois Department on

Aging, Area Agencies on Aging and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  In Clinton, Madison, St. Clair and Washington Counties the checks are distributed at the local Farmers Markets only.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program season begins July 1st and ends October 31st.

Applications are available at the Farmers markets listed below.

For a downloadable and printable copy of ‘Illinois…What’s in Season’  go to  http://www.agr.state.il.us/markets/WhatsInSeason.pdf

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Enough is Enough- Elder Abuse

 

June  15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Why Should I Care About Elder Abuse? Elder abuse is an under recognized problem with devastating and even life threatening consequences.

Every day, headlines throughout the U.S. paint a grim picture of seniors who have been abused, neglected, and exploited, often by people they trust the most. Abusers may be spouses, family members, personal acquaintances, or professionals in positions of trust, or opportunistic strangers who prey on the vulnerable.

How big is the problem? Research indicates that more than one in ten elders may experience some type of abuse, but only one in 23 cases are reported. This means that very few seniors who have been abused get the help they need.

One thing is for certain: elder abuse can happen to any older individual –your neighbor, your loved one – it can even happen to you.

What is Elder Abuse?

In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by

a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to,

harm of a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional

or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial

abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are

considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self-neglect is

also considered mistreatment.

TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE

  • Physical abuse: Use of force to threaten or physically injure an elder
  • Emotional abuse: Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain, or distress to a senior
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced upon an elder, including anyone who is unable to grant consent
  • Exploitation: Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue

influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property

  • Neglect: A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical, or emotional needs
  • Abandonment: Desertion of a frail or vulnerable elder by anyone with a duty of care
  • Self-neglect: An inability to understand the consequences of one’s own actions or inaction, which leads to, or may lead to, harm or endangerment

Remember: You do not need to prove that

abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to

investigate the suspicions.

Who is at Risk?

Elder abuse can occur anywhere – in the home, in nursing homes,

or other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic

groups, cultures, and races. Based on available information, women

and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized. Dementia is a

significant risk factor. Mental health and substance abuse issues

– of both abusers and victims – are risk factors. Isolation can also

contribute to risk.

 

WARNING SIGNS

•Physical Abuse: Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns

•Neglect: Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration

•Emotional Abuse: Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavioral changes

•Sexual Abuse: Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases

•Financial Abuse/Exploitation: Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as “loans” or

“gifts” and loss of property

 

What Should I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse?

»REPORT YOUR CONCERNS

Remember: Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. For state reporting numbers, visit the NCEAwebsite at www.ncea.aoa.gov or call the Eldercare Locator at 1-8 0 0 – 67 7-1116.

»IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION OR IMMEDIATE DANGER,contact 911or the local police or sheriff.

»TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE IN A NURSING HOME OR LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY, contact your state specific agency. To find the listing, visit the Long Term Care Ombudsman website. www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman

For More information on Elder Abuse and Adult Protective Services in Illinois got to: http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ProtectionAdvocacy/Pages/abuse.aspx

For the Flyer from National Center on Elder Abuse “12 Things that Anyone Can Do to Prevent Elder Abuse, go to:

http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Resources/Publication/docs/NCEA_12things_508.pdf

Together, we have the power to prevent elder abuse.

 

 

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May is National Arthritis Month

Arthritis Basics

Very Basic

 Arthritis impacts more than 50 million adults (1 in 5) and 300,000 (1 in every 250 under the age of 18) children and is an often misunderstood disease.

So what is arthritis?  It is not a single disease; it is a complex group of musculoskeletal disorders with many causes and no cures.  There are over 100 different types of arthritis and people of all ages, sexes and races are affected.  Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America because it can destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues, which then hamper or halt physical movement.   It is more common in women and as people age it occurs more frequently.  Arthritis is the second most frequently reported chronic condition in the US and a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.

Arthritis is not a disease of old age, two thirds of people are under the age of 65, this includes children under age 18.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, the three most common forms of arthritis are:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA): the most common form of arthritis is a progressive degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage associated with risk factors, such as overweight/obesity, history of joint injury and age.  It affects nearly 27 million Americans, most over the age of 45. Read more about osteoarthritis.
  •  Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): a systemic disease characterized by the inflammation of the membrane lining the joint, which causes pain, stiffness, warmth, swelling and sometimes severe joint damage.  It causes inflammation throughout the body, affecting the heart and other organs.  In the United States, an estimated 1.5 million people have RA and there are 2.5 times as many women as men with the disease. Read more about rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Juvenile Arthritis (JA): is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. Read more about juvenile arthritis.

Common symptoms of arthritis are: swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion.  Symptoms may come and go, can range from mild to severe, and may stay the same for years or progress and get worse over time.  Severe arthritis can include chronic pain, inability to preform daily activities and make mobility difficult.    In addition, it can cause permanent joint changes, some of which are visible (knobby finger joints) but often can only be seen on x-ray.  Arthritis can also affect soft tissue organs such as the heart, lungs, eyes, kidneys, and skin as well as joints.

Often diagnosis of arthritis starts with a person’s primary care physician.  The physician may perform a physical, run blood tests and imagining scans (such as x-rays) to determine the type of arthritis.  In some cases a person may choose to or be referred to an arthritis specialist called a rheumatologist.  An orthopedic doctor may be referred to if the arthritis is severe and may require joint surgery or replacement.

Many things can be done to preserve joint function, mobility and quality of life for someone with arthritis.  Learning about the disease and various treatment options available, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are essential components.  More information about the different types of arthritis and practical tips for daily living can be found at the Arthritis Foundation’s website listed below.  The Arthritis Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated to serving all people with arthritis.

Sources:

Arthritis Foundation:

  • Arthritis.org
  • The Heavy Burden of Arthritis in the U.S., http://www.arthritis.org/files/images/newsroom/Arthritis_Prevalence_Fact_Sheet_5-31-11.pdf
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Older Americans Month 2014 Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.

Older adults have made countless contributions and sacrifices to ensure a better life for future generations. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. This celebration recognizes older Americans for their contributions and demonstrates our nation’s commitment to helping them stay healthy and active.

This year’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.” The theme focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage older adults to protect themselves and remain active and independent for as long as possible. Unintentional injuries to this population result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year. With an emphasis on safety during Older Americans Month, we encourage older adults to learn about the variety of ways they can avoid the leading causes of injury, like falls.

While the Area Agency on Aging provides services, support, and resources to older adults year-round, Older Americans Month offers an opportunity for us to provide specialized information and services around the important topic of injury prevention. This information will help older adults take control of their safety and live longer, healthier lives.

Throughout the month, the Area Agency on Aging will be conducting activities and providing tips on how to avoid the leading causes of injury. The Next Snacks and Facts will talk about wellness and older adults and the Healthy Living Expo on May 22, 2014 will focus on staying safe in your home.  To learn more about Older Americans Month and how you can participate, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-326-3221 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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