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Fearless Caregiver Conference West Broward

A few photos from the Fearless Caregiver Conference in Cooper City, Florida!

Fearless Caregiver Conference

South County Civic Center, Delray Beach, FL – July 17, 2018

This event will provide attendees with hands-on support and training designed to help family caregivers overcome the challenges of daily caregiving. Visit the Mobile Physician Services’ (MPS) exhibit table during the conference. A representative from MPS will also be a part of the expert panel discussion on caregiving to highlight caring for the homebound patient.

Conference Highlights

  • Fearless Caregiver Training
  • Guided group participation Q&A session
  • Panel of experts to help with your caregiver solutions
  • Resource room with hands-on advice from local caregiving experts
  • Caregiving guide to take home for future reference

For more information on Mobile Physician Services – A Medical House Call Practice, visit www.mobilephysicianservices.com

Seasonal Affective Dissorder

   Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recurring major depressive disorder resulting in episodes of depression during the same time each year. This condition is often associated as “Winter Blues”. Individuals with SAD often experience depressive symptoms beginning in the fall or winter and diminishing in the spring. Fall to spring is the most common incidence of occurrence of this disorder. Due to days getting shorter and light becoming more scarce. While summer depression, usually occurring during late spring and early summer is less frequently diagnosed within the population. SAD is more commonly seen in northern regions compared with southern regions of the country.

   Individuals diagnosed with SAD must meet the criteria for major depression. These major depressive states must happen during specific season for at least two years. Also, the individual must experience seasonal depressions much more frequently than any other type of depression.

   Currently in the United States, SAD afflicts about 10 million Americans. With another 10-20% having a milder form of SAD. Women are four times more likely to experience SAD compared to men. Typical age of onset is between 18 and 30 years old. Symptoms differ based on the individual. Some common symptoms are the following: feelings of hopelessness and sadness, thoughts of suicide, hypersomnia (tendency to oversleep), changes in appetite (craving for sweet or starchy food), weight gain, drops in energy level, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and, irritability. All these are common symptoms that are predominant among individuals with SAD.

   There are many risk factors associated with SAD.  As mentioned above, SAD is diagnosed more among women compared with men. Individuals who live farther away from the equator are more susceptible in developing symptoms associated with SAD compared with individuals living closer to the equator. Family history plays an important role towards the onset of the disorder. Individuals with a family history consisting of other types of depression are more likely to develop SAD compared with individuals with no previous family history of depression. Age plays an important role towards the onset of SAD. Younger adults have a higher risk of SAD when compared with older adults.

   Among seniors, a vitamin D deficiencies has been closely associated with the onset of SAD during the colder winter months. With scarce amount of sunshine during the winter, the elderly are more prone to stay inside more, resulting in a vitamin D deficiency. Also, as our bodies age, we tend to have more difficulty absorbing and converting vitamin D. Difficulty absorbing and converting vitamin D not only perpetuates a vitamin D deficiency but also can result in Osteoporosis. Due to the lack of vitamin D caused by the lack of sunshine during the winter season.

   There are several key treatments and therapies that are effective with helping individuals manage their SAD. Medication is an essential form of treatment. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) is one the most common medications used to treat SAD. Bupropion, another type of antidepressant approved to treat SAD. Light Therapy, one of the most effective treatments for SAD. With light therapy, we’re replacing the diminished amount of sunlight during the fall and winter months with consistent daily exposure to bright and artificial light. Typically, individuals with SAD would sit in front of a light box early in the morning every day, beginning during the fall and ending in the spring. For the elderly, a diet rich and fortified with vitamin D can be effective with treating SAD.

   Aside from light therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another effective treatment for SAD. CBT helps individuals with SAD to identify negative thoughts and replaces them with more positive thoughts. CBT also utilizes behavioral activation which helps individuals with SAD to select activities that are both engaging and pleasurable, they can be either indoors or outdoors. This form of therapy is intended to helps those afflicted with SAD to improve their coping mechanisms during the winter months via participating in those activities selected that are both engaging and pleasurable.

   Overall, SAD is recurring major depressive disorder commonly seen during the winter months and tends to afflict individuals living in northern states. There are several methods of treatment that are very effective to help individuals with SAD cope with their symptoms.

Diabetes Awareness Month

   With November being designated as Diabetes Awareness month, it’s important to discuss different methods of managing Diabetes among our aging senior population. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how we turn our food into energy. Our bodies rely on glucose for energy with the help of the pancreas. The pancreas regulates the hormone insulin, which allows our bodies to use glucose as energy. Individuals with diabetes, their bodies either do not produce enough insulin or their bodies do not respond to existing insulin, thus resulting high levels of blood sugar that can have a damaging effect on the body.

    There are 3 main types of diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, Types 2 Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, common among children. Type 2 Diabetes, commonly occurring among adults and is linked to diet and overall lifestyle choices.  Gestational Diabetes, occurring primarily during pregnancy. Over 30 million Americans are afflicted with Diabetes, resulting in Diabetes being the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of Diabetes diagnosed. It usually develops over time and diagnosed during adulthood. However, in recent news the onset of Type 2 Diabetes has increased among children, teens, and young adults.

   Among the elderly in the United States, Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting this aging population. 10% of adults diagnosed with Diabetes are 65 years or older. Within the next 20 years, the incidence of diagnosed diabetes among the elderly is expected to increase by around 44%, affecting a total population of 3.9 million people. Elderly people diagnosed with diabetes tend to visit their primary care provider more frequently to manage their diabetes. Around 30% of diabetics 65-74 years old are hospitalized each year. This rate is nearly twice of that compared with elderly without diabetes. Circulatory and Cardiovascular problems are often association with diabetics 65-74 years old. Resulting with diabetic elderly having a higher incidence of death due to cardiovascular disease compared with non-diabetic elderly.

   There are many ways to help our aging seniors manage their diabetes. A healthy diet is one important aspect to consider when managing diabetes. A diet low in sugar and saturated fats are ideal for any diabetic senior. In addition, adding exercise to a diabetics daily routine help to not only control glucose levels but also manage weight. Aerobic exercises like walking, biking, and swimming are great examples of aerobic exercises that a diabetic seniors could participate in.

    Regularly checking blood glucose levels is another important facet in the management of diabetes. It’s important that diabetic seniors stay consistent with monitoring their blood glucose level. Lower blood glucose levels could result in hypoglycemia state for the senior (low blood sugar). Some common symptoms are confusion, dizziness, hunger, and sweating. Aside from monitoring blood glucose level, regularly taking diabetic medications is just as important as monitoring blood glucose level. Lastly, having your feet checked by a podiatrist and eyes checked by an optometrist are both important tools to help our seniors manage their diabetes.

   There are a wide array of resources available to help our aging seniors to manage and prevent the prevalence of diabetes. Taking proactive steps to prevent and maintain diabetes can have a long-lasting impact towards the overall prevalence of Diabetes among American Seniors.

The Importance of End of Life Planning

   With an aging Baby Boomer population in the United States. The concept of End of Life Planning has quickly become a necessary and important factor toward providing families peace at mind at the time of death for their loved ones. There are many steps a family can take with their loved one to prepare for their final goodbyes.

   Choosing a Power of Attorney (POA) for your loved one is a necessary End of Life Planning step. A POA is a legally binding agreement that provides a person of your choosing legal authority to make estate and financial decisions on your behalf. Only a maximum of two people, 18 years or older, can be given POA status. They must be trusted to act in your best interest. To grant POA, the individual must be in a fully coherent state. POA is limited in its power. It only allows someone to handle financial and estate matters outlined by you, for example paying your bills or selling a piece of property. POA is only effective when you have the mental capacity to act. In the situation where you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself a POA is no longer effective. However, a Durable Power Attorney (DPOA) gives an individual the authority to make decisions on your behalf, in the situation where you are incapacitated. An individual can have both POA and DPOA status for their loved one.

   There are two kinds of DPOA. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, which allows an individual to make financial decisions if you become incapacitated and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, which authorizes an individual of your choosing to make health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. One important benefit of appointing both a POA and DPOA is that it allows you to choose who will make decisions for you if there is a situation where you are incapacitated and unable to make financial or estate decisions for yourself. Both a POA and DPOA play a necessary role towards providing not only financial and estate security but also healthcare security for our loved ones.

   Along with appointing both a POA and DPOA for your loved one, drafting a living will is another important End of Life Planning step. A Living Will is a written and legally binding document that outlines all the medical treatments that you would like and not like to be done to keep you alive. It’s important discuss with your family, friends, and doctor about your end of life wishes and a Living Will is perfect way to document your end of life care. Five Wishes is the one of the most widely used Advanced Directive/ Living Will in the United States. This document allows individuals to choose: their health care power of attorney, the type of medical treatments the would like or not like, the level of comfort care they would like, how they would like to be treated when they are about to reach their end, and how their loved ones will remember them (funeral wise). Bound in a single document, Five Wishes provides families peace at mind and the assurance that your loved one’s final wishes are preserved.

   Appointing both a POA and DPOA, and drafting a Living Will (Five Wishes) are important End of Life Planning steps to take to prepare for the inevitable death of any loved one. By planning ahead, you can get the medical care that you want, while avoiding any superfluous suffering. Planning ahead helps to relieve your loved ones with the burden of making tough decisions in moments of crisis or grief.

World Alzheimer’s Month

               Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The month of September brings the world together to raise awareness for our patients and family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that cannot be cured and destroys memories as well as important mental functions. It is known to be the most common cause of Dementia. Dementia is the complete loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities.

                Alzheimer’s disease was named after a doctor Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the disease while examining the brain tissues of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness that showed all of the symptoms of what we now know as Alzheimer’s disease. He discovered many plaques and tangles spread throughout the brain, as well as many disconnected neurons thus discovering the progression of the disease.

                Scientists to this day are still studying the brain changes during the progression of the disease and still do not fully understand what ultimately causes Alzheimer’s disease. Although studies have shown a shrinkage in brain tissues, plaques and tangles spread throughout the brain, loss of neuron connection, as well as the death of the neurons. It is also believed that early-onset Alzheimer’s disease may play a role in genetic components and that late-onset arises from a complexion of brain changes that occur overtime.

                Early warning signs and symptoms for Alzheimer patients are the following: loss of memory that disrupts their everyday life, challenges in solving problems and planning, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with place or time, trouble understanding spatial relationships and images, new problems with words in writing or speaking, misplacing items, losing their ability to retrace their steps, poor or decreased judgement, withdrawal from work and social activities, and changes in personality and moods. It is important to address any of these symptoms before the disease progresses further. Treating the disease with medications will only temporarily improves symptoms.

                When caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease keep in mind of their symptoms and educate yourself briefly on the disease for a better understanding. Providing them with the proper support can have high emotional, physical and financial costs. Asking for help is the best thing to do and it isn’t taking the easy way out. It is showing that you care for them to have the absolute best care. Following their life long habits and avoiding new routines may make caring for an Alzheimer’s patient just a bit easier, while making them more comfortable with doing everyday things. Physical activity and playing the patients preferred music are great ways of showing support and can improve their behavior.

                Safety is also important to remember when caring for an Alzheimer patient. A recommendation would be to have them wear an identification bracelet containing their name as well as their caregiver’s name and phone number.

                Having the proper knowledge and understanding plays a major role in caring for an Alzheimer patient. Always keep in mind of how you would like to be treated if you were in the shoes of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.