Monday, November 11, 2013

8 Critical Definitions of Medicare Related Terms

Which Medicare Parts Do You Need?  Learn What Each Type Includes

Premium -  The amount you pay for coverage. This is commonly paid monthly, but may have other payment structures including quarterly or annually.

Deductible - The total amount that you must pay for medical expenses before Medicare kicks in. 

CoCo-pay/Co-insurance - Any portion you pay for each medical service or prescription.

Part A - Pays for in-patient care at hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and some home health care services. You do not pay a premium for this coverage if you paid Medicare taxes while employed. There is, however, a deductible for hospital stays. 

Part B - Pays for doctors' services, lab tests, x-rays, mental health care and other medically necessary services.  The monthly premium for this coverage in 2014 it will be $104.90.  There is an annual deductible of $147 as of 2014.
If you or your spouse have employee-sponsored health care you may prefer to delay signing up for Part B.   When coverage ends from your employer ends, and you desire to be covered under Part B, you will need to sign up immediately.  Otherwise you may be subject to penalties and have a waiting period before coverage begins.

Part C - Alternatively, you may prefer Medicare Advantage.  Medicare has approved plans from private insurers which include services covered in Parts A and B as well as prescription drug benefits.  Some also include hearing, vision and dental.

Part D - Pays for the prescription drugs other than those taken in a hospital.  You won't need this portion if you are using Medicare Advantage, only if you are using Part A & B. Generally there will be an annual deductible, and co-pays.

Medigap - Pays deductibles, co-pays, and other costs associated with Part A & B, not C. You may already be receiving some type of coverage from your employer or union.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Depression in Seniors Is NOT Normal or To Be Expected

The other evening I attended a meeting of folks all over 65.  We had a new participant in our group who appeared to be in his mid '70's.  It became evident after a while that this man was severely depressed and unable to function in a "normal" way.  My first thought was that this was probably just a normal part of aging for some.  After all, as we get older, we begin to suffer much loss:  friends, family, careers, and more. 

My assessment was wrong, however.  Depression among the elderly is not normal.  Whatever the age, depression should be dealt with by medical or mental health professionals. 

Depression is a general feeling of being down emotionally. A person suffering from depression may feel bad about a multitude of things or may not have any particular reason for feeling low.  Depression can strike suddenly, or can come about slowly. It can be chronic or episodic.

The National Institute for Mental Health Lists these symptoms of Depression

Signs and symptoms include:
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
If someone you care about seems to be exhibiting these symptoms, you should encourage them to see their doctor or therapist.  In addition, you will want to provide them with encouragement and love as they deal with the medical and/or emotional issues that are at the root of the depression.

Depression is a serious and debilitation illness that can easily lead to or contribute to other medical maladies and/or interfere with recovery from disease or injury. 

For another excellent article, see: can be of help in these types of circumstances.  Call us to discuss any level of care from companions to skilled nursing. 

BrightStar of Jupiter/Martin County
725 North A1A suite E-104
Jupiter, FL 33477

Monday, October 28, 2013

What Kinds of Home Health Care Is Available in Jupiter FL

Home Health Care, Companion Care, Skilled Nursing and More Are Available Through BrightStar Care in Jupiter

Our Homecare and Staffing Services include:
  • 24-Hour High Tech Care for Adults, Children and Infants
  • In-Home Blood Draws and Injections
  • Medication Set-ups and Medication Reminders
  • Staffing Services RN/LPN/CNA Staffing
  • Wound Care
  • IV Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
  • Personal Services
  • Bath Visits
  • CNA/Care-giver Respite Care
  • Shopping and Transportation Services
  • Newborn/Multiples Care
  • Sitting/Companion Services
  • Live-in Arrangements
  • Nanny Service and childcare
  • Light Housekeeping/Meal Prep
  • Medical Office and Lab Personnel
  • School Nurses
  • Temp-to-Perm/Direct Hire

If you have a family member who is in need of home health care services, call us right now to find out how we might be able to partner with you in providing for your loved one's needs:

BrightStar of Jupiter/Martin County
725 North A1A suite E-104
Jupiter, FL 33477

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dental Health for Seniors

What do I Need to Know to Maintain Good Oral Health in My Senior Years?
With proper care and a good general health, your teeth can last a lifetime.  Of course, regular dental check ups will help you to spot issues quickly so that they can be dealt with before they become major problems.

Individuals of any age can keep teeth and gums in top condition, by twice a day brushing.  Studies indicate that using an electric toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash can all add to your success in avoiding cavities and gum disease.

Are There Dental and other Oral Health Issues I Should Know About as a Senior?
Wearing dentures, taking medications and general health conditions are some of the issues many seniors face. Luckily, your dentist and physician can help you meet most of these challenges quite successfully.
  • Cavities and/or decay can strike the root surfaces of the teeth of older adults more frequently.
  • You are likely to find yourself becoming more senstive to hot or cold foods or drinks, cold air, or to some sweet or sour foods or beverages.  This is due in part to your gums receding over time, thereby exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel.  You might want to  try an anti-sensitivity toothpaste under these circumstances.  Sensitivity can also be caused by cavities, broken teeth or cracked crowns.
  • Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that usually results from decreased production of saliva. At times, xerostomia can make it difficult to speak and may lead to malnutrition. Extreme dry mouth and salivary gland dysfunction can produce significant and permanent mouth and throat disorders and can impair a person's quality of life.
    Disorders of saliva production affect elderly people and those who are taking prescription and nonprescription medications most frequently.
  • Dry mouth can damage your teeth if not treated.  To treat dry mouth, begin a low-sugar diet and use fluoride treatments plus antimicrobial rinses.  Any mouthwash used should not contain alcohol, such as Biotene.  They will cause further mouth dryness. Drink more water throughout the day, especially while eating. Chewing gum can help stimulate salivary flow, but avoid those that have sugar in them. Other remedies including over the counter products may be recommended by your dentist, along with precautions that may apply specifically to your case.
  • Heart disease, diabetes or cancer can affect your oral health. Your doctor or dentist can help you to take necessary steps to limit damage.
  • Gum disease can result in costly and painful treatments.   Factors that potentially increase the severity of gum disease:
    • Bad diet
    • Stress and smoking
    • As noted above, diabetes, heart disease and cancer may increase risk.
    • Poor oral hygiene (not brushing often enough or correctly. Not flossing)
    • Certain medications may increase risks of contracting gum disease
  • Dentures require special care. Your dentist's instructions should be followed carefully.  Don't hesitate to go see your dentist if you have pain, discomfort, or slippage.
Gum disease is reversible if diagnosed in the early stages.  Regular dental checkups often lead to detection and treatment of gum disease. You can prevent gum disease by practicing proper oral hygiene, and getting regular check ups.
  • You may need a crown or a bridge.  Crowns cover or a damaged tooth to make it stronger, improve its appearance, and/or to help with alignment. Bridges replace one or more missing teeth by spanning the space where the teeth used to be.  The bridge is anchored to the good teeth on either side of the space.  Learn how to clean under the bridge as food can get trapped between the false tooth in the bridge and the gum.
  • Darkened teeth are caused, at least partially, by changes in dentin -- the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel.  But also adding to darkening can be a lifetime of consuming stain-causing foods and beverages.
  • Diminished sense of taste may be the result of diseases or medications.  Even dentures can contribute to loss of taste.
  • Exposure of the tooth root to decay-causing acids can result in root decay.  This is one potential result from gum disease or even the natural receding of the gums.
  •  Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, or a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans can cause an inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture.
  • Diseases or drugs that affect the immune system can trigger thrush, which is the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans in the mouth.
Because of the importance and growing use of implants, we will devote a separate post to the subject.  Look for that post within a few days.  If reading this post after November 29, the implant post should be available to read.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alzheimer's Cure Just Got Closer!! Breakthrough Study

Alzheimer's breakthrough hailed as 'turning point'

Professor Giovanna Mallucci says the hope is to arrest the process of brain cell death

Related Stories

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.

But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.

In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented.

Prof Roger Morris, from King's College London, said: "This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's disease."
He told the BBC a cure for Alzheimer's was not imminent but: "I'm very excited, it's the first proof in any living animal that you can delay neurodegeneration.

"The world won't change tomorrow, but this is a landmark study."
Please visit for more information on Alzheimer's and on services that we can provide regarding companion care or skilled nursing care for your loved one.

Continue reading the details here

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Early Diagnosis Test for Alzheimer's Include Peanut Butter and a Ruler


University of Florida Says More Testing Needed, but Simple, Inexpensive Test Works

In a recent post, we tried to sort out some of the myths surrounding Alzheimer's, especially as those misunderstandings apply to other forms of dementia or, in some cases, just normal old absent mindedness.

One thing that isn't a myth:  Doctors have very few reliable ways to determine who has Alzheimer's early in the progression of the disease.  It is this very inability that leads to care givers and loved one's trying to second guess which lapses are normal and which are evidence of the early stages of the dreaded Alzheimer's diseases.

Now enter a small study conducted by the UofF as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A plop of peanut butter on the end of a ruler could be the key to an early Alzheimer's diagnosis, claims new research coming out of the University of Florida. 
Graduate student Jennifer Stamps reported her group's findings from a small study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.
The university reported that she came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test the smell sensitivity after noticing that patients were not tested for sense of smell.  The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve, often one of the first nerves affected in cognitive decline. 
But why peanut butter?  Stamps said it's a "pure odorant" that is only detected by the olfactory nerve, and peanut butter is easy to get.
Click here to read the complete report.  
While the various reporting on this test concludes that more testing is needed to confirm this small effort, the results are very promising.  Most articles also advise against using this test as a home diagnosis tool, no matter how tempting. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Take Poppy and Nanna out to Season's 52 in Palm Beach Gardens


The Staff at Bright Star Care in Jupiter Recommends Seasons 52 as a Great Senior Activity

With nightly music and a 4.0 star rating in Yelp, you can expect to have a great meal, entertainment, and view when you take the folks out to Seasons 52.  They are open for lunch and dinner, take reservations, and are considered to be a little pricy, but reasonable.  This is not a place for the kids, but is set up for groups if you are celebrating.

The critics all rave about the ambiance, and the river view, not to mention the food.  With several locations in Florida and multiple locations all over the US, the chain seems to have found a very good following. 

We'd love to hear about your experience at Seasons 52, and also any recommendations you might have for activities in the area that will work for those in the golden years.  Just add to the comments, and we'll check out your suggestions.