Blog | Seacrest at Home - Part 3

Home Care – Could We All Benefit?

Recently, I attended a panel discussion on the current and future state of aging in California. Unfortunately, the experts in this discussion painted a somewhat gloomy picture for the future. The major reason for their concern was the demographic shift that is already occurring today. By the year 2030, California will be home to over 4 million more residents 65+. This means that by 2030, 20% or 1 in every 5 people will be 65 and older. The implications of these statistics have many consequences: lack of affordable senior housing, fewer workers paying into Social Security/Medicare as well as more of our limited resources devoted toward aging and health care costs.

After these experts were finished telling us bad news, they offered a few solutions. One of their top solutions was in-home care-giving. They advocated for more and better quality in-home care options. In-home care is so critically important for many reasons. The type of care Seacrest at Home Care Associates are providing might prevent a fall, support healthy eating, inhibit loneliness and aid in the recovery of illness. All of the benefits that our Associates provide will very likely help the client avoid going to a nursing home and or hospital. Not only are the nursing home and hospital, less desired and comfortable for that person but they are also significantly more expensive for our State. By providing compassionate care to our clients, our Home Care Associates are doing far more than just helping make a meal, assisting with a shower or supplying companionship. They truly are helping secure more resources for us all, today and into the future.

The need for caring individuals like, Seacrest at Home Care Associates, will only continue to grow. I am so proud and fortunate to be a part of a wonderful group that is doing critically important work. Getting the chance to see and hear about the work our care staff is doing for our client’s and their family leaves me wanting to write those expert panelists and tell them, “not to fear, Seacrest at Home is here.”

Happiness – Key to Fountain of Youth

Billions of dollars coupled with our world’s most brilliant minds have worked tirelessly for hundreds maybe even thousands of years to find the fountain of youth. The concept of the fountain of youth is heavily sought after as it promises to eliminate common aging maladies (loss of friends and family, higher incidence of disease, a decline in physical/cognitive ability, loss of independence and of course vanity issues) that we all fear of. Over the past century, remarkable medical breakthroughs have been made to expand life expectancy as well as mask the above mentioned aging maladies. However, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal perhaps the most effective way to find the fountain of youth is to simply be happy.

The study indicates that the key to healthy aging is to enjoy life. People that enjoy life tend to be healthier and fitter than unhappy individuals. “The study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age,” states Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London. The study has particularly gained credibility as researchers were able to take into account one’s current health at the time of the study. “This is not because the happier people are in better health, or younger, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles at the outset, since even when we take these factors into account, the relationship persists.” So, now that we know happiness is the key to slow aging, how can we improve our chances of being happy?

Going to a bookstore or searching on Amazon, you will no doubt find thousands of copies of books on happiness. While, I have not read them all, I was particularly moved by a documentary movie I watched recently called, Happy. The movie shows people from all over the world with varying socio-economic backgrounds. From this, I assumed that the wealthier and more educated people in the film would be happiest and those with the least resources and education would be the least happy. According to the movie, I was thinking in terms of extrinsic goals. The extrinsic goals of money, image and status are NOT what make us happy. Our intrinsic goals or values are what matter most in achieving happiness. For example the movie preaches us to focus on: personal growth, relationships and your ability/desire to help are what truly make us all happy.

Understanding that happiness is linked to healthier aging, it is critical that we build initiatives to help seniors achieve their intrinsic goals. Our society will benefit in unprecedented ways by helping those achieve the fountain of youth in a more organic way. Whether you are a client, spouse, child or friend Seacrest at Home hopes that our Home Care Associates can help you focus your time and energy on the things in life that make you happy.

For more information on the study, please click the link below.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10584657/Happiness-is-the-key-to-health-in-old-age.html

Add Life to Years

If there was a pill that one could take, in which this pill would enable an individual to live to be 200 years old, would you take it? I am fascinated by this question because I do believe that one day in the future, we as a society, will have to grapple with this question. I ask this question to my contemporaries ( 20’s and 30’s) as well as those younger and older than me. While my informal method of collecting this data is not even close to valid enough to be published in any credible journal, I do notice a trend. Typically, as one gets older, they are more likely to respond; no I would not opt to take this pill and would not want to live to be 200 years old.

I think my unscientific observation does indeed make sense. With age and even more so advanced old age, comes about a higher probability of experiencing age related changes. For example: sensory decline, cognitive slowing, loss of friends and family and impaired physical mobility to name a few. I fully understand why one would not want to live 100+ years in this perpetual state of decline. However, as a greater percentage of our population reaches older age, it is essential that we invest time and thought into how can enhance life in older age.

In the article copied below, the author reiterates the need for greater social and psychological programs for the elderly, which will add life to years. The author highlights some interesting ways to help us all be more psychologically fit.

  • Find a small yet emotionally satisfying and comfortable group (Okinawa Japan calls these groups Moai’s) to express feelings, stories and experiences. These groups seem to enhance psychological well-being through social connections.
  • Try and find meaning in one’s older age. Long-lived individuals have experienced and amassed great wisdom, experiences, triumph, loss and change. With this, take the time to review and reflect on your life. Writing an autobiography, sharing stories of the past to others or just internalizing old memories has proven to be psychologically beneficial.

To quote the author of this article, Alex Bishop, “The prospect of living 80, 90 or 100 years is no longer science fiction but a reality for millions of Americans. But what does it take to remain psychologically fit? There seem to be two essential elements: quality social connections and contemplation. It helps to be surrounded by good people, especially community members, aging-service providers and practitioners who genuinely and compassionately care about the emotional security and well-being of the oldest-old.”

As an aging service provider, Seacrest at Home and the Seacrest Village family, recognize the importance to be psychologically fit and continue to strive to be catalysts and facilitators for care to enhance psychological fitness.

Please feel free to read article below for more information!

http://www.asaging.org/blog/truly-thriving-old-old-age-means-being-psychologically-fit

What is the best day in the history of the world?

Over the holiday’s I watched the movie, Jeff Who Lives at Home (released in 2012.) The movie was about a late 20’s/early 30’s man who still lives at home with his mother. While the movie had moments of humor and a sentimental message, a particular quote stuck out from it. Jeff had a recurring dream of his late father asking him the question, “Jeff, what is the greatest day in the history in the world?” Before Jeff had time to answer, his father would say, “Today, today is the greatest day in the history of the world.” While watching the movie, I found myself so anxious to hear the answer of what is/was the greatest day in the history of the world. After reflecting on the movie’s answer, I agree that today is the greatest day in the history of the world.

Today, we and the world know more about everything than we did yesterday. Today, we have more experience and confidence to make the world a better place. Today, we all have the ability to make life better for someone else.

How does this movie quote apply to aging issues? Please click the link below to see the graph which shows a shift in demographic trends from the year 1900 all the way through projected trends to the year 2060.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/13/this-amazing-animated-chart-shows-the-aging-of-america/

The graph above is fascinating. I have watched it cycle through over and over. We have heard for many years that America is getting older. As a visual learner, this graph clearly tells that story. As we are now in the year 2014, we can see our elderly population is starting to grow very quickly. Of course, this is exciting as it proves medical technology is continuing to advance, giving large groups of people the opportunity to live to an older age. In addition to improvements in medical technology, people in America are having fewer children. Therefore, by a percentage base, the elderly will continue to grow and have an increasing presence in our population for the foreseeable future. However, the explosion of seniors has many in our society worried. From a health care standpoint, many in society are worried that the elderly population will tap far too heavily into our resources, such as health care. In order to mitigate these concerns steps must be taken to provide the elderly population opportunities to avoid major health pain and expense.

At Seacrest at Home, we are preventing larger expenses in the form of monetary and pain. Our Home Care Associates work to help keep individuals in the comforts of their own home. Seacrest at Home has nearly 100 Home Care Associates and we are continuing to grow. We are preparing for the coming boom of seniors and are committed to growing our team with individuals that think, today is and will be the greatest day in the history of the world.

Happy New Year!

Every year I’m always so interested in what the new word of the year is. In 2013 Oxford Dictionaries has deemed “selfie” as word of the year. For those not familiar, a “selfie” refers to a self-portrait taken from a handheld gadget. As we are just a few mere hours away from welcoming in the year 2014, I find it important to reflect on the Seacrest at Home “selfie” and what has been accomplished and what could be improved upon in 2013. In January of 2013, Seacrest at Home began to service our first client. We were so excited to begin servicing this first client; however we remained cautiously optimistic that they would be satisfied and others would follow suit. Today, we are proud to announce that as we wrap up our first year in business, we have eclipsed one hundred clients and 30,000 hours of service! We are so pleased with these numbers! These numbers have far exceeded our initial expectations and prove we are providing reliable and quality care. These numbers also prove that non-medical home care companies can be successful when hiring top quality caregivers and paying them an honest living wage. We are delighted with our growth. Seacrest at Home started off with just a handful of employees. As of today we have now have employed over eighty Home Care Associates to our Seacrest at Home team.

Our goal is to be the very best non-medical home care company in the San Diego County. We rely on your feedback to continue to make our care more comfortable. We strive to take a subjective look at our own “selfie.” In 2014, we look to continue to provide and improve upon our quality of service, outreach to community and matching you or your loved one with the most qualified individual in order to meet your needs and exceed expectations.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year and wanted thank all of our incredible Home Care Associates as well as our clients and their families for putting your trust with us.

Blue Zones

One of the greatest aspects of my job is that I get the opportunity to meet individuals that are living well beyond average life expectancy. In fact, many of these folks are physically, cognitively and emotionally dong exceptionally well. When I meet these people in their 80’s, 90’s and even 100’s, I am always extremely curious as to the “secret” to their healthy long life. Luck, desserts, exercise, vegetables, laughter, love, friends, reading and good genes are just a few of the common answers I hear. However, the casual way in which I have been collecting data will never lead to any firm conclusions on what we can attribute to long life.

Therefore, my search to find the answer to longevity, led me to the book, The Blue Zones, written by explorer/author Dan Buettner. In his book, Buettner travels the world to find what he calls hot spots or “Blue Zones,”-communities of people that live an exceedingly longer life than the rest of the world. Once he discovered these “Blue Zones,” he would then study the people in these communities and their lifestyle to see what was attributing to their impressive longevity. Mr. Buettner found 5 distinct “Blue Zones” or places throughout the world that had populations of people that had substantially longer lives than other through the world. The 5 locations of extreme longevity are:

· Ikaria, Greece

· Loma Linda, California

· Nicoya, Costa Rica

· Okinawa, Japan

· Sardinia, Italy

While each location had their own story and reason for longevity, Dan Buettner was able to compile 9 overlapping common tendencies. Below is a list of the 9 themes he suggests we all live by. I was particularly impressed/excited about #8 as we, Seacrest at Home, strives to help keep people in their own home!

  1. Move Naturally 
 The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
  2. Purpose  The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy
  3. Down Shift
  Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease.  What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
  4. 80% Rule 
 “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.  People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
  5. Plant Slant
 Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets.  Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.
  6. Wine @ 5 
 People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
  7. Belong
  All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
  8. Loved Ones First 
 Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
  9. Right Tribe 
 The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.

I find these 9 principles of life to be very simple and possible for all of us to employ. Clearly, one’s adherence to this template will not guarantee that one lives a long and healthy life. However, it is hard to ignore that living by these principles has been proven successful for many all over the world.

If you are interested in learning more about the author or his book please see additional references below:

http://www.bluezones.com/about/

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html

Happy Thanksgiving!

Earlier this week, I heard a radio story about a San Diego woman that recently turned 108 years old. The woman’s name is Laura Simon. I was captivated to hear her story and of course her “secret” to living healthy and happily, well past the century mark. I was envisioning a combination of lifelong healthy eating (I pictured lots of kale) and an intense exercise regimen. She may have done these, but in her interview she does not mention this. If you would like more information on her story, please see the link attached below.

Being that this week is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fitting to tie in Laura Simon’s amazing story to why being thankful and practicing genuine gratitude might increase one’s chances of living a long and fulfilled life too. There are many published studies which show a correlation between health and happiness. This seems so easy then. To live a long and healthy life, we should all just be happy. But how do we get happy? I’m sure Amazon could gladly recommend over a hundred books on how to do so. If reading is not your thing, then perhaps one could ask society, “How can I be happy?” Society often tells us that our happiness lies within one’s status, image and/or material possessions. Although, many experts claim society’s notion of happiness is not correct. The experts in the field of happiness claim that being thankful and practicing gratitude are the most important factors in one’s overall happiness. When I heard the connection between genuine gratitude and happiness I thought of all the people I had met that were at least one hundred years old. The ten or so names that came to mind all had an amazing outlook and ability to be grateful for life. Although, I have never met Laura Simon, she seems to be an incredibly grateful and happy person. Her story has inspired me this week to reflect and reevaluate how I express my own personal gratitude. I hope you are inspired too!

Seacrest at Home is tremendously grateful to our clients and their families who place trust in our care. Also, to our Home Care Associates, your care and compassion is often above and beyond and we are all incredibly impressed.

Seacrest at Home wishes everyone a healthy, happy and grateful Thanksgiving. For more tips on why and how to practice gratitude, please see an addition video link from the TED organization.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/nov/26/san-diego-celebrates-108th-birthday/

http://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful.html

Tikkun Olam

Seacrest at Home completed our largest home care associate training class since inception earlier this week. Every training class spans over a three day period where we introduce our home care associates to a myriad of company protocols, caregiver safety training, Jewish (history, customs, holidays and values), as well as other pertinent knowledge that would be applicable for our Home Care Associates. I feel confident saying that Seacrest at Home is second to no other company in proper training of our Home Care Associates. While this training is critical, it is only one part of being an excellent caregiver.

Before the training even begins, we carefully select our Home Care Associates based off stringent background and screening metrics, prior experience and in addition, a genuine compassion to provide care. Often, one’s genuine compassion stems from a personal story or experience that compels the individual to give back to others. My favorite part of the Seacrest at Home training period is getting the chance to meet and hear our newly hired Home Care Associate’s own person story. After hearing these stories, I am often left thinking about the Hebrew phrase, Tikkun Olam. Translated to English, Tikkun Olam means to heal the world. Tikkun Olam suggests that we all have a shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world to make it a better place. While there are a wide variety of global issues today, one such issue is the lack of quality care options for seniors. While our population continues to exponentially age, the lack of quality senior care will unfortunately only become more relevant.

Our Home Care Associates are doing their part to heal the world.  We know that providing excellent care does not just benefit the client, rather it puts family and friends at ease knowing that individual is well taken care of.  In addition, our Home Care Associates are role models within the Home Care industry.  They are raising the bar of excellence.   I am so proud and inspired to be a part of a company that hires individuals whom have a deep connection to the idea of Tikkun Olam.

New Revelations about Client Satisfaction

Seacrest at Home is committed to providing the best quality of care in the non-medical home care industry. We are constantly striving to learn how we can improve our client’s satisfaction. When we came across this recent report by the SCAN Foundation, we found it very refreshing that many of the findings support our continuum of practice.

The SCAN Foundation conducted a study to help examine which caregiver’s attributes lead to highest client satisfaction. From The SCAN Foundation’s report, a few issues became evident. They found that many people value those with strong interpersonal skills. Having effective verbal and written communication is critical. Also, caregivers must be observant of protocol and be willing to follow the rules. These skills are suggestive of one’s ability to provide assistance with activities of daily life.

At Seacrest at Home, we are determined to hire only those caregivers that have substantial previous caregiving experience. We make sure our Home Care Associates have a high school degree, or equivalent. Our Home Care Associates must have strong communication skills as well as a compassionate personality in order to pass our interview process. In addition, our Home Care Associates go through a 3-day training period where they are trained in proper regulations, mechanics and Jewish customs.

The SCAN Foundation‘s study also supported the importance of feeling physically safe. When an individual receives care, they are in fact inviting a stranger into their home. For one to be satisfied with care, it is essential that the client and Home Care Associate have a mutual trusting relationship. The emotional relationship the caregiver and client have for one another is critical to overall client satisfaction.

At Seacrest at Home, we put great pride in mandating our Home Care Associates have cleared background checks with the DOJ ( Department of Justice) for the State of California, as well as the FBI (state and federal backgrounds. We want to make sure our clients are receiving care from the most trusting and reliable individuals. We understand how important the relationship between client and Home Care Associate is forhighsatisfaction of care. Therefore, our Home Care Coordinator initially meets with the client to find out their preferences and personality. From this, we are able to match the client up with a Home Care Associate that would be a “best fit”.

At Seacrest at Home, we are continually trying to improve service and quality of care. We are encouraged by the findings of this study and will continue to find Home Care Associates that meet our high standard. In addition, we will continually think of innovative training techniques that will help with communication and relationship building skills.

The article from where we obtained this information was written by The SCAN Foundation President and CEO, Dr. Bruce Chernof. For more information please visit the link below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-bruce-a-chernof-md/caregiver-skills-emotional-bond-and-safety_b_3955422.html?utm_source=10-9-13%3A+CAMRI%2C+TSF+CAMRI+F.S.%2C+more…+&utm_campaign=October+2013+Eblast&utm_medium=email

New Diagnostic Tool For Alzheimer’s

Many of us have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease in some way. For those that have unfortunately been impacted, we know all too well how difficult it can be for the one suffering as well as their loved ones. We are all hopeful that a medical breakthrough will come about. Until this needed discovery becomes available, we all must do our part to help raise funds, create innovative care and living options, provide education and offer emotional support.

Last weekend the Seacrest Village and Seacrest at Home family participated in the annual Alzheimer’s walk in Oceanside, Ca. We understand how detrimental Alzheimer’s is today as over 5 million people in America suffer from this disease. Unfortunately, the Alzheimer’s Association is expecting these numbers to explodeas our population begins to age. By 2050, they project that nearly 14 million people will be afflicted by the debilitating disease.

One of the biggest challenges with Alzheimer’s disease is that it is very difficult to diagnose early on. However, earlier this week, University of Florida researchers may have discovered a cheap and reliable way to determine if one has Alzheimer’s disease early on in the disease process. They found that patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s had more difficulty smelling peanut butter held at short distances compared to people without Alzheimer’s. More investigation is needed, but if these studies hold true, then we are one step closer to finding an effective intervention for this disease. Graduate student (working on the study )Jennifer Stamps states, “If we can catch it at that earlier stage, we can start treatment more aggressively at that earlier stage, and you can prevent a lot of the progression.” So don’t be surprised ifone day in the near future, a part of your yearly physical might include the peanut butter smell test.

If you are interested in learning more about the study please find more information below.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57606985/cheap-alzheimers-test-made-from-peanut-butter-and-ruler-researchers-report/

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