Managing Your Memory

Posted on

Dec 07, 2017

Share This
Two VA doctors have written a new book, Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory: Whats Normal, Whats Not, and What to Do About It, as a resource for individuals who are concerned about their memory or would simply like to know what they can do to improve their memory and keep it strong. Dr. Andrew Budson is Associate Chief of Staff for Education and Chief of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology at the VA Boston Healthcare System, and Dr. Maureen OConnor is Chief of Neuropsychology at the Bedford VA Hospital; they also lead the education efforts of the Boston University Alzheimers Disease Center. They began writing the book when they realized that most people dont know which memory problems are part of normal aging and which are likely due to a brain disease, like Alzheimers.
Most people think that if their memory is as good as their neighbors then it must be OK. The issue is that memory difficulties are so common, it may be that both you and your neighbor are having serious memory problems and dont realize it, Budson explains. In the last ten years there has been an explosion in our knowledge of what causes memory loss and how best to diagnose and treat it. We also know much more about how to keep ones memory strong.
In the book, they explain what changes are expected in healthy aging (Step 1) and how to determine if your memory is normal (Step 2). They discuss when to see your doctor, what a memory evaluation should consist of, and the different disorders that can cause memory loss (Step 3). Medications to treat memory loss are then explained in detail (Step 4), followed by the diets and physical activities that can help (Step 5). Lastly, they discuss strategies and aids to keep your memory strong (Step 6) and how to plan your future (Step 7). The book is available at your local library or for purchase on Amazon.

The VA has a full array of state-of-the art diagnostic and treatment facilities available for senior Veterans and the caregivers, including Memory Disorders clinics, Neuropsychology services, and comprehensive Geriatrics evaluations, as well as Day Programs and Long-Term Care.

The Contract Adult Day Health Care program is made up of 20 community-based facilities that provide health maintenance services to during daytime hours for elderly and disabled Veterans. The program helps keep these Veterans in their community and provides caregivers with respite from the daily stresses of caring for them. Participating programs are located in many communities in Massachusetts.

For more than 40 years, the Contract Nursing Home (CNH) Program has maintained some level of Veteran choice in choosing a nursing home close to the Veterans home and family and provides some local oversight. The Contract Nursing Home Program is available to eligible Veterans for their long-term care needs at 20 selected/contracted community nursing homes.
For more information contact your local Veterans Outreach Coordinator, David Hencke, US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, VA Boston Healthcare System. at 857-364-5934 or david.hencke@va.gov.

Other Articles You May Like

Retirement Roulette: Easy Transition to Retirement

As you begin to transition to retirement, you'll find a mix of anticipated plans and unexpected challenges awaiting you. Transitioning into retirement marks a major life shift, and the unknowns ahead might stir up mixed feelings about retirement. You may wonder how to fill your time, explore new passions or derive meaning in this phase of life.After dedicating your life to preparing to transition to retirement, the moment has arrived. What will you make of it? Embrace a fresh perspective on aging: Spin the wheel of retirement roulette and let fate guide your journey. This approach highlights life's unpredictability and the excitement of discovering unexpected joys in retirement.Whether its retirement risks, rewards or retirement challenges that youre facing, were here to help. Together, lets go all in and cash out BIG together in retirement!Tips for Transitioning from Work to a Satisfying Retirement Start transitioning gradually: In the months leading to retirement transition, start cutting back on the amount of work that you do, allowing time for your successor to have time to get acclimated to the new role and introducing more free time into your daily life.Establish a daily routine: Provide structure and purpose to your day by creating (and sticking to!) a daily schedule. Doing this is going to help you create a purposeful life in retirement. Figure out what things you enjoy doing or those that you dont look forward to and see where you can move things around to fit your newfound freedom.Stay connected with friends and family: Leaving the workplace often means leaving friends and colleagues that you have become accustomed to having in your life every day. When you are retired, this may feel disorienting. Reach out to your friends and family members during this time or set up a time to have coffee with an old coworker a few times a month.Explore hobbies and make new connections: Its time to join that knitting club or the swimming class that you have been eyeing for a while. Taking up new or favorite hobbies can help you meet new people and form new bonds. Take this time to explore retirement adventures and do what you want to do! Do You Have Retirement Anxiety? A retirement transition can sometimes feel that youre putting all of your money on RED, just to see a lot of GREEN! But sometimes, were scared to make that gamble with our newfound freedom.Retirement anxiety refers to the feelings of stress, worry or apprehension that some individuals experience when approaching retirement. This anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as concerns about financial stability, loss of purpose or identity, changes in social relationships, fear of health issues and uncertainty about how to spend one's time in a satisfying retirement.Common sources of anxiety about retirement include:Financial concerns: Many people worry about whether they have saved enough money to sustain their desired lifestyle throughout retirement. Factors such as insufficient savings, unexpected expenses or economic downturns can exacerbate these worries.Loss of identity and purpose: Work often provides individuals with a sense of purpose, structure and social connection. Retiring may lead to feelings of loss or uncertainty about one's identity and role in society, particularly if one's identity is closely tied to their career.Health concerns: As people age, they may become more aware of their health and physical limitations. Concerns about declining health, access to healthcare and long-term care needs can contribute to retirement anxiety.Our Anthology at Boynton Beach community, nestled on the Florida coast among tall palm trees and lush greenery, offers walking paths and a fully equipped wellness center for residents to use to stay healthy, improve flexibility and reduce stress.Changes in social relationships: Transition to retirement can bring changes in social dynamics, especially if one's social circle primarily consists of coworkers or if the retiree's partner is still working. Adjusting to new routines and finding ways to maintain social connections can be challenging.At Anthology of Louisville, which offers premier senior living in Louisville, KY, our leadership team works to create and host activities and socialization opportunities for residents every day. Our vibrant activity programs are a favorite for our residents, allowing them to socialize in programs or even around the dinner table with fellow friends and neighbors.Its what makes Anthology such an exciting place to live! There are always new connections to be made.Addressing retirement anxiety often involves a combination of financial planning, emotional preparation and lifestyle adjustments. Seeking support from financial advisors, therapists, support groups and loved ones can help individuals navigate this transition more smoothly and alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the transition to retirement.Some seniors choose to go into independent or assisted living lifestyle options when entering retirement. Assisted living, especially, is beneficial for those who can no longer handle everyday tasks like housekeeping and cooking on their own.Anthology of Planos accommodations include a range of spacious, private floor plans with state-of-the-art amenities and built-in emergency alert systems in residences. Our dedicated team takes care of household tasks like cleaning, trash removal and linen services so you can spend your time doing more of the things you love. Looking for senior living in Plano? Wed love to meet you!Choose Your Adventure with Anthology Senior LivingWith Anthology Senior Living, you spin the wheel every day and decide where youd like it to take you. With this may sound equally exciting and terrifying, living at Anthology gives you the autonomy to choose how your days and your life go!Living at Anthology means that all of the mundane activities like housekeeping, laundry and transportation are covered and you can fill your days with the kind of activities that you are interested in.From excellent dining experiences to planned activities, events and amenities and everything in between spinning the wheel of retirement roulette is a chance to explore the unexpected and embrace the unpredictable everyday events that make life worth living! Retiring soon? Consider moving into a beautiful Anthology Senior Living community in retirement for the carefree lifestyle youve always craved. We call that rolling the dice and winning twice.

Ways to Combat Financial Crimes Against Seniors

As our society progresses into the digital age, senior citizens are finding themselves increasingly targeted by financial scams. Whether its through deceptive phone calls, fraudulent emails or sophisticated online productions, older adults are often seen as easy prey for scammers looking to exploit their trust and vulnerability. However, there are ways that friends and family continue protecting seniors from scams through proactive collaboration. The consequences of falling victim to these scams can be financially and emotionally devastating, misleading seniors to give up their hard-earned savings and leaving them feeling isolated and betrayed. This financial deception can have long-term consequences on seniors who have been scammed. In this blog, well explore the prevalence of financial fraud cases targeting seniors, the tactics used by scammers and most importantly, how we can work together to protect elderly loved ones from falling victim to crimes against seniors. Common Types of Financial Deception Retirement scams result in a loss of more than $28 billion each year in the United States. Senior identity theft scams come in a variety of forms, such as identity theft, sweepstakes and lottery scams, and romance scams. Many scams come to senior citizens unsolicited a scammer calls or sends correspondence unprompted and uses a sense of urgency before seniors realize they have been taken advantage of. One of the most common financial crimes against the elderly involves sweepstakes or lottery scams informing them that they have received an unexpected windfall and must act immediately to ensure that they receive the winnings. This tactic is often to secure money through gift card purchases or to access bank accounts or debit cards. The lure of romance scams In 2020, romance scams accounted for the highest total reported losses among all scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Older adults are especially susceptible to romance scams, as the number of adults ages 55-64 who reported participating in online dating applications has doubled over the last few years. In 2020, seniors lost more than $139 million in relationship scams alone. Seniors are often at risk for isolation, loneliness and depression, and romance scams may present a new opportunity for a connection. People perpetrating these scams know the touchpoints to engage seniors in romantic interludes. Utilizing flattery and compliments makes victims feel special, lowering their defenses and making them more susceptible to the sales pitch (or scam). Scammers work to establish trust quickly, and then a sense of urgency emerges suddenly, the person on the other end of the phone needs a quick loan, or they are stranded and need to get home. These moments are the perfect opportunities for scammers to pounce on unsuspecting victims.Retirement scams are often rooted in false promises something that you will see throughout many crimes against seniors. Scammers prey on the basic needs and desires of every human the opportunity for more money or a late-in-life love. Seniors may lack technological familiarity and be susceptible to scams that prey on their trust. Because seniors do not navigate technology as younger generations do, they can be more vulnerable when a scammer presents themselves as an authority figure, such as a police officer or government official requesting information. Recognizing and Avoiding Financial Scams To protect loved ones against scams, have a conversation with them so that they know what kind of red flags to notice. Crimes against the elderly happen fairly quickly, based on a sense of urgency and misplaced trust. One of the first red flags to consider is that unsolicited phone calls or emails should be treated with extreme caution. If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Many people get caught up in the get rich quick ideas that scammers often present. Seniors should watch out for these surprise offers and always verify the identity of callers when contacted. Scammers do not want to answer questions; they just want to take advantage of seniors. As soon as you try to uncover the truth, the scammer will often end the communication. Do not release personal information to people you do not know In addition, anyone who contacts you and requests personal information should also be thoroughly vetted for the need for that particular information. Businesses and organizations such as banks and the IRS have safety protocols in place to protect sensitive information, so they will not call you to request your account information directly. Its already known to them if you are a customer. Do not release this information, including bank account numbers, debit card numbers and PINs. This type of financial identity fraud is one of the easiest ways for scammers to access seniors assets. Do not send money to people you dont personally know Further protect yourself by not transferring or wiring money through financial services such as Western Union, which can be used worldwide. You may not be completely aware of who you are paying. Even more, seniors have fallen prey to losing an additional $12 million each year through cryptocurrency scams. Cryptocurrency is a relatively new form of payment that can be confusing if you are not familiar with it, and it can also be used worldwide. Once its been paid, there is no recourse to get it back. Be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics Life in 2024 moves very quickly, but beware of high-urgency tactics, such limited-time offers or limited quantities, which lowers seniors guards when it comes to taking the time to consider the proposition. During this time, scammers may brush off or diminish older adults objections or questions, pressing for an immediate resolution to the offer, which often includes accessing financial information. Ask for help from trusted professionals and close family members Many seniors do not report scam attempts or money loss because of embarrassment. When looking back after you have been scammed, the concerning red flags may be easier to see after you are out of the situation. If you have questions about the validity of an offer, purchase or unexpected romance, consult with trusted family members or financial advisors before releasing information or exchanging money. Family members should offer comfort and emotional assistance after loved ones have been scammed. It is often an embarrassing stigma to realize you have been scammed, paired with the personal financial deception as well. Friends and family members should lend an understanding ear and continue conversations and education to prevent further scams. Resources and reporting For elderly fraud protection and ongoing scams, The National Elder Fraud Hotline staffs compassionate and knowledgeable support specialists who can help older adults navigate the confusion and loss after fraud. This free service is available to all senior citizens and can be a valuable resource. When calling the Elder Fraud Hotline, seniors will reach a case manager who will help them through the reporting process at the federal, state and local levels. They will also be connected with other resources on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, protect yourself by investing in financial fraud prevention services. Research the best identity theft protection for seniors and make the decision that is right for your family. Attend locally hosted events from banks, nonprofit organizations and our Anthology communities such as Anthology of King of Prussia, Anthology of Millis and Anthology of Farmington Hills, which host scam prevention discussions and offer resources for residents to protect themselves from crimes against seniors. In conclusion, as we navigate the increasingly complex landscape of financial scams targeting the elderly, one of the most powerful tools at our disposal is continuing education. By empowering seniors with knowledge about common scams, red flags to watch for and strategies to protect themselves, we not only enhance their financial literacy but also bolster their ability to safeguard their hard-earned assets. As advocates for the well-being of our senior loved ones and community members, Anthology communities commit to providing ongoing education and support. Through collaboration and knowledge, we can help ensure that our residents remain vigilant, informed and resilient against financial exploitation.

Innovative VA Programs: Supporting Senior Veterans in Care

Providing care for our senior veterans can be a noble yet challenging task. These unsung heroes often grapple with unique health and support needs due to their past service and advancing age, leaving their caregivers in need of resources and assistance. Thankfully, innovative programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offer a beacon of hope. From home-based primary care to telehealth services and respite care, these pioneering initiatives are revolutionizing the way caregivers can support our senior veterans. Home-Based Primary CareIn the realm of senior veteran care, the Home-Based Primary Care program serves as a crucial supporting pillar. This program is designed for veterans who have complex healthcare needs and find it difficult to travel to the VA medical center. It is a collaborative care model where a dedicated team delivers comprehensive care right at the veteran's home. This team is often multidisciplinary, consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation therapists, ensuring a holistic approach to the veteran's health care needs.The introduction of this program has significantly improved the quality of care for senior veterans. Caregivers have reported that it alleviates the burden of frequent hospital visits and ensures that medical help is available when it's most needed. For example, consider the case of Mr. Johnson, a World War II veteran. The Home-Based Primary Care program transformed his care experience, reducing hospital admissions and increasing his overall comfort by providing care right in his home.Telehealth ServicesAn important innovation in modern health care is Telehealth Services, a game-changing resource for caregivers of senior veterans. Through this program, healthcare services are delivered remotely via telecommunication technologies. This includes consultations with healthcare professionals, remote patient monitoring, and access to medical education.Telehealth services have been instrumental in enhancing the care experience for both caregivers and senior veterans. By bridging geographical barriers, it ensures timely access to health care services and reduces the stress and difficulty associated with travel. It's particularly beneficial for senior veterans living in remote or rural areas. Take the example of Mr. Smith, a Vietnam War veteran living in a rural area. Through telehealth services, he was able to regularly consult with his specialists, something that would have been difficult given his location.Respite CareRespite care is another transformative initiative from the VA. It's a service that provides temporary relief to caregivers from their caregiving duties. This gives caregivers the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and attend to their personal needs without worrying about the well-being of their loved ones. Simultaneously, it ensures that senior veterans continue to receive safe and professional care.Respite care acknowledges the crucial role caregivers play and the toll constant caregiving can take on their health and well-being. Caregivers like Mrs. Davis, who cares for her husband, a Korean War veteran, found respite care to be a lifesaver. It allowed her to pay attention to her own health needs without compromising the care of her husband.In the roadmap of senior veteran care, these VA programs are vital milestones. Home-Based Primary Care, Telehealth Services, and Respite Care each provide distinctive solutions to the challenges faced by caregivers. They enhance the quality of care and support caregivers in their demanding roles, ensuring our senior veterans get the quality of life they rightfully deserve. Veteran Care at Home by Senior Helpers GreeleyFor those living in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Wellington, or Longmont, Senior Helpers Greeley is committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive care for your loved ones. We offer veteran care services that can help seniors make the most of their VA benefits and maintain independence at home as long as possible. Contact us today to learn more 970-373-3858.