Archive for October, 2010

Drug Interactions

I saw a small article in my favorite Prevention magazine about a deadly drug interaction between acid-reflux reducing drugs such as Prilosec or Nexium and blood thinner Plavix. There’s a 50% higher risk of suffering a cardiac event, according to a study by lead author David Flockhart, MD, PhD at Indiana University. Just imagine, you’ve been on Plavix for a long time and you go to the doctor for heartburn so the busy doctor innocently prescribes the purple pill, Nexium. Perhaps you play the coupon game like I do … I go to the pharmacy that will offer me a gift card for a new prescription which is probably not where your Plavix prescription is located.

Pharmacists are equally busy and even if all of your prescriptions were at one pharmacy, I don’t know if they would look at your list and counsel you if there were possible dangerous interactions involved … or even call your doctor. I very much doubt it. Hence, it would behoove you to be your own advocate and be aware of the possible consequences, particularly if you have a long list of prescription drugs like many seniors do.

I found many Web sites for checking for drug interactions, but I particularly liked this one: Not only do they list the interactions with other drugs, but it also gives you food/lifestyle interactions and disease interactions. In the case of Nexium, for example, it does matter whether or not you take it with food or on an empty stomach.

If you are interested in an all natural alternative where most people with digestive problems are finding relief, click here.  The company offers a 30-day money back guarantee on the product if it does not work for you. You can also read about the Indiana University study cited above here.

A Place for Mom: Eldercare Advisors

One of the difficulties faced by our aging population is that many senior children find themselves taking care of their even more senior parents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the “oldest old” (those 85 years or more) are projected to be the fastest growing part of the elderly population into the next century. I lost my mother when she was 92 years old and I remember her saying that she never expected to live that long.

Tracy Hanavin, Eldercare Advisor

Another challenge is that the children may be living miles away and yet must makes arrangements for their parents. What they need is a service that can search the country for the necessary resources. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a senior fair. At that fair were several wonderful vendors one of which was A Place for It is a free eldercare referral service assisting families in finding resources of every kind in every part of the country. Tracy Hanavin (shown on the left) is one of the advisors in the mid-Atlantic region.

While I know many companies in our area that cater to senior needs for in-home care, this was the first company that I had come across that covers the country and will cover your specific situation for geographical, financial, and clinical preferences before referring you to care providers.

To contact A Place for Mom, call 877-MOM-DAD5 or visit their Web site above.

Best New Products for Older Adults

George Mason University Science & Tech Bldg

Isn’t it amazing how a resource can be in your own back yard, and you not know about it? Finding out about the resource is like opening a surprise birthday gift on your birthday. It started with Steve Gurney’s blog post. Steve is well-known in the Washington Metropolitan Area as an expert and publisher of Guide to Retirement Living.

In his blog, he published a press release for the “Nana” technology competition at George Mason University located in Northern Virginia. It was the second annual New Product and Technology Awards sponsored by the Mature Market Resource Center. It’s a recognition for innovative products and services for older adults and their families. The winners have not been announced, but the entrants were in the categories of Internet and computer technologies; monitoring/detection devices; prevention/health maintenance products and services; housing and design; safety products; fitness/recreation/hobbies and more.

Unfortunately, by the time I had arrived, they were getting ready to shut down and there were very few products on display. But in speaking with one of the judges, he showed me a device that the judges liked — a very small phone that you’d wear, much like the alarm button that many seniors wear, but with a lot more features.

Perhaps in the next few weeks, when the winners are announced, I’ll be able to post a list of the winners and their products. But I encourage any creative folks out there to think about us senior folks and how you can help make our lives easier.

I also learned that not only was George Mason University named the number one national university to watch in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report, it also now has a major in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration. They have had a program in the area for a few years, but now they actually have a major — the first academic curricula in the nation dedicated exclusively to the senior housing and care industry. Click here to learn more.

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St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Springfield, Virginia

In the Metropolitan Washington DC area where I reside, there are many “senior fairs” being held. Last week I attended the Senior Caregiver Forum and Panel Discussion at the Life Center at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, Va. It was their first such event and open to the entire community. I went at the invitation of a friend and I’m glad I did. I left with a wealth of information.

An excellent panel consisting of representatives of the private sector as well as the local government presented valuable information. When the moderator surveyed the audience to see if they had learned something, it appeared that every hand went up.

On the panel were Jean Galloway Ball  (, Barbara Sullivan of Silver Age, LLC, Jennifer Edge of Elderlink/Fairfax County’s Area Agency on Aging and coordinator of Fairfax County’s “Independent Living Project,” and Jeanna Muhoro of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and transportation specialist for older adults and those with disabilities.

Senior Caregiver Forum & Panel Discussion

It’s not possible to present all that I learned, but I left feeling that we are very fortunate to have an abundance of resources in our community. One of the outstanding resources in Fairfax County is their Independent Living Project. In 2009 it won the Best Practices in Education Award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging and in 2010 it received the Injury Prevention Recognition Award from the Virginia Department of Health. The goal of the program is to help older adults and adults with disabilities stay in their homes and remain independent. It is a program consisting of workshops and classes in a myriad of areas including:

  • Exercise classes
  • Workshops on fall prevention, brain fitness, nutrition, etc.
  • Medication management

Additionally, they offer in-home consultations to identify safety risks and free minor home safety modifications such as grab bars. Click here for more information and once you get to the Web site, click on Events.

Another program that I had not even heard of is Fairfax County’s You Can! Live Well, Virginia! It is a program developed by Stanford University designed for adults with chronic health conditions where they learn to manage their illness and live well. As a wellness advocate, I was very excited to hear about such a program and look forward to learning more about it.

I encourage you to attend any senior fair that might be in your area or research the resources available to you as a senior. You might be amazed at what’s out there.

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