Prostate Cancer: The Importance of Early Diagnosis

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men in the United States. This disease usually progresses slowly, which means men older than the age of 65 with prostate cancer can have a normal life expectancy. Treatments are available which could help to prolong life. As with other types of cancers, early detection is the best solution to save lives.

Prostate Cancer Symptoms

According to the American Cancer Society, there are several symptoms of prostate cancer that men should be aware of:

  • Difficulty urinating, including a weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more frequently
  • Numbness or weakness in the feet or legs
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Pain in the back, hips, or chest (indicating that cancer has spread)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Blood in the urine or semen

These symptoms might be caused by other health concerns. So, it is best to talk to a doctor for a diagnosis if these symptoms are present.

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

Are you at risk of prostate cancer? Just because you have a risk factor, doesn’t mean that you will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. But, researchers have found connections with certain factors that could increase the likelihood of a diagnosis:

  • Age: Men over the age of 50 are at risk, and the risk increases as the men get older.  Sixty percent of cases occur in men over the age of 65.
  • Ethnicity: Men of Caribbean or African descent have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared to men of other races. Asian-Americans and Hispanics have a lower risk compared to Caucasians.
  • Family History: A genetic factor might influence the risk of this disease. It has been found that a family history of prostate cancer could increase the risk.

Other researchers have suggested that lifestyle factors could increase the risk of cancer. For example, diet, obesity, smoking, and pollution exposure might play a role. Additional research needs to be completed to determine a connection for these factors.

Cancer Screening

The best thing that you can do to protect your health is to schedule regular screenings with a medical professional. The American Cancer Society recommends screenings starting between the ages of 40 and 50, depending on risk factors.

If you need help finding the right doctor to help with the screening, then our team at Windward Life Care is here to help. Call us for more information.

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Avoiding Common Scams Aimed at Seniors

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The County of San Diego handles an estimated 9,000 cases of elder abuse annually. If that many cases are reported, how many elder abuse situations are going unreported? Abuse can happen in many forms, including physical, financial, sexual, emotional, and more. Victims might be living in silence, with family and friends unaware that problems are occurring.

The Elderly are Targets for Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. Predators know that older adults have access to retirement funds and ongoing paychecks. Unfortunately, scammers are looking for ways to tap into these resources and take advantage of people who might unknowingly hand over financial information.

Older adults are vulnerable because they are often too trusting of other people. A phone call, mailer, or a conversation on the doorstep with a stranger might seem like a harmless situation. But, the stranger can build trust with the person and then take advantage of them financially.

To make matters worse, family members might also be the perpetrators. For example, children or grandchildren might steal money or valuables like jewelry, rationalizing that they would have received these assets as an inheritance eventually. When people are in desperate circumstances, the risk increases that they will take advantage of another person.

Common Types of Senior Scams

To protect yourself, your loved ones, and/or clients from being “easy targets,” you can take a few easy steps.  Jewelry theft is extremely common, in both home and facility settings, so take the time to photograph valuables and lock them up.  Buy a shredder and ensure that any paperwork with your Social Security number, financial information, or other identifying information is shredded to protect against identify theft. If you need caregiver help, work with a licensed, reputable home care agency that screens and oversees its staff. And, be aware of the common financial scams that are going around right now:

  • Sweepstakes mail, causing the victim to hand over financial information to receive their prize
  • Investment schemes, draining a victim’s retirement account
  • Sales-Pitch luncheons, free lunch to pull people into a high-pressure sales environment
  • Fake IRS calls, misleading people to think that they are in trouble with the IRS
  • Grandparent scams, phone calls that trick older adults to provide payment because they think that a grandchild is in trouble

If you want to keep your family protected, then download this elder abuse prevention toolkit provided by San Diego County. Also, talk to our team at Windward Life Care to find other professional services that can help.

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Client Story: Maintaining Independence in Times of Crisis

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As we age, it can become harder to navigate unforeseen, life-altering events on our own. At Windward Life Care®, our Aging Life Care™ Managers are trained to help clients maintain their independence despite adversities. The following story demonstrates one of the many ways our Care Managers create personalized plans of care that emphasize the client’s goals and maximize freedom and quality of life — even in times of crisis. 

Aging Life Care Manager Story: Camille and Heather

Camille is a 63-year-old-woman with special needs who had been living in a partially flooded home for over a year without alerting anyone to her situation. The flood had destroyed the interior of her house and nearly all of her personal belongings. She needed extensive assistance moving into a safe space and getting back on her feet after this disaster had left her vulnerable and without direction.

After learning of the state in which Camille had been living, her trustee contacted Windward for help. Heather Arsenault, an Associate Care Manager at Windward, instantly relocated Camille into an extended-stay hotel with kitchen amenities and laundry service. Over the next several months, Heather worked diligently with Camille to put together a long-term plan.

Heather found a new apartment that would meet Camille’s needs while granting her the autonomy she longed for. “I was given a limited budget to furnish the one-bedroom apartment including the bedroom and living room furniture, kitchen appliances, and television,” said Heather. Heather shaped the apartment into a comfortable home.

Heather coordinated the lease, gas/electric and cable and transferred Camille’s mail to the new apartment. After it was discovered that Camille did not have health insurance, Heather researched her eligibility for government benefits and soon Camille was granted Medi-Cal coverage that allowed for personalized at-home assistance.

Heather’s compassion and dedication gave Camille the ability to maintain her sense of independence in a safe and supportive living environment. . . “Now she is living on her own in the apartment with a caregiver visiting twice a month and assisting her with laundry, grocery shopping, and errands,” said Heather. “Camille is so excited to be on her own again and is thankful for all that we did for her.”
We are dedicated to supporting our clients and willing to go above and beyond to bring together the right resources. The reward is bringing peace of mind to clients like Camille; this inspires each of us to do even more every day.

Windward Life Care’s interdisciplinary team of Aging Life Care™ Managers has certification and professional training in a number of areas related to healthy aging, including nursing, geriatric care management, and social work. If you would like us to create a personalized plan for yourself or someone you care about, please visit: https://windwardlifecare.com/what-we-do/aging-life-care-management/

*Due to respect of our clients’ privacy, some names have been altered.  

 

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Collaborative Care by Guest Blogger Chris Corpuz

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Today’s healthcare system is gradually moving away from the “standard care” delivery model in which healthcare professionals often operate independently of other health professionals when caring for patients. The result has been a shift toward a more team-based collaborative approach. As this new model evolves, health professionals establish new lines of collaboration, communication, and cooperation in efforts to better meet patient needs. Different care professionals will assume primary responsibility for specific elements of a patient’s care, while the team as a whole must ensure that all elements of care are coordinated for the patient’s benefit.

Because of our ongoing collaboration with other clients, Windward Life Care introduced us to Sheryl in April 2013. At the time, Sheryl was slightly overweight and her blood work showed elevated levels of blood-glucose and above normal cholesterol numbers. Weight gain had also impacted her ability to perform daily tasks; climbing stairs hurt her knees, and she dealt with back issues off and on. Recognizing the importance of incorporating physical activity into Sherry’s care plan, Windward Life Care contacted us at Reneu Health for our expertise and to help in implementing a progressive exercise program. As a team, we took Sheryl’s plan a step further and brought a Registered Dietitian on board to help ensure that Sheryl followed dietary guidelines which would be conducive to losing weight and improving her blood work.

Now, roughly 4 years later, Sheryl has lost just short of 30lbs and rarely experiences the knee and back issues she once did. Furthermore, she has seen improvement in both her blood-glucose and cholesterol numbers. If you were to ask Sheryl, she would probably tell you that she’s most happy to be playing so much tennis, a game she’s had a love for since childhood. As a health and fitness professional, I’m beyond proud of Sheryl and her husband for their commitment to this cause. It’s also been a pleasure working with health professionals of other disciplines as a means of providing Sheryl the most well-rounded and effective care possible.

-Chris Corpuz, CSCS

Reneu Health, Inc. provides at home, one-on-one activity based programs for seniors and special populations. We specialize in both preventive and rehabilitative care. Each program is specifically designed to meet your needs, and is appropriate for all levels of ability. We also work with companies like Windward Life Care to provide individual and group safety training in the comfort of your home or office.www.reneu-health.com

 

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Finding Purpose Later in Life through Volunteer Work

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Maintaining a strong sense of community is important at all stages of life, especially during retirement. But, many people find that they feel disconnected when they have an empty nest at home, and they are no longer interacting with peers in the workplace. If you are retired and looking for ways to connect with your community, then you might consider the benefits of volunteer work.

Community Volunteering Helps with Cognitive Engagement

Cognitive engagement during retirement is essential to support your mental and physical health. It has been found that volunteerism contributes to a sense of purpose, which is critical for people during this transitional time in life. Keep your mind healthy and active, and you will be able to get more satisfaction from the activities that you enjoy.

Often, people find fulfillment in their families and career activities. When they approach retirement age, they don’t know what to do when they no longer have these activities to fill their time. So, this is the perfect time of life to step into community volunteering opportunities.

Physical Health Improves through Volunteering

A recent study found that people who participate in volunteering experience better health. These activities contribute to a greater sense of purpose, which in turn improves decisions regarding the use of preventive health care. Not only are you helping other people, but you will also be helping yourself at the same time!

People who volunteer have lower mortality rates, a reduced risk of depression, and improved functional ability later in life. Every year researchers are identifying more reasons why retirees should be actively engaged in volunteering.

Volunteering Opportunities in San Diego

If you live in San Diego, then there are many opportunities in the local area if you are interested in volunteer work.  Take a look at this resource through the County of San Diego with details about volunteer programs available for retirees.

Another option is to talk to our team here at Windward Life Care. Our goal is to support your physical and mental health in the ways that best meet your needs. Contact us to learn more about the services that are available.

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Lifelong Learning: Keep Your Mind Sharp with Continuing Education

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Just because you are done with formal education, and you are finishing the final years of your career, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be challenging your mind. Ongoing learning and education is a valuable way to keep your brain healthy and sharp.

Satisfaction of Continuing Education

Many people find it satisfying to further their education in retirement. This time provides an opportunity for you to learn about anything that you desire. Instead of being constrained by career or degree requirements, you can pick the topics that are interesting to you.

Retirement is a great time for you to explore the topics that you have always wanted to learn, bringing deeper satisfaction and curiosity into your life. Researchers have found that lifelong learning is beneficial for your health, finances, and social life. Some doctors have said that ongoing education is one of the best things you can do to support your mental health as you age.

Investing Time in Your Health

Now that you have time available during retirement, you need to choose the activities that will support your physical and mental health. Continuing education will keep your mind sharp and active, giving you the stimulation that previously came from your job or household responsibilities. Keeping your mind engaged will help you strengthen communication skills and give you interesting information to talk about at social events.

You can fill the hours of your day with activities that will keep your mind clear and focused. At the same time, you can learn about nutrition and fitness if you want to improve your physical health as well.

Choosing the Right Education Course

We live in a time where information is accessible at your fingertips. A quick search online will uncover many articles, books, and videos that cover every topic you can imagine. Some retirees choose self-education by looking for information at the local library or searching online.

Other people prefer to pursue the route of formal education. Here in San Diego, there are many opportunities to participate in continuing education courses through local universities and programs. There are a few options that you might consider:

Do you need help choosing a continuing education program to match your needs? Talk to us at Windward Life Care to learn about the services that are available for you. We are here to offer the support that you need!

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