How to Make a Home Safe For an Elderly Person has a useful how-to tutorial on making a home safe for an elderly person. Some of their ideas include replacing knobs and faucets with levers, non-skid carpets, install brighter lighting, and installing hand rails and grab bars in bathrooms. Although these precautions can do wonders for elderly safety, it is always important to understand when it may be time to get professional home care.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Home Care Assistance Case Study: "Taking the Stairs"



  • Client A suffers from Parkinson’s Disease
  • Struggled with mobility after returning from hospital
  • Our lifestyle plan helped client regain motor skills
Client A is in his late 70′s and has always prided himself on being independent. As a journalist for most of his career, he was used to a fast-paced lifestyle that kept him on the go. When Home Care Assistance was asked to care for Client A by his concerned family, he was suffering from the challenging symptoms of mid-to-late stage Parkinson’s. A sudden trip to the emergency room for heart failure only made his Parkinson’s worse. To help his transition back home from the hospital, the Home Care Assistance Director of Nursing met with Client A’s wife, family, case managers, and social workers. Working with Client A’s close family, Home Care Assistance supervised the retrofitting of their own home and the installation of an electric stair lift to help with mobility. Seeing how his health had deteriorated during his hospital stay, Home Care Assistance was determined to give Client A some of his independence back. Settling him into his new home, the Director of Nursing developed an intensive program of diet and exercise, and, most importantly, a plan to help Client A get his life back, all based up on the unique Balanced Care Method of holistic care. Every day, when Client A would make a request for assistance with a movement related task, the aide would respectfully urge Client A to try to do it on his own. Gradually, with close supervision and help from the aide, Client A had a major victory: he did the laundry himself, and then, to delight and surprise his wife, did hers, too. It was a moment of joy for the entire household, as he began to regain some of his independence once again. Eventually, the wheelchair sat, unused, in the corner, while Client A walked confidently with his walker. When the Home Care Assistance Director of Nursing visited Client A’s home after the record snowfall of this past winter, she asked how his electric stair lift had survived the cold. He replied, confidently, that he didn’t know because he never used it. Indeed, he explained, the stair lift was no longer needed now that he could walk up and down stairs on his own. If not for Home Care Assistance, he said, he would still be in the wheelchair that now sat in the corner.

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Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Hispanics Presumed To Have Higher Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s

The New York Times recently published profiles of Hispanic people with Alzheimer’s providing a real perspective on the disease, how it affects families and a number of important facts. According to studies, Hispanics develop Alzheimer’s earlier in life than other ethnic groups. They are not genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s, but have other risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke and hypertension, which put them at higher risk than other groups for developing dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association said that about 200,000 Latinos in the United States have Alzheimer’s. This number could increase to 1.3 million by 2050.

Antonio Vasquez, a 60-year-old with Alzheimer’s is highlighted in the slideshow. One time he once wandered away during a family visit to New York and returned to his home in Philadelphia nine hours later. He boarded a Philadelphia-bound bus, giving his driver’s license to the bus driver, as he did not know where he was going.

Another woman, Teresa Mojica, 63, also suffers from dementia. The disease makes her delusional, causing her to occasionally strike her husband. Interestingly, she has diabetes and hypertension which she developed earlier on in life due to stress. Both are risk factors for the disease.

Courtesy of Home Care Blog

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Preventing Wandering Among Seniors With Dementia

An article in the San Jose Mercury News discusses Alzheimer’s disease and how it has changed over the past 20 years. Since 1980 the amount of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has doubled from 2.8 million to 5.3 million. Currently, 42 percent of those over the age of 85 will develop Alzheimer’s.

This article opened with a story about a son who came home to find that his mother had escaped the house and was wondering around the neighborhood. Police agencies are now training officers how to detect and search for wanderers with dementia, as wandering is one of the most common behaviors associated with the disease.

About 60 percent of those that have dementia have wandered and about 20 percent wander repeatedly. Many people with dementia do not recognize objects and try to go to a place from a past memory that many times no longer actually exists.

The man featured in this story said that he changed his sleep schedule to follow his mother’s, even if it was in the middle of the day. He also sought advice from experts who told him to hang a curtain over the window at night to disguise and hide it. Other advice offered was to put a medical bracelet on his mother’s wrist with his home phone number on it in case she was to wander out of the house.

As more people are living longer, dealing with dementia and recognizing the signs are becoming more and more important. Learning different ways to decrease wandering behavior among those with Alzheimer and Dementia will be imperative to their safety and your peace of mind.

Courtesy of Home Care Blog

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Dementia's Crippling Effect on the Canadian Economy

The global cost of caring for the 35.6 million people worldwide with dementia is $604-billion - equivalent to the revenues of Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil combined - as it is fast becoming one of the world's biggest health challenges. Its prevalence will increase at an "alarming rate" for at least 40 more years according to a study by Alzheimer's Disease International, a London-based consumer group. By 2030, the report estimates that the number of people with dementia will nearly double to 65.7-million with annual global costs totalling $1.1 trillion (US). In Canada, dementia costs the economy about $15-billion a year and is expected to grow to $153-billion by 2038 while case will jump from 500,000 to 1.1 million.

"The figures are cause for great concern, and we hope that this report will act as a call to action for governments and policy-makers across the world. It is vital theat they recognize that the cost of dementia will continue to increase... and we must work to improve care and support services." -- Marc Wortmann, executive director of Alzheimer's Disease International
Currently, the cost of caring for dementia is split between direct medical care ($96-billion), residential and nursing care ($255-billion) and unpaid labour by family caregviers ($253-billion). The costs of dementia equal roughly the economies of Turkey and Indonesia making it the world's 18th largest.

Dementia affects developed and developing countries alike however there is a stark discrepancy in costs between high- and low-income countries. The average cost of caring for a person with dementia in a high-income country like Canada is $32,865 annually compared to $868 for a low-income country like Bangladesh. Low-income countries which account for 14% of global dementia cases make up only 1% of the costs whereas high-income countries have 46% of the cases and 89% of the costs. A major difference is the lack of accessibility to professional medical and nursing care in low-income families where the burden typically falls on family members. This is expected to become a serious problem for developing countries where dementia is expected to grow at a faster rate than developed countries. For example, in the next 20 years dementia cases are expected to increase 63% in North America compared to 117% in East Asia and 146% in Latin America.

The report recommends developing a national strategy to deal with dementia with policies that explicitly focus on supporting family caregivers and to reorganize health systems so that they better meet the needs of patients with chronic conditions such as dementia.

Source: Picard, Andre. "'Alarming' Rise in Dementia Comes with a Crippling Price Tag." Globe and Mail. 21 Sept. 2010. A1-A2

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Preparing Your Advance Directives or Living Wills

By Anne Pagnoni, HCA New Jersey

If we had a crystal ball and could see into the future, we would not need to prepare ahead for end of life decisions.

James was 62 years old when a stroke made it impossible for him to communicate with his family. Neither his wife nor children knew anything about his financial or medical information. James had always taken care of things himself and left no written directives in his behalf. Besides having to locate important documents, the family was left to make their own decisions about James long term care. 

The National Institute on Aging gives three simple, but important steps to putting your affairs in order:
  • "Put your important papers and copies of legal documents in one place. You could set up a file, put everything in a desk or dresser drawer, or just list the information and location of papers in a notebook. If your papers are in a bank safe deposit box, keep copies in a file at home. Check each year to see if there's anything new to add.

  •  Tell a trusted family member or friend where you put all your important papers. You don't need to tell this friend or family member about your personal affairs, but someone should know where you keep your papers in case of emergency. If you don't have a relative or friend you trust, ask a lawyer to help.

  • Give consent in advance for your doctor or lawyer to talk with your caregiver as needed. There may be questions about your care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without your consent, your caregiver may not be able to get needed information. You can give your okay in advance to Medicare, a credit card company, your bank, or your doctor. You may need to sign and return a form."
Preparing Advance Directives or Living Will
Advance directives are legal documents that state the kind of medical care or end of life decisions you want made in your behalf. It is a way for you to communicate your wishes to family or health care professionals. Emergency response medical personnel cannot honor advance directives or living wills. They are required to save and stabilize a person for transfer to a hospital or emergency facility. Once at the facility a physician will honor the directives.

The Living Will as part of your directives gives your consent or refusal for sustained medical treatment when you are not able to give it yourself. If this document is not in place then a family member or physician will decide such things as:
  • Resuscitation if breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Use of breathing machines
  • Use of feeding tubes
  • Medications or medical procedures
Advance Directives and Living Wills are legal throughout the Canada; however, some provinces may not honor other provinces' directive documents. Be sure to check with the province you live in for their requirements. Review your directives periodically. They do not expire, but your wishes may change.
A new or revised Advanced Directive invalidates the old one. Be sure your family member or healthcare proxy has a current copy.

Choosing a Power of Attorney
General Power of Attorney - authorizes someone to handle your financial, banking and possibly real estate and government affairs as long as you remain competent.

Special Power of Attorney - authorizes someone you designate to handle certain things you cannot do yourself for a period of time.

Durable" Power of Attorney - the general, special and health care powers of attorney can all be made "durable" by adding certain text to the document. This means that the document will remain in effect or take effect if you become mentally incompetent.

Many people do not know the difference between a general and a durable power of attorney. A general power of attorney is a document by which you appoint a person to act as your agent.

Agents are authorized to make decisions for you, sign legal documents, etc. Many people are unaware that a General Power of Attorney is revoked when the person granting that power becomes incompetent or incapacitated.

It is the "Durable" Power of Attorney that allows for an agent to continue making decisions on your behalf no matter what happens to you. A responsible adult child of an aging parent would be given a "durable power of attorney" to act on behalf of the parent. This provides broader authority than just adding the child's name to bank accounts and documents.

You may choose to produce notarized power of attorney documents on your own. If your estate is large and real estate or business is included it is advised to secure a reliable attorney.

Sources: HCA New Jersey, National Care Planning Council 

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Get Tested For Colon Cancer

By Dr.Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC

Colorectal cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer related deaths in the United States besides lung cancer. Tests used to screen for the cancer have been estimated to have saved at least 70,000 people in the past 20 years.

There have been recent debates regarding which type of screening method is best. The sigmoidoscopy is one test used for the detection of colorectal cancer, but it has not been used as much over the past ten years because it only goes two feet inside the colon whereas a colonoscopy is more thorough and goes through the entire colon.  Recent findings suggest that there is no conclusive evidence as to whether or not one test is more effective than the other.

Research is still being conducted to determine which test is the most through and effective, but all doctors agree that either one is better than no test at all. So if you are over 50 and due for a colonoscopy, it is important to get one scheduled.

Courtesy of Home Care Blog

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Dementia Could Be Next National Health Crisis

I'd give anything to see inside his mind, to know just for a day, what's going on in there" -- Donna Macdiarmid, whose husband Roger suffers from dementia.

Currently, a half-million Canadians have a form of incurable dementia including Alzheimer's disease and there are approximately 100,000 more cases every year. This rate is expected to grow the number of dementia cases in Canada to 1.1 million by 2038. The direct costs of caring for dementia would be expected to grow from $8-billion a year today to $92-billion in 2038. Add in the lost productivity from higher rates of dementia and Canada could have a significant domestic health issue on its hands.

One-hundred and ten years of research have produced few practical results for prevention or treatment. Some argue that demention is merely a part of aging and treat it as less a disease and more an inevitability. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Norway have publicly opposed this passive approach whereas at the Canadian federal level there is no official strategy and provincial strategies are varied at best. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the government's medical research funding body, has a $5 million annual budget for an international project on dementia. In comparison, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty recently announced $225 million for Grand Challenges Canada, a five-year health project designed to provide creative solutions for developing countries. Although Grand Challenges Canada should be lauded for its aspirations one can't help but question whether the money could have been allocated to rescuing the thousands of Canadians who are holding onto their body, minds and lives under the grasp of dementia.

"Kick at the Darkness." Editorial. The Globe and Mail [Toronto] 18 Sept. 2010: A26. Print.

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AARP Reports Breakthrough in Breast Cancer Research

Wristbands are one of the many ways you can increase awareness this October.
With October and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the corner, I wanted to discuss breast cancer today, especially because it is the second most common cancer in women. Recent studies have shown a new way of detecting if breast cancer will be aggressive or recurring. This research was featured on this past month and the key finding was a protein that regulates iron in cells was shown to possibly predict recurrence.

The protein is called ferroportin and they found that when levels of the protein increased in cancer cells, the cancer’s growth rate slowed. Data on 800 women with breast cancer who were followed for 10 years showed that ferroportin levels were linked to recurrence.

The hope for the future is that doctors may be able to save chemotherapy and radiation for women who have a poor prognosis according to their ferroportin levels. Researchers are also looking into the possibility of manipulating the protein to change the duration of the disease.

This is a very new finding in the fight against breast cancer. While it is still not the cure, it is at least getting us closer to it as well as offering hope to the 1.3 million women in the world who are diagnosed ever year with this cancer.

Courtesy of Kathy Johnson's Home Care Blog

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A Holistic Approach to Longer Life

Our population is growing older at the fastest pace in history. These demographics, combined with a rapidly increasing life span, make it critical and necessary to re-evaluate how we plan for old age. Based on groundbreaking scientific research of the longest-living people on Earth, a new book, “Happy to 102,” lays out all the factors that affect not only how long we live, but how well we live.

Kathy N. Johnson, a certified geriatric care manager, James H. Johnson, a licensed clinical psychologist and author, and Lily Sarafan, a corporate executive and advocate in the senior care industry, wrote this book, which looks well beyond caregivers and emphasizes not only proper nutrition and exercise, but also sociability, independence, mental challenge and sense of purpose.

“The mental side is absolutely key. Maintaining healthy cognitive function will help you focus your lifestyle on longevity, not just life span. In fact, the earlier you start taking control of your health, the less time your immune system will have to spend fighting disease in your later years.” -- Lily Sarafan, Co-author of Happy to 102.
Happy to 102” is very accessible to people of all ages. She added that even though there is a lot of push to eat right and exercise, many people still don’t fully understand the link between waist size and quality of life.

The book also does a great job of pointing out the benefits of in-home senior care as opposed to facility-based care. “Nine out of 10 seniors would rather live at home than anywhere else,” Sarafan said. “However, it all starts with the individual. Seniors need to learn and accept the best options out there.”

Forrest Scogin, chairman of the American Psychology Association’s Committee on Aging, said in the book there is a need to incorporate content on aging into all levels of schools’ curricula. A 2005 study by the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University reveals students’ negative attitudes toward older adults significantly decreased and their positive attitudes increased after taking a course on aging and family.

The book goes on to explain that empathy for seniors includes understanding that even simple daily tasks can become extremely difficult if you become frail. The consequences of a fall can be disastrous.
“This is why we urge everyone (young and old) to incorporate walking and stretching into their daily life so they can help the body maintain circulation, balance and bone density” -- Lily Sarafan
Exercise not only helps the heart, bones and muscle, but it alleviates depression and can slow Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia by improving blood flow to the brain.

“Happy to 102” reminds readers that independent living does not necessarily mean doing everything yourself. It means being in control of how and when things are done. From birth to old age, we live and thrive in interdependent communities; there is no justifiable reason for modifying our lifestyle drastically just because we require some personal assistance in our later years.

Courtesy of the Washington Examiner

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How to Live to 102 - Secret #34

Take supplements. Supplements can and do play a part in maintaining good health. Get informed on what types of supplements you may need and what quantities are recommended for optimum health.

Courtesy of  Tips For Good Health

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Study: Soft Drinks, Sleeping Pills Linked to Heartburn

If heartburn is keeping you awake at night, you may want to lay off the carbonated beverages or sleeping pills if this uncomfortable condition is affeccting your sleep. A new study on the risk factors associated with night-time heartburn found that drinking carbonated soft drinks and ingesting benzodiazepines, a commonly-prescribed class of sleeping pill, are among the strongest predictors of heartburn. The study, which appeared in the journal Chest, is the largest study undertaken to date on the incidence and risk factors associated with nighttime heartburn.

Heartburn is a symptom of a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acids creep up into the esophagus, causing burning and chest pain and sometimes leaving a bad taste in your mouth. For many people, it can be brought on by big heavy meals, spicy foods, or alcohol. Lying down too soon after eating can also bring on heartburn. Many people have the mild form of GERD, where symptoms happen less than 3 times per week and do not interfere with sleep or daily activity. When GERD happens more frequently and to the extent that it keeps you awake, it is classified as severe. While mild GERD can generally be managed through lifestyle modifications or non-prescription medications, severe GERD usually requires prescription medication or even surgery and can even be a risk factor for esophageal cancer.
"There are simple lifestyle changes people can make to help reduce their frequency of heartburn during sleep. Reducing consumption of carbonated soft drinks, replacing benzodiazepines with other types of sleeping pills, and losing weight can all help reduce nighttime heartburn." --Dr. Paul A. Kvale, president of the American College of Chest Physicians.
The study is the first to look at how many people are being kept up at night, said the study's author, Dr. Ronnie Fass. The study involved more than 15,000 Americans, all of whom filled out questionnaires on their sleep habits, medical history, social habits, and more.
"We found that up to a quarter of the U.S. population loses sleep because of nighttime heartburn, and many of these individuals have related sleep complaints and suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness," Dr. Fass said.
Because excess weight is a known risk factor for heartburn and was found in the study to be one of the predictors, it's possible the rate of nighttime heartburn is lower in Canada. About half the population here is considered overweight or obese, compared to two thirds of Americans.

Among the factors that were strong predictors were soft drinks (likely because of their acidity, the researchers said), certain prescription sleeping pills known as benzodiazepines (such as diazepam (Valium), triazolam (Halcion), lorazepam (Ativan), and alprazolam (Xanax)), and having high blood pressure or asthma. Sleeping problems such as insomnia, snoring, and daytime sleepiness were also associated with nighttime heartburn.

But the good news is that the experts don't believe people who report nighttime heartburn are doomed to uncomfortable, sleepless nights.

Courtesy of

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Top Ten Tips For Mental Health

 1. Build Confidence

Identify your abilities and weaknesses together, accept them build on them and do the best with what you have.

2. Eat right, Keep fit

A balanced diet, exercise and rest can help you to reduce stress and enjoy life.

3. Make Time for Family and Friends

These relationships need to be nurtured; if taken for granted they will not be there to share life's joys and sorrows.

4. Give and Accept Support

Friends and family relationships thrive when they are "put to the test".

5. Create a Meaningful Budget

Financial problems cause stress. Over-spending on our "wants" instead of our "needs" is often the culprit.

6. Volunteer

Being involved in community gives a sense of purpose and satisfaction that paid work cannot.

7. Manage Stress

We all have stressors in our lives but learning how to deal with them when they threaten to overwhelm us will maintain our mental health.

8. Find Strength in Numbers

Sharing a problem with others who have had similar experiences may help you find a solution and will make you feel less isolated.

9. Identify and Deal with Moods

We all need to find safe and constructive ways to express our feelings of anger, sadness, joy and fear.

10. Learn to Be at Peace with Yourself

Get to know who you are, what makes you really happy, and learn to balance what you can and cannot change about yourself.

Courtesy of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

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Home Care After Hip Surgery Aids Survival

old couple
Providing home care to elderly people after they've had hip surgery improves their chances of survival, finds a new study.

Canadian researchers looked at 11,326 men and women age 65 and older in Quebec who had partial hip surgery between 1997 and 2004. Those who received home care after leaving the hospital were 43 percent less likely to die within three months after their surgery than those who didn't receive home care.

But the study, published Aug. 16 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that home care was given to less than 16 percent of the elderly patients who were discharged home after partial hip surgery.

Patients who received home care were younger; more likely to have been treated in teaching hospitals or lower volume hospitals; and more likely to have stayed more than seven days in the hospital. They were also more likely to have acute kidney failure and a heart rhythm condition called atrial fibrillation.

The study also found that men were more likely than women to die, and patients hospitalized longer had higher survival rates.
"This indicates perhaps that receiving this care may depend on availability, rather than need of the service," -- Dr. Elham Rahme, Epidemiology, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center.
With the exception of atrial fibrillation and acute kidney failure, co-existing health conditions didn't seem to influence the chances of receiving home care, the researchers said in a news release from the publisher. The finding has significant public health implications and requires further investigation, the authors said.

Source: MSN Health

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Harvard: Fewer Calories, More Exercise Delays Aging

Findings from Harvard researchers link more exercise and restricted calorie intake to delayed mental and physical deterioration because exercising and watching what you eat rejuvenates the connections between the nerves and muscles that they control.

Researcher Joshua Sanes, a professor of molecular and cellular biology and Director of the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University, used mice with genetically engineered nerve cells to study these effects. The study showed that aging is caused by the deterioration of the connection of nerves that control muscles, called neuromuscular junctions. These links are very similar to the connection that neurons form in the brain to pass information. Sanes says that in a healthy neuromuscular synapse, nerve endings and their receptors fit together perfectly in order to achieve maximum efficiency in transmission from the brain to the muscle to cause movement. However, as people age, these synapses deteriorate and shrink. When the nerves shrink, the receptors are not covered completely, thus resulting in the interference of transmission from nerves to muscles, which can cause wasting and death of muscle fibers. The wasting of muscle, called sarcopenia, is a huge problem in aging populations.

When these mice were put on an exercise program, they partially reversed the damage to their synapses. With restricted-calorie diets, they avoided the deterioration of their synapses as well

Courtesy of Home Care Blog

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Eli Lilly Drug Failure Causes Questions in Alzheimer's Research

As reported in The New York Times, the drug being tested by Eli Lilly for Alzheimer’s has been put on hold. The drug was found not to work, but that was not the real reason for its failure. Researchers found that the drug made the patients’ symptoms of memory loss worsen and their ability to care for themselves decrease.
“Failures certainly don’t build energy and enthusiasm. The market is still there, but failures do take their toll.” -- Eli Lilly researcher.
The findings from this study put into question the hypothesis that researchers have been following for why Alzheimer’s begins. The hypothesis deals with the protein beta amyloid, which accumulates in the brain and can cause this disease. The hypothesis stated that if these proteins were reduced, the disease may be slowed, stopped or prevented. The drug that Eli Lilly was testing did in fact lower levels of the protein beta amyloid. However, the result was not what they expected.

Researchers are now saying that the Lilly result shows that their hypotheses are too simplistic. Other recent studies have found that PET scans of the brain and tests of cerebrospinal fluid can detect people who are at risk for the disease. However, those tests are now only a benefit to companies that are testing new therapies. No good comes from diagnosing people early if there is nothing they can do to prevent what is inevitable. Some researchers are still hopeful and will continue to follow the amyloid hypothesis, however, companies are trying out new approaches.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month!

Since September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month I thought that it would be a good opportunity to talk about ways in which we can all work on lowering our cholesterol. Drugs that are taken for lower low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) cholesterol are the most widely prescribed drugs in the entire world. Bet you didn’t know that. I read an interesting article the other day on that talked about The National Cholesterol Education Program and what they recommend to lower cholesterol through exercise and diet. Basically lifestyle changes you can make to lower your cholesterol so you do not need to turn to prescription drugs.

Diet is a key factor. Lowering the amount of saturated fat as a percentage of total calories is the first step toward decreasing your cholesterol, as saturated fat goes hand-in-hand with higher cholesterol. Another suggestion is to eat more plant-based foods and whole grains as well as limit red meat, full- fat dairy products, baked goods and fried foods. All of these dietary changes can help reduce saturated fats. The intake of soluble fiber is another thing they stress. Foods with high amounts of soluble fiber include oats, beans, fruits and vegetables. Soluble fibers are effective because they trap cholesterol in the digestive tract so that it passes through your body instead of into your blood stream. Adding stanols and sterols such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds also help decrease cholesterol levels because they compete with cholesterol for absorption into the body’s system.

Living a therapeutic lifestyle that incorporates daily exercise is also very important. Women and men with belly fat are more likely to have high cholesterol and need to lose as much as 10 percent of one’s body weight to significantly improve health.

If you make the above lifestyle changes, The National Cholesterol Education Program claims you can avoid the negative side effects that come from cholesterol reducing prescription drugs.

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Five Essential Nutrients For Your Body

Studies show that 77% of men do not intake enough magnesium and that many of them were deficient in potassium, iodine and vitamin D and B12. Pills aside, many of us are not incorporating enough of the right nutrients in our bodies. Here are five essential nutriets to include in your diets.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is well known to strengthen bones but it also prevents inflammation in arteries reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Humans get vitamin D naturally from the sun but those who live in areas with long winters are prone to being deficient. Foods that have vitamin D include many fishes like tuna and salmon and milk-based products.


Without enough magnesium, every cell in your body has to struggle to generate energy. -- Dana King, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina
Magnesium is involved in over 300 bodily processes and deficiencies have found to increase the risk of heart disease. Magnesium-rich foods include halibut and navy beans but look specifically for magnesium citrate, which is the form that is most easily absorbed by the body.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is all about the brain. A British study found that older people with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 lost brain volume at a faster rate over five years that those with high levels. Vitamin B12 is found boudn to protein in meats like lamb and fish like salmon. However, the most common source of B12 is from fortified cereals.


Potassium helps your cells use the sugar glucose for energy. This process is perhaps the most significant in the body as it cannot function without energy. It also helps to lower blood pressure which is important because of Western society's sodium-rich diet. Vegetables are great sources of potassium. Bananas boast 400 mg of potassium however do not even come close to the 1,600 mg of potassium found in one potato.


Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to produce hormones that control how your body burns calories. For the many out there looking for solutions to their weight-loss problems iodine may solve the source of the problem all alone. Most people get their iodine from iodinized salt however, as mentioned previously with potassium, our sodium-rich diets arleady do much harm in raising blood pressures. Fortunately iodine is also already common consumed through milk and eggs.

Courtesy of Men's Health

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