• Wielding a defibrillator might seem like an intimidating endeavor, but knowing how it works could help you save someone's life one day.

    You've seen it on hundreds of TV shows -- paramedics arrive on the scene to tend to a heart-attack victim, and they whip out an electrical device that seems to jump-start the patient back to life. Could you jump into the paramedic's place to save that heart-attack victim's life?

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  • What can you do to maintain the dignity of your loved one during a hospital stay?

    As a nurse, I make it a priority to maintain the dignity of my patients. But to my shock, I was faced with a whole new situation when my mother was hospitalized several years ago and was not able to care for herself.

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  • Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative brain disorder that gradually diminishes a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, carry out daily activities, and even communicate. People with Alzheimer's or related dementias have more difficulty expressing emotions, and can also have trouble understanding others.

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  • Car keys caution sign

    Strategies for taking away the keys when mom or dad should no longer drive.

    Automobiles transcend other possessions. They are part of our identity, almost like a member of the family. After a lifetime of mobility, the prospect of losing that aspect of independence can be seriously frightening. But, what do you do when your parent is no longer safe on the road? Here are some suggestions.

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  • Across the country, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for people 65 or older.

    Chances are, someone you know has taken a dangerous tumble. In San Diego County alone, an average of 19 seniors (people over the age of 75) a day have falls so serious they require help from paramedics. And every single day in California, two seniors die from fall-related injuries.

    More then 60 percent of all falls take place in the home. But many of these can be prevented through basic precautions.

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  • Robert Banfield, Nancy Schieck Banfield, Jeanne Banfield Hawkins

    As our parents get older, where can we turn for advice and information to help us deal with everything?

    My husband John and I were having dinner with two other Boomer couples. We've been friends for years and were catching up on our lives and families. Near the end of the evening, a friend commented, "We used to get together and talk about the challenges of raising our kids. Now we get together and talk about our aging parents."

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  • People covered by Medicare have different options each year.

    Choices range from Original Medicare to a variety of Medicare supplemental plans. The right choice next time might not be the same as last time. It's an important decision about a complex matter, so make sure you know how it works.

    NOTE: This article was written before Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect in 2014. ACA does not focus on Medicare, but it may affect some of the information in this article. As always, you should consult insurance experts to determine what is right for you.

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  • Protect your Brain

    You can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Here are 5 places to start living a brain-healthy lifestyle.

    An estimated 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease; this number is expected to double by the year 2050 as the elderly segment of our population grows. Specifically, as Baby Boomers age, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease will proliferate. This article is directed at you, the Baby Boomer.

    Also, you can use these tips to reduce your parents' risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. Since many of the tips in this article focus on staying active and connected, suggested activities are great for you and your parents to do together.

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  • Can't help beeping? Don't let a hip replacement ruin your trip.

    AdvisorAudio: Click to hear this story.
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    Air travel security can impact some travelers much more than others -- especially certain seniors. But there are things you can do to help a senior traveler be prepared, and things you can do to help the security process. Problems can arise if the traveler can't handle a long airport walk, or the traveler's stuff isn't organized with security in mind, or if the traveler's body contains some metal that will beep.

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  • ADVISOR ANSWERS

    Q: My sister told me there's a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease and suggested I throw out my aluminum pots and pans. She also told me that there's a lot of aluminum in antiperspirants, and that I should switch to just deodorant. Is this necessary?
    -- W.T., Del Mar, California

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  • The natural aging process can cause forgetfulness. But there are ways to maximize your memory -- whatever age you are.

    With age comes wisdom, and often times so does memory decline. Many people think of memory lapses as a normal part of aging, and others fear the worst: Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. While approximately 1 in 10 people age 65 and older have Alzheimer's and related dementias, the loss of mental acuity can occur in the natural aging process. The good news is that there are ways for people to maximize their memory, no matter how old they are.

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  • Plan now for an Advanced Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney, before you and loved ones need to use it.

    Several times a month, a call comes into Elder Law and Advocacy's office in San Diego that goes something like this: "Hello, my wife (husband, or parent) has advanced Alzheimer's disease and her doctor told me I need to get power of attorney. Can you help me?"

    Misconceptions about creating and using a power of attorney for health care or finances creates problems for many families. Here's what you need to know.

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  • Meeting

    During the care plan meeting at your loved one's skilled nursing or other care facility, make sure your voice is heard.

    When you have a loved one in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility, you'll often be asked to participate in a "care plan conference," or a "quarterly care conference." Unfortunately, family members usually go to this meeting with little understanding of what a care plan document should provide, or what the goals of an effective care plan conference should be. This article helps you be prepared.

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  • Older people are too often the target of financial scams and money-focused manipulation.

    We've seen this all too often: Joey wanted to cash a large check from his grandmother's account. A bank employee called his grandmother, Joyce, who said her husband had recently died and that her grandson was helping out. Further review of Joyce's account revealed expenses for electronics, auto accessories, and adult entertainment. Joey was not using the money for his grandmother's benefit.

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  • Marilee Driscoll

    Long-term care insurance determines how well you'll be taken care of when you can't take care of yourself.

    Long-term care insurance is potentially one of the most important purchases you'll ever make. It likely determines how well you'll be taken care of when you can no longer care for yourself.

    There are lots of decisions to make -- and they need to be informed decisions. Tempting as it is to think you'll never be in the position to need long-term care, you risk literally everything if you hide from this issue.

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  • Long-distance, long-term care

    Q: How can I be an effective caregiver from far away? I don't feel comfortable just jumping in.
    -- Ed W., San Diego, California

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  • Julie Christie

    Two movies give us revealing looks at Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

    "Away From Her" stars Julie Christie and Olympia Dukakis.

    "The Savages" stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney.

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  • Young people need to understand dementia and share their feelings about it. These tips will help the entire family.

    Alzheimer's disease can have a big impact on every member of the family, including children. Each child reacts differently to someone who has Alzheimer's. The young people in your life might have questions about what is happening. It's important for you to take the time to answer these questions openly and honestly.

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  • California is one of the few states to offer paid leave to take care of a sick family member. Find out if you're eligible and if paid leave is a good fit for you.

    California made history in July 2004 as the first state to create a comprehensive paid leave program. Employees can collect up to 55 percent of their salary per month while caring for their loved ones.

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  • A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has more than just medical implications — there are financial issues, too.

    An estimated 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease; this number is expected to double by the year 2050 as the elderly segment of our population grows. Not only does the disease have a significant emotional impact on individuals and their families, it also causes severe family financial burden and places considerable demands on the greater public health system. 

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