Resources for Seniors in Riverside County, CA

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. Our list begins with the Riverside County Office on Aging.

Precious Elder Ministry of St. Hugh's

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. The resources listed are within driving distance of Idyllwild and our Mountain Communities.

View or Download our Resouce List updated 1 September 2017

New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say

A report in the Guardian about research, on heart health and anti-inflammatory treatment, conducted over the last 4 years in the US.

US researchers find heart attack survivors given anti-inflammatory injections have fewer future episodes and lower cancer risk

Source: New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say | Science | The Guardian

Thyroid Cancer is the Fastest-Growing Cancer in America

In seeking to keep older Americans healthy and well, the AARP regularly posts information and suggestions for each of us to consider. Here is a recent article about Thyroid Cancer.

 

1140-fastest-growing-cancer-thyroid-imgcache-reve903b0d08c837f03d844e9711be5117d

Originally posted by Cheryl Bond-Nelms, on AARP, July 5, 2017.

As with all articles expressing facts and/or opinions about health and wellness: nothing in the sharing of this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your own healthcare provider as you monitor and/or research your own health needs.

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Nearly three out of four cases of thyroid cancer are found in women.

Although the death rate from cancer in America is down 25 percent since 1991, there is one type of cancer rapidly increasing in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has tripled over the last three decades, making it the fastest-growing cancer.The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck, shaped like a butterfly. It produces hormones that enter the bloodstream and affect the metabolism, heart, brain, muscles and liver, and keep the body functioning properly and effectively.The estimates for cases of thyroid cancer in America for 2017 have increased, and rates are higher in women than men, according to these figures published on cancer.org.

  • In 2017, there will be an estimated 56,870 new cases of thyroid cancer  — 42,470 in women and 14,400 in men.
  • An estimated 2,010 deaths will result from thyroid cancer  — 1,090 in women and 920 in men.

Women account for nearly three-quarters of thyroid cancer cases. The exact cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown. Research has concluded that better imaging technology has increased the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed. “Much of this rise appears to be the result of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which can detect small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past,” the American Cancer Society says.What are the signs or symptoms related to thyroid cancer? The American Cancer Society lists the following on cancer.org:

  • lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

Talk with your doctor immediately if you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with thyroid cancer. Noncancerous conditions or even other cancers can also cause many of the symptoms.How can you protect yourself?Experts say most people found to have thyroid cancer have no known risk factors, and so emphasize that most cases can not be prevented. Professionals suggest regular self-exams to catch thyroid changes in the earliest stages as one of the best means of protection.Here are five steps to performing a self-exam from thyroidawareness.com:

  1. Hold a mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones and below the voice box (larynx).
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located farther down the neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  5. If you see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

Health professionals estimate that 15 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid problems. The good news is that the survival rate of thyroid cancer patients is higher than for most other cancers. Early detection of thyroid cancer can open up more treatment options. You can also ask your doctor to check your thyroid health with a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, a blood test that can determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

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Even more information

SHERIFF’S OFFICIALS WARN OF SPIKE IN “VIRTUAL KIDNAPPING” SCAMS

This scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

phone-scam-graphic-06242016

Originally posted on Riverside County News Source August 19, 2017

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After a recent spike of incidents in Riverside County involving phone-based, kidnapping scams, Riverside County sheriff’s officials are reminding citizens to be wary of and to immediately report any phone calls or texts from an unknown person claiming a family member or loved one has been kidnapped or is being held for ransom.

The scams, which law enforcement officials and federal investigators first began to see in 2013 and have dubbed “virtual kidnappings,” have become more common and have been gaining popularity among criminals looking for a quick and too often very easy payout.

The scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

One 2015 task force uncovers over 80 victims of virtual kidnappings

In 2015, the FBI began a task force, dubbed “Operation Hotel Tango,” with Los Angeles-area law enforcement agencies. The multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency task force located more than 80 victims throughout California, Texas, Idaho and Minnesota. With average losses around $1,000 per family, the victim’s losses totaled $74,000.

Although many of the cases involved suspects looking for a quick, if not substantial, payout, some of the cases have been known to yield tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In many of the known cases, the victims were contacted over the phone by unknown suspects who claimed that their loved ones had been kidnapped. The suspects often said the kidnapped person had witnessed a crime, owed a debt or been smuggled across the border into Mexico and that they would be tortured and killed if a ransom was not paid immediately.

In some cases, victims reported they could hear the agonized screams of a person they were manipulated to believe was their family member. This was done to cause fear and panic in order to quickly extort ransom payments from the victims.

By the time the victims learned their family members had not been kidnapped and had never been in danger, the “ransom payments” had already been sent off to the scammers and were unrecoverable.

The callers have also often been known to keep the person on the phone throughout the process of obtaining and wiring the money, to ensure the terrified victim does not have an opportunity to contact law enforcement officials, friends or other family members.

One parent shares her two-hour long, nightmare ordeal

In one such incident reported to law enforcement officials in March of this year, the mother of a California Baptist University student was contacted by a unknown number with a Mexico prefix.

When the victim, 60-year-old, Laura Bontrager, answered the phone the first thing she heard was the screaming of a young woman, followed by an unknown man who got onto the phone and said he had kidnapped the woman’s college-aged daughter. The man told the victim he was holding a gun to her daughter’s stomach.

The man told Bontrager that her daughter had witnessed a crime involving a child and the only way she would ever get to see her daughter alive again was to wire him a ransom in Mexico. The man then ordered the victim to go to a bank and pull out as much money as she could.

Over the next two hours, the suspect kept the terrified victim on the phone, using the mother’s fear for her daughter to control her actions in trying to accomplish what he wanted.

After Bontrager went to an ATM and pulled out $1,000, her bank’s limit, and prepared to wire the money to the “kidnapper” her husband managed to get in touch with the daughter who had allegedly been kidnapped.

To the parent’s relief, their daughter was safe and at one of her classes at the college.

FBI warns of sharp increase of virtual kidnapping incidents

At a July 2017, press conference in Los Angeles, the FBI warned Southern Californians about the scam, saying that countless Southern California residents were known to have been targeted by scammers claiming to have kidnapped the victims’ loved ones. Although officials have identified many victims, they believe the true number of victims is much higher, but that many of the victims choose not to report the crimes.

During the press conference, one victim, a Westside LAPD traffic sergeant, shared his experience when he was targeted – unsuccessfully – during a similar virtual kidnapping scam.

The sergeant, explained he had been driving on the 405 Freeway when he received a phone call from a number he did not recognize. When he answered the phone, he could hear a person screaming, “Daddy, daddy, help me!”

“I didn’t recognize the voice,” the sergeant said, “so I tried to explain to her that she needed to call 911.”

At that point another person’s voice came onto the line and told the sergeant that his daughter had been kidnapped and he had to transfer money to the suspect in order to get his daughter back safely.

“They specifically threatened to put a bullet in the back of my child’s head,” the sergeant said.

As the phone call continued – for over one hour – the terrified sergeant spotted some Torrance police officers, who were able to determine that the intended victim’s daughter was safe at her school.

How to avoid being scammed by virtual kidnap schemes

According to many law enforcement agencies across the nation that have been hit by these types of scams, some common indicators you might be falling victim to a virtual kidnap scam include if:

— Incoming calls come from an outside area code or from these specific area codes: 787, 939 and 856.

— Calls come from an unknown number rather than from the alleged kidnap victim’s phone.

— Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone while demanding you obtain ransom money.

— Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer, which allows the money to be picked up anywhere in the world, or by specific means such as a “Green Dot” card.

Law enforcement agencies have also suggested potential victims try to slow the situation down. Call recipients should request to speak to the victim directly or ask for other forms of “proof of life” from the alleged kidnappers. If the kidnappers refuse to allow you speak with the victim, ask them to describe the victim, the vehicle they drive, or to answer some questions that only the real victim would know.

If the callers can not answer your questions or refuse to provide proof that your loved one is alive and uninjured, chances are you are being targeted by scammers looking for a quick buck.

Anyone with information regarding this type of fraudulent activity is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency. Those who live within jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department can also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Even more information

Into Your Hands, O God…

A prayer of trust even in dark times.

Man leaning on the wall

Into Your Hands, O God,
This solitude,

Into Your Hands, O God,
This emptiness.

Into Your Hands, O God,
This loneliness,

Into Your Hands—This
This all.

Into Your Hands, O God,
This grief,

Into Your Hands
This sleeping fear.

Into Your Hands, O God—What
What is left,

What is left Of me.

Edwina Gateley in Lyn Klug, Lyn King, All Will Be Well: A Gathering of Healing Prayers (p. 142). Kindle Edition.

Friday in the week is remembered in prayer as the day of the week that Jesus was crucified. Even in the Season of Easter the Church remembers that there would be no resurrection without crucifixion and death. We remember those who are now suffering in any way, in body, mind, or spirit. We remember that God is ever-present—especially in moments of pain and distress.  We remember with the hope and expectation of resurrection joy. ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: GraphicStock.com

Just hang up

If A Telemarketer Or Robocall Asks “Can You Hear Me?” Just Hang Up; It’s A Scam

Older woman on the phone

If A Telemarketer Or Robocall Asks “Can You Hear Me?” Just Hang Up; It’s A Scam” was originally posted on Consumerist.

Begin quoteIt’s a bad idea to ever use the word “yes” when talking to any telemarketer, but with the latest version of an old scam, saying “yes” can quite literally come back to haunt you.

Here’s how the scam works: you may receive a phone call from an automated system (a robocall) or a live person, but the common thread will be that the caller will ask, “Can you hear me?”

“Yes,” you respond, because you heard the question. Now, according to police departments across the country, that means that the scammers now have a recording of your voice saying “yes.”

Please keep reading, there’s more

Can a dying patient be a healthy person?

A thought-provoking essay from The Conversation that links attitudes with health and wholeness.

Older woman in hospital with man by her side. Via Shutterstock.

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Richard Gunderman, Indiana University and James W Lynch, University of Florida

The news was bad. Mimi, a woman in her early 80s, had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma. Her husband was being treated for bladder cancer. Recently, she developed chest pain, and a biopsy showed that she had developed a secondary tumor of the pleura, the space around one of her lungs. Her oncology team’s mission was to share this bad news.

Mimi’s case was far from unique. Each year in the U.S., over 1.6 million patients receive hospice care, a number that has been increasing rapidly over the past few years. What made Mimi’s case remarkable was not the grimness of her prognosis but her reaction to it.

When the members of the team walked into Mimi’s hospital room, she was lying in bed holding hands with her husband, who was perched beside her on his motorized wheelchair. The attending oncologist gulped, took a deep breath, and began to break the news as gently as he could. Expecting to meet a flood of tears, he finished by expressing how sorry he was.

To the team’s surprise, however, no tears flowed. Instead Mimi looked over at her husband with a broad smile and said, “Do you know what day this is?” Somewhat perplexed, the oncologist had to admit that he did not. “Today is very is special,” said Mimi, “because it was 60 years ago this very day that my Jim and I were married.”

The team members reacted to Mimi with astonishment. How could an elderly woman with an ailing husband who had just been told that she had a second, lethal cancer respond with a smile? Compounding the team’s amazement, she then went on to share how grateful she felt for the life she and her husband had shared.

Mimi thanked the attending oncologist and the members of the team for their care, remarking how difficult it must be to deliver bad news to very sick patients. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Mimi was expressing sympathy for the people caring for her, exhibiting a remarkable generosity of spirit in the face of a grim disease.

The members of the team walked out of Mimi’s room shaking their heads in amazement. Once they reached the hallway, the attending physician turned and addressed the group: “Mimi isn’t the only person in that room with cancer, but she is surely the sickest. And yet,” he continued, to nods all around, “she is also the healthiest of any of us.”

“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.”
– John Donne

Disease need not define us

Mimi’s reaction highlights a distinction between disease and illness, the importance of which is becoming increasingly apparent. Simply put, a body has a disease, but only a person can have an illness. Different people can respond very differently to the same diagnosis, and those differences sometimes correspond to demographic categories, such as male or female. Mimi is a beautiful example of the ability to respond with joy and gratitude in the face of even life’s seemingly darkest moments.

Consider another very different patient the cancer team met with shortly after Mimi. Ron, a man in his 40s who had been cured of lymphoma, arrived in the oncology clinic expecting the attending oncologist to sign a form stating that he could not work and therefore qualified for disability payments. So far as the attending knew, there was no reason Ron couldn’t hold a job.

Ron’s experience of disease was very different from Mimi’s, a phenomenon familiar to cancer physicians. Despite a dire prognosis, Mimi was full of gratitude. Ron, by contrast, though cured of his disease and apparently completely healthy, looked at his life with resentment, even anger. He felt deeply wronged by his bout with cancer and operated with a sense that others should do what they could to help make it up to him.

Mimi was dying but content with her life. Ron was healthy but filled with bitterness. Both patients had the same diagnosis – cancer – but the two human beings differed dramatically, and so too did their illness experiences. Mimi felt blessed by 60 years of a good marriage, while Ron saw in his cancer just one more example of how unfair life had been to him.

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so…”
– John Donne

The real meaning of health

When the members of the cancer team agreed that Mimi was the healthiest person in the room, they were thinking of health in terms of wholeness or integrity. In fact, the word health shares the same source as the word whole, implying completeness or fullness. Ron felt repeatedly slighted, but Mimi looked at life from a perspective of abundance.

A full life is not necessarily marked by material wealth, power over others, or fame. Many people who live richly do so modestly and quietly, never amassing fortunes, commanding legions, or seeing their picture in the newspaper. What enriches their lives is not success in the conventional sense but the knowledge that they have done their best to remain focused on what really matters.

Mimi easily called to mind many moments when she and those she cared about shared their company and their love. Any sense of regret or sorrow over what might have been quickly gave way to a sense of gratitude for what really was, still is, and will be. Her outlook on life was shaped by a deep conviction that it had a meaning that would transcend her own death.

Couple enjoying the snow. Via Shutterstock.
From www.shutterstock.com

When someone has built up a life ledger full of meaningful experiences, the prospect of serious illness and death often do not seem so threatening. For Mimi, who had lived most of her days with a keen awareness that they would not go on forever, death’s meaning had been transformed from “Life is pointless” to “Make every day count.”

Mimi regarded the prospect of dying as a lens through which to view the meaning of life. She saw her illness as another adventure through which she and Jim would pass. Death would separate them, but it would also draw them closer together, enabling them to see more clearly than ever how much their love meant to them.

From Mimi’s point of view, death is not a contaminant, fatally introduced to life at its final stage. Instead death is a fire that burns away all that is not essential, purifying a person’s vision of what is most real and most worth caring about. Though not happy to be ill, Mimi was in a profound sense grateful for death. Her sentiments echo those of the poet John Donne:

“One short sleep past and we wake eternally:
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.”

The Conversation

Richard Gunderman, Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University and James W Lynch, Professor of Medicine, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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