Sam Bauman: Be mindful of designation in emergency care

Here’s a tip that could save seniors a considerable amount of money when they head to the emergency room. I’ve run into it several times on the Internet. Of course, if you do need to be put in the “under observation” category, don’t hesitate.

If you have Medicare, do not let the hospital admit you with the words “under observation.”

Insist on “in-patient” designation. Otherwise, you will be responsible for the hospital expenses.

New thoughts on dementia

Author Laura Anthony recently sent me a copy of her new book, “The Most Important Lesson, What My Mother Taught Me That Will Change Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Forever.”

A bold subtitle and a little strong, but what Anthony describes in her story of dealing with her mother’s dementia certainly is worth considering. She is not a trained caregiver but clearly spent a lot of time with her mother as she declined in dementia.

But she describes some events with her mother that suggest she may be onto something. She writes that experience and memories combine in “life lessons, life wisdom and the ability for any cognitive functioning.”

She thinks that despite the loss of short- or long-term memory, a dementia patient still has the ability to share a life and experiences. She has several specific examples of her mother coming up with life lessons, including what she seems to feel most important: kindness. There is a religious aspect to the book, but you can take it or leave it.

The book is published by Morgan James and there is no cover price, but free copies are available. Check the Internet.

What she suggests doesn’t go against any of the current caregiver systems, but her ideas are worth considering if you are a caregiver.

Fitness in a bottle? takes a look at supplements’ effectiveness in its winter issue, and the news is not all good. Aside from the congressional gift to the makers of supplements, which bars the FDA from considering supplements, here are some of UC Berkeley’s findings:

Caffeine can give you a boost. Many studies have found that caffeine can boost endurance, reduce fatigue and improve sprint performance. It also works with brain chemicals to improve alertness and can make a workout feel easier. Those who take caffeine regularly build up a tolerance for it, reducing its effect.

Creatine provides bursts of energy. Made from amino acids, creatine is in meat, poultry and fish. Creatine supplements primarily help in activities involving repeated bursts of high-intensity exertion lasting less than a minute.

Sodium bicarbonate probably isn’t worth it. Some athletes use sodium bi to neutralize lactic acid that builds up in blood and muscles, causing fatigue and hurting performance. Research don’t support the claims, and if you have kidney problems, it can be dangerous.

Hormone boosters: definitely no. Called testosterone boosts, steroid precursors and prohormones, these are problematical. The feds have banned over-the-counter sale of some because they contain hidden anabolic steroids; they are now regulated as controlled substances. Most have no effect on testosterone, and most have no effect on testosterone or athletic performance.

Summary: If you want to build muscle, lose fat or run faster, you’re better off with a solid training program and a heathy diet that with unregulated supplements.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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