Melanoma Monday – Free Skin Cancer Screenings

Monday, May 2 is Melanoma Monday and it is the start of free skin cancer screenings throughout the month of May. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It not only can be found on your skin, but also inside your mouth, nose and eyes.

Know the ABCDE’s of skin cancer.

A = Asymmetry – One half is unlike the other half.

B = Border – An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C = Color – Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red or blue.

D = Diameter – Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E = Evolving – A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

During the month of May in Colorado, you can receive free SPOTme Skin Cancer Screenings with these medical providers.

May 7 – Peak Vista Health Center in Colorado Springs. Call 719-632-5700

May 7 – Lutheran Medical Center Campus in Wheat Ridge. Call 303-403-3608

May 11 – Mountain Dermatology Specialists in Edwards. Call 970-926-1800

May 16 – Dorcy Cancer Center/St. Mary Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo. Call 719-557-4548


It’s Time For The Channel 9 Health Fair!


Spring is here and so is the annual Channel 9Health Fair. Since many current insurance plans require very high deductibles, the 9Health Fair offers many screenings for free and other screenings at affordable costs. The Colorado fair started in 1980 and continues to add locations throughout the state. Click the link below for a schedule of local screenings near you.

Over 25 screenings are available. Some are not available in all locations so confirm prior to your arrival. Some screenings require pre-registration. Fortunately, all medical professionals participating in the health fair are available to spend time answering any health questions you may have concerning your screenings.

Some of the preventative screenings available include:

  • Blood Chemistry Screening (cholesterol, glucose, thyroid, kidney, heart disease)
  • Prostate Specific Antigen
  • Vitamin D
  • Colon Cancer Screening Kit
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Bone Health Screening
  • Cardiac Risk Assessment
  • Memory Screening
  • Pap Smear Screening
  • Lung Function Screening
  • Hepatitis C Virus Screening
  • Sleep Apnea Screening
  • Vision and Oral Health


Don’t Miss These Caregiving Events!

There are several upcoming FREE caregiving events in Boulder County that you should check out and pre-register. The National Caregiver Training Program will begin on Thursdays starting April 7 – May 12 from 1:30pm – 4:30pm. Call 303-678-6116 for registration through the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging.

The 11th Annual Caregiving Symposium will be held May 19 from 9:30am-5:00pm at the Plaza Convention Center in Longmont. You can attend some of the sessions or the entire day. There will be many exhibitors to provide resources for caregivers. Pre-registration is a must. Call the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging at 303-678-6116.

Below is a list of on-going monthly support groups for caregivers in Boulder County. These groups are very beneficial for participants.

Caregiver Support Group (Boulder)

For caregivers of older adults. Meets every Tuesday, 4 – 6 p.m. Golden West, 1055 Adams Circle, Boulder. For information:  Ina Rifkin, 303-554-5668, or Don Dick, 303-444-0743 or 303-570-6375

Caregiver Support Group (Boulder)

For adult children concerned about aging parents. Sponsored by Boulder County Area Agency on Aging, Boulder Jewish Family Service, and City of Boulder Senior Services.  Meets second Thursday of each month, 5:30 – 7 p.m. East Boulder Senior Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, Boulder. For information:  Jodi Ansell, 303-415-1025 or

Caregiver Support Group (Boulder)

For spouses and partners of older adults. Meeting times and locations vary.  For information:  Ellen Knapp, 720-217-9614 or

Caregiver Support Group (Longmont)

For caregivers of older adults. Meets first Monday of each month, 6 – 7:30 p.m. (if the first Monday is a holiday, meets on second Monday). Longmont Senior Center, 910 Longs Peak Avenue, Longmont. Light dinner provided. For information:  303-651-8414

Dementia Caregiver Support Group (Boulder)

For caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. Meets first Thursday of each month, 12 – 1:30 p.m.  East Boulder Senior Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, Boulder. For information, call Alzheimer’s Association Helpline, 1-800-272-3900, or email

Dementia Caregiver Support Group (Boulder)

For caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.  Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. Meets second Tuesday of each month, 11 a.m. -12:30. East Boulder Senior Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, Boulder. For information:  Alzheimer’s Association Helpline, 1-800-272-3900, or

Dementia Caregiver Support Group  (Longmont)

For caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. Meets second Tuesday of each month, 12 – 1:30 p.m. Longmont Senior Center, 910 Longs Peak Avenue, Longmont. Light lunch provided.  For information:  Alzheimer’s Association Helpline, 1-800-272-3900, or

Dementia Caregiver Support Group (Louisville)

For caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. Meets second Thursday of each month, 6 – 7:30 p.m. Louisville Senior Center, 900 W. Via Appia, Louisville. For information:  Alzheimer’s Association Helpline, 1-800-272-3900, or

For more information about resources for family caregivers of older adults, call 303-678-6116 or email


50 Secrets Hospitals Don’t Want To Tell You

I have to share this comprehensive list from Reader’s Digest. Very good suggestions for you and your family to be safer while in the hospital and to avoid medical billing errors.


Pay Attention To These 2016 Health Issues

Happy New Year! Below is a good article available in the Washington Post about health issues that we will be hearing more about in 2016.


Free Respite Services for Family Caregivers

November is recognized as National Family Caregivers Month. The theme for this year is RESPITE. There are several organizations that offer financial assistance as well as volunteer companions to provide respite for family caregivers.

For Boulder County residents, the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging provides up to $500/year in reimbursement for the cost of hiring a substitute caregiver. This money can be used for a friend, family member, home care provider, adult day program or long-term care facility. They also offer a program that will match a trained volunteer to be a weekly companion for 2 hour visits. Call 303-441-1617 for more information.

The Woodward Respite Fund will provide a grant up to $1,000 for a family caregiver  providing dementia care in their home. Visit their website for more information on how to apply.

R     is for “Rest and Relaxation”

        Everyone needs a little “R and R” – especially family caregivers. Relaxing is the best way to return refreshed to handle your many responsibilities as a caregiver.

E     as in “Energize”

Caregiving is often round-the-clock 24/7. Respite isn’t simply “getting a few hours off.” It’s necessary to help you re-energize, reduce stress and provide care for your loved one.

S     as in “Sleep”

Caregivers often have sleep problems. Address sleep problems and insomnia before they take too great a toll on your health.

P    is for “Programs that can help you”

Respite – which can be in the home or out of the home – can be hard to find but there are programs available to help you.

I      as in “Imagination”

Let your mind run free; read a book; see a movie. You have been so occupied with the nuts-and-bolts of caregiving that refreshing your mind will actually help you be a better caregiver.

    as in “Take Five”

…or better yet, take ten.  Do you find yourself saying, “I wish I had  just ten minutes to myself”? Don’t feel guilty. You need a reprieve – a few minutes to temporarily disengage.

E      is for “Exhale”

A simple breath in and then a long exhale can help you focus and increase your vitality. A few deep breaths can give you more energy, reduce stress, and lift your mood.

Register Now For Denver Alzheimer’s Education Symposium

It’s that time of the year again. November 9 is the annual all day Education Symposium available to the public on multiple topics about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is the 26th year for this event. Local as well as national experts on Alzheimer’s and dementia will be offering breakout sessions at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. Current research, clinical trials, strategies for caregivers, and complementary health approaches are just some of the sessions that are available. Early stage to end stage will be covered. Many local support resources will be onsite. The closing session will include a conversation with Glen Campbell’s family members including a musical performance by his daughter.

Click here to view the full day agenda and instructions for registration.

Congratulations to the Boulder Walk to End Alzheimer’s teams and committee members! The most money raised for any first year Walk organization in the U.S.!



Beware of Hospital Observation Status!

Recently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services proudly announced that hospital readmissions have decreased thus patient safety and care has increased. Unfortunately, it appears that the reason for this reduction is the 96% increase in labeling hospital patients as Observation status and not Inpatient admission status.

Why does this matter to you? Hospitals get penalizes if they have too many readmissions. To avoid this scenario, they are putting patients entering the hospital under Observation status instead of admitting them in the hospital as an Inpatient. This labeling system can greatly affect a Medicare patient’s wallet. Observation status is covered under Part B not Part A. So you will be required to pay 20% of your hospital bill instead of the $1,260 deductible. You will also be required to pay for all of the overly priced medications given to you in the hospital that would have been covered under Part A. In addition, if you require skilled nursing or rehabilitation after your hospital stay, you will be required to pay for all of the costs. In comparison, if you were admitted to the hospital as Inpatient and require skilled nursing/rehab, after a three day hospital stay, Medicare will pay for your costs.

To add to the confusion with this hospital labeling, the admitting physician will initially determine your status. Even if you are under Inpatient status, the hospital administrator can change that labeling without your knowledge. Furthermore, Medicare has audit contractors that may also change your status from what either the admitting physician or hospital administrator may deem appropriate.

What should you do? Confirm every day while you are in the hospital what your status is and if needed, work with an independent patient advocate to ensure your best interests are being addressed.

For more information about this topic, click on this link.

Easy To Implement Therapeutic Tools

“We live our lives forward, but we understand them backwards.”—Soren Kierkegaard

A life review and reminiscing are two very effective therapeutic tools to use with individuals living with dementia. Below is a comprehensive list of suggested questions to get you started. This list was created by the Hospice of Cincinnati. Friends and family can help obtain the information during multiple sessions. You may want to ask the same question at different times in case new information can be retrieved as well as to confirm answers.

Childhood (birth-13 years)

  • Location of birth:
  • Residence:
  • Formal experiences (spiritual/secular/education):
  • What do you remember most about your parents?
  • What do you remember most about your grandparents?
  • Who took care of you?
  • What are you favorite stories about your siblings?
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • Did you have a favorite toy as a child?
  • Did you have any pets? If so, what were they? What were there names?
  • Who did you spend most of your time with as a child?
  • Who had the most significant influence on you as a child?

Adolescence (14-21 years)

  • Residence: Formal experiences (spiritual/secular/education/achievements/awards):
  • Were you a good student?
  • What did you do after school?
  • What did you do in the evenings? On weekends?
  • What was it like to be a teenager?
  • Who was your best friend?
  • What were your goals as a teenager?
  • Who was your first love and how did you meet?
  • Did you have a job as a teenager? What were your job duties?
  • What were your greatest lessons at this age?
  • Did you play a sport or participate in any activities?
  • Who taught you how to drive a car? What was your first car?
  • What was your favorite and least favorite thing about being a teenager?
  • Do you have any funny/embarrassing stories from when you were a teenager?
  • Did you vacation as a family? What was your favorite vacation?

Young Adulthood (22-35 years)

  • Home(s):
  • Spiritual experiences:
  • Educational achievements, awards:
  • Marriage, children:
  • Career choices, experiences, awards:
  • Travels, national service:
  • What was your main career?
  • How did you choose your particular career path?
  • Did you attend college? What college did you attend?
  • Did you get married? When did you know you wanted to be married? What was your wedding like?
  • Did you have children? What is your fondest memory about each of your children?
  • How did you choose your children’s names? Were they named after anyone?
  • What was the greatest thing you taught your children?
  • What were your goals as a young adult?
  • What was your favorite hobby? Did anyone share your hobby with you?
  • Did you have any struggles as a young adult you had to overcome?

Middle Adulthood (36-65 years)

  • Home(s):
  • Children, grandchildren:
  • Career experiences, achievements, awards:
  • Travels, national service:
  • Did you have any children/grand children? What is your favorite story about each?
  • What was the greatest thing you taught your children/grandchildren?
  • What were your goals as an adult?
  • What were your hobbies as an adult?
  • Did you have any struggles as an adult you had to overcome?
  • Did you have any regrets during this time?
  • What were your fondest memories during this time?

Older Adulthood (66-99 years)

  • Home(s):
  • Grandchildren, great-grandchildren:
  • Career experiences, achievements, awards:
  • Health challenges and outcomes:
  • What is your favorite story about your grandchildren/great-grandchildren?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment in life?
  • If you had a chance to go back in time, is there anything you would have done differently?
  • What was the happiest time of your life?
  • What do you want your family/friends to remember most about you?

Miscellaneous Questions

  • What was your favorite holiday to celebrate? What is your favorite holiday memory?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot? What was your favorite trip?
  • Is there any vacation spot you would never go back to? Why?
  • Is there anywhere you wanted to go but never got the chance?
  • Is there any dream you wanted to pursue you never got around to?
  • How do you most want to be remembered?

Caring for Mom and Dad

If you missed the recent PBS documentary, Caring for Mom and Dad, you can watch it here or order the DVD.

Currently, Boulder County is offering a 21 hour course provided by the National Caregiver Training Program starting now through July 30. Also, a 15 hour course entitled, Powerful Tools for the Caregiver, begins June 24-July 29 in Longmont. Call 303-678-6116 for more information.

The annual Senior Law Day will be held on August 22 in Longmont. Pre-registration is available.  Other sites throughout Colorado will be available this summer and fall. Denver will have the event on October 17, 2015. A comprehensive handbook will be provided to all attendees. If you can’t attend in person, you can access the online handbook here.

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