NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR BOISE AND THE TREASURE VALLEY!

Boise is nestled in the Boise River valley and an easy drive to the Snake River and the Sawtooth and Owahee Mountains. Boise plays host to a wide spectrum of businesses and lifestyles. The businesses range from the high tech of Crucial Memory and Hewlett Packard to the headquarters of the Simplot Agricultural dynasty. The lifestyles range from outdoor extreme to truck farming to just regular people with regular jobs. The clean air and the relatively temperate climate contribute to the general attractiveness of the valley city.
Boise is the ‘health center' for mid and southwest Idaho. We have 2 major hospitals in St. Luke's and St. Alphonsus which recently made the nations' top 100 cardiovascular care facilities list. Both these hospitals have award winning trauma care centers and between these two hospitals they have attracted a large number of physicians and nurses to work in Boise.
The Boise Metropolitan area (commonly defined to include Nampa and Caldwell) has 33 assisted living home and 25 nursing homes as well as more than a half dozen Alzheimer's care buildings. The size of these homes ranges from very large (housing several hundred residents) to smaller houses containing only a half dozen residents. The care levels available range from simple gated communities for independent elder living to hospice terminal care.


Sooner or Later?
The time train runs in only one direction and we all know that sooner or later we are going to have to ‘do something' with and about our elders. All too often we opt for later. Many of us see it as such a huge step which has to be so fraught with trauma that later must be better. My experience is that later is not always better.
Take a recent case in which I was involved. We are talking about a mother of three who had been living alone after the death of her husband for about five years. By the time her children made the decision to ‘do something' she had gone from about 140 to less than 90 pounds. Her children wondered about that as she had always been a good cook with a good appetite. The reality is that a combination of the physical stress of every task and the emotional ennui fostered by loneliness caused this woman to cook less, to eat less - in fact in every way to take less care for herself. By the time we got her settled into her new home she had established some dangerous patterns of withdrawal. She was not as active or social as she had always been, the period of actual isolation was long and significant enough to alter life long habits and proclivities.
The efforts required on the part of the assisted living home she moved into, in coordination with the efforts of her children to get this woman to the quality of life that she deserved were very significant. Finally, she was lucky, all too many elders do not recover from a period of decline such as she endured.
The optimal situation is where the elder or his or her caregiver make the decision 'to do something' sooner. Far too often we see bad situations developing from a loving decision to keep their parents at home. People need peer group interactions. The human aging process in many ways is locked in our genome but there are many things that we can do to slow or minimize the effects of aging. All the experts agree that socialization - relationships and friendships are powerful strings that bind us to life. Most experts agree that a significant measure of mental stimulation as in games or constructive tasks help to maintain full mental functionality. Finally, everyone agrees that some level of physical activity has impact far beyond the simple and an active physical life even has a positive impact on emotions. Elders with a regular regime of physical activity are less prone to depression.
The sooner you and I get your loved one into a situation where they can participate in life fully the sooner they can transition to what can be a very quality period of their lives.