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Health and Medicine for Seniors

Seniors with Heart Problems Need to Worry About NOT Getting Flu Shot

Those with cardiovascular problems probably most in need of a flu shot

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

Two senior women focused on senior man in centerOct. 31, 2014 – When you have heart problems, as so many senior citizens do, it is natural to become concerned about things you put in your body – like vaccine to prevent flu. In this case, don’t worry, the Centers for Disease Control says what you should be worried about is catching the flu – that does increase the risk of a heart attack. There are even studies that say the flu shot may offer protection against heart attacks. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Low-Income Seniors in Medicare to See More Help in Finding Help

National Council on Aging gets funding from MIPPA Resource Center to continue assistance to low-income people

worried older woman stares out windowOct. 27, 2014 – The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has been awarded a grant from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to continue its efforts to help thousands of low-income people with Medicare to get help enrolling in programs that make their health care more affordable. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Elderly Improve Physical Function After Encouraging Subliminal Messages

Challenge was to enable the participants to overcome negative age stereotypes acquired from society

Oct. 20, 2014 – Want to make elderly people feel better about themselves? Just flash some positive words about old people on their computer screens, so fast that they are not even aware they saw them, and see their attitudes and physical function improve and stay great for weeks. That’s what researchers from the Yale School of Public Health report. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Heart Valve Disease Hits One of Ten Elderly Women Warns Educational Campaign

Alliance for Aging Research says it hits men and women but women tend to have worse prognosis

Oct. 10, 2014 - A new campaign has been launched aimed at educating about heart valve disease in women, a condition that causes damage to one or more of the heart’s four valves and can lead to loss of independence, disability and death. It affects one in 10 women age 75 and over and one in 50 of all adult women, says the Alliance for Aging Research. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Tips for Slowing Increase in Nursing Home Infections

Infections are a leading cause of deaths and complications for nursing home residents

Oct. 9, 2014 –A study, which examined infections in U.S. nursing homes over a five-year period, found increased infection rates for pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), viral hepatitis, septicemia, wound infections, and multiple drug-resistant organisms (MDROs). This alarming increase found in the study from Columbia University School of Nursing suggests more must be done to protect residents of these facilities - mostly senior citizens - from preventable complications. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Senior Men Moving to Memory Care Communities Faster Than Women

Senior men 27% more likely than women to require memory care services

Oct. 8, 2014 – Both men and women are moving in increasing numbers to memory care communities, however, male move-ins are growing at a rate that is 14 percent greater than women over a three-year period (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014), according to the senior living referral service, A Place for Mom. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Family Caregiver Alliance Adds Nine Free Publications for Caregivers

Oct. 3, 2014 - The library of free materials available online for caregivers has increased by nine publications, according to a news release by The Family Caregiver Alliance. The educational materials - many in multiple languages - include fact sheets, research reports, webinars, educational videos, and more. They are all available free online on the recently redesigned FCA website. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Most Allergic Deaths from Medications; Older People, African-Americans Usual Victims

Montefiore/Einstein research seeks risk factors to allow physicians to develop preventative strategies

Sept. 30, 2014 – When we hear of allergy-related sudden death, most of us probably think of something in the surrounding environment – like a plant, or something in the air. We would be wrong. Medications are the leading cause of allergy-related sudden deaths in the U.S. And, the risk of fatal drug-induced allergic reactions is increasing rapidly and is particularly high among older people and African-Americans.

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Complicated Grief Suffered by Senior Citizens May Be Treatable

Complicated grief is serious, debilitating mental health problem associated with functional impairment, increased suicide risk

Sept. 24, 2014 – Recent research has been pointing to grief suffered by senior citizens as often having more serious consequences that for younger people. This “complicated grief” carries serious consequences and strikes about nine percent of bereaved older women. A recent test of a treatment for CG achieved a reduction in symptoms and less disease severity.

Caregiver & Elder Care News

National Group Reduces Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes, Sets New Goals

National Partnership, including CMS, seeks to optimize the quality of life in America’s nursing homes by improving care for all residents, especially those with dementia

September 19, 2014 – After two years of success in reducing the use of antipsychotic medications by patients in long-stay nursing home care, the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care today established a new national goal of reducing the use by 25 percent by the end of 2015, and 30 percent by the end of 2016. The public-private coalition includes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), consumers, advocacy organizations, providers and professional associations.

Other Media Reports

End-of-Life Care Needs Sweeping Overhaul, Panel Says

September 17, 2014 - It calls for a “major reorientation and restructuring of Medicare, Medicaid and other health care delivery programs” and the elimination of “perverse financial incentives” that encourage expensive hospital procedures while growing numbers of very sick ...New York Times

Aging & Longevity

Dying in America is Harder Than It Has to Be – Institute of Medicine

First end-of-life conversation could coincide with a cherished American milestone of getting a driver's license at 16

By Jenny Gold, KHN Staff Writer

September 17, 2014 - It is time for conversations about death to become a part of life. That is one of the themes of a 500-page report, titled "Dying In America," released Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine. 

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Nearly Half of Senior Citizens Need Some Help with Care Needs

51% reported no difficulty in previous month, 29% reported receiving help taking care of themselves, their households or getting around

Sept. 8, 2014 - Nearly half of the senior citizens in the U.S. – 18 million people - have difficulty with daily activities or get help in managing them, according to a new study.

Caregiver & Elder Care News

New Report on Severe Hardship for Family Caregivers of Patients with Cognitive Conditions

‘All caregivers need training and support; caregivers who are responsible for people with challenging behaviors are among those most in need of assistance,’ AARP/United Hospital Fund

Aug. 20, 2014 - Family caregivers who provide complex chronic care to people who also have cognitive and behavioral health conditions face particularly demanding challenges, including high levels of self-reported depression. A majority of them (61%) reported feeling stress “sometimes to always,” between their caregiving responsibilities and trying to meet other work or family obligations, says a new report. More...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Most Seniors Not Aware of High Dose Flu Shot for Elderly Provided by Medicare

Flu vaccine, including high dose version, is provided at no cost to seniors covered by Medicare - vaccine finder on page

Aug. 17, 2014 – A stronger flu vaccine was created just for senior citizens. The high dose vaccine contains four times the antigens as the regular flu vaccine and is intended to create a stronger immune response for seniors, who are at greater risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses. The problem is that the majority of seniors are not aware of its importance. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

One of Five Medicare Hospice Patients Discharged Alive – Is It to Save Money

Live discharge rates differ between hospice programs; when should those rates raise red flags among issues explored

Aug. 13, 2014 - About 1 in 5 Medicare patients is discharged from hospice care alive, whether due to patients' informed choice, a change in their condition, or inappropriate actions by the hospice to save on hospitalization costs related to terminal illness. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Women Age 75 and Older Should Stay with Mammography Says New Study

‘There are no studies on women age 75 and older, despite the fact that they are at the highest risk for breast cancer’

Aug. 5, 2015 – There is new evidence that supports the argument for senior women – ages 75 and older – to continue in mammography screening. The research says mammography leads to earlier stage cancer diagnosis in older women, which reduces the rate of more advanced, difficult-to-treat cases. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

More Inspections of Medicare Hospice Programs Demanded by New House Bill

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization backs bi-partisan bill

Aug. 5, 2014 – Just before the House of Representatives slammed the door shut to go on their August recess, a bi-partisan bill was introduced that will require “more timely” surveys of Medicare-certified hospice care programs, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Simple Telephone Support a Great Relief for Caregivers of Dementia Patients

Program potentially less expensive than in-person treatment options, more convenient for many caregivers

July 30, 2014 – Caregivers for dementia patients must deal with enormous stress and many suffer depression. A new study has found, however, that a support program simply by telephone can significantly reduce depression and other problems for informal caregivers, such as family or friends, and is as effective as face-to-face intervention programs. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Medicare Experiment Could Signal Sea Change for Hospice Care

What is hospice care? How does it differ from palliative care? And. curative care? Being changes in care for oldest and sickest Americans

By Michelle Andrews, KHN Writer

July 30, 2014 - Diane Meier is the director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization that aims to increase the number of palliative care programs in hospitals and elsewhere for patients with serious illnesses. Meier is also a professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. We spoke about a recently launched pilot program under the health law that allows hospice patients participating in the pilot to continue to receive life-prolonging treatment. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Ten Questions About End-of-Life Care to Ask Your Aging Parents

May seem downright frightening, but it is important to know your parents' preferences at the end of life; may also be questions for discussion with a spouse

By Amy Tucci, President, CEO, Hospice Foundation of America

July 15, 2014 - If you have aging parents, now is the time to discuss what's important to them as they near the end of their lives. Too many adult children wait to have end-of-life conversations when their parents are dying or in the midst of a crisis. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Patients Moving from Hospital to Hospice Often Prescribed Questionable Antibiotics

About 27% of hospice patients still taking antibiotics for infection in the final week of their life

July 14, 2014 - New research suggests that use of antibiotics is still prevalent among terminal patients who have chosen hospice care as an end-of-life option, despite little evidence that the medications improve symptoms or quality of life, and sometimes may cause unwanted side effects. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

New Elder Abuse Roadmap Outlines Critical Path to Protecting Seniors

Efforts led by Justice Department, Health and Human Services to gather input from hundreds of private stakeholders; free training for attorneys

July 10, 2014 – The Obama Administration yesterday released The Elder Justice Roadmap, which is a program outline developed by experts in the field. It will be used by the Elder Justice Coordinating Council and others to develop strategic plans to prevent and combat elder abuse. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Too Many Seniors Fail to Heed Warning of Exposure to Hot Summer Weather

National Institute on Aging provides advice about hyperthermia that may save your life or someone you care for – elderly men the most in danger of death

July 3, 2014 – Senior citizens, especially those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning, or at least a fan, on hot and humid summer days, warns the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which suggests specific actions seniors can take to avoid deadly hyperthermia. About 1,500 in the U.S. can be expected to die from heat-related problems this summer – mostly senior men. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Sensors Monitor Seniors' Health at Home, Sync Data from Home to Hospital, Call Help

Streamlined information-sharing is in development now by University of Missouri researchers

June 20, 2014 – It will be great when technology has developed the ability to monitor senior citizens that are at risk of falling in their homes, alerts first responders of a fall and then forwards necessary health information to the hospital about to receive the patient. Such streamlined information-sharing is in development now by University of Missouri researchers.

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Only 12 Percent of Doctors, Assistants Follow End-of-Life Discussion Guidelines

Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants have long list of reasons they skip end-of-life care in counseling heart patients

June 4, 2014 - Healthcare providers are reluctant to discuss end-of-life care with heart failure patients and their families because they feel uncomfortable broaching the topic or lack time, according to a new study presented this morning at the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2014 Scientific Sessions. Read more...

Medicare and Medicaid News

Shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance - Tough Money Decision for Seniors

Many seniors don't realize long-term care is not a regular service of Medicare

By Steve Tripoli, NPR News, NPR’s Shots blog.

May 29, 2014 - One of the toughest money decisions Americans face as they age is whether to buy long-term care insurance. Many people don't realize that Medicare usually doesn't cover long-term care, yet lengthy assisted-living or nursing home stays can decimate even the best-laid retirement plan. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Method to Better Manage Agitation, Aggression in Dementia Patients Introduced

Technique called DICE helps manage the most troubling symptoms of dementia, lessen use of drugs by building link between caregivers, patients and health providers; recommended by Medicare

April 21, 2014 - A new approach to handling agitation, aggression and other unwanted behaviors by people with dementia may help reduce the use of antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs in this population, and make life easier for them and their caregivers, a team of experts says. It has already become a part of Medicare’s recommended toolkit for carrying for dementia patients. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Spouses Take on More Demanding Jobs as Caregiver Than Others, Finds New Report

Tackle tough medical, nursing tasks; less likely to get support from family, friends, health care professionals

April 14, 2014 - Spouses who are caregivers not only perform many of the tasks that health care professionals do - a range of medical/nursing tasks including medication management, wound care, using meters and monitors, and more - but they are significantly more likely to do so than other family caregivers, who are mostly adult children. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Record Number of Senior Citizens Completing Living Wills, Little Impact on Deaths

Study suggests elderly Americans are completing living wills and appointing health care surrogates more than ever before

April 2, 2014 - A record number of elderly people are completing living wills to guide end-of-life medical treatments – up from 47 percent in 2000 to 72 percent in 2010 – according to new research from the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Breast Cancer Screening Strategy in JAMA May Be Deadly for Many Women

Two medical groups continue to recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40

April 2, 2014 – Not all physicians are in total agreement with a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that raises new questions about mammograms. At present, breast cancer screening based primarily on risk - as discussed in the JAMA article - would miss the overwhelming majority of breast cancers present in women and result in thousands of unnecessary deaths each year, according to a statement from two medical groups closely associated with mammograms. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Caregivers for Stroke Patients Happier if Older, Active, Patient Mentally Okay

Caregivers were happier when caring for a family member who survived a more severe stroke

March 20, 2014 - Stroke caregivers are happier when they continue to enjoy their own hobbies and interests, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. It also helps if they are older and the person they are carrying for has less cognitive impairment, depression or memory problems. Read more...

Aging News & Opinion

Cheers for the ‘Age-Adjusted’ Cutoff Making Pulmonary Embolism Test Work for Senior Citizens

Is this a break-through in health care adjusting to meet the demands of an aging society that is different than the one we grew up in?

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

March 18, 2014 – Probably more common sense should be applied to the medical care of older people. A study released today by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) lauds the accomplishment of international doctors who solved the problem of a blood test for pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs) that was no longer working for senior citizens. Seniors seem to find themselves increasingly excluded from certain medical testing due to their advanced age. Read more...

Aging News & Information

UCLA Memory Program for Seniors Offers 'Gym For Your Brain'

UCLA Longevity Center helping both patients and caregivers live with diseases that fray their bond of shared memories.

By Anna Gorman, KHN Staff Writer,
This KHN story was produced in collaboration with The Washington Post

March 12, 2014 - Just as they had so many times during the past 60 years, Marianna and Albert Frankel stepped onto the dance floor. He took her hand in his, and smiling, waltzed her around the room. “I remembered how it used to be and we could really do the waltz and he would whirl me around until I got dizzy,” said Marianna Frankel, 82, who is 10 years younger than her husband. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Improving Self-Esteem of Seniors Can Prevent Health Problems

Confidence an important buffer to the stress of old age, Concordia University study shows

March 12, 2014 - The importance of boosting self-esteem is normally associated with the trials and tribulations of adolescence. But new research from Concordia University shows that it’s even more important for older adults to maintain and improve upon those confidence levels as they enter their twilight years. That’s because boosting self-esteem can help buffer potential health threats typically associated with the transition into older adulthood. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Elderly Diabetics Treated with Insulin Much More Likely to be Hospitalized for Hypoglycemia

The risks of hypoglycemic conditions in elderly should be considered in decisions to prescribe and intensify insulin,

March 10, 2014 - Elderly patients 80 years or older treated with insulin for diabetes were more than twice as likely to visit the emergency department (ED) and nearly five times more likely to be hospitalized for insulin-related hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and insulin-related errors (IHEs).than patients 45 to 64 years old. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Risk for Senior Citizens of Depression and Dementia Increases After Hospitalization

Dementia and depression may impair ability to care for themselves, increasing their risk for hospitalization and re-hospitalization.

By Katherine Kahn, HBNS Contributing Writer

March 5, 2014 - People over age 65 who have been hospitalized are at significantly greater risk for dementia or depression, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Lend Us Your Ears: Note Takers Help the Elderly at Their Doctor Visit

"There are four ears listening to what the doctor says"

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News

March 1, 2014 - It used to be difficult for Edith Couturier, an 85-year-old resident of the District of Columbia, to explain to her adult children on the West Coast all the details of her medical appointments. But now she doesn't go alone — she takes along a volunteer "medical note taker." Read more...

Aging News & Information

Death of Partner Linked with Increased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke in Seniors for 30 Days

Large study concludes bereavement does greatly increase risk but it is still small

Feb. 24, 2014 – A large study has confirmed what many have suspected – the risk of a heart attack or stroke increases during the 30 days following the death of a partner, at least for seniors. But, the good news from this large study is that only a small fraction of surviving partners suffers these potentially deadly events. The bad news is that the risk is about double of that for those not suffering from this bereavement. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Loneliness in Older People May Increase Chance of Death by 14 Percent

Retiring to a warmer climate among strangers isn’t necessarily a good idea, if it means you are disconnected from the people who mean the most to you

By William Harms

Feb. 18, 2014 - Feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 percent, according to research by psychologist John Cacioppo, one of the nation’s leading experts on loneliness. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Connecting Families with Long-Forgotten Cremated Remains Is Goal of New Website

Thousands of cremated remains stacked up around the country go unclaimed

Feb. 18, 2014 – Thousands of cremated remains in the U.S. go unclaimed each year and line the storage shelves of funeral homes, cremation providers and government agencies across the country. A new website, founded by Michael Neal, a funeral director in Washington, Pa., is aimed at linking these remains with their loved ones. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Seniors Moved from Nursing Homes to Home, Community Care Suffer More Hospitalizations

Long-term care at home meets desires of older patients and can save Medicaid money

Feb. 12, 2014 – What looks like a “win-win” for everyone – senior citizens and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – is not turning out that way, according to a new study in the online Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The seniors want to age at home, rather than in nursing homes, which can save money for Medicaid. The problem the study found was that as these older people eligible for Medicaid and Medicare were moved  into community care there was a 40 percent greater risk of "potentially preventable" hospitalizations. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Elderly, Men, Minorities Not Getting Treated for Depression

70% who were depressed had received no treatment; those who were male, Mexican- or African-American or over 80 least likely to receive treatment

By Milly Dawson, HBNS Contributing Writer

Feb. 6, 2014 - A leading cause of disability, depression rates are increasing in the U.S. and under-treatment is widespread, especially among certain groups including men, the poor, the elderly and ethnic minorities, finds a new study in General Hospital PsychiatryRead more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Patients, Caregivers Will Have Direct Access to Lab Test Results Due to New Rule by HHS Agencies

Now patients and their designated care-givers can not only get info from physicians, but also directly from laboratories

Feb. 3, 2014 - Patients or someone they designate will soon have direct access to completed laboratory test reports from the lab performing the test. As part of an ongoing effort to empower patients to be informed partners with their health care providers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and two other agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) joined forces to issue the new rule. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

What Does Team-Based Care Mean for Patients? Expanding Rapidly with Push by Medicare

Editor’s Note: There are over 360 Accountable Care Organizations working with Medicare to provide higher-quality coordinated care for seniors. Doctors, hospitals and health care providers establish ACOs to work together to provide better health care, while working to slow the growth of health care cost.

By Jessie Gruman, President, Center for Advancing Health

Jan. 16, 2014 - Have you heard that soon most primary care in the U.S. will be delivered by teams? Yep. Team-based care is one of the characteristics of the patient-centered medical home, a way of organizing the care of patients that allows primary care clinicians to see more patients in a day while at the same time delivering better care. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Seniors are Least Likely to Discuss Alcohol Use with Health Care Provider but Few Adults Do

Drinking too much alcohol has many more health risks than most people realize.

Alcohol screening and counseling is an effective but underused health service but most doctors do not raise the subject with patients: CDC reports

Jan. 8, 2014 - Only one in six adults - and only one in four binge drinkers - say a health professional has ever discussed alcohol use with them and senior citizens are the least likely to have ever had such a discussion, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

In Churn of Assisted Living Deals, An Island of Misery

‘Conceived as a humane alternative to nursing homes, assisted living facilities typically offer apartment-like rooms, meals, and help to people too ill or frail to live independently, most of them elderly’

By A.C. Thompson, ProPublica

Jan. 2, 2014 - The one-story beige building on Southwest Hill Road in McMinnville, Ore. – an old mill town between Portland and Salem – has seen plenty of trouble over the years of its operation as an assisted living facility. Two men have been jailed for committing sex crimes inside its walls. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Palliative Care Helps with One Family’s Journey: Medicare Program to Improve Care, Reduce Costs

Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses, relieving symptoms, pain and stress - It’s not hospice

By Jenny Gold, KHN Staff Writer

Jan. 2, 2014 - When palliative care specialist Dr. Tim Ihrig crosses the threshold of the Avelleyras home, he steps over a doormat that says, "One nice person and one old grouch live here." It doesn’t take long to figure out who the nice person is. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Dementia Patients Living at Home and Caregivers Have Many Unmet Needs

Cannot cure dementia but there are things that can keep people with dementia at home longer; Identifying and treating depression of patients and caregivers may enable them to address their other unmet needs.

Dec. 19, 2013 - Most people with dementia who live at home have multiple unmet health and welfare needs, any number of which could jeopardize their ability to remain home for as long as they desire, new Johns Hopkins research suggests. The study also suggests that identifying and treating depression in people with dementia and their caregivers may enable them to address their other unmet needs. Read more...

Exercise & Fitness for Senior Citizens

Elderly Women Spend Two-Thirds of Time in Unhealthy Sedentary Behavior

Increasing age and body mass index just make matters worse

Dec. 17, 2013 - Health experts see sedentary behavior – when the effort does not raise the energy required above your resting level – as a risk factor for poor health. New research on thousands of senior women finds they spend about two-thirds of their waking hours in such dangerous behavior. Read more...

Aging News & Information

End-of-Life Issues Not Addressed by Majority of Americans

Age, race, education level, and health status impact advance directive completion

December 10, 2013 – During the past two decades, high-profile legal cases surrounding end-of-life decisions have received widespread attention in the United States, prompting increased media focus and numerous debates on the subject. Despite this continuing nationwide dialogue, many Americans still tend to avoid addressing their own end-of-life (EOL) issues, including the completion of advance directives. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Senior Safety & Well-Being Checklist Helps Children Assess Needs During Holiday Visit

Survey finds 43% of adult children plan discussions with parents during holiday system on issues of well-being

Dec. 10, 2013 – As families gather during this holiday season, major topics of discussion by 43 percent of adult children who will visit their parents or in-laws will include issues such as health, finances, housing, mobility and memory loss, according to research commissioned by A Place for Mom, which has created a helpful "Senior Safety & Well-Being Checklist." Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

National Flu Vaccination Week Opens with Senior Citizens as Prime Targets

60 percent of flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. occur in senior age group; learn about extra-strong vaccine for senior citizens - flu locator

Dec. 9, 2013 - National Influenza Vaccination Week opened Sunday and seniors are prime targets of the campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Senior citizens – age 65 and older – last year recorded the highest flu-related hospitalization rates since the CDC began tracking this information during the 2005-2006 flu season. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Inflammatory Response in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Beneficial During Early Hours

Concussion secrets unveiled as NIH scientists film early damage and describe brain’s response to injury - see video

Dec. 9, 2013 - There is more than meets the eye following even a mild traumatic brain injury, a serious health concern for seniors. Approximately 22% of all TBI-related hospitalizations involved adults aged 75 years and older. While the brain may appear to be intact, new findings reported in Nature suggest that the brain’s protective coverings may feel the brunt of the impact. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Older People Make Mistakes Using Shape, Size, Color to ID Their Drugs

People over 50 who identified blood pressure medication by shape, size or color instead of name had poorer adherence, poorer blood pressure control and an increased risk of hospitalization

By Stephanie Stephens, HBNS Contributing Writer

Dec. 5, 2013 - Older people who identify their blood pressure medications by shape, size and color instead of by name may risk poor blood pressure control and increase their risk of hospitalization, finds a recent study in the Journal of Health Communication: International PerspectivesRead more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Helpful Information for Seniors, Caregivers Introduced by Emeritus Senior Living

Video series of safety tips, holiday help with Alzheimer’s patients and website on living with dementia all available free

Dec. 3, 2013 – Emeritus Senior Living is promoting their services for seniors and their caregivers with innovative information services that are providing useful and helpful information. The latest include tips on celebrating the holidays with an Alzheimer’s patient, a video series providing tips to help seniors and caregivers lead safer and healthier lives and a new website with a variety of resources for people living with dementia. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

When Palliative Care Is The Best Care: Growing Rapidly in Hospitals

Hospitals around U.S. increasingly starting palliative care, designed to relieve seriously ill patients’ pain, stress and symptoms regardless of how long they will live

By Anna Gorman, KHN Staff Writer

Dec. 3, 2013 - Leanne Henry winced. Five weeks had passed since her liver transplant, and she hurt just lying still. Katie Schlenker softly touched her leg. “Are you still in a lot of pain?” Henry, a petite mother of five who has been hospitalized since early September, closed her eyes and nodded. “It’s not like an ache,” she told her doctor. “It’s pain that just won’t go away.” Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Senior Parents Less Concerned about Wellbeing than are Adult Children

Caring for aging parents is often referred to as the new mid-life crisis

Nov. 22, 2013 – A new survey of nearly 400 aging parents and adult children finds the children are generally more concerned about their aging parent's wellbeing than the older adult is about his or her own situation. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Tips for Senior Citizens to Protect Against Health Care Scams

Scammers are trying to con seniors into giving out sensitive information while signing them up for plans they do not need

Nov. 21, 2013 - Fraudsters are capitalizing on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicare’s Open Enrollment. The shifts in the healthcare landscape have prompted some criminals to carry out health care scams targeting seniors, according to the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Solutions Allowing Aging Seniors to Remain in Their Homes Reported in Hawaii Project

Aging-in-place care reduces costly emergency and residential care – major contributors to soaring Medicare and Medicaid spending

Nov. 12, 2013 - A report revealing the economic, social and human considerations of "aging in place" - eldercare that allows seniors to remain at home - has been issued by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Based on work with a network of eldercare-related service providers in Hawaii, NFF's report identifies universal barriers to aging-in-place as well as solutions that promise to deliver cost savings while improving the lives of seniors. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Half Elderly Starting Dialysis After Age 75 Die Within Year Finds Mayo Clinic

New evidence to to help guide shared decision-making among the patient, family members and care team - see video

Nov. 8, 2013 - Half of elderly patients who start dialysis after age 75 will die within one year, according to new research from Mayo Clinic finds that. Although, age alone was not a good measure. The findings will being presented this week at the American Society of Nephrology's Kidney Week 2013 in Atlanta. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Fighting Medicaid Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Through Education - Medicare Blog

By Ted Doolittle, CMS Deputy Director, Center for Program Integrity

Nov. 7, 2013 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wants everyone to join in the fight against fraud, waste, and abuse as part of our comprehensive strategy to protect federal health care programs and taxpayer dollars.  We are now making it easier than ever before for health care providers, managed care plans, and individuals and families with Medicaid benefits to use the education and training materials on the new Medicaid Program Integrity website. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Eye Exams Emphasized for Seniors with Diabetes to Avoid Common Vision Loss

National Diabetes Month emphasized by National Eye Institute to highlight a leading cause of vision loss in U.S.

Nov. 1, 2013 - If you are one of more than 11 million seniors with diabetes, you probably already know the importance of watching your diet and keeping track of your blood sugar. But did you know it’s also important to have regular eye exams? In the United States, diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Elderly Heart Patients Deserve Preventive Care: American Heart Association Scientific Statement

Oct. 31, 2013 — Strategies to prevent heart attack, stroke and other major cardiac events should be individualized for older adults - age 75 and older - who should also play a role in choosing their therapies, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published in its journal Circulation. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Senior Citizens at High Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries from Falls

Falls continued to be the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (35.2%) in the United States; Falls cause  61% of all TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older

Oct. 29, 2013 - Anyone who cares for or just cares about an older adult - a parent, grandparent, other family member, or even a close friend - will say they are concerned about keeping their loved one healthy and independent. But few will say they are worried about a traumatic brain injury (TBI) robbing their loved one of his or her independence. That’s because many people simply are unaware that TBI is a serious health concern for seniors. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Palliative Care Myths Debunked by Mayo Clinic Experts Who Say It is Not Just End-of-Life Care

November is Palliative Care Awareness Month; palliative care involvement being introduced too late in an illness - see video in story

Oct. 28, 2013 - Palliative care, a specialized, multidisciplinary team approach to caring for seriously ill people and their families, is often errantly reduced to end-of-life care. This misconception has led to palliative care involvement being introduced late in an illness, often depriving patients and their families of comprehensive symptom control, support and assistance with complex decision-making throughout the course of their illness when it could provide the most benefit. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Paramedic Visits with Seniors Citizens Result in Less EMS Calls and Emergency Room Trips

Community health awareness delivered by paramedics leads to 32 percent reduction in EMS calls

Oct. 20, 2013 - Emergency Medical Service (EMS) staff are accustomed to responding to emergencies, especially for senior citizens. A study presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress finds they may be able to prevent many emergencies as well, judging by the preliminary success of a pilot project at a Hamilton building for seniors. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Caregivers Endure a Lot of Stress but Live 18 Percent Longer Than Non-Caregivers

Taking care of a chronically ill person in your family is often associated with stress, and caregiving has been previously linked to increased mortality rates

Oct. 16, 2013 – You can forget about what we have always heard - that those caregivers who assist chronically ill or disabled family members undergo tremendous stress that takes years off their lives. New research says these caregivers enjoy an 18 percent survival advantage over non-caregivers. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

Why Do They Keep Screening 75-Year-Olds for Cancer When They Are Not Supposed To?

As a 75-year-old I have an opinion on this new JAMA study finding docs keep on doing PSA screening for old guys despite the experts advising against it

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

Oct. 15, 2013 – Okay, I am 75 years old. I have sort of stopped telling people my exact age, because most of them quickly apply the old-age-label to you and begin to treat you as a has-been. It really hit me when I watched the television show about zombies – The Living Dead – with some of my grandchildren and one of the young ones said, “You can tell the zombies because they walk like old grandpas.” Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Oral Health of Older Americans in 'State of Decay' – New Website to Help Find Care

 ‘Older adults face significant health challenges if their oral health is poor, and there is no coordinated program to help fund necessary services.’

Oct. 10, 2013 - The oral health of older Americans is in a state of decay, according to a new national report released today by Oral Health America (OHA). It finds more than half of the country received a "fair" or "poor" assessment when it comes to minimal standards affecting dental care access for older adults. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Expanding Meals on Wheels for Seniors Could Save Money for Many States

Meals on Wheels helps some Medicaid-receiving seniors stay out of nursing homes, saving 26 of 48 states money allowing more seniors to stay in their own homes

Oct. 7, 2013 -  Home-delivered meals bring not only food to seniors but also the opportunity to remain in their homes. A new study by Brown University public health researchers projects that if every U.S. state in the lower 48 expanded the number of seniors receiving meals by just 1 percent, 1,722 more Medicaid recipients avoid living in a nursing home and most states would experience a net annual savings from implementing the expansion. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

HHS Funds National Call Center for People with Alzheimer’s and Caregivers

Alzheimer’s Association to continue linking America with local resources, 24 hours a day

Sept. 27, 2013 - The Alzheimer’s Association has been granted up to $985,135 per year over five years to continue providing a 24-hour phone line for people with Alzheimer’s disease and those who care for them from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to Kathy Greenlee, administrator of the Administration for Community Living, part of HHS. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

New Urine Test for Prostate Cancer Hailed as Best Ever and Easily Available by Mail

Research shows the two-marker urine test is more effective than PSA test alone, or PSA testing that’s incorporated into a commonly used online tool - the Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator

Sept. 25, 2013 - A new urine test for prostate cancer that measures minute fragments of RNA is now commercially available to men nationwide through the University of Michigan Mlabs, according to a news release issued by the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The new test - Mi-Prostate Score (MiPS) - improves the utility of the PSA blood test, increases physicians’ ability to pick out high-risk prostate tumors from low-risk tumors in patients, and may help tens of thousands of men avoid unnecessary biopsies. Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

Jitterbug Mobile Phones for Seniors Get New Plans for Better Mobile Health, Safety

5Star, included in all new GoPlans for Jitterbug, transforms the phone into a personal medical alert device, company says

Sept. 24, 2013 – The Jitterbug cell phone, designed for senior citizens and their families, has new service plans offering unlimited access to medical alert services, medical professionals, and other exclusive health management tools, all combined with minutes for a flat monthly fee. GreatCall, Inc., creator of the phone, announced the new plans last week. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Home Care Workers Who Assist Elderly Get Minimum Wage, Overtime Coverage

Millions of senior citizens who want to spend as much of their lives as possible in their homes expected to welcome Labor Department action making work conditions better for two million care workers

Sept. 17, 2013 - Fulfilling a promise by President Obama to ensure that direct care workers receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule today extending the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation's workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries or disabilities. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Video All Senior Citizens, Caregivers Must See on Fighting Deadly Sepsis

Progression from a localized infection to full-blown deadly sepsis can occur in mere hours, especially in older people

Sept. 10, 2013 – Sepsis kills more than a million Americans every year. It's the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. but older adults, especially those with weakened immune systems, chronic conditions, and those over the age of 85, are most likely to die from this medical condition that develops when the body initiates a powerful immune response against an infection. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Screening for Minor Memory Problems May Wrongly Label Many with Dementia

Experts gather in New Hampshire today to discuss threat to health, the waste of money by unnecessary care; Medicare covers annual cognitive test in wellness visit

Sept. 10, 2013 – The ongoing debate in medical circles over when people – in particular senior citizens – should be screened for various afflictions has not hit the battle against dementia. A political drive, led by the UK and US, to screen older people for minor memory changes (often called mild cognitive impairment or pre-dementia) is leading to unnecessary investigation and potentially harmful treatment for what is arguably an inevitable consequence of ageing, warn experts on bmj.com today. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Decrease in antipsychotic drugs for dementia patients in nursing homes hailed by CMS

Nursing homes moving toward more patient-center treatment as urged by CMS initiative

Aug. 28, 2013 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) cheered new data showing that nursing homes are moving away from the use of antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of patients with dementia and other behavioral health problems. Instead, they are pursuing more patient-centered treatment. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Rural senior citizens prefer self-care over doctors medical advice

Seniors over age 65 living in rural North Carolina believe they can control their health better than a medical professional

By Valerie DeBenedette, HBNS Contributing Writer

Aug. 21, 2013 - A survey of older rural adults found a high degree of medical skepticism, the belief that one knows and can control their own health better than a medical professional can, reports a recent study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. For some, these beliefs correlate with a higher tendency toward self-care.

Medicare/Medicaid News

HHS wants hospital observations credited toward Medicare nursing home coverage

Seniors kept for observation varies by hospital; Medicare doesn't pay for expensive follow-up nursing home care for observation patients

By Susan Jaffe, KHN

Aug. 1, 2013 - Medicare patients' chances of being admitted to the hospital or kept for observation depend on what hospital they go to - even when their symptoms are the same, notes a federal watchdog agency in a report released Tuesday, which also urges Medicare officials to count those observation visits toward the three-inpatient-day minimum required for nursing home coverage. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

High rate of delirium in senior citizens after surgery  increases risk of cognitive decline, nursing home

45 percent have delirium in recovery room;  adverse effects on hospital outcomes; increased nursing home admission

July 24, 2013 – Close to half of senior citizens undergoing surgery with general anesthesia are found to have delirium in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU), according to a study in the August issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS). Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Need to Address Long-Term Care Demands Highlighted in Report by AARP, Others

States struggling with high demand and limited resources to provide non-Medicaid long-term services and supports

July 16, 2013 - A report highlighting the challenges facing states in providing long-term services and supports (LTSS) was released today, just as states begin to implement LTSS options in the Affordable Care Act that increase access to Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS). Most states did not increase funding for non-Medicaid services – including senior centers, information and referral, transportation and caregiver supports, such as those under the Older Americans Act. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

New CDC Report Finds Extreme Summer Heat Kills More than All Other Natural Disasters, Offers Help

Most who died were senior citizens, single, living alone, males; CDC launches new website

June 7, 2013 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging people – senior citizens in particular – to prepare themselves for the extreme heat of summer after releasing a report showing the U.S. averages 658 deaths a year from this heat – more than die from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Health Plan Offers Members Access to Walgreens Clinics; Geriatric Society Offers Tips on Use

AGS updates tip sheet on what senior citizens and caregivers need to know about using retail clinics; Wellcare makes deal for Medicare health plan members

By Tucker Sutherland, editor

May 23, 2013 - Health care services by retail clinics can be a safe option for older adults for occasional, minor health problems, but should not take the place of an individual’s primary care provider, according to a newly updated consumer tip sheet by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and Healthinaging.org. A sign of the growing popularity of these clinics is an announcement this week by WellCare Health Plans that it will offer its Medicare Advantage members access to the more than 370 Take Care Clinics located at select Walgreens.

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Physical, Emotional Impairments Common, Often Untreated in People with Cancer

‘prehabilitation,’ precursor to rehabilitation, is recommended at time of diagnosis up until treatment begins; rebab cost effective; critical

May 20, 2013 - A majority of cancer survivors will have significant physical and psychological impairments as a result of treatments and these often go undetected and/or untreated, resulting in disability, according to a new review. It finds cancer survivors suffer a diverse and complex set of impairments, affecting virtually every organ system. Read more...

Exercise & Fitness for Senior Citizens

Exercise Fails to Help Depressed Elderly in London Care Homes

Popular with residents but it had no effect on depression or general quality of life

May 2, 2013 – Exercise often seems to be an automatic recommendation for anything that ails a senior citizen. New research indicates, however, that this common solution for better mental and physical health has met its match in trying to help elderly living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities escape from depression. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Too Many Stroke Victims Fail to Use EMS for Fastest Trip to Treatment

Ethnic minorities, rural residents least likely to call 911 at onset of a stroke as recommended by American Heart Association

April 30, 2013 — Time is critical to stroke victims but more than a third don’t get to the hospital by ambulance, even though that’s the fastest way to get help, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Antibiotic-Resistant Strain of E. Coli Increasing Among Senior Citizens in Nursing Homes

Spread of E. coli ST131 already a pandemic but has received little attention in the U.S. – ‘making development of strategies to halt further emergence and spread of these strains a public health priority’

March 12, 2013 - Antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) continues to proliferate, driven largely by expansion of a strain of E. coli know as sequence type ST131. A new study points to hospitals and long-term care facilities (LTCF) as settings in which this antibiotic-resistant strain is increasingly found, particularly among senior citizens. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Women Will See Long-Term Care Rates Increased by Major Insurer

Women's premiums may increase by 20 to 40 percent under the new pricing policy: they live longer than men

By Michelle Andrews, KHN, Insuring Your Health

Feb. 27, 2013 - Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act will largely prohibit insurers who sell individual and small-group health policies from charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. Long-term-care insurance, however, isn't bound by that law, and the country's largest provider of such coverage has announced it will begin setting its prices based on sex this spring. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Aging Often Means Decline in Vision and Need to Learn to Live a Little Differently

‘Cases of diabetic retinopathy among people aged 65 or older will quadruple to 9.9 million’ - State Independent Living Council Stresses You Are Not Alone

Feb. 22, 2013 - For most people, age brings a decline in vision. Some of the most frequently diagnosed age-related diseases trigger the loss of vision or blindness, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Read more...

Medicare News

Hospice Group Says JAMA Report on Last Minute Use of Hospice Care is Call for Action

NHPCO calls for earlier and more frequent conversations between patients and healthcare professionals

Feb. 6, 2013 – Research published yesterday in JAMA found the rate of hospice use doubled from 2000 to 2009 but 28 percent of these dying Medicare patients used the service three days or less. This is “a call for action,” says a statement from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Read more...

Medicare News

Lower Percentage of Medicare Patients Dying in Hospitals; Increase in Use of ICUs, Hospice

The use of hospice care has doubled but it tends to be for a very short period before death - see video

Feb. 5, 2013 – In a study that included data on more than 800,000 Medicare patients who died between 2000 - 2009, a lower proportion died in an acute care hospital in recent years, although both intensive care unit (ICU) use and the rate of health care transitions increased during the last month of life, according to a study appearing in the February 6 issue of JAMA. Read more, see video...

Medicare News

Hospices May Be Discouraging Patients with Expensive Medical Needs

Medicare pays for most hospice care and a patient's doctor and hospice medical director must certify patient has 6 months or less to live; patients must agree not to seek curative care

Jan. 23, 2013 - Many people who are terminally ill delay entering hospice care until just a few days or weeks before they die, in part because they or their families don't want to admit that there's no hope for a cure. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Nutritional Factors to Preserve Muscle Mass, Strength and Performance in Senior Citizens

Review by International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Nutrition Working Group examines role of nutrition in sarcopenia, with focus on protein, vitamins D and B, and acid-based diet.

Jan. 18, 2013 - Sarcopenia - the decrease in the amount and quality of muscle - is a common consequence of aging, and poses a significant risk factor for disability in older adults. Falling, which can lead to fractures and other injuries for seniors, is often caused by poor muscle strength resulting from sarcopena. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Major Hurdle Cleared in Effort to Create a Pill to Improve Hearing Loss for Millions of Seniors

U. of Florida researchers think they have opened the way for research to move forward on hearing-loss drugs for older and younger Americans

Jan. 17, 2013 – A pill to make you hear better? A joy to millions of senior citizens suffering with hearing loss. It maybe closer than you think. University of Florida researchers say they have solved one of the problems that has slowed development of a hearing pill. Read more...

Dieting Does Not Seem to Matter in Health of Obese Seniors Age 75 and Older

Reports even suggest there may be survival benefits associated with overweight, mild obesity among the elderly

Jan. 15, 2013 – Putting senior citizens age 75 and up – described as of “advanced age” - on an overly restrictive diet to treat their excess weight and other conditions appears to have little benefit, according to researchers at Penn State and Geisinger Healthcare System. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

High Tech Surveillance Swoops Into Health Care to Protect Senior Citizens

One company offers radar beam for in-home monitoring of vital signs, activities of daily living and falls; another collects data from motion, temperature, door, chair, bed, pill box sensors, caller ID information to catch telephone scams

By Michael L.Millenson

Jan. 14, 2013 - In an inconspicuous control room at the Sioux Falls, S.D., headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, nurses keep round-the-clock watch on motion and humidity sensors in the living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms of elderly men and women in five states. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Seniors with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Do Poorly on Therapy Designed for Younger Patients

People who develop chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are typically age 65 and older, but participants in CLL clinical trials are usually several years younger

Dec. 12, 2012 – Although most people are age 65 or older – senior citizens – when they develop chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), most of the clinical trials use younger participants. And, age is not usually considered when treatment is determined. A new study says this is a mistake – the therapies should be different for older CLL patients and younger ones, although the disease is incurable. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Life-Saving Ideas on Video of Using Technology to Help Remember to Take Meds

Seniors citizens and caregivers may find these simple ideas to be very easy to use and helpful in meeting a challenge many older people face - see video winner

Dec. 10, 2012 – Some very good ideas that could even be lifesavers have been selected winners in a contest seeking ideas on how people can use technology to help them remember to take their medications – a significant problem among senior citizens. The top four entries and the popular choice award all received cash prizes but the real reward will come from helping assure patients take their meds as they should. Read more, see video...

Medicaid News

Huge Experiment Aims To Save On Care For Poorest, Sickest Patients: Many Seniors

Dec. 10, 2012 - Editor’s Note: Too often baby boomers and senior citizens ignore the Medicaid program, assuming they will never need that medical assistance for the poorest. It also happens too often that many who thought that find they do, as medical, housing and long-term care expenses devour their nest egg. Medicaid becomes the last resort for survival. It has become a real focus of controversy as federal and state governments struggle to fund it. This report focuses on possible solutions for those seniors who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid – the “dual-eligibles,” they are called - as well a younger patients who cannot afford care. Read more, see video...

Aging News & Information

Unique Joint Replacement Promo Features Olympic Coach, Others Writing Letters to Younger Selves

Legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski teams with author Ellyn Spragins to release "Had I Known Then," A collection of letters from former joint pain sufferers to their younger selves

Dec. 7, 2012 – In a unique way to encourage those with joint pain to consider joint replacement, an orthopedics company has published an online booklet that features a U.S. Olympics coach and several others who regret not having their painful joints replaced earlier. Senior citizens and baby boomers, the most likely to have debilitating osteoarthritis, often delay hip or knee replacement surgery for years due to fear, misinformation or a lack of awareness about treatment options. Read more, see video...

Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements

Fish Oil Helps Heal Bed Sores of the Critically Ill

Tel Aviv University research finds a 20-25 percent reduction in pressure ulcers with a fish oil enriched diet; maybe it has a role in general pain management, too

Dec. 4, 2012 - Chock-full of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, fish oil can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation in the skin and joints, and promote healthy fetal development. Now, a Tel Aviv University researcher has found that it has a positive effect on bedsores, too - a common problem in critically ill patients. Read more...

Mental Health

Older People Most Unhappy with Health Problems That Disrupt Life; Study Finds How to Measure

People with cancer are significantly happier than those with urinary incontinence, but new research seeks ‘debility’ score to quantify

Nov. 13, 2012 – It is well established that how unhappy a disease makes older people is determined by the degree to which it disrupts their daily life. A new research project, however, has now found a way to measure how much a disease disrupts daily function. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Elderly Go From Capable Consumer to ‘Old Person’ with Help of Boomer Children

Almost every stereotype we associate with being elderly is something negative, from being ‘crotchety’ and unwilling to change to being forgetful

Nov. 12, 2012 -Many baby boomers, just a short time away from becoming senior citizens, really want to improve the way people view aging. Too often, however, they reinforce negative stereotypes of old age when interacting with their own parents, coloring the way those seniors experience their twilight years. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Informal, Family Care in Home Healthcare Impacts Risk of Return to Hospital

Amount of care and assistance from informal caregivers had an important impact on self-care ability and rehospitalization risk

Nov. 12, 2012 – Elderly patients being treated in home healthcare after a stay in the hospital are much less likely to return to the hospital if they experience strong “social environmental factors,” especially if this care is provided by a family member or other informal caregiver. Read more...

High Quality Personal Relationships Improve Survival for Breast Cancer Patients

Study is among first to show that the ‘quality’ of relationships is important to survival - family, community, religious

Nov. 12, 2012 —The quality of a woman's social networks - the personal relationships that surround her - appears to be just as important as the size of her networks in predicting breast cancer survival. Kaiser Permanente scientists found women with small networks and low levels of support were 61 percent more likely to die from breast cancer and other causes than those with small networks and high levels of support. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obamacare Gets New Life with Election Win by President Obama; Takes Place in History

President’s second term will be about bringing the law to life; Obama reelection, Democrats holding the Senate will solidify the law in American history - see editor's notes on benefits for seniors

By Jay Hancock, KHN Staff Writer

Nov. 7, 2012 - President Barack Obama’s victory cements the Affordable Care Act, expanding coverage to millions but leaving weighty questions about how to pay for it and other care to be delivered to an increasingly unhealthy, aging population. Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

Death on Demand – the Law in Oregon, on Ballot in Massachusetts, a Hot Radio Show

Dramatic one-hour radio show by Tom Ashbrook has already generated 230 comments - available online

Oct. 19, 2012 – Assisted suicide, euthanasia, right to die, death with dignity – or whatever it’s called -is an unpleasant topic that most had rather not discuss but it grabs the attention of many seniors. Tom Ashbrook of the radio show “On Point,” has lots of people talking, mostly about the voting taking place in Massachusetts that may make it legal there. Read more...

Insurance & Investments for Seniors

Putting The 'Care' Into Long-Term Care Insurance - Some States Taking Action

Some insurance companies are slow to pay and have been known to deny payments completely

By Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oct. 17, 2012 - Long-term care insurance is the financial equivalent of doing push-ups -- it's good for you, but not too much fun. As a result, not many people buy long-term care insurance, which pays for care when they get too old or sick to take care of their basic needs like cooking or bathing. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

New Educational Campaign to Make Americans More Aware of Palliative Care

The Joint Commission releases 'Speak Up: What you need to know about your serious illness and palliative care' – advice to help patients, families cope; see video

 Oct. 11, 2012 – Palliative care is still not a well-known or understood service, although it has proven to help many patients and the families of patients living with a serious illness or health problem in dealing with emotional, physical and spiritual concerns. A new educational campaign has been launched by The Joint Commission that may heighten awareness of this special health care. Read more, see video...

Medicare News

Medicare Skilled Nursing Appears to Be Used for End of Life Care Due to Cost

Authors say high Medicare SNF benefit use at the end of life highlights a need to incorporate quality palliative care services in nursing home

Oct. 1, 2012 – Most Medicare patients enroll in skilled nursing facility (SNF) care for rehabilitation or life-prolonging care, but in reality, many are dying patients discharged to a SNF for end-of-life care, where the available care may not be available. A new report finds that almost one-third of Medicare senior citizens received care in a SNF in the last six months of their lives under the Medicare post-hospitalization benefit. A reason for this shift may be the cost. Read more...

Insurance & Investments for Seniors

Often Unnoticed In Nursing Home Papers Is Arbitration Agreement You May Not Want to Sign

Anxious seniors or their caregivers often sign every document that's put in front of them, perhaps only glancing at the content

By Michelle Andrews

Sept. 18, 2012 - When Paul Ormond signed John Mitchell into a nursing home in Dennis, Mass., in June, he was handed a few dozen pages of admission papers. Ormond, Mitchell's legal guardian and an old friend, signed wherever the director of admissions told him to. Read more...

Health for Senior Citizens

Sam’s Club Joins Walmart to Offer Ten Immunizations in 4,352 Pharmacies

Free blood pressure screenings today (Sept. 15) in all Walmart stores offering immunizations; also on Sept. 22 and 29

Sept. 10, 2012 – Sam’s Club announced it is joining Walmart to offer 10 vital immunizations this cold and flu season at all 552 Sam’s Club locations with a pharmacy, which will open to the public. In partnership with Mollen Immunization Clinics, Walmart and Sam’s Club are offering a menu of 10 immunizations by registered nurses through November 15, including shingles, flu and pneumonia. The program began Aug. 27 at the 3,800 Walmarts with pharmacies. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

New Healthinaging.org Website Offers Health Information Unique to Older Adults

American Geriatrics Society Foundation launches website to help seniors and caregivers manage complex health issues, decisions

Sept. 14, 2012 - Providing the up-to-date, expert health information that all older adults - especially those with multiple, complex health problems - and their caregivers need, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Foundation for Health in Aging launched its new website, Healthinaging.org, on Wednesday. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

2012 Beers Criteria by American Geriatrics Society Supported by Helpful Tools

Latest criteria since 2003 to identify commonly prescribed drugs that are potentially risk for seniors

Sept. 14, 2012 - The American Geriatrics Society, which published an updated Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults on March 1, 2012, has now added a number of tools to help caregivers protect senior citizens from a wide range of dangerous medications. These dangerous drugs can cause serious side effects and adverse events in people 65 and older and was last revised in 2003. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Elderly More Willing to Accept Help from Robots Than Many May Expect

Older adults generally open to robot assistance in the home, but preferred it for daily living tasks rather than personal help

Sept. 13, 2012 – Research has well established that the elderly in the U.S. prefer to maintain their independence and remain in their homes as they age. A key to making this possible can be robotic technology. A new study has produced results that surprised many – seniors are not opposed to a little robotic help, but they are a little picky about which things robots should do for them. Read more...

Advice Column from Dr. Carolyn Clancy

Helping Senior Citizens Avoid Return Trips to the Hospital

Next month Medicare will prod hospitals to improve their practices; Those with high readmissions for heart attack, pneumonia, and heart failure will get paid less

By Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Sept. 11, 2012 - If you or a loved one has ever been in the hospital for a serious condition, the last thing you want is a fast return trip. But that's what happens to 1 in 5 patients covered by Medicare, the health insurance program for people 65 and older, a major study found. Hospital readmissions within 30 days are costly for Medicare and for patients. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Lots of High Tech Efforts to Prevent Drug Errors but Don’t Forget Simple Stuff

Watch video by pharmacy professor on basics of medication management

Aug. 22, 2012 - As researchers develop high tech solutions like smartphone apps, computerized tools and even ingestible devices to help individuals taking multiple medications manage their pills, it becomes increasingly important to not forget the simple stuff. And, this can be critical for seniors – the most often to visit emergency rooms with drug reactions. Read more...

Medicare News

How will Medicare Medigap Insurance Change Under Health Law?

Plans F and C are the most popular supplemental plans, chosen by nearly two-thirds of beneficiaries; Will increasing premiums be slowed?

By Michelle Andrews

Aug. 20, 2012 - Occasionally, this column answers reader questions about health insurance and how the health law affects them. How will the new health law affect Medigap policies? I’m on Medicare with a Medigap Plan F. Premiums are rising 20 percent a year. It’s a real strain for me? Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

Doc-in-a-Box Retail Medical Clinics Booming with Growth in Senior Citizen Patients

Seniors using these neighborhood clinics now almost 20% of all traffic

Clinic in Super Target in MinnesotaAug. 16, 2012 - Fast-growing retail medical clinics are attracting senior citizen patients and delivering more preventive care, particularly flu shots and other vaccinations, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

New Booklets to Protect Older Americans, Others Most Vulnerable to Food Poisoning

Will help at-risk feel confident about safety of foods they prepare, eat; helpful to physicians, health care providers to educate at-risk patients

Aug. 9, 2012 – A booklet – Food Safety for Older Adults – is one of six being published by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide food safety advice developed specifically for the needs of people most vulnerable to food poisoning and those who prepare food for them. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Senior Medicare Patients Lower Risk of Hip Fracture with Cataract Surgery

Cataracts most common cause of fractures due to visual impairment; cataracts cause 49% of neck fractures related to poor vision - Video features cataract surgery on 95-year-old retired professor, Melvin Seeman

July 31, 2012 - Medicare patients 65 years and older - senior citizens - who underwent cataract surgery had a lower odds of hip fracture one year after the procedure, when compared with patients with cataract who did not have cataract surgery, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Read more, see video...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Seniors Make Tough Patients: 81% with Lung Disease Won’t Stop Smoking

Study says senior citizens with serious illness find smoking, drinking tough habits to break

July 31, 2012 – Those who frequent hospitals are often shocked to see a frail senior citizen sitting in a wheelchair smoking a cigarette outside the hospital. A new study confirms this is not uncommon. It found only 19 percent of those suffering from lung disease quit smoking and concludes that to change behavior in many of these seniors is a daunting task. Read more...

New Elder Care Website Launched by L.A. Public Television KCET

YourTurnToCare.org designed for national audience of caregivers for the elderly; companion to TV series

July 31, 2012 — KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station serving Southern and Central California, has launched Your Turn To Care, a “robust” website designed to serve as a resource for families, caregivers and seniors across the country who are faced with the challenge of taking care of ailing or aging loved ones or dealing with aging-related issues. Read more...

Senior Citizen Homes & Communities

As Assisted Living Options Increase, Nursing Home Occupancy Declines

Assisted living poorly defined, typically includes a broad range of options with varying levels of care; offers alternatives to nursing home care for some

By Katherine Kahn, Contributing Writer

July 10, 2012 - A new study finds an association between an increase in assisted living options, which provide older adults with an array of services such as help with everyday tasks in homelike settings, and a decline in nursing home occupancy. This shift in delivery of care has both positive and negative implications for seniors. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Agencies Placing Potentially Dangerous Caregivers in Homes of Elderly

Troubling study finds many agencies recruit random strangers off Craigslist, place them in the homes of vulnerable elderly - 10 questions to ask before hiring caregiver!

By Marla Paul

July 10, 2012 - If you hire a caregiver from an agency for an elderly family member, you might assume the person had undergone a thorough criminal background check and drug testing, was experienced and trained for the job. You’d be wrong in many cases, according to new Northwestern Medicine research. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Nine Factors Found to Play Key Role in Quality of Life for Dying Cancer Patients

When a cure for cancer is no longer an option, the focus of care often shifts from prolonging life to promoting the quality of life

July 9, 2012 - Better quality of life at the end of life for patients with advanced cancer was associated with avoiding hospitalizations and the intensive care unit, worrying less, praying or meditating, being visited by a pastor in a hospital or clinic, and having a trusting alliance with their physician, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication. Read more...

Senior Citizen Longevity & Statistics

Survey Finds 16% of Americans - Mostly Women - Providing Eldercare in 2011

Among findings by Bureau of Labor – oldest spend most time on leisure or sports and religion; least on education

July 9, 2012 - In 2011, 16 percent of the U.S. civilian non-institutional population age 15 and over were eldercare providers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. This and other information about eldercare providers and the time they spent providing care were collected for the first time in the 2011 American Time Use Survey (ATUS). Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Senior Cardiac Surgery Patients May Suffer Extended Cognitive Problems

Postoperative delirium a common complications in hospitalized senior citizens over 65; may be key to improve recovery of cognitive ability

July 5, 2012 - Older patients undergoing cardiac surgery often experience changes in cognitive function, such as memory problems or an inability to focus, in the days immediately following their operations. While these changes are usually temporary, for unknown reasons, a significant number of cardiac patients will encounter long-term cognitive problems, lasting as long as a year after their surgeries. Read more...

Sex and Romance for Senior Citizens

Consensual Sex Denied in Nursing Homes Due to Dementia, Old Age

Researchers say sex is good for health and well-being; formal policies needed

June 28, 2012 - Older people, including those with early stage dementia, often continue to enjoy a sexual relationship in their own homes, but once they move into residential care, lawful and consensual sexual expression is frequently frowned upon, report specialists from the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Read more...

Senior Citizen Homes & Communities

How to Pay for Assisted Living? New Guide Offered Free to Seniors and Caregivers

Stratford Retirement is making the new guide free to help people make informed decisions about the costs of senior living facilities

June 26, 2012 - Caregivers and the elderly searching for assisted living facilities in the United States now have a new resource to help guide them through the maze of payment options associated with care facilities. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Caregiving with Love: Five Tips to Better Healing

Caregiver must become dependable all-around partner; these five tips can relax patient as they heal - know the train has a co-driver

By Guy Magar, Hollywood Director

June 22, 2012 - Whether it’s your wife or husband or child, or a relative or close friend you are caring for, it is paramount that you become the best caregiver possible for your loved one. As a caregiver for my wife Jacqui during her brave journey to beat AML (acute myeloid leukemia), here is what I learned and can share as I honor and applaud caregivers everywhere. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Living Alone Increases Risk of Mortality, Cardiovascular Death for Older Adults

Among patients older than 80 years, living alone was not associated with an increased risk of mortality

June 18, 2012 - Living alone was associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular death for middle-aged people and seniors up to 80 years old in an international study of stable outpatients at risk of or with arterial vascular disease (such as coronary disease or peripheral vascular disease). Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Older People Living with Loneliness Face Functional Decline and Death

‘Loneliness is a common source of suffering in older persons. We demonstrated that it is also a risk factor for poor health outcomes including death…’

June 18, 2012 - In older persons, loneliness is known as a common source of distress and impaired quality of life. A new study, however, finds that loneliness in people over 60 years of age is even more serious – it can lead to functional decline and death. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senators Want Antipsychotic Drug Use Better Controlled in Nursing Homes

‘…overuse of antipsychotics is a common and well-recognized problem that puts frail elders at risk and costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year’

May 23, 2012 – Senators from both parties joined with the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., to propose legislation to combat the costly and inappropriate – yet widespread – use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Palliative Care Intervention by Nurse Practitioner Improves Life for Cancer Patients

Study wins grant to disseminate program in Florida; training at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville - see video

May 18, 2012 - Recent studies show that palliative care interventions aimed at addressing patients' emotional, spiritual and social needs have a significant impact on cancer patients' quality of life, and may even improve their survival. Despite this, most cancer patients being cared for in their communities do not have access to these services. Read more, see video...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Combating the Rise of ‘Polypharmacy’ – Tips for Seniors on Risk of Many Medications

Each year, about one-third of seniors experience serious adverse effects as a result of drug interactions, says CVS executive pharmacist - see video

By Papatya Tankut, vice president, CVS/Pharmacy

May 9, 2012 - If you’re over the age of 60, chances are you’re taking multiple medications. In the last 10 years, the percentage of people over 60 who take five or more medications has jumped from 22 percent to 37 percent. Right now, there are more than 30 million Americans taking five or more prescription drugs regularly, often called “polypharmacy.” Read more, see video...

Aging News & Information

Decision for Senior Citizen to Stop Driving Impacts Mental State, Well-Being

‘Aging is a process where so many things are lost. Part of what seniors try to hold onto is their independence.’

May 1, 2012 - If a senior citizen’s driving raises concerns, approach the matter compassionately to preserve the person’s dignity and keep them and others safe, recommends a geriatric specialist with the Harris County (Tx) Hospital District. The decision to end driving for a senior can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, affecting the person’s mental state and overall well-being. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Fewer Antipsychotic Drugs, More Nurses Will Improve Care, Save Money in Nursing Homes

Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing focuses on long-term care for senior citizens; The Center for Medicare Advocacy offers ideas

April 23, 2012 - The Center for Medicare Advocacy issued a statement last week saying that huge savings in nursing facility costs, and advances in resident care, could be achieved if facilities eliminated the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs and provided sufficient staff to meet resident needs. Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

Benefits.gov Has Helped 50 Million in U.S. Since Launch 10-Years Ago

Benefit Finder allows citizens to quickly find benefits they may be eligible to receive out of over 1,000 Federally-funded benefit and assistance programs

April 18, 2012 - Over 50 million U.S. citizens – many of them senior citizens - have turned to Benefits.gov for life-altering government assistance information since its launch in 2002, according to a statement in the monthly eNewsletter, Compass, of the government website on its 10th anniversary. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Study Recommends Ways to Evaluate End of Life Care in Nursing Homes

Discussion begins about need to create end of life quality measures to inform consumers and provide nursing homes with incentive to improve care

April 16, 2012 - While nursing homes are the place where an estimated 30 percent of Americans die, there currently exists no way to compare which institutions do a better job at managing end of life care. A new study appearing this week in the Journal of Palliative Medicine is starting a discussion over the need to create end of life quality measures in order to both inform consumers and provide nursing homes with incentive to improve care. Read more...

Majority of California's Medi-Cal Caregivers Live in or Near Poverty

UCLA study finds that most lack access to health insurance, adequate food

April 11, 2012 – If you have an elderly relative living in a California and being cared for by Medi-Cal caregivers, the odds are the caregivers live near the poverty level and have poor access to personal health care and food for themselves, says a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Half of Heart Attack Victims May Be Saved on Way to Hospital by GIK Cocktail

Life-saving drugs in the hands of paramedics cost about $50; mixture of glucose, insulin, potassium

March 27, 2012 - Paramedics can reduce someone's chances of having a cardiac arrest or dying by 50 percent by immediately administering a mixture of glucose, insulin and potassium ("GIK") to people having a heart attack, according to research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Missouri Survey Finds Nursing Home Patients, Families Pleased with Care

Almost 90 percent say they are satisfied with the long-term care in their nursing home

March 27, 2012 - As loved ones age and face challenges that prevent them from living on their own, family members often struggle with the decision to place their relatives in nursing homes. Sometimes viewed as last alternatives, long-term care facilities can have reputations as hopeless, institutionalized environments. A survey in Missouri, however, has found that nearly 90 percent of nursing home residents and their family members are satisfied with the residents’ long-term care facilities. Read more...

Caregivers for Alzheimer’s Victims Find Yoga Improves Life, Slows Cellular Aging

Five million in U.S. care for people with dementia; stress puts them at high risk of depression

March 13, 2012 - A new study out of UCLA suggests that using yoga to engage in very brief, simple daily meditation can lead to improved cognitive functioning and lower levels of depression for caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease victims. Read more...

sAlzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Depression in Older People with Coronary Artery Disease Points to Cognitive Decline

Findings highlight need for longer-term monitoring of depressive symptom severity and change by clinicians, caregivers

March 8, 2012 - Persistent depression symptoms may be associated with significantly greater declines in cognitive performance in senior patients with coronary artery disease, who underwent cardiac catheterization, according to a study published in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Women Expecting Stressful Events See Cellular Aging Accelerate

Short telomeres in cellular aging associated with risk for chronic diseases - see second report below on several UCSF studies of stress damage on telomeres and repair by exercise

Feb. 27, 2012 - The ability to anticipate future events allows us to plan and exert control over our lives, but it may also contribute to stress-related increased risk for the diseases of aging, according to a study by UCSF researchers. Read more...

Caregiver& Elder Care News

Coming Nursing Home Shortage May Make Elderly Next Recession Casualties

‘Every adult is going to face this nursing home crisis in some way…’

By Steve Yoder, The Fiscal Times

Jan. 26, 2012 - The latest casualty of the Great Recession may soon be the nation's elderly. Cuts in government payments for patient care and less construction of new nursing homes are already taking a toll. Add to this the aging baby boom generation and you have a worst-case scenario in which older people who need full-time care won't be able to get it. “We believe we’re at a tipping point,” says Mark Parkinson, head of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which represents nursing homes. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Nursing Home Dementia Patients Three Times as Likely to Fall if on Antidepressants

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) appear to cause risk to rise with higher doses

Jan. 19, 2012 - Nursing home residents with dementia who use average doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are three times more likely to have an injurious fall than similar people who don’t use these drugs. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

GPS Devices in Shoes a Growing Solution to Wandering Alzheimer’s Patients

GTC sets goal on worldwide network, ships more miniature GPS devices to Aetrex Shoes

Jan. 18, 2012 – Caregivers are increasingly turning to miniature 2-way GPS embedded in shoes to monitor the location of senior citizens afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, according to GTX Corp. The company announced the second delivery of 1,500 GPS devices to footwear-maker Aetrex Worldwide. Read more...

Medicare News

Seniors with Chronic Conditions to Get Most Medicare Services at Home

Medicare testing if expanding services will improve care, lower costs for seniors and other disabled

Dec. 20, 2011 - Up to 10,000 Medicare patients with chronic conditions will now be able to get most of the care they need at home under a new demonstration announced today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens in Home Health Care at High Risk of Dangerous Medications

40% of seniors cared for by home health agency are taking a prescription that is potentially unsafe or ineffective; Affordable Care Act offers hope

Dec. 2, 2011 – Senior citizens receiving home health care may be in danger of taking a drug that is unsafe or ineffective for older people, says a new study that found nearly 40 percent of seniors receiving medical care from a home health agency are taking at least one prescription medication that is considered potentially inappropriate for their age. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Study Shows Family Hospice Caregivers Also Need Routine Care Interventions

Hospice patients have an estimated life expectancy of 6 months or less; about 69% receive care at home from a family caregiver

Nov. 30, 2011 - Family Caregivers for hospice patients are “second order patients” themselves and should be routinely assessed for stress that may signal their own care needs, according to a study by Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles, University of Kentucky. Read more...

Physicians Push For More Palliative Care Despite Barriers; 91% Say Patients Not Informed

‘..greatest challenge may be simply preparing physicians to talk about end-of-life care with their patients, … it can be an intensely emotional and difficult’

By Jessica Marcy

Nov. 16, 2011 - A poll released Tuesday found that an overwhelming majority of doctors support palliative care, with 96 percent responding that they believe enhancing the quality of life for seriously ill patients is more important than extending life as long as possible. Despite these sentiments, many physicians responded that they have some hesitations about palliative care and that there are barriers to its full adoption. Read more...

Senior Alert

New Caretaker Quickly Marries 87-Year-Old, Changes Will in Her Favor

11/9/11 – Jewell Hall, 87, hired Marjorie Messer as his caretaker and she quickly became his wife, and changed his will. Hall’s guardian, Carol Bertsche, is now in Probate Court in San Antonio, Texas, seeking to have the marriage annulled. Hall has been diagnosed with “serious dementia.” Messer has also been charged with “theft from elderly by deception.” San Antonio Express-News

Medicare Cuts Payment Rates to Home Health Care Companies

About half the cut in payment rate in 2012 - 2011 was result of provision in 2010 health law that lowered the fees

By Phil Galewitz, Capsules: The KHN Blog

Nov. 2, 2011 - Medicare will cut payment rates to home health agencies by 2.3 percent in 2012 — the sixth consecutive annual decrease in fees to the industry. The decision, which will lop off an estimated $430 million from the program next year, follows concerns by a congressional advisory panel that the agencies are overpaid. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Family Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients Find Communications the Major Stress

Losing the ability to communicate frightens all caregivers the most, says survey for National Family Caregivers Association

Oct. 25, 2011 – Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are most fearful of the health and physical decline of their loved one, and right behind that is their concern about their relative’s loss of the ability to communicate. This communications decline is also a major source of stress, since it hinders their ability to provide optimum care. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

New Fact Sheets on Critical Caregiving Issues Offered Free by Family Caregiver Alliance

Developed in response to needs for clear, unbiased information about caregiving

Sept. 21, 2011 - Five new fact sheets detailing critical issues in caregiving and long-term care in the U.S. have been released by the Family Caregiver Alliance's National Center on Caregiving. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Humor May Be Best Medicine for Agitated Dementia Patients

Australian SMILE study tested ‘clown doctors,’ found 20% reduction in agitation - comparable to anti-psychotic drugs

Sept. 21, 2011 - Humor therapy is as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs in managing agitation in patients with dementia and avoids serious drug side effects, says a new study to be presented this week at the National Dementia Research Forum in Sydney, Australia. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Memory Complaints by Elderly May Indicate Serious Cognitive Problems

The more memory complaints senior citizens have, the worse off their cognitive functioning

Sept. 15, 2011 – Family members and physicians need to be aware that what may at first seem to be the memory lapses in senior citizens that come with aging, may actually be cognitive problems that are far more serious, according to findings published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Read more...

Money, Insurance & Investments for Seniors

KHN Blog: Short Takes On News & Events

Seeking The Best Place For Long-Term Care? Head North

Percent of nursing home residents in physical restraints under 1% in Kansas, nearly 8% in California

By Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News

Sept. 8, 2011 - If you think there’s a demand now for long-term care services, just wait 20 years. By the time baby boomers hit their 70s and 80s, there will be a huge surge in need. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Senior Citizen Boom Creates Booming Demand For Home Health Workers

Demand for workers fueled in part by stepped-up efforts to keep seniors and the disabled out of nursing homes

By Jessica Marcy, KHN Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 16, 2011 - At her home health care agency here, Venus Ray quizzes 65 job applicants assembled before her: Can they cook? Do they know the right way to wash their hands? Can they safely transfer patients into wheelchairs? If they give wrong answers, speak English poorly or — God forbid — forget to turn off their cell phones, she asks them to leave. Read more...

At 92, Mabel Bean of Weymouth plays piano for elders over the phone
8/23/11 - Mabel Pratt Bean, 92, Weymouth, plays the piano for people over the telephone. She doesn't get out as much anymore but she calls friends, and others who would like to have a spirit lifting song played for them. “Are you busy? It’s Mabel,” she’ll say, when she calls up a friend, family member, or someone who could use an uplifting tune. Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Aging Committee Chair Calls for More Screening, Oversight of Guardians

Sen. Kohl releases GAO report showing need for strong screening of those making financial decisions for incapacitated seniors, others

Aug. 11, 2011 – There is a greater need for screening and oversight of guardians appointed to make financial decisions for senior citizens and other adults that are incapacitated – primarily on Social Security - says Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Read more...

Medicare News

Over Two Million Low-Income Seniors May Be Missing Big Savings on Drugs

Medicare’s Low-Income Subsidy is easy to check for eligibility, says CMS

Aug. 9, 2011 - Some senior citizens and others in Medicare could qualify for assistance with their prescription drug costs, and be eligible this year to pay no more than $2.50 for generic drugs and $6.30 for each brand name drug. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates more than 2 million people may be eligible for the subsidy, but are not currently enrolled. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Dementia Patients Unhappy with Care; Caregivers Do Not Meet Needs

Caregivers fail to understand what is important to their relatives

Aug. 1, 2011 – Caregivers, too often, fail to understand what is important to their relatives suffering with mild to moderate dementia, which results in frustration for the patient, according to a study from Penn State and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. Read more...

Senior Citizens Skip Drugs Due to Cost, Even if Not On Expensive Cancer Meds

Study confirms drug costs are significant barrier to effective medical treatment

Aug. 1, 2011 – Despite the high cost of drugs for cancer treatment, the cost burden may be no greater for these patients than for other senior citizens on Medicare. A new study finds one in ten of Medicare’s elderly do not stick to their prescribed medication due to the expense. Read more...

AARP Finds Toll on Family Caregivers for Elderly, Disabled Is 'Huge'

Increasingly complicated procedures are routinely expected of family caregivers

By Jennifer Ludden, NPR News

July 18, 2011 - A new study by the AARP estimates that for the more than 40 million Americans caring for an elderly or disabled loved one, the value of their work is $450 billion a year. That's a good deal for society. But for the family members doing the work, the study finds they need a lot more help. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Regional System to Cool, Warm Cardiac Arrest Patients Saves Brain Function

‘… if you have a cardiac arrest 200 miles away or on our doorstep, the quality of the outcomes is identical’ - What is cardiac arrest? - see below news story

July 12, 2011 - A broad, regional system to lower the temperature of resuscitated cardiac arrest patients at a centrally-located hospital improved outcomes, according to a study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Cooling treatment, or therapeutic hypothermia, is effective yet underused, researchers said. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

FDA Oks Boostrix for Senior Citizens to Prevent Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis

Whooping cough (Pertussis), increasing since 2007, is highly contagious; outbreaks among elderly in nursing homes and hospitals

July 11, 2011 – Senior citizens – people age 65 and older – no longer have to get separate vaccinations to prevent tetanus and diphtheria. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the Boostrix vaccine, which will prevent both of these diseases, plus pertussis (whooping cough), which is increasing among the elderly. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Caregivers for Elderly Need to Understand Pain, Life with Cancer

Cancer more likely in senior citizens - everyday damage to cells and genes eventually builds up; cells don't die when they should, cancer may be next

By the National Cancer Institute

July 8, 2011 - In many American families, including those from minority populations, people from a wide range of ages live together under the same roof. The elder folk in these homes face what are called the “diseases of aging,” including hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Cancer is a common event among older people, and as we age the risk increases, even if no one in our family has had the disease. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

ERs Need Better Support for Senior Citizens with Cognitive Problems

U.S. seniors visit ERs more than other age groups; review covers patients from the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, New Zealand and Israel

June 6, 2011 - More needs to be done to improve the care that older adults with cognitive impairment - including dementia and delirium - receive when they visit hospital emergency departments, according to a research review in the July issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens, Caregivers Reminded of Assistance Found Through BenefitsCheckUp

Council on aging says Older Americans Month good time for seniors to check on 2,000 benefits programs

May 11, 2011 - In recognition of Older Americans Month, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) encourages seniors to take advantage of all of the online services offered through its BenefitsCheckUp.org web site, which helps senior citizens find local assistance organizations. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Nursing Home Cost Continues Climb; Jumps 3.4% to $77,745 a Year for Private Room

Genworth Study helps senior citizens and caregivers compare local costs; assisted living also climbing but home health care flat

May 10, 2011 – The cost of a private room in a nursing home jumped 3.4 percent in the last year to a staggering $77,745 a year, according to Genworth’s 2011 Cost of Care Survey. Not far behind is a 2.4 percent jump in the cost assisted living facilities, which is $39,135 a year. The bright light was on home health care, which most senior citizens prefer, that held steady. Read more, see video...

New Fed Focus on Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse, Suicide Among Seniors

Nearly three in ten between the ages of 57 to 85 use at least five prescription drugs

April 21, 2011 – The prevention of suicide and the misuse and abuse with prescription drugs by older Americans will be the focus of a new effort by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to expand a grant program targeting seniors. The SAMHSA is asking for applications for the $3.56 million in grants. Read more...

Money, Insurance & Investments for Seniors

Older Americans Face Climbing Long-Term Care Cost in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living

Private room in nursing home now averages $85,775 per year; home health aide cost shows smallest increase

April 20, 2011 – Senior citizens and baby boomers are facing a continued increase in the cost of long-term care (LTC) in the U.S., although the increase this year is less than cost increases for other goods and services. Still, the John Hancock survey says the annual cost of a private room in a nursing home has climbed to $85,775. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Hospitalized Senior Citizens Suffer Strange Temporary Memory Loss, Impairs Recovery

Many seniors suffer cognition loss but then go back to normal one month later

March 14, 2011 - Battling an illness, lack of sleep and strange surroundings can make any hospital patient feel out of sorts. For senior citizens, hospitalizations actually may cause temporary memory loss and difficulty in understanding discharge instructions, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

AARP to Release New Research on Hunger Among America’s Senior Citizens

Chase Card Services joins to back AARP’s ‘Drive to End Hunger’ - video

April 4, 2011 - What would it be like to spend only $8 per day to cover all of your meals? For 6 million older Americans, this is not a hypothetical question, according to the AARP Foundation, which has joined with Chase Card Services to combat senior citizen hunger in America. Read more...see video

Pharmacists Expand Role to Help Educate and Coach Patients

Senior citizens may be helped the most by new drug education, chronic disease coaching by druggists

By Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News

Mar 15, 2011 - The average adult fills about a dozen prescriptions and refills every year; after age 65, they fill more than 30 prescriptions annually. For many people, their local pharmacist may be as familiar as their doctor — and often a lot easier to get time with. Some pharmacists are building on that position, expanding their role from drug dispenser to drug educator and chronic disease coach. Read more...

Aging in Place Preserves Seniors’ Independence, Reduces Care Costs

 ‘With this type of care, most people wouldn’t need to relocate to nursing homes’ - see video

March 8, 2011 - America’s 75 million aging senior citizens soon will face decisions about where and how to live as they age. Current options for long-term care, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, are costly and require seniors to move from place to place. University of Missouri researchers have found that a new strategy for long-term care called Aging in Place is less expensive and provides better health outcomes. Read more..Watch video.

Exercise & Fitness for Senior Citizens

Nursing Prof Inspired by Elderly Aunt Has Patented Device to Get Senior Citizens Moving

Working with engineers at U. of Rhode Island she has patented the Activity Analyzer

March 7, 2011 – Virtually all senior citizens know they need exercise - they need to at least move around. Most, however, seem to have a problem getting motivated. There may be hope, however, coming from the efforts of a nursing professor inspired by her 97-year-old aunt who lives on her own. Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

When Are My Driving Days Over? Author Learns from Helping Her Mother

Noted book author offers tips she learned from helping her mother

By Dr. Eva Mor, author of “Making the Golden Years Golden”

March 7, 2011 - Several months ago, I was interviewed for a magazine article on the subject of seniors and driving and an uncomfortable question came up. “When should we take away our aging parents' driving license,” I was asked. Read more...

Medicare News

Study Says Medicare Cuts Will Send Hospice Industry into Profit Loss

Hospice group, NHPCO, backed study says 88 percent could have negative margins by 2019

March 7, 2011 – The profit margin for companies providing hospice care could decline from the two percent it achieved in 2008 to a negative 14 percent by 2019 due to recent cuts to Medicare reimbursements, according to the results of a survey released today by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The independent study was commissioned by NHPCO. Read more...

Medicaid News

States May Offer Financial Rewards to Medicaid Patients to Adopt Healthier Lifestyle

HHS approves $100 million in effort to stem the growth of chronic health conditions

March 1, 2011 - Senior citizens relying on the Medicaid program for medical care may soon be offered a financial incentive to persuade them to adopt healthier behavior, such as quitting smoking or losing weight. Last week Health and Human Services said it is offering $100 million to states for this purpose. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Seniors Not Impressed by Evidence-Based Solutions; Want to Know Medications are Safe

Study says elderly patients only willing to take medications to prevent cardiovascular disease if benefits far greater than risks

Feb. 28, 2011 – Senior citizens think a little differently about health and medications than younger people who are not so encumbered by chronic disease. A new study finds these elderly patients also have views that differ with the guidelines for medical care that are scientifically prepared to enhance patient treatment. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Best Nursing Homes Ranking for 2011 Released by U.S. News Media Group

15,000 facilities nationwide are included online to help senior citizens, caregivers find quality care

Feb. 9, 2011 – A new national ranking of over 15,000 U.S. nursing homes has been released online by U.S. Media Group, publisher of U.S. News & World Report. The Best Nursing Homes ranking evaluates facilities across the nation. The publisher touts the list as a “worthwhile tool for millions of elderly Americans and their families in search of a nursing home.” Read more...

Medicaid News

States May Face Showdown With Feds Over Cutting Medicaid Rolls, Many Seniors

Elderly and disabled account for majority of Medicaid spending… good chunk used for long term care; Medicare has cost-cutting suggestions

By Marilyn Werber Serafini and Julie Appleby, KHN Staff Writers

Jan. 31, 2011 - Financially strapped governors, Congress and the Obama administration could be headed for a showdown over the Medicaid health care program that covers 48 million poor, disabled and elderly people nationwide. Read more...


Caregiver & Elder Care News

One in Six Senior Citizens Live in Poverty, NCOA Offers to Help Build Economic Security

With first Boomers turning 65, and economy still recovering, the number of older Americans struggling to make ends meet likely to continue to grow

Jan. 24, 2011 - One in six older Americans lives below the federal poverty line, according to a new government analysis which almost doubles the number of very poor seniors compared to the standard estimate. The National Council on Aging has launched a pilot program to help with a personal approach to financial counseling, education, and benefits coordination. Read more...
Senior Citizen Alerts

HHS Frees $3.9 Billion to Help Provide Heating for Low-Income Seniors, Families

Funds will go to states, tribes and territories under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Jan. 13, 2011 – Many senior citizens stressed about paying their energy bills during the cold winter got the word yesterday that help is on the way. The Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of additional funding to help eligible low-income families or all ages meet their home energy needs, bringing the total made available since October 1 to $3.9 billion. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Incontinence Following Radical Prostatectomy Reduced by Behavioral Therapy Program

Editorial writers ask if limited benefits are worth the patient and clinician time and effort; researchers say 'yes' do to significant, durable improvement in incontinence and quality of life,

Jan. 12, 2011 - Men who suffered with incontinence – lack of bowel control - for at least one year following radical prostatectomy, achieved a significant reduction in the number of incontinence episodes after participating in a behavioral training program that included pelvic floor muscle training, bladder control strategies and fluid management. Read more....

Medicare News

Obama Administration Abruptly Pulls Plug on Medicare End-of-Life Counseling

Original sponsor of provision intends to reintroduce legislation allowing Medicare to pay for such discussions with doctors that many view as helpful to critically ill seniors

Jan. 10, 2011 - Three days after enacting a Medicare regulation that would have reimbursed doctors for discussing end-of-life planning with patients during their annual checkups, the Obama administration has reversed course and last week withdrew the regulation, according to a report in ElderLawAnswers.com. Read more...


 

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