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Senior Citizen Alerts

Coffee-Loving Seniors, Others Warned by FDA to Avoid Powdered Pure Caffeine

FDA says at least one death reported from use of pure caffeine sold in bulk over internet

July 24, 2014 – Say the word caffeine and the heads of senior citizens usually pops up. It makes them think of their favorite drink – coffee. But, this time it is a message from the Food and Drug Administration warning about powdered pure caffeine being marketed directly to consumers. More...

Aging News & Information

Where You Live, Income May Play Significant Roles in Falls by Senior Citizens

Elderly living in lower-income neighborhoods at highest risk of injury on on sidewalks, streets and curbs

July 23, 2014 – A bit of good news for senior citizens about falling is that you are twice as safe from tumbling to the ground when you are walking for recreation or exercise that as you are when you a walking for some necessity – like shopping, or going to an appointment. The not so good news is that it is elderly with lower incomes who are most often walking because they have to. More...

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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

False Memories May Be Result of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Findings raise questions about reliability of eyewitnesses who may have experienced long periods of restricted or deprived sleep

July 23, 2014 - Numerous recent studies have grabbed the attention of senior citizens with results showing that lack of adequate sleep can cause people – seniors in particular – numerous problems with cognition, memory and even disease. Now the scientist say lack of sleep can even cause us to create false memories. The possible good news for seniors is this study was with college students. More...

Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Rosemary and Oregano Herbs May Pack Punch to Stop Type 2 Diabetes

Study reveals diabetes-fighting compounds and that how they are grown makes a difference

July 23, 2014 - The popular culinary herbs oregano and rosemary are packed with healthful compounds, and now lab tests show they could work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication, scientists report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Potential Found for Cancer Drug as Oral Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

Previous work with mice found cognition improved, nerve cell loss was reduced when microtubule protein stabilized

July 23, 2014 - Scientists are reporting new progress on a set of compounds initially developed for cancer treatment that shows promise as a potential oral treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Currently, no cure exists for the devastating neurological disease that affects more than 5 million Americans – primarily senior citizens. More...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senior Citizens Leading the Charge for Medical Marijuana in Florida

Vote comes in November for recreational and medical purposes; most say senior citizens will decide the outcome, which could make this the 23rd state to approve it for medical use

July 22, 2014 - The campaign to legalize marijuana use – especially for medical purposes – is riding the winds of victory that are blowing from the west coast to Florida, where a vote in November seems poised to make its use legal there. What is becoming obvious in the Sunshine State is that senior citizens may be the key to victory, making Florida the twenty-third state, plus the District of Columbia, allowing some form of marijuana use for medical purposes. More...

Features for Senior Citizens

Pew Finds Christians, Jews Rated Higher by Senior Citizens Than by Younger People

New Pew survey looks at how U.S. citizens feel about religious groups, atheists

July 21, 2014 – Senior citizens – citizens age 65 or older – are more likely than younger Americans to view Christian groups and Jews favorably, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center. The survey also found Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public - atheists and Muslims, not so hot. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Fish Oil May Help Protect Alcohol Abusers from Dementia

Up to 90% less inflammation, death in brain cells of drinkers after exposure to omega-3 DHA

July 21, 2014 – Anything that reduces the risk of dementia is of high interest to most senior citizens. New research says one way – at least for those who drink alcohol regularly - is to take omega-3 fish oil. The researchers discovered it will protect against inflammation and neuronal cell death that damages the brain in alcohol abusers and can lead to dementia. More...

Social Security News

Social Security Benefit Verification Available Online but Also in Local Offices

‘We recognize that some members of the public may require in-person assistance and we will have a presence in local communities’

July 17, 2014 – Despite a hard push to encourage seniors and others who need benefit verification letters from the Social Security Administration to obtain them online, the agency today issued a news release confirming that local Social Security offices will continue to provide benefit verification letters. More...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Study of Seniors Shows Niacin Too Dangerous for Routine Cholesterol Therapy

New Research

> Niacin does not reduce heart attacks or strokes

> Niacin linked to increase in death risk, excess bleeding and diabetes

> Statins remain best choice to reduce heart attack and stroke risk

Mainstay drug for many seniors now linked to death risk, dangerous side effects and no benefits in large study of older adults

July 17, 2014 - After 50 years of being a mainstay cholesterol therapy for many seniors, niacin should no longer be prescribed for most patients due to potential increased risk of death, dangerous side effects and no benefit in reducing heart attacks and strokes, writes Northwestern Medicine preventive cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health - Opinion

Alzheimer's Conference Offers Signs of Hope in Battle Against Mind-Crushing Disease

Below are some of the highlights from the Alzheimer's Association International Conference that are important to every senior citizen

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

July 16, 2014 – For the first time in the almost-20-years that I have closely followed the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, I am encouraged about our odds. As the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference for this year wraps up in Copenhagen, the researchers and other experts who made presentations convinced me we are finally getting our arms around this cruel killer, and have a chance to - someday - bring it under control. Below are the highlights and every senior citizen, the primary victims of the disease, needs to read them. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Diabetics with Heart Disease Can Live Longer by Taking Statins Says Researcher

Patients taking statins at beginning of study had a 50% increase of being alive as compared to those who didn’t

July 16, 2014 – Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability among people with Type 2 diabetes. In fact, at least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke, according to the American Heart Association. The good news is that it appears they may add years to their lives by taking statins. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

One Injection Stops Diabetes in Its Tracks Report Salk Scientists

FGF1 treatment reverses symptoms of type 2 diabetes in mice without side effects

July 16, 2014 - In mice with diet-induced diabetes - the equivalent of type 2 diabetes in humans - a single injection of the protein FGF1 is enough to restore blood sugar levels to a healthy range for more than two days. The discovery by Salk scientists, published today in the journal Nature, could lead to a new generation of safer, more effective diabetes drugs. More...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Scams Targeting Grandparents Get Attention from Senate Committee on Aging

Goal today is to identify solutions to help authorities better detect and prosecute such crimes, and encourage retailers, phone companies to help protect consumers

Click to committee website and live video.

July 16, 2014 – The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing today at 1:30 p.m. to seek solutions to the increase in scams targeting grandparents. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the committee’s chairman and ranking member, called for the hearing after receiving complaints from victims through the committee’s fraud hotline. 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...

Medicare & Medicaid News

HHS Funds to Enhance Ability of States to Improve Medicaid Reform

HHS also announces $11 Million to integrate HIV services in Community Health Centers

July 15, 2014 - A new collaboration with states to improve care for Medicaid beneficiaries by accelerating efforts in reforming their health care systems to improve health and care, while also reducing costs, was announced yesterday by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, who called the program “innovative.” More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Exciting Glimmer of Hope in Fight Against Alzheimer’s in U.S. but World Epidemic Grows

New data on fewer new cases in U.S. and other developed nations suggests possibility of prevention and risk reduction; reports from Alzheimer’s Association International Conference

July 15, 2014 – Older Americans have become accustomed to assuming that Alzheimer’s disease in becoming more common among senior citizens and is destined to increase rapidly due to the increased incidence rate and the explosion in longevity. New reports today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2014 suggest the possibility of reducing risk and maybe even preventing the disease most feared by most seniors. Some of the best news was found in studies from the United States.

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...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Seniors Almost Twice as Likely to Have Memories Affected By Environmental Distraction

‘Almost any type of memory test administered reveals a decline in memory from the age of 25 on’

July 14, 2014 - Seniors are nearly twice as likely as younger people to have their memory and cognitive processes impaired by environmental distractions (such as irrelevant speech or written words presented along with target stimuli), according to a new study from psychologists at Rice University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Stroke Risk in Seniors, Middle-Age Adults Jumps with Stress, Hostility, Depression

Psychological characteristics equally important to cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking other traditional risk factors

July 11, 2014 - Higher levels of stress, hostility and depressive symptoms are associated with significantly increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in middle-age adults and seniors, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. Interestingly, anger was not seen to cause a significant increase in stroke risk. More...

Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Alcohol Drinking Gets a Couple of Bad Reviews and Seniors Should Know Limits

Many U.S. senior citizens consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol on a regular basis but need to be aware of special warnings for seniors by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

July 10, 2014 – For a while now alcohol has had a good run with research studies declaring it a safe or even beneficial drink when it comes to major health threats like heart problems and cancer. Two reports this week seem to be pointing in the opposite direction. One says even light-to-moderate drinkers can lower their risk of heart disease, their body mass index and their blood pressure by cutting back on alcohol consumption. And, a doctors’ organization this week put alcohol on its list of things to avoid to reduce your cancer risk. More...

Video Feature

Important Videos from the National Institutes of Health

If you are a senior citizens that smokes you need to watch

>> Why quit smoking when you are older? Watch Video

>> How does smoking affect and older adult’s health? Watch Video

Medicare & Medicaid News

New Health Care Innovation Awards Announced for Better Health Care, Lower Costs

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Center to invest $360 million

July 10, 2014 – Health Care Innovation Awards expected to total as much as $360 million to deliver better health care at lower costs were announced yesterday by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Seven awards from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center will focus on improving care for frail elderly patients or providing support for aging in the community and most of the other endeavors will also benefit seniors. 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...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Vasectomy Appears to Increase Risk of Aggressive, Lethal Prostate Cancer

Men who had regular PSA screening had a increased risk of 56% for lethal prostate cancer; effect stronger among men who had a vasectomy at younger age.

July 9, 2014 – The largest study to examine the link between vasectomy and prostate cancer has found that men who had this birth control procedure have a small increase in their risk of prostate cancer but a stronger risk for advanced or lethal cases of this cancer. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

YouTube May Be Social Media Tool to Link More Seniors to Health Information

With video social media, information about skin cancer and sun protection goes straight from researchers to the public

July 9, 2014 – Senior citizens have not been pioneers in using social media, but they are eager consumers of health information. Research for the University of Colorado Cancer Center suggests that YouTube has the potential to be the ultimate provider of health information seniors want – at least as it applies to skin cancer. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

HHS to Add 150 New Health Centers for High Need Communities Across U.S.

Affordable Care Act funds $100 million to expand primary care in 2015 in health centers

July 8, 2014 – An estimated 150 new health centers serving communities in need will be built across the country in 2015, thanks to a $100 million in funding from the Affordable Care Act. The new health center sites will increase access to comprehensive, affordable, high quality primary health care services in the communities that need it most, according an announcement today by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. 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...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Costs for Breast Cancer Screenings Skyrocket, But Do Patients Benefit?

While U.S. Preventive Services does not recommend breast cancer screening for senior women 75 and older, Medicare still spent an increasing amount on this age group

By Karen N. Peart, Yale University

July 3, 2014 - Breast cancer screening costs for Medicare patients skyrocketed between 2001 and 2009, while the number of screening mammograms performed remained stable. What makes this even worse is that the increased cost did not lead to earlier detection of new breast cancer cases, says a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers. More...

Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Six New Dietary Guidelines to Prevent Cancer Labeled Aggressive

Seniors warned warn about association between cancer and alcohol, red and processed meats, dairy products, and carcinogens in even well-cooked beef, poultry, and fish

July 3, 2014 - Six dietary guidelines, described as more aggressive than previous cancer prevention advice, have been released by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Seniors See Brains Age Faster the Less They Sleep

Faster brain ventricle enlargement marker for cognitive decline; first study to look at impact of less sleep

July 2, 2014 – The less older people sleep, the faster their brains age, according a new study. The researchers see their discovery as opening the door for new studies on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline in seniors, including dementia.

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Insulin, Other Drugs May Do More Harm Than Good for Some Diabetes Patients

Harm to quality of life outweighs benefits of treatment for older patients and those with negative feelings about side effects, burden of medication

June 30, 2014 - For patients with type 2 diabetes – especially those over age 50 – the negative impact of side effects like weight gain and burdens like frequent insulin shots trumps the benefits of drugs, says a new study by the University of Michigan Health System, the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and University College London.

Aging News & Information

New Analysis of Senior Citizen Population Released by U.S. Census Bureau

From population growth, to living arrangements, to work force participation it’s a complete picture of the citizens age 65 and older

June 30, 2014 - A new report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau provides the latest, comprehensive look at the nation's population aged 65 and older (senior citizens), comprising 40.3 million in 2010.

Health and Medicine for Seniors

New Online Effort Aimed at Helping Older People Stop Smoking

Seniors have to know cigarette smoking is leading cause of preventable, premature death and illness in U.S., responsible for almost half a million deaths yearly

June 27, 2014 – For most seniors it is probably hard to believe that there are senior citizens who still smoke. Older Americans lived through the smoking era and saw the hard-fought battle by the medical profession to prove how deadly the habit can be. It is almost startling to learn that the National Institutes of Health has launched a new online effort to help older adults stop smoking. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare to Help Seniors Choose Health Care Providers with Five-Star Ratings on ‘Compare’ Sites

5-Star grade being added to Hospital Compare, Dialysis Facility Compare, Home Health Compare says Medicare Blog

By Dr. Patrick Conway,
CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality,  Chief Medical Officer

June 27, 2014 - When buying a product or service, looking at ratings can often help narrow down the choices. Some websites offer “star” ratings that give information about the quality of the products and services they offer. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have the same kind of ratings when choosing a health care provider?

Medicare & Medicaid News

Kentucky Clinic Charged with Selling Improper Chemo Drugs, False Medicare Claims

Charged with false claims to Medicare program for misbranded, unapproved chemotherapy drugs; drugs came from Turkey and India through Canada

June 26, 2014 – The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations announced today that an oncology center in Kentucky has pleaded guilty to selling unapproved and improperly labeled chemotherapy drugs. The charges included submitting false claims to the Medicare program for misbranded, unapproved chemotherapy drugs administered through the clinic. The successful investigation also serves as a warning to seniors – the most frequent patients at oncology centers...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Pancreatic Cancer Risk May Be Cut in Half by Daily Low-Dose Aspirin

Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest cancers, most feared by seniors: five-year survival rate less than 5%

By Helen Dodson, Yale

June 26, 2014 - Continual use of low-dose or regular-dose aspirin may cut a person’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer in half, a Yale School of Public Health and Yale Cancer Center study has found. Further, the degree of protection may grow the longer one takes the aspirin. The study appears in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Health and Medicine for Seniors

3D Mammography Offers New Hope for Women: Finds More Invasive Cancers, Reduces Call-Backs

Largest study to date tested nearly half million women; could lead to changes in standards of care

June 25, 2014 - Researchers from Penn Medicine and other institutions have found that 3D mammography - known as digital breast tomosynthesis – will find significantly more invasive, or potentially lethal, cancers than a traditional mammogram alone and reduced call-backs for additional imaging. The study is reported today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Fraud Prevention System Finds $210 Million in Improper Payments in Second Year

CMS took action against 938 providers and suppliers, says report sent to Congress today; anti-fraud strategy recovered $19.2 billion in last five years

June 25, 2014 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today that its “state state-of-the-art Fraud Prevention System” discovered or prevented more than $210 million in improper Medicare fee-for-service payments, nearly double the identified savings of $115.4 million achieved during the first year of the program. It also resulted in CMS taking action against 938 providers and suppliers, according to a report sent to Congress today.

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Senior Women Less Successful Than Men at Reaching Diabetic Treatment Goals

Researcher wants gender-based treatment; failure of women to lower LDL cholesterol means more risk for cardiovascular death

June 24, 2014 – A study of senior men and women with Type 2 diabetes, who were fighting to lower their cholesterol with statins, has found that women are much less likely to lower their bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The research leader is calling for gender-based treatment to lower the risk of cardiovascular death in women.

Medicare & Medicaid News

Over 750 Hospitals Face Medicare Crackdown on Patient Injuries

The biggest impact may be on the nation’s major teaching hospitals: 54 percent were marked for preliminary penalties; CDC estimates 75.000 died in 2011 from infections picked up in hospitals

By Jordan Rau, KHN Staff Writer

June 24, 2014 - During a hernia operation, Dorothea Handron’s surgeon unknowingly pierced her bowel. It took five days for doctors to determine she had an infection. By the time they operated on her again, she was so weakened that she was placed in a medically induced coma at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina.

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Intellectual Enrichment Again Proven to Delay Cognitive Decline in Seniors

Latest study from Mayo Clinic published in JAMA Neurology suggests even those with high risk gene can delay decline for years

June 23, 2014 - The evidence continues to mount that the way to protect against the common cognitive decline seen in too many senior citizens is to maintain a lifestyle of intellectual enrichment throughout life. A new study from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging confirms it again in a report appearing in today’s edition of JAMA Neurology, and add that it may delay dementia as long as nine years, even in high risk seniors.

Social Security Q&A

How to Pay Self-Employed Tax Estimate for Social Security, Medicare; More About Benefits

June 21, 2014 - Most of the questions asked in the Social Security Q&A have to do with benefits - when should you take them, how can you estimate them - and it is the same this week. There is an unusual divergence this week, however, as a self-employed person asks about how to pay the estimated tax for Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security News

Social Security Clarifies Policy on Same-Sex Married Couples to Process More Claims

Begins processing many claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships  - Also see 'Sen. Wyden Welcomes Carolyn Colvin to Head Social Security'

June 20, 2014 - Social Security has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. These instructions come in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. vs. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. 

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.

News from Other Media

Lawmakers Want Medicare to Cover Lung Cancer Screening

June 18, 2014 – A letter from 134 members of Congress to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is requesting Medicare offer coverage for lung cancer testing, according to the Associated Press. The lawmakers want coverage for low-dose CT scans for older patients at higher risk of developing lung cancer, saying it is important for vulnerable seniors.

 

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Health and Medicine for Seniors

More Women to Live Longer Due to Gender-Specific Research of Heart Disease Diagnosis

Clinicians now have the tools and knowledge to more accurately detect, determine risk and develop treatment strategies for heart disease in women

June 17, 2014 – More women – no doubt – will live to an older age because the diagnoses of coronary heart disease in women has become more accurate due to gender-specific research that has clarified the role of obstructive and non-obstructive coronary artery disease in contributing to ischemic heart disease in women, according to a statement by the American Heart Association published in the journal Circulation.

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Right Amount of Sleep Very Important to Cognitive Ability of Seniors Says International Study

University of Oregon-led research finds women sleeping longer and struggling with quality – see video

June 16, 2014 – Middle aged or older people who get six to nine hours of sleep per night think better that those who sleep fewer or even more hours, report researchers who were looking at cognitive decline and dementia as people age.

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Guidelines for Care of Prostate Cancer Survivors Published by Cancer Society

Targeted to health care professionals involved in treatment of thousands of survivors, mostly senior men

June 14, 2014 – The bad news about prostate cancer is that it strikes about 240,000 men – mostly older men - in the U.S. every year. The good news is most men survive and are more likely to die of something other than prostate cancer. This high rate of survival is one reason the American Cancer Society has issued survivorship guidelines this week to help health care professionals address issues that occur in men after successful treatment. Read more...

Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Skip Processed Meat on Father’s Day; Don’t Increase Dad’s Risk of Heart Failure

Researchers recommend avoiding processed red meat and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings a week or less.

June 14, 2014 – Processed red meat may not be the best choice to serve on Father’s Day. Older men who ate the most processed red meat over a period of almost 12 years had more than a 2-fold increased risk of death from heart failure compared to men who consumed the least in the study. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Cure for Age-Related Muscle Loss?  Old Muscle Works Like New with ‘Trust Hormone’ Oxytocin

“Our quest is to find a molecule that not only rejuvenates old muscle and other tissue, but that can do so sustainably long-term without increasing the risk of cancer”

By Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley

June 13, 2014 – Researchers at UC Berkeley may not have found the fountain of youth but they may be on to something that can rejuvenate old muscle in senior citizens and it is already approved for use in humans. Oxytocin - a hormone associated with maternal nurturing, social attachments, childbirth and sex - is indispensable for healthy muscle maintenance and repair, the study says, but it declines with age in the mice used in the study. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Insurance Industry, Consumers Join Forces to Fight High Prices of Specialty Drugs

Crisis makes for strange bed fellows – insurance companies, consumer advocates; cost sharing for some with chronic diseases like cancer is over 40 percent in exchange plans, puts pressure on Medicare drug plans

By Lisa Gillespie, Kaiser Health News

June 13, 2014 - Here’s the next salvo in the back and forth between insurers and the drug industry over drug prices: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America are pushing the Department of Health and Human Services to take action to protect consumers who have gained insurance via the health law’s online marketplaces from high, out-of-pocket costs for specialty drugs. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Aortic Stenosis Campaign Targeting Seniors Launched by Alliance for Aging Research

This life-threatening disease is becoming a much greater burden as more and more in the U.S. are reaching the dangerous age of 70 and older - see video, take quiz

June 12, 2014 - A new campaign from the Alliance for Aging Research aims to raise awareness about the effects of aortic stenosis, a disease caused by the gradual buildup of calcium deposits in the aortic valve. Aortic stenosis mainly affects older people, according to the American Heart Association; usually beginning after age 60, but often does not show symptoms until ages70 or even 80. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Ipilimumab Not Proven to Add Benefit for Melanoma Patients Says German Institute

Their new study says it does not add to benefit of two other therapies

June 12, 2014 - Melanoma patients, which are mostly seniors, have had much to cheer about in the last few years due to the progress being made in the development of drugs that improve the treatment of the deadly skin cancer. One of these advancements announced recently, however, has just been retracted. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care now says ipilimumab is not proven to provide added benefit for non-pretreated melanoma patients versus any of the two comparator therapies. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Memory, Learning Problems More Likely Among Older People with Poor Cardiovascular Health

People with the lowest cardiovascular health scores were more likely to have impairment on learning, memory and verbal fluency

June 11, 2014 – A large study of older adults has concluded that developing cognitive impairment, especially memory and learning problems, is much greater for people with poor cardiovascular health. The best cardiovascular health was more common in men, the higher educated, and those with the highest incomes. Read more...

Exercise & Fitness for Senior Citizens

Seniors Who Exercise Most Suffer Least Physical Decline But Still Fall Short of Guidelines

More muscle-strengthening exercises should be encouraged among older adults in retirement communities – See Exercise Guidelines for Seniors below

June 11, 2014 – Seniors age 65 and older living in retirement communities who reported the most exercise had less physical decline than those who did less. This is another in a steady stream of research confirming the health benefits of exercise for senior citizens although research also shows most in this older age group remain inactive and fail to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

CMS Announces $60 Million Budget to Hire Health Care Navigators for 2015

Navigator program will continue to help consumers understand health coverage options as they enroll in coverage

June 10, 2014 – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is looking for Navigators to provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance and public programs and it has $60 million in funding to attract them. The primary program involved in the Navigator program that effects seniors is Medicaid. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Seniors Will Cheer Researchers Who Have Proven How Memory Can Be Turned On and Off

NIH funded study is first to prove connections between neurons controls memory

June, 2014 – There is news out of the National Institutes of Health that should make seniors very happy or at least hopeful. The tantalizing image is of a switch that can turn memory or off. What these scientists have done is turn memory off and then back on using a flash of light in genetically engineered rats. It is the first clear cause-and-effect evidence that the connections between neurons in our brains are what make memory work. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Deadly Falls by Seniors Up 112% Since 1999; Just One of Senior Concerns in National Safety Month

National Safety Council highlights injury and death by falling, drug poisoning, vehicle crashes

June 9, 2014 - Fatal falls among seniors age 65 and older have risen 112 percent since 1999. More than 21,600 deaths in 2010 were attributed to falls among this age group, accounting for eight out of every 10 fatal falls in the United States. But injury from falls is just one of the safety issues being stressed this month by the National Safety Council during National Safety Month and several of them are critical to senior citizens. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Artery Blockage Not Necessary to Significantly Increase Heart Attack Danger from Plaque

Evidence seems to indicate that non-obstructive plaques can still rupture and case heart attack, i.e., plaque is bad!

June 5, 2014 - Non-obstructive coronary artery disease was associated with a 28 to 44 percent increased risk of a major adverse cardiac event such as a heart attack or death, in a new study presented yesterday at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2014 Scientific Sessions. Read more...

Aging News & Information

Social Networks Usually Linked to Better Health for Older Adults, Studies Find

Special edition of Health Psychology packed with studies of senior citizens and their relationships

June 4, 2014 - Having regular positive interactions with family and friends and being involved in several different social networks can help older adults be healthier, according to numerous new research reports to be published by the American Psychological Association this month. However, negative social interactions can present health risks. Read more...

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...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens at High Risk of Bone Fractures May Find Safety Taking Vitamin D with Calcium

As people age, they tend to get less vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight or foods such as fish and milk

June 4, 2014 - For seniors over the age of 65, taking a daily supplement of vitamin D with calcium - but not vitamin D alone - can offer some protection against the risk of common bone fractures, according to an updated review from The Cochrane Library. A new study found Vitamin D supplements with calcium lowered the risk of hip fractures in older people, especially high risk people living in nursing homes or hospitals. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Seniors with Pneumonia Lower Death Risk Taking Azithromycin; Slight Chance of Heart Attack

Study suggests the protection from pneumonia outweighs the heart attack risk – see video

June 3, 2014 - In a study that included nearly 65,000 senior patients – age 65 and older -  hospitalized with pneumonia, treatment that included azithromycin compared with other antibiotics was associated with a significantly lower risk of death and a slightly increased risk of heart attack, according to a study in the June 4 issue of JAMA. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

So You Plan to Pay Back Social Security and Reapply at Your Older Age for Higher Benefits?

You better read this Social Security Q&A column before you get too far along with this plan!

June 3, 2014 – There is a question below in this week’s Social Security Q&A you should read. There is an idea for boosting a retirees Social Security benefit that still gets kicked around, although it has not been allowed for several years, as Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration, points out in answering a senior’s question. There is also a question from a divorced widow – an area where Social Security can often be confusing. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Releases First Update of Hospital Charge Data; FDA Makes Health Datasets Available

Data can help improve care coordination and health outcomes for Medicare patients; the Food and Drug Administration will also introduce a new open data initiative at Datapalooza

June 3, 2014 – The first annual update to the Medicare hospital charge data - information comparing the average amount a hospital bills for services that may be provided in connection with a similar inpatient stay or outpatient visit – is being released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS is also releasing a suite of other data products and tools aimed to increase transparency about Medicare payments. Read more...

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Medicare and Medicaid News

Medicare Can Save Quick $5 Billion by Better Part D Choice for Low-Income Seniors

Researchers find simple way to strengthen Medicare drug program for low-income seniors and save government billions of dollars

June 3, 2014 – A $5 billion dollar savings for Medicare in the first year of making a simple and logical policy change sounds great to most seniors who worry about the financial pressure on their health care insurance program. Well, it’s possible, according to a new study that suggests changing the way Part D plans are selected for low-income beneficiaries eligible for a government subsidy. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Advanced Melanoma Patients See Potential to Extend Life with Drug Combination

The first long-term follow-up results from a phase 1b immunotherapy trial combining drugs for advanced melanoma patients suggests longer term survival

June 2, 2014 - The first long term follow-up results from a phase 1b immunotherapy trial combining drugs for advanced melanoma patients has shown encouraging results — long-lasting with high survival rates — researchers report. The one-year overall survival rate was 94% and the two-year rate was 88%. It is particularly good news for senior citizens, who are the most likely victims of this most aggressive skin cancer. 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...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Risk of Blinding Macular Degeneration Skyrockets After Study Groups Take Blood Pressure Drugs

Vasodilators and beta blockers were bad news for older people in 25-year study who developed AMD, leading cause of blindness for seniors

May 28, 2014 – A large study of older people that lasted 25 years found using any vasodilator, such as Apresoline and Loniten, increased the risk of developing early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by a staggering 72 percent. But, they also found that taking oral beta blockers such as Tenormin and Lopressor was associated with a 71 percent increase in the risk of neovascular AMD, a more advanced and vision-threatening form of the disease. Read more...

Senior Citizen Longevity & Statistics

World Longevity Making Big Gains as More Children Survive, Health Improves

People in richer countries and women continue to live longer, U.S. not in top 10

May 28, 2014 – Longevity is increasing around the world and a major reason is that more children, particularly in the poorest countries, are surviving to see a fifth birthday. People everywhere are living longer, but the World Health Statistics 2014 published this month by WHO (World Health Organization) shows that people still live longer in richer countries and women still outlive men. Read more...

Exercise & Fitness for Senior Citizens

Elderly Find Moderate Physical Activity a Winning Way to Avoid Mobility Problems

Study of over 1600 men and women age 70 to 89 lasted over two and a half years. See video in bottom of story.

May 27, 2014 - A study described as the largest and longest randomized trial of physical activity in elderly men and women at risk of disability has found that structured physical activity of moderate intensity is more effective than a health education program with just physical stretching in reducing the risk of disability. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Making Seniors Aware of Skin Cancer that Kills One American Per Hour is National Effort

Free skin screenings, new television ad targeting older men, Consumer Reports on best, worst sunscreens. Mostly putting focus on deadly melanoma skin cancer that most often hits seniors

stitches on head after melanoma removedMay 27, 2014 – Too many Americans take skin cancer too lightly. The reality is that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer, and one person dies from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – every hour. Seniors should note that the risk of melanoma increases with age – the average age of diagnosis is 61.This is the time of year when skin cancer gets the most attention, since it exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the summer sun that is most often associated with the cause of skin cancers. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Report on Senior Health Finds Americans More Active, Less Hospitalizations, Nursing Care Better

Minnesota healthiest state for seniors, Mississippi the least

May 22, 2014 – Senior citizens are showing encouraging gains in key health measures and taking more steps to improve their own health, according to the second edition of United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities. Read more...

Minnesota, Not Florida, Not Hawaii, Is Healthiest State For Seniors

 “Minnesota Nice” might be the key to good health for seniors. America’s Health Rankings Senior Report rated Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for adults aged 65 and over — beating out Hawaii. And that retiree and snowbird haven, Florida? It came in 28th. Read more at Capsules the KHN Blog

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Simple Visual Test Can Distinguish Alzheimer’s Disease from Normal Aging

The brain’s hippocampus is important to relational memory - it binds information together

May 21, 2014 - Researchers have developed a new cognitive test that can better determine whether memory impairments are due to very mild Alzheimer’s disease or the normal aging process. The simple test asks subjects to determine if circles containing certain designs match each other, which exercises the hippocampus portion of their brain. Read more...

If You Don’t Like Obamacare, How About Medicare for All Americans

Single-Payer health advocates laying plans to end private health insurance

May 21, 2014 - Vermont in 2011 passed legislation that would make it the first state to create its own single-payer system, called “Green Mountain Care.” The experiment is set to launch in 2017, the first year that’s allowed under the Affordable Care Act. Read Capsules, the KHN Blog

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Patients Lose When Doctors Can't Do Good Physical Exams

Editor's Note: This is a story important to all seniors, who are the primary consumers of health services and those most often in need of careful medical attention. Caregivers, too, should be attentive to this trend.

By Sandra G. Boodman

May 20, 2014 - Doctors at a Northern California hospital, concerned that a 40-year-old woman with sky-high blood pressure and confusion might have a blood clot, order a CT scan of her lungs. To their surprise, the scan reveals not a clot but large cancers in both breasts that have spread throughout her body. Read more...

 

Medicare & Medicaid News

New Regulations for Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plan Target Fraud and Abuse

Tightens up drug prescribing, clears release of more Part D data, expands health improvement incentives

May 20, 2014 – New regulations for Medicare Advantage and the Part D prescription drug benefit were issue yesterday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that the agency says will continue efforts to curb fraud and abuse and improve benefits and the quality of care for seniors and the disabled enrolled in these programs. CMS also noted it is projected to save an estimated $1.615 billion over the next ten years 2015 – 2024. Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

UCLA Study Finds New Way to Select Prostate Cancer Patients for Active Surveillance

Too many men in surveillance programs find their cancer more aggressive than they had assumed – see video

May 19, 2014 - Too many men with prostate cancer are opting for “active surveillance” and later finding their cancer is more aggressive than earlier assumed. UCLA researchers say they have a better way of determining which patients should be selected for the surveillance program. Read more...
 

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