Eldercare Planning: Five Tips for Starting the Conversation

As we walked out of the hospital, my sister turned to her kids and said, “Please take care of me at home if I get as sick as your grandmother.” I turned to my husband and said, “Just put me in a nursing home and go on with your life.”

These two diverse perspectives might have fueled a fight over how to handle mom’s care. But my parents had the foresight to give us the gift of not having to decide. By the time mom had Alzheimer’s and was dying of colon cancer, the family knew what she wanted. She wanted to stay at home as long as possible and forgo any drastic medical treatments that might prolong her life. This was comforting in a weird way. Knowing what my mother wanted, I didn’t have to wonder if we were doing the right thing. The course was set, and the family’s job was to follow it.


Posted by editor on Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

Geriatric ERs: Specialized care to better treat elderly patients

Geriatric emergency rooms are on the rise as hospitals look for more effective ways to treat the growing elderly population.

There are approximately100 of these specialized treatment centers across the country and hospitals in California, North Carolina, Connecticut and Texas intend to open others, according to a Kaiser Health News report via CNN. Many of the centers were built to handle the influx of aging patients with complex conditions who seek care in traditional ERs.

“Hospitals that before didn't think there was any need for this are saying, 'Can you help us create a geriatric ED,'" Ula Hwang, associate professor in the emergency medicine and geriatrics departments at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, told KHN.


Posted by editor on Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

Elderly Benefit From Intensive Blood Pressure Treatment

Intensive treatment of high blood pressure reduces older adults' risk of heart disease without increasing their risk of falls or other complications, a new study shows.

"These findings have substantial implications for the future of high blood pressure therapy in older adults because of its high prevalence in this age group, and because of the devastating consequences high blood pressure complications can have on the independent function of older people," said study author Dr. Jeff Williamson. He is a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C.


Posted by editor on Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

How coordinated care gives patients the freedom to stay at home

As America’s population ages, more families will be faced with rising health care needs. As we reported in November, nearly 79 percent of adults who need long-term care live at home or in community settings, not in an institution. And in January, Medicare started paying primary care doctors a monthly fee to better coordinate care for the most vulnerable seniors — those with multiple chronic illnesses — even if they don’t have a face-to-face exam. The goal is to help patients stay healthier between doctor visits, and avoid pricey hospitals and nursing homes.

So how does coordinated caregiving work? Meet three older Americans with chronic illnesses who are benefitting from coordinated caregivers in their homes.


Posted by editor on Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

The Future of Senior Housing: Less Ritz-Carlton, More Southwest Airlines

Too rich for affordable seniors housing, too poor for market-rate seniors housing—the predicament is widespread, but the senior housing options for these older adults are not.

The middle income seniors housing market includes older adults with an annual income between about $25,000 or $30,000 and $50,000, Plante Moran Living Forward Principal Dana Wollschlager explained Wednesday during a Senior Housing News webinar. These older adults have too high an income to qualify for the low-income housing tax credit program, for instance, but too low an income to afford most private-pay seniors housing.


Posted by editor on Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

Raising Medicare eligibility age may save feds dollars but drive up total spending

Healthcare spending for some services dropped by nearly a third when people turned 65 and switched from private insurance to Medicare, according to a recent study. The decline was driven by lower prices paid by the Medicare program to doctors and other providers rather than a drop-off in the volume of services seniors receive.

The study offers a preview of the potential impact of raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from the current 65, said Jacob Wallace, a doctoral candidate in health policy at Harvard University who coauthored the study, which was published in the May issue of Health Affairs.

“What this study shows, pretty clearly, is that while the government may save money by increasing Medicare eligibility to 67, overall national health care spending will go up.”


Posted by editor on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

Aging women find healthy diets may help with mobility

In a large study conducted by at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), researchers found an association between women who maintain a healthy diet and a reduction in the risk of developing impaired physical function as they age.

"Little research has been done on how diet impacts physical function later in life. We study the connection between diet and many other aspects of health, but we don't know much about diet and mobility, " says Francine Grodstein, ScD, senior author of the study and a researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH.

Researchers examined the association between the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, a measure of diet quality, with reports of impairment in physical function among 54,762 women involved in the Nurses' Health Study.

Physical function was measured by a commonly used standard instrument every four years from 1992 to 2008 and diet was measured by food frequency questionnaires, which were administered approximately every four years beginning in 1980.

The data indicate that women who maintained a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments compared to women whose diets were not as healthy.


Posted by editor on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

My Life After Caregiving And The Long Goodbye

If you’re a family caregiver, you already know how inconceivably tough it is. In my case, caring for my mother and surviving the three-year “long goodbye” after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis was nothing short of brutal. As tough as it was much of the time, the seven months since her death have meant a new set of challenges.

As rife with emotion as caregiving was, life after caregiving has also evoked the gamut of emotions – from relief to sadness and guilt to catharsis. Like any grieving process, mine is unique and highly personal, and I can only tell you what my own experience has been. Still, I suspect that a lot of the things I’ve experienced post-caregiving will resonate with many former caregivers who are picking up the pieces after losing a loved one.


Posted by editor on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

A Journey Back In Time

From a young age my relationship with my parents and grandparents has been incredibly important to me, and it’s the reason I founded Wish of a Lifetime (WOL), an organization that grants wishes to seniors. I have always found inspiration from the generation of men and women who have experienced so much and can share their wisdom and stories. Through my journey with WOL, I have had the opportunity to visit many of our nation’s historical sites alongside these inspirational men and women. I’ve listened to countless stories and memories, and through our partnership with Brookdale Senior Living, I am proud to say that WOL is helping to preserve memories and helping many to relive their historic moments.


Posted by editor on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink

Drawing a clock can be used as initial screening tool for senior drivers

Somewhere down the road, most of us will start to forget where we left our keys. We’ll miss appointments here and there and struggle to find the words on the tip of our tongues. While this type of memory loss is part of normal aging, other cognitive changes – such as forgetting how to do routine tasks – may interfere with the ability to drive safely. The question is, how can licensing bureaus identify medically unfit drivers without discriminating based on age?

The “clock-drawing test” is proving to be a useful initial screening tool, said Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton. This standard test is normally part of a battery of tests used to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. But studies have shown a link between difficulties in drawing a simple clock and one’s ability to drive.

Evidence supporting the use of this test to detect potential driving problems is “moderate to strong,” Vrkljan said. “If someone can’t draw a clock, then I would want to do further testing.”


Posted by editor on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:06 | Permalink