New Issue Brief from the Evaluation of the Nutrition Services Program: An Examination of Social Activities at Congregate Meals Sites and Their Role in Improving Socialization Outcomes of Participants

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) conducted a three-part evaluation of its Title III-C Nutrition Services Program (NSP). The Process Evaluation, Cost Study, and two reports from the Outcome Evaluation have previously been released.

ACL is now releasing an issue brief based on surveys of local service providers and participants at congregate meal sites: An Examination of Social Activities at Congregate Meal Sites and Their Role in Improving Socialization Outcomes of Participants.

This issue brief examines the types of congregate meal sites that offer social activities and whether the effect of congregate meal participation on socialization outcomes differs for participants who attend meal sites that offer social activities and those who attend meal sites that do not offer these activities.

Full story at acl.gov

8 Ways to Ease Holiday Isolation for Older Adults

Holidays can heighten loneliness.

The household baker who loaded platters with red-and-green frosted cookies. The grandfather who proudly carved the massive turkey. The mom who was a wrapping-paper whiz. The neighbor whose outdoor decorations outshone the entire block. The dad who carefully lit the menorah. The parents who planned amazing family trips for winter breaks. The jovial host who filled guests’ glasses with eggnog or champagne. As they grow older, the people in your life who once made holidays special could use some cheer and attention themselves. Here’s how you can help them celebrate and feel connected.

Full story at US News

Senior Care Centers Files for Bankruptcy, Blaming ‘Expensive Leases’

Senior Care Centers announced Tuesday that it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The move will allow Senior Care Centers, which has almost 10,000 residents and nearly 11,000 employees, address “burdensome debt levels and expensive leases,” according to a press release announcing the bankruptcy filing.

Senior Care Centers will continue paying vendors for the goods and services provided during the Chapter 11 process, in addition to continuing to cover payroll, according to the company.

“After careful analysis, we determined that the protections afforded by the Chapter 11 process are the best way to address the company’s debt and costly leases while allowing us to continue to provide all the top-level care and support our residents deserve,” Kevin O’Halloran, Senior Care Centers’ chief restructuring officer, said in the release.

Full story at Skilled Nursing News

What Activities Are Best for Seniors in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

WHEN IT COMES TIME TO find the right assisted living community or nursing home for your loved one, there are a lot of things to consider in finding the right fit, such as the quality of the medical care, fees and location. But in the scramble to find a good place for your loved one, it’s also important to consider the quality of life they’ll find in that community and whether they’ll be supported in living their best life possible.

Finding and engaging in appropriate activities for seniors – and these can run the gamut from hobbies and physical exercise to social events and outings – is a major component of a high quality of life for older adults in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. That’s because socialization and eliminating loneliness and isolation among older adults is a crucial component of staying healthy in our later years. “It’s a critical part of well-being to be able to interact with others and to have those social connections,” says Dr. Tanya Gure, section chief of geriatrics and associate clinical professor in internal medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Full story at US News

 

How Can I Make the Transition to an Assisted Living Facility Easier?

FOR MANY OLDER ADULTS, the first and best option for living out their golden years is to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. But for some, there comes a time when this strategy becomes unmanageable and it’s time to transition into an assisted living community. Moving is always difficult and it can be made especially more so by all the complex emotions and logistical challenges that often accompany a move made later in life. But there are some ways to make transitioning into an assisted living facility a little easier.

Dr. Susann Varano, a geriatrician at Maplewood Senior Living, a Westport, Connecticut–based senior living residence company, says one of the key components to making a smooth transition to an assisted living community is to start searching for the right place as early as possible. Ideally, you should be planning for and considering your options for months, even years, before you actually need to make the move. She likens the ideal transition to how we plan for college.

“Some people start a college fund when the child is born, and they start thinking about college when they’re in middle school – they consider which high school to go to that will lead to a good college and ultimately lead to a good law school or medical school.” She asks why Americans seem so reluctant to give the same sort of care and attention to what probably should be viewed as an equally important life transition. “These are the final years of your life. Why shouldn’t they be the quality you deserve? You worked hard for your money, and this is your money. Give it the respect that it deserves and don’t be so afraid that just because you’re looking (at moving) means you’re going to go.”

Full story at US News

CMS may allow hospitals to pay for housing through Medicaid

HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday said Medicaid may soon allow hospitals and health systems to directly pay for housing, healthy food or other solutions for the “whole person.”

In a speech supported by the Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions and Intermountain Healthcare in Washington, Azar said Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation officials are looking to move beyond existing efforts to partner with social services groups and try to manage social determinants of health as they see appropriate.

“What if we gave organizations more flexibility so they could pay a beneficiary’s rent if they were in unstable housing, or make sure that a diabetic had access to, and could afford, nutritious food?” Azar said in his prepared remarks. “If that sounds like an exciting idea … I want you to stay tuned to what CMMI is up to.”

Full story at Modern Healthcare

The good, the bad and the ugly of picking Medicare Advantage plans

Nearly half of all new Medicare enrollees are signing up for Medicare Advantage plans, which now account for about 35 percent of the entire Medicare market.

The other 65 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are in what’s called original Medicare, which consists of Part A (hospital, nursing home) and Part B (doctors, equipment, outpatient expenses). Those patients usually have a private Part D drug plan, and a quarter have a private Medigap supplement policy.

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans must cover everything that original Medicare covers, and they can’t discriminate against people who are ill or have preexisting conditions. Anyone, regardless of their health, can get an MA plan or switch to one during open enrollment, which continues through Dec. 7.

Full story at PBS.org

Better Training, Career Development Needed for America’s Direct-Care Workforce

By 2034, all of America’s baby boomers will be over the age of 70, many living with complex health care needs and multiple chronic conditions.

A well-trained direct-care workforce will be critical to keeping those baby boomers safely in their homes as they age. Without one, experts predict, public and private insurers will struggle in meeting the population’s needs.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that works to promote bipartisanship on key issues facing the United states, highlighted the need to support the country’s direct-care workforce in a report released on Thursday.

Full story at Home Healthcare News

One of the fastest-aging US states has rejected free care for seniors

Voters in Maine were presented with a ballot measure that would have provided disabled adults or people over the age of 65 with full-time, long-term care in their own homes, at no cost to individuals or their families. It was hailed by supporters as a visionary model for ensuring support for vulnerable people, one that could be rolled out in other states as the US elder population grows.

Alas, it’s a vision whose time has not yet come. Voters in Maine soundly defeated Question 1 at the polls on Tuesday (Nov. 6).

Maine is one of the fastest-aging states in the US. People aged 65 and older there are expected to outnumber those under 18 by 2020, a full 15 years before the US as a whole reaches that crucial threshold.

The vast majority of seniors prefer to age in their own homes. The availability and affordability of in-home care in Maine, however, is among the poorest in the nation. Without access to home care, family members typically shoulder the work—along with the financial cost of their own lost wages—to care for elderly relatives.

Full story at Quartz at Work

Parents Struggle To Find In-Home Nurses

BALTIMORE — Jill Pelovitz depends on an army of in-home nurses to keep her teenage daughter alive.

Fourteen-year-old Nadiya suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes life-threatening seizures, breathing problems and other complications. The teenager, who needs help with basic life skills such as dressing and walking, requires constant monitoring in case she has a seizure, especially at night when she is sleeping in their Severn, Md., home.

But finding nurses to assist families who have children with disabilities and other relatives at home can be difficult, largely because such nurses aren’t paid enough in Maryland or even as much as in neighboring states, according to the families and companies that place nurses. They are pushing to increase how much the nurses are reimbursed under Maryland’s Medicaid program, which covers most of the costs of at-home nursing care for those with disabilities.

Full story at Disability Scoop