CHANGE IS COMING FOR NONPROFIT HUMAN SERVICE PROVIDERS, BUT WILL IT MAKE OR BREAK THEM?

It is a time of reckoning for Connecticut’s private, nonprofit social services.

After two decades of flat or reduced funding from its chief client — state government — community-based agencies are struggling to retain both their programs and the low-paid staff who deliver care for thousands of poor, disabled and mentally-ill adults and children.

Depending on the vantage point, Connecticut’s nonprofit social services sector is viewed as either the best means to preserve the state’s safety net or as the cheapest route to drive down government spending.

Those in the first category — relatives and advocates for the state’s most vulnerable citizens — are waiting to see whether Connecticut will fulfill the program of comprehensive, neighborhood-based care that was envisioned nearly four decades ago when the movement away from institutionalized care began.

Full story at The Connecticut Mirror

Agitation in dementia: Are drugs the best treatment?

A common symptom among people with dementia is agitation, which can affect their and their carers’ well-being. Dementia experts conducted a new study and found the most effective means of addressing agitation.

In a paper that is now published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, experts from several research institutions — including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD — express their consensus on the best approaches to manage dementia-related behavioral and psychological symptoms.

More specifically, they speak of how to address states of agitation and psychosis in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Full story at Science Daily

Hurricane Maria Still Taking A Toll On Puerto Rico’s Seniors

The question of who will care for Puerto Rico’s aging population is a growing crisis, says Dr. Angel Muñoz, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. The island’s elderly population is particularly at risk amid the new Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

Earlier this year, a study by Harvard researchers estimated that 4,600 Puerto Ricans died in the months after Hurricane Maria hit last September. Many were seniors who faced delays in getting medical care.

Meanwhile, projections show that one-third of Puerto Rico’s population will be 60 or older by 2020, even as the number of young people are increasingly fleeing to the mainland in search of employment, often leaving behind aging parents.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Visual illusion proves effective in relieving knee pain for people with osteoarthritis

In a new study published in the journal Peer J this week, researchers at UniSA’s Body in Mind Research Group have found people suffering osteoarthritis in the knees reported reduced pain when exposed to visual illusions that altered the size of their knees.

UniSA researcher and NHMRC Career Development Fellow, Dr Tasha Stanton says the research combined visual illusions and touch, with participants reporting up to a 40 per cent decrease in pain when presented with an illusion of the knee and lower leg elongated.

“We also found that the pain reduction was optimal when the illusion was repeated numerous times — that is, its analgesic effect was cumulative,” Dr Stanton says.

Full story at Science Daily

The Do’s and Don’ts of Alcohol Intervention for Seniors

IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT an elderly parent or grandparent’s substance use, you’re not alone.

Americans over the age of 65 should limit their weekly alcohol consumption to no more than seven drinks, according to guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Yet some estimates suggest that as many as 15 percent of older adults in this country exceed this healthy limit (above which drinking is associated with various alcohol-related issues and constitutes “at-risk drinking”).

For this at-risk population, even a brief, more informal alcohol intervention (as opposed to a formal intervention facilitated by a certified professional) can be effective. Both the approach and level of advance preparation, such as familiarity with senior-specific treatment considerations and options, can be critical to ensuring a successful intervention. Here’s how to express your concerns in a way that’s helpful – not overbearing.

Full story at US News

How This New Law Will Help Grandparents Raising Grandkids

While Congress continues to duke it out on most issues, legislators have come together a remarkable number of times this year in support of grandparents and other relatives raising children — also known as grandfamilies.

On Monday, July 9, President Trump signed into law The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, first introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in May 2017. The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act has received support from 40 older adult and child advocacy groups including AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics and my group, Generations United, which aims to improve the lives of kids and older adults.

Helping Grandparents Raising Grandkids

What does the new law mean for the more than 2.5 million grandparents who’ve stepped up to raise children when their parents are unable to do so?

Full story at nextavenue.org

Through my eyes: A stroke experience

I am Tracy Lyn Lomagno, a 45-year-old dental assistant with lots of other hobbies. I’m a mom to my 10-year-old son and a wife of 12 years to my husband Vincenzo. And, earlier this year, I had a stroke that changed my life dramatically.

It was around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday February 25, 2018, when I felt as though I was struck in the head by lightning.

I experienced a horrible, surging pain and sat up. I immediately grabbed my husband and screamed, “I’m dying, call 911.”

It’s hard to put my experience into words, but if anyone remembers what the teacup ride at an amusement park is like, just imagine being on one of those.

Full story at Medical News Today

This 87-year-old D.C. woman just made it easier for you to keep your independence

The 87-year-old wore a silk dress she had sewn herself. The bright blue fabric featuring yellow, turquoise and lavender flowers pulled at the eyes, and against it, the pale pink stones of her necklace seemed a conservative choice. But that’s not why she wore it.

With a smile, she explained that she had picked the beads less for the statement they made than for the promise they held.

“They’re supposed to help you get a boyfriend,” she said, laughing.

When the woman tells people she is not far from 90, they show genuine surprise. She has not yet let her hair turn white and she speaks with a well-earned wit. She also takes care of most of her needs by herself, getting dressed on her own, taking the right amount of medications as needed and making appointments that she gets to herself by using public transportation. She recently enrolled in a college class after deciding she wants to learn Italian.

Full story at the Washington Post

Families Confront Dementia And Guns

WITH A BULLET IN HER gut, her voice choked with pain, Dee Hill pleaded with the 911 dispatcher for help.

“My husband accidentally shot me,” Hill, 75, of The Dalles, Oregon, groaned on the May 16, 2015, call. “In the stomach, and he can’t talk, please …”

Less than four feet away, Hill’s husband, Darrell Hill, a former local police chief and two-term county sheriff, sat in his wheelchair with a discharged Glock handgun on the table in front of him, unaware that he’d nearly killed his wife of almost 57 years.

The 76-year-old lawman had been diagnosed two years earlier with a form of rapidly progressive dementia, a disease that quickly stripped him of reasoning and memory.

Full story at US News

Direct Support Workers In Short Supply As Demand Surges

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The commercial lasts less than a minute. Time enough, Ben Young hopes, for viewers to see what he needs and to imagine what he can give.

“Come change my life,” Young says in a computer-generated voice. “I promise it will change yours forever. Help me help myself.”

The pitch, from a bright and determined young man who can neither feed nor dress himself, or even speak clearly without aid of technology, is part of a statewide campaign to recruit the workers known as “direct support professionals.” The well-being of Young and tens of thousands of other Ohioans with developmental disabilities turns on the availability of competent and reliable support providers.

Full story at Disability Scoop