For Older Adults, More Exercise Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Regular exercise lowers older adults’ risk of heart disease and stroke, even if they have health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes, researchers say.

For the new study, researchers analyzed data from more than 1 million people aged 60 and older in South Korea. The study participants’ health was checked in 2009 to 2010, again in 2011 to 2012, and they were followed until the end of 2016.

People who were inactive at the start and then became moderately to vigorously active three to four times a week by the 2011-2012 health check had an 11% reduced risk of heart disease, the findings showed.

Full story at US News

The Visitors’ Guide to Nursing Homes

IF YOU WANT TO BRIGHTEN a loved one’s day, visit him or her in a nursing home. “It’s one of the most wonderful things you can really do, to continue to be there,” says Anne Weisbrod, director of social services at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York. “It may not be the home you grew up in or the home you remember, but this is their home now.”

Tips for a Good Nursing Home Visit

To help you get the most enjoyment from your time together, long-term care experts and a family caregiver offer guidelines for successful nursing home visits. Here are some of their top take-home messages:

  • Shared activities help break the ice. Working on a puzzle or adding photos to an album together can stimulate conversation.

Full story at US News

Beyond Bingo: Innovative Activities at Today’s Nursing Homes

Bingo, Bible study and birthday parties – at some nursing homes, that’s as good as it gets. Traditionally, long-term care facilities have come up short in the activities realm, relying on old standbys that aren’t meaningful or particularly enjoyable. But change and innovation have arrived, which means seniors could be belting karaoke tunes one night and watching comedy on YouTube the next.

“We’re past just trying to fill time,” says Natalie Davis, a Dallas-based consultant who specializes in gerontology and teaches courses on developing activities for long-term care residents. “We want to enrich their lives.” Here’s a sampling of some innovative nursing home activities:

Full story at US News

Dementia Care in Assisted Living Homes

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND dementia are becoming an increasingly big part of the health care conversation in America as the population ages and more people develop these cognitive ailments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, a figure that’s anticipated to nearly triple to 14 million by 2060.

For many people, once dementia has progressed to a certain level, they may need more care than family members can provide and may need to be placed in a long-term care facility– either an assisted living community or a nursing home.

Some of these facilities provide amazing care and support of older adults dealing with cognitive decline or dementia. Others may not. And if you’re considering placing a loved one into an assisted living facility that offers dementia care, there are a few factors you should consider when evaluating whether a specific community is the right one.

Full story at US News

What to Look for in a Geriatric Care Manager

WHEN OLDER ADULTS CAN no longer care for themselves, it’s usually up to their family members to take over the responsibility. But it’s hard to know where to begin managing the care of someone who has chronic health conditions, requires frequent doctor visits and needs assistance at home – which may be in another town. “Families are often overwhelmed and ask, ‘What do we do? How do we handle this?’” says Nancy Avitabile, president of the board of directors of the Aging Life Care Association.

Avitabile is an aging life care manager (also known as a geriatric care manager), a type of elder care professional trained to jump into these challenging situations and offer solutions, guidance and hands-on management.

“It’s not uncommon for adult children to involve a geriatric care manager when things are getting complicated with a new diagnosis or a change in function or cognition, especially when the family lives far away and they need guidance on which options are available,” says Dr. Christine Ritchie, a geriatrician, palliative care physician and professor at the University of California—San Francisco School of Medicine.

Full story at US News

Should Seniors Be Driving?

PRINCE PHILIP, WHO’S 97, was recently involved in a car crash that injured two women and prompted a debate on older drivers in Britain. Two days after the accident, he was photographed driving a Land Rover and not wearing a seatbelt. Of course, that reignited a debate about seniors and driving.

An Emotionally Charged Issue

What if I told you that tomorrow, just for a day, you would all of a sudden not have a car available? What if I said a week? You can start to see how your independence would be affected.

A car represents different things to people: a way to get to places for some; status and identity for others; freedom and spontaneity. What it represents also says a lot about how you approach the situation.

Full story at US News

Home Instead Senior Care Partners with GrandPad To Provide Enhanced Integrated Care Solution

Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor for the Home Instead Senior Care®  network, today announced a partnership with GrandPad®, the first tablet-based solution designed exclusively for seniors. The two organizations are coming together to offer innovation that will change the way we care for the growing number of older adults.

The partnership provides a platform for Home Instead franchise owners to offer integrated care solutions that will enhance the client experience while a Home Instead CAREGiverSM is in the home. It also sets the stage for Home Instead to offer new services, such as interactive remote care, which would create new opportunities for the delivery of technology-based home care across underserved populations and rural geographies.

The agreement includes an equity investment in GrandPad. Additionally, Jeff Huber, president and CEO of Home Instead, Inc., has been added to the GrandPad board of directors.

Full story at Home Instead

Medicare Cuts Payments To Nursing Homes Whose Patients Keep Ending Up In Hospital

The federal government has taken a new step to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions of nursing home patients by lowering a year’s worth of payments to nearly 11,000 nursing homes. It gave bonuses to nearly 4,000 others.

These financial incentives, determined by each home’s readmission rates, significantly expand Medicare’s effort to pay medical providers based on the quality of care instead of just the number or condition of their patients. Until now, Medicare limited these kinds of incentives mostly to hospitals, which have gotten used to facing financial repercussions if too many of their patients are readmitted, suffer infections or other injuries, or die.

“To some nursing homes, it could mean a significant amount of money,” said Thomas Martin, director of post-acute care analytics at CarePort Health, which works for both hospitals and nursing homes. “A lot are operating on very small margins.”

Full story at Kaiser Health News

What Factors Make for the Best Assisted Living Facilities?

IF YOU WERE BORN between 1946 and 1964, you count yourself, of course, as part of the baby boomer generation that is the largest in American history. And boomers age just like everyone else. In March 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that by 2035, adults aged 65 and older will number more than 78 million. By comparison, kids aged 18 and younger are expected to total just 76.4 million, meaning that in short order, the number of seniors in the country will outnumber children for the first time in American history.

As they continue to age, many people need some help in completing the daily tasks of living. Faced with the decision of how to address these needs, thousands are settling on the option of an assisted living facility.

Definitions of assisted living can vary from state to state and facility to facility, but “we generally define it as another long-term care option for folks that generally don’t need 24/7 skilled nursing care, which is what most long-term nursing homes provide,” says Rachel Reeves, director of communications for the National Center for Assisted Living, a non-profit organization representing about 4,000 assisted living facilities across the country. For many people, assisted living means they need help with some aspects of daily living, such bathing, dressing, toileting, eating or transferring to bed at night. “Assisted living really focuses on supporting individuals with those activities, but then also maximizing independence and socialization in a home-like environment,” Reeves says. Currently, the NCAL reports that there are more than 835,000 Americans residing in assisted living facilities.

Full story at US News

A Retirement Community Turned Away These Married Women

Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance did considerable research in 2016 before deciding to move into a continuing care retirement community outside St. Louis.

They took a tour of Friendship Village Sunset Hills and were impressed by its pool and fitness center, a calendar crammed with activities, the newly built apartments for independent living. They had meals with a friend and with a former co-worker, and their spouses, all of them enthusiastic residents.

“We’d met other people from the community, and they were very friendly,” said Ms. Walsh, 72, a retired manager for AT&T. “I was feeling good about it.”

Like most C.C.R.C.s, Friendship Village — a “faith-based” but nondenominational nonprofit — includes assisted living and a nursing home on its 52-acre campus, an important consideration.

Full story at the New York Times