Issue Brief: Socially Vulnerable Older Adults & Medical-Legal Partnerships

A new issue brief  from the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health describes the pressing legal needs facing older adults, and ways that partnerships between clinical settings and legal assistance providers can address social determinants of health, preserve independence, and improve their care.

In a medical-legal partnership (MLP), lawyers become an important part of the health care team, taking referrals and providing consultations. “As the U.S. population ages,
MLP is a promising approach to support older adults and their families in navigating fragmented and confusing systems of care, optimize choice and self-determination, and protect and promote health and well-being,” the brief concludes.

Full story at acl.gov

Tighter Blood Pressure Control May Prevent Brain Lesions

Reducing high blood pressure in the elderly appears to lower their odds of developing brain lesions, a new study finds.

“I think it’s an important clinical finding, and a very hopeful one for elderly people who have vascular disease of the brain and [high blood pressure],” said study co-principal investigator Dr. William White. He’s a professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Over time, high systolic blood pressure (top number in a reading) can damage small arteries deep in the brain. Reduced blood flow to the brain can lead to areas of damaged nerve cells (lesions) in the brain’s white matter.

Full story at US News

10 minutes of leisurely activity per week may lower death risk

New research suggests that adults over the age of 40 who engage in leisurely physical activity — such as dancing, gardening, or going for a walk — for even a short amount of time each week may have a lower risk of death from multiple causes.

Previous research has shown that engaging even in low-level physical activity — including leisurely tasks, such as gardening — may help protect brain health and cardiovascular health, among other benefits.

Now, a recent observational study, working with tens of thousands of people aged 40 and over has found a link between a lower risk of death from different causes and low levels of physical activity.

Full story at Medical News Today

LTC Properties: Senior Care Centers Won’t Survive Bankruptcy, Transfer Ongoing

“As you know, Senior Care declared bankruptcy in December, and we don’t believe they have the ability to emerge from the process as a viable, ongoing concern,” CEO Wendy Simpson said Friday during the company’s fourth quarter 2018 earnings call.

The Dallas-based Senior Care Centers left landlord LTC without $1.8 million in rent for the month of December in the wake of its filing, which the provider blamed on prohibitively expensive lease payments. At the time, Simpson announced plans to re-tenant the 11 properties in its portfolio with an operator that had overseen the facilities prior to Senior Care Centers — a process that remained ongoing as of Friday.

Full story at Skilled Nursing News

Congenital heart defects vastly increase risk of heart problems later in life

An infant born with a relatively simple heart defect is far more likely to develop heart problems as an adult, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered.

The risk is so great that someone born with a heart defect who has a heart-healthy lifestyle is twice as likely to develop heart problems as someone born without a defect who has a heart-averse lifestyle.

“All of us in cardiology recognize that people with complex disease need follow-up care throughout their lives,” said James Priest, MD, assistant professor of pediatric cardiology. “But for the simple problems, we’ve been thinking that once you close the hole or fix the valve, these patients are good to go.”

Full story at Science Daily

Being Socially Active Helps Older Folk Age Well

Interacting with lots of different people may help you live longer and healthier, a new study suggests.

Older people who spend more time with family members, close friends, acquaintances, casual friends and even strangers were more likely to be physically active, spend less time sitting or lying around and have a more positive attitude and fewer negative feelings, the researchers found.

“Adults often grow less physically active and more sedentary as they age, and these behaviors pose a risk factor for disease and death,” said study author Karen Fingerman. She’s a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Full story at HealthDay

Higher education won’t prevent mental decline, study finds

Education has long been thought to protect against the ravages of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. Numerous studies seemed to suggest that the more educated were less likely to develop dementia.

But a large new study finds little difference between people with a high school diploma and those with a Ph.D. when it comes to staving off the damage to brain cells caused by dementing diseases or the rate at which mental decline progresses, once it starts.

“It’s been a longstanding idea that education might be one of those things that allows a person to tolerate these kinds of brain pathologies,” said the study’s lead author, Robert S. Wilson, a professor of neurological and behavioral sciences at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “We found that the more pathology you find in the brain, the faster the cognitive decline was.”

Full story at NBC News

Federal Trade Commission Scam Warning

The Federal Trade Commission is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money.

In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social Security number is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. He will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.

In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. He also might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.

Full story at acl.gov

Boot camp after 60: 10 steps to turn around unhealthy habits

It takes moxie to flip an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one — particularly for folks over 60.

Most baby boomers approach retirement age unwilling to follow basic healthy lifestyle goals established by the American Heart Association, said Dr. Dana King, professor and chairman of the department of family medicine at West Virginia University, referencing his university’s 2017 study comparing the healthy lifestyle rates of retired late-middle-aged adults with rates among those still working.

Kaiser Health News interviewed three other prominent experts on aging and health about how seniors can find the will to adopt healthier habits.

“People do financial planning for retirement, but what about retirement health planning?” King said.

Full story at NBC News

Following heart health guidelines also reduces diabetes risk

Lifestyle and health factors that are good for your heart can also prevent diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine that published today in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Diabetes is a growing problem in the United States, with nearly a third of the population living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Joshua J. Joseph, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, wants to bring those numbers down. He studies various ways to prevent diabetes. His latest work looked at how cardiovascular health can impact diabetes risk.

“This research adds to our collective understanding about how physicians can help their patients prevent a number of serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer and now diabetes,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of the College of Medicine.

Full story at Science Daily