“R U OK?”

elderlyFor the elderly living alone in Clark County, there is a new program being put into practice which will make them feel less alone.  Law enforcement officers will be able to check in on these individuals via the “R U OK? Senior Safe and Sound Program.”  According to Gene Kelly, Clark County Sheriff, this is “another program that will allow seniors to stay in their homes.  What we’ve found in our research of this program is that seniors really appreciate it and their families really appreciate it.”

This is a great option for individuals who are 65 and over along with their caretakers.  Program participants can decide what time to receive the daily call and then if they do not answer, someone on a list of people close to them can be contacted in the case of a problematic issue.  As Kelly pointed out, “the family can rest assured that someone will check on their loved one. If there’s no response, we’ll put things into action.”

This program could go part of the way to addressing the issue of the disturbingly low amount of geriatricians in the country. As Associate Professor of Medicine at Durham’s the Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Heather Whitson said: “We are not prepared as a nation. We are facing a crisis. Our current health care system is ill equipped to provide the optimal care experience for patients with multiple chronic conditions or with functional limitations and disabilities.”  According to the AGS, the country needs approximately 17,000 geriatricians to care for the around 12 million American seniors.  Right now there are only 7,500 now.


Report on Home Healthcare Equipment

The Home Healthcare Equipment Market to 2017 seeks to provide vital information and analysis on what is available for homecare.  Five key areas are covered in the report:  hearing aid devices for the home; diabetes help at home; patient monitoring home services; respiratory devices and drug delivery devices.  Each category is reviewed and analyzed with their products.

In addition, reviews are recorded of various deals that have gone through in the home healthcare equipment market over the last four years.  Data collected for the report was through various existing databases, research, and analysis conducted by GBI Research.

A Big Business

Clearly, the healthcare market for home equipment is financially huge, having been valued last year at a staggering $32.6b with predictions of this figure increasing to $47.9b in the next six years.  The idea is that America’s healthcare system – already way over-burdened – will be able to spend less on the elderly through its healthcare institutions as equipment at home (which is cheaper) will be more readily available and of improved quality. The more healthcare that is conducted at home, the cheaper and better it is for the state. As well, most people prefer to be treated in the comfort of their own home, rather than having to be in a hospital bed.


Obama on Military Veterans Mental Health

November: For Military and Caregivers

At the beginning of this month, Barack Obama dedicated November to two important segments in society: Military Family Month and National Family Caregivers Month.  In his declaration speech as recorded in a government news article, the President said, “with every step we take on American soil, we tread on ground made safer for us through the invaluable sacrifices of our service members and their families.”   

Military veterans – as with many of the country’s elderly – are too often forgotten. Of course, in all cases this is sad, but with the military it seems even more outrageous and unacceptable.  These individuals who dedicated the best part of their lives to the country, need to be recognized for their hard work and cared for in their old age.  Thus November will be a special time to remember and recognize their “strength and sacrifice.”  Mr. Obama added, “just as our troops embody the courage and character that make America's military the finest in the world, their family members embody the resilience and generosity that make our communities strong.”

Being in the military is hard on everyone, not just the soldier. The wives have to carry on for many months at a time without their spouses; children have to live their lives without a parent and will often need to take on extra responsibilities that are not in the usual realm for a child that age and a lot of support is needed from grandparents as well.  As the president duly noted, “to these families, and to those whose service members who never come home, we bear a debt that can never be fully repaid.”  Thus November will be recognizing this effort – the effort made by all family caregivers.   

National Family Caregivers Association – History

It all began back in 1994.  During the last week of November – Thanksgiving week – family caregivers were celebrated.  Shortly after that first year, the week extended to the whole month.  It was President Clinton who, in 1997, signed the first presidential proclamation to “appreciate family caregivers.”  This tradition has continued each year with every single President.  And now, Obama has added the Military Family Month to November along with the proclamation recognizing the caregivers.

Why are caregivers so important? Every single day, over 65 million of them throughout America are making huge sacrifices while caring for their loved ones.  They rarely – if ever – get a break.  It is a huge and cumbersome task that they take on.  Thus their efforts are being duly recognized throughout the month of November.


Norwalk Hospital: Great Rating for Geriatric Care

Norwalk Hospital has just been ranked No. 1 in the 2011 Healthcare Consumerism and Hospital Quality in America in the state of Connecticut with which many diseases the elderly more commonly are afflicted.  These include: prostate surgery, strokes, and vascular surgery. 

In the ranking Medicare data was investigated between 2008 to 2010 throughout approximately 5,000 hospitals nationwide.  According to chief executive of professional services at HealthGrades (that released the survey) David Thompson, there is a 54 percent reduced possibility of fatality when being treated at Norwalk compared to the national average which is extremely significant.  Norwalk hospital also received the 2011 "Specialty Excellence Award for Stroke and Prostatectomy Care."

It was the hospital’s CEO and president, Dan DeBarba, who received the award along with VP CMO Dr. Eric M. Mazur and Chief Medical Quality and Information Officer, Dr. Stephen O’Mahony.

Seniors Save Money with Medicare

Now is the time.  For any senior who is supported by Medicare, now is the time to save money as this is the yearly enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug and Advantage managed care plans.  Given that the new healthcare reform law will be changing certain parts of the Medicare marketplace, it seems like in general, this is going to be beneficial for the elderly population.  There have of course been some criticism of the law since it will be decreasing some of the subsidies to Medicare Advantage, looking at the Advantage and prescription drug markets seniors need not worry.

Review Plan Annually

Everyone – no matter what their particular situation – is advised to review their plan on a yearly basis.  But this is especially important for those on Medicare Part D drug plans since there are often very many changes with the price of drugs; or accessing drugs, throughout the years.  As well, one’s own prescriptions often vary during the year so it’s worth looking into this regularly.

But there is no time like the present vis-à-vis starting the process. Experts in the field are encouraging everyone to make their reviews as soon as possible.  Health reform laws are being put into place earlier than expected and thus one should look to enroll ASAP, with enrollment being available from October 15 to December 7.  Look at your options:  traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, and then make your decision.  Just remember to look out for ultimately what is best for YOUR personal needs.

La Fe Clinic Puts on a Health Fair for Seniors

Those seniors living in the Borderland Texas area had a chance to learn more about senior health services focused on them put together specifically for them.

This is two years now that the La fe Clinic has put on a seniors fair in south El Paso. There were many people there that perused the booths filled with information about from social security to Hospice facilities., Perhaps the biggest draw was a free massage.  The La fe Clinic organizers said events like these are extremely important for seniors.

“First of all, if you don’t know what is out there in the community this is one way to find out.The other reason is it’s a good way to find out your status in terms of health,” says Ignacio Escandon, of La Fe Clinic.

The event in El Paso is free of charge.