News of the Week
Observations About Some Things That Caught My Eye
Now More Than Ever Becoming Your Own Health Advocate is Essential
From Sixty and Me - my latest article.
Oregon senior living company first to earn health, wellness standards on special scorecard
McKnight’s - An Oregon senior living company is the first to achieve health and wellness standards for senior housing community design and operations under the Fitwel global health certification program.
Fitwel, a healthy building certification system operated by the New York-based Center for Active Design, launched its senior housing scorecard in 2021. Certification criteria are based on operational policies for indoor air quality, cleaning practices, design strategies, access to green spaces, and amenities, including fitness centers and walking trails.
Observation - what I love about this is that it addresses quality in a whole different area, not clinical care, but other factors, like the environment, all of which impact health.
Walmart partnership provides lifeline to family caregivers
McKnight’s - Walmart is lending a helping hand to unpaid family caregivers through a new partnership with human transformation company BetterUp. The two companies launched BetterUp for Caregivers late last week, a subscription service that connects caregivers to live programming, community support, self-guided programs and a variety of on-demand solutions.
Observation - obviously I like the idea but it is a subscription service. There was no clear indication of price and that is always a concern for caregivers. It does make the topic more mainstream with Walmart behind it.
Businesses engage employees to respond to humanitarian crisis in Ukraine
While this has nothing to do with what we cover, it caught my eye. Wondering what, if anything, your company should be doing about the war in Ukraine? Here are some ideas.
5 reasons you should take a nap
From CNN - If you feel like calling it a day and dozing off for a bit, don't feel bad -- Monday, March 14, was National Napping Day.
Finding the time to rejuvenate and recover amid daily responsibilities can be hard, but napping has benefits that could help you level up in your overall health and productivity -- meaning there is no reason to feel as if you're lazy for indulging in a little you-time.
Observation - I am a big believer in short naps. Rejuvenates you for the remainder of the day. Progressive companies allow this and even provide rooms for it.
The most-fit are 33 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, report says
From WAPO - The more fit you are, the less likely you may be to develop Alzheimer’s disease — with those who are the most fit having a 33 percent lower risk for this dementia than the least fit, according to a report to be presented to the American Academy of Neurology at its annual meeting next month.
D.C.-based researchers, from the Washington VA Medical Center and George Washington University, tested and tracked 649,605 veterans (average age 61) for nearly a decade. Based on their cardiorespiratory fitness, participants were divided into five categories, from lowest to highest fitness level.
Observation - I work out 6 of 7 days a week, weights, stretching, aerobics, pull-ups, sit ups. It not only keeps you physically healthy but mentally fit.
Come On People - We Can Do Better
The next three stories have to do with the exploitation of older adults. The first is a positive one unfortunately needed because of the explosion of abuses targeting older adults.
Story One - Congress passes bill targeting financial exploitation of older adults
The bipartisan Fraud and Scam Reduction Act will establish a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group to prevent scams that target seniors. The body will create educational materials and information on model programs to guide retailers, financial services and wire-transfer companies on prevention. Additionally, it will create an office within the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to advise the agency about preventing fraud targeting seniors and assist with monitoring mail, television, internet, telemarketing and robocalls targeting older Americans.
Story Two - Worker charged after woman froze to death at assisted living facility
An employee at an Iowa assisted living facility has been charged in the death of a 77-year-old woman who was found outside the facility in subzero temperatures. 77-year-old Lynne Harriet Stewart was found outside in subzero temperatures Jan. 21 and later died at the hospital. The low temperature that morning was minus 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Story Three - Assisted living facility discriminated against transgender woman, commission says
The Maine Human Rights Commission on Monday found that an assisted living facility discriminated against a transgender woman when it refused to allow her to live there.
Commissioners found by a vote of 3-2 that Sunrise Assisted Living in Jonesport violated Maine’s nondiscrimination law by turning away 79-year-old Marie King, according to her legal team with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, also known as GLAD.
It is the first known discrimination complaint filed in the U.S. by a transgender older adult against a long-term care facility.
The financial costs of unpaid caregiving
Benefits Pro - The direct impact of caregiving involves the time that is spent caregiving and its influence on work, absences from work, and productivity. That estimated direct economic effect amounts to approximately $44 billion, including costs associated with more than 650,000 lost jobs and almost 800,000 caregivers missing work, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield research.
Observation - where to begin? The health care system does little to support family caregivers. Some employers have true cultures of care around caregivers in the workforce while other jump on the bandwagon to provide bandaid benefits. The bandwagon group don’t necessarily have cultures that support caregiving. Identify yourself as a family caregiver in the workplace at your own risk at those companies.
Daily variation of nursing home staffing linked to worse quality: study
From McKnight’s - Variations in daily staffing levels at nursing homes were connected to higher quality and survey rankings, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.
Investigators found that facilities with significant daily variations among both RNs and CNAs had lower quality and Five Star survey rankings. They also found a significant association between nursing home ownership and high staffing variability, suggesting that for-profit facilities tend to have less stable staffing and bring into question their quality.
Observation - this is nothing new and enforces the not-for-profit versus for-profit difference as well. And it trickles down to activities, consistency of activities, quality of activities…you get the idea.
Dementia to cost nation $321 billion this year, Alzheimer’s Association says
McKnight’s - This year, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $321 billion, increasing to $1 trillion by 2050, according to a report released by the Alzheimer’s Association.
The burden of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia not only affects the individual and their families; it also affects the direct care workforce and the nation’s healthcare system. And with more older adults joining the ranks of those living with dementia, those burdens are only growing heavier, according to the report.
Observation - we believe that “social prescribing” needs to be embraced here in the U.S. For example, loneliness can cause stress, which can eventually affect sleep, nutrition, and physical health. But if you tell your primary care provider, “I’m lonely,” they may not be able to offer much in the way of immediate care. That’s where services like Sage Stream come in. Social prescribing connects people with chronic conditions to different types of community support, including social events, fitness classes, and social services. It can manifest in such things as volunteering, gardening, cooking, art activities, sports, socializing and of course, music.
Nearly 1 in 10 Americans carry medical debt
Benefits Pro - The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) performed the analysis, which was based on data from the 2020 Survey of Income and Program Participation, a nationally representative survey that asks every adult in a household whether they owed money for medical bills in 2019 and how much they owe. It looked at people with medical debt of more than $250. KFF’s analysis suggests that Americans’ collective medical debt totaled more than $195 billion in 2019, with a small share of adults accounting for a huge share of the total.
Observation - health care as a right or a responsibility?
One-third of nurses polled plan to quit their jobs this year
McKnight’s - Citing pressures from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more than one-third of nurses recently polled plan to quit their jobs this year. That is the finding of the third annual Nursing In the Time of COVID-19 report by career site Incredible Health.
The survey of more than 2,500 nurses found 34% planned to leave their jobs, with 44% of those blaming burnout and a high-stress environment as the primary reason for quitting. More than two-thirds of respondents reported they were verbally or physically assaulted by a patient or a patient’s family within the past year. Roughly half expressed anger over hospital coronavirus guidelines and frustration around staffing and care.
Observation - Care and outcomes are going to get far worse and the trickle down impacts senior care. Blame all around. Leadership needs to create better conditions and patients and families need to be more civil and understanding.
Social engagement may improve cognition in pre-dementia
Medical News Today - Researchers investigated the effects of social engagement and various lifestyle factors on dementia onset and cognitive improvement after a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. They found that both lifestyle factors and social engagement predict typical cognitive abilities. They also found that social engagement alone predicts cognitive improvement 5 years after being diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Observation - remarkable finding don’t you think? You can engage in-person or online. There is little distinction according to seniors surveyed.
People Are Now Living More Years in Good Health
Wed MD - Researchers found that since the 1990s, British adults age 65 and up have been enjoying more years living independently, free of disability.
That's despite the fact that many chronic health conditions have become more common. In fact, disability-free years rose not only among healthy seniors, but those living with conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and vision and hearing problems.
Experts called the findings -- published March 15 in the journal PLOS Medicine -- good news. And they align with other recent studies that are dispelling the notion that old age should be dreaded.
"I think the main message is that having a long-term condition does not mean you cannot live an independent life for a long time," said senior researcher Carol Jagger.
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