Monthly Archives: November, 2016

“Huge out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients with cancer” –

senior hands holding purse

“A cancer diagnosis can be a serious financial hardship for many elderly and disabled patients on Medicare, with annual out-of-pocket costs ranging from $2,116 to $8,115, on top of what they pay for health insurance, a new survey shows.

“The research, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, tabs hospitalizations as a major driver of the out-of-pocket costs. Cancer contributes more to US health care costs than any other disease, researchers say.

“‘The spending associated with a new cancer diagnosis gets very high quickly, even if you have insurance,’ says Lauren Hersch Nicholas, assistant professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“The health shock can be followed by financial toxicity.” Click here to read this article in its entirety at

“Bingo? Pass. Bring on Senior Speed-Dating and Wine-Tasting.” – The New York Times

1-new-senior-centersOlder adults attend a sushi class at Mather’s-More Than a Cafe in Chicago. Credit Lyndon french for The New York Times

“NOTHING about Mather’s-More Than a Cafe looks as if it’s aimed at people over 50. But the Chicago cafe, which could easily be mistaken for a large Starbucks, is much more than that, serving as a community hub, mostly for older people, with dozens of classes on topics like flower arranging, Egyptian history and digital safety.

“In her six years as a member, Pat Knazze, 66, has taken line dancing and piano lessons and participated in over 50 seminars via Skype, including architecture classes that helped her qualify as a neighborhood docent.

“As she ages, Ms. Knazze has also found another expected benefit: a caring group of neighbors who serve as a kind of substitute family.

“‘We’re social beings,’ said Ms. Knazze, who is divorced. ‘And the cafe is a kind and loving group. I have multiple families that nurture me.’ The Mather’s Cafe manager even attended Ms. Knazze’s mother’s funeral.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

“10 Skills Our Kids Will Never Learn | Already, vast areas of Boomer knowledge are becoming obsolete” – AARP

10-skillsClick here or on the graphic above to see the 10 skills that will disappear according to the Association of American Retired Persons [AARP].

about Pennsylvania’s “Adult Protective Services”

In 2010, the Adult Protective Services (APS) Law, Act 70 of 2010, was enacted to provide protective services to adults between 18 and 59 years of age who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  The APS Law establishes a program of protective services in order to detect, prevent, reduce and eliminate abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment of adults in need.

Common Signs of Abuse May Include:

  • Bruises or Broken Bones
  • Weight Loss
  • Memory Loss
  • Personality Changes
  • Social Isolation
  • Changes in Banking Habits
  • Giving Away Assets such as money, property, etc.

A report can be made on behalf of the adult whether they live in their home or in a care facility such as a nursing facility, group home, hospital, etc.  Reporters may remain anonymous and have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination, and civil and criminal prosecution.

To report the need for protective services, call the 24-hour, statewide Protective Services Hotline at


For more information about Pennsylvania’s Adult Protective Services (inlcuding training opportunities), click here.

DHS seeks comments on amendments to four Office of Long-Term Living HCBS waivers.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has made available for public review and comment proposed waiver amendments for:

  • Aging Waiver
  • Attendant Care Waiver
  • OBRA Waiver
  • Independence Waiver

“The proposed amendments, effective April 1, 2017, include plans which outline the transition of individuals from the above mentioned waivers into Community HealthChoices, Pennsylvania’s managed long-term services and supports delivery system. Public comments will be received for 30 days, and the department will hold two webinars on the amendments.” See more here.

“Dramatic decline in dementia seen among older adults in the US” – STATnews

150 Years German Red Cross: Senior Citizens Care Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The percent of older US adults with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, declined from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012, a decrease of nearly a quarter, scientists reported on Monday.

Why it matters:

“It had been thought that the baby boomers’ march toward old age would triple the number of Alzheimer’s patients by 2050. These new numbers not only portend a lesser burden on the health care system (and families) but also suggest that something has changed over the generations — and identifying that change could drive down dementia rates even further.

You’ll want to know:

“That’s a significant decline: If the rate of dementia in 2012 had been what it was in 2000, “there would be well more than 1 million additional people with dementia,” said John Haaga, director of the National Institute on Aging’s behavioral and social research, who was not involved in the study.”

Read this STATNnews article in its entirety, click here.

“Hospital Companions Can Ease Isolation For Older People” – NPR

hospital-companionsVolunteer Julia Torrano helps Estelle Day, 79, style her hair while she’s a patient at UCLA Medical Center. – Ina Jaffe/NPR

“Loneliness can be a problem for older people, especially when they’re in the hospital. Their children may have moved away. Spouses and friends may themselves be too frail to visit. So a California hospital is providing volunteer companions in the geriatric unit.

“One of the volunteers at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica is 24-year-old Julia Torrano. She hopes to go to medical school. Meanwhile, her twice-weekly volunteer shifts give her a lot of practice working with patients.

“One of them is Estelle Day. She’s 79 years old, a slender woman with a wild mane of hair that is still mostly red. Torrano peppers her with questions.

“Where were you originally from?” asks Torrano. Day replies that she grew up on Long Island in New York. Torrano also wants to know how Day met her husband, where she learned to play the harp, where her travels have taken her.”

Click here to continue reading this NPR report in its entirety.

“The perils of a life in isolation” -The Conversation


This article from The Conversation identifies the human reliance on others and the “importance of human contact.”

“Tens of millions of adults are chronically lonely. And a growing body of research has linked that isolation to disability, cognitive decline, and early death.” –

“What’s the Medicare premium in 2017?” – Jus+care

Medicare says this at its Website: “Most people pay $104.90 each month in 2016. The standard Part B premium amount in 2017 will be $134 (or higher depending on your income). However, most people who get Social Security benefits will pay less than this amount ($109 on average).”


“The monthly Medicare premium in 2017 technically will be $134.00, up 10 percent from this year, for people with incomes of $85,000 or less. It’s a big increase, but half as much as the Trustees suggested it might be. More importantly, because Social Security benefits are barely increasing, the vast majority of people with Medicare will see a far smaller premium increase.

“In late June, in the Medicare Trustees’ annual report to Congress on Medicare’s financial state, the Trustees projected as much as a 20 percent increase in Medicare premiums for some people because of rapidly rising health care costs. However, about 70 percent of people with Medicare are seeing a premium increase of $4.00 a month from last year’s premium of $105. That’s because of a “hold harmless” provision that protects most people with Medicare from paying more in Medicare premiums than the increase in their Social Security monthly benefits.

“Since Social Security benefits are barely increasing in 2017, up just 0.3 percent or about $4.00 a month, Medicare monthly premiums can only increase that much for the majority of people with Medicare.”

Read this Jus+Care article in its entirety, click here.



Friday Wrap-Up, November 18 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

friday wrap-up 03-11-16

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.Click here to read the November 18  newsletter.