“For patients and workers alike, home health visits fraught with fears of coronavirus” – The Boston Globe
“JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF
“Eric McGuire relies on home healthcare workers for almost everything: helping him get from his bed to a wheelchair, assisting with bathing and dressing, checking his oxygen levels while he sleeps.
“On Monday, one his caregivers told him she thought she had a sinus infection, but had arranged to be tested for the novel coronavirus just to be sure and was self-quarantining as a precaution. She asked whether he was showing any symptoms.
“McGuire, 43, felt fine, but is worried about whether she could have passed something along to him during a visit to his Franklin home. And as he battles to regain the use of his legs after a nerve disorder nearly killed him two years ago, he worries how he would get by if his aides stop coming by.”
Here are three comprehensive reports about topics that are increasingly important as people age. To view or download each report click on on one of the graphics below.
Families Caring for an Aging America | Family caregiving affects millions of Americans every day, in all walks of life. At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are caregivers of an older adult with a health or functional limitation. The nation’s family caregivers provide the lion’s share of long-term care for our older adult population. They are also central to older adults’ access to and receipt of health care and community-based social services. Yet the need to recognize and support caregivers is among the least appreciated challenges facing the aging U.S. population.
The Health and Medical Dimensions of Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults | How do social isolation and loneliness affect health and quality of life in adults aged 50 and older? How can clinical settings of health care to help reduce the incidence and adverse health impacts of social isolation and loneliness?
Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action | For most Americans, staying “mentally sharp” as they age is a very high priority. Declines in memory and decision-making abilities may trigger fears of Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases. However, cognitive aging is a natural process that can have both positive and negative effects on cognitive function in older adults – effects that vary widely among individuals. At this point in time, when the older population is rapidly growing in the United States and across the globe, it is important to examine what is known about cognitive aging and to identify and promote actions that individuals, organizations, communities, and society can take to help older adults maintain and improve their cognitive health.
WEBINAR: “Measuring home and community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities”
Register for this WEBINAR that will be held on February 5, 2020 at 2:00 pm eastern time.
Gain a deeper understanding of the factors that help older adults and people with disabilities maintain their independence, and to what degree publicly funded services are meeting those needs. This session examines a wealth of data to answer the questions:
- What access does the aging and disabled community have to vital services like transportation, employment, and service coordination?
- How do outcomes vary among programs funded by Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, and states?
- Where can I go for data to guide the work of my agency?
While most family and unpaid caregivers looking after older adults feel listened to when talking with the adults’ health care provider, a small new survey finds that few are asked about needing assistance. Here’s more:
- Interaction with health providers: The vast majority of those surveyed said they always or usually feel heard by the older adults’ health providers. At the same time, fewer than half of caregivers interact with clinicians.
- Assistance: Almost half of caregivers said they were never asked about needing help tending to the person under their care, while about 20% said they were always asked. Those who interacted with health workers were more likely to be asked about needing assistance with caregiving.
- Dementia care: Those assisting adults with dementia were more likely to report being listened to, and asked about needing help and whether they understood the medications they were handling.
In this national survey study, most caregivers reported that older adults’ health care workers always (70.6%) or usually (18.2%) listened to them and always (54.4%) or usually (17.7%) asked about their understanding of the older adult’s treatments, but fewer caregivers reported being always (21.3%) or usually (6.9%) asked whether they need help managing older adults’ care.
SOURCE: STAT Morning Rounds
“Like climate change, the aging of America demands a serious rethinking of the way we live.”
“Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times”
by Sysan Jacoby
“One of the paradoxes of this presidential campaign is that while many of the candidates are in their eighth decade of life, fundamental issues associated with the aging of American society are still receiving relatively little attention from the public, the press and politicians themselves. In 2031, the oldest baby boomers will turn 85, entering the land of the ‘old old’ and facing exponentially higher risk for dementia, serious physical disabilities and long-term dependency.
“Like climate change, the aging of America demands serious reconsideration of the way we live. Confronting the issue and its many implications, from Medicare’s failure to cover long-term care to the ethics of physician-assisted dying, requires what seems to be the most difficult task for human beings — thinking about the future.
“In November, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the birthrate among women of childbearing age had dropped to a record low, continuing a sharp decline in births that began around the financial crisis of 2008. At the same time, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported an increased death rate in the 25- to 64-year-old age group, with the main causes thought to be opioid overdoses, alcoholism and suicide.”
On November 13, 2019, Pennsylvania announced it will formally request a Good Faith Effort Exemption from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the implementation of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) mandate to allow for necessary time for providers of Personal Care Services to fully prepare for EVV. The state is seeking an extension to allow additional time for providers using Alternate EVV systems to go through the necessary testing and become integrated to feed EVV data to the DHS Aggregator. If approved by CMS, the extension will allow the Department of Human Services (DHS) to extend the soft launch period and implement a tiered compliance structure before the denial of payments. If the Good Faith Effort Exemption is denied, EVV will be mandated as of January 1, 2020. DHS will update stakeholders on the Good Faith Effort Exemption request response from CMS.
Care of older adults is mired in misinformation, with most older patients and caregivers mistakenly believing that sharp declines in quality of life are inevitable, according to a new survey from The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) and WebMD. Driving Towards Age-Friendly Care for the Future, a survey of more than 2,700 older patients and caregivers, found:
- More than 40% of respondents believe depression is an inevitable part of aging;
- Three in four older adults are not aware that they have the right to ask for, and receive, health care that is tailored to what matters to them;
- Nearly 40% of respondents did not know that some prescription medications can impact cognition.
The survey underscores the importance of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, a national movement led by JAHF and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the US, which is helping hospitals and health systems provide age-friendly care that focuses on the “4Ms.”