Category Archives: Health

New name for APPRISE: Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight, PA (MEDI)

new apprise name

Effective July 1, 2021, APPRISE is now Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight, PA MEDI – Same Program, Same Services for Pennsylvania’s Medicare Beneficiaries, now with a New Name.

Pennsylvania Medicare Education  and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) offers free Medicare counseling to older Pennsylvanians. PA MEDI Counselors are specially trained to answer your questions and provide you with objective, easy-to-understand information about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicaid, and Long-Term Care Insurance. 

PA MEDI Counselors do not sell Medicare products but rather offer current, non-biased Medicare education to help you make the most informed choice about the Medicare options available to you.

Read more about the name change here.

“What it feels like to live with Parkinson’s? – The New York Times

parkinsons

By Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne. Illustrations by Christoph Niemann.

“Steven Heller, 70, has lived with Parkinson’s for more than 10 years. Véronique Vienne, 79, only recently learned that she had the disease. Both have had long careers as art directors, and the two have been friends for more than three decades. Back in March, the pair exchanged a flurry of emails over a 10-day period, where they explored the “before” and “after” of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Here is an edited version of their conversation.”

Click here to read this New York Times article in its entirety.

“To Keep Your Brain Young, Take Some Tips From Our Earliest Ancestors” – NPR

“Without a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, prevention is paramount. Habits that helped early humans thrive still make sense; a varied diet, exercise and an engaging social life.”

human evolution and alzheimers

“Reconstructions from the Daynès Studio in Paris depict a male Neanderthal (right) face to face with a human, Homo sapiens.” – Science Source

by Brett Stretka

“It’s something that many of us reckon with: the sense that we’re not quite as sharp as we once were.

“I recently turned 42. Having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s, and with my mom suffering from a similar neurodegenerative disease, I’m very aware of what pathologies might lurk beneath my cranium.

“In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the most important interventions for upholding brain function are preventive — those that help maintain our most marvelous, mysterious organ.

“Based on the science, I take fish oil and broil salmon. I exercise. I try to challenge my cortex to the unfamiliar.

“As I wrote my recent book, A History of the Human Brain, which recounts the evolutionary tale of how our brain got here, I began to realize that so many of the same influences that shaped our brain evolution in the first place reflect the very measures we use to preserve our cognitive function today.

“Being social, and highly communicative. ”

Continue reading this column at NPR; click here.

“Aging While Black: The Crisis Among Black Americans as They Grow Old” – The Crisis

aging black

by Rodney A. Brooks

“After a lifetime of racial and health inequities, Black seniors are at risk of spending their last years with declining health, little income and virtually no savings.

“Numerous studies have noted that Black Americans have worse health than their white counterparts, including chronic diseases and disabilities leading to shorter and sicker lives than white Americans. A recent 2016 CIGNA Health Disparities report found:

  • Four in 10 Black men aged 20 or older have high blood pressure, a rate 30 percent higher than that of white men. Black men’s risk of a stroke is twice that of white men. For Black women, 45 percent of those aged 20 and older have high blood pressure, a rate 60 percent higher than white women.
  • Black women are 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.
  • Black men have a 40 percent higher cancer death rate than white men.
  • Black Americans are 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than whites, and nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized.
  • Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to suffer from Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.

“Black women, said Tyson Brown, associate professor of sociology at Duke University, suffer from some of the highest levels of diabetes, hypertension, and other disabilities. Their health problems limit their ability to continue working. But many Black women have to continue working because of declining income as they age.

“’And so, it’s sort of a Catch-22,’ said Brown. ‘They’re often sort of put in a bind there.’”

Continue reading this article at The Crisis, click here.

“New Device Taps Brain Signals To Help Stroke Patients Regain Hand Function” – NPR

post stroke

“A woman demonstrates the IpsiHand rehabilitation device for stroke patients.” – NeuroLutions

by Jon Hamilton

“People recovering from a stroke will soon have access to a device that can help restore a disabled hand.

“The Food And Drug Administration has authorized a device called IpsiHand, which uses signals from the uninjured side of a patient’s brain to help rewire circuits controlling the hand, wrist and arm.

“The device can be used at home and offers stroke patients “an additional treatment option to help them move their hands and arms again,” said Dr. Christopher Loftus of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in a statement.

“IpsiHand’s authorization comes after the FDA reviewed results on patients like Mark Forrest, who had a stroke in 2015.

“‘We called 911 and off to the hospital I went,’ Forrest, who lives near St. Louis with his wife, Patti. ‘By the time I got there most of my right side was paralyzed.’

“After six months of rehabilitation, Forrest was walking again, but still had little control over his right hand. He struggled to pull on socks and button shirts.”

Keep reading this article at National Public Radio, click here.

“Hunger Awareness Month: Food assistance is available to keep Pennsylvanians fed, healthy” – PA Department of Human Services

HUNGER AWARENESS MONTH

Food Assistance is Available to Keep Pennsylvanians Fed, Healthy

hunger awareness month

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12 percent of the U.S. population has limited access to nutritious food. Hunger can impact your health and wellbeing throughout your life, work performance, and the rate that children learn and grow. It is imperative that we reduce hunger and promote good health by ensuring that Pennsylvanians are able to access to fresh, healthy food as well as health and nutrition information and education.

In recognition of National Hunger Awareness Month in June, the Department of Human Services is highlighting some of the food and nutrition programs available for children, adults, and seniors in Pennsylvania. Check out some of the programs available; click here.

 

“Build a Health Care Team” – next avenue

build a health care team

Credit: Next Avenue | John Gilman

by Jackson Rainer

“’Most people spend more time looking for their next car than they do looking for their doctor” is an old and familiar adage among medical professionals.

“But one of the most important and proactive steps to protecting your future self is building and maintaining a stable care team that nourishes and supports all aspects of your health.

“If you seek out care only in crisis, you’re more likely to receive care that isn’t a good match or aligned with your preferences and health goals.

“This guide explores how to choose a health care provider or replace a retired one, build relationships with physicians and access specialty care.

“Evidence-Based Practices

“To stay grounded in fact, look for physicians who rely on evidence-based practices.”

Continue reading this article at next avenue, click here.

“Caring for an Aging Nation” – KHN

“The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to nearly double in the next 40 years. Finding a way to provide and pay for the long-term health services they need won’t be easy.”

aging nation(LYDIA ZURAW / KHN)

by Lydia Zuraw and Carmen Heredia Rodriguez

“Health care for the nation’s seniors looms large as the baby-boom generation ages into retirement. President Joe Biden tacitly acknowledged those needs in March with his proposal to spend $400 billion over the next eight years to improve access to in-home and community-based care.

“The swelling population of seniors will far outpace growth in other age groups. That acceleration — and the slower growth in other age groups — could leave many older Americans with less family to rely on for help in their later years. Meanwhile, federal officials estimate that more than half of people turning 65 will need long-term care services at some point. That care is expensive and can be hard to find.”

disability 56

Click here to see the Kaiser Health Network data visualizations in full.

“Tips for Older Adults to Regain Their Game After Being Cooped Up for More Than a Year” – Kaiser Health Network

activity after covid

Jane Collins “loves getting outside and that has been wonderful,” says daughter Laura. “Her mood immediately shifts when she gets out of the building.” (Laura Collins)

by Judith Graham

“Alice Herb, 88, an intrepid New Yorker, is used to walking miles around Manhattan. But after this year of being shut inside, trying to avoid covid-19, she’s noticed a big difference in how she feels.

“’Physically, I’m out of shape,’ she told me. ‘The other day I took the subway for the first time, and I was out of breath climbing two flights of stairs to the street. That’s just not me.’

“Emotionally, Herb, a retired lawyer and journalist, is unusually hesitant about resuming activities even though she’s fully vaccinated. ‘You wonder: What if something happens? Maybe I shouldn’t be doing that. Maybe that’s dangerous,’  she said.

“Millions of older Americans are similarly struggling with physical, emotional and cognitive challenges following a year of being cooped up inside, stopping usual activities and seeing few, if any, people.

“If they don’t address issues that have arisen during the pandemic — muscle weakness, poor nutrition, disrupted sleep, anxiety, social isolation and more — these older adults face the prospect of poorer health and increased frailty, experts warn.”

Continue reading this article at Kaiser Health Network, click here.

“‘Your mouth becomes a minefield’: the Americans who can’t afford the dentist” – The Guardian

“Pandemic job cuts have meant many people have no insurance to pay for dental work – and the poorest are hardest hit”

older persons dentistryMillions of Americans have no dental insurance coverage and cannot afford to pay out of pocket for extensive dental care needs.” Photograph: Megan Jelinger/Reuters

by Michael Sainato

“Maureen Haley, 66, lost her home in Florida in the wake of the 2008 recession. She now lives in a camper near Greensboro, North Carolina, relying on social security and Medicare to make ends meet and pay for healthcare.

“But Haley has problems with her teeth, and cannot afford to see a dentist to have them fixed.

“’My teeth problems are the biggest problem I have each day,’ said Haley. ‘I need root canals and implants. I have a tooth impaction. I have to massage the heck out of it to get the air out of my gums and cheek after chewing a meal. Painful is an understatement, and the worry of how this may affect my heart compounds it.’

‘She worries about remaining independent, and not ending up in a nursing home. On a limited income, her decisions revolve around what is most pressing, such as fixing her vehicle and drug prescriptions. The last time she was able to visit a dentist was three years ago, and she was given an estimate of over $8,500 for the work she needs.”

Continue reading this article at The Guardian, click here.


In September, 2019, PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources Service Area coordinator, Brian Long, appeared with others on a panel at a United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing entitled, “Promoting Healthy Aging: Living Your Best Life Long Into Your Golden Years.” 

In his testimony, he reinforced “Partial and total tooth loss is something that a larger share of older persons deal with, particularly if they are from disadvantaged populations. We know that older seniors, women, persons of color, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have fewer or no remaining teeth. Missing teeth and gum disease are prevalent among many older people in those demographics. Earlier lifestyle choices and forgoing dental treatment, perhaps, have contributed to this, but we know that the absence of regular dental care and treatment can lead to disastrous health consequences.

“Again, affordability is a huge contributor. The issue of coverage for dental, vision and hearing services is about healthy
aging. Without access to these services, we know that older adults have a greater likelihood of:

  • Experiencing social isolation or mental health issues
  • Becoming the victim of a scam
  • Having difficulty accessing transportation resources
  • Struggling to adhere to their prescription medicines
  • Encountering hazards in the home”