The mistreatment of older adults can be by family members, strangers, health care providers, caregivers, or friends. Abuse can happen to any older adult, but often affects those who depend on others for help with activities of everyday life. Learn how to recognize some of the signs of elder abuse so you can step in and help. For example, you may notice that the older adult:
- Seems depressed, confused, or withdrawn
- Appears dirty, underfed, or dehydrated
- Has unexplained bruises, burns, cuts, or scars
- Has unpaid bills or recent changes in banking or spending patterns
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“Spreading vaccine fears. And cashing in. | Meet the influencers making millions by dealing doubt about the coronavirus vaccines.” – Public Integrity
Graphic: Adam Niklewicz for the Center for Public Integrity
by Liz Essley Whyte – This story was published in partnership with HuffPost.
“Heather Simpson never thought to question vaccines. Her parents vaccinated her when she was a child, and she got tetanus and flu shots as an adult.
“But when she and her husband were thinking about starting a family, she saw an ad for the documentary series ‘The Truth about Vaccines,’ and ‘fear crept in,’ she later wrote.
“Simpson paid about $200 for the series, which taught her the tenets of vaccine skepticism.
“’I left that docuseries just thinking this is it. This is how autism happens. This is how allergies happen,’ the 30-year-old Texan said. ‘How else would it happen?’
“When her daughter was born in 2017, Simpson decided not to immunize her. She began posting on social media about her vaccine fears. She then went viral in 2019 for uploading a photo of her Halloween costume of, as she put it, ‘the least scary thing she could think of — the measles.’
“Scientists widely agree vaccines prevent dangerous diseases and do not cause autism or allergies. But in a few years Simpson had gone from accepting that consensus to preaching against it. And it all started with the documentary series made by Tennessee couple Ty and Charlene Bollinger, who got their start by questioning mainstream cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.”
You can read the rest of this long read (or listen to it) at Public Integrity – click here.
Wednesday Holmes/ @hellomynameiswednesday for NPR
by Kathy Tu and Tobin Low
“Coming out is scary no matter how old you are or how loving your friends and family may be. You’re revealing a deeply vulnerable side of yourself, and fearing that the person you’re sharing with could say something harmful in response.
“On the flip side, when someone comes out to you, it can be tricky to know what to say. How do you express uncertainty or fears without seeming insensitive? How do you show your support without being overbearing? Even the most well-intentioned listeners can accidentally say something wrong.
“Coming out conversations, with all of their nuances, can be tricky to navigate.
“But fear not, we’re here to help. For this episode of Life Kit, we spoke to queer and trans people about their own coming out experiences and the advice they would give to people on both sides of the conversation.”
“Parkinson’s disease: we don’t have a cure yet but treatments have come a long way” – The Conversation
“British broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has revealed he is one of more than 10 million people living with Parkinson’s disease worldwide. It is the fastest growing neurological condition in terms of diagnosis and cases that lead to disability and death.
“Although there is no cure yet, treatments for the disease have come a long way since it was first discovered over 200 years ago. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of the chemical dopamine, because some of the nerve cells that make it have died. Dopamine allows messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that co-ordinate movement.
“We like to think of the management of Parkinson’s as a table that rests on four legs. There are drugs that replace the missing dopamine or mimic its effects; there is deep brain surgery; lots of different kinds of care; and then there is the importance of keeping patients and their families well informed and engaged.
“Parkinson’s results from the deterioration of neurons in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia – a group of nuclei deep beneath the cerebral cortex (or outer layer of the brain). These neurons are responsible for processing information on movement and fine tuning activity as well as in a variety of cognitive and emotional functions.”
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today encouraged Medicare beneficiaries to make the most of their preventive benefits that could help them save money and live healthier lives through preventive care. The department recently launched a five-week media campaign to promote awareness of these benefits.
Beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and B and limited income and resources may qualify to have a Medicare Savings Program pay a portion of their premium each month. Those with Medicare Part D and who have limited finances and resources may qualify for Extra Help, which lowers the cost of coverage and prescriptions.
Older adults enrolled in original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan may benefit from preventive services that may be free or at a low cost under certain guidelines. These preventive services are:
“Navigating the Medicare system sometimes can be difficult. Once beneficiaries are aware of how they can make their benefits work for them, they will see greater health outcomes,” said Susan Neff, APPRISE director. “Our trained staff and volunteers look forward to speaking with Medicare beneficiaries who are interested in hearing about these preventive benefits in their plan or discuss ways to save money through Extra Help or a Medicare Savings Program.”
Medicare beneficiaries with questions or wanting to learn more information can call the APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067.
APPRISE is Pennsylvania’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program with nearly 800 trained counselors available who provide free, confidential, objective, and easy-to-understand information about original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, and Medicare Supplement plans, and allows Medicare beneficiaries to compare plans and determine what best meets their needs and save them money.
To learn more about the APPRISE Program or becoming a volunteer, click here.
A message from the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources Service Area 13 Oversight Committee
Good day, LINK Partners. Please join us in recognizing Brian Long for all of his hard work and commitment to our regional LINK program. Brian has been working to transition to a new LINK coordinator as he is moving towards retirement. He has been very flexible and supportive of the Oversight Committee in this process.
The Berks Lancaster and Lebanon LINK Oversight Committee is happy to announce that Berks Encore will be taking over the LINK responsibilities. Berks Encore is currently working to hire an individual to manage the LINK coordination. Brian Long continues to serve as the co-coordinator and is supporting Berks Encore in this transition. Please welcome Berks Encore in this new role.
SOURCE: news release
“The Endless Trap of American Parole: How can anyone rebuild their lives when they keep getting sent back to jail for the pettiest of reasons?” – The Washington Post Magazine
“In 2018, 1 out of every 58 American adults — roughly 4.4 million people — was under community supervision, the catchall term for probation and parole. The average supervisee must follow 17 standard conditions. If they break any of these, they could be reincarcerated.”
(Zach Meyer for The Washington Post)
by Jennifer Miller
When William Palmer was 17, he put on a ski mask and tried to rob a man — a crime that landed him in prison for three decades. Now 49, he stood in a San Rafael, Calif., rehearsal hall practicing his original one-man play. The scene took place in a drugstore, and it revisited the moment that changed his life.
“’Why do you need to purchase a ski mask?’ Palmer asked, staring at an imaginary version of his teenage self. ‘You’re in California.’
“Then Palmer turned, embodying the boy. ‘Who are you, and why do you care?”’
“’I’m security,’ said the older, wiser Palmer. ‘You haven’t done anything wrong, but I wanted to talk to you. I wanted you to think: When you put on that ski mask, what are some of the things you could lose?’
“’You mean when I go skiing?’ the boy asked.
“The older Palmer wasn’t indulging the lie. ‘We lose our mom and dad,’ he said. ‘We never get married, we never have children.’
“’Whoa,’ the boy said, taking a step back. ‘Who’s ‘we’?'”
Read this article at The Washington Post Magazine in its entirety, click here.
“Intergenerational care for older adults had always been second nature to me. Despite my grandparents living an ocean’s length away in the Philippines, I found myself spending time with older residents at my mom’s workplace. I’d beeline straight to her office after school and spend time chatting with staff and residents alike. I’d later find myself in the middle of college applications and stumbled upon a gerontology program just down the street. Since then, I have not looked back.”
by Lois Angelo – “Lois Angelo is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California studying Human Development and Aging.”
My name is Lois Angelo. I’m an undergraduate at the Leonard Davis School at the University of Southern California majoring in Human Development and Aging. At USC, my involvements are mainly with the gerontology school’s research labs, student organizations, and communications efforts.
“I learned about Age Equity Alliance and support its mission as an advocate for intergenerational discussion. With the pandemic in full swing, the challenges that older adults faced such as social isolation and ageist attitudes began to grow higher and higher. Research from the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago points to poorer cognitive function among older adults experiencing social isolation or loneliness. The workplace quickly found itself having to adapt to such changes. Unfortunately, this resulted in a growing age-related disparity targeted primarily against older adults. Sadly, the media and other pieces of social consumables have fueled the flames of intergenerational warfare, pitting cohorts against each other for brand revenue and attention.
“Stereotypes of older adults failing to understand technology are another clear example of ageism that hinders them from thriving and succeeding. We rarely see images of older people surfing the web or scrolling through social media. Those patterns translate into misconstrued stereotypes illustrating older adults as incapable or even apprehensive towards technology altogether.
“The pandemic in lieu of the digital age, however, has not been all doom and gloom. It’s easier to facilitate open conversations that may have not been accessible at first in person. Moreover, intergenerational discussions and cooperation serve to bring people together after being apart for so long. The present mistakes encourage us to reflect back on the past and what we can do.
“Success in the workplace means adaptability to new environments and technology. This is a stark and new outlook compared to the workplaces which valued experience and wisdom above all. This shift does not mean that older adults should be left out of the picture. Clearly, an intergenerational workplace model helps to reconcile and recognize past mistakes while planning for a stronger, more inclusive future.”
“David Taylor, who has muscular dystrophy, relies on a ventilator to live. During the power outages across Texas in February, he had to be transported to a hospital before his ventilator’s backup battery ran out.” – Rodger Mallison/Undark Magazine
by Charlotte Huff
“For four decades, David Taylor has relied on a ventilator to breathe, the whoosh, whoosh of the machine part of the background metronome of daily life. Then, on the night of Feb. 14, an Arctic blast began to overwhelm the Texas power grid. The next morning, the electricity flickered out in the Fort Worth home that the 65-year-old shares with his mother.
“David’s ventilator switched over at some point to a backup battery and kept running. A family member brought over a generator and spent several hours trying, unsuccessfully, to get it working in the sub-freezing air. By nightfall, the one-story house had gone around 12 hours without power, other than an hour or so when the lights briefly turned on, recalled David’s 89-year-old mother, Dorothy Taylor. The temperature inside had dropped to the low 50s. David, who has muscular dystrophy, remained in bed beneath a pile of blankets. Dorothy kept one eye on the clock, unsure how much longer her son’s backup battery would hold out. “I couldn’t wait ’til the last minute,” she says. “He would die within minutes.”
“Across Texas, other families were facing similar dilemmas. The ambulance provider MedStar, which serves the greater Fort Worth area, fielded more than 50 calls — including Dorothy’s — from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17 involving patients with life-sustaining medical devices and no power. A San Antonio emergency room doctor, Ralph Riviello, tells Undark that around 18 to 24 people showed up at his hospital during the crisis, desperate to recharge medical equipment. Near Houston, a 75-year-old man froze to death in his truck; his family believes he ventured out to get a spare oxygen tank from the vehicle after losing electricity at his home.
“These are not just one-off tragedies. Some experts warn that complex home-based medical care is on a collision course with climate change, as severe weather events become more frequent nationwide.”
Continue reading this article at NPR, click here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/05/15/996872685/growing-power-outages-pose-grave-threat-to-people-who-need-medical-equipment-to-
“Pandemic job cuts have meant many people have no insurance to pay for dental work – and the poorest are hardest hit”
“Millions 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.”
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”