“Addressing Social Needs Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans” – Center for Health Care Strategies

by Nancy Archibald

“COVID-19 has hit some populations harder than others. This includes people of color, residents of nursing facilities and other congregate settings, and individuals with multiple chronic medical conditions. People in these groups are often dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid because they have a disability or are age 65 or older, and also have low incomes. Recent federal data show that dually eligible individuals are more likely to contract COVID-19 than Medicare-only beneficiaries and are hospitalized with COVID-19-related complications more than four times as often.

“Dually eligible individuals also frequently have significant social risk factors, which if addressed, could improve their access to care, health outcomes, and quality of life. With support from Arnold Ventures, the Center for Health Care Strategies recently partnered with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) to examine how its Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) members were addressing their enrollees’ social risk factors.

“As a supplement to this work, ACAP and CHCS explored how ACAP-member plans, including D-SNPs and Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs), are addressing existing and new social risk factors of their dually eligible enrollees during the pandemic. Information from 14 plans was collected in an October 2020 survey. Click here to continue reading this article.

communithy partnerships

“‘Stereotype threat’ makes older adults perform worse” – Futurity

“Stereotypes that view older adults as cognitively or physically impaired, may affect how they perform on a variety of tasks, according to a new study.”

older-adults-stereotype-threat-aging“‘We need to make people feel confident in their own abilities and feel that they will be respected no matter how they perform,’ says Sarah Barber.” (Credit: Getty Images)

posted by Anna Varela – Georgia State

“Stigmatized groups—whether due to race, socioeconomic status, or age—perform more poorly when faced with negative stereotypes, says Sarah Barber, a psychology and gerontology researcher at Georgia State University. She found expectations of others can play a powerful role in how well older adults perform on cognitive tasks and motor skills such as driving.

“The phenomenon is known as “stereotype threat,” Barber says. The new paper, published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, looks at recent studies as well as those dating back to the mid 1990s, all of which show the power of this phenomenon.

“’The concept was originally formulated to look at stereotypes around race,” Barber says, but the effect turned out to be much broader. It can affect older adults and affect their memory, physical performance, driving abilities, and even job satisfaction.

“Older adults frequently encounter the challenge of stereotype threat at their physician’s office, where they routinely go for checkups, Barber says, and where they may take part in cognitive tests as well.”

Click here to continue reading this article at Futurity.org.

“Fall Prevention: Balance and Strength Exercises for Older Adults” – Johns Hopkins Medicine

falls prevention

reviewed by Lora Stutzman

“Falls can have very serious consequences as we age. Each year, more than 25 percent of adults 65 or older have a fall, and 3 million are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The risk of falling in older adults is usually related to combination of factors, including:

  • Balance and/or walking problems. Balance can be affected by vision changes, vestibular problems and altered sensation in the feet.
  • The use of multiple medications. Studies indicate that when individuals take five or more medicines, the risk of falls increases.
  • Home hazards (including dim lighting and trip hazards)
  • Positional low blood pressure (such as orthostatic hypotension, when blood pressure drops upon standing.
  • Feet and footwear issues

“Falls often occur in the bathroom when … Continue reading this article at this Johns Hopkins Medicine Website

“Hear the new experience designed to bring people who are blind into the excitement of a tennis match” – Fast Company

“Tennis is just a starting point. This technology could soon allow visually impaired people around the world to better experience the joy of live sports.”

hear tennis[Animation: Daniel Salo/Fast Company]

by Talib Visram

“The highs and lows of this year’s Australian Open have been delighting fans around the world, especially during global lockdowns. But not everyone is able to enjoy the thrill of live sports in the same way. For the tennis fans among the 600,000 blind and visually impaired people in Australia—and millions more around the world—experiencing sports broadcasts can be underwhelming. Kala Petronijevic, a young girl who has low vision, says her dad has to commentate every move to her. Maurice Gleeson, a blind tennis fan and the CEO of Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria, says: ‘Tennis, sadly, hasn’t been anywhere near as accessible as I would like.’

“But, this weekend, the blind and low vision community (BLV) will have a brand-new way to experience the upcoming men’s and women’s finals.

“For many months, digital agency AKQA and researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, have been finding a way to make watching tennis more accessible. With investment from Tennis Australia, the country’s tennis governing body, they’ve developed Action Audio, which takes visual, spatial data from the tennis court and converts it into audio.”

Read this article at Fast Company in its entirety, click here.

Department of Health Provides Update on Adverse Weather Impacting Vaccine Distribution and Administration, Assures Pennsylvanians will Be Vaccinated as Distribution Resumes

PA doh logo

Harrisburg, PA – As significant winter weather continues to impact much of the country, the Pennsylvania Department of Health was alerted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccine sent to providers by Moderna and Pfizer will be delayed. The department wants Pennsylvanians to be aware that these delays could impact their scheduled appointments.

“Weather this week has been challenging in terms of getting vaccine delivered from manufacturers directly to vaccine providers in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As we have been emphasizing, we are working with our vaccine providers to ensure they are aware of the shipment delays as they continue to be in contact with people who have scheduled appointments to reschedule so that people are assured their vaccine.

“It’s too early to know which vaccine providers are being affected by these weather-related delays. We know that the federal government is working with manufacturers and we know that local vaccine providers will be ready when the shipments do get through. Unfortunately, weather delays will impact the ability to get vaccine into arms and providers are working to reschedule appointments as necessary.”

Pennsylvania was allocated 183,575 first doses of vaccine this week, 112,400 doses of Moderna and 71,175 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech. Philadelphia receives its own, separate allocation of vaccine.

Earlier this week, hubs from which vaccine is distributed were significantly affected by winter weather. Moderna vaccine was not shipped from the distributor on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of this week. The CDC is working with shipping partners to resume shipments as quickly as possible.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were not shipped on Monday, February 15. A limited amount of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was shipped on both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

There will be a significant backlog of orders for distribution as the federal government and the distributors work to begin shipping again. The federal government is working to catch up as efficiently as possible.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

“9 Ways to Extend the Time You Spend Living Independently” – next avenue

“Take these steps to stay in your home or community as long as possible.”

Extend-Living-Independently.inside.1280x720Credit: Getty

by Brett Sember

“One of the biggest decisions as you age is where you will age. Three-quarters of adults in a 2018 AARP survey said they wanted to remain in their homes, but only 59% thought they would be able to do so. If remaining at home is your preference, here are nine steps you can take:

To see the nine steps and read more, click here to read the next avenue article in its entirety.

“Demystifying America’s 486,000 Covid-19 deaths | Who has died from Covid-19 in the US?” – VOX

“The virus was unsparing.”


by Youyou Zhou and Julia Belluz

“Across the country, more than 27 million people have contracted the coronavirus, and 485,000 have died. That’s the highest Covid-19 toll of any country and more than the coronavirus deaths in Italy, Germany, Australia, Japan, the UK, Canada, and France combined. It exceeds the US death toll in World War II.

“It’s also an underestimate, and doesn’t account for all the people impacted by loss. If every American who died has left nine people grieving, as one study suggested, there are now more than 4 million Americans who have lost a loved one to the pandemic. 

“Death at this scale is difficult to comprehend, or visualize. To get a clearer sense of the shifting burden of Covid-19 deaths over time, Vox analyzed coronavirus mortality by age, region, and race from the past year, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University. 

“We found that while Covid-19 spared no group, it impacted certain populations more than others. Throughout the pandemic, people of color have consistently been disproportionately sickened and killed by the virus. They also died young: Of Covid-19 deaths in people under the age of 45, more than 40 percent were Hispanic and about a quarter were Black.

“But what started as a health emergency concentrated in travelers, urban minority communities, and other crowded places (such as nursing homes and prisons) fanned out into rural areas of the country, leading to a surge in deaths among white people, too.”

Click here to read this interestingly displayed article at VOX

“Vaccine Signups Cater to the Tech-Savvy, Leaving Out Many” – Stateline

tech savvy vaccinations“Mary Christian, 71, spent hours on both her cellphone and iPad trying to arrange an appointment online for a COVID-19 vaccination through the Mississippi State Department of Health website and on its listed registration phone line. Older adults across the country who can’t easily navigate online technology are finding it difficult to sign up for appointments.” Rogelio V. SolisThe Associated Press

by Jenni Bergal

“Like millions of older adults across the country, Allan Potter and his wife, Vicki, are eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The Potters, who live in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, are prime candidates. They’re both 73. He suffers from a neuromuscular disorder. She has multiple myeloma. They hoped to sign up for the shots and get them quickly.

“But they don’t have a computer or a smartphone. And, as in many states and counties, that’s a problem because most of the registration and appointment-setting is being done online.

“’Not all of us have a computer or are on the internet,’ Allan Potter said. ‘We’re old-school. We’ve got a landline and that’s it. It’s very frustrating.’

“While many older adults have access to the internet and are tech-savvy, others are not. And even some of those who are used to going online are having a hard time navigating complicated registration websites. Others who are being left out include low-income residents who may not have the technology and people in rural areas with poor internet connections.

“Many older people are turning to adult children, other family members or friends to help them. Others are just left out.”

Continue reading this article at Pew Trusts, click here.

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Ruth & Erica: “A free YouTube TV series is a realistic story about the struggles, fears, and sacrifices that family caregivers often face”

ruth and ericaRuth and Erica is an interesting and captivating online mini-series in abbreviated less than 10 minute episodes. The comments above are from several of the episodes.

Somehow in the middle of an internet search vortex, we came across the first episode of this captivating mini-series. It is so captivating and well acted that we wound up binge watching the entire series. Know what? We don’t feel at all guilty. The characters are brilliantly cast in a riveting slice of real life for many.

What are the dynamics of aging parents with career focused children? What about the onset of the afflictions of aging? What about the senses of loss and frustration.

Here are a few articles about the YouTube FREE mini-series:

TV show about caring for aging parents: Ruth and Erica  

Ruth & Erica – An Interesting Online Series for Caregivers

Lois Smith in The Americans and in Ruth & Erica

Here are links to the episodes in the entire mini-series. We hope you find the mni-series interesting and thought-inspiring.