aging

New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process

During her three-year battle with breast cancer, my wife, Leslie, graciously endured multiple rounds of horrifically toxic treatment to eke out more time with our two young children. But after 18 cancer-free months, the disease returned with a vengeance in June 2003. It fractured her bones and invaded her spinal canal, bathing her brain in …

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For Older Adults, Smelling the Roses May Be More Difficult

The reports from covid-19 patients are disconcerting. Only a few hours before, they were enjoying a cup of pungent coffee or the fragrance of flowers in a garden. Then, as if a switch had been flipped, those smells disappeared. Young and old alike are affected — more than 80% to 90% of those diagnosed with …

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It Takes a Team: A Doctor With Terminal Cancer Relies on a Close-Knit Group in Her Final Days

The decisions have been gut-wrenching. Should she try another round of chemotherapy, even though she barely tolerated the last one? Should she continue eating, although it’s getting difficult? Should she take more painkillers, even if she ends up heavily sedated? Dr. Susan Massad, 83, has been making these choices with a group of close friends …

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Researcher: Medicare Advantage Plans Costing Billions More Than They Should

Switching seniors to Medicare Advantage plans has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more than keeping them in original Medicare, a cost that has exploded since 2018 and is likely to rise even higher, new research has found. Richard Kronick, a former federal health policy researcher and a professor at the University of California-San …

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‘Covid Hit Us Over the Head With a Two-by-Four’: Addressing Ageism With Urgency

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization announced a global campaign to combat ageism — discrimination against older adults that is pervasive and harmful but often unrecognized. “We must change the narrative around age and ageing” and “adopt strategies to counter” ageist attitudes and behaviors, WHO concluded in a major report accompanying the campaign. Several …

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Democrats Plan to Expand Medicare Hearing Benefits. What Can Consumers Expect?

President Joe Biden’s mammoth domestic spending bill would add hearing benefits to the traditional Medicare program — one of three major new benefits Democrats had sought. The Biden administration appears to have fallen short of its ambition to expand dental and vision along with hearing benefits. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives have long …

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Few Acute Care Hospitals Escaped Readmissions Penalties

Preventable rehospitalization of the nation’s older adults has proved a persistent health and financial challenge for the U.S., costing Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Various analyses have found many readmissions within a month of discharge might have been avoided through better care and more attention paid to the patients after they left …

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Nursing Home Residents Overlooked in Scramble for Covid Antibody Treatments

Of the dozens of patients Dr. Jim Yates has treated for covid-19 at his long-term care center in rural Alabama, this one made him especially nervous. The 60-year-old man, who had been fully vaccinated, was diagnosed with a breakthrough infection in late September. Almost immediately, he required supplemental oxygen, and lung exams showed ominous signs …

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Democrats’ Plans to Expand Medicare Benefits Put Pinch on Advantage Plans’ Funding

“Did you think we wouldn’t notice?” an older woman says, speaking into the camera. “You thought you could sneak this through?” an older man later adds. Others warn that Washington is “messing with” their Medicare Advantage health coverage and trying to raise their premiums. But the television ad, paid for by Better Medicare Alliance, a …

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Confronting Ageism in Health Care: A Conversation for Patients, Caregivers and Clinicians

Can’t see the video player? View the video here. What does ageism in health care look like? It can be a thoughtless quip that makes an older person feel diminished. Or an assumption that patients are unable to follow a conversation or make their own decisions. Maybe it occurs when a concern is voiced, then …

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‘They Treat Me Like I’m Old and Stupid’: Seniors Decry Health Providers’ Age Bias

Joanne Whitney, 84, a retired associate clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of California-San Francisco, often feels devalued when interacting with health care providers. There was the time several years ago when she told an emergency room doctor that the antibiotic he wanted to prescribe wouldn’t counteract the kind of urinary tract infection she …

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What Will It Take to Boost Vaccinations? The Scene From Kentucky’s Back Roads

SMILAX, Ky. — In the end it was the delta variant that drove Rose Mitchell, 89, down the winding mountain road to the Full Gospel Church of Jesus Christ to get the shot. Her pastor, Billy Joe Lewis, had told his congregation that, No, ma’am, a covid vaccine would not leave the “mark of the …

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A Wrenching Farewell: Bidding Adieu to My Primary Care Doctor After Nearly 30 Years

I hadn’t expected the tears. My primary care doctor and I were saying goodbye after nearly 30 years together. “You are a kind and a good person,” he told me after the physical exam, as we wished each other good luck and good health. “I trust you completely — and always have,” I told him, …

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The Public Backs Medicare Rx Price Negotiation Even After Hearing Both Sides’ Views

As Congress debates cutting prescription drug costs, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of adults — regardless of their political party or age — support letting the federal government negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and those in private health insurance plans. The argument that pharmaceutical companies need to charge high prices to …

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Centros de órganos a pacientes de trasplantes: vacúnense contra covid o bajarán en la lista de espera

Un candidato a trasplante de riñón de Colorado que fue puesto en estado inactivo por no vacunarse contra covid-19 se ha convertido en el ejemplo más público de un debate que afecta a los más de 250 centros de trasplante de órganos alrededor del país. (El estado inactivo es cuando la persona ya fue aceptada …

Centros de órganos a pacientes de trasplantes: vacúnense contra covid o bajarán en la lista de espera Read More »

Organ Centers to Transplant Patients: Get a Covid Shot or Move Down on Waitlist

A Colorado kidney transplant candidate who was bumped to inactive status for failing to get a covid-19 vaccine has become the most public example of an argument roiling the nation’s more than 250 organ transplant centers. Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the …

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California Vaccine Mandate Extends to Aides for People With Disabilities

Workers in adult and senior care facilities and in-home aides have been added to the list of California health workers who must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those who work directly with people with disabilities — such as employees paid through the state’s regional center network, aides contracted by agencies, and in-home support service …

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Alzheimer’s Drug Targets People With Mild Cognitive Impairment. What Does That Mean?

The approval of a controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm, is shining a spotlight on mild cognitive impairment — problems with memory, attention, language or other cognitive tasks that exceed changes expected with normal aging. After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies …

Alzheimer’s Drug Targets People With Mild Cognitive Impairment. What Does That Mean? Read More »

An Ad’s Charge That Price Haggling Would ‘Swipe $500 Billion From Medicare’ Is Incorrect

“These guys [insurance companies and Washington bureaucrats] are working together to swipe $500 billion from Medicare to pay for Pelosi and Schumer’s out-of-control spending spree.” Video advertisement from the 60 Plus American Association of Senior Citizens The advertisement opens with a doctor sitting across from his patient and holding a prescription drug pill bottle. “You …

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The Checkup Is in the Mail? Soliciting Letter Carriers to Help Deliver Health Care

Two of America’s toughest problems can be tempered with one solution. The baby boom generation is graying, creating an ever-larger population of older people, many isolated, whose needs the nation is ill equipped to meet or even monitor. Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service has gone $160 billion into debt, in part as digital communications have …

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Minister for Seniors at Famed Church Confronts Ageism and the Shame It Brings

Later life is a time of reassessment and reflection. What sense do we make of the lives we have lived? How do we come to terms with illness and death? What do we want to give to others as we grow older? Lynn Casteel Harper, 41, has thought deeply about these and other spiritual questions. …

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‘My Time to Live’: Through Novel Program, Kidney Patients Get Palliative Care, Dialysis ’Til the End

After a decade of living with chronic kidney disease, Vonita McGee knows her body is wearing out. At 63, McGee undergoes dialysis sessions three times each week at a Northwest Kidney Centers site near her Burien, Washington, home to rid her blood of waste and water. She has endured the placement of more than a …

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Readers and Tweeters Ponder Vaccines and Points of Fairness

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. Higher Insurance Rates for the Unvaccinated? Snuff Out That Idea This is about Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s comments on “All In With Chris Hayes” (“Analysis: Don’t Want a Vaccine? Be Prepared to …

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After Pandemic Ravaged Nursing Homes, New State Laws Protect Residents

When the coronavirus hit Martha Leland’s Connecticut nursing home last year, she and dozens of other residents contracted the disease while the facility was on lockdown. Twenty-eight residents died, including her roommate. “The impact of not having friends and family come in and see us for a year was totally devastating,” she said. “And then, …

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Biden’s No-Jab-No-Job Order Creates Quandary for Nursing Homes

President Joe Biden’s edict that nursing homes must ensure their workers are vaccinated against covid-19 presents a challenge for an industry struggling to entice its lowest-paid workers to get shots without driving them to seek employment elsewhere. Although 83% of residents in the average nursing facility are vaccinated, only 61% of a home’s workers are …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. As covid-19 cases in the U.S. continue to rise, the Biden administration is countering with new strategies. The latest efforts include preparing for vaccine boosters starting this …

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Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Services So Many Seniors Need?

Sorry, Joe Namath. Despite what you keep saying in those TV ads, under Medicare, seniors are not “entitled to eliminate copays and get dental care, dentures, eyeglasses, prescription drug coverage, in-home aides, unlimited transportation and home-delivered meals, all at no additional cost.” But if Democratic lawmakers in Congress have their say, seniors could soon be …

Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Services So Many Seniors Need? Read More »

“Sabiduría y miedo” llevan al 90% de los adultos mayores de EE.UU. a vacunarse contra covid

En medio del último aumento de casos de covid-19 y hospitalizaciones, Estados Unidos alcanzó el martes 3 de agosto un hito que algunos pensaban que era inalcanzable: el 90% de las personas de 65 años o más están al menos parcialmente vacunadas contra la enfermedad. Esto es más de 49 millones de adultos mayores vacunados. …

“Sabiduría y miedo” llevan al 90% de los adultos mayores de EE.UU. a vacunarse contra covid Read More »

‘Wisdom and Fear’ Lead 90% of U.S. Seniors to Covid Vaccines

Amid the latest surge in covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, the United States on Tuesday hit a milestone that some thought was unattainable: 90% of people 65 and older are at least partly vaccinated against the disease. That’s more than 49 million seniors vaccinated. Overall, 70% of adults have been inoculated, at least partly, and nearly …

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Restoring a Sense of Belonging: The Unsung Importance of Casual Relationships for Older Adults

In May, Vincent Keenan traveled from Chicago to Charlottesville, Virginia, for a wedding — his first trip out of town since the start of the pandemic. “Hi there!” he called out to customers at a gas station where he’d stopped on his way to the airport. “How’s your day going?” he said he asked the …

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Amid Covid Booster Debate, West Virginia to Check Immunity of Vaccinated Nursing Home Residents

West Virginia raced ahead of the country last winter to get people in nursing homes vaccinated against covid-19, but with cases and hospitalizations on the rise again, state officials want to know whether immunity levels are falling for residents who had their shots. Starting in August, the state plans to begin measuring the levels of …

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Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales

Three years ago, pharma giant Pfizer paid $24 million to settle federal allegations that it was paying kickbacks and inflating sales by reimbursing Medicare patients for out-of-pocket medication costs. By making prohibitively expensive medicine essentially free for patients, the company induced them to use Pfizer drugs even as the price of one of those medicines, …

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Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign

Do you sometimes lose your train of thought or feel a bit more anxious than is typical for you? Those are two of the six questions in a quiz on a website co-sponsored by the makers of Aduhelm, a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug. But even when all responses to the frequency of those experiences are …

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A Chilling Cure: Facing Killer Heat, ERs Use Body Bags to Save Lives

As a deadly heat wave scorched the Pacific Northwest last month, overwhelming hospital emergency rooms in a region unaccustomed to triple-digit temperatures, doctors resorted to a grim but practical tool to save lives: human body bags filled with ice and water. Officials at hospitals in Seattle and Renton, Washington, said that as more people arrived …

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Though Millions Are at Risk for Diabetes, Medicare Struggles to Expand Prevention Program

Damon Diessner tried for years to slim down from his weight of more than 400 pounds, partly because his size embarrassed his wife but even more because his doctors told him he was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. His hemoglobin A1c level, a blood sugar marker, was 6.3%, just below the diabetes range …

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AI-driven ‘clock’ predicts aging-related illness and mortality

Scientists in the US have developed an artificial intelligence-powered ‘clock’ that can estimate a person’s chance of developing an illness or dying based on the pattern of cytokines in their blood. The “inflammatory age” or iAge clock – described in the journal Nature Aging – uses a snapshot of the level of chronic inflammation in …

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Teen Volunteers Get a Foot in the Door for Nursing Home Careers

Jasmine De Moya, 17, has dreamed for years of working in the medical field, and she yearned to spend time with older people, missing her grandparents, who live in the Dominican Republic. A program sponsored by the New Jewish Home health system in New York City that combines volunteering and free training for entry-level health …

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Why We May Never Know Whether the $56,000-a-Year Alzheimer’s Drug Actually Works

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval in June of a drug purporting to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease was widely celebrated, but it also touched off alarms. There were worries in the scientific community about the drug’s mixed results in studies — the FDA’s own expert advisory panel was nearly unanimous in opposing its …

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Doctors Weigh Pros and Cons of Prescribing Hot-Button Alzheimer’s Drug

As physicians and health policy experts debate the merits of Aduhelm, the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease approved in 18 years, patients want to know: “Will this medication help me — and how much?” Doctors explaining the pros and cons of Aduhelm won’t have a definitive answer. “On an individual basis, it will be …

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Paying Billions for Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug? How About Funding This Instead?

If you could invest $56 billion each year in improving health care for older adults, how would you spend it? On a hugely expensive medication with questionable efficacy — or something else? This isn’t an abstract question. Aduhelm, a new Alzheimer’s drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month, could be prescribed to …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Un-Trumping the ACA

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Biden administration this week proposed a series of changes aimed at boosting insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, undoing changes made by the Trump administration …

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Desperate for Home Care, Seniors Often Wait Months With Workers in Short Supply

CASTINE, Maine — For years, Louise Shackett has had trouble walking or standing for long periods, making it difficult for her to clean her house in southeastern Maine or do laundry. Shackett, 80, no longer drives, which makes it hard to get to the grocery store or doctor. Her low income, though, qualifies her for …

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The Hard Realities of a ‘No Jab, No Job’ Mandate for Health Care Workers

Christopher Richmond keeps a running tab on how many workers at the ManorCare skilled nursing facility he manages in western Pennsylvania have rolled up their sleeves for a covid-19 vaccine. Although residents were eager for the shots this year, he’s counted only about 3 in 4 workers vaccinated at any one time. The excuses, among …

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Unvaccinated, Homebound and Now Hospitalized With Covid in New York City

Dr. Leora Horwitz treats fewer and fewer covid patients at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Still, she thinks there are too many. And they almost all have something in common. “I’ve only had one patient who was vaccinated, and he was being treated for cancer with chemotherapy,” she said, reflecting recent research …

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Violent Colorado Arrest Puts Spotlight on How Police Treat Disabled People

Nearly a year after police officers in Loveland, Colorado, injured an elderly woman with dementia and then laughed at footage of her arrest, two of those officers are facing criminal charges while the rest of the department undergoes additional training. The fallout has drawn national attention to a problem that experts say is widespread across …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode!

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration found itself in the hot seat this week when it approved a controversial new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease with scant evidence …

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Zooming Into the Statehouse: Nursing Home Residents Use New Digital Skills to Push for Changes

Patty Bausch isn’t a Medicaid expert, lawyer or medical professional. But she still thinks Connecticut legislators need her input when they consider bills affecting people like her — the roughly 18,000 residents who live in the state’s nursing homes. With help and encouragement from Connecticut’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, Bausch signed up and testified …

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Expanding Insurance Coverage Is Top Priority for New Medicare-Medicaid Chief

The new head of the federal agency that oversees health benefits for nearly 150 million Americans and $1 trillion in federal spending said in one of her first interviews that her top priorities will be broadening insurance coverage and ensuring health equity. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. “We’ve seen through the …

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Readers and Tweeters React to Racism, Inequities in Health Care

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. A Harrowing Tale of Racism I liked the article “The Making of Reluctant Activists: A Police Shooting in a Hospital Forces One Family to Rethink American Justice” (May 10). As a …

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Caring for an Aging Nation

USE OUR CONTENT This story can republished for free. Please contact [email protected] for embed codes. Table of Contents A Variety of Services Booming Number of Seniors The Cost of Long-Term Care Services The Physical – and Financial – Burden The $61 Billion Price Tag Health care for the nation’s seniors looms large as the baby-boom …

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Tips for Older Adults to Regain Their Game After Being Cooped Up for More Than a Year

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 …

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As Pandemic Eases, Many Seniors Have Lost Strength, May Need Rehabilitative Services

Ronald Lindquist, 87, has been active all his life. So, he wasn’t prepared for what happened when he stopped going out during the coronavirus pandemic and spent most of his time, inactive, at home. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. “I found it hard to get up and get out of bed,” …

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Aiding Her Dying Husband, a Geriatrician Learns the Emotional and Physical Toll of Caregiving

The loss of a husband. The death of a sister. Taking in an elderly mother with dementia. This has been a year like none other for Dr. Rebecca Elon, who has dedicated her professional life to helping older adults. This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free. It’s taught …

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Biden Boasts About Equitable Senior Vaccination Rate by Race Without Data to Back It Up

“There’s virtually no difference between white, Black, Hispanic, Asian American,” referring to vaccination rates among Americans 65 and up. President Joe Biden, May 3 During May 3 remarks on the American Families Plan, President Joe Biden boasted that there was not much disparity in the vaccination rates for white Americans and Americans of color who …

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Trouble Managing Money May Be an Early Sign of Dementia

After Maria Turner’s minivan was totaled in an accident a dozen years ago, she grew impatient waiting for the insurance company to process the claim. One night, she saw a red pickup truck on eBay for $20,000. She thought it was just what she needed. She clicked “buy it now” and went to bed. The …

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The Vulnerable Homebound Are Left Behind on Vaccination

It was April, more than three months into the vaccination campaign against covid-19, and Jim Freeman, 83, still had not gotten his first dose. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Freeman had been eligible for months as part of the 75-and-older target group deemed most vulnerable to death and serious illness in …

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Covid Forces Cohousing Communities to Examine Shared Values and Relationships

Tensions were running high at PDX Commons, a cohousing community for adults 55 and older in Portland, Oregon. Several people wanted to keep visitors off-site until all 35 residents were vaccinated. Others wanted to open to family and friends for the first time in a year. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. …

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Biden Seeks $400 Billion to Buttress Long-Term Care. A Look at What’s at Stake.

There’s widespread agreement that it’s important to help older adults and people with disabilities remain independent as long as possible. But are we prepared to do what’s necessary, as a nation, to make this possible? This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. That’s the challenge President Joe Biden has put …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Health Care as Infrastructure

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Health care makes some surprising appearances in President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, even though more health proposals are expected in a second proposal later this month. The bill that would help rebuild roads, bridges and broadband capabilities also includes $400 billion to help …

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Helpful Foods to Support People with Autism

The sulforaphane found in five cents’ worth of broccoli sprouts has been shown to benefit autism in a way no drug ever has in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. You may remember my series of videos, which includes Prevent Cancer from Going on TOR, about target of rapamycin (TOR), the engine-of-aging enzyme. Kids with autism …

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Covid Cases Plummet 83% Among Nursing Home Staffers Despite Vaccine Hesitancy

Joan Phillips, a certified nursing assistant in a Florida nursing home, loved her job but dreaded the danger of going to work in the pandemic. When vaccines became available in December, she jumped at the chance to get one. Months later, it appears that danger has faded. After the rollout of covid vaccines, the number …

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Texas Winter Storm Exposes Gaps in Senior Living Oversight

HOUSTON — When the big, red and extremely loud fire alarm went off in Maria Skladzien’s apartment, the 74-year-old ventured into the hallway with fellow residents of her Houston-area senior living community. The brutal winter storm that swept through Texas had knocked out power, which, in turn, disrupted water to the four-story building. The blaring …

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Behind The Byline: Reporting Road Trip

KHN has never been busier ― and health coverage has never been more vital. The Behind The Byline series on YouTube and Instagram TV offers an insider’s view. Journalists and producers from across KHN’s newsrooms take you behind the scenes in these bite-size videos to show the ways they are following the story, connecting with …

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Reopening of Long-Term Care Facilities Is ‘an Absolute Necessity for Our Well-Being’

For nearly a year, nursing homes and assisted living centers have been mostly closed to visitors. Now, it’s time for them to open back up and relieve residents of crushing isolation, according to a growing chorus of long-term care experts, caregivers, consumer groups and physicians. This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished …

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Sorting Out How Politics, Policies Figure in Flap Over New York Nursing Home Covid Death Rates

The plaudits have faded for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Once hailed as a paragon of pandemic governing, he’s since come under scorching criticism for undercounting the state’s covid deaths among nursing home residents by as much as half. The tallying flap drew attention to another misstep: a policy last March that directed nursing homes …

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Connecticut Is Doling Out Vaccines Based Strictly on Age. It’s Simpler, but Is it Fair?

With covid vaccines expected to remain scarce into early spring, Connecticut has scrapped its complicated plans to prioritize immunizations for people under 65 with certain chronic conditions and front-line workers. Instead, the state will primarily base eligibility on age. Gov. Ned Lamont pointed to statistics showing the risk of death and hospitalization from covid-19 rises …

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Journalists Weigh In on Biden’s HHS Pick

KHN senior correspondent Noam Levey discussed Xavier Becerra’s nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with KQED’s “Forum” on Tuesday. Click here to hear Levey on KQED Read “‘It’s a Minefield’: Biden Health Pick Must Tread Carefully on Abortion and Family Planning” by Levey and California Healthline correspondent Rachel Bluth KHN …

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Countless Homebound Patients Still Wait for Covid Vaccine Despite Seniors’ Priority

This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Opening another front in the nation’s response to the pandemic, medical centers and other health organizations have begun sending doctors and nurses to apartment buildings and private homes to vaccinate homebound seniors. Boston Medical Center, which runs the oldest in-home medical service in …

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Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The federal government has penalized 774 hospitals for having the highest rates of patient infections or other potentially avoidable medical complications. Those hospitals, which include some of the nation’s marquee medical centers, will lose 1% of their Medicare payments over 12 months. The penalties, based on …

Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications Read More »

Companies Pan for Marketing Gold in Vaccines

This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. For a decade, Jennifer Crow has taken care of her elderly parents, who have multiple sclerosis. After her father had a stroke in December, the family got serious in its conversations with a retirement community — and learned that one service it …

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California Aims to Address the ‘Urgent’ Needs of Older Residents. But Will Its Plan Work?

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Even as the pandemic derailed some of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s biggest health care proposals, such as lowering prescription drug costs, it crystallized another: the pressing need to address California’s rapidly aging population. Already nine months into their work when Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home …

California Aims to Address the ‘Urgent’ Needs of Older Residents. But Will Its Plan Work? Read More »

Family Caregivers, Routinely Left Off Vaccine Lists, Worry What Would Happen ‘If I Get Sick’

Robin Davidson entered the lobby of Houston Methodist Hospital, where her 89-year-old father, Joe, was being treated for a flare-up of congestive heart failure. This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Before her stretched a line of people waiting to get covid-19 vaccines. “It was agonizing to know that I …

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Vaccine Hesitancy vs. Vaccine Refusal: Nursing Home Staffers Say There’s a Difference

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. CONCORD, N.C. — It had been months since Tremellia Hobbs had an excuse to bring out the pompoms. Before the pandemic, they were a crowd favorite at movie nights and bingo tournaments that Hobbs organized as activities director at the Brian Center Health …

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After Nearly 60 Years of Marriage, This Missouri Couple Stayed Together to the End

This story also ran on St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It can be republished for free. Arthur Kelley could barely raise his voice above a whisper last fall when he told a nursing assistant he never wanted his wife, Maggie, to be alone. After almost 60 years of marriage, five children and a lifetime filled with more …

After Nearly 60 Years of Marriage, This Missouri Couple Stayed Together to the End Read More »

‘Cruel’ Digital Race For Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind

With millions of older Americans eligible for covid-19 vaccines and limited supplies, many continue to describe a frantic and frustrating search to secure a shot, beset by uncertainty and difficulty.  This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. The efforts to vaccinate people 65 and older have strained under the enormous …

‘Cruel’ Digital Race For Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind Read More »

Adultos mayores sin familia o amigos quedan atrás en la carrera por vacunarse

Adultos mayores hispanos quedan rezagados en la carrera por vacunarse contra covid Está surgiendo una brecha entre los que tienen recursos y los que no, a medida que los adultos mayores de todo el país luchan por recibir la vacuna contra covid-19. Las personas mayores con familiares o amigos que los ayudan están consiguiendo citas …

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Older Adults Without Family or Friends Lag in Race to Get Vaccines

A divide between “haves” and “have-nots” is emerging as older adults across the country struggle to get covid-19 vaccines. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Seniors with family members or friends to help them are getting vaccine appointments, even if it takes days to secure them. Those without reliable social supports are …

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At Colorado’s Rural Edges, Vaccines Help Assisted Living Homes Crack Open the Doors

Bingo is back in the dining room. In-person visits have returned, too, though with masks and plexiglass. The Haven Assisted Living Facility’s residents are even planning a field trip for a private movie screening once they’ve all gotten their second round of covid-19 vaccines. Such changes are small but meaningful to residents in the Hayden, …

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If I Have Cancer, Dementia or MS, Should I Get the Covid Vaccine?

As public demand grows for limited supplies of covid-19 vaccines, questions remain about the vaccines’ appropriateness for older adults with various illnesses. Among them are cancer patients receiving active treatment, dementia patients near the end of their lives and people with autoimmune conditions. Recently, a number of readers have asked me whether older relatives with …

If I Have Cancer, Dementia or MS, Should I Get the Covid Vaccine? Read More »

What we’re expecting in 2021, and beyond…

From telehealth to digital trials, customer engagement to healthcare data, Healthware Group outlines the key trends that are expected to shake up digital health this year. Well, it goes without saying, COVID-19 has resulted in a rapid adoption of digital technologies across all industries, most notably in healthcare. There are several important aspects to these …

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Covid Vaccine Rollout Leaves Most Older Adults Confused Where to Get Shots

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Over a month into a massive vaccination program, most older Americans report they don’t know where or when they can get inoculated for covid-19, according to a poll released Friday. Nearly 6 in 10 people 65 and older who have not yet gotten a shot said …

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Vaccination Disarray Leaves Seniors Confused About When They Can Get a Shot

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. For weeks, doctors’ phones have been ringing off the hook with anxious older patients on the other end of the line. “When can I get a covid-19 vaccine?” these patients want to know. “And where?” Frustration and confusion are rampant as states and counties begin to …

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Are You Old Enough to Get Vaccinated? In Tennessee, They’re Using the Honor System

In December, all states began vaccinating only health care workers and residents and staffers of nursing homes in the “phase 1A” priority group. But, since the new year began, some states have also started giving shots to — or booking appointments for — other categories of seniors and essential workers. As states widen eligibility requirements …

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Seniors Face Crushing Drug Costs as Congress Stalls on Capping Medicare Out-Of-Pockets

This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. Sharon Clark is able to get her life-sustaining cancer drug, Pomalyst — priced at more than $18,000 for a 28-day supply — only because of the generosity of patient assistance foundations. Clark, 57, a former insurance agent who lives in Bixby, Oklahoma, had …

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With Vaccine Delivery Imminent, Nursing Homes Must Make a Strong Pitch to Residents

Imagine this: Your elderly mother, who has dementia, is in a nursing home and COVID-19 vaccines are due to arrive in a week or two. You think she should be vaccinated, having heard the vaccine is effective in generating an immune response in older adults. Your brother disagrees. He worries that development of the vaccine …

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Alzheimer’s Inc.: Colleagues Question Scientist’s Pricey Recipe Against Memory Loss

This story also ran on Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. When her husband was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, Elizabeth Pan was devastated by the lack of options to slow his inevitable decline. But she was encouraged when she discovered the work of a UCLA neurologist, Dr. Dale Bredesen, who …

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I Found My Secret to Feeling Younger and Stronger. The Pandemic Stole It Away.

Back in early January, before COVID-19 was as familiar as the furniture, I went in for my annual physical. My doctor looked at my test results and shook his head. Virtually everything was perfect. My cholesterol was down. So was my weight. My blood pressure was that of a swimmer. A barrage of blood tests …

I Found My Secret to Feeling Younger and Stronger. The Pandemic Stole It Away. Read More »

What Seniors Can Expect When COVID Vaccines Begin to Roll Out

Vaccines that protect against COVID-19 are on the way. What should older adults expect? The first candidates, from Pfizer and Moderna, could arrive before Christmas, according to Alex Azar, who heads the Department of Health and Human Services. Both vaccines are notably effective in preventing illness due to the coronavirus, according to information released by …

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Medicare Open Enrollment Is Complicated. Here’s How to Get Good Advice.

If you’ve been watching TV lately, you may have seen actor Danny Glover or Joe Namath, the 77-year-old NFL legend, urging you to call an 800 number to get fabulous extra benefits from Medicare. There are plenty of other Medicare ads, too, many set against a red-white-and-blue background meant to suggest officialdom — though if …

Medicare Open Enrollment Is Complicated. Here’s How to Get Good Advice. Read More »

These Front-Line Workers Could Have Retired. They Risked Their Lives Instead.

Sonia Brown’s husband died on June 10. Two weeks later, the 65-year-old registered nurse was back at work. Her husband’s medical bills and a car payment loomed over her head. “She wanted to make sure all those things were taken care of before she retired,” her son David said. David and his sister begged her …

These Front-Line Workers Could Have Retired. They Risked Their Lives Instead. Read More »

Long-Term Care Workers, Grieving and Under Siege, Brace for COVID’s Next Round

In the middle of the night, Stefania Silvestri lies in bed remembering her elderly patients’ cries. “Help me.” “Please don’t leave me.” “I need my family.” Months of caring for older adults in a Rhode Island nursing home ravaged by COVID-19 have taken a steep toll on Silvestri, 37, a registered nurse. She can’t sleep, …

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Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care

A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country. Workers are already …

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Nursing Homes Still See Dangerously Long Waits for COVID Test Results

This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Nursing homes are still taking days to get back COVID-19 test results as many shun the Trump administration’s central strategy to limit the spread of the virus among old and sick Americans. In late summer, federal officials began distributing to nursing homes millions …

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Seniors Form COVID Pods to Ward Off Isolation This Winter

Over the past month, Dr. Richard Besdine and his wife have been discussing whether to see family and friends indoors this fall and winter. He thinks they should, so long as people have been taking strict precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. She’s not convinced it’s safe, given the heightened risk of viral transmission in indoor …

Seniors Form COVID Pods to Ward Off Isolation This Winter Read More »

They Work in Several Nursing Homes to Eke Out a Living, Possibly Spreading the Virus

To make ends meet, Martha Tapia works 64 hours a week at two Orange County, California, nursing homes. She is one of thousands of certified nursing assistants who perform the intimate and physical work of bathing, dressing and feeding the nation’s fragile elderly. “We do everything for them. Everything you do for yourself, you have …

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Despite COVID Concerns, Teams Venture Into Nursing Homes to Get Out the Vote

RALEIGH, N.C. — Each time Beverly Tucker visited a nursing home or long-term care facility this fall, she brought along a rolling tote bag packed with supplies from the Durham County Board of Elections. Boxes of face masks and face shields. Latex gloves and cleaning wipes. Hand sanitizer from Mystic Farm & Distillery, a local …

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Older COVID Patients Battle ‘Brain Fog,’ Weakness and Emotional Turmoil

“Lord, give me back my memory.” For months, as Marilyn Walters has struggled to recover from COVID-19, she has repeated this prayer day and night. Like other older adults who’ve become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls “brain fog” — difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to …

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Pandemic Erects Barriers for Prized Bloc of Voters in Nursing Homes, Senior Facilities

The convergence of the coronavirus pandemic and election season has complicated this year’s voting for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care centers. Many seniors who need help to get or fill out their ballots may be stymied by shifting rules about family visits. Voting procedures — whether in person or …

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How to Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with Diet

Given the role that oxidant free radicals are thought to play in aging and disease, one reason fruits and vegetables may be so good for us is that they contain antioxidant compounds. As you can see at 0:20 in my video Benefits of Marjoram for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), different vegetables and herbs have different …

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Lifetime Experiences Help Older Adults Build Resilience to Pandemic Trauma

Older adults are especially vulnerable physically during the coronavirus pandemic. But they’re also notably resilient psychologically, calling upon a lifetime of experience and perspective to help them through difficult times. New research calls attention to this little-remarked-upon resilience as well as significant challenges for older adults as the pandemic stretches on. It shows that many …

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Topical Lemon Balm Lotion for Alzheimer’s

Improving cognitive performance with aromatherapy in young, healthy volunteers is one thing, but how about where it really matters? As I discuss in my video Best Aromatherapy Herb for Alzheimer’s, a group of Japanese researchers had a pie-in-the-sky notion that certain smells could lead to “nerve rebirth” in Alzheimer’s patients. Twenty years ago, even simply …

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Is Cuomo Directive to Blame for Nursing Home COVID Deaths, as US Official Claims?

On the first night of the Democratic National Convention, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the first in a weeklong parade of speakers to issue scathing critiques of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Cuomo’s criticisms drew a quick reply in a tweet from Michael Caputo, an assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department …

Is Cuomo Directive to Blame for Nursing Home COVID Deaths, as US Official Claims? Read More »

Trump Is Sending Fast, Cheap COVID Tests to Nursing Homes — But There’s a Hitch

The Trump administration’s latest effort to use COVID-19 rapid tests — touted by one senior official as a “turning point” in arresting the coronavirus’s spread within nursing homes — is running into roadblocks likely to limit how widely they’ll be used. Federal officials are distributing point-of-care antigen tests — which are cheaper and faster than …

Trump Is Sending Fast, Cheap COVID Tests to Nursing Homes — But There’s a Hitch Read More »

We Put Off Planning, Until My Father-in-Law’s Medical Crisis Took Us by Surprise

Earlier this month, my husband picked up the phone and learned his 92-year-old father had been taken to the hospital that morning, feeling sick and short of breath. We were nearly 2,000 miles away, on a vacation in the mountains of southern Colorado. No, it wasn’t COVID-19. My father-in-law, Mel, who has diabetes, high blood …

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Isolation, Disruption and Confusion: Coping With Dementia During a Pandemic

GARDENA, Calif. — Daisy Conant, 91, thrives off routine. One of her favorites is reading the newspaper with her morning coffee. But, lately, the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has been more agitating than pleasurable. “We’re dropping like flies,” she said one recent morning, throwing her hands up. “She gets fearful,” explained her grandson Erik …

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Bereaved Families Are ‘the Secondary Victims of COVID-19’

Every day, the nation is reminded of COVID-19’s ongoing impact as new death counts are published. What is not well documented is the toll on family members. New research suggests the damage is enormous. For every person who dies of COVID-19, nine close family members are affected, researchers estimate based on complex demographic calculations and …

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Pandemic Hampers Reopening of Joint Replacement Gold Mine

Dr. Ira Weintraub, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon who now works at a medical billing consultancy, saw a hip replacement bill for over $400,000 earlier this year. “The patient stayed in the hospital 17 days, which is only 17 times normal. The bill got paid,” mused Weintraub, chief medical officer of Portland, Oregon-based WellRithms, which …

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What Seniors Can Expect as Their New Normal in a Post-Vaccine World

Imagine this scenario, perhaps a year or two in the future: An effective COVID-19 vaccine is routinely available and the world is moving forward. Life, however, will likely never be the same — particularly for people over 60. That is the conclusion of geriatric medical doctors, aging experts, futurists and industry specialists. Experts say that …

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Technology Divide Between Senior ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’ Roils Pandemic Response

Family gatherings on Zoom and FaceTime. Online orders from grocery stores and pharmacies. Telehealth appointments with physicians. These have been lifesavers for many older adults staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. But an unprecedented shift to virtual interactions has a downside: Large numbers of seniors are unable to participate. Among them are older adults …

Technology Divide Between Senior ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’ Roils Pandemic Response Read More »

Decreasing Inflammation and Oxidation After Meals

Within hours of eating an unhealthy meal, we can get a spike in inflammation, crippling our artery function, thickening our blood, and causing a fight-or-flight nerve response. Thankfully, there are foods we can eat at every meal to counter this reaction. Standard American meals rich in processed junk and meat and dairy lead to exaggerated …

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States Allow In-Person Nursing Home Visits As Families Charge Residents Die ‘Of Broken Hearts’

Navigating Aging Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system. To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment, click here. Join the Navigating Aging Facebook Group. See All Columns States across the country are beginning to roll …

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High Blood Pressure May Lead to Low Brain Volume

Having hypertension in midlife (ages 40 through 60) is associated with elevated risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s dementia later in life, even more so than having the so-called Alzheimer’s gene. “It is clear that cerebral vascular disease”—that is, hardening of the arteries inside our brain—“and cognitive decline travel hand in hand,” something I’ve addressed …

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A Half Teaspoon of Dried Rosemary May Improve Cognitive Function

In Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5, Ophelia notes that rosemary is for remembrance, an idea that goes back at least a few thousand years to the ancient Greeks, who claimed that rosemary “comforts the brain…sharpens understanding, restores lost memory, awakens the mind…” After all, “plants can be considered as chemical factories that manufacture all sorts of …

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Vitamin D Supplements for Increasing Aging Muscle Strength

We have known for more than 400 years that muscle weakness is a common presenting symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Bones aren’t the only organs that respond to vitamin D—muscles do, too. However, as we age, our muscles lose vitamin D receptors, perhaps helping to explain the loss in muscle strength as we age. Indeed, …

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