In the News

Hospital Care at Home: Better for Patients and Caregivers?

A new study comparing hospital-level care provided at home with that offered in an acute hospital shows that hospital care at home is feasible, safe and may even reduce costs. Keeping the patient at home decreases their exposure to germs, their likelihood for developing acute confusion, and the need for sedatives to keep the patient calm. And, patients love it. According to Dr. Bruce Leff, a geriatrician at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, "They told us it was comfortable, it was easy, it felt safe, and it was easier on their family members and caregivers." Read More

Registration Is Slow-Going for Medicare Prescription Benefit

Many people who are eligible for Medicare's new free or low-cost prescription drug benefit have not yet applied. As of December 2005, only 200,000 of the estimated 1.6 million low-income Californians who could qualify for the "extra help" to pay for a drug plan had signed up, according to the Sacramento Bee. Eligibility depends on both income and assets. Under the new prescription drug benefit, Medicare beneficiaries who earn less than $14,355 per year, or couples earning less than $19,245 per year, can receive discounted coverage if their assets do not exceed certain limits. The “extra help” is separate from the regular Medicare Part D coverage and the coverage for “dual eligibles” who qualify for both Medicare and Medi-Cal. There is no deadline to apply for "extra help." but coverage began on January 1 for those who have signed up and been found eligible. The subsidy covers the average Medicare premium cost, which is about $25 a month in California. Read More

Intergenerational Day Care Centers Make Sense

For older adults with memory impairments, intergenerational day care centers could be a useful resource. Many grandparents feel that they do not spend enough time with their grandchildren because of distance between family members. And, more children are going to day care while their parents are at work. Mixing these two groups could help both generations by providing needed mental stimulation for the elderly and offering attention and care for the youngsters. Older adults rely on their natural instincts as well as songs and stories from their own childhoods to teach and entertain the kids. In turn, the adults feel needed and useful. Read more about how programs like this work and about the participants’ reactions. Read More

Dramatic Growth Predicted in California's Elderly Population

Older Californians are the state’s fastest growing age group, according to a recent report from the California Budget Project. The report shows that the number of Californians age 65 and above will increase dramatically and is expected to increase by 71 percent between 2000 and 2020. By 2020, one in seven California residents will be seniors—more than 6 million residents. The large numbers of seniors are likely to strain state service programs, such as Medi-Cal, In-Home Supportive Services, and the Supplemental Security Program/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program. Report authors call for California lawmakers to ensure adequate resources for this growing population and cite the need for flexibility to reshape and retarget resources in response to demographic shifts. Read More

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