Photo: Liz Seegert/AHCJBernard Cunniffe, shown with his wife Beverly, was assisted by his city’s Community Paramedics initiative after an accident.
When 84-year old Bernard Cunniffe fell in the bathroom one morning, his wife called the paramedics. However, rather than transporting the retired NYPD officer to the emergency department, the specially-trained responders assessed him for trauma, evaluated his vital signs and settled him into his bed.
Cunniffe, who is homebound because of multiple medical conditions, was uninjured but had low oxygen saturation, the likely cause of the fall. The community paramedics quickly stabilized him in consultation with an on-call physician and avoided a trip to the hospital. The Cunniffes were thrilled with the experience. Continue reading
On a recent visit to south Florida, I met a quite extraordinary 90-year-old named Jules. He’s a former high-level business executive, who still practices law and sells real estate as a second-act career. Jules lives in a Type A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) that feels more like a luxury hotel than a place for “old people.”
The former Connecticut resident described how much he loves the independent living facility, which is very similar to a luxury high rise. There’s a full service dining room — jackets required for men — that features healthy daily gourmet dinner specials like baked salmon. Linen tablecloths and wood paneling makes it feel like an upscale restaurant. There’s also a well-stocked communal library, common living room and card/game room off the lobby. Continue reading
Image by David Illig via flickr.
Unlike past generations of retirees, most aging baby boomers say they want to remain in their own homes as they get older, yet most don’t make the appropriate renovations to do so. A survey of boomer-age adults shows that while 40 percent plan to remodel their homes, only 21 percent think about their own health and aging as part of those plans.
However, when universal design features are pointed out, the majority said they would consider including them. Continue reading
Image by David Illig via flickr.
Given a choice, most older adults prefer aging-in-place rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Unfortunately, older homes and apartments frequently pose safety hazards for seniors – from lack of grab bars in the bathroom to shelves too high to reach without a ladder.
Associated Press Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard describes this scenario – and what can be done about it – in her recent piece, “Home repair for health? Simple fix-ups may keep low-income seniors independent.” Although I first read the article on The Christian Science Monitor website, (with an AP credit), this is an issue that strikes a chord in communities throughout the United States, and in Canada, too.
Aging-in-place presents numerous challenges for seniors. Something as routine as traveling to a doctor appointment for chronic disease management becomes burdensome if there are difficulties with activities of daily living and transportation, poor understanding of care plans, confusion about prescriptions, or mild cognitive impairment which affects ability to follow a plan or care or remember instructions. Visits by nurse practitioners and home health care nurses are important elements for successful aging in place. Medication reconciliation, monitoring of vital signs, nutritional and mental health checks, and a friendly face can sometimes mean the difference between living at home or an institution, especially if caregivers are not nearby. Continue reading
It’s well known that older adults are more vulnerable in times of natural disaster. But there’s nothing like a storm the size of Sandy to drive this point home.
Judith Graham (@judith_graham), AHCJ’s topic leader on aging, is writing blog posts, editing tip sheets and articles and gathering resources to help our members cover the many issues around our aging society.
If you have questions or suggestions for future resources on the topic, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the past week, we’ve read about New York City hospitals and nursing homes that decided to wait out the storm rather than evacuating. Sheri Fink, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her report on decisions made at Memorial Medical Center in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, got out ahead of Sandy and talked to city and state health officials as well as facility executives. Her ProPublica story is must-reading for anyone who wants to understand the thinking of officials responsible for preparing for the storm.
A take-home point: Evacuations can be extremely difficult for frail seniors living in nursing homes. Balancing the potential impact of displacing residents against the potential impact of sheltering in place during a storm isn’t easy.
I hope that reporters writing these kinds of Sandy-related stories take this into account. For another look at decisions made by city and state decisions vis a vis nursing homes, see this piece by Ben Hallman in the Huffington Post. Kudos to this reporter for going out during the storm and going to a site where nursing home residents were being sheltered. Continue reading