While Medicare may be a cornerstone of keeping older adults healthy and reducing poverty, it’s far from perfect. Closing huge gaps in coverage – some might argue chasms – could improve public health, reduce hospitalizations, help support cognitive function, maintain quality of life and save the health system millions of dollars. But it will literally take an act of Congress for anything to really change.
At October’s Gerontological Society of America Conference in Boston, experts at the “Medicare, What’s Missing” session examined links between systemic health and oral, vision and hearing health. They looked at some major policy gaps and potential fixes. While everyone agreed more needs to be done, true reform will likely happen by baby steps. Continue reading
What’s worse? Losing your vision, memory, speech, hearing or a limb? For many adults, loss of eyesight is the most feared. Eye impairments and lack of appropriate care are a growing problem for many older adults, as it can lead to loss of independence and an increased burden on the health system.
In a recent nationwide poll, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that the nearly half of respondents (47.4 percent) across all ethnic and racial groups described loss of eyesight as the worst ailment that could happen to them Continue reading
America’s 55 million Medicare beneficiaries would receive comprehensive dental, vision and hearing benefits under a bill introduced this month in Congress.
HR 5396 (Medicare Dental, Vision and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016) is given no chance of passage by Govtrack.us, a website that tracks Congressional legislation and computes the probability for enactment. But the bill serves of a reminder of gaps in Medicare coverage that represent significant challenges to many elderly and disabled Americans. Continue reading
Sitting in the waiting room of my ophthalmologist’s office was an elderly man, who I later learned was 100 years old, perhaps 102, no one was sure.
He could walk with the help of his aide and a sturdy cane and his cognition seemed good. My doctor later told me that this gentleman’s eyesight was as good or better than someone 20 or 25 years younger.
It got me thinking about what happens to our eyes as we age.
Why do some people maintain good vision well into their 90s while others struggle with serious visual decline at a younger age? Loss of vision significantly impacts a senior’s independence, which in turn, may lead to depression. Continue reading