5 Tips for Caregivers: Better Medical Relationships

One of the lessons I learned early on in my time as a caregiver for my father was that he and I weren’t alone. I’m not talking about the support — both logistical and emotional — we received from family, neighbors and the amazing senior center in our little Cape Cod town. I’m talking about the doctors and nurses who, one by one, became a regular part of our lives. Their help was irreplaceable, but each relationship required its own …

News Flash: Multiple Chronic Conditions Are a Common Event

  Medical researchers are beginning to recognize what anyone who’s cared for an older loved one learns in the first or second doctor’s appointment: older folks often deal with multiple chronic conditions.  This can make medical care very complicated. This news flash has been deduced by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after analyzing data from the first large-scale survey of residential care facilities — think assisted living centers and board-and-care homes that serve individuals …

Home Health Aides — More Than Just Babysitters

The subject of raising the minimum wage has been a theme in the news for the last several weeks. You might be surprised to learn that many home health aides will see no benefit from any possible bump to the current $7.25 an hour rate — I know I was, when I read an article from CNN Money posted on one of my new favorite blogs, The Voice of Aging Boomers. It turns out that many home health aides are grouped …

Colonoscopies and Seniors: What to Do?

Following up my last post — Learning to Say No to Doctors — I was interested to read results of a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that reported up to 38 percent of colonoscopies performed on those between 76 to 85 years old (and almost 25 percent of those over 86) were potentially inappropriate under existing guidelines. I take a personal interest in this procedure because colon cancer played a significant role in my …

Learning to Say No to Doctors

Through a post on the New York Times’ New Old Age blog, I learned of a great initiative by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation to help patients understand they’re allowed to just say “no.” The effort is called “Choosing Wisely,” and it’s bringing together many medical specialties to help patients and doctors understand when specific tests and treatments do — and don’t — make sense. (AARP also has covered the program). If you’ve spent any time helping …

A Sign of Medicaid Improvements to Come?

In 2006, Massachusetts instituted a plan requiring its residents to have health-insurance coverage, whether from their employer or self-paid. This program is the model for the Affordable Care Act (ACA — also known as “Obamacare”). Two years earlier, the state began a program  to promote coordinated health care and social services for “dual eligibles” — those qualifying for both Medicare and MassHealth (what Medicaid is called in Massachusetts). Called Senior Care Options (SCO), the plan is free to participants — …