Government Nursing Home Ratings Getting Tougher

Starting immediately, the federal government is making it harder for nursing homes to get top grades on a public report card, in part by increasing scrutiny of their use of antipsychotic drugs and raising the bar on an array of quality measures. Those grades — in the form of one- to five-star ratings — are part of Nursing Home Compare, a government website to help consumers evaluate nursing homes. While the star ratings, which debuted in December 2008, are lauded …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Dogs that roll over and expose their bellies to another dog are not being submissive. (Learn more at Huffington Post) 2. It takes 15 million tons of salt to melt ice and snow on U.S. highways, roads and sidewalks each winter. (Learn more at Vox.com) 3. Babies remember new accomplishments if they soon fall asleep. (Learn more at BBC) 4. An avocado a day can lower bad cholesterol. (Learn more at Penn State via Futurity) 5. The …

The After-50 Balancing Act

Let me give you the bad news with the good: We’re falling down more often on our way to longer lives. “As the population ages and people live longer in bad shape,” wrote Katie Hafner in Sunday’s New York Times, “the number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring.” According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, where I serve as ambassador for bone health, even younger boomers must devote some thought to their strength, stamina …

Beyond Brrrr: Stay Safe During Record-Breaking Freeze

This isn’t just cold, this is a life-threatening freeze that’s breaking decades-old records across a huge swath of the country. So far, 20 storm-related deaths have been reported, including three people in Chicago who died while shoveling snow. Called a “polar vortex,” for the whirlpool of bitterly cold air that has descended from Minnesota to Alabama, residents are being warned to stay indoors and take precautions if they need to venture outside. Even Southern states are bracing for record low …

Don’t Fall! Tips for Staying Safe in Icy Conditions

Slips and falls during the winter months are all too common, say the orthopedists who take care of all the bone breaks, muscle tears and sprains that happen this season. And now that the Northeast has been hammered with a monster storm, it’s even more important for older folks to be careful about falling or suffering injuries while shoveling snow. Keep in mind that 11,500 people are sent to the emergency room each year with snow-shoveling injuries, and those 55 …

Decking Those Halls Can Be Deadly

Thinking about getting on a ladder to string lights outside or decorate the very top of your tall Christmas tree? Maybe you should reconsider – or at least get some help. It seems decking the halls is getting more dangerous each year. Last year more than 15,000 people ended up in the emergency room with decorating-related injuries, according to new data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s more than 250 people a day hurt by decorating accidents between Nov. …