Advance Care Planning Gets a Boost

In response to an earlier request from AARP and other groups, we are pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recommended in its recent proposed update to the Medicare physician fee schedule that Medicare be able to pay for advance care planning (ACP) services from physicians and other providers. The proposal will help facilitate voluntary conversations among individuals, their families and health care providers to help ensure individuals’ choices and wishes about their care are known, …

Meet My First Date From Online Matchmaking

I’ve learned that any man who has 25 or more photos of himself in his online dating profile isn’t worth talking with. Why? Because you can’t talk with him. He does all the talking. I spoke with one man handsome and distinguished enough to be in a TV brandy commercial. I vetted him as any good journalist/single woman would, and he was legitimate. He had interesting jobs. His background and politics matched mine. There was only one problem. I made the …

Talk More, Text Less With Adult Children

In accepting the Oscar for best supporting actor last week, J.K. Simmons didn’t dwell on thanking the Academy and the Whiplash crew. Instead, he exhorted, “Call your mom, dad everybody. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive, call them! Don’t text, don’t email. Call them. Listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.” The 60-year-old actor later told reporters that message was prompted by his realization that he had missed too many opportunities …

How to Talk About Death … and Life

Many Americans, it seems, have a hard time talking about death. Even doctors struggle to deal with the mortality of patients who they know aren’t going to make it. That’s the focus of Being Mortal: Conversations of Death and Dying, Atul Gawande’s adaptation of his bestselling book to a Frontline segment that begins airing Feb. 10 on PBS platforms. A surgeon and writer, Gawande chalks up doctors’ fears to their sense of professional competence. In gaining experience, “Among the most …

Report: Dying in America Harder Than It Has to Be

By Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer It is time for conversations about death to become a part of life. That is one of the themes of a 500-page report, titled “Dying in America,” released Sept. 17 by the Institute of Medicine. The report suggests that the first end-of-life conversation could coincide with a cherished American milestone: getting a driver’s license at 16, the first time a person weighs what it means to be an organ donor. Follow-up conversations …

Silence Could Be Costly in Family Financial Planning

Parents and their adult children say they want to have honest conversations about finances and retirement issues, but they just don’t agree on when to talk, according to a survey released today by Fidelity Investments. And when these discussions do eventually occur, they often don’t get down to the details needed for proper financial planning, the Boston-based investment firm found. Lauren Brouhard, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity, urges families to bite the bullet and talk – before parents retire …