Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

USC: Active social, spiritual and physical life helps prevent health decline in seniors

Study shows small day-to-day changes can result in measurable improvements in quality of life

From a 7 June 2011 Eureka news alert

Small, healthy lifestyle changes and involvement in meaningful activities—going beyond just diet and exercise—are critical to healthy aging, according to a new USC study.

Guided by lifestyle advisors, seniors participating in the study made small, sustainable changes in their routines (such as visiting a museum with a friend once a week) that led to measurable gains in quality of life, including lower rates of depression and better reported satisfaction with life.

The study validates the current trend in public health strategies to focus on preventing illness and disability, as opposed to treating issues once they have already begun to negatively impact health, according to lead investigator Florence Clark.

“What is critical is that, as we age, we continue to be engaged in life through a sustainable mix of productive, social, physical and spiritual activities. This goal of prevention and wellness is really a key to health care reform, and results in cost savings to society,” said Clark, professor and associate dean of the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, and president of the American Occupational Therapy Association.

“The emphasis now is prevention,” she said. “There are non-pharmacologic interventions that work.”

The Well Elderly 2 trial was performed between 2004 and 2009, with the write-up appearing in the June 2 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Elderly Tend to Drive Slower to Make up for Reaction Time

Elderly Tend to Drive Slower to Make up for Reaction Time
Thu, 10 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0600

Narrowed field of vision limits ability to detect potential pedestrian hazards, experts say

HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
Related MedlinePlus Pages: Motor Vehicle SafetySeniors’ Health

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Older lesbians, gays have higher rates of chronic disease, mental distress, isolation

Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures

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Older lesbians, gays have higher rates of chronic disease, mental distress, isolation

From the March 29 2011 Eureka news alert

ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2011) — Members of California’s aging lesbian, gay and bisexual population are more likely to suffer from certain chronic conditions, even as they wrestle with the challenges of living alone in far higher numbers than the heterosexual population, according to new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Half of all gay and bisexual adult men in California between the ages of 50 and 70 are living alone, compared with 13.4 percent of heterosexual men in the same age group. And although older California lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to live with a partner or a family member than their male counterparts, more than one in four live alone, compared with one in five heterosexual women.

A lack of immediate family support may impact aging LGB adults’ ability to confront statistically higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, poor mental health, physical disability and self-assessed fair or poor health, compared with demographically similar aging heterosexual adults.

The study, which draws upon three cycles of data from the biennial California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), underscores the importance of considering these unique needs and chronic health conditions in providing health care and social services to the estimated 170,000 self-identified aging LGB adults in California — a population that will double in size over the next 20 years.

“Many aging LGB Californians do not have biological children or strong family support,” said Steven P. Wallace, the lead researcher on the project. “Organizations that serve these communities need to take this into account and consider outreach and support mechanisms that enable these individuals to maintain their independence and ability to age safely and in good health.”

The policy brief, “The Health of Aging Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults in California,” includes the first data published on aging LGB adults based on a large statewide population. And among a population whose health needs are too often associated only with HIV and AIDS, the study offers the first insights about broader health conditions and trends….

Click here for the rest of the news article

Click here for the free online report

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults

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Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults

Source:  US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the March 24 report:

This new report, Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults – Closing the Gap, calls attention to the use of potentially lifesaving preventive services by our nation’s growing population of adults aged 65 years and older. By presenting and interpreting available state and national self-reported survey data, the Report aims to raise awareness among public health and aging services professionals, policy makers, the media, and researchers of critical gaps and opportunities for increasing the use of clinical preventive services, particularly among those who are currently underserved.

Older Americans have long been recognized as having unique social, economic, and health needs. Since the passage of the landmark Medicare Act in 1965, numerous policies and programs have evolved to support and improve the health and quality of life for adults aged 65 and older. The most recent addition is the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which addresses coverage for clinical preventive services with a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) rating of an A or B, immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and numerous additional wellness benefits for older adults. Recently issued rules to implement the legislation call for Medicare to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for previously covered preventive services in January 2011.1 The new law also entitles Medicare beneficiaries to a free annual wellness visit that includes a schedule of recommended preventive services. Additionally, a few states have already eliminated co-pays for some cancer screenings and more are poised to do so.

The USPSTF recommends a range of clinical preventive services for older adults. In 2006, these services were ranked by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP), a nonpartisan organization of business, nonprofit and government leaders convened by the Partnership for Prevention. Using innovative evidence-based methods, the NCPP identified 25 clinical preventive services that have the biggest impact on health and are most cost effective. The majority of these services are relevant to older adults aged 65 and older. Of the six top services, three are specific to this age group including colorectal cancer screening and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.

Flahiff, editor of this blog, strongly believes preventative health measures can reduce need for prescription drugs (and the                  side effects which may come from their use)

Excerpt from this previous posting

Drugs are chemicals. And you’re putting something in your body. You need to know what it is.” [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

If you keep adding drugs to your daily routine, talk to your doctor about whether you can cut back on others, so that you are only taking the minimum necessary amount, she said. Read all the material that comes with medicines, and tell someone immediately if you start to feel unwell. “If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor, talk to your pharmacist.” [Flahiff’s emphasis]

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Federal Report Details Health and Economic Status of Older Americans

Link to Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being Page


Federal Report Details Health and Economic Status of Older Americans

Today’s older Americans enjoy longer lives and better health than did previous generations. These and other trends are reported in Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being, a unique, comprehensive look at aging in the United States from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.It is divided into five subject areas: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. A link to a powerpoint slide of charts may be found here.

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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