In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.
Today, the six-week enrollment period for the Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program, begins for 2009. It runs only until 31 December and it is more critical than in the past that you re-evaluate your insurer this year because premiums and co-pays have increased substantially for some plans and drugs that are covered by your current plan may not be next year.
The Medicare Part D website lists all plans for your state including premiums, deductions and co-pays. If you use only one or two drugs, it’s easy to compare plans. A larger number of drugs is more difficult, but you can do it – and don’t put it off. Some increases are astronomical as I discussed in this post, so I urge you to not delay.
In Japan, the number of crimes committed by people 65 and older more than doubled in the five years between 2002 and 2007, and continues to grow. Most of the crimes are pickpocketing and shoplifting due, authorities say, to “low incomes, unstable employment and living conditions, and weakening ties with relatives and neighbors.” Read more here. (Hat tip to Sylvia Spruck Wrigley of Can’t Backspace)
On the other hand, elders are thriving in Denmark and Sweden where, at age 75, everyone receives a standard evaluation and continuing follow-ups to provide assistance as needed to allow them to live independently.
“I am struck by the attitude of proud independence I encounter in many of the seniors I meet in the two countries,” writes Judy Steed, “how they persist in doing the chores they are able to do. The system supports them where needed, but doesn't take over – not even in nursing homes, where they have kitchenettes so they can make their own toast and tea. ‘The philosophy is that, no matter how frail, you have a right to be in charge of your life,’ [says gerontologist Margaret MacAdam].”
A growing elder population is forcing a few cutbacks, but it appears that these countries are starting from a better idea than in the U.S. and Canada. Read more here.
Hip fractures in elders due to osteoporosis could be cut by at least 25 percent according to a new study from Kaiser Southern California of 620,000 at-risk patients over four years from 2002 to 2006. Following a three-step program of bone scans, education and treatment along with physical therapy, hip fractures fell from 23 to 61 percent across the 11 centers involved in the study. Read more here.
Do you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator? And do you also use an MP3 player? New research presented the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008 reveals that headphones for MP3 players may interfere with these life-saving devices. It is easy to avoid such interference, however; just be sure to not place headphones within 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) of the device. More information here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 percent of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses were made in people older than 50 in 2005.
“What about people 65 and older?” [AIDS/HIV activist, Myron] Gold asked. “They’re having unprotected sex, they’re using drugs.”
Come on, everyone - at our age, we have enough experience to know better. More here.
We have all experienced the frustrations of learning to use new technology, but it’s not a modern phenomenon as this video reveals. [2:25 minutes] (Hat tip to Jan Adams of Happening Here)