Monday, March 28, 2011

Five States With Most Under Age 65 Nursing Home Residents

According to a report, the following five states have the largest percentage of nursing home residents under the standard Medicare eligibility age. In Arizona, 16.57 percent of new nursing home residents admitted were under age 65.

Other states reporting the highest percentages were Louisiana (15.71%), California (15.19%), Illinois (14.74%), Ohio (14.56) and Maryland (14.44%). Data comes from the Brown University Shaping Long Term Care In America Project.

While most people associate long-term care with nursing home stay, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance the majority of long-term care takes place at home or increasingly in assisted living communities.

The average age for nursing home residents upon admission for the five states was Arizona (78.24), Louisiana (77.84), California (77.76), Illinois (80.37), Ohio (78.81) and Maryland (79.23).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pattern Predicts Dementia Onset And Long Term Care Need

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is “a condition in which a person has problems with memory, language, or another mental function severe enough to be noticeable to other people and to show up on tests, but not serious enough to interfere with daily life.” This type of mental state is considered a risk factor for dementia, the longest and most costly of all long-term care needs according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Some scientists studies have found that about 10 percent to 15 percent of those with MCI will progress to dementia each year. The new study which appears in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology, sought to deterine if telltale signs within MCI could determine those individuals who would progress more rapidly to full-blown dementia.

Researchers collected data on people with mild cognitive impairment and evaluated these individuals using brain scans and cognition tests. Over the next two years of follow-up, some 25 percent of the individuals did go on to develop dementia.

The researchers noted that if an older adult is starting to display problems in daily life, such as problems shopping independently, problems managing their own finances, problems performing household chores, and problems maintaining their hobbies, they are more likely to develop a dementia within several years.

Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agreed that, despite the lack of effective treatments, spotting Alzheimer’s disease early remains important. “If people in the family start to recognize a change in memory/learning patterns, that might be sufficient to identify someone who could develop Alzheimer’s disease,” Peterson said. “Don’t wait until the person is having trouble driving, is having trouble paying their bills or having trouble functioning in the community — that’s dementia,” he said. “This study tells us that we can identify important symptoms earlier and it may be worthwhile doing so.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nursing Home Closures Hit

A five percent drop in available nursing home beds across the United States have affected many but worst hit are poor, urban neighborhoods.

According to new research, the country’s minority population is aging at a steeper rate compared with the white population. The study conducted by the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University in Providence, R.I. found that the potential need for long-term care is rising fastest in minority communities, even as nursing home closings are happening more often in their areas.

“The impact of nursing home closings on minority and low-income communities will have all sorts of implications in terms of access and quality of care issues for all,” states Jesse Slome, executuive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. “We are heading to a twp-class society, those who can pay and those dependent on whatever government programs exist.”

The study findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, explored nursing home trends and analyzed information drawn from the National Online Survey Certification and Reporting database on closings of Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities between 1999 and 2008.

During that time, the research team found that 11 percent of stand-alone nursing homes (1,776) and almost half (1,126) of all hospital-based nursing homes in the country shut their doors. Together, they represented a loss of 16 percent of all Medicare/Medicaid-certified nursing homes and nearly 97,000 — or more than 5 percent — of nursing home beds.

Using U.S. Census data from 2000, the authors further noted that overall closure rates were about twice as high in zip codes that are home to low-income and minority (black/Hispanic) communities than in the richest zip codes.

Nursing homes in zip codes comprised primarily of Hispanic or black residents were 37 and 38 percent more likely, respectively, to close than those in areas with the fewest Hispanics or blacks.

The team concluded that nursing homes in minority and low-income communities are bearing the lion’s share of financial pressures and closures, which raises concerns about rapidly diminishing senior care options and the quality of the remaining facilities in those places.

Experts explain that people in low-income neighborhoods who use nursing homes are generally Medicaid recipients, whose reimbursement rates are lower than the fees of private-pay patients. The result is that those places that care for these patients are more likely to close.

More than 27 million Americans will need long-term care by 2050, nearly twice as many as in 2000. Either the federal government will have to increase the reimbursement rate for nursing home services, or state and federal policies will have to fund less expensive — and perhaps more preferable lifestyle — options, such as assisted living, the study researchers concluded. Otherwise, only the wealthy will have access to nursing homes, the authors said.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Walk To Prevent Diabetes, Study Reports

Walking more lowers your risk of diabetes.

This comes from a just released study by Australian rearchers who studied nearly 600 middle-aged adults. The adults participated in a study to map diabetes levels across Australia between 2000 and 2005.

Diabetes is a major health condition increasingly affecting aging adults according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). “Diabetes is one of the conditions that can cause many to need long-term care,” states Jesse Slome, AALTCI executive director. “It is also one of the conditions that can make it harder to get this insurance coverage.”
Participants underwent a health examination at the start of the study and provided details about their eating and lifestyle habits. The volunteers were also given a pedometer and instructed how to use it.

Follow-up with the participants five years later showed that a higher daily step count was associated with a lower body-mass index (BMI), lower waist-to-hip ratio and better insulin sensitivity, even after adjusting for factors such as diet, smoking and alcohol intake.

They calculated that a sedentary person who changed his or her behavior and started walking 10,000 steps every day would achieve a threefold improvement in insulin sensitivity, compared with a similar person who walked 3,000 steps a day, five days a week.

The 10,000 steps per day is a popular guideline, but a more recent recommendation is 3,000 steps per day, five days a week.

The findings confirm an independent beneficial role of higher daily step count on body-mass index, waist-to-hip ratio and insulin sensitivity, provide further support to promote higher physical activity levels among middle-aged adults. The study appears in the online edition of the British Medical Journal.