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For seven years Terence and I had fought against his kidney cancer. The disease was now spreading to other parts of his body. He was exhausted and coughing. So worn out he couldn’t sit upright. He twisted and squirmed trying to make himself comfortable. I bundled his jacket under his head and covered him with my coat.
He was clearly very sick, yet we still weren’t giving up. Our oncologist, Dr. Keith Flaherty, believed that an experimental treatment would gain Terence more life. Meanwhile, he had sent us to this lung specialist, hoping he could attack one of the tumors and make Terence more comfortable while we waited for the new medicine to take effect.
Instead, shaking his head, the doctor we had never met before admitted Terence to an advanced-cancer-care ward at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. And then an entirely new set of doctors took over, and there began the kind of end-of-life drama that unfolds in hospitals across the country every day.
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65. Yet, 80% of physicians are specialists while only 20% are generalists. The Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital - City Centre provides much-needed services with medical, mental, spiritual and social care for San Antonio seniors.
Since opening in June 2010, the ACE Unit has treated between 700 and 800 patients for an average length of stay of 3.3 days. The 10-private-room inpatient facility is specifically designed from floor to ceiling with seniors in mind. Each room contains a restraint-free pressure bed that lowers to the floor to reduce bedsores and falls, as well as a convertible love seat for family members.
The wooden, non-slip floors and soft lighting are also more suited to elderly patients’ sensitivities. The hallways are lined with handrails and equipped with decibel meters that flash red when noise levels become too high. Family members and patients can gather in the communal family room — a central space with a refrigerator, microwave and dining table, as well as free Internet access and educational materials.
By Deborah L. Shelton
She’s unsteady on her feet and has battled numerous health problems, including diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her son shares a home with her in Cicero, Ill., but even with his help and the assistance of a part-time caregiver, she has not been able to manage.
Like many seniors, she cannot afford to pay for long-term care on her own. Medicare covered her care in a skilled nursing facility for 100 days only, and her Medicare supplementary insurance has run out.
Vitko, 83, knows she is better off in the nursing facility and would like to stay there.
By Alyssa Gerace
As retirement savings run dry, the costs of long-term care keep rising, especially for assisted living facilities, reports a MetLife Mature Market Institute survey.
National average rates for a private nursing home room increased 4.4% to $87,235 a year in 2011, while assisted living base rates rose by 5.6% to $3,477 monthly or $41,724 annually, found MetLife’s 2011 report on the cost of long-term care. Adult day services went up to $70 a day, a 4.5% increase, but home health aides and homemaker/companion service rates were unchanged at $21 and $19 per hour, respectively.
“This year’s increases are greater than previous years. The state of the economy, combined with rising health care and energy costs, are having a significant impact on long-term care rates. In fact, long-term care rates continue to outpace the medical inflation rate,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in a statement.
By Paul Kleyman
Want to save your country from its aging decline -- cut your entitlements for seniors and have more babies. Really. I've been hearing that refrain from international financial and investment think tanks for 20 years. And Monday's Morning Edition gave unquestioned voice to the latter half of this message in a bland Lynn Neary interview on a subject that should be treated as a riptide of controversy.
I recently described a key link to the age-based attack on sovereign nations doing what they can to support their elders in "S&P's U.S. Downgrade: What's Age Got to Do With It?" ("In the shadows of S&P's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating is its 2010 global aging report, calling for nations to cut their health and pension budgets--or else!")
By Leslie Beck
What’s more, a diet plentiful in fruit and vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, even certain cancers.
Now, new study findings suggest there’s another reason to boost your intake: Eating more fruit and vegetables – especially fruit – can protect your memory as you age.
Age-related cognitive decline – the subtle decrease in memory and thinking processes – is considered to be a normal consequence of getting older. (In some people, cognitive decline can progress to mild cognitive impairment, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.)