agebuzz weekly

February 9th, 2017

Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:

The Honest Truth: Straight Facts About The State Of Medicare: In this era of alternative facts, it's hard to know where to find accurate, straightforward information, especially about the state of our health care system. Tensions are high right now as we face the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You may not realize it, but whether and how we repeal the ACA may in turn affect the financial health and stability of Medicare. As readers of agebuzz know, Kaiser Health News is a trusted, reliable source of information and data about health care and they have just released an issue brief discussing essential facts about Medicare's financial outlook. So forget the misinformation you've been fed. To get just the real facts, Read Here.

Now Hear This: Pain Relievers May Lead To Hearing Loss: When a headache strikes or your back hurts, you probably don't think twice about reaching for ibuprofen (such as Advil) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). But listen to this: Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have found a connection between long term use of these over-the-counter pain meds and an elevated risk of hearing loss in women. While these researchers do not yet understand the relationship between this increased risk and the use of these pain killers, this finding is nonetheless of serious concern. It's been suggested that as many as 2/3 of women over 60 in the United States suffer from some amount of hearing loss. So before you pop your next pain pill,Read Here.

You've Got A Friend: A Friendly Voice Is Just A Phone Call Away: It's no secret that older people can become isolated and lonely, especially as connections with relatives and friends fall away and losses of loved ones occur. Without regular social interaction, grief and depression may overwhelm a lonely senior, potentially causing serious harm. Years ago, Patrick Arbore, of the Institute on Aging in San Francisco, recognized the need to be present for such lonely seniors, well beyond the typical life-line available from conventional suicide-prevention hotlines. Arbore created the Friendship Line, which is now a 24 hour-a-day phone line where staff and trained volunteers are available to provide warm words and a friendly voice for any senior, nationwide, who is in need of human connection and comfort. The Friendship Line receives over 8,000 calls a month, and even has a service to initiate calls, just to check in on people who have previously called. Any time of any day, you can call 800-971-0016. To find out more, Read Here.

Your One And Only: The Benefits Of Sticking With One Doctor: While you may be inclined to shop around for the "ideal" physician, there is new research to suggest that sticking with one doctor might be better for your health and well being. Writing in the British Medical Journal, researchers in England followed over 200,000 patients, ages 62-82. They found that seniors who stayed with the same physician over time had fewer hospital admissions. While there are no definitive conclusions about the reasons for this, it's hypothesized that a long term physician-patient relationship could benefit both patient well being and physician satisfaction. Plus, with fewer hospitalizations, the costs and pressures on health care systems are reduced. More work needs to be done on these observations, but it may very well be that continuity of care, i.e., having one medical professional follow you over time, is the best medicine of all. See a description of this research Here.

A Matter Of Time: The Shelf Life Of Medications: Have you ever wondered how long that bottle of pills has been sitting in your medicine cabinet, and whether the meds are still usable? What's the real deal with expiration dates on medication bottles? Well, according to a new story onNational Public Radio, there are legitimate reasons for the "use by" dates on drugs and, once expired, most medications will be less effective, perhaps even putting your health at risk. Science reporter Patti Neighmond explores the reasons behind such dates, the risks of using "degraded" medications and the best way to store your drugs. Perhaps the most surprising finding? Your bathroom medicine cabinet may be the worst place to store your medications. Find out why by listening and reading Here.

The Games We Play: The Joy and Value of Senior Sports: Happiness. Meaning. Companionship. These are not always words you associate with physical exercise. But participants in The Senior Gamescan tell you that playing sports and competing, even at an old age, can be one of the great pleasures of life. Even those never athletic in their earlier days can come to find the joy at what they can accomplish, and the mental health benefits that follow, when they engage in competitive athletic endeavors. The fitness club Equinox has created a video to introduce you to some amazing Senior Games competitors- why they engage, what they've accomplished and the pure joy that such activities can bring. Watch the video, and scroll down to read the individual athlete stories, Here.

THE LAST WORD: “Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late." Benjamin Franklin