August 2nd, 2018 Newsletter
August 2nd, 2018 Newsletter
August 2, 2018
-The Last Word
Senior Swindles: The Latest Updates On Scams Against Seniors: It can happen to the best of us- one enticing phone call promising easy money for a little bit of info, or one sad story that tugs at our heartstrings, and just like that, we’ve been swindled. And perhaps most galling: it may be people we most trust, or most depend on, that can be the perpetrators of such scams. In a recent post on her excellent website Better Health While Aging, Dr. Leslie Kernisan provides a comprehensive overview of financial exploitation of the aging- from defining key terms to describing who’s most at risk, carefully taking you through the ins and outs of what is essentially a form of elder abuse. Read her insights and advice Here.
And for examples of some of the latest scams that may ensnare you, take a look at the following: First, if you regularly receive phone calls claiming the IRS is after you for money owed, check out this recent New York Times article on how to fight back. Of, if you’re thinking about a reverse mortgage, or shopping online for cheaper subscription drugs, these money-saving attempts may end up costing you a financial fortune or worse, imperil your health. Take a look at the advice to avoid these scams in this recent Daily Caring post. Finally, for those of you hoping to capture a bargain for a last-minute summer vacation rental, if it seems to good to be true, it may be a scam. Before you send in your money, read about how to avoid getting scammed Here.
Eat It Up: Knowing When And What To Eat: These days there are so many suggestions and guidelines about the types of foods you should be eating or avoiding to sustain healthy aging. Trying to distinguish between sugars, grains, carbs, and proteins, it’s not always easy to figure out what’s the best way to go.
And now, some new research- not about what you are eating but about whenyou eat it. In a new study from Spain, the country where eating dinner before 10:00 pm is considered to be in poor taste, comes research from theBarcelona Institute of Global Health that completely contradicts that behavior. Researchers found evidence that earlier dinner times correlate with a lower risk of prostate and breast cancer. While it’s been recognized wisdom for a long time that you shouldn’t eat close to bedtime, this new study builds on known associations between diet and cancer to conclude that daily circadian rhythms also play a role in the incidence of cancer. Read more about this studyHere.
And now that you know when to eat, how do you figure out if the food you’re eating is safe and healthy? For example, what should you do about those confusing dates on your food items? Should you use that jar of sauce if it’s well beyond the “sell by” date? Or what about the label recommendation of “best if used by”? Will you be struck by lightning if you consume the item a month later? Well, for some sage advice about how to determine the safety of “expired” foods, take a look at this recent article from Consumer Reports. And if you’re like many of us and struggle to figure out the meaning of food labels- For example, if something is “all natural” is it also organic? Or does sugar-free mean the same thing as low-fat? Find out the skinny by checking outthis helpful piece from Longevity about how to interpret what often seems undecipherable.
Capture The Fracture: Are We Sufficiently Screening For Osteoporosis?: No matter how physically active we are, the risk of low bone density, and thus the potential risk for bone fractures, increases as we age. In fact, newly revised guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all women 65 and over undergo bone density screening, as well as younger, post-menopausal women who may be at increased risk. For men, the guidelines are a little less clear but, should there be risk factors, especially after age 70, the screening is easy and may be warranted. There is continued controversy, however, as to whether it’s wise to take calcium and Vitamin D supplements, especially if you are not assessed to be at high risk for fractures.
Despite the recommendations for bone density testing, it seems we may not be doing enough to capture all who may be at risk for osteoporosis, and for those who could benefit from available treatments. In a recent opinion piece in Vox,Dr. Farah Naz Khan describes the downfall of both of her grandparents after falls that left them debilitated and ultimately unable to survive. What she found remarkable was that following their falls and fractures, neither was screened for osteoporosis. Given that it’s predicted that 20% of our population will suffer from low bone density by 2020, we need to have better systems in place to screen people and offer potentially life-changing therapies to minimize the risk of disabling fractures.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation has a program called “Capture The Fracture” that guides clinicians to evaluate for osteoporosis whenever an initial fracture occurs. In particular, they advocate for Fracture Liason Services, multi-disciplinary teams who have the expertise to capture patients at risk for secondary fractures and offer preventive osteo treatments as a result. So, next time you find yourself or your loved one at an ER or doctor’s office as a result of a fracture, capture the moment and make sure screening for osteoporosis is part of the follow-up plan.
Mind The Gap: Everything You Need To Know About Medigap Insurance Coverage: Signing up for Medicare insurance is a big deal: first, it’s symbolic that you have reached the age when you’re eligible. Next, it may be confusing as to precisely when you need to sign up and how to consider your options. There’s also the basic choice between traditional Medicare coverage and Medicare Advantage plans. Determining which is right for you may take a bit of time to figure out.
And then there’s Medigap insurance. If you opt for traditional Medicare coverage, you’ll find out that there are lots of out-of-pocket expenses: co-pays, uncovered expenses, deductibles and more. So depending on your health status, buying supplemental Medigap insurance may be a savvy move for you. But what you may not realize is that there are lots of restrictions and limitations on these supplemental policies, especially depending on what state you reside in. The Kaiser Family Foundation has just issued a new report describing in detail how plans differ for consumers from state-to-state. And writing for Kaiser Health News, Judith Graham has an excellent primer to help you understand Medigap coverage. And for any questions you might have about when and how to select the Medigap coverage that’s right for you, take a look at the Medigap overview from the Medicare Rights Center Here. The bottom line is the more you know, the less likely you’ll make what could be a costly mistake in your selection process. So mind the gap, and get yourself informed.
Down The Hatch: What Happens When You Have Trouble Swallowing?: It’s the kind of thing you take for granted until you can’t: that is, swallowing your food seems a natural process that requires no thought. But for many people, especially after a neurological event like a stroke, or if you begin to suffer from some sort of muscle disorder, swallowing problems can lead to serious or even life-threatening consequences. Difficulty swallowing is known as Dysphagia and it’s estimated that 15% of seniors experience dysphagia at some point. If food doesn’t flow smoothly from your throat to your stomach, you could begin to suffer from malnutrition or dehydration, or even come down with pneumonia from food aspirated into your lungs. For a comprehensive overview and access to all sorts of dysphagia resources, check out this post from Medline of the US National Library of Medicine.
And in a new study out of NYU, researchers found that loss of muscle function in the throat, which naturally occurs as we age, could make us less efficient in swallowing, which could lead to serious health consequences. Like elsewhere in your body, when muscles become weaker, there are targeted exercises you can utilize to strengthen and improve their functioning, and that includes your throat as well. So open wide and read more about this study Here.
Golden Girl: Betty White Is The First Lady of Television At Age 96: It’s pretty unusual for someone to be in the same professional line of work for 80 years. But then there’s nothing usual about actress Betty White. The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, now 96 years old, has starred in some of the most notable television series of all times, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and of course, The Golden Girls. And now she is about to star in a new documentary to be aired on PBS on August 21, Betty White: First Lady of Television. A few interesting facts about Betty that you may not know: She is a devoted animal enthusiast and she was the first woman to produce a national tv show. It took five years to make this documentary, and no wonder: she’s had a career spanning so many decades and has had so much success that there’s an enormous amount of material to present.
And if you’re interested in more facts about both Betty and her Emmy award-winning show The Golden Girls, you may be interested to learn that there’s a new Golden Girls Trivial Pursuit Game! Or, if you can’t get enough of those four golden ladies, take a look at the new Golden Girls Action figures set to go on sale in early 2019. Finally, for some snappy one-liners direct from the show’s dialogue, check out this Buzzfeed list of 22 great quotes from the show.
“THE LAST WORD: “I’m a health nut. My favorite food is hot dogs with French fries. And my exercise? I have a two-story house and a very bad memory, so I’m up and down those stairs.” Betty White