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Health & Wellness > Health & Wellness 4

Health & Wellness 4 –Quick Links:



Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, not only in the United States, but in the world. Currently, individuals age 65 and over represent 13% of the U. S. population - about 41 million people - but this will grow to 20% -- 88 million -- in just a matter of 38 years. Seniors also control a great deal of the wealth in this country. (USNews)

Even though many seniors have put together financial plans or completed retirement planning, very few have a plan in place for later life needs.


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Are You Listening?

Remember when your parents were lecturing you on the rules for taking the car for a spin? Dad would put his face in front of yours and say, “Are you listening?” Of course you would say “sure” even though your mind was miles away on the adventure to come.

Today, as adults, the children who received the counsel and wisdom of their parents are facing a reverse situation in their lives. They are finding themselves concerned about their aging parents and what their needs will be as their health and mental abilities fail them. In some cases the children must take the role as parent in securing the safety and well being of an elderly family member.


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What is a Hospitalist?

If you have or someone you know has recently been admitted to a hospital, chances are that they were not seen by their primary care physician in the hospital. As a result, many patients ask questions such as:

  • Where is my doctor?

  • Why isn't my doctor here to oversee my healthcare while I'm in the hospital?

  • How does my primary care physician know that I am in the hospital?

  • Is my own doctor going to be updated about my care?

So, why isn't your primary care physician overseeing your care while hospitalized?

The reason is a relatively new trend in the care of hospitalized patients. Hospitalist is the term used for doctors who are specialized in the care of patients in the hospital. This movement was initiated about a decade ago and has evolved due to many factors. These factors include:

  • convenience,

  • efficiency,

  • financial strains on primary care doctors,

  • patient safety,

  • cost-effectiveness for hospitals, and

  • need for more specialized and coordinated care for hospitalized patients.



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Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging: Fact Sheet

For most older adults, good health ensures independence, security, and productivity as they age. Yet millions struggle every day with health challenges such as chronic disease, falls, and mental health issues—all of which can severely impact quality of life.


Chronic Disease

  • Approximately 91% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 73% have at least two. Four chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—cause almost two-thirds of all deaths each year.

  • Chronic diseases account for 75% of the money our nation spends on health care, yet only 1% of health dollars are spent on public efforts to improve overall health. By 2011, the cost of chronic disease is estimated to be $2.8 trillion—an average of $9,216 per person. (National Governors Association)

  • Diabetes affects 12.2 million Americans aged 60+, or 23% of the older population. An additional 57 million Americans aged 20+ have pre-diabetes, which increases a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In a 2007 CDC Prevention Program for people at high risk for developing diabetes, lifestyle intervention reduced risk by 71% among those aged 60+.

  • 90% of Americans aged 55+ are at risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure. Women are more likely than men to develop this chronic condition, with half of women aged 60+ and 77% of women aged 75+ having this condition. Hypertension affects 64% of men aged 75+.




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Too many doctors can be bad for your health

The more physicians you see, the greater the chance of miscommunication and over-treatment.

Consumer Reports on Health: August 2012

In this Office Visit column, Consumer Reports Medical Adviser Orly Avitzur, M.D., discusses the problem of having too many doctors.

My colleague referred her father to me with apologies. The 78-year-old retired businessman was visiting from Florida for the month, and had asked her to set up appointments for him with a half-dozen specialists. Other than well-controlled high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate, and a history of occasional bouts of pneumonia, he was in good health. But he was worried about cancer, a topic of all-too-frequent conversation in his retirement community. He came to see me complaining of recent headaches and fears of a brain tumor. He had already seen a cardiologist, an internist, and a urologist during his visit and was taking a variety of painkillers and muscle relaxants.


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Spring Time Cleaning Tips 


It’s spring at last! The birds are singing and the crocus and tulips are blooming!  Time to open all the windows and air out the winter dust! Fill your house with freshness!

Spring time is also time for spring cleaning!  Spring cleaning can be very cleansing, not only to your home, but to your soul!  When you are done… you can relax and enjoy this beautiful season. 

For Home, Health, Finances. Here are (7) tips to get you started! 

1.     Your house.  So not to overwhelm yourself, pick only one area (a closet or one room) to start in.  Allow yourself a max of 2 hours. Don’t distract from that one area. Set a staging area;  line up boxes or bags that are labeled “Keep”, “Toss”, “Donate”, “Sell”, “Family”.  If you haven’t touched it in more than a year – don’t keep it! Chances are, you will never use it! Stay true to your first choice of which box these items will go. Touch it once – do not go back! (see: )


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Veteran's Day - Every Day

By: Jo-Ann Thibault

During my travels a few weeks ago, I stopped to grab lunch at D ‘Angelo’s in Bedford.  As I was sitting there eating my sandwich, a young man in military fatigues walked in and ordered lunch.  He was most likely from Hanscom AFB, not far from where we were at.  As he walked by me to find a seat, I gestured to him to look my way.  I said with a smile, “Thank you for your service”.  He shyly replied, “Thank you”.  I thought to myself, ‘I hope he wasn’t embarrassed?’ ‘Maybe he is not used to people stopping him and thanking him?’  I was glad I did.  It made me happy, but more importantly, I hope it made him smile, if not on the outside, I hope he was smiling on the inside.


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20 Tips to help Prevent Medical Errors

One in seven Medicare patients in hospitals experience a medical error. But medical errors can occur anywhere in the health care system: In hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and patients’ homes. Errors can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, equipment, or lab reports. They can happen during even the most routine tasks, such as when a hospital patient on a salt-free diet is given a high-salt meal. Most errors result from problems created by today’s complex health care system. But errors also happen when doctors* and patients have problems communicating. These tips tell what you can do to get safer care.

What You Can Do to Stay Safe. The best way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team. That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results.


Debbie turned the ringing alarm off. It was 6:00AM and time to get herself ready for the day. Her son would be there soon to help her shower and dress her husband Jim. Her son came every day before work to help because Debbie, at 75 years old and suffering with arthritis, could not lift Jim out of bed or help him to the shower. This has been the daily routine since Jim’s stroke a year ago. When her son leaves for work, Debbie spends the day caring for Jim’s needs.



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The Role of Telehealth in Transitions 

Recent studies have shown that 78% of patients leaving a hospital ER are confused about their diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care and 20% of all inpatients experience an adverse event following discharge.

When individuals are discharged from the hospital or skilled nursing facility to return home, they often have little or no knowledge about the medications they have been prescribed, how to obtain their medications, and do not schedule a follow-up visit with their primary care doctor even when recommended by the hospital.  Research shows that without proper discharge planning and follow-up, many former patients find themselves readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.


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6 Ways to Feel Happier and Healthier

How a positive attitude really can make a difference


A good mood not only influences how you feel today, it can have a powerful impact on your health for years to come.

Scientists urge us to be as attentive to our moods and attitudes as we are to our physical health. Two recent studies underscore the importance of that advice.

"Happiness is no magic bullet, but the evidence is clear and compelling that it changes your odds of getting disease or dying young." 


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Surviving & Enjoying the Holiday Season!

By: Jo-Ann Thibault

For those of us who celebrate this holiday season, why is it, that during such a joyous time, most of us are stressed?  The countdown to Christmas begins after Thanksgiving.  The thought of holiday gatherings for Hanukkah, Christmas and other holiday celebrations push us into a panic. 

I usually do not write “blogs”, but I wanted to share my thoughts.



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The Optimist’s Creed

By: Joanie Winberg,

Promise Yourself...

  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

  • To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

  • To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

  • To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

  • To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

  • To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

  • To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.


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About Heart Disease & Stroke


Heart disease and stroke are an epidemic in the United States today. Many of the people who are at high risk for heart attack or stroke don't know it. The good news is that many of the major risk factors for these conditions can be prevented and controlled. Talking to your health care professional about your heart health and getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked are important first steps to reduce your risk. Many other lifestyle choices—including eating healthy, exercising regularly, and following your health care professional's instructions about your medications—can all help protect your heart and brain health.

Remember Your ABCS

Keep the ABCS in mind every day and especially when you talk to your health care professional:

  • Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it
  • Blood Pressure Control
  • Cholesterol Management
  • Smoking Cessation

Talk to Your Health Care Professional

Share your health history, get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and ask if taking an aspirin each day is right for you.

Control Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke. One in 3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and half of these individuals do not have their condition under control.

Similarly, high cholesterol affects 1 in 3 American adults, and two-thirds of these individuals do not have the condition under control. Half of adults with high cholesterol do not get treatment.

If your blood pressure or cholesterol is high, take steps to lower it. This could include eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise, and following your health care professional's instructions about medications you take.

Eat Healthy for Your Heart



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I’ve always thought of the FALL as a new start, more so than New Years Day.  Most likely because of the many years of “back to school”. New clothes, new teachers, new surroundings, new classes, new supplies.  Whether it was elementary school or college…. the Fall season was always “new”.

And now as an adult, far from my school days…. Autumn still brings me inspirations of new beginnings. It is a breath of fresh of air. A chance to make new goals for the season. 

Makes sense…. School was always about achievement, (even if we didn’t think that way while we were in school).  Learning, creativity, achievement, completion…. a perfect time to make some positive change in our life.

So, what new goals can we look forward to this season? Well, that is up to each of us to think about and decide individually. For me….it is back to the gym! Summer months are always my excuse not to exercise!   And Summer is also one of my excuses to eat just about anything! Chips, burgers, hotdogs, French fries, fried clams, ice cream…..Why? Because it’s summer!  So my new beginnings are eating right and back to the gym.  I am also looking forward to continued education.

September symbolizes the start of school, the start of learning. Are we too old to learn?  My mother once told me that, no matter our age, we should be learning something new every day. We are never too old to learn, to grow. Life is about growth, learning, experiencing.

So what are your new endeavors going to be this season of beginnings?

Whatever you decide…. Make it educational, but most of all…. Fun!

Jo-Ann Thibault © The Elder Insider

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14 Ways to Help Seniors Avoid Social Isolation

A vast body of evidence demonstrates the physical benefits of a healthy social life. Conversely, loneliness and social isolation have been clearly linked to poor health outcomes. Numerous studies have shown that socially isolated seniors even have a shorter life expectancy. “A Review of Social Isolation” by Nicholas R. Nicholson published in The Journal of Primary Prevention, is a definitive scholarly article on social isolation and a comprehensive “study of studies.” Its introduction observes bluntly that “social isolation has been demonstrated to lead to numerous detrimental health effects in older adults, including increased risk for all-cause mortality, dementia, increase risk for re-hospitalization, and an increased number of falls.”

Social isolation among seniors is alarmingly common, and will continue to increase in prevalence as the older population grows. “A Review of Social Isolation” notes that the prevalence of social isolation among “community dwelling older adults” (seniors who live at home rather than senior communities) may be as high as 43%: “With a prevalence of over 40% and the sheer number of older persons projected to increase exponentially in the near future, social isolation will likely impact the health, well-being and quality of life of numerous older person now and in the foreseeable future.”

Here are some ways to promote social health and connectedness: