Find an Aging Life Care Professional, formerly called geriatric care manager. This national directory is easy to use, to help consumers and caregivers find an expert to assist in managing their loved one’s care. The Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) was formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Inc. Credentials of members listed will vary widely. The credentials of the Advanced Professionals may be the most useful. Not all areas of the US are covered.
Find caregiver resources for long-term care at home, with this guide. Caregiving at Home: A Guide to Community Resources is from the nonprofit Family Caregiver Alliance, National Center on Caregiving (based in San Francisco). Fact sheet, updated 2017.
Eldercare Locator is a way to search for services supporting senior independent living. US Department of Health and Human Services provides a free public service through the US Administration on Aging, to help seniors and caregivers find resources anywhere in the country. In addition to the website, you may call 1-800-677-1116 on weekdays to speak with someone who can help (English or Spanish). Very easy to use, by putting in your zip code.
CDC Facts on falls and seniors. Falls caused about 3 million trips to the ER, and over 800,000 hospitalizations for older people. CDC reports that “Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.” Head injury and hip fractures were the most common reasons for fall-related hospital stays. Only half of seniors who fell told their doctor. Find out steps you can take: home safety, exercise, eye exams, and medicine use. Unintentional fall death rates have been rising in the last 10 years (see graph). Updated 2017.
A list of accredited Geriatric Emergency Departments in hospital ERs is provided by ACEP Geriatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians. Click on Geriatric ED Accredited List. Unfortunately, it is not user-friendly, as an Excel file. The first tab GED Accreditation will provide the basic information about who is meets accreditation standards, city and state, accreditation level – Gold (1) is the highest level; and date the organization was accredited. Read about the standards for optimal emergency care for older adults. When last checked, May 1, 2021, just 235 EDs in the US met some level of the geriatric ED accreditation standards. Updated 2021.
The Safe Living Guide: A Guide to Home Safety for Seniors is an easy to read and practical guide to making one’s home safe from injury. Topics include preventing falls in the home (a major problem in the US and Canada), medication safety, and indoor/outdoor checklists, such as examining how you reach your mailbox. Very thoughtful guide by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Division of Aging and Seniors, revised 2016.
A question to ask your nursing home employees: Did you get your seasonal flu shot? Nursing homes who pay for their employees’ flu shots may have higher compliance, and higher rates of employee immunization, along with resident immunization, reduced influenza outbreaks, and therefore fewer deaths. See resources, including summary by Lisa Shugarman et al of the Rand Corporation “Vaccination of Nursing Home Staff, Residents, Key to Reducing Influenza Outbreaks”. According to the most recent CDC data, flu vaccination coverage continues to be lower among staff working in long-term care (LTC) settings (69%) compared with those working in hospitals and ambulatory settings and physician offices (79%).
Older adult health issues at MedlinePlus addresses topics such as healthy aging, nutrition, eyesight, bruising, memory loss, aging parents, older drivers and when is the time to give up driving, depression, injuries, sleep problems, preventing confusion, skin problems, safety checklist and more. Click on Exercise for Older Adults to find out about balance, strength and flexibility exercises.
Older Americans 2020: Key Indicators of Well-Being describes the overall status of the U.S. population age 65 and over. Most health data from 2018, but may be older or newer. Information is grouped into 6 broad categories: Population (including living arrangements), Economics (including income and Social Security), Health Status, Health Risks and Behaviors, Health Care, and Environment. By the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, October 2020.
If you’re a caregiver for a senior, find additional resources here. The Aging Life Care Association (formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) has compiled an extensive list of resources for seniors and their caregivers. Categories include associations, community/social services, government and care management. Consumers can also search for an Aging Life Care Expert.
AARP provides resources on health and healthcare. Resources include health and health insurance topics of interest to people ages 50 and up. Updated 2020
See Consumer Health Ratings’ main page to compare Quality. Ratings, report cards and credentials. Find free public reports of quality ratings and comparisons among individual hospitals, nursing homes, health insurance plans, and other health care services. Check your physician’s credentials and look up your doctor’s license in this category.
Do Canes or Walkers Make Any Difference in falls to older adults? This is a report of a small Michigan study of people ages 60+ who fell at home and also had an assistive device such as a cane or walker. Most who fell were not using their device at the time of the fall. Top reasons: I don’t always need it; I hold onto other things such as the furniture or walls; I forget to use it or forget where I left it; and It makes me feel old. An astounding HALF of people said they never had instruction on using their cane or walker. Published April 2017 in The Gerontologist (Luz, Bush, Shen); 8-page pdf available free
Caregiving in the US, 2020 report. A survey in mid-2019 by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found caregivers average nearly 24 hours a week in caregiving; about 10 hours is the median. Nearly 1/3 (31%) of caregivers use paid help from aides, housekeepers, drivers and others. Recipients who had medium or high-intensity care needs, long-term care needs (average 4.1 to 5.1 years) or age 65+ were more likely to have paid help in addition to their caregiver. Information about caregiver preparation to perform medical or nursing tasks. Detailed report, 2020, 107 pages.
Learn the basics on prescription drug coverage under Medicare. Six-page Tip Sheet explains how prescription drugs, medicines and immunizations might be covered under Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) or Medicare Part D (the drug plan for seniors). Includes guidelines for cancer drugs, injectibles and IV drugs. Generally, Part A (hospital insurance) does not cover outpatient drugs. Publication 11315-P updated May 2020.
Online guide describes the benefits of exercise and physical activity for all ages. Includes sample exercises for endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility; also diet and nutrition tips. From the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Five most costly medical conditions in 2012 were cancer, arthritis, trauma-related disorders, mental disorders, and heart conditions. The top 5 most costly illnesses were for adults ages 18 to 64 in 2012. For seniors, COPD and asthma replaced mental disorders. Medical expenditures (payments) according to MEPS data (household component) show average costs (ages 18-64) were $8,125 for a cancer patient, $4,852 for an adult with heart disease, $2,603 per trauma patient, $1,727 for mental health care, and $1,909 for someone with arthritis. Average out of pocket payments by consumers not shown. Consumers may wish to add medical inflation since 2012 of about 26.25%. AHRQ Statistical Brief 471, April 2015.
Find workforce projections for many health professions, that look at supply and demand. By HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. Studies in the past 3 years show workforce needs to 2030. New studies published in 2020 and 2021 include Women’s Health Service Providers (such as OB-GYNs and midwives), Oral Health Workforce (which estimates a shortage of nearly 5,000 general dentists by 2030), and Behavioral Health Workforce (which projects shortages in psychiatrists and addiction counselors. Potentially, the supply of psychologists and therapists will be adequate to meet demand, while there may be an excess of social workers and school counselors by 2030.) Key reports in 2018 examined demand for direct care workers (like nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care aides), and nursing workforce demand. Updated as reports are published.
Healthcare expenses for seniors are outlined in this MEPS report on Health Care Expenditures for the Elderly Age 65 and over. Median annual expenditures were $4,206 per person (about $5,447 in 2020 dollars). Average annual expenses for those with expense were $9,863 in 2011. Using medical inflation rates, $9,863 is about $12,772 in 2020 dollars. Medicare paid over 62% (up considerably from 10 years earlier); private insurance paid 16%; out-of-pocket amount declined to 12%. 96% of seniors had some healthcare expense, most often office-based care and prescribed medicines. Medications took up 22% of the total, averaging $76 per purchase. For seniors, the inpatient room rate averaged $3,199 per day (sticker shock, and over $4,100 in 2020 dollars); ER visit was $884 on average; office visit was $228. MEPS Statistical Brief #429 uses 2011 data, published Jan. 2014. Add about 30% to account for medical inflation to 2020.
Fast Facts by American Health Care Association (AHCA) shows a few characteristics in aggregate on 15,655 skilled nursing facilities in the US (June 2015). Brief sketch only. A more detailed publication (also 2015) from the federal HHS, the Nursing Home Data Compendium 2015, is also available (not linked above). Perhaps a more useful chart is the one showing the big drop in nursing home occupancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Occupancy trend line is shown from the beginning of January 2020 to September 2021. Nursing home occupancy dropped from 80% to 67.5% in early January 2021. It has since regained some ground to 72.3% September 5, 2021.
Mount Sinai (New York), and Cleveland Clinic, lead the 2021-2022 rankings of top 50 hospitals for geriatric care, from US News & World Report. List shows hospitals that do well at treating seniors ages 75 and up (at least 2,793 cases over 3 years) combining multiple specialties. Many of the 50 have Alzheimer’s Centers. Medicare survival (30-day mortality data) from 2017-2019.