Tag Archive for: senior care

Seniors happily playing card games

Social Interaction and Longevity Amongst Seniors

How Does Social Interaction Improve Health and Longevity Amongst Seniors?

Social interaction has been integral to the wellness of all adults — particularly older adults. But why is social wellness so important?

To begin, social stimulation benefits well-being, including lightening your mood and making you feel happier, lowering your risk of dementia through the power of conversation, and promoting a sense of safety and belonging. For an aging population, the results of healthy socialization are to improve overall wellness.

What Research Indicates

Research completed by the University of Washington St. Louis’ department of Psychology details how meaningful conversation impacts how older people perceive themselves and their life purpose. The study focused on both working and retired adults. Ph.D. candidate and research student Gabrielle Pfund says, “Specifically for our retired older adults, this is a construct we should really care about,” she said. Pfund says, “The people in your life are going to have a very, very big impact on that. If you find yourself surrounded by people who bring you down … that’s going to have an impact.” She continues, “On the flip side, if you’re surrounded by people who lift you up and who infuse your life with positivity, that’s going to have an impact, too.”

Social Wellness

The practice of social wellness can include keeping regular contact with friends and loved ones, engaging in volunteer work if able, joining a group based on interests, or joining a cultural organization. These examples and many others provide a social outlet to improve mental health through feeling a sense of belonging. Socializing also provides opportunities for meaningful conversations, improving the ability to recall and discuss information. Socializing exercises the brain in a way that can reduce the chances of developing memory loss disorders such as dementia. Reflecting on this research, Pfund says, “Having a sense of purpose is about more than feeling good. Prior research has shown that adults with a higher sense of purpose lead longer, healthier, and happier lives. They have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and heart and other cardiovascular problems.”

It is essential to reflect on the importance of healthy social interaction and how it can provide a sense of individuality and purpose while improving mental health.

References Being Social May Be Purposeful in Older Adulthood: A Measurement Burst Design

WelbeHealth responds to Governor’s budget proposal

MENLO PARK, CALIF. – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom released his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2023-2024. The budget included several proposals in line with WelbeHealth’s policy priorities, including an increase in resources for Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) administration within the Department of Health Care Services and the maintenance of funding for key health and human services programs including CalAIM, behavioral health and housing programs, and ensuring access to health care for all Californians regardless of documentation or ability to pay. 

PACE enables frail seniors to remain in their homes while receiving coordinated, whole-person care and is a high-quality cost-effective alternative to nursing home care. In recent years, the number of PACE participants has increased significantly. 

“WelbeHealth applauds the governor’s support of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and other proven care models for frail and vulnerable seniors.  For every participant that enrolls in PACE, it saves taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars while increasing their length and quality of life, allowing them to live at home.  Whether from an economic, health care or social standpoint, this may be one of the best investments the administration could make,” said Si France, M.D., chief executive officer of WelbeHealth, in response to the proposed budget.

To learn more about Governor Newsom’s full budget proposal, you can click here: 2023-24 State Budget Invests in Californians while Safeguarding State’s Future

About Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE)

Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) is a comprehensive whole-person health care program for frail seniors living with chronic health conditions and other complex needs. As both insurers and providers, PACE organizations are able to seamlessly plan and manage all aspects of care for seniors – medical, social and supportive services. PACE participants are over the age of 55, live in a PACE service area and have been deemed eligible by the state for a nursing home level of care. 90% of PACE participants are dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

About WelbeHeatlh

WelbeHealth is a physician led, mission-driven organization founded to serve the most vulnerable seniors with compassionate and quality care, in a pure value-based model. WelbeHealth manages the entire care portfolio for participants including their primary and specialty care, ensuring they get to and from appointments, helping them navigate any necessary paperwork, providing assistance with activities of daily living, and ensuring they have enriched lives through social and emotional care. 

Contact: Cyndi Hillery, cyndi.hillery@welbehealth.com

WelbeHealth Deepens Commitment to Serving Seniors with Executive Hires

MENLO PARK, CALIF. – Physician-led healthcare organization WelbeHealth has added two seasoned executives to its leadership team: Chief Mission Officer Amy Shin and Chief People Officer Cathy Fraser. The leaders will play a pivotal role as WelbeHealth continues to deliver on its mission to serve the most vulnerable seniors in its communities.

As chief mission officer, Shin ensures that WelbeHealth’s mission is front and center in the community and among policy makers and our regulatory partners. She works closely with the operations teams to ensure that WelbeHealth is continually delivering on the highest standards of clinical quality and compliance. Shin has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience, most recently as chief executive officer of the Health Plan of San Joaquin, where she oversaw health care delivery for 350,000 MediCal lives in underserved areas of California.  Shin was the chief administrative officer at On Lok, the first PACE organization, and the Alameda Alliance for Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Southern California.

“Amy is a tremendously well respected and connected leader in California’s healthcare landscape, and she’s spent her career doing mission-driven work for vulnerable populations,” said Si France, MD, chief executive officer of WelbeHealth. “It is an honor that she would choose to support and advance WelbeHealth’s mission.”

As chief people officer, Fraser is responsible for the people strategies and services that enable team members to effectively fulfill and expand the WelbeHealth mission. Her focus is on maintaining WelbeHealth’s commitment to values and culture, developing career pathways, elevating team member experience, and investing in diversity, equity and inclusion. She most recently led human resources at Mayo Clinic, US News and World Report’s #1 Hospital, and Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE: THC), a large national healthcare services company. Earlier in her career, she served as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and worked in various finance leadership roles at American Airlines, Sabre, and General Motors. Fraser earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

“When we started Welbe, we started with the belief that we have to care for each other before we can care for our participants, so our team has always been the center of our culture and focus,” said Si France.  “With Cathy, who led dynamic people functions at Mayo and Tenet, we’re making a significant commitment to putting our people first.”

About WelbeHealth

WelbeHealth is a physician-led organization founded in 2015 that coordinates senior care, including all medical and dental care, physical and occupational therapy, transportation to medical appointments, meals and personal care services, in a fully coordinated program. WelbeHealth teams close the loop on comprehensive care to keep the most vulnerable seniors living safely in their own homes. WelbeHealth delivers these services through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicare and Medicaid program. WelbeHealth operates four programs across California, including the cities of Stockton, Modesto, Pasadena, Long Beach and Fresno. WelbeHealth served more than 1,000 seniors in 2021.  For more information, please visit welbehealth.com.

Managing Sadness and Grief Over the Holidays

Although it is not uncommon for people of all ages to experience some degree of sadness over the holidays, be it from having been isolated during the pandemic or having experienced the loss of a loved one, older adulthood is a time of greatest risk and could result in substantial increases in death by suicide. For this very reason, it is encouraged to start a conversation with a friend, family, therapist, or another medical professional about how your mood is going and if you might be experiencing some degree of depression. This is not to say that most seniors are depressed, but we do recognize that the experience of declining health or mobility, plus the shrinking of one’s natural support system due to loss, can raise the sense of loneliness and despair.

Warning Signs

In their toolkit for suicide prevention among seniors, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration identifies the following warning signs of suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you experience any one or more of these behaviors, please reach out to your doctor or mental health professional they can listen to your thoughts and feelings around these matters.

From conducting one of the longest-running support groups at WelbeHealth in Stockton, Forever Friends, I can attest that not only do other seniors share your concerns, but they are ready to help out whenever possible

– Randall Ramírez, LCSW, LMFT | Behavioral Health Specialist

Strategies for Coping

As an alternative way of approaching the holidays, seniors can:

Be Proactive

Becoming more proactive in planning ahead on how they want to celebrate the season and how they can build special celebrations or memorials around those loved ones who have passed on or who are distant from them.

Sharing Memories

This may include raising a toast at the holiday dinner table to the lost family member or friend and asking others to offer one cherished memory. Or it may involve setting a place for them at the table and reminiscing.

Making a Donation

It could also be as simple as setting up a spot to collect donations to the loved one’s favorite charity. All these approaches not only honor the person we lost, but they create a space for acknowledging our collective sadness and feelings.

Socializing

We hold onto the belief that seniors retain talents, strengths, and skills into their later years that can be shared with others. Because seniors are living longer, we also support the idea of embracing quality of life and progressing with your dreams into the Golden Years. Joining a group that hosts activities, whether at a Senior Center or local club, aim at creating strong connections and bonds with fellow seniors.

WelbeHealth Executive Director Mindy Wilds Honored with Prestigious PACE Award

Mindy Wilds, executive director of WelbeHealth’s Fresno Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), was recently honored by the National PACE Association (NPA) with the prestigious Marie-Louise Ansak Award.

The Marie-Louise Ansak Award, named after the founder of PACE, recognizes the ingenuity, hard work and sacrifice of an individual PACE program employee who has worked to improve the quality of life for one or more frail older persons during the past year.

“We are proud to recognize Mindy with the Marie-Louise Ansak Award,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the NPA. “Mindy earned this high honor through epitomizing the innovative team player that is core to delivering PACE.”

Wilds received the award at the October NPA Annual Conference in Seattle.

“I love this model of care because we can think outside the box and provide common sense solutions for our participants and their families,” said Wilds.

Mindy Wilds with Award
Mindy Wilds with the Marie-Louise Ansak Award

Wilds joined WelbeHealth in February 2021 as the executive director of WelbeHealth’s Fresno Center, which provides medical care, physical therapy, social and recreational activities, meals and nutritional counseling, transportation and other support services to PACE-eligible medically frail seniors age 55 and over.

“Mindy is a model for all of us. Her tireless commitment and dedication to seniors in our communities enables them to thrive and live longer with greater connection, vitality and meaning,” said WelbeHealth CEO Si France, M.D.

About WelbeHealth

Founded in 2015, WelbeHealth provides comprehensive home-based medical and social services to more than 1,500 vulnerable seniors across California, including the cities of Stockton, Modesto, Pasadena, Long Beach and Fresno. The company recently became the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provider to convert to a public benefit company, meaning it is obligated to take into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders while prioritizing corporate responsibility and sustainability.

An alternative to nursing homes, PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps keep people in their homes and communities. PACE programs are proven to reduce depression, lower hospitalizations, decrease rehospitalizations, reduce nursing home admissions and improve preventive care, according to recent data from the National PACE Association.

For more information, please visit welbehealth.com.

Contacts

Jennifer Wezensky
jennifer@jwprmarketing.com

WelbeHealth center in Modesto

WelbeHealth Modesto Center Opens to Serve Medically Frail Seniors

Physician-led healthcare organization WelbeHealth and Northern California-based healthcare network Sutter Health have opened a new center in Modesto that serves medically frail seniors.

Located at 1224 Scenic Drive, the center is designated a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) alternative care setting. Integrated with WelbeHealth and Sutter’s PACE center in Stockton, the new Modesto location provides day services to PACE-eligible medically frail seniors age 55 and over. The center, which will employ more than 100 full- and part-time employees when at capacity, features:

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Personal care and supportive services
  • Meals and nutritional counseling
  • Recreational therapy
  • Access to in-home care and mobile clinic

The new Modesto center addresses a community need, since only a fraction of the over 3,000 PACE-eligible seniors in Stanislaus county are receiving PACE services, according to a WelbeHealth analysis of U.S. Census data and the Medi-Cal Managed Care Enrollment Report.

“WelbeHealth was built on the mission of serving our most vulnerable seniors with greater quality and compassion in underserved communities,” said WelbeHealth CEO Si France, M.D. “As the first provider of PACE services in Modesto since 2019, we are proud to complement our care with a beautiful facility.”

PACE is a national Medicare and Medicaid program that helps keep seniors living in their own homes instead of nursing homes. PACE programs are proven to reduce depression, lower hospitalizations, decrease rehospitalizations, reduce nursing home admissions and improve preventive care, according to recent data from the National PACE Association.

“We are proud to partner with WelbeHealth to enrich the lives of seniors, their caregivers and the broader community,” said Christopher Stanley, M.D., Sutter Health’s chief population health officer. “WelbeHealth shares our commitment to high-quality, community-based healthcare services that help frail older adults anticipate problems and prevent hospitalization or early entry into a nursing home.”

Todd Smith, M.D., foundation area CEO for Sutter Health in the South Valley, said that the importance of good health for aging seniors can’t be underestimated.

“Creating greater access to comprehensive home and community-based healthcare services helps seniors achieve their best health and maintain their independence,” Dr. Smith said.

In addition to the new Modesto center, WelbeHealth has locations in Stockton, Pasadena, Long Beach and Fresno. More than 1,500 seniors were served in 2021. Sutter Health is a not-for-profit integrated health network that serves more than 3 million people in 22 California counties.

Contacts

Jennifer Wezensky
269-274-4071
jennifer@jwprmarketing.com

General Counsel

Blaire Bernard Joins WelbeHealth as General Counsel 

MENLO PARK, CALIF.—Physician-led healthcare organization WelbeHealth today announced that veteran healthcare law attorney Blaire Bernard has joined its leadership team as general counsel. 

Bernard has focused her 20-year legal career on supporting providers whose mission is to expand access to value-based care. Most recently she was general counsel at Iora Health and after Iora Health was acquired by One Medical, she served as senior counsel and compliance officer. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Boston University. 

“We’re thrilled to have Blaire join our executive team,” said WelbeHealth CEO Si France, M.D. “She is a seasoned value-based care executive and a collaborative mission-driven team player. This is even more important as we continue our focus on clinical and care excellence as a public benefit company.” 

Bernard will lead WelbeHealth’s legal and compliance functions, partnering with executive and operational leaders to execute the company’s mission of bringing PACE to communities in need.  

WelbeHealth recently became the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provider to convert to a public benefit company, meaning it is obligated to take into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders while prioritizing corporate responsibility and sustainability. An alternative to nursing homes, PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps keep people in their communities. 

Founded in 2015, WelbeHealth provides comprehensive home-based medical and social services to vulnerable seniors across California, including the cities of Stockton, Modesto, Pasadena, Burbank, Long Beach and Fresno. For more information, please visit welbehealth.com.   

Senior woman applying sunscreen for UV safety

Best UV Safety for Seniors: Keep it Simple with These Tips

July is UV Safety Month 

Enjoying the warm weather is one of the delights of summer. However, it is important to practice Ultraviolet (UV) light safety. For seniors and others, this means limiting your exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause skin damage and lead to skin cancer.  Around 90% of the signs of skin aging are caused by the sun. Those who have accumulated the most exposure to UV rays over the years are – you guessed it – seniors.

July is UV Safety Month. Using better UV protection can protect your skin from harm. And there are even ways to reverse some damage. Use these simple tips:

UV Safety for Seniors – Go By the Clock

UV protection is most important between 10 am and 4 pm because the sun’s harmful rays are the strongest between these hours. Aim for early morning or evening if you can plan your time outside.  If you must be outside mid-day, try to stay in the shade.

The Best UV Safe Sunscreen for Seniors

Not all sunscreen is equal for UV protection. Choose one that has an SPF of 30 or higher. UVA and UVB sun rays both damage skin cells. Read the label to make sure your sunscreen has “broad spectrum” or “UVA and UVB” printed on the bottle.

Using SPF Correctly

Apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure for it to work best. Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours and after you sweat or swim. People with fair skin, especially those with light-colored eyes and hair, accumulate sun damage more easily and should use UV protection carefully. You can take a quick quiz to find your skin type here.

Reverse Years of Damage

Even if you have had many sunburns or avoided using sunscreen over the years, you can reverse the damage using new technology. Creams or gels with retinoids can help to remove precancerous lesions. Ask your doctor about these topical medications.

Beyond Sunscreen

You have options for protection in addition to sunscreen. Some clothing is designed to protect your skin from the sun. A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, sunglasses that filter UV rays, and a hat with a wide brim can offer protection. Remember also to protect yourself from heat stress during the summer months.         

Skin Changes with Age – Lifestyle Matters

Our skin thins as we age. This can weaken the skin’s defenses to UV light. Proper sun protection for seniors, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and pollution can help prevent skin diseases. 

Watch for Skin Changes

Be aware of any suspicious growths on your skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a self-examination once a month. You can find out how to do one here. Visit your dermatologist once a year to check for skin cancer. Bring questions about anything you have noticed that has changed size, is new, or has an irregular border. Also, if you have a growth that causes crusting, irritation, or bleeding, tell your doctor right away.

Remember: skin cancer is among the most treatable cancers. So do your best to catch it early. Enjoy the sunshine safely this summer.

senior woman checking blood sugar level by Digital Glucose

How Controlling Blood Sugar Levels Helps Diabetes Patients

If you’re living with diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels is important. Many factors can help you manage this. The most effective things you can do to stabilize your blood sugar levels include eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly. 

The Basics of Diabetes 

Millions of Americans live with diabetes, a disease in which your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t effectively use it. As a result, your body can’t convert food into energy.  Insulin carries glucose (sugar) into cells for energy. Symptoms of diabetes may include fatigue, blurred vision, heartburn, and frequent urination. If left untreated, diabetes increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. 

Diabetic Challenges: Managing and Controlling Blood Sugar  

Managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels can be a difficult and lifelong process. To begin with, you need to monitor your insulin level regularly to see how you respond to food and activity. Stabilizing blood sugar levels can provide relief from many diabetes symptoms. High and low glucose levels can cause a range of health problems, such as:  

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) 
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) 
  • Gastroparesis (digestive problems) 
  • Heart disease 
  • Blindness 

Effectively managing diabetes can help reduce your risk of developing these medical conditions. Additionally, by taking action now, you can help maintain your quality of life regardless of diabetes.  

Taking Action: Controlling Blood Sugar Levels with Diet 

There are many natural methods for controlling blood sugar levels, including managing carbohydrate intake and exercising regularly.  

Many people have difficulty stabilizing their blood sugar because they overeat, consume processed food, or enjoy too many sugary snacks. These foods cause blood sugar to spike, then drop again, leaving a person tired and irritable after eating them. 

Blood sugar that is too high or too low can make diabetes symptoms worse. By stabilizing blood sugar, people with diabetes can find relief from pain and discomfort, often without medications. 

To help manage blood sugar, eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of processed snacks with little nutritional value. Beans, lentils, and oats can help stabilize your blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. Also, these foods are excellent sources of fiber, which can help you feel full for longer after a meal. 

How Exercise Can Help 

It’s important to exercise regularly. Even small amounts, such as ten minutes of activity three times a day, can help control your blood sugar levels. Resistance exercises such as strength training with resistance bands, yoga, or lightweight dumbbells help build muscle and control glucose levels. Talk to your doctor to ensure you can safely exercise and see which activities fit your lifestyle. 

Supporting the dietary health of seniors is just one way that WelbeHealth helps older adults and their families. Visit our FAQ page or contact us for further information. 

Doctors and nurses coordinate hands

WelbeHealth Becomes First Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Provider to Convert to Public Benefit Company Status 

FOR RELEASE: IMMEDIATE

DATE: 6/29/2022

WelbeHealth Becomes First Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Provider to Convert to Public Benefit Company Status  

MENLO PARK, CALIF.— Physician-led healthcare organization WelbeHealth recently became the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provider to convert to a public benefit company (PBC).

Founded in 2015, WelbeHealth is a leading California PACE provider. An alternative to nursing homes, PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps keep people in their communities. WelbeHealth provides comprehensive home-based medical and social services to vulnerable seniors across California, including the cities of Stockton, Modesto, Pasadena, Burbank, Long Beach and Fresno.

In joining other companies that have become public benefit companies, including Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Vital Farms, WelbeHealth is exemplifying its commitment to helping seniors thrive and live longer, said WelbeHealth co-founder and CEO Si France, M.D. 

“The seniors we serve are the elders of their communities and families,” Dr. France said. “By helping them thrive, they can live longer lives with greater connection, vitality and meaning. We’re converting to a public benefit company to ensure that our mission and purpose are protected for generations to come.” 

Public benefit companies are obligated to take into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders, not just shareholders, prioritizing corporate responsibility and sustainability. For WelbeHealth, this means participants, their families and caregivers, employees, and the broader community.  

“Both our independent board and management team wanted to formalize WelbeHealth’s commitment to its mission, clinical quality and positive community impact,” said WelbeHealth Board of Directors member Robert Margolis, M.D., founder of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “By converting to a public benefit company, WelbeHealth is demonstrating its commitment to operating responsibly, sustainably and in the interest of all stakeholders, both now and in the future.”

This commitment to the greater good is not new. In fact, WelbeHealth was lauded for its elder care during the pandemic. A case study conducted by UC Berkeley found that WelbeHealth had a death rate more than 1.5 times lower than other PACE organizations and almost five times lower than nursing homes while, despite serving patients in some of California’s most impacted counties.  

“As the pandemic came in waves, WelbeHealth mobilized not only to vaccinate its own participants but to also vaccinate thousands in the greater community, which had an exponential impact on saving lives,” Dr. France said. “We want to take full responsibility for our part in making the world a more compassionate, loving place.” 

About WelbeHealth 

Founded in 2015, WelbeHealth is a physician-led organization that coordinates senior care, including all medical and dental care, physical and occupational therapy, transportation to medical appointments, meals and personal care services. WelbeHealth teams close the loop on comprehensive care to keep the most vulnerable seniors living safely in their own homes. WelbeHealth delivers these services through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicare and Medicaid program. WelbeHealth operates four programs in California:  Stockton/Modesto, Pasadena/Burbank, Long Beach and Fresno. For more information, please visit welbehealth.com