Tag Archive for: senior independence

Stroke Awareness

Strokes are one of the leading causes of disability and even death among seniors. Recognizing the signs early can decrease the risk of severe long-term effects and can help save a life. The following tips can help seniors in their community and their caregivers identify the common signs and symptoms of a stroke and what steps to follow when a stroke is suspected.

Understanding Strokes

A stroke occurs when there’s a blockage or a rupture in an artery leading to the brain. This pause in blood flow takes away the oxygen from the brain cells, causing them to die. The effects of a stroke depend on the area of the brain that’s affected; hence immediate medical intervention is critical to minimize brain damage.

The Common Signs of a Stroke

Remember the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T., as it outlines the major signs of a stroke:

  • Balance: Watch for a sudden loss of balance or coordination, which might indicate a stroke.
  • Eyes: Check for sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, including blurred or double vision, which could be signs of a stroke.
  • Face Drooping: One side of the face may droop or be numb. Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm move downward?
  • Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they not able to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • Time to call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

It’s important to note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Some treatment options are most effective when given soon after a stroke begins.

What To Do If You Suspect a Stroke

  1. Call Emergency Services: Don’t hesitate to call for emergency medical assistance if you or someone you know shows any of the symptoms mentioned above.
  2. Check the Time: Note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Emergency medical personnel will need this information.
  3. Do Not Drive: Do not attempt to drive to the hospital. Wait for emergency personnel. They can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
  4. Follow Up With Care: After emergency treatment, follow-up care is essential to help with recovery and to manage any underlying conditions that contributed to the stroke.

Prevention: Reducing Your Risk of Stroke

While some risk factors for stroke can’t be controlled, such as age and family history, there are still many ways seniors can lower their risk:

  • Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Control high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s guidance on medication management and healthy living.

Strokes can be sudden and frightening, but knowing how to recognize the signs and respond quickly can make a significant difference in the outcome. By learning and being ready, older adults can keep themselves and their loved ones safer from the possibly very bad effects of strokes. Remember, every second counts, so act F.A.S.T.

We hope this guide helps guide you into recognizing and responding to strokes. If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it with friends and family. Together, we can raise awareness and save lives.

WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. Here you are supported by a dedicated team that coordinates all your care needs. With access to highly skilled doctors, dentists, home care, physical therapy and much more, you are able to live a healthier, happier you. To learn if you qualify, visit our contact page or, call us directly at (888) 530-4415 | TTY 711.

Alcohol Awareness for Seniors: What You Need to Know

As we age, we often find ourselves looking back on the choices we make when it comes to our health and wellbeing. The role of alcohol in our lives deserves a closer look, especially for seniors. The effects of alcohol can change as we age, and awareness about these changes is important for keeping a healthy lifestyle. Our goal is to shed light on alcohol awareness for seniors, insight, practical tips, and resources for making better decisions about alcohol use.

Understanding the Impact of Alcohol as We Age

As we get older, our bodies handle alcohol differently. Older adults might feel the effects of alcohol more because their bodies process it slower and they have less water in their bodies for the alcohol to spread out in. This means that even if they drink the same amount of alcohol as they did when they were younger, it can affect them more. This can raise the chances of falling down, having trouble remembering things, and causing problems with medications.

Risks of Alcohol Consumption in Seniors

1. Medication Interactions:

Many seniors are on one or more prescription medications. Alcohol can interact dangerously with medications, including but not limited to blood thinners, antidepressants, and even some over-the-counter pain relievers and allergy medicines. Mixing alcohol can lead to problems with the heart, liver, and the effectiveness of medications.

2. Chronic Conditions:

Alcohol can increase chronic conditions that are common in seniors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It’s important to understand how alcohol can affect these conditions and manage its use.

3. Cognitive Function:

There is evidence to suggest that excessive drinking can increase cognitive decline in older adults. Keeping alcohol consumption in check can help maintain cognitive health and reduce the risk of developing dementia-related conditions.

Tips for Safe Alcohol Consumption

1. Know Your Limits:

It’s important for seniors to reconsider their limits with alcohol and change them if necessary. This might mean drinking less than what was thought to the average.

2. Check Medication Labels:

Always read medication labels and consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about possible interactions with alcohol.

3. Stay Hydrated:

Drinking water between alcoholic beverages can help manage the effects of alcohol and keep you hydrated.

4. Eat Beforehand:

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can increase its effects. Make sure to eat a healthy meal before drinking.

5. Socialize Safely:

Enjoy alcoholic beverages in social settings where support is available if needed. Drinking alone can increase the risk of falls or other accidents without immediate help available.

Resources for Support

If you or someone you know needs help managing alcohol consumption, there are numerous resources available:

Final Thoughts

Awareness is the first step toward making healthier choices about drinking alcohol, especially in our senior years. By understanding the changes that come with age, paying close attention to interactions with medications and health conditions, and following easy tips for moderation, seniors can enjoy a happier, healthier life with or without alcohol. Remember, it’s never too late to start making positive changes to your lifestyle.

WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. Here you are supported by a dedicated team that coordinates all your care needs. With access to highly skilled doctors, dentists, home care, physical therapy and much more, you are able to live a healthier, happier you. To learn if you qualify, visit our contact page or, call us directly at (888) 530-4415 | TTY 711.

a senior couple doing a puzzle

Staying Sharp: Everyday Cognitive Exercises for Seniors

As we age, staying sharp and keeping our brain in top shape becomes more important. Cognitive exercises are a bit like a workout for your brain — they keep the mental muscles flexible and strong. This is extra important for seniors who, all too often, do not have the same level of daily mental stimulation they enjoyed in their working years.

Here’s a list of easy and enjoyable daily cognitive exercises specific for seniors. These activities not only help keep the brain active but also provide a sense of accomplishment and joy. Engaging in such exercises can benefit cognitive functions, memory, processing speed, and could even reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

1. Puzzle Mania

Puzzles are an excellent way for seniors to improve their cognitive skills. Jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, crosswords, and word searches are all fantastic for stimulating problem-solving and logic. Here are a few specific ideas to get started:

  • Jigsaw Puzzles: These exercises in spatial awareness and pattern recognition can be done alone or with a friend, making them great for alone time or social bonding.
  • Sudoku and Crosswords: These numerical and linguistic puzzles challenge different parts of the brain and can be found in newspapers or books, providing a daily activity that’s as engaging as it is portable.
  • Word Search: A word search puzzle can be a fun way to improve cognitive functions related to language processing and attention to detail.

2. Learn Something New

Continuous learning is key to keeping the brain agile, and it’s never too late to pick up a new hobby or skill. For seniors, this could be learning a new language, mastering a musical instrument, or taking up a craft like knitting or woodworking.

  • Language Learning: Online language apps offer courses specific for all ages, giving bite-sized lessons that can be done at your own pace.
  • Music Lessons: Learning to play a new instrument not only exercises the memory and spatial-temporal skills, but it’s also a wonderful way to express creativity.
  • Crafting: Hobbies like knitting and woodworking involve complex, multistep processes that keep the mind focused and engaged.

3. Memory March

Engaging in a daily activity that requires memorization can significantly enhance cognitive abilities, specifically memory and recall.

  • Memorize a Poem or Speech: Select a favorite piece or a short, inspiring speech and try to commit it to memory, repeating it daily to strengthen your retention.
  • Recall a Day’s Schedule: Try to remember the day’s activities and appointments without looking at your calendar. This is a practical way to sharpen your short-term memory.
  • Remembering Names: Practice associating names with faces and objects to improve recall in social settings, a small but useful exercise that pays dividends in real-world situations.

4. Stay Social

Fostering social connections is a cognitive exercise often overlooked. Having a deep conversation and keeping relationships can help prevent loneliness and keep quick thinking at its best.

  • Senior Centers and Community Groups: Joining a local group or activity can provide a daily dose of social interaction.
  • Networking Online: Social media platforms can be used in a positive, moderated way to keep in touch with family and friends or to connect with like-minded people across the globe.
  • Volunteering: Becoming a volunteer gives you a big sense of purpose and gives you more social opportunities.

5. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mental exercises focused on mindfulness and meditation have been associated with positive cognitive outcomes, specific to attention and focus.

  • Daily Reflection: Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly and reflect, considering thoughts and feelings without judgment, simply observing them.
  • Guided Meditation: Use apps or audio recordings to guide you through meditation sessions specific to seniors, incorporating calming breathwork.
  • Yoga: Practicing yoga can be a form of moving meditation and offers the added benefit of physical exercise, which is also crucial for overall cognitive health.

By adding these cognitive exercises into your daily routine, you can work ahead of time to keep and even improve your mental sharpness as you age. It’s never too late to start, and there are many benefits, leading to a a happier and improved life.

WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. Here you are supported by a dedicated team that coordinates all your care needs. With access to highly skilled doctors, dentists, home care, physical therapy and much more, you are able to live a healthier, happier you. To learn if you qualify, visit our contact page or, call us directly at (888) 530-4415 | TTY 711.

Top 5 Fibrous Foods for Seniors

As we age, our bodies require different nutrients to maintain optimal health. One important nutrient that becomes even more crucial for seniors is fiber. Fiber helps with digestion, keeps us feeling full longer, and can even help lower the risk of chronic diseases.

What Are Fibrous Foods?

Before we dive into the top 5 fibrous foods for seniors, let’s first understand what fibrous foods are. Simply put, these are foods that contain a high amount of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for our digestive system as it helps to regulate bowel movements and keep us feeling full. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and blood sugar control.

Top 5 Fibrous Foods for Seniors

  1. Avocados: These creamy fruits are not only delicious but also packed with fiber. Just one avocado contains around 10 grams of fiber, making it a great addition to your diet. You can add avocados to salads, sandwiches, or even use them as a spread on toast. They also serve as an excellent substitute for mayonnaise.
  2. Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries – take your pick! These sweet and juicy fruits are not only high in fiber but also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You can enjoy them as a snack or add them to your breakfast cereal or yogurt for an extra boost of fiber.
  3. Beans and legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans – these are all excellent sources of fiber. They are also a great alternative to meat as they provide protein and other essential nutrients. You can add beans and legumes to soups, stews, or make them into dips like hummus.
  4. Whole grains: Switching from refined grains to whole grains is a simple way to increase your fiber intake. Whole grains include foods like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and quinoa. These options are not only high in fiber but also provide other important nutrients like B vitamins and iron.
  5. Dark leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and collard greens – these leafy vegetables are not only low in calories but also high in fiber. You can eat them raw in salads, or add them to cooked dishes like soups and stir-fries. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.

Incorporating These Foods Into Your Diet

Now that you know the top 5 fibrous foods for seniors, it’s time to incorporate them into your diet. Start by adding one of these foods to each meal. For example, have avocado toast for breakfast, a bean and vegetable soup for lunch, and a side of dark leafy greens with dinner. You can also try new recipes that include these fibrous foods or experiment with different combinations to find what works best for you.

The Benefits of a Fibrous Diet

Not only will incorporating these top 5 fibrous foods into your diet help with digestion and keeping you feeling full, but it also has other benefits for seniors. A fibrous diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and even improve your overall mood. So why wait? Start incorporating these foods into your diet today and feel the difference in your health. Remember, it’s never too late to take care of yourself and prioritize your health. Your body will thank you for it.

Hungry for more tips on healthy eating? Check out our other blog posts for more advice and recipes.

It’s your life. Live it your way.

WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. To see if you qualify, visit: welbehealth.com/contact

WelbeHealth Announces New Chief Operating Officer

WelbeHealth, a physician-led senior health services provider, is proud to announce the appointment of Becca Miller Rose as its Chief Operating Officer. The new role underscores WelbeHealth’s commitment to quality and care excellence as it continues to grow its Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) with the expertise of industry-leading talent.

“Becca’s extensive experience leading operations of value-based community health services for seniors makes her uniquely qualified to advance WelbeHealth’s PACE program and mission of serving the most vulnerable seniors with better quality and compassion,” said Matt Patterson, M.D., President of WelbeHealth.”

As COO, Rose will partner with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Le, who she previously worked with at Landmark Health, to lead WelbeHealth’s PACE operations, delivering community-based services across beautiful center locations and in the home and leveraging WelbeHealth’s proprietary tech-enabled care delivery processes. She will ensure consistent, high-quality care and service excellence as the organization expands access to seniors who need PACE.

Rose is a seasoned healthcare operations leader, most recently serving as COO of the Optum Home-Based Medical Care business. She joined Optum as part of its acquisition of Landmark Health, the nation’s largest provider of in-home value-based care. Rose oversaw tremendous growth in the organization’s scalable national service capacity for frail senior populations.

“Through my professional roles as well as personal experience serving hospice patients, I understand the needs of seniors and their family caregivers for higher quality community-based care,” said Becca Miller Rose. “I am excited to address these needs for our most vulnerable populations through expanding access to PACE as WelbeHealth’s operational leader.”

The PACE model consistently delivers exceptional health outcomes and cost-effectiveness through comprehensive health and supportive services for seniors. PACE has demonstrated a 24% reduction in hospitalizations, an 80% improvement in depression scores, and a one-third increase in life expectancy compared with nursing homes. Alongside these health advantages, PACE delivers cost savings to taxpayers amounting to $10,000 per participant annually.

WelbeHealth is expanding its footprint and ensuring that more seniors have access to the exceptional health outcomes and the cost-effectiveness that PACE provides. This commitment is evident in recent leadership appointments and the openings of new centers in San Jose, Rosemead, and North Hollywood.

About WelbeHealth

WelbeHealth is a physician-led public benefit company founded in 2015 that provides comprehensive health care services for seniors through a fully integrated program that includes all medical and dental care, physical and occupational therapy, transportation to medical appointments, meals, and personal care services. WelbeHealth addresses social determinants of health to keep the most vulnerable seniors living safely in their own homes. Services are delivered through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a national Medicare and Medicaid program.

CONTACT: Katie Groenke, welbehealth@berlinrosen.com
Angharad Bhardwaj, Angharad.Bhardwaj@welbehealth.com

Mcknights Home Care – PACE expansion bill draws bipartisan support

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would improve care coordination for dual-eligible beneficiaries and expand the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly to a larger share of people.

“This legislation is a start at redesigning our current patchwork approach of delivering long-term services and supports,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and chief executive officer of LeadingAge, said in a statement Thursday. “This is a true win.”

Sens. Bill Cassidy, MD, (R-LA), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Delivering United Access to Lifesaving Services (DUALS) Act of 2024 on Thursday. Already, organizations including LeadingAge, the National PACE Association, Welbe Health and more than a dozen others have announced their endorsement for the bill.

The legislation’s primary function would be to require every state to develop a comprehensive, integrated health plan for dual-eligible beneficiaries, according to a summary. The bill also would require every state to allow PACE programs to be established, open up enrollment to any time in a given month, and extend PACE coverage to people under 55 years of age. 

PACE centers serve mostly dual-eligible beneficiaries who qualify for skilled nursing care but are able to remain at home and in their community, a representative for WelbeHealth, a PACE provider, said in a statement to McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse

“The DUALS Act marks a crucial stride forward in expanding access to care coordination for frail dual eligible beneficiaries through an innovative model called PACE,” Amy Shin, WelbeHealth’s chief mission officer, said. “This bill is thoughtful and represents a significant opportunity to enhance access to the gold standard for quality of care for our most frail and vulnerable seniors.”

Dual-eligible individuals, who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, are responsible for a disproportionate share of government healthcare spending, according to the senators. Innovative, cost-effective care strategies can create payment efficiencies while also producing better patient outcomes, they said.

“Patients dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have much worse outcomes than other groups even though there is a lot more money spent on their care,” Cassidy said in a statement. “Making Medicare and Medicaid better work together makes patients healthier and saves money.”

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Fall Prevention

Falls are one of the common caused of injuries among seniors, and preventing them is a big aspect in having a high quality of life as we age. Here we offer five tips to reduce the risk of falls for seniors, empowering them to live safely and independently. Remember, fall prevention is about taking future steps today to ensure a healthier tomorrow.

1. Home Safety Check

Perform regular safety checks to minimize fall risk in the home. Things to consider include:

  • Make sure you have clear pathways free from clutter.
  • Securing carpets to the floor and removing throw rugs.
  • Installing grab bars and handrails in key areas such as bathrooms and stairwells.

By setting up your home to suit you, you can lower the risk of accidentally falling.

2. Regular Physical Activity

Doing exercises that focus on strength and balance can greatly improve stability and reduce the risk of falls. Consider activities like:

  • Walking
  • Tai Chi
  • Gentle yoga

Talk to your healthcare provider to create a customized exercise program that’s right for you.

3. Vision and Hearing Checks

Both vision and hearing add to balance and spatial awareness. To help prevent falls:

  • Have regular check-ups for glasses or contact lens prescriptions.
  • Make sure your hearing aids are correctly adjusted.

Staying current with these health checks is key in keeping your balance in check.

4. Medication Management

Some medications can affect balance and increase the risk of falling. It’s important to:

  • Review medications regularly with a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Be mindful of any side effects that could impact your stability.

Knowing what affects your medications have on your balance can help you stay steady on your feet.

5. Practical Footwear

Proper footwear is a must for stability. When choosing shoes, look for:

  • Non-skid soles
  • Adequate support
  • A correct fit

Avoid walking in just socks, as this can increase the risk of slipping.

By adding these tips into your daily routine, you can create a safer living environment and reduce the risk of falls. Remember, prevention is the best protection, and making small changes can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being. Want to learn more about other resources? Check out our other blog posts for more advice and recipes.

It’s your life. Live it your way.

WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. To see if you qualify, visit: welbehealth.com/contact

Understanding Thyroid Health for Seniors

Our thyroid health is a pivotal factor in our overall well-being. By following these tips and maintaining regular communication with your doctor, you can support a healthy thyroid even as you age.

Brain Fog After Quitting Drinking: What Can You Expect?

You may experience brain fog after quitting drinking. Learn more about what this means and what you can do by clicking here.

WelbeHealth Opens Bay Area PACE Center

New center extends WelbeHealth’s collaboration with Sutter Health to underserved communities in San Jose and surrounding areas

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

SAN JOSE, California—The physician-led senior health services provider WelbeHealth, in partnership with Northern California-based health care system Sutter Health, announced the opening of a new Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) center in San Jose. The new center will provide essential health care and wrap-around services to diverse low-income older adults. WelbeHealth San Jose is now enrolling new participants, with services set to begin Jan. 1, 2024.

“We are excited to work with our Sutter Health partners to serve the most vulnerable seniors with better quality and compassion in the San Jose area,” said Si France, MD, CEO at WelbeHealth. “Through this expansion, we are ensuring that matriarchs and patriarchs can age in place and thrive in their communities.”

Sutter Health is one of the largest health systems serving Northern California’s Medi-Cal eligible population and has partnered with WelbeHealth to improve healthcare for underserved seniors.

“WelbeHealth provides nursing-home eligible seniors with the wrap-around services they need to remain safely at home in our communities,” said Kevin Cook, Greater Silicon Valley Market President at Sutter Health. “San Jose is home to a rapidly growing aging population that will benefit from greater access to PACE.”

More than 4,000 PACE-eligible seniors reside within 15 miles of the San Jose location, and the population of these seniors is anticipated to increase. The California Department of Aging forecasts that Santa Clara County’s senior population will surge by more than 200% by 2060, while Alameda County’s senior population is expected to increase by 150% by the same year.

“Many seniors in San Jose have been left out of the region’s broader economic growth,” said Vaneesh Soni, MD, Chief Growth Officer at WelbeHealth. “It’s difficult for low-income older adults to make ends meet and get the care they need amidst high rent, home care labor shortages and stretched family caregivers. WelbeHealth and Sutter Health are committed to delivering the PACE model, ensuring vulnerable seniors are not left behind.”

PACE is a proven, high-quality, cost-effective solution to address the care gaps left by the underfunded and patchwork system for long-term care in San Jose and across the United States by delivering comprehensive health and supportive services for seniors. The price for long-term care is expected to reach half a trillion dollars a year by 2030, yet the current infrastructure cannot support this growth and the United States lags behind most other wealthy countries in long-term care investment. PACE is one obvious solution because it delivers better health outcomes at a lower cost.

WelbeHealth is committed to addressing the long-term healthcare crisis for low-income seniors through PACE expansion. In addition to San Jose, WelbeHealth operates programs across California, including Modesto, Stockton, Fresno, Pasadena, Long Beach, North Hollywood and Rosemead. All locations deliver fully integrated care, allowing frail seniors to age in place with the support of interdisciplinary teams, including doctors and nurses, physical therapists, homecare aides and social workers. Wrap-around support like meals, social activities and transportation address social determinants of health.

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