Tag Archive for: senior independence

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

Senior playing jenga

Love Your Brain: 5 Simple Ways to Support Brain Health  

As we get older, it is important to find ways to support brain health. About 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers expect that number to double by 2050. 

But, there is good news. You can support your brain health and lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. Growing research has shown that lifestyle changes can significantly impact our brain health. 

Here are a few brain health tips you can put into practice! 

Exercise to Improve Blood Flow in Your Brain 

We all know exercise is good for our body, but it also benefits our noggin! Participate in regular exercise that raises your heart rate. This increases the blood flow in your body and your brain, helping you think more clearly. Several studies have shown that regular physical activity may decrease cognitive decline.  

Improve your brain health by adding some of these activities into your routine: 

  • Walking indoors or outdoors 
  • Swimming 
  • Aerobic exercise classes 
  • Dance 
  • Yoga 

Fuel Your Brain with Antioxidant-Rich Food 

There is no magic food or supplement that will prevent the onset of dementia. But, eating a balanced diet is just as good for your brain as it is for the rest of your body.  

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. That means limiting red meat and going easy on the dairy. You’ll also want to increase the amount of fruit, veggies, and fish in your diet.  

Next time you reach for a bite to eat, try some of these Mediterranean brain-healthy foods: 

  • Salmon and other seafood 
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Nuts 
  • Potatoes 
  • Fruit 
  • Leafy green vegetables 

Use Your Brain “Muscles” to Stay Sharp 

Staying mentally engaged keeps your brain sharp. Like the muscles in your body, it’s a “use it or lose it” scenario. Mental exercises can promote the growth of new brain cells, and this regular development of new cells may decrease your likelihood of developing dementia. 

Maintaining mental sharpness doesn’t require crosswords and jigsaw puzzles (though studies show those mind challenges can help). Even participating in stimulating conversation, picking up a new hobby, or playing a game of chess can benefit your brain health. 

Try activities that are: 

  • Creative – Pick up painting, quilting, photography, or drawing.
  • Challenging – Don’t just do what comes easy; try something that challenges you a little. 
  • Novel – Master a new language, skill, or concept that is unfamiliar to you.
  • Stimulating – Attend a lecture on an interesting topic or spend time discussing a book with a friend

Give Your Brain the Rest it Needs 

When talking about brain health, we don’t always touch on sleep. But, sleep is a crucial aspect in protecting your brain from cognitive decline.  

Beta-amyloid plaque is an abnormal protein that builds up in the brain of some people. The presence of this plaque is a known precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that a lack of sleep can increases the amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. It is important to get quality rest to support your brain health. 

If quality sleep is something you’re missing, try some of these things: 

  • Reduce daytime sleeping.
  • Speak with your doctor about adjusting medications that may be keeping you awake. 
  • Avoid looking at your phone, tablet, or computer before bed. 
  • Meditate prior to bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. 

Get Mental Health Support to Protect Your Brain 

Untreated depression later in life has been linked to cognitive impairment and dementia development. Seek care quickly if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or have other mental health concerns. Your primary care physician may prescribe medication to help alleviate symptoms, refer you to a therapist, or both. 

Speaking with a trusted therapist benefits your overall well-being, including your brain health. Your therapist can help you process grief, develop healthy coping strategies, and give you tools to overcome your mental health concerns. 

Together in a time of need

Coming Together in a Time of Need

When Libby Renshaw, Home Health Registered Nurse at WelbeHealth, visited Jim at his West Hollywood apartment, she became very worried, very fast. It was his first day home after multiple seizures had led to a 17-day hospital stay, followed by a month in a skilled nursing facility. She knew coming together in his time of need was critical.

“As I sat with him, I saw that he had severe tremors in his arms and hands,” says Libby. “His muscles were weak from being bedridden, and I also noticed significant memory impairment.”  

All of this was making even simple activities extremely difficult. The hand tremors were especially concerning because they made it hard for him to eat, and he couldn’t administer the insulin he needed to treat his diabetes.  

Jim had a caregiver on site that day, thanks to the quick work of WelbeHealth’s Home Care Coordinator, Michael. In addition, Jim’s good friend Amir was there and said he could assist. But these were only temporary solutions.  

“Living alone at home seemed unrealistic,” Libby says. She gently told Jim that he might need to go back to the skilled nursing facility, and she could tell that he was devastated.  

“He desperately wanted to be at home,” she recalls. “After I left his apartment, I got on a conference call with the care team. We all agreed that we would do everything possible to keep him living at home.” 

After the call, each WelbeHealth team member got to work on their part of the plan. When Libby returned to the apartment the next day, she was amazed by what she saw.  

Physical Changes All-Around 

WelbeHealth team including a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and a dietitian. They came together during Jim's time of need.
Care Team Members

WelbeHealth Occupational Therapist, Christine Gaw, had set up many solutions to make daily tasks easier for Jim.  

That day, he received a new bed rail to get out of bed more easily, and a bedside commode to avoid walking to the bathroom at night. Christine also installed a toilet riser and a shower bench to make the bathroom safer and more usable.  

She brought in a chair cushion, both for comfort and to prevent pressure ulcers, and she arranged for a recliner chair to help Jim transition from sitting to standing.  

Christine had also hunted down adaptive shoelaces—a big deal because Jim kept mentioning that he could no longer tie his shoes. 

Fitness and Food  

The apartment was humming with other team members, as well. Pam, Jim’s assigned Physical Therapist, was teaching Jim and his friend Amir a home exercise and walking program.  

Claire, Jim’s Dietitian, talked to Amir about good food for Jim. She provided ideas and recipes that tracked Jim’s preferences and would also help him manage his chronic conditions.  

Claire and Amir also talked about monitoring blood glucose levels and keeping a log to share with the dietary and medical teams. Claire noted that, in addition to using insulin, Jim could help keep his diabetes in check through his diet. 

Managing Medication  

On the medical side, Jim’s Primary Care Provider Lauren, with help from Registered Nurse Case Manager Jennifer, simplified Jim’s diabetes medications. He went from five insulin injections per day to one.   

Lauren also started Jim on medication to help reduce the tremors. She also educated both Jim and Amir on the side effects of Jim’s new seizure medication and answered all their questions.  

One Request Makes a Big Change 

Even with all these improvements, Jim and the WelbeHealth team were still concerned about whether he could safely navigate through his home, prepare his meals, and remember to take his medication. He clearly needed regular and consistent home care.  

WelbeHealth could arrange for this, but then Amir offered an even better solution; he could move in and care for Jim. Everyone agreed this was a great idea, but there was one problem. Because Jim was in Section 8 housing, strict rules applied. He could have no extra occupants and was concerned about losing his apartment since he didn’t want to violate the rules. 

WelbeHealth Social Worker, Twyla, delivered a solution by requesting a ‘reasonable accommodation’ through Section 8. With this change, a caregiver would be allowed to live in the apartment with Jim. 

Ongoing Support  

Today, WelbeHealth’s Physical Therapist continues to visit and work on conditioning and balance. And the Home Care Coordinator arranges caregiving support to support Amir and Jim. Other team members are available to help whenever needed and answer questions. 

Libby saw Jim recently and was heartened to see he was doing well. “He looked so good, and he was practically walking independently,” she says.  

Ultimately, Libby says, the experience showed her that the people at WelbeHealth don’t hesitate to go above and beyond for their participants.  

“This really is the embodiment of our values,” she says. “It is Courage to Love, Pioneering Spirit, and Shared Intention—all coming together. We provided what this vulnerable senior needed to ‘unlock his full potential’ and live independently in his community. It is a beautiful sight to see.” 

Activities for seniors

Engaging Activities for Seniors of All Ability Levels

For many older adults, staying active is a priority. Keeping up with friends, exercising, and giving back to the community brings fulfillment and joy. WelbeHealth helps facilitate meaningful physical and mental activities for seniors of all abilities.

“At WelbeHealth, activities for are adaptable to any level of ability. We find ways for every participant to engage,” says Esther De Santiago, Engagement Supervisor, Adult Engagement and Activities in Stockton. “These activities are done in a group setting. It is wonderful how the other participants cheer each other on.”

Festive Activities for Seniors

Many of our participants’ favorite activities for seniors are related to holidays and other special occasions. Our centers celebrate birthdays monthly, and national holidays are also celebrated, such as Veteran’s Day. This year, one center honored participant Veterans by giving them a certificate and a special pin to wear.

The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is a two-day Mexican holiday that reunites the living and the dead. Families create offerings to honor their loved ones who have passed on. Participants and staff at one WelbeHealth center worked together to create an altar to honor their friends and family members who have died. They read poetry to express their emotions and remember their loved ones.

Each Halloween, WelbeHealth staff and participants like to dress up in costumes. You’ll find all kinds of spooky characters at our centers––and Halloween candy, of course!

Thanksgiving is always a special time at WelbeHealth. Our centers serve a special candle-lit meal, display fall decor, and share what they are thankful for. After Thanksgiving, there is always lots of holiday cheer! Festive activities, meals, and decor make our centers cheery and bright all the way through New Year’s Day!

Sprint craft activity
Seniors at WelbeHealth do a craft activity.

Educational Activities

Malcomb Forbes, an American entrepreneur, said “It’s never too late to learn.” At WelbeHealth, we agree! Our activity directors bring in guest speakers to present on interesting topics such as poetry, history, and music. We’ve even had Hawaiian dancers come to share and give a hula performance.

We’ve also found that our very own staff and participants are extremely talented. We sometimes give a participant a little tap on the shoulder and ask if they’d like to present their expertise to the center. One of our participants gave a virtual presentation on her writing and art to her peers. She hopes to present in person eventually. We also had an amazing performance by a participant who is an expert in African dance and belly dancing.

One WelbeHealth staff member is a fire-breather. His performance really “lit up” the expressions of the center staff and participants!

Creative Activities

Many of our participants love to get their creativity flowing. Creative activities for seniors like embroidery, origami, knitting, and crocheting are done at the centers.

“Creative projects are something that people of all ages can engage in,” says De Santiago. “When you finish a project and realize that you created something, it can be very satisfying. Plus, we all have fun sharing ideas and creating together.”

Some participants have given back to the community through creative arts. At one WelbeHealth center, a group of participants crochet and knit clothing items to donate to a local NICU. The babies in the NICU get an article of clothing made with love by WelbeHealth participants, and participants get the fulfillment of serving these precious babies and their families.

Entertaining Activities for Seniors

We have a lot of fun at our day centers. If you ask us, fun includes dancing and singing! Participants of all abilities can engage in singing and some form of dancing. Activity directors always adjust so no one is left out of the merriment!

Thriller by Michael Jackson is a classic spooky tune played around Halloween. The famous “thriller dance” accompanies the 1982 song. At one center, participants and staff learned the Thriller dance,  standing or while seated in a chair. Laughter and cheers were shared by all!

Karaoke is a favorite activity for seniors at WelbeHealth. Many of our participants are vocally gifted and love to belt out a song for their peers. Whether you can carry or tune or not, staff and participants always cheer each other on. Whoever has the microphone is guaranteed to feel supported and celebrated!

Exercise Activities

We know that exercise is good for our bodies. It can be great for our minds too! That’s why WelbeHealth incorporates exercise into the daily list of activity options. For those who want to participate in the exercise activities, there are always modifications that can be made. Participants of all ability levels can take part and benefit from the movement.

Exercise activities done in the WelbeHealth centers include:

  • Chair Zumba: An exciting dance workout usually done alongside Latin-inspired music.
  • Tai Chi: A gentle exercise that promotes balance and stretching.
  • Therabands: Band exercise that provides light resistance to strengthen muscles.
  • Group Dance: Led by rehabilitation therapists, this is a fun, light aerobic exercise.

Supportive Activities for Seniors

WelbeHealth participants make it a point to support one another in times of loss and grief. Our participants are never alone in their pain. Each of our centers has support groups to connect participants and allow them to share their story and encourage one another.

As an example, the Forever Friends support group consists of participants and one WelbeHealth staff facilitator. The purpose of the group is for participants to support their peers as through life transitions.

In addition to support groups, WelbeHealth offers mental health services. Combined, support groups and counseling can provide the mental and emotional support seniors need to navigate loss and grief.

Join in the Fun at WelbeHealth

As you can see, there are a lot of activities for seniors at the WelbeHealth centers. An activities calendar is available to participants and their families, so they can see all that is offered. Our activities directors are open to suggestions too!

Learn more about becoming a WelbeHealth participant.

Trevor Moawad, Getting to Neutral

WelbeHealth’s Approach to Navigating the Pandemic Saves Lives

COVID-19 Hits the U.S.: Re-Prioritize and Plan

As the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold in March of 2020, WelbeHealth’s CEO, Dr. Si France, and the company’s President, Dr. Matt Patterson, grew increasingly concerned. Information about the virus was still incomplete, but it was clear that WelbeHealth’s population of vulnerable seniors was at high risk from COVID-19. The two leaders spent the weekend of March 14 and 15 creating a plan to help ensure that patients (known as “participants”) and employees would survive the next few months. “We knew that we had to act immediately to save lives, and the best way to do that was to downshift to neutral,” says France.

Over the course of the next few days, the company leaders reevaluated their priorities and replaced them with an intentional focus on a neutral mindset and commitment to the things they could control.

A Neutral Mindset Becomes an Important Tool

WelbeHealth’s successful approach to protecting its employees and participants during the pandemic is featured in the recently released book by Trevor Moawad, “Getting to Neutral.” According to Moawad, many people are alive today, because WelbeHealth’s “dedicated staff took the right next step.”

WelbeHealth’s next steps prioritized the safety of their employees, families, and the seniors in WelbeHealth’s Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The organization used the framework of a neutral mindset to navigate the difficult decisions throughout the pandemic: neither being overly optimistic nor falling prey to the trappings of negativity.

Because of WelbeHealth’s neutral approach, leaders were able to respond to the pandemic in a unique way. When pandemic news became overwhelming, the leadership team encouraged team members to manage their intake, and brought just the facts of the pandemic to the staff on a regular basis. This way, the organization could evaluate the changing situation without judgement, and move forward with plans to minimize the impact of the virus on their frail senior population.

France and Patterson led weekly meetings to inform, update, and encourage all employees to adopt a neutral mindset. Staying neutral allowed WelbeHealth employees to focus on what they could control and their 3-part daily checklist:

1. Read the plan of the day.

2. Execute your assignment.

3. Take care of yourself and your family.

Flexibility in Business Model

Because WelbeHealth is led by mission-driven doctors who oversee operations, clinical departments, growth efforts, and more, the team understood what was at stake, and was quick to act when the pandemic arrived. Before the end of March 2020, WelbeHealth became the first PACE organization to launch an emergency response, and shifted to delivering medical care using a home-based model instead of through the facilities. As part of this model, WelbeHealth became the first company of its kind to provide every participant with a mobile tablet device so they could interact with their medical providers, care team, and other program participants.

As soon as vaccines were available, the company became the first, non-hospital-operated PACE to vaccinate its participants as well as team members. The team also partnered with Central Valley and LA counties and volunteered on weekends to organize vaccination clinics and vaccinate 1,900 seniors and frontline workers in WelbeHealth communities.

Knowing that people were one hundred times more likely to die of COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated, the WelbeHealth team went to work educating its participants on the importance of vaccinations. The company mobilized to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to its seniors, reaching a rate of vaccination significantly higher than the population at-large, with over 90% vaccination rate.

Results of Operating from a Neutral Mindset

WelbeHealth’s neutral mindset, flexibility, and focus on vaccinations statistically saved the lives of many of their participants compared to what would normally be seen in this frail population of seniors. With a much lower rate of COVID-19 death rate than skilled nursing facilities, it’s estimated that over 100 seniors are alive today because they enrolled in WelbeHealth’s program.  As the pandemic continues, the number of lives saved by the company’s safety measures continues to grow.

France says, “Each Welbe team member plays a part in making the world a more compassionate, loving place. The legacy of WelbeHealth’s work will reverberate for generations. By helping our participants thrive and live longer, they are able to extend their profound influence to their families and communities.”

Elder Fraud: How to Protect Yourself

The FBI estimates that American seniors lose $3 billion a year to elder fraud. Unfortunately, scammers often target seniors because they can be trusting and may have built up a healthy savings account over their lifetime.

Being aware of scams targeting seniors can help you protect yourself. It’s important to recognize the common tactics used in elder fraud so you know if it is happening to you or a loved one before it is too late.

What is Elder Fraud?

Elder fraud is any fraud that targets older adults. Scammers may target seniors by phone call, text message, email, or mail.

For victims, the financial impact of elder fraud can be devastating. The average victim of elder fraud loses around $34,000. Not only does it take a toll financially, but being a victim of fraud can hurt your mental and emotional health too.

Common Scams that Target Seniors

During the pandemic, there has been an increase in scams targeting seniors. As older adults spent more time online to connect with friends and family, fraudsters targeted seniors through emails and other online avenues.

Here are some of the top scams targeting seniors.

  • Romance Fraud
    The criminal targets widows and single elders, earning their trust. Eventually, the scammer asks for small sums of money and then larger.
  • Fake Grandchild
    Scammers will call a senior and say something like, “Hi Grandma, it’s your favorite grandchild.” Then they ask for money for rent, a car repair, or similar.
  • Charity Scams
    Using a fake charity name, criminals ask seniors to donate to a charity that supports a good cause. Online fund-raising pages can also be fraudulent.
  • Government Impersonation
    Criminals claim they work for the government and tell elders they’ll be prosecuted or fined if they do not comply with their request.
  • Tech Support Schemes
    A pop-up appears on the computer screen and says to call a number to resolve a computer issue. When the senior calls, the scammer poses as a tech support representative. They pretend to “fix” the computer remotely while gaining access to sensitive information and asking for payment in return.
  • Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
    Criminals call or email claiming that the designated senior has won a prize. They say that an initial payment needs to be made by the individual to gain access to the prize.
  • Phishing Emails
    Phishing emails may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. Scammers disguise themselves to gain access to your passwords, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information.
  • Widow Schemes
    Scammers will call a surviving spouse after losing a husband or wife. They claim to work for a financial institution associated with the deceased spouse and claim they need money to pay for fees, overdue bills, etc.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Elder Fraud

Scammers are always creating new tactics and avenues to target seniors. Here are steps you can take to stay on guard and protect yourself.

Hang Up and Call Back

Scammers often disguise themselves as a business or organization you’re familiar with. They may even disguise their number, so it looks like you’re receiving a call from a local area code. If you receive a call from a person claiming to be from your bank, the Social Security Office, or a particular charity, and they ask for personal information, hang up.

Then, find your most recent bank statement or the official phone number online and call back. This ensures that you speak with the legitimate organization or business.

Be Careful of Links and Attachments

Even if you know and trust the individual who sends you a link via email, social media, or text message, be cautious before clicking on it. You may want to call your friend or family member to verify that they sent you the link. Clicking on suspicious links can lead to viruses or spyware being downloaded to your device–something you want to avoid.

Be Aware of Acquaintances

Sadly, scammers aren’t always strangers. Be cautious when lending money to friends or family members with addiction issues, financial difficulties, or a history of criminal activity.

Reporting Elder Fraud and Scams

If you think you may be a victim of elder fraud, reach out to someone you trust. Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s important to address the issue before it becomes worse.

You can also report the scam to the local police, file an internet crime complaint, or call your local FBI office. Reporting the crime is the first step in getting the scam shut down so other seniors won’t be defrauded.

Senior practicing yoga

Yoga for Seniors

What comes to mind when you hear the word yoga? If it’s a young person twisted into a pretzel-like position, you’re not alone. Many people don’t realize that yoga for seniors is incredibly flexible – even if you’re not! Yoga can be adapted to meet the abilities of all age groups, from children to older adults.

Yoga is ideal for seniors looking for a gentle way to care for their mind and body. Here’s how to start a regular yoga practice. (No pretzel formation is necessary!)

The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

The mindful movement of yoga can be beneficial for everyone, including older adults. Regular practice increases muscle tone, balance, strength, and boosts mood.

Shelley Newhouse is the Director of Talent Attraction & Enablement at WelbeHealth. She is also a 500-hour certified yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She says yoga for seniors can help relieve stress and tension in the body.

“Yoga can make us more comfortable and at ease. When you start to integrate the breath and the mindfulness of the practice, it can be really calming,” Newhouse explains. “Yoga allows people to be more present. They aren’t as caught up in what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. Yoga can help people enjoy what is truly meaningful.”

By lengthening and stretching muscles, yoga can provide some relief for tight muscles and joints. If you have arthritis, you may find regular yoga helpful when paired with your other treatments.

Best Types of Yoga for Seniors

Chair Yoga for Seniors

If your mobility is limited, you can still get the benefits of yoga while sitting in a chair. In most cases, chair yoga is gentle and good for seniors who may be new to the activity.

During chair yoga for seniors, poses are done while seated comfortably in a chair. Or, you may use the chair for support during standing poses. You can choose how much you use the chair depending on your body and mobility. With time and regular practice, you may find that you need the chair than when you began!

Restorative Yoga for Seniors

While traditional yoga focuses on stretching and strengthening, restorative yoga focuses on relaxation. During restorative yoga for seniors, poses are gentle and often held longer. You’ll focus on your breath and quiet your mind.

Many restorative yoga poses are done lying on the ground. These poses are supportive to the nervous system and have a calming effect on the mind.

How to Get Started

Before you begin your yoga practice, there are a few things you’ll want to do to prepare. Take these steps to choose the yoga practice that is right for you.

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

Speaking with your healthcare provider is the first step and one you won’t want to skip. Let your doctor know that you’d like to try yoga, and make sure they don’t have any concerns.

Your physician may tell you to avoid certain poses or suggest you start with chair yoga. This conversation will help you stay safe, prevent injury, and know your limits.

Decide on Virtual or In-Person

In a post-pandemic world, yoga for seniors is more accessible than ever thanks to the internet. Do a quick search on YouTube to find many yoga videos. You’ll want to decide if you’re going to stream your yoga practice or find an in-person class.

Newhouse says there are advantages and drawbacks to virtual classes. “Virtual yoga classes are great because you can do them anywhere,” she says. “But people need to be mindful when they are doing a virtual class. They have to pay close attention to how their body feels because an instructor isn’t there to correct their alignment.”

Many beginner yogis may benefit from an in-person class where they can ask questions and get hands-on help from the instructor. Plus, being in a class with other seniors creates a sense of community. Check your local YMCA, recreation center, or senior center to find an in-person yoga class for older adults

Set the Mood

Whether you’re practicing at home or in a class, there are a few things you can do to optimize your yoga practice.

  • Choose a time of day – Pick whether you want to practice yoga in the morning or the evening. Make sure it is a time that you can stay consistent with.
  • Eliminate distractions – For some people, this may be silencing their phones or turning off the television. For others, it may mean decluttering their space.

“If your mind tends to wander, creating a distraction-free space can help you stay focused,” says Newhouse.

  • Wear comfy clothes – You don’t have to buy special clothes for yoga. Just wear something comfortable that you can move in.

 

Listen to Your Body

Like any activity, don’t push your body to its limit. If your body tells you to stop a certain movement, listen.

“You don’t need to go to the fullest extreme,” Newhouse advises. “If a movement creates pain or discomfort in your body, then definitely back off.”

Yoga Poses to Try

If you want to try yoga on your own, Newhouse recommends these poses.

 

Seated Mountain Pose

Benefits: Relaxes shoulders and promotes awareness in the body

Sit tall in your chair with your back straight and your hands on your knees. Gently soften your gaze, let your shoulders relax away from your ears, and focus on the sensation of your breathing.

 

Seated Cat/Cow

Benefits: Stretches chest muscles and releases tension in the neck

From your Seated Mountain Pose, inhale and arch your spine, moving your shoulders down your back. Exhale and round your spine, bringing your shoulders away from each other and your chin to your chest. Repeat 5-6 times.

 

Seated Side Bend

Benefits: Promotes balance and stretches the side of the body

From your Seated Mountain Pose, reach your right arm above your head and gently lean your upper body to the left. You’ll feel a lengthening sensation along the right side of your body. Hold for 3-4 breaths. Return to Seated Mountain Pose and repeat on the left side.

 

Standing Mountain Post

Benefits: Teaches the body alignment and awareness

Stand tall with your feet hips distance apart. Roll your shoulders back and bring your arms by your sides with your palms facing toward your body. Fix your gaze softly or close your eyes. Hold for 5-6 breaths.

 

Chair Pose

Benefits: Builds heat in the body and strengthens legs

From Standing Mountain Pose, sit your hips back like you’re about to sit into a chair. Shift most of your weight into your heels rather than your toes. Tuck your pelvic bone under to engage your core. Lift your arms over your head while pulling your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 3-4 breaths.

Final Thoughts

Whether you practice once a week or every day, the benefit of yoga for seniors is the same. Many studies have shown that older adults can increase their strength, flexibility, and balance through a regular yoga practice. Speak with your healthcare provider to see if yoga is a good activity for you!

Medi-cal changes for California seniors

Medi-Cal Changes for California Seniors

New and expanded Medi-Cal eligiblity criteria in 2022 will allow more people to access Medi-Cal coverage. Medi-Cal changes for California seniors offer many a new chance to qualify for Medi-Cal. Read on to learn more about these changes, which for some seniors could include becoming eligible for WelbeHealth or other PACE programs in your area.

For more detailed information, see the resources listed at the bottom of the article.

  • Expanded Coverage for Undocumented Seniors
    Beginning in May 2022, Medi-Cal benefits will be provided to all individuals over the age of 50 who meet financial eligibility requirements, regardless of immigration status. This includes primary, specialty, behavioral health, long-term care, and much more. Those not currently enrolled in restricted scope Medi-Cal will need to apply to find out if they meet eligibility requirements.
  • Increased Asset Limits
    In July of 2022, the asset limit will increase for many Medi-Cal programs from $2,000 to $130,000 for individuals (plus $65,000 for each additional family member). Once this change is in effect, DHCS will send letters to those who were denied Medi-Cal or terminated coverage for being over the asset limit during the 90 days before the effective date of the change.

How this may affect you: If you were previously denied Medi-Cal enrollment due to immigration status or assets, you may want to consider re-applying.

 

Changes to Medi-Cal Managed Care in 2022 and 2023

The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative standardizes managed care enrollment and benefits, addresses social determinants of health, and reduces inequities. As part of the CalAIM initiative, some health coverage changes will impact Medi-Cal enrollees across all of California. Other changes only impact certain populations or enrollees in certain counties.

How this may affect you: The way you receive Medi-Cal benefits through your managed care plan may be changing, including the health plan you are enrolled in or the services available through your current Medi-Cal managed care plan.

  • Changes for Dual-eligible, Medi-Cal and Medicare Individuals
    Starting January 2023, dual-eligible individuals will be required to enroll in a Medi-Cal managed care plan. If you are eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal, you will receive enrollment forms to choose the plan you want to enroll in. PACE programs such as WelbeHealth will be listed as an option on these enrollment forms. This is a great time to consider participating in WelbeHealth’s PACE services if you are eligible and live in one of our service areas.
  • Changes for those with a Medi-Cal share of cost
    As part of CalAIM, some Medi-Cal beneficiaries* with a share of cost are moving out of managed care, into fee-for-service Medi-Cal. If you have been on a Medi-Cal plan that has a share of cost, you will automatically be enrolled in fee-for-service Medi-Cal unless you live in a long-term care facility. This change affects those enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare and those enrolled in Medi-Cal only.If you were previously enrolled in a Cal MediConnect plan, you will be disenrolled from Cal MediConnect. You will need to select a new Part D prescription plan to cover prescription drugs.Note that under fee-for-service Medi-Cal, there may be some changes to how transportation is made available to you. DHCS’s Transportation Services web page provides instructions on how you can get transportation under fee-for-service.
  • Managed Care Enrollment for Certain Populations
    Certain population groups who are required to enroll in a Medi-Cal managed care plan are expanding statewide. If you are part of one of these special groups, you would have received two notices in the Fall of 2021. You can make a managed care selection or be added to a state-selected managed care plan.
  • End of MediConnect Plans in December
    As of December 31, 2022, if you are enrolled in a Cal MediConnect plan, you will automatically move to a dual special needs plans operated by the parent organization of your Cal MediConnect plan. If you have questions or would like to select a different health plan (including PACE), contact the Health Consumer Alliance (HCA) at 1-888-804-3536. The HCA can assist Californians who are trying to get or keep their health coverage.

 

Could you now be eligible for PACE?

WelbeHealth’s PACE provides all-inclusive coordinated care. Visit welbehealth.com for information about our services.

You may have questions about these Medi-Cal changes for California seniors. At WelbeHealth we have experts available to assist you in evaluating whether you qualify for Medi-Cal. Call us at (888) 530-4415, TTY (800) 735-2922 to learn more.

 

References and Resources:

*Some changes only affect individuals residing in a CCI county (Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Riverside, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Clara, and San Mateo) or a COHS county (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Orange, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Ventura, and Yolo).

Why Assembly Bill 540 Must Pass: Because seniors have a right to know about the PACE option for home and community based care