weekly blog--one for the ages
Even in the happiest marriages, caring for an elderly parent can have a degenerative impact on the relationship with your spouse. All too often spouses fail to reach out to each other and talk about the many problems and conflicting feelings that arise, leading to misunderstandings and resentment. They also forget to do things that keep their romance alive and find time to have some fun.
As a society, we place a huge amount of emphasis on being there for each other when we are in need. Surprisingly, the emotional support from a partner can have the unfortunate side effect of making us feel indebted and more aware of our negative emotions.
Research has shown that people in a long-term committed relationship are especially sensitive to their partner’s emotions. Reacting positively to each other’s good news may very well be one of the essential ingredients to making a relationship stronger. Spouses who are unable to differentiate their partners' emotions from their own tend to be viewed by their partners as more controlling, smothering and uncaring.
It gives pause to not only finding ways to cope with the challenges of caring for an elderly parent, but devoting the time necessary to enhance one's relationship with their spouse.
Summer…The lazin’ on a Sunday afternoon this time of year has extended for the entire week. Summer is also a time to break away from the familiar and travel. I scoured the internet for advice sites geared to people of age. The common denominator among them: use common sense when planning a trip and while traveling.
Some more tips:
Also, here are seven travel snags that can turn tears of joy to the more troubling kind: food poisoning, scorching hot sand, a badly behaved grandchild, heat exhaustion, sea sickness, hungry alligators and sharks, and driving in heavy rain. (AARP)
This blog theme had its start with two people I met last week. One was a health network administrator who complained that Medicare was trying to save money by reducing payments to providers for certain procedures, forcing patients to pay more. Another person complained that he was forced to use a generic brand drug or pay considerably more for the branded version that his doctor prescribed.
The bottom line is that as the cost of healthcare escalates, Medicare continues to play a prominent role in how providers get paid, which ultimately affects how much comes out of the patient’s pocket.
For the last several years, Medicare has led the way in shifting from fee to value-based payment services. As a result, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have become increasingly popular. An estimated 23.5 million Americans are now being served by an ACO through more than 744 health organizations. And there is a good chance that your health provider is an ACO and you don’t even know it.
An ACO is a network of doctors and hospitals that share financial and medical responsibility for providing coordinated care to patients. The focus is on person-centered care with three goals: keep them healthy and out of the hospital, and to reduce unnecessary spending.
Tracking performance in this kind of environment is tricky because Medicare continues to reimburse health systems on a fee basis (FFS); then, at the end of the year, shared savings bonuses are calculated. If an ACO did better than the FFS population, it gets a piece of the savings. If after the first three years it does worse, it may have to pay a penalty.
Another healthcare trend of note identified by a recent article in the Boston Globe: claims for medical services costing $1 million are on the rise because the advanced drugs that are needed cost more, according to Sun Life Financial. The company sells stop-loss insurance that employers buy to protect themselves against expensive medical claims. Cancers are the most costly medical condition followed by kidney disease, birth defects, premature births, and transplant operations.
Inspired by an article in Boston University’s Bostonia Magazine…No matter how much we exercise or watch what we eat, our bodies still age unless you are lucky enough to be one of those seemingly ageless creatures that live on our planet. Consider the rougheye rockfish which can live more than 200 years without negligible signs of aging, or the ocean quahog which can live more than 500 years if it doesn’t succumb to predators, disease or the fryer.
Also, in the mix are minor workers of the ant Pheidole dentate. They can live up to 140 days in a laboratory without showing any signs of age-related decline before they die. In fact, these worker ants become more active as they age, and are better able to follow pheromone trails.
The idea of how these ants age has become the focus of research that may offer insights into human aging and Alzheimer’s. Although ant brains are unlike humans, researchers believe their social behavior may parallel something about our own social organization.
As for achieving true immortality, the Turritopsis Dohrnii jellyfish might come closest. It can transform itself from an adult back into a baby through a process known as ‘transdifferentiation’, in which one type of cell transforms into another. The jellyfish turns itself into a blob-like cyst, which then develops into a polyp colony; this is the first stage in jellyfish life. Through asexual reproduction, the resulting polyp colony can spawn hundreds of genetically identical jellyfish - near perfect copies of the original adult.