Senior News & Notes
By Kathleen Collins
Most boomers unaware of
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Aging reports that a research project conducted by AARP revealed most people underestimate the costs of long-term care.
“The Costs of Long-Term Care: Public Perceptions Versus Reality in 2006” surveyed 1,456 Americans ages 45 and older on the costs and funding sources for various types of long-term care. Researchers found that, while many people say they are “familiar” with long-term care, most underestimate the costs.
Among the findings:
Sixty percent are at least “somewhat familiar” with long-term care services currently available.
Only 8 percent could reasonably estimate the cost of nursing home care and just 23 percent could reasonably estimate the cost of assisted living.
Twenty-three percent do not know what an in-home visit by a skilled nurse would cost.
Only 9 percent could reasonably estimate the cost of an in-home visit by an aide.
Americans ages 45 and older often think government programs will provide coverage when they probably will not.
More than half (52 percent) incorrectly believe Medicare covers assisted living.
Six in 10 (59 percent) people mistakenly believe Medicare covers nursing home stays beyond three months for age-related or other chronic conditions.
AARP has also released a resource book, “Across the States 2006: Profiles of Long-Term Care and Independent Living,” which highlights the dramatic differences among the states in long-term care services and how these services are financed to help policymakers make informed decisions. Visit www.aarp.org/research/longtermcare/costs for more information.
Departmet of Aging
offers winter safety tips
COLUMBUS — When the temperature drops, older adults run a high risk of health problems related to the cold, ice and snow that comes with it, according to the Ohio Department of Aging.
Older adults should protects themselves against the following:
Hypothermia, a deadly drop in body temperature, includes the following symptoms: severe shivering, cold skin that is pale or ashy, tiredness, confusion, weakness, problems walking and slowed breathing or heart rate.
Frostbite is deep damage to the skin, usually affecting the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. People with heart disease and circulation problems are more likely to get frostbite. The telltale signs include numbness, ashy or grayish-yellow skin and skin that feels hard or waxy.
Falls are a leading cause of disability and death in senior citizens and the risk of falls increases significantly in the winter. To lower the odds of a fall, do not walk on icy or snowy sidewalks; wear boots with non-skid soles and replace the rubber tips on canes or walkers that have been worn smooth from use (replacements are available at most pharmacies).
If you or someone you know falls or show the signs of hypothermia or frostbite, dial 9-1-1 to get help immediately.
Extreme cold and wind can take a physical toll on anyone, regardless of age, and can impact energy levels and overall health. The best defense from the chill is to limit exposure to short periods, stay dry and always wear a hat, gloves or mittens, a coat, boots and a scarf that covers the mouth and nose.
Winter also means potentially hazardous driving conditions. Keep your vehicle in good working order and slow down on icy roads or avoid them, if possible. Carry a cell phone to call for help and maintain at least half a tank of fuel at all times, in case you get stranded.