elderly

Virginia Gordan

There's a digital divide in health care.

Less than one third of Americans over 65 go online to get information about their health, according to a new University of Michigan study.

And barely 10% of older Americans with low health literacy – that is, who have difficulty finding their way around the health system – use the Internet to access health information.

Helen Levy, research associate professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research and lead author, said the digital divide could lead to disparities in health care and health outcomes.

cswe.org

The state of Michigan still has a way to go when it comes to serving its aging residents.
A new national scorecard by the AARP ranks the state 31st in terms of long-term services and support for the elderly.

The report also focused on how well states support family caregivers who provide the bulk of care for older Michiganders.  This can cause stress and financial burden on those families, especially those who are juggling their own families and full-time jobs. 

Keeping elderly Michiganders mobile is the subject of a conference this week in Detroit.

Kimberly Lariviere is one of the organizers of the conference. She says most adults will outlive their ability to drive safely by as much as seven to ten years.

Lariviere says the Michigan Department of Transportation will be releasing a guide for older drivers at the conference.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The 2010 census showed about 1,700 people in Michigan were more than 100 years old.

A new U.S. Census report says those centenarians are overwhelmingly women, with less education and higher rates of poverty than other American retirees.

Brian Kincel is a statistical analyst with the U.S. Census Bureau. He says the numbers reflect social and economic conditions in the 1920s, when the current crop of centenarians came of age.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

New research from the University of Michigan may show a way to help older people recover their independence after suffering a serious injury.

It’s estimated that 40% of trauma patients will be 65 and older during the next four decades.

Getting geriatric patients back on their feet and independent is especially difficult.

U of M researchers interviewed older patients a year after being seriously injured in an accident.

macombcountymi.gov

It should be that every senior citizen in Michigan is safe and secure with no threat of abuse.

But that is not the case.

Elder abuse is real, whether that abuse is physical, emotional or even financial. It is one of the most underreported crimes in our state and across the country.

One guess is that 100,000 seniors in Michigan will be victimized by someone looking to take advantage of them.

This morning, Cynthia Canty was given the privilege to emcee the unveiling of a new campaign called "No Excuse for Elder Abuse".

She introduced a panel of high-ranking judges and prosecutors representing seven counties in Southeast Michigan.

Each of the judges and prosecutors at the event this morning have agreed to serve as the "champion" for the No Excuse for Elder Abuse campaign in his or her county.

Among those members was Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

Smith joined us on Stateside today, to give us his experiences on elder abuse and to give us a breakdown on the patterns of what is happening, who is taking advantage of Michigan's senior citizens and what he hopes the campaign will achieve. 

There will be Public Service Announcements hitting the airwaves promoting the confidential hotline for reporting abuse. That number is 855-444-3911.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder is scheduled to sign a law tomorrow that will transform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a customer-owned non-profit insurance company.

Supporters say the change will make Michigan’s health insurance market more competitive.

But the AARP and other opponents complain the change will eventually cost nearly 200 thousand Michigan senior citizens the Medi-gap coverage they need.

user mconnors / morgueFile

Michigan’s Department of Human Services has introduced a more streamlined process for reporting child and elder abuse in the state.

It’s one of a series of child welfare improvements the state agreed to make when it settled a lawsuit with New York-based Children’s Rights group in 2008.

The agreement required DHS to create a statewide, 24-hour hotline that anyone in Michigan can call to report possible child or elder abuse.

(courtesy of HIVandHepatitis.com)

A new University of Michigan study finds a particular type of liver disease is becoming increasingly common among the elderly.  

Cirrhosis is a chronic condition that slowly deteriorates the liver. Long associated with alcoholism and Hepatitis C,  obesity now  is linked to a growing percentage of Cirrhosis patients.   

The Royal Parks website

A community near Akron, Ohio opened a new playground last week - one specially designed for senior citizens.
    

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the playground consists of eight pieces of low-impact athletic equipment designed for older adults.
    

Margaret Sutton/Creative Commons

A 78-year-old woman says a 6-mile canoe trip down a river in northeast Ohio was a dream come true. That’s despite the fact that she’s afraid of water.

Kay Riffle took her first canoe ride thanks partly to the Second Wind Dreams group. The nonprofit organization works to help grant dreams for seniors.

A proposal to encourage more reporting of senior abuse and strengthen penalties against people convicted of the abuse will be unveiled tomorrow at the state Capitol.

The measure will deal with physical and financial abuse of elderly people.

Republican state Senator Tanya Schuitmaker has worked on the issue for a couple years.

“You hear all too often about many cases that—where seniors are getting defrauded and certainly there are vulnerable adults out there that need to be protected.”

“I think [the proposal] strengthens and tightens the regulations that are also there. It also adds some assistance in terms of when someone with Alzheimer’s walks away that there’s a system of alert similar to the Amber Alert.”

Schuitmaker will introduce the bills during “Older Michiganians Day” at the Capitol. She expects the Legislature to vote on the measure this fall.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new Michigan State University study finds more than one in five Michigan nursing home patients is neglected. 


 The study examined cases of physical neglect, in which the caregiver failed or refused to meet a resident’s needs of food, water, personal hygiene, clothing, medicine, shelter, personal safety or comfort.

 The number of adults over 50 entering into substance abuse treatment nearly doubled in Michigan during the past decade, according to a new state health department study.

 The Department of Community Health compared data on substance abuse treatment admissions from 2000 and 2009. 

Alcohol was and is the main reason most older adults ended up in treatment Michigan.

A decade ago, alcohol was the reason 85% of older Michiganders ended up in substance abuse treatment.  But by 2009,  that percentage dropped to 59%.