ADVICE FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST

Do you know what a bucket list is? Most people think it is a list of things you want to do before you die. A typical guess is people want to visit a particular place before dying. Based on an unscientific poll about bucket lists, that is not a bad guess. Travel appears to be a frequent bucket list ambition.  Anne is an American who is proud her ancestors lived for centuries on the group of small islands in the English Channel between the southern coast of England and mainland Europe.

REDUCE STRESS, INCREASE ENJOYMENT FOR A HAPPY 2018

Family caregivers provide practical assistance and enhance the quality of life for frail seniors who might otherwise require placement in a long-term-care facility. Typically, caregivers are spouses or adult children, many of whom are seniors themselves. Their role involves physical, psychological, emotional and financial demands. It can be a heavy load.  If you are a caregiver, consider the following strategies for not only surviving but thriving in the year ahead.

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DISCOVER A LOVE OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Curiosity, exploring interests and engagement are a few crucial ingredients to healthy and happy longevity. Enrolling in a class just for the love of learning is a great way to do this. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Kentucky offers educational and enrichment courses, forums, shared interest groups, trips and more for adults age 50 years and older. Membership for the full year is $25; summer programs are at a prorated fee.

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 some of whom will be in their 80s in about a decade. For this group and the generations that follow, individuals will have fewer family caregivers to provide unpaid help. At present, there is no national solution, which means these challenges are up to individual states to address. Some states are doing better and some are doing worse in these matters.


The second evaluation of states’ LTSS services was done in 2014. Five areas were considered: affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and care, support for family caregivers and effective transitions. The highest ranking state across all five dimensions was Minnesota. Kentucky was dead last across the board. The 2014 LTSS scorecard results are available at www.longtermscorecard.org


The next LTSS Scorecard has not been released yet. For ongoing research and reports pertaining to long-term care and family caregiving, visit AARP at www.aarp.org/ppi/issues/caregiving.

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation, has released its 2016 Scorecard on Local Health System Performance (LHSP). This is the foundation’s second evaluation; the first report was released in 2012.


This year the scorecard measures changes in local area performance over recent years. For most localities, this is anywhere from 2011 to 2014.


The scorecard compared health care access and quality, avoidable hospital use, costs of care and health outcomes. Of the 300 communities evaluated, there was overall improvement in terms of fewer uninsured residents, better quality of care in doctors’ offices and hospitals, more efficient use of hospital and fewer deaths from treatable cancers. However, there are still vast differences between measurable areas throughout many local health systems. Fortunately, Lexington saw many improvements, including improvements in:


•  adults with age-appropriate vaccines;

•  home health patients who got better at walking or moving around;

•  home health patients whose wounds improved or healed after surgery;

•  risk-adjusted 30-day mortality among Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia or stroke;

•  colorectal cancer deaths;

•  hospital admissions among Medicare beneficiaries for

FOUNDATION RELEASES 2016 SCORECARD ON LOCAL HEALTH SYSTEM PERFORMANCE

ambulatory-care sensitive conditions for those aged 75 and older;

•  Medicare beneficiaries with dementia, hip or pelvic fracture or chronic renal failure who received a prescription drug that is contraindicated for that condition;

•  Medicare beneficiaries who received at least one drug the elderly should avoid;

•  Medicare 30-day hospital readmissions; and

•  Uninsured adults ages 19 to 64.


Lexington saw an increase in obesity, which was the most notable measure of decline from the 2012 LHSP Scorecard. For more details on this report, visit www.commonwealthfund.org


In addition to this scorecard, the Commonwealth Fund partners with AARP to produce the Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard. This scorecard is a multidimensional approach to measuring state-level performance in areas that assist the elderly, adults with disabilities and family caregivers. This evaluation system began in 2011.


One driver for creating the LTSS Scorecard is the aging Baby Boomer generation,

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by Angela S. Hoover