elderly

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

I wish I could be in two places at once. This Friday, two health policy-related conferences take place simultaneously in Warwick. Here's a bit more about each, and why the issues they're covering matter to Rhode Islanders.

Rhode Island Community Food Bank will begin delivering boxes of food to low-income seniors. That’s thanks to the expansion of a federal program for seniors in need, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Boxes of canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, pasta and other items will be delivered to low income elderly Rhode Islanders starting this summer. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) helped secure federal funding to bring the US Department of Agriculture nutrition program for poor seniors to Rhode Island and six other states.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This story is part of our series “Rising Tide,” about how – or whether - Rhode Islanders are emerging from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s. The question we’re asking is: does a rising tide really lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind?

Today, we visit a diner in Warwick, where a group of women have joined forces to beat tough times.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Maybe you didn’t know it, but by state law no new nursing homes can be built in Rhode Island unless the owners agree to build a new kind of nursing home. This week state officials approved the application of the first new home since the moratorium began. It’s based on a concept called “culture change.” And Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay takes us to a home that’s already adopted it.

A program designed to help Rhode Island's older adult population prepare for climate change threats is one of several projects that will receive federal money as part of the state's disaster recovery action plan.  This program will receive $150,000 over the next two years.

I recently attended a conference at Rhode Island College about the health and social welfare needs of the Latino elderly in Rhode Island. And what struck me is something a couple of presenters focused on: the growing isolation of older Latinos here.

It's not something that was on my radar before, but it seems their numbers and needs are growing (there are nearly 9,000 Latinos in Rhode Island aged 60 and up). And really, their struggles are similar to those of other ethnic communities, even if language, education, and immigration issues compound them.

Elderly Latinos in Rhode Island and their families may not be aware of the programs available to help them.  That’s the premise of a conference planned for Wednesday at Rhode Island College.

RIC’s gerontology program is hosting the conference, called “Meeting the Needs of Latino Elderly.” The idea is to draw attention to state programs Latinos and their families might not know about because of language barriers or immigration status. But Latino community advocate and conference moderator Delia Rodriquez Masjoan said those aren’t the only reasons.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Health Department director Michael Fine have sent a letter to the CEO of United Healthcare New England expressing their concern over the insurer’s dropping of dozens of doctors from its managed Medicare plan in the state. They want United to reinstate doctors until they submit a plan to handle the transition.

Office of the Lt. Governor

I spoke with Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts this afternoon about her work on the state Alzheimers plan, what she calls a "living document" meant to guide  and coordinate Rhode Island's efforts to care for those with Alzheimers and those who care for them.

Rhode Islanders who are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid - the so-called "dual eligibles" - take note: you're being enrolled in a new health plan designed to coordinate your primary care and long term care needs a bit better. It's called the Integrated Care Initiative, it could affect nearly 28,000 Rhode Islanders, and it's not without controversy.

But first, what's it about?

Centenarians Honored at Annual Brunch

May 2, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island has the nation’s highest concentration of individuals over the age of 85.  So, it should come as no surprise that we also have a lot of centenarians.  Some of them were honored today at the Governor’s Annual Centenarian Brunch. Rhode Island Public Radio's Flo Jonic was there.

Hurd MD et al. / New England Journal of Medicine

News from the New England Journal of Medicine today finds that the cost of caring for people with dementia (including Alzheimer's) will more than double in the next couple of decades. That's because the nation's population is aging, and because the care can be expensive. Most of the estimated $215 billion dollars these diseases cost the economy can be chalked up to long term care.

Medical School / Tufts University

Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital have opened what they say are the state’s first emergency rooms designed to take better care of the elderly.

Hospital officials say it’s taken a year to renovate and retrofit both emergency rooms so that the physical environments are safer and more welcoming for seniors. Think non-skid floors, large print hospital forms, and portable devices to help the hard of hearing.

Monday, March18, 2013

Mar 18, 2013

Senator Jack Reed wants to see Liberian refugees put on the path to US citizenship.  State officials will consider reinstating bus service in Tiverton.   These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

The Silver Boom: Aging Behind Bars in RI

Mar 14, 2013
Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston RI
Flo Jonic / RIPR

In less than 20 years a quarter of the state's population will be older than 60. In a series we call "The Silver Boom: Aging in Rhode Island," we're looking at how the state will take care of this expanding older population .. and how it can benefit from it.  In this installment, we travel to Cranston to look  at the state’s aging prison population.

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