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Guest Blog Post: Joining Forces for Health Care Decisions Month

The following is a guest blog post from Ellen DiPaola, Esq., President and CEO of Honoring Choices Massachusetts.

This year, Honoring Choices Massachusetts is so pleased to join forces with The Conversation Project  and The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care for one amazing collaborative initiative: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of National Health Care Decisions Day.

Every competent adult, 18 and older, can download a free “Getting Started Tool Kit”  to make your own health care plan. The Honoring Choices Community Partners across the Commonwealth will be hosting activities and events all month to help consumers make a plan and get connected to person-centered care in their community.

Make Your Own Plan!  The Getting Started Tool Kit  is an easy to use, step-by-step guide to start to make your own Health Care Plan. You can appoint a Health Care Agent (“Agent”) in a Health Care Proxy; give your Agent instructions for the kind of care you want in a Personal Directive (or Living Will), and work in partnership with your doctors & providers to put your plan into action to match quality care to your goals, values and choices. The tool kit includes a free Massachusetts Health Care Proxy document, a Personal Directive document, and a handy discussion guide “5 Things to Talk About with Your Care Providers’.

Host an activity with your group!  You can download a free flyer, table poster and tool kit and host an activity where you work, live or gather.  Tell us about your activity and we’ll post it on our Calendar of Events. For free tools and ideas for activities/events, click here.

You can view and download other helpful tools and materials, including:

For more information and to see the Calendar of Events, go to the April is Health Care Decisions Month webpage.

Guest Blog Post: MA DPH Raises Prediabetes Awareness for Diabetes Alert Day

The following is a guest Blog Post from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in recognition of Diabetes Alert Day (March 28th)

Type 2 diabetes is a serious and costly public health issue affecting tens of millions of Americans. Older adults have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. For those over 65, 1 in every 2 has prediabetes. In Massachusetts, there may be as many as 1.8 million adults who have prediabetes.

What is prediabetes? Prediabetes happens when blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes.

An intervention, however, in the form of a prediabetes screening and referral to an evidence-based lifestyle change program, can help prevent the development of diabetes and the many serious conditions and complications associated with it.

Most people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. Only 1 in 10 Americans know they have prediabetes. In Massachusetts, only 1 in 20 residents (5%) with prediabetes know they have it. [1]

With no change in lifestyles, 15 to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.[2]

Diabetes Prevention Program: A National Movement

Health care providers can now diagnose prediabetes with a simple blood glucose test. For those patients who are diagnosed with prediabetes, providers can refer to a local Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

A proven interventional approach, DPP uses trained coaches who help people make realistic lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, adding more physical activity, and managing stress. Group DPP sessions are typically held at a local YMCA, community or wellness center, or other nearby venue. The 1 hour long classes meet weekly for the first six months and then monthly for the next six months.

Studies show that DPP participants have cut their risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 58 percent (70 % for adults over the age of 60).[3]

Prediabetes Screening

The CDC and AMA strongly urge that individuals ask their doctors if they’re at risk for diabetes and if they need a prediabetes screening. Likewise, health care providers are urged to prescribe blood glucose tests for patients who may be at risk for diabetes.

Patients who are diagnosed with prediabetes should be referred to a local DPP site.

Learn More Today

Visit the Massachusetts Diabetes Prevention Program website – www.mass.gov/dph/preventdiabetes  to download a toolkit with related materials regarding testing and diagnosis of prediabetes and to find a DPP site near you!

For Age-Friendly Communities

Visit the Community Profiles report from the MA Healthy Aging Collaborative and click on your city or town to see how older adults compare to state averages in terms of prevalence of diabetes. The DPP intervention can be part of your community’s action plan to improve healthy aging locally.

[1] American Diabetes Association

[2] CDC (www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/resources_hcp.htm)

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11832527

Boston Globe Reports on Elder Abuse and Neglect

An ideal age-friendly community is one where residents take responsibility for the well-being of older adults, but as the Boston Globe explored in a recent article, reporting potential abuse or neglect of an elder friend or neighbor may not be so straightforward.

Highlighting a local case of elder neglect that gained national attention, the Globe article mentioned how the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs and City of Boston offer ways to report concern for older adults.

Making the call is an act that people struggle with, as the Globe found, but different communities take different approaches. The article began with a Billerica police officer that performs wellness checks on behalf of the town’s council on aging and concluded with a letter carrier from Nahant who had no issue making the call for an older adult on his route who experienced a stroke.

See the full article here and the elder abuse hotlines listed by the Globe story below:

Where to report concerns about older adults:

  • Concerns about elder abuse or neglect can be reported statewide to the Elder Abuse Hotline 24 hours a day: 800-922-2275
  • Regarding elders residing in the city of Boston, one can also file a report with Central Boston Elder Services during business hours: 617-442-4200º
  • For questions regarding elder services, other than reports of abuse or neglect, call 800-AGE-INFO (243-4636)
  • If you fear an emergency, call the police: 911

First Director Hired for Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative

By the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative web team

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative announced today that James Fuccione will direct the group’s activities and initiatives as senior director, a new position created to advance age-friendly communities in Massachusetts. Funded by Tufts Health Plan Foundation, the post was designed to lead the statewide collaboration of more than 100 organizations to advance the emerging movement supporting older adults, and to make Massachusetts a national leader in vibrant age-friendly communities and healthy aging policies. Continue reading

West Springfield joins AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Cross-posted from MassLive.com, by Conor Berry

Mike Festa, state director of AARP Massachusetts, traveled from Boston to West Springfield on Thursday to welcome the Hampden County city into the organization’s Network of Age-friendly Communities. However, it was Mayor Will Reichelt who formally declared West Springfield an “age-friendly community,” after reading a proclamation that adopted the AARP and World Health Organization’s principles on aging. Read complete article.

Scholarship Opportunity for 2017 Collective Impact Convening

The Collective Impact Forum is hosting its 2017 Collective Impact Convening in Boston on May 23-25, 2017.  A 50% reduced-price registration scholarship is available for qualified individuals. All scholarship applications must be completed by 5pm Pacific on Friday, January 6.

Scholarships are to subsidize registration for those whose organizational budgets are less than $500,000, or who are from an underrepresented group within nonprofit leadership. People of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify on the LGBTQIA spectrum are encouraged to apply.

Learn more and apply for a scholarship

Salem seeks to support older residents

Cross-posted from The Boston Globe

Salem is seeking community feedback on a draft plan outlining how the city can best meet the needs of its older residents. The city earlier this year became the third community in Massachusetts to join the American Association of Retired Persons’ national network of Age-Friendly Communities. The plan focuses on how the city will pursue what AARP and the World Health Organization have identified as the “eight domains” of an age-friendly community. Read the full article.

Yarmouth seniors, D-Y teens combine for model UN

Cross-posted from Wicked Local Yarmouth
By Conor Powers-Smith

A major emphasis of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Communities initiative is bringing together people of all ages to share thoughts and perspectives. Yarmouth, the first town on the Cape to join the age-friendly network, held one such intergenerational event on Saturday, launching a model UN comprised of local seniors and students at D-Y High School. Continue reading

Building a village in a city for Waltham seniors

Cross-posted from Wicked Local Waltham
By

With a growing senior population, what needs to happen to make Waltham a better community for healthy aging? This was the question posed by Brandeis professor Walter Leutz in his recent study, “Healthy Aging in Waltham – Going Places?” Spanning a year and a half from its conception in December 2014 to the final report in May 2016, the study looked at what makes Waltham a good or bad place to grow old and how it can be made better. Read the full post