Category Archives: Stories from the Field

Patient Navigators: Creating a Healthier Community through Volunteering

By Malka Young, LICSW, Director of Community Impacts, JFS of Metrowest

The last time I saw the doctor; I drove into Boston, went through a maze of dark parking levels, backed into a narrow parking space, and traversed long corridors. I rushed, only to fill out my personal information forms that I had completed on previous visits and wait.  I marvel that individuals much older than me had to do this on their own before the Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Metrowest’s Patient Navigator Program started in late 2012. Continue reading

A Fall May Signify More Than Just an Accident

By John L. Brusch M.D., Associate Chief of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance

Falls are common among adults older than 65.  An estimated 14% of older adults in Massachusetts reported falling in the past three months. In about a third of these cases, they suffered an injury that needed medical care or restricted their usual activities for at least a day. Injuries from falling can include bruising, hip fractures, head trauma, or major lacerations. Sometimes complications from falls can be fatal— they are the fifth leading cause of death in older adults. Even the mere fear of falling can adversely affect elders, who may restrict their activities to avoid possible injury.  Such social isolation can lead to significant physical and emotional consequences. Continue reading

How to Identify Depression, and the Strength Behind the Pain

By Kathy Kuhn, Center for Aging and Disability Resource (CADER), BU School of Social Work

In my last blog post on mental health and aging, I described Ms. McKay, an older woman who was coping with multiple losses. She had significant hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. She had been active in her church but was spending more and more time alone in her apartment and not even collecting her mail. Her closest relative had recently moved away. She felt that nobody really cared if she even showed up. Despite the clear signs of depression, Ms. McKay’s provider did not notice them during her last doctor’s visit. Continue reading

How You Can Fight Elder Abuse in Massachusetts

By Betsey Crimmins, Senior Attorney, Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc.

An elderly parent is neglected and isolated by his adult child; a 92 year old woman is at risk for eviction after being fleeced by scammers and does not have enough money to pay her rent; an elderly couple in their nineties begin to physically abuse each other; a 71 year old woman with limited education and sensory disabilities is duped by her son into transferring her home to him;  a proud 86 year old veteran finds himself standing outside his home in his bathrobe clutching money and very disoriented.  These are just some examples of how elder abuse affects our families, friends, and neighbors every day in our communities. Elder abuse is a complex and multi-faceted problem which must be addressed by everyone who works with or cares about older adults.

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“It’s My Fault and I Just Need to Get Over It”: The Story of Ms. McKay’s Depression

By Kathy Kuhn, Center for Aging and Disability Resource (CADER), BU School of Social Work

I’d like to share with you a story from my days as a social worker at Kit Clark Senior Services (KCSS).

Ms. McKay is an 82-year-old African American woman living in Dorchester. She was single, with significant hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. Although she had a prosthetic leg, she was mobile. She had been active in her church but was recently spending more and more time alone in her apartment and not even collecting her mail. Her apartment was getting increasingly cluttered, bordering on hoarding. Continue reading

Caregiving Made a Little Easier in MetroWest

By Marty Cohen, President & CEO, MetroWest Health Foundation and Rebecca Gallo, Program Officer, MetroWest Health Foundation

Odds are if you are over 45, you already are or soon will be a caregiver. Seventy-five percent of all care received by older adults in the United States is provided by family members and friends, and many do not even identify themselves as caregivers. Continue reading

Improving Walkability in Fall River

By Jaime Corliss and Ben Wood, MDPH and Julie Kelly, Fall River Mass in Motion

Public health people love to talk about Policy, Systems and Environmental change (PSE for short). You probably have an understanding of what this concept means (and you may be sick of hearing about it; or if you are like us you live and love it!) but it is important to note how much this way of thinking is driving public health priority selection and resource allocation. Continue reading

Medication in Motion: The benefits of evidence-based Tai Chi for older adults

By Raymond Santos, Community Relations Director, Ethos

Falls are one of the biggest health risks for older adults. In fact, one in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year. Up to 30 percent of those who fall suffer injuries that make it difficult to move around easily, live independently and increase their chance of early death. Continue reading

Using the MA Healthy Aging Data Report to Understand, Engage and Act

By Elizabeth Costello, JSI; Project Manager, www.mahealthyagingcollaborative.org

Have you explored the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report or downloaded your city or town’s Community Profile? How are you using the data report to improve the health of older adults in your community? Learn how members of the Healthy Aging Collaborative are taking action in their communities.
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