Media Archive

Introducing The Online Resource Directory

The Council on Aging Silicon Valley (COASV), the premier advocate for providing services and information to seniors of the Santa Clara Valley since 1974, is proud to unveil the Online Resource Directory.

With this exciting new tool, we are able to offer the most current information on senior-related programs, services, and products. This is a beneficial resource for you because it offers you a tool to search for useful aging services in your community.

Information provided through the Online Resource Directory (ORD) includes such topics as housing, insurance, in-home care, and transportation. The search engine allows you to customize your search for organizations, programs, and products according to your needs based on the service you require, your age, and area served by the organization. You should feel confident knowing that the resources we provide you through the database are screened through consumer protection agencies and/or other monitoring services to ensure your safety. In addition, the information found on the ORD is the same information our COASV call center specialists refer to on a daily basis when you call us.

Understanding the busy life that most caregivers face, we make sure our Online Resource Directory is ready when you are—twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That way, we can give you information on organizations and support groups while you care for your loved ones. A specialized section on caregiver support offers information on respite, caregiver counseling, and training.

As services provided through our Online Resource Directory are continually updated, it is our hope that the directory allows seniors, caregivers, and fellow community-based providers the ability to find the right service that helps meet the challenges facing seniors today and in the future.

You can find the Online Resource Directory on our website www.coasiliconvalley.com and you can reach our Information and Assistance call specialists by dialing (408)350-3200, option 1.

Help! I've Fallen and I Can't Call For Help

Over thirteen million people 65 years of age and older will fall this year—that’s one fall every 2.3 seconds. But what happens if you are rendered unconscious when you fall – how do you summon help if you can’t press the button on your Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)?

The Council on Aging Silicon Valley’s Care Call Program is proud to offer AutoAlert, an innovative new product from Philips Lifeline that provides a solution to this problem.

After thousands of research hours and laboratory tests measuring and documenting the physics of a fall including: acceleration, height, and orientation – AutoAlert offers an intelligent alarm feature which can distinguish between everyday activities and dangerous falls.

This feature can tell whether you have simply dropped your pendant or if you have fallen down. If a fall is detected, clients have 30 seconds to sit or stand-up before AutoAlert will send a signal to the call center that a client is in need of assistance.

Every second counts when it comes to a fall, especially if a head injury is involved.

Some of the most common chronic diseases and conditions which increase fall risk include: high and low blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, COPD, stroke and sensory deficits such as glaucoma and neuropathy.

Additional fall risks include: multiple medications management (including medication mismanagement), age-related balance and mobility issues, and common trip hazards around the home such as electrical cords, pets, and loose throw rugs.

Every second counts when it comes to a fall, especially if a head injury is involved.

Care Call is proudly serving over 1,200 Santa Clara County residents ranging in age from 40 to 108.

Tack down your throw rugs and call Kerry or Nancy in the Care Call Program to schedule an installation today: (408) 350-3210.

Californians Unprepared for Long-Term Health Costs

UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research in conjunction with the SCAN Foundation recently released the results of a poll which reveals that California voters age 40 and aolder, regardless of their political affiliation and income level, are largely unprepared for the costs of long-term care.

The April 2010 press release reported that at least 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives, and more than 40 percent will get care in a nursing home even if it is only for a short period of time as is the case when people need to recover after a serious illness or accident.

UCLA reports that 70 percent of those polled were unaware that Medicare does not cover prolonged nursing home care. 66 percent could not afford three months of nursing home care and 42 percent could not even afford one month of care.

75 percent of those polled who were currently providing help to family or friends were very concerned about these high costs as were 74 percent of those who anticipate providing help in the near future.

The poll was conducted in both English and Spanish and of the 1,200 registered California voters surveyed, 63 percent reported annual incomes of $75,000 and above. Only 15 percent of those surveyed reported having long-term care insurance.

The average monthly cost of a nursing home ranges between $5,000 and $7,000.

UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research in conjunction with the SCAN Foundation sought to better understand the long-term care issues facing mid-age and older voters, given that the number of older Californians is projected to nearly double to 8 million in the next 25 years.

Chronic Conditions and Heat Related Illnesses

Are You at Risk?

Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are serious and can be life threatening. Adults at highest risk for heat-related illnesses include: those age sixty-five years and older and those managing a chronic disease or a chronic condition.

The American Geriatric Society reports that about one third of people aged sixty-five and older are managing three or more chronic diseases or chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, COPD, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Managing these types of long-term medical conditions often requires managing multiple prescription drugs. Certain prescription drugs (or combinations of them) can inhibit perspiration while the chronic diseases or conditions themselves may have also compromised the body’s natural ability to cool itself down.

As we get older, our blood vessel network becomes less robust. Our blood vessels dilate in response to heat and activate sweat production to cool us down. Since this natural response to warm temperatures is already compromised by age, the risk for heat-related illnesses increases when managing chronic diseases or conditions and prescription drugs as well. This is especially true if the chronic diseases or conditions impact the cardiovascular or respiratory system (such as obesity, heart disease, and COPD).

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. If you have an older friend, neighbor, family member, or tenant, check in on them this summer! Make sure they are hydrated, cool and comfortable and remind them to:

  • Drink plenty of water (avoid alcohol, caffeine or sugar rich liquids)
  • Wear lightweight clothing, such as cotton (so sweat can evaporate)
  • Take a cool bath or shower to cool down if they are hot
  • Limit physical activity to the morning and evening hours and remember that cement and asphalt radiate intense heat waves on hot days
  • Visit an air-conditioned location such as a community center or a movie theatre if they do not have A/C since opening a window or using a fan may not be enough

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses, visit the Center for Disease Control online at: http://bit.ly/aw2poN

 

Health Care Reform and Medicare Beneficiaries

Small Steps in the Right Direction

Health care reform will bring about many changes for Medicare beneficiaries over the next few years. Some of the more immediate changes, such as the Medicare Part D coverage gap rebate, are small steps in the right direction.

Beginning in June 2010 for instance, Medicare beneficiaries who reach the dreaded “donut hole” – the Part D coverage gap - should receive a $250.00 rebate.  In 2011, people who reach the gap will receive a 50% discount on brand-name drugs.

Over the next few years, beneficiaries with Part D will continue to enjoy this increase in coverage. By 2020, beneficiaries will only be responsible for 25% of their drug costs; 75% of their brand-name and generic drug costs will be covered by Part D.

Please be aware that scam artists will use any opportunity to exploit consumers.  Medicare Part D beneficiaries do not need to do anything to receive the $250 rebate when they reach the Part D coverage gap; they do not give out any personal information to receive this rebate. The checks will come from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, also known as CMS.

Another step in the right direction?

Beginning in 2011, Medicare beneficiaries will see a decrease in their out-of-pocket expenses for a wide range of preventative services such as annual wellness visits. Medicare will also begin penalizing hospitals with a high rate of preventable re-admissions by reducing their Medi-Care reimbursements.

Stay tuned for more news about how health Care Reform Legislation will help Medicare Beneficiaries, until then, please feel free to call the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) specialists at (408) 350-3200.

To learn more about how HealthCare Reform will affect seniors and Medicare coverage, you can watch an informative video created by Health and Human Services (HHS) on YouTube. Go to: http://bit.ly/9wSMrr

Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program

Council on Aging Silicon Valley (COASV) is pleased to announce a comprehensive new service offered by its Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). This innovative program appropriately named, "Medicare for Professionals," is designed to help empower local healthcare providers and to improve their customer service for current and future Medicare beneficiaries.

HICAP will host these custom, informative seminars at medical facilities throughout Silicon Valley including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and medical campuses such as those operated by Kaiser Permanente.

COASV believes that those who would benefit most from this service are doctors, nurses, discharge planners, social workers, nursing home administrators, medical receptionists, and patient benefits operators.

The seminars will focus on "everything Medicare" such as: eligibility and coverage, part D (prescription drug) comparisons, advantage plans, Medigap comparisons, billing, claims, appeals, Medicare savings programs, and low income subsidies. An additional seminar is also offered which focuses on Health Care Reform.

COASV's HICAP department has been providing these significant services directly to seniors and their family members in Silicon Valley for well over twenty years. Now is the time to educate healthcare professionals as well. In doing so, these professionals will be better-equipped and prepared for the Medicare inquires and issues addressed by older patients and their caregivers.

That particular demographic is the fastest growing segment of the population and will continue to grow for the next seventeen years. There will be more than 70 million Medicare recipients by 2030 – which is double the current number. When it comes to Medicare issues, local healthcare providers need to ensure that they have an effective staff and COASV's new "Medicare for Professionals" is an innovative service that offers education as a solution.

If you are a healthcare professional who is interested in scheduling or attending a comprehensive "Medicare for Professionals" seminar, please call Connie Corrales at 408-350-3240.

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