Ditch the Throw Rugs, Seniors!

Oct 23, 2017

Most fall-related hip fractures among elderly people in a New England study occurred in warm months and indoors -- with throw rugs a common culprit. "Given the results of this study, it appears that efforts to decrease fall risk among the elderly living in cold climates should not be preferentially aimed at preventing outdoor fractures in winter," said study author Dr. Jason Guercio. Instead, preventive efforts should focus on conditions present year-round, and especially on indoor risk, said Guercio. The researchers analyzed details about hip fractures suffered by 544 patients treated at the Hospital of Central Connecticut between 2013 and 2016. More than 55 percent of the hip fractures occurred during warm months, with the highest rates in May, September and October (around 10 percent each). In addition, the investigators found that more than three-quarters of the hip fractures occurred indoors. Moreover, 60 percent of outdoor fractures occurred from May through October, not in the depths of winter. The most common cause of both indoor and outdoor hip fracture? Tripping over an obstacle. Indoors, throw rugs were the most common obstacle cited. Falling out of bed was the second leading cause of indoor hip fractures.

SOURCE: Health Day

Nuedexta: The Drug Being Pushed on Nursing Home Residents

Oct 19, 2017

In a startling investigation, CNN has learned that the maker of a drug designed to treat an uncommon condition is increasingly pushing it on nursing home residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s — with sometimes dire consequences. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Avanir Pharmaceuticals’ drug Nuedexta in 2010 for pseudobulbar affect, or PBA, a condition marked by bouts of uncontrollable crying or laughing. PBA is most often associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. But it can occur with other neurological conditions, like stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. It affects less than 1 percent of the population. The clinical trials conducted for FDA approval included only people with MS or ALS. The FDA did approve Nuedexta for use with individuals with other disorders, like dementia, as long as they also have PBA. “But geriatric physicians, dementia researchers and other medical experts told CNN that PBA is extremely rare in dementia patients; several said it affects 5 percent or less. And state regulators have found doctors inappropriately diagnosing nursing home residents with PBA to justify using Nuedexta to treat patients whose confusion, agitation and unruly behavior make them difficult to manage.” The CNN investigation found that Avanir’s sales force was aggressively targeting nursing home residents and raking in “hundreds of millions of dollars a year.” The drug company also recruited doctors to prescribe and advocate for the drug. One California psychiatrist, Romeo Isidro, became a speaker for Avanir and was one of the physicians paid the most by the company, CNN says. Between 2013 and 2016, he received more than a half million dollars in payments, travel and meals. As early as 2012, he had more than 100 patients in 11 facilities on the drug. A 2015 study by Avanir tested the use of Nuedexta in a study of 194 Alzheimer’s patients exhibiting agitation; 152 of them received the drug. While the investigators wrote that the agitation of those receiving the drug “significantly improved” compared to those taking a placebo, the CNN report points out that more than twice as many patients (8.6 percent) on Nuedexta experienced falls compared with the placebo group (3.9 percent). According to the drug’s website, dizziness and weakness are among its most common side effects. Avanir declined requests for an interview

SOURCE: Next Avenue

SSA Launches New Wage Reporting Application

Oct 18, 2017

On September 23, 2017, SSA released a new wage reporting application behind the my Social Security portal. Now, people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and their representative payees can report wages securely online. It’s faster and easier than ever before for SSDI beneficiaries and their representative payees to report wages; they can avoid visiting a field office to report their wages in person and they can print or save a receipt of their report. When you sign up or log in to your my Social Security account, you’ll have access to this application on your desktop, laptop, and mobile device. After you report your wages online, you can save or print a copy of your receipt. This service will be available for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in the future. SSI recipients should continue to report wages through SSI Mobile Wage Reporting, SSI Telephone Wage Reporting, or by visiting a local field office.

SOURCE: SSA Blog

Tightening the Leash on Fake Service Dogs

Oct 16, 2017

In recent years, nineteen states have enacted laws cracking down on people who try to pass off their pets as service animals. The push has been gathering steam in recent years: Virginia implemented its new law in 2016, and Colorado followed suit this year. Massachusetts is now considering a similar proposal. “Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business,” said Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, who introduced the Massachusetts bill. “Their animals aren’t trained and end up misbehaving in these public places, which gives real service dogs a bad name. Supporters of the new laws compare those misbehaving dog owners to people who acquire handicap signs so they can park in spaces intended for disabled people. The laws make it a misdemeanor to represent an untrained dog as a service animal, and usually come with fines of no more than $500 for an incident. But because there is no certification or official national registry of legitimate service dogs, there is no way to verify whether a dog has undergone rigorous training to become a service animal. That makes it hard to enforce the laws, said David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law and editor of its Animal Legal and Historical Center website, which follows public policy issues related to animals. He said he’s not aware of anyone who has been prosecuted anywhere for violating them.

SOURCE: Stateline/Pew Charitable Trusts

Five Ways to Get More Money in Retirement

Oct 15, 2017

The average American retires with a net worth of around $210,000. Using a common rule of thumb known as the 4% rule, that typical retiree can plan to spend around $8,400 (4% of that balance) in the first year of retirement and increase spending with the rate of inflation annually. Add to that the average Social Security retiree benefit of around $1,369 per month ($16,428 per year), and the typical retiree can look forward to the lifestyle that around $24,828 per year can provide. If you'd like more than that out of your golden years, you'll need to figure out a way to bring in more cash. This article describes five proven ways that older persons can get more money in your retirement.

SOURCE: USA Today