Drug-Resistant ‘Super Bug’ Hits LA County Hospitals, Nursing Homes « CBS Los Angeles

If you think you need an antibiotic, think twice. The more antibiotics we take, the more super bugs we make possible. Don't ask your doctor for one just for a cold, flu or a cough. Make her (or him) take a throat culture first to make sure you have a bacterial infection.

And if you wind up in a hospital, make sure everyone who comes in your room or examines you has washed their hands. At the "How to Live to Be 100" talk at the annual Aging In Place in Darien luncheon, a doctor told us that being vigilant about hand washing in all medical settings is key to getting a good outcome. He told us to stay out of the hospital, if possible. But if we have to go, then protect yourself and your loved ones from the bacteria that are everywhere. He said he had to do this for his own family members when they went into the hospital.

The problem is that if we don't stop using too many antibiotics and we don't protect ourselves, we'll get more outbreaks of super bugs like the one in Los Angeles. See below.

Drug-Resistant ‘Super Bug’ Hits LA County Hospitals, Nursing Homes « CBS Los Angeles

You May Need Protection from the Dark Side of Reverse Mortgages

Did you know that if you have a reverse mortgage in only one spouse's name that when he or she dies, the other spouse will most likely lose the house? Even worse, they could wind up owing even more money than the value of the house. That information hit me hard when I read about a lawsuit being brought by AARP against the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"). HUD regulates reverse mortgages.

Older adults can tap the equity built up in their homes by taking out a reverse mortgage. They get monthly payments made to them from a bank that holds the mortgage. The older adult(s) can use that money any way they like. When the mortgage holder dies, the house is sold to repay the loan. This was all fine and good while housing prices were rising.

But when housing values fell, homes that suddenly had to be sold were worth less than the value of the mortgage. So the surviving spouse suddenly owed more money than the house was worth. And if their name wasn't on the mortgage, the house would be taken away and sold.

AARP is bringing suit to right these wrongs. On March 9, 201, The New York Times ran an article about the suit, the details, facts behind it, and profiles of surviving spouses who are out the fees and possibly their homes.

If you are in a reverse mortgage or are considering taking one out, read this article first. Do your homework. Consult a good attorney.

Read on:
Published: March 8, 2011
The lawsuit argues that changes in late 2008 meant that surviving spouses not named on the mortgage must pay the full balance to keep the home, even if it is worth less.

You Can Recover from a Stroke at Home

You read that headline correctly. You can recover from a stroke or other brain injury at home. And you can continue to make progress for a far longer time than previously thought -- up to a year.

The largest study ever conducted on stroke rehabilitation has revealed that intense physical therapy performed at home is just as good as physical therapy in an institutional setting. But the physical therapy has to be intense, and it has to occur within a year of the brain injury. The study is called the Locomotor Experience Applied Post-Stroke trial. The physical therapies tested were designed to enhance flexibility, range of motion, strength and balance -- all with the aim of improving walking. The study measured how well the patients could walk one year after the stroke.

To me this is phenomenal news, offering great hope. My own mother suffered from a major stroke, and it was incredible to me to see how she gradually got back some of her abilities to speak and to do things, although she never really recovered. She had no physical therapy at all, just a lot of love and some good and bad care-givers.

You can read more about the study funded by the National Institutes of Health and involving the University of Southern California.


Handling Multiple Chronic Conditions

Did you know that two-thirds of older adults suffer from multiple chronic conditions? As we're living longer, more sedentary lives, more problems just build up.

In December, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a report:
Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions on the challenge our nation and its people are facing in dealing with this problem. How can we reduce the costs for society, taxpayers and the individuals who are afflicted by so many different ailments?

Big pharma and specialist seem to want to treat each condition in isolation and with drugs. But this approach has the very real potential to wreak havoc with unintended drug interactions. We need a new system with one doctor in charge of a team that works together.

 We individuals need to read up on this challenge and put pressure on our congress, our president and the medical establishment to start implementing some real solutions. The models are out there at places like the Mayo Clinic. The problem is that there are too many special interest groups with too much money and entrenched positions who are controlling the situation.

Electronic health records can be part of the solution. Being an advocate for your own health is another. And expecting the medical establishment to use more "best practices" is still another. 

Read more at:
http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/12/20101214a.html and in Jane Brody's column in The New York Times: