KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Coverage Changes Prompt Aging, Disabled Care Concerns

NPR examines a new way to combat Alzheimer's -- with storytelling. In the meantime, health care changes to programs and budgets have some worried about how they will affect the aging and those with disabilities.  

NPR: Alzheimer's Patients Turn To Stories Instead Of Memories
Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of communication -- it's how we learn about the world. It turns out that for people with dementia, storytelling can be therapeutic. It gives people who don't communicate well a chance to communicate. And you don't need any training to run a session (Silberner, 5/14).

HealthyCal: The Health Perils Of Aging: Lonely and Sick
Social isolation and its common offspring -- loneliness -- became a political hot potato when California recently cut back on its adult day health care program, disqualifying 20 percent of the state's older and disabled citizens from its attendance rolls. Families who depended on the centers for medical supervision and social interaction suddenly had to scramble to find new programs to care for these relatives. For seniors with or without families, this often meant more time home alone. ... Loneliness can increase ... blood pressure, limit the body's ability to fight off illness, and has been linked to higher death rates (Perry, 5/13). 

North Carolina Health News: NC Creates A Dilemma For The Grahams
Nancy Graham is 37 and has a developmental disability, the result of a genetic disease called Tay-Sachs, that's slowly eating away at her nervous system. ... The Grahams say they worry about the changes coming to Smoky Mountain Center ... If the Graham's moved Nancy to a nursing home, the state would pay more for her care, and they believe she wouldn't get care that's as good as what they provide. But, the Grahams are being given fewer services to use for Nancy's care because she lives at home (Wilson, 5/11). 

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