Senior Connection

Feb 21, 2010

Discharge Missteps Can Send Seniors Back To Hospital

Mr. Park, 85, recently was admitted to the hospital with community-acquired pneumonia and, after five days of intravenous antibiotic therapy, he was discharged home.

Mr. Park lives with his daughter. He has hypertension, benign prostate hyperplasia and mild Alzheimer's disease. His medications at home included bisoprolol/HCTZ, 5/6.25 mg; tamsulosin, 0.4 mg; and donepezil, 10 mg once a day. While he was in the hospital, the bisoprolol was switched to 50 mg of metoprolol twice a day because bisoprolol was not on the formulary. At the time of his discharge, an intern reviewed his hospital medication list and wrote out the prescriptions, which were given to Mr. Park by a nurse. Mr. Park's daughter filled the new prescriptions. When he returned home, Mr. Park resumed taking his usual medications, plus the new ones prescribed in the hospital. The combination of bisoprolol and metoprolol made Mr. Park bradycardic and dizzy. He fell on his way to the bathroom. When the emergency medical technicians arrived at his home, his heart rate was just 38 beats per minute. Mr. Park was readmitted to the hospital.

Patients often are discharged from the hospital to their homes unprepared to care adequately for themselves. Because of postdischarge missteps, many involving a medication mistake, patients too often may find themselves back in the hospital. Given the medications Mr. Park was mistakenly taking after he returned home, his dizziness and bradycardia could have been predicted and his readmission avoided.

This article provided by American Medical News. To read the entire article, please click here: AMA

Feb 18, 2010

HHS Awards Major Grant to SAGE
To Create First-Ever National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Administration on Aging have awarded Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) a three-year, $900,000 grant to create the nation's only national resource center on LGBT aging. The National Technical Assistance Resource Center for LGBT Elders will assist communities across the country in their efforts to provide services and supports for older LGBT people. The Resource Center will provide training to aging service providers and LGBT agencies nationwide, and will offer critically important educational tools to LGBT older people.

"The creation of a National Technical Assistance Resource Center for LGBT Elders is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "SAGE is extremely gratified to be given this opportunity to create and oversee the Resource Center in close cooperation with the Administration on Aging," continued Adams. "We are confident that working with AoA and our partners - who represent an extraordinary collaboration between the aging services network and the LGBT community - we will make a difference in the lives of every LGBT older person in every community in this country."

"Agencies that provide services to older individuals may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the needs of this underserved population," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The Resource Center will provide information, assistance and resources for both mainstream aging organizations and LGBT organizations and will provide assistance to LGBT individuals as they plan for future long-term care needs."

Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee explained: "AoA frequently turns to national organizations to support the Aging Network in their efforts to work with specific minority populations that are traditionally underserved. In the past, AoA has funded national organizations to provide technical assistance on providing supports and services to African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and Native Americans. With the full support of the current Administration, we now recognize that LGBT older adults also represent a community with unique needs that must be addressed."

Entire article can be read here:

Feb 10, 2010

It’s in OUR Hands!

This year, it’s time to Be Counted as part of the US Census!

The Census Bureau will mail everyone a short Census questionnaire in March. The hope is that everyone immediately takes the time to respond to the questions and mails the form back as soon as possible after receiving it.

People with disabilities have a major stake in a complete census count. An accurate count impacts several important programs and services, such as MassHealth, Medicare, SSI, programs funded by the Rehabilitation Act, housing, Vocational Rehabilitation, accessible transit, and special education for children ages 3 through 5.

Census officials believe that people with disabilities have been under-reported in past Census counts and have taken steps to increase the count. The Disability Policy Consortium is prepared to help by providing information to people with disabilities. The DPC has information on our website ( on how to participate in the Census, with specific details for people who are Deaf, Blind, and Deaf-Blind.

It is important that this information is shared with all PCAs. Please make sure PCAs understand the importance of the Census and that they must list all family members!

Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) will be available to assist those unable to read or understand the census form. For those with visual impairments, Language Assistance Guides will be available in large print and Braille. Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons who do not have access to Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 1-866-783-2010 via FedRelay, a free and confidential federal government communications service. In addition to these options, Language Assistance Guides also will be available in 59 languages at all QAC locations.

The Census Bureau cannot share questionnaire responses with any other entity or government agency, including immigration status.

For more information, please contact Robyn Powell at or 617-542-3522.

Information is also available at

Please consider joining the DPC – for FREE - at (click “Join DPCMA”). Together, we can make a difference!

Feb 9, 2010

Prescription Advantage State Pharmacy Assistance Program

For Members of Prescription Advantage:
Since Prescription Advantage has not been paying any part of your Medicare drug (Part D) premium this year, you should be paying your full monthly premium directly to your prescription drug plan. For most of you, Prescription Advantage will continue to help pay for your prescriptions, if you reach the Part D coverage gap (donut hole). Also, if you are unhappy with your current plan, you get one additional time each year to change your plan.

For those who may wish to become Members of Prescription Advantage:
Prescription Advantage can help lower your prescription costs. If you become a member and you do not have a Part D plan, you can join a plan now. You do not have to wait for the next Open Enrollment Period in November. If you are unhappy with your current drug plan, becoming a member gives you a chance to choose a different plan.

You are eligible to join Prescription Advantage, if you are 65 or older and your annual income is less than $54,150 for a single person or $72,850 for a married couple. If you are under 65 and disabled, you may also qualify, but at a lower income. There is no charge for joining Prescription Advantage if you have an annual income less than $32,490 for a single person and $43,710 for a married couple. There is no asset limit!

Call Prescription Advantage today for an application form. You can reach Prescription Advantage at 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636), then press or say 2.

You can now access our monthly SHINE chat line, sponsored by the Central Massachusetts Agency Aging, on the second Tuesday of each month. To attend the SHINE Session, go to and click on Connection for Caregiver button. Then click on the Support Groups and Chats button. Create a username and password, log in and click on SHINE.

If you need help on any aspect of your health insurance, SHINE offers free counseling at your local Senior Center or Council on Aging. Call your Senior Center or COA and ask for a SHINE appointment. You can reach a SHINE volunteer by phone at 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) If you get the SHINE voice mail, leave your name and phone number and a counselor will call you back as soon as possible. SHINE (Serving the Health Information of Elders) is coordinated by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with the Friends of the Milford Senior Center, The Massachusetts Councils on Aging, and other local agencies.

Feb 1, 2010

Thank you, Senator Moore!

Last week our office received the Massachusetts Senate citation sent through Sen Michael Moore (D-Millbury) in commemoration of Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging’s (CMAA) 35 years of service to elders and caregivers in the region. It is a terrific honor to receive this, and we offer our “Thanks!” to him and Senate President Therese Murray for this distinction.

Senator Moore is a new friend to CMAA, and we appreciate the work he does, and the sensitivity he has shown around concerning elders and caregivers of elders.

Certainly, the Board and Staff here at Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging wish Sen Moore well as he continues his journey in the Massachusetts Senate. Our hope is for his ongoing support of our agency and for those whom we serve.


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.