Author Archives: Maryann

It’s coming for all of us…

WaPo today has an article about the climate effects of different death care options.

Some of us may feel there are better uses for acreage than putting boxes in the ground that will be there for pretty much ever. Cremation has become much more common and acceptable, but has a very large environmental cost.

Human composting and natural burial are becoming more common, as you can read in the article. Currently human composting is not legal in VA – you can contact your state reps about this if it appeals to you – but we do have some natural burial grounds. At this time our closest such ground is near Harrisonburg, but there’s a local Cville option that we hope will open sometime soon, at Panorama Farms.

What are your thoughts about these options? Have you already made a plan?

Medicare Advantage: not always to our advantage.

We make no secret of our skepticism regarding Medicare Advantage. And it’s popular, including as it does things like gym memberships, dental care, and other ‘perks’. What could be wrong?

Well, Kaiser Health News a few months back published this story about how Advantage plans restrict coverage. This example is the plan dictating when a covered member is ready to leave rehabilitation. With traditional Medicare, it’s your health care team that makes those decisions. As it should be.

So caveat emptor big time here with Medicare Advantage.

Live to 100: yes or no?

Here’s a recent Washington Post article about the increasing number of centenarians. The article itself is about what you’d expect, but some of the comments are priceless.

Enjoy your weekend!

News that will (not) surprise you re: home health care inequity

Imagine: Black and Hispanic elders are more likely than white elders to receive in-home care from unpaid “informal caregivers,” according to this article in Home Care magazine.

It reports on a national survey of Medicare recipients by the Commonwealth Fund. The issues of concern, beyond the essential inequity, include an increased risk of inadequate care by untrained family members, and the burden imposed on those family members, who must take time off or even give up paid work to provide care.

Medicare does offer a home health benefit, although, unfortunately, it seems to be widely misunderstood. Our Cville Village will work with JABA to make sure members know what their benefits and rights are.

Getting more out of your walks

Reprinted in today’s New York Times, an article from mid-2022 about several ways you can keep your daily walks from getting old.

We’d add one more: listen to a podcast while you’re out walking. There are so many really good ones out there! Some of our favorites:

Stay Tuned

Hidden Brain

Hit Parade

A bit niche, but since returning from Australia we keep up with the ABC Health Report

Put a podcast app on your phone (it probably has one already) and go looking for what interests you!

But if you do listen while out and about, always be aware of your surroundings.

What your grip strength might tell you

Today’s news is from the WaPo, reporting on a study of the relationship between grip strength and biological age aka epigenetic age, as opposed to your chronological age.

You may have heard of these two markers of age, and how nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle factors can ‘age’ you more or less than your chrono age. This study is observational so can’t say definitively that less grip strength = greater epigenetic aging. But resistance (strength) training has been shown in other studies to promote healthy aging with less risk of falls and more confidence in the world. Seems like a win.

Still driving? Should you/they be?

One of the most fraught situations that comes up between aging parents and their adult children is determining when the parent is no longer safe to drive.

Here is some basic guidance for making that decision. No matter the circumstances, it’s almost never easy to be the ‘bad guy’ taking the keys away.

For ourselves we hope we have the sense and the grace to stop when the time has come.

And that Cville Village will be here for us then.

Vaccines are FREE now for Medicare part D beneficiaries

Saturday’s New York Times included this article summarizing the 2023 and future changes to part D that are going to start making a difference for seniors on Traditional Medicare.

In our opinion the absolute best news for the majority of Medicare users is that vaccines are now FREE. No copay. We planned to get the shingles vaccine last year but were put off by the copay which was something like $175. (And you need 2 doses.) But no longer! We will be rocking up to our local pharmacy very soon for our first dose.

If you have ever had chickenpox, you’re at risk for shingles; and if you’re at risk for shingles, and haven’t had the Shingrix vaccine, consider getting it. Shingles itself can be variably annoying and painful but usually for a limited time. However, a not-infrequent complication of shingles called post-herpetic neuralgia (“neuralgia” = nerve pain) (PHN) is PAINFUL and can persist for months.

Our own dear Dad had shingles that affected one ear. It happened to be the ear that had the hearing aid, which was the only ear that worked (he was totally deaf in the other one). He got PHN following the acute shingles episode and for several weeks could not wear his hearing aid because it hurt too much. He lost a good deal of his ability to communicate during that time.

Now we can prevent the same thing happening to us, at no cost except our time. Well worth it.

Have you seen The Center?

We hadn’t, until today. What a spectacular building! Spacious, bright, and welcoming. Lots of classrooms of varying sizes, a full auditorium for performances but with no fixed seating so it’s also for parties and dances, dance and art studios, peaceful outdoor spaces, a fitness center, and coffee…the only thing missing is the pool and hot tub. We should have taken some photos.

A fabulous resource for all of us in Cville. Here at Cville Village we look forward to collaboration with the Center in the years to come.

Excitement!

When engaged in the startup of a new nonprofit, there are many ups and downs. Today was a very, very big UP.

Why? you ask. Well, the prospect of sufficient funding to launch Cville Village in our first, pilot neighborhood is starting to look real. So join with us as we do a little virtual joy dancing around our living room!