Tag Archives: seniors

Avoiding Hospital Readmissions

SENIOR NEWS LINE
by Matilda Charles

Question: What’s worse than being admitted to the hospital? Answer: Being readmitted quickly after being released. Far too often, just when we’re out of the hospital, something happens and we’re right back where we started. It’s expensive, and those who study these things have looked at the reasons for frequent hospital readmissions.

Here are some of the statistics from the Center for Studying Health System Change:

–About 8 percent of adults go back into the hospital within a month, and one-third within a year.

–One-third of us don’t see a doctor, nurse or anyone else within a month of being released from the hospital. After 90 days, 17 percent of us still haven’t seen a doctor.

–Those of us who don’t see a doctor are at a higher risk for going back into the hospital, especially those who also have other medical conditions. The sicker the patient, the higher the rate of return.

It doesn’t matter what kind of insurance we have.

Researchers say new ways must be found to bridge the gap between the doctors and hospitals. At this point, even where there are programs and coordinators to manage the discharge process, it hasn’t changed the rate of readmissions. There’s one additional, potentially serious glitch: One-third of doctors did not have the final hospital report on patients who did come in. And if they did have them, the reports were incomplete, and new medications might not be listed.

Here’s a suggestion to keep from being readmitted: When you leave the hospital, make a nurse write down your prescriptions and instructions for aftercare. The minute you get home, call your doctor. Make the earliest appointment possible, and take your instructions.

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Online Banking Grows by Leaps and Bounds

SENIOR NEWS LINE
by Matilda Charles

Online Banking Grows by Leaps and Bounds

Say it isn’t true. Seniors are moving to online banking?

So says a survey done by the American Bankers Association. For the first time ever, those of us age 55 and older now prefer doing our banking online rather than going to the bank in person or using the mail. It wasn’t just a few of us either. We went from 20 percent of seniors doing banking online in 2010 to a whopping 57 percent in 2011.

Part of this, it’s said, is due to the banks now having a long list of requirements to avoid the fees they now charge. In some cases we’re required to have a very large balance in savings or we’re charged a monthly fee to get statements by mail. Doing our banking online is often one of the ways we can save money.

Why do we do it? It’s convenient, especially if we no longer drive or if we live in places with inclement weather. For those of us who are so busy it’s not easy to get to the bank during working hours, online banking is a means to easily take care of business.

That doesn’t mean we’re eager to use our cell phones to conduct bank business, however. We’re not quite there yet. Computer classes have made us more comfortable pressing keys, but a small cell phone is easily lost. So, what can we do online? We can: transfer funds from one account to another, check balances, see if a check has cleared, view our statement and pay bills.

If you want to explore online banking, remember two key safety steps. Keep good virus protection on your computer, and close your browser after you log out of the bank’s website.

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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The Grandparent Scam

SENIOR NEWS LINE
by Matilda Charles

The Grandparent Scam targets seniors who fall for a trick of handing over money to an imposter grandchild. Even though it’s an old scam, it shows no sign of fading away. If anything, this scam is making a resurgence. Typically the senior will get a call, supposedly from a grandchild, and be told there’s an emergency: The grandchild is in trouble, or there’s been an accident, or a mistaken arrest. It sounds very believable.

No matter what the story, it always involves the need for secrecy — and fast cash to be wired immediately. Sometimes the story is that the money is needed to pay an attorney or for medical treatment. Perhaps the person on the other end of the phone pretends to be the police, a doctor or an attorney.

If you get one of these calls, don’t immediately agree to send money. Your first step is to verify the details. Is it really your grandchild on the other end of the phone? If you don’t recognize your grandchild’s voice, don’t feed him information by saying “Is this David?” Wait until he gives you the
name. If he doesn’t, it’s likely a scam.

Your second step is to call your grandchild’s home to verify whether he or she is actually away — or sitting right there. Whatever you do, don’t send any money without verification. Keep in mind that crooks on social media sites online can glean a lot of information. Beware naming your grandchildren on Facebook or anywhere else. If this has happened to you, you must report it to the police. But you won’t be alone. Thousands of others experienced this type of scam last year alone.

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service,
P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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