Posts Tagged ‘seniors’

For the Elderly, Emergency Rooms of Their Own

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012


By Anemona Hartocollis

April 9, 2012

The New York Times

Ms. Spielberger, who is in her 80s, was even getting into the spirit of the place, despite her unnerving condition. “It’s beautiful,” she said. “Everything here is wonderful.”

Yet this was an emergency room, one specifically designed for the elderly, part of a growing trend of hospitals’ trying to cater to the medical needs and sensibilities of aging baby boomers and their parents. Mount Sinai opened its geriatric emergency department, or geri-ed, two months ago, modeling it in part after one at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., which opened in 2009.

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Sunday, January 2nd, 2011







By Fanny Shwartz


Hamlet's monologue asks the famous determining question "To be or not to be”.  This classic question could easily be applied to end of life care, as “to treat or not to treat”:   At the end of life, is it best to suffer slowly,  i.e., to prolong life with painful treatment that will ultimately prove futile, or to accept death as a natural part of life’s cycle.   This subject is much in the news because the debate over Medicare benefits and health care reform has aroused public concern.    Medicare, as a vital part of our health program, consumes a major portion of government expenditure.   This makes sense, since it is the elderly who are the neediest beneficiaries. 


Currently, there is much debate about end of life measures.  How much treatment should be extended to the terminally ill?   This is a soul churning question that has no definitive answer.   A certain faction believes that ceasing treatment is wrong even if treatment will ultimately be futile.   Other medical practitioners lean toward palliative care that is aimed at reducing pain and suffering, and making the patient as comfortable as possible as the end draws near.      


This is not a question that can be answered solely by doctors or by the government.  The patient and the family must make the determination.    Mr. X doesn't want to give up. He accepts pain and suffering believing that miracles happen. Mr. Y is weary and tired of fighting death. He no longer wants care. Each must be  entitled to pursue his decision. 


Hospices and home care services offer a humane, compassionate and cost effective option for patients and their families as they face end of life choices, and provide a comprehensive care network which allows terminally ill patients to die with dignity. 


Hospices require that certain criteria must be met in order to qualify for treatment.  A patient must be declared by a doctor to have six months or less to live, and the patient must agree not seek active medical treatment while in hospice care.   


The emphasis in hospice care is on comfort and family participation. Hospice participants include nurses, social workers, home health aides, clergy, and volunteers.  Medicare covers most hospice services entirely, and some hospices may provide services without charge if patients have limited resources.      Information on coverage by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance can be retrieved from your physician or social worker.  Much preliminary information may be retrieved off the internet (see links below). 


Hamlet wondered "whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles"   When faced with end of life decisions, only your conscience should guide the ultimate resolution.



See other videos on the basics of Hospice care here


WebMD, Hospice Care, Topic Overview, Hospice Care: End of Life Care at Home or in a Hospice Facility (many questions answered on the definition of hospice care and how to pay for it)

The Mayo Clinic, End of Life

Hospice Directory, Paying for Hospice, Medicare/Medicaid/More Options

National Resource Directory: Connecting Wounded Warriors, Service Members, Veterans and their Families with Those Who Support Them


Fanny Shwartz is a retired English teacher with a Master's degree from New York University. She currently lives in Los Angeles and volunteers at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

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Your New Passion Awaits You: 7 Reasons To Volunteer Now!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010






Change is in the air.  We can feel it and taste it.  In this new decade, there is a palpable sense of excitement, anticipation and hope for the future, as well as a new resolve to reach out, to make an impact, to help a world which sorely needs healing.    More than ever, we are acutely aware of the world around us, how social issues are created and their implications for our future.  We understand that we are intimately connected to the rest of the world, that we are each a link in the human chain that contributes to the strength and vitality of the potential for good.


From the elementary schools to senior groups, from the neighborhoods to corporate America, we are increasingly becoming full partners in the process of change.


The volunteer movement, by any other name, whether “service learning”, “community service”, “getting involved”, or simply, “giving back”, has taken a place in the forefront of our collective consciousness.  It has bound us together with the singular responsibility of creating a better world for ourselves, for our children, and for future generations .   It has become a grass roots passion in which each voice is essential.  And best of all, it presents abounding opportunities for anyone with time to give, be it an hour or a lifetime.  




The goal of Action Now+Network is to offer a central landing place, a portal from which to learn about social justice, to become inspired to get out of the armchair, to become immersed, and to connect to organizations as individuals or groups,  that will channel your energy into action oriented volunteer programs.  

 Peruse the Take Action Now Index to explore by interest categories, all the possibilities where you can connect to become part of the change.  On the way, meet real people who have made a difference – the Superstar Hero and Featured Organization will give you some great ideas to get started.   Visit the Project Album to see what others are doing.  Need more information on a social justice issue?   Go to the ANN Virtual Library for more in depth articles and links to other research resources.  


 Now, if you’re still not sure you want to volunteer, here are seven reasons (you can’t ignore!) to break out of your apathy zone, and volunteer now:


1.  Volunteering is good for your health.  Recent studies have indicated that as little as two hours per week of volunteer work can actually reduce known risk factors for stress and depression, boost self esteem and improve your life expectancy.  [1] [2] 


2.  Volunteering expands your world: It offers a proactive way to expand your existing network of friends and deepen your understanding about human nature and the world.  


3.  Volunteering makes you feel good: A corollary to the above, volunteering can give you a renewed sense of purpose and excitement about life that follows from taking purposeful action to improve the quality of life for someone or something unrelated to you.


4.  Volunteering is free!  There is no financial outlay!  All that is necessary is your time and enthusiasm.


5.  Students: earn service learning or community service credit for middle school, high school or college graduation:   Service learning and community service requirements expand your world from home and school, to a slice of life you might not otherwise experience.  The ANN Virtual Library can help you narrow down your interest to zero in on something that moves you.   Reap multiple bonuses from your field work:  a new world of friends, future business contacts and an expanded resume.   Start a movement of your own.


6.  You can and will make a difference if you make an effort.  Everyone has a unique talent to bring to the table and can be moved to do extraordinary things in the right environment.    There are literally thousands of ways to begin.  Browse the pages of the Take Action Now Index.  There is a key place for you as a volunteer.  


7.  Discover Your Passion: The World really needs your help.  Never have we faced such mind-bending local and global challenges, and there are so many great organizations working hard to make the world right.  With a bit of research, you may even find a passion you never knew existed.  There are no excuses not to get involved.


Action Now Network strives to be a resource that makes it easy to give back, to connect to organizations and others who are making a difference.  Commit just an hour or two a week and get ready to be inspired.   The future of our planet hangs in the balance and there is no time to waste.  Find your social justice passion. Join the movement.  Our future and our world depend on you. 


Sheila Wasserman

Action Now Network



See how volunteering 

can save your life!


We are  looking for active participation from you in our website.   If you have something to say about a social justice issue or a volunteer experience of your own, send us an article and it could get published on the home page.   If you’re a student, you could win an Ipod Touch  for your efforts! 


 [1] 070507/7health.volunteer.htm;

[2] pdf/2007/07_0506_USAbenefits_health.pdf

[3] Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.

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Older Americans In Poverty: A Snapshot

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

By Ellen O'Brien, Ke Bin Wu and David Baer


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