What's new: The business case for wellness programs in senior living.


ICAA Research Review, Volume 19, Issue 04

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In this issue

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Stats: 85% of adults 65+ feel younger than their actual age

A majority of older adults (88%) say they feel healthier than their parents’ generation, and 85% say they feel younger than their chronological age, according to a recent survey of 1,000 US adults ages 65 and older, surveyed from October to November 2018. Fifty-six percent were women; 57% were married or cohabitating; 46% were ages 65-69; 34%, 70-74; and 19%, 75+.

The Welltok survey aimed to uncover health priorities, attitudes toward aging, use of technology and need for support.

Among the findings:

  • The top three health priorities are establishing and maintaining financial stability; adequate sleep; and positive relationships.
  • Overall, men and women rank health priorities differently. For example, healthy eating habits are more important to women (89%) than to men (81%); similarly, managing stress is more important for women (90%) than men (84%).
  • Health priorities also differ by region. For example, respondents in the southern US focus more on controlling or managing an existing health condition than those in other regions.

COMMENT: Some of the findings are aimed at health insurers, particularly those who offer Medicare Advantage plans. But most offer insights into markets relevant to the active-aging industry.

SOURCE: Welltok (January 18, 2019)
For the full survey, “65 Years Young: Health for the New Senior Generation,” click here

Low-quality health stories the norm on social media

Given the importance of health and medical news in everyone’s lives, a relatively new organization called Health Feedback, made up of scientists who have published in top-tier peer-reviewed journals, collaborated with the Credibility Coalition, recently created by the World Wide Web Consortium, to assess the scientific quality of the 100 most-shared health articles on social media in 2018.

Key takeaways from the top 10: Only three articles achieved a high credibility rating. Four received a medium credibility rating, indicating that reviewers did not find major inaccuracies in these articles, but they do contain misleading information. Reviewers noted these issues that impacted credibility: lack of detail and context, overstatement of the significance of research findings, and misinterpretation of research findings.

Key takeaways from the top 100: In terms of overall credibility, slightly less than half achieved a high credibility rating. However, there were a greater number of shares for highly-rated articles (45%) compared to poorly-rated articles (35%) Highly-rated articles obtained a total of about 11 million shares, while poorly-rated articles obtained about 8.5 million shares.

Facebook accounted for 96% of the shares, while Reddit accounted for 2% and Twitter, 1%.

COMMENT: The report provides the full summary, visual highlights of findings and most importantly, the full text of the reviewers’ comments on each article - a tremendous learning opportunity for readers to understand how to assess the many health/medical news stories that come out daily using a scientific approach.

SOURCE: Health Feedback (January 28, 2019)
For full results of the survey, “The Most Popular Health Articles of 2018, a Scientific Credibility Review,” click here

Personalized patient engagement a key to overall wellbeing

A survey from software company Pegasystems demonstrating the importance of quality patient engagement is aimed at doctors and healthcare industry management, but also has implications for active aging professionals working in life care communities, rehabilitation and other settings that involve a mix of wellness and medicine.

The survey polled more than 2,000 US-based consumers and more than 200 business decision makers (BDMs) involved in healthcare industry engagement programs to assess how well the industry is meeting consumer expectations. A key finding: “Delivering personalized service is no longer enough on its own. Consumers expect healthcare providers and payers to work together to deliver connected care.”

Of note, technology is poised to play an important role. To accommodate consumer demand, 86% of BDMs report currently exploring new technologies to engage members/patients and another 13% plan to within the year. Additionally, 77% of care providers already offer virtual appointments, while another 16% are building that capability today.

With more than two-thirds of consumers reporting they track food and fitness habits on apps, organizations need to accommodate these new data sources, while also investing in technology to remain ahead of their competitors, according to Pegasystems. Importantly, “Care providers in particular need to take note - nearly 80% of patients said they would find a new provider after a poor experience.”

COMMENT: "Care teams – from insurers to doctors – need to ensure they are communicating effectively not only with patients but also with each other to create a positive impact on an individual's health outcome," said Kelli Bravo, Pegasystems’ healthcare and life science lead.

SOURCE: Pegasystems Inc. (February 11, 2019)
To download the full survey, “Healthcare should be personalized, proactive, and preemptive,” click here

Lowering BP, cholesterol may not affect thinking, memory

Taking candesartan plus hydrochlorothiazide to lower blood pressure or rosuvastatin to lower cholesterol, or a combination of the two, did not slow decline in thinking and memory.

“Heart disease has been linked to problems with thinking and memory, so we examined whether managing heart disease with medications like blood pressure and cholesterol lowering drugs can reduce some of those cognitive problems,” said study author Jackie Bosch, PhD, of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

The study involved 1,626 people (average age, 74) with a moderate risk of heart disease. Close to half (45%) had high blood pressure.

Participants were given thinking and memory tests at the beginning of the study. They received physical checkups every six months and then took the same tests again at the end of the study, an average of about six years later.

Lowering blood pressure, or cholesterol, or both, with the study drugs neither reduced nor increased the rate of cognitive decline compared to those taking placebo. On the other hand, “statin use has previously been associated with cognitive impairment, but this study demonstrated that there was none, which is an important finding for those taking statins,” Bosch noted.

She added that taking medications for six years may not be long enough to prevent cognitive decline, so longer studies are needed.

COMMENT: This study emphasizes the importance of having the right expectations when taking medications. Of course, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol are important, and drugs often can help when lifestyle changes aren’t enough. But taking either or both of those medications in the hope of boosting cognitive function or staving off cognitive decline is not supported by the evidence.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology; Neurology journal (February 27, 2019)
For the abstract, click here
For a related editorial, click here

Sedentary behavior tied to heart risks in older women

The longer older women sit or lie down during the course of a day—and the longer the individual periods of uninterrupted sitting—the greater their risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, according to a study funded by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

But reducing sedentary time by just an hour a day appears to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases overall by 12%—and for heart disease alone, by a dramatic 26%, The study involved an ethnically diverse group of 5,638 women, nearly half of whom were over age 80, enrolled between 2012 and 2014 and followed for almost five years. The researchers found that, on average, an additional hour of total sedentary time was associated with a 12% higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, and when that sitting time was made up of long uninterrupted sedentary sessions, the risk was 52% higher than when it was accumulated in short, regularly interrupted bouts of sedentary time.

Yet, just as the risk for heart disease can increase with more sitting and longer sedentary bouts, it can be reduced by getting up and moving, even if only a little, and by doing it often throughout the day, the researchers found.

COMMENT: “Reductions of sedentary time do not need to happen all at once,” said Principal Investigator Andrea LaCroix, PhD, Director of the Women’s Health Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego. “I recommend to all women who, like me, are over 60, to make a conscious effort to interrupt our sitting by getting up and moving around as often as we can.”

SOURCE: US National Institutes of Health; Circulation vol. 139, No. 8 (February 19, 2019)
For the full article, click here

TechTalk: Take-homes from CES 2019

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in January, featured more than 1,000 speakers and 4,500 exhibitors, and was attended by more than 188,000 visitors. While it’s impossible to encapsulate all the highlights and take-home messages in a single, reader-friendly document, a free 34-page white paper from Juniper Research does a great job and is worth a read.

Among the key takeaways, two that directly affect the active aging market. One is that “voice assistants just keep growing,” along with smart homes and a wide range of products that use either Amazon or Google voice assistants, or both.

“Home care robots closer to reality” is the other. Samsung and UBTECH featured “highly-capable robots, which will dramatically move on current efforts,” according to the report, though cost remains an issue.

Also of interest: autonomous cars and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are moving forward, with implications for car and road safety for all ages. VR has a lower profile than in previous years, but continues to advance, with gear and applications that promise a better user experience, some of which will likely be marketed to senior living or directly to older adults.

The report provides a “phased development summary” that places many new and maturing applications in an “evolutionary” perspective.

SOURCE: Juniper Research (January 16, 2019)
For the free whitepaper, Consumer Electronics 2019: Disruptors, Innovators and Cash Cows – The Best of CES 2019, click here
For a video synopsis of the highlights, click here

--reported by Marilynn Larkin

Suggestions? Email mlarkin@icaa.cc


ICAA Research Review shares knowledge and information. The newsletter is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not medical advice. The ICAA encourages you to make health and business decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with a qualified professional.

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