A new study from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) highlights the problem of drugs inappropriately prescribed for elderly patients in the United

According to the study, about one-fifth of the approximately 32 million elderly Americans not living in nursing homes in 1996 used at least one of 33 prescription medicines considered potentially inappropriate. Nearly one million elderly patients used at least one of 11 medications which a panel of geriatric medicine and pharmacy experts advise should always be avoided in the elderly.

These 11 medications include long-acting benzodiazapines, sedative or hypnotic agents, long-acting oral hypoglycemics, analgesics, antiemetics, and gastrointestinal antispasmodics. The list of 33 potentially inappropriate medications reflects the consensus of the expert panel. Not all physicians agree about the appropriateness of specific drugs for the elderly.

Source:AHRQ 12-11-2001

National Notes

Social Security Commission Unveils Three Plans


President Bush’s Social Security Commission has revealed three options for allowing workers to establish individual investment accounts as an alternative to the traditional Social Security system. The Commission also acknowledged that these proposals would have to be accompanied by benefit cuts or other steps to avert a long-term financial crisis.

All three proposals would allow, but not require, workers to invest part of their Social Security payroll taxes in stocks and bonds. While one plan would leave the system’s fiscal responsibility totally up to Congress, the other two proposals include measures that would strengthen the system’s long-term stability. These measures could include benefit cuts, infusions of general government revenue, or higher taxes for some workers.

Source:New York Times 11-30-2001

National Notes

The ElderCare Locator


The public is increasingly using the Administration on Aging’s (AoA’s) nationwide Eldercare Locator to find supportive services to help care for older people in their homes and communities. The average number of calls increased 15.3% from 9,043 each month in FY 2000, to 10,425 each month in FY 2001.

A survey found that most people (69%) called the service on behalf of a member of their family. Many callers are long-distance caregivers looking for services to assist their loved ones, relatives, or friends who live in another town or state. The survey also found that most (96%) callers are satisfied with the assistance they receive, and 89% are first-time callers.

The toll-free number is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Time. The web site is available 24-hours a day. Try the Eldercare Locator at: 1-800-677-1116

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