Americans Living Longer, Report Finds

Americans are living longer, a new report shows, with the average life expectancy going from 78.6 years in 2009 to 78.7 years in 2010.

Meanwhile, U.S. death rates dropped half a percent between 2009 and 2010, and hit the lowest rate ever, at 746.2 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the latest set of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

And while both heart disease and cancer stubbornly remain in place as the nation's leading killers (together accounting for 47 percent of deaths in 2010), death rates here declined as well. Mortality from heart disease went down 2.4 percent, while it dropped 0.6 percent for cancer.

The report is based on 98 percent of death certificates from 50 states and the District of Columbia available to the NCHS.



How to Communicate with Your Parent's Medical Team

As her parents' health declined, Lori LaBey found herself increasingly responsible for managing their medical information. She had to keep track of doctors' appointments, manage medications and be on the lookout for changes in their health. All the while, she had to deal with parents who didn't appreciate the role reversal created by these new responsibilities.

"It's not that they didn't respect what I was doing, it's just that to them, I was always going to be their child," says LaBey.

LaBey learned that if she brought up issues such as driving safety to her parents, they balked. But if the doctor did it, they listened. So she came up with a solution: Before each doctor's visit, she faxed a list of questions and issues she wanted him to discuss during the appointment. "The doctor asked the questions, and then I could chime in," says LaBey. "And they listened, because they had such respect for the doctor."

This system served several purposes: It ensured LaBey didn't forget what to ask about, gave the doctor a written update of her parents' health status and took some of the stress off LaBey by having the doctor address the tough issues.


At Too Many Hospitals, a Revolving Door

Jessie Gruman can’t remember the number of times she’s been hospitalized for cancer. The list of the conditions she’s had over almost 40 years is daunting: from Hodgkin’s lymphoma to cancers of the cervix and lung.

But Ms. Gruman, 59, can’t forget her experience three years ago, when it was time to leave the hospital after having her stomach removed, a consequence of gastric cancer.

Ms. Gruman was alone; her husband was on his way to this hospital but hadn’t yet arrived. This is all she remembers a nurse saying before she was shown the door.

Here is a prescription for pain medication. Don’t drive if you take it. Call your surgeon if you have a temperature or are worried about anything. Go see your doctor in two weeks. Do you want a flu shot? I can give you one before you leave. If you need a wheel chair to take you to the door, I’ll call for one. If not, you can go home. Take care of yourself. You are going to do great!



Refer a Friend

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Thanks for taking the time to read and learn!


Senior Helpers team

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