Reading Help

Mature women and sexual health

Sexual health for women can touch on a range of various, but significant issues such as cervical or breast cancer to simply enjoying a healthy sex life. This encourages the idea that regardless of sexual orientation, age, or culture, all women should be able to access knowledge on how to keep their bodies healthy and functioning. The significance lies in manifesting the freedom of women being able to understand their bodies so they can decide how (or how not to) express their sexuality. Along with that, sexual health for women also includes being content with themselves in order to identify the healthy and unhealthy relationships they can develop throughout their lives.

A gynecologist is a doctor that specializes in women’s reproductive health, while an obstetrician cares for a woman during her pregnancy and immediately following childbirth. An ob-gyn is equipped with knowledge to care for either situation; meaning they can address women’s health issues ranging from use of birth control, menopause, pelvic or urinary tract problems. The quality of a woman’s relationship with her ob-gyn is extremely important because it relies on communication of sensitive health issues in order for the physician to be able to appropriately advise the patient on matters of sexual health.

Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s department of Family Medicine determined the prevalence and type of sexual concerns among women seeking routine gynecological care. From the 964 responses of the 1480 surveys they sent out, results showed that 98.8% of women reported one or more sexual concerns. The most frequently reported were lack of interest at 87.2%, body image concerns at 68.5%, unmet sexual needs at 67.2%, and needing information about sexual issues at 63.4%. These are all concerns that effect women in every age category and signal the importance of sexual health within health care.

The above figures from the study also indicate concerns many older women develop during or well past their menopause stage. In order to properly address these women as well, many factors have to carefully be considered such as cultural settings where sexual expression in old age is frowned upon. Their sexuality as well, should not be left at the door when deciding how health services can assist these older women. This entails better training and understanding of the sexual needs within older age, along with more willingness to open a dialogue with these older patients who refrain from introducing the subject.

In their Sexual Health across the Lifecycle: A Practical Guide for Clinicians, Margaret Nusbaum and Jo Ann Rosenfeld mention the added benefit of clinicians learning more about their own background and growing more comfortable with the topic of sexuality to the sexual health promotions within their clinical practices. They also describe the importance of clinicians being aware of the times when they are most vulnerable and at risk for crossing or losing sight of professional boundaries. More research and guidance on how to manage delicate or complex issues surrounding older adults still needs to be developed in order to make it a regular discussion amongst this population. This can go a long way in constructing the comfortable setting these older adults need to appropriately release their inhibitions.

Day Ten: There is still time to get covered for 2015!

Over the next 12 days, we will be sharing daily posts to motivate you to think about your health and well-being during the holiday season. Some posts will focus on handy tips, while others will offer a reflexion. We hope these words will inspire you and we invite you to share them with friends, neighbors and family.  

12 Dias-25

While December 15 was the deadline to start coverage on January 1, there is still time to get enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment for 2015. Open Enrollment ends February 15, and depending on when you enroll, your coverage could start February 1 or March 1.

If you are new to the Marketplace and want to enroll online, check out the 2015 plans to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. Now you are ready to get covered!

If you enrolled last year, you will be automatically enrolled into your current plan, or a similar one, so you will be continue to be covered starting January 1. However, if you compare your current plan to those being offered in 2015— and find one you like better— you can switch plans as long as you take action by February 15, 2015.

To update your information or change plans, log into your account and make the necessary changes. If you want to change plans, and keep your information the same, click on “My Plans & Programs.”

If you have a loved one who needs in-person assistance in Spanish and lives in Miami-Dade County, Florida or Dallas County, Texas, please contact the state and federal-certified NHCOA Navigators.

Otherwise, call the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or find local help here.

Recursos Navegadores NHCOA-03

Open Enrollment and Medicare Part D

It’s Time! Medicare Open Enrollment Period Is Fast Approaching

shutterstock_184856234phrma_2012logoIt is that time of the year when beneficiaries review Medicare Plan D prescription drug plan options and ask questions about different plans. For 2015 coverage, the open enrollment period runs from October 15 – December 7, 2014. 

What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D, also called the Medicare prescription drug benefit, is a voluntary federal-government program to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs and prescription drug insurance premiums for Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. The program is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Private insurance carriers implement the various Medicare Part D plans across the country under the direction of CMS. Because various carriers administer the plans, it is important to compare them in order to get the best value. As of 2012, 37.4 million beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Part D.

Why is Medicare Part D important? 

Medicare Part D is a voluntary program. While no one is obligated to enroll into the prescription drug plans, its savings and virtues far outweigh its costs and detriments

Medicare Part D gives older Americans access to prescription drugs at an affordable cost. Additionally, it provides access to the affordable medicines older Americans need and in turn, keeps them healthier –which directly reduces costs to the Medicare system. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that improved access and adherence to medicines through Part D saves Medicare about $1,200 in hospital, nursing home, and other costs in the first two years of the program. That adds up to about $13 billion in total savings.

The downside to not enrolling is that a beneficiary may be subject to a life-time premium penalty when he/she decides to later enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. The beneficiary will be assessed the penalty if s/he does not have some other source of creditable coverage, at least as comprehensive as the Part D benefit, such a retiree coverage through a previous employer. The accrued benefits of having cost savings and access to the proper medicine if/when you need them are far greater than the costs presented.

What are the important dates to remember? 

  • October 1, 2014 – Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan Marketing Activities can begin for the 2015 Part D plans – At this time you will be able to once again gather information and evaluate the various Part D plan alternatives.

NOTE: no enrollments may be accepted before October 15, 2014 for 2015 plans. 

  • October 15 to December 7, 2014 – Annual Coordinated Election Period – Here is your chance to join a Medicare Part D plan for the 2015 plan year (however your plan will not take effect until January 1, 2015). If you already have a Medicare Part D plan, this is your time to look back over 2014 and make an enrollment decision for your coverage for 2015.
  • Should you stay with your existing coverage or make a change? If you make no decision, you will remain in the same plan as you elected in 2014. If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet their needs for next year, you don’t need to do anything. 

HOWEVER: If you do nothing, and do not enroll during this period, your next chance for coverage is January 2016. 

  • January 1, 2015 – Your new Medicare Part D plan becomes effective and you will be able to begin using your Part D benefits (your old plan will automatically be discontinued).
  • January 1 to February 14, 2015 – Members of Medicare Advantage Plans may Dis-enroll from their Medicare Advantage Plan returning to Original Medicare and select a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan.
  • January 1 to December 31, 2015 – Persons turning 65 can enroll in a 2015 Medicare Part D Plan. Medicare beneficiaries also enrolled in Medicaid recipients can enroll or change their enrollment in a 2015 Medicare Part D Plan and individuals who become eligible because of a disability may enroll over the course of the year.

Where can I get more information? 

NHCOA encourages you to consider reviewing your Medicare drug or health care plan, but it is not mandatory. For more information, visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Download a one-page FAQ here.

NHCOA Regional Meetings: Leveraging the Power of Stories and Grassroots Leadership

Access to health care, Medicare fraud, poverty, and hunger were the most pressing issues discussed at the Miami and Dallas Open Forums, which are part of the National Hispanic Council on Aging’s 2014 Promoting Communities of Success Regional Meeting series. This post was originally published on the Diverse Elders Coalition blog on July 3, 2014. NHCOA is a proud founder of the DEC, which works to ensure that the needs and perspectives of vulnerable elders would be heard when and where it mattered. For more information, visit 


The data speaks for itself:

  • Over one-quarter of the Hispanic population is in poverty.
  • There are about 750,000 older adults nationwide experiencing hunger and 5 million facing food insecurity. Of these, Hispanic older adults are 20% more likely to be hungry.
  • Latino seniors and diverse elders are more likely to suffer specific chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

However, data indicators, pie charts, and percentages eventually have a desensitizing effect on the reader. Without a face or a story to accompany the statistics, it is difficult to empathize with those affected or gain perspective about the severity of the issue.

As the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers, NHCOA relies greatly on community-based organizations that serve Latino seniors and families, as well as community leaders, to understand the needs and concerns of our Hispanic aging population. These are the folks who are the “front lines” — those who witness and are directly affected by issues that keep Latino seniors from aging securely and in the best health possible. In an effort to record these stories, anecdotes, and experiences, as well as promote bottom-up leadership, we launched the Promoting Communities of Success Regional Meeting series in 2011.

To achieve this, NHCOA began traveling to different areas of the country with the highest concentrations of Hispanic older adults and Latino families. By going directly to the community, we eliminate communication barriers, develop stronger ties, and create a unique opportunity for seniors, families, professionals, and local leaders to speak up and engage with each other. Each regional meeting consists of two parts: the Empowerment and Civic Engagement Training and the Open Forum.

The Empowerment & Civic Engagement Training (ECET) is NHCOA’s signature CEU-certified two-day popular education course. It was designed to train local, intergenerational leaders to mobilize their communities and create positive changes through grassroots advocacy campaigns. To date, more than 1,000 community leaders have successfully gone through the training, of which dozens are certified to teach the ECET in their respective communities.

Following the ECET we host an Open Forum, a culturally and linguistically sensitive space that brings together local CBOs, community leaders, seniors, professionals, and local policymakers to connect. We listen to first-hand accounts from Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers detailing concerns and problems they face on a daily basis, and they have the opportunity to connect with local resources and information to advance their quality of life.


This year’s regional meetings are focused on the issues of healthcare, hunger, and poverty—three pressing issues which are of critical importance to the daily lives of Hispanic older adults. We launched the series mid-May in Miami, FL and recently wrapped up our regional meeting in Dallas, TX. At these Open Forums, we have heard numerous stories of the tough decisions people are making on a daily basis: skipping meals to fill a medical prescription or skipping medication doses to eat more. We have heard stories of Medicare fraud, myths regarding healthcare coverage, prevalent and persistent hunger, and the frustrations they feel each day.

Just as I tell the participants before we start the discussions, these stories make a difference and will have an impact beyond the meeting. After our final regional meeting in Los Angeles in August, we will compile and analyze the information gathered at each Open Forum and issue a report which will be released in September in Washington, DC. (The 20112012 and 2013 versions of this report are available on the NHCOA website.) While we have a long road ahead to solve the problems our diverse elder communities face, working together we can achieve a stronger, golden America for all.

The NHCOA Regional Meeting in Los Angeles will be hosted at the California Endowment from August 19-21, 2014. For more information, contact or The 2014 Promoting Communities of Success Regional Meeting series is made possible with the support of Abbvie, Lilly, and Univision.

Get yearly prostate cancer screenings

Reposted from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Did you know prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men?

Help prevent prostate cancer from affecting you or the men in your life. If you’re a man who’s 50 or older, make sure you get screened for prostate cancer every 12 months.

Your Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers 2 tests to help find prostate cancer early, when treatment works best:

  • Digital rectal exam—You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after the yearly Part B deductible.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test—Free to all men with Medicare 50 and older (coverage for this test begins the day after your 50th birthday).

Also, whether you’re seeking coverage information on prostate cancer screenings or another item, service or test, quickly find what’s covered by visiting our newly redesigned website.

Learn more about prostate cancer by visiting the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Early detection matters: get screened every 12 months.

See original post:

NHSMP: MSN Redesign Helps Older Adults Detect Medicare Fraud More Easily

Note from NHCOA: The more informed you and your loved ones are regarding your health, the less likely you are to become a victim of health care fraud. Through the National Hispanic SMP (NHSMP), NHCOA reaches Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers to protect, detect, and report Medicare fraud in a culturally, linguistically, and age appropriate manner.

May is Older Americans Month, and there are many reasons to celebrate! Over the last two years, the Affordable Care Act has made great strides in providing quality and affordable health care access to older adults, particularly Medicare beneficiaries. Last month, the government took a significant step toward helping beneficiaries better understand their Medicare benefits, as well as to curb Medicare fraud.

Every three months, beneficiaries receive a statement known as Medicare Summary Notices (MSN), which details services and products received. However, not many beneficiaries review this important document. Eduardo Gonzales, a Medicare beneficiary at NHCOA’s housing facility, Casa Iris in Washington, DC, says he has difficulties reviewing the MSN because of the small print and excessive jargon, which makes it hard to read and understand.

The complexity and length of the previous notice, which could exceed 10 pages depending on the number of services, not only made it hard for beneficiaries to understand the services they received, but also increased the chance of overlooking of any billing mistakes. To address this problem, the MSN has been redesigned to help beneficiaries keep better track of their Medicare service billing activity. The new user-friendly format includes changes like bigger fonts, and simpler and shorter explanations of medical services.

In a recent interview, Erin Pressley, director of creative services for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said, “We approached this redesign from the standpoint of making it a more consumer-friendly document for beneficiaries and also a better fraud-fighting tool. If they (beneficiaries) are paying attention to these documents, they are going to be the best defense we have.”

Another form that was overhauled is the Medicare appeal’s form. This form has now more clear information about what to do in case there is an issue with a paid service, where to get help and where to file. Also, the process of appealing has also been expedited so that our older adults can get a faster resolution and avoid having to take difficult choices, like stop accessing the care they need.

The new Medicare forms are available online at


NHCOA is a proud partner of the Administration on Aging in the fight against Medicare fraud. The National Hispanic SMP works to detect, protect, and report Medicare fraud within the Hispanic community. For more information, visit

NHSMP: El Nuevo Diseño del Resumen de Medicare (MSN) Ayuda a Los Adultos Mayores a Detectar el Fraude al Medicare Más Fácilmente

Nota de NHCOA: Mientras más estén más informados acerca de su salud, menor será el chance de que usted o un ser querido se convierta en víctima del fraude al Medicare. Mediante el National Hispanic SMP (NHSMP por sus siglas en inglés), NHCOA lleva el importante mensaje de prevenir, detectar y reportar el fraude al Medicare a los adultos mayores hispanos, sus familiares y cuidadores.

Mayo es el mes del adulto mayor y hay varias razones para celebrarlo con gran entusiasmo. Durante estos dos últimos años se han obtenido grandes logros en cuanto al acceso a servicios de salud de calidad y a costos razonables para nuestros padres y abuelos con la Ley del Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio. Estos logros impactan positivamente a los beneficiarios de Medicare en especial.

El mes pasado, el gobierno tomó un paso adelante para ayudar a los beneficiarios del Medicare a entender mejor sus beneficios, al mismo tiempo que se busca frenar el fraude al Medicare.

Cada tres meses los beneficiarios reciben un documento llamado el Resumen de Medicare o (MSN, por sus siglas en inglés), el que detalla los productos y/o servicios recibidos. Sin embargo, no muchos beneficiarios revisan este importante documento. Eduardo González,  un beneficiario de Medicare quién vive en Casa Iris, un proyecto de vivienda a bajo costo de NHCOA en Washington, DC, dice que se le hace muy difícil leer y entender los MSN por que “vienen con letra muy pequeña y con información complicada”.

Los MSN eran tan largos y complejos que podían llegar a 10 páginas o más, dependiendo de la cantidad de visitas médicas. Esto no sólo impedía que los beneficiarios pudieran comprender los servicios recibidos, sino que también les dificultaba encontrar cualquier error que se hubiera cometido en la facturación. Con el nuevo diseño es más fácil que los beneficiarios puedan entender qué servicios y/o productos están siendo facturados al Medicare y cuánto cuestan. Entre los cambios están el uso de letras más grandes, y explicaciones más cortas y sencillas de los servicios médicos.

En una entrevista reciente, Erin Pressley, directora de Servicios Creativos para los Centros de Servicios de Medicare y Medicaid dijo, “Enfocamos la idea del rediseño desde el punto de vista del consumidor, para hacerlo más fácil de leer y entender para el lector y más útil como herramienta para luchar contra el fraude. Si logramos que ellos (los beneficiarios) presten más atención a estos documentos, esto será la mejor defensa que tendremos”.

Otro documento que se sometió a revisión fue el formulario para hacer reclamos de servicios. El nuevo formulario tiene información más clara acerca de qué hacer en caso de tener un problema con un servicio facturado, dónde obtener ayuda y dónde enviar el reclamo. El proceso de reclamo también tomará menos tiempo, de manera que los beneficiarios puedan obtener una respuesta más rápida y evitar que se tomen medidas drásticas, como dejar de usar el servicio de cuidado de salud que tanto necesitan.

Estos nuevos formularios de Medicare están disponibles en:

NHCOA se complace en unirse a la Administración de Asuntos sobre la Vejez en la lucha contra el fraude al Medicare. El National Hispanic SMP ayuda a detectar, prevenir y reportar el fraude al Medicare en la comunidad hispana. Para más información, visite


Blog Image:

The Affordable Care Act Works: Winning the Fight Against Medicare Fraud

Note from NHCOA: The more informed you and your loved ones are regarding your health, the less likely you are to become a victim of health care fraud. With support from the Administration on Aging, the National Hispanic SMP (NHSMP) reaches Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers to protect, detect, and report Medicare fraud in a culturally, linguistically and age appropriate manner. For more information, visit

Recently, the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services hosted the 7th Regional Health Care Fraud Prevention Summit in Chicago, Ill. to highlight the new high-tech tools to fight health care fraud, as well as underscore the Affordable Care Act’s significant role in fighting Medicare fraud and the recovery of a record-breaking amount of funds.

For the second year in a row, the departments’ anti-fraud activities through the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) has recovered more than $4 billion. This is thanks to new tools provided through the Affordable Care Act, which include:

  • Tougher sentences for people who commit health care fraud
  • Expanding the search for waste, fraud, and abuse to Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D programs
  • Greater information-sharing capabilities between key government agencies, states, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and law enforcement partners to suspend payments if providers and suppliers are suspected of engaging fraudulent activity.

In addition, the Affordable Care Act also directly helps Medicare beneficiaries by making it easier to detect, prevent, and report Medicare fraud themselves. The Medicare Summary Notices were recently re-designed to be more reader-friendly, which makes it easier for beneficiaries to detect and report discrepancies or errors, which could be a result of fraudulent activity.

The law also expanded funding for outreach education and engagement through the SMP (Senior Medicare Patrols) network, a national effort supported by the Administration on Aging to recruit and teach senior volunteers and professionals to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries become better health care consumers.

As part of the SMP network, the National Hispanic SMP is dedicated to bring information and education to Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner to reduce the incidence of Medicare fraud in the community, which is disproportionately affected.

Having the tools and resources to identify and report Medicare fraud at the community level is just as important and necessary as investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of Medicare fraud because many times investigations are initiated based on tips from beneficiaries, local organizations who serve seniors, or the SMP network.

Everyone has a part to play in eliminating health care fraud, in particular Medicare fraud, so that this model system can continue serving older adults today and fulfill its promise to all generations of older adults who have contributed to the advancement of this country.



These are just some of the Obama administration’s efforts to combat health care fraud. Click here to see afact sheet.


For more information on the SMP network, click here.


For more information about the National Hispanic SMP, visit

NWGHAAD 2012: Protecting Women and Girls from HIV / AIDS is a Family Affair

By Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA

Every 47 minutes a woman discovers she is HIV-positive in the United States. This is a sad and unacceptable statistic, but the good news is that there are steps we can take collectively, as families and communities, to change it.

March 10 we commemorate the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to recognize how many women fall prey to a virus that relies on misinformation, lack of access to health care, poverty, and fear to propagate itself.

That is why I wanted to send you an important message today as a partner of the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative: lack of HIV/AIDS awareness and dialogue among friends and family can contribute to the increasing rates of infection. Therefore, HIV/AIDS is a family affair, especially among Latinas, who are disproportionately affected.

In 2009, women represented more than half of the U.S. population and accounted for almost one-fourth of new HIV infections. Of these, 18% of the new HIV infections were among Latinas. Latinas are also four times more likely to have HIV/AIDS than non-Hispanic white women.

In this spirit, NHCOA invites you to join us and act against AIDS at home by starting a dialogue with your loved ones. The best way to fight HIV/AIDS is through information and awareness, and older adults can champion these efforts as heads of households and influential, respected figures in their communities.

Another way is to encourage loved ones to protect themselves and get tested regularly. Let’s act against AIDS for our families, especially for our mothers and daughters. To find your nearest HIV testing location, visit or text your five-digit ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948).

Dr. Yanira Cruz is the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers. NHCOA is one of three Hispanic/Latino partners of the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), an effort to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among diverse communities.

For more information,


La Lucha Contra el VIH / SIDA es un Asunto de Familia


Por Dra. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA

Cada 47 minutos una mujer descubre que es VIH positiva en Estados Unidos. Esta estadística es alarmante, pero podemos tomar acción en familia y en nuestra comunidad para que ésto cambie.

Mi organización, el Consejo Nacional Hispano para Personas Adultas Mayores (NHCOA), es un aliado de una iniciativa de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) en la lucha contra el VIH/SIDA llamado Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative.

En este Día Nacional de Concientización sobre el VIH/SIDA entre Mujeres y Niñas que se conmemora cada año el 10 de marzo, los dejo con un mensaje muy importante: la falta de concientización y diálogo sobre el VIH/SIDA puede contribuir al aumento en las tasas de infección. Por esto, el VIH/SIDA es un asunto de familia, especialmente entre mujeres hispanas quienes están desproporcionadamente afectadas.

En el 2009, las mujeres conformaban más de la mitad de la población estadounidense y representaban casi 25% de las infecciones nuevas por VIH. De estos, 18% de las infecciones nuevas eran entre latinas. Las hispanas también son cuatro veces más propensas a tener VIH/SIDA que mujeres blancas no-hispanas.


Por tanto, NHCOA los invita a que se unan a la lucha contra el SIDA comenzando un diálogo con sus seres queridos en sus hogares. Aprovechemos el respeto, cariño e influencia que nuestros adultos mayores gozan cabezas de familia y figuras respetadas en nuestras comunidades para crear concientización e informar sobre este tema importante.

También podemos cuidar de nuestras madres, hijas y seres queridos asegurando que siempre protejan de su salud y se hagan la prueba del VIH regularmente. Para encontrar el centro de prueba de VIH más cercano, visite o mande un mensaje de texto con los cinco dígitos de su código postal a KNOWIT (566948).

La Dra. Yanira Cruz es la presidenta del Consejo Nacional Hispano para las Personas Adultas Mayores (NHCOA), la organización nacional que trabaja para mejorar las condiciones de vida de los adultos mayores hispanos, sus familias y cuidadores. NHCOA forma parte de la iniciativa Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) para reducir la incidencia del VIH/SIDA en la comunidad latina. Para más información, visite o

Women and girls are taking action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. What can YOU do? National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 10


Blog Image:

National Hispanic SMP: Medicare Fraud is Still Biggest Scam Among Elders

Note from NHCOA: The more informed you and your loved ones are regarding your health, the less likely you are to become a victim of health care fraud. Through the National Hispanic SMP (NHSMP), NHCOA reaches Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers to protect, detect, and report Medicare fraud in a culturally, linguistically and age appropriate manner.
Recently the National Council on Aging (NCOA) released a list of top ten scams targeting older Americans. Not surprisingly, health care fraud—which includes Medicare fraud—was Number 1.
Aside from being very lucrative, scammers turn to health care fraud because the scam itself takes time to unravel before it’s exposed and because the target population is vulnerable. This is particularly true for Hispanic older adults, who due to specific cultural and linguistic factors, are among the most at-risk segments of the older adult population.
However, new Affordable Care Act measures are ramping up efforts and cracking down on these wrong doers who bilk seniors, the Medicare system, and the U.S. taxpayer. Last year alone, $2.9 billion were recovered in health care fraud, of which $295 million was related to Medicare fraud.
Part of this work is thanks to the efforts of the SMP, a network of state entities that work to educate and empower seniors to protect, detect, and report Medicare fraud within their communities. Similarly, through the National Hispanic SMP (NHSMP), NHCOA reaches Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers in a culturally, linguistically and age appropriate manner.
To learn how you can be part of the NHSMP, visit to download tailored toolkit material or call 1-866-488-7379.

Salud y Bienestar: Study Finds Connection Between Self-Perception of Weight Gain and Race/Ethnicity

Within the Hispanic community, weight perception is very much influenced by cultural factors. For example, someone who is thinner is considered ‘sickly’ and is encouraged to eat more. On the other hand, another person who is heavier is thought of as being the picture of good health, when in fact, they could be at an increased risk for chronic conditions because of their weight, such as cardiovascular disease, degenerative joint diseases, and diabetes.

A recent weight gain study at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX has shed more light on this issue, finding that young women commonly fail to recognize short-term weight increases by as much as 11 pounds. This lack of awareness could put them at risk for obesity-related conditions. What was even more interesting is that the race and ethnicity can influence the self-perception of weight gain:

“We were surprised to find that race and ethnicity are determinants of accurate recognition of weight gain, predictors that have never before been reported,” said lead author Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, assistant professor in the UTMB department of obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Rahman also said that ‘further studies using detailed measures that include cultural, psychological and perceptual aspects of weight change in women are needed to explore this relationship.’

Given the relationship between a woman’s self-perception of weight gain at a younger age and her race or ethnicity, the need for an intergenerational approach toward preventive practices and programs becomes even more critical as women are at high risk for obesity-related conditions, such as heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women regardless of race or ethnicity, and even age.

Based on extensive research which examined the role of cultural factors, among others, as determinants of pre-diabetes and diabetes within the Hispanic community, NHCOA’ developed its signature diabetes education program, Salud y Bienestar (Health and Well-Being).

Salud y Bienestar is a public health intervention created to reduce diabetes health disparities among U.S. Hispanics by helping to delay the onset of the disease among those at high risk. The program also aims to prevent the development of diabetes complications, as well as improve the quality of care.

Even though the program was developed with Latino seniors as the main target, there has been a ripple effect in Hispanic families because any collective activity in Latino multigenerational households usually revolves around food. Therefore, when a Salud y Bienestar participant begins to make healthier eating choices there will usually be a direct impact on their children and grandchildren’s eating habits as well.

We have seen how this program has tremendously changed the lives of Hispanic older adults across the country. Therefore, we are continuing to expand this important program so that more Latino seniors can benefit from a healthier lifestyle in their golden years.

NHCOA recently presented an overview and evaluation of Salud y Bienestar during a Capitol Hill briefing with members of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus last November in commemoration of National Diabetes Month.

Click here to read NHCOA’s 2011 National Diabetes Month statement.

Salud y Bienestar, NHCOA’s signature national diabetes education program, was created in 2005 with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program’s expansion is currently supported by the Walmart Foundation.