Families Protect Loved Ones in Old Age

<b>Families Protect Loved Ones in Old Age</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Your aging mother can no longer drive and forgets to turn off the stove. It’s no longer safe for her to live on her own, but taking her into your home simply isn’t realistic.

For the many Americans who find themselves in the described situation, nursing homes provide the best option for elder care. Forty-three percent of Americans over the age of 65 will spend part of their life in a nursing home, according to the The United States Government Accountability Office. As the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that, by 2050, the population of Americans aged 65 and older will reach 89 million, it’s safe to assume that the demand for high-quality elder care will only increase.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes and adult family homes are overburdened, leading to a lower quality of care. Cases of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes often pop up in the media.

In Tacoma, Washington, adult family home resident Nadra McSherry died in pain when her caretakers did not tell her family, doctor or nurse that McSherry had developed an infected bedsore. Bedsores are often a sign that a facility does not have enough staff to meet the number of patients, as preventing them involves moving patients every few hours, something that overwhelmed caretakers may struggle to accomplish.

McSherry’s family sued the adult family home, Narrows View Manor, as well as the Department of Social and Health Services, which allowed the home to remain open despite numerous past health violations.

“Stories like Nadra McSherry are all too familiar,” says Hagens Berman’s Tony Shapiro, the lead attorney. “It’s up to the families to take action and protect their mom or dad.”

McSherry’s family settled last year for $565,000. Despite McSherry’s death and a long record of other violations, the state has not revoked the adult family home’s license. It remains in business.

Families searching for elder care can check the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare ratings, which evaluate homes based on a five-star system. But the ratings aren’t always reliable — families have to monitor the situation to make sure their loved ones’ needs are being met. If a loved one shows signs of abuse, like unexplained injuries, dramatic weight loss or fear of the staff, families need to take action.

“If you suspect abuse, check online resources for help or consult an attorney,” says Shapiro.

Motorists: Disregarding Auto Repairs Is Dangerous

<b>Motorists: Disregarding Auto Repairs Is Dangerous</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The power of the dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it once did. And it has prompted some motorists to cut back on maintenance or put off needed vehicle repairs due to tight budgets, especially if the vehicle remains drivable. But, delaying certain repairs can be a dangerous gamble for motorists.

Disregarding maintenance on your vehicle can definitely result in costly repairs. However, AAA reminds motorists that ignoring their vehicle’s upkeep also can put them, their passengers and others on the road in danger.

Monitor these five areas for safer driving and increased vehicle reliability:

1. Get a grip on traction. Worn tires with little tread are much more likely to hydroplane on wet pavement or lose traction in the snow, resulting in a loss of braking power and steering control — two of the most dangerous situations in which drivers can find themselves.

Insert a quarter upside down into a tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head, start shopping for new tires.

2. Don’t suspend needed suspension work. Neglecting to maintain undercar components — especially struts and shock absorbers which wear out as more miles are driven — can cause drivers to lose control on sudden turns or at higher speeds.

3. Put a halt on brake malfunctions. Old brake fluid or low fluid levels can lead to brake fade or failure. Moisture-contaminated fluid also increases corrosion in the brake hydraulic system, which can include expensive electronic anti-lock brake system (ABS) components.

Inspect the brake fluid level at every oil change. If the level has fallen below the “low” mark on the fluid reservoir, it usually indicates major brake wear or a leak somewhere in the system. Seeing a professional cannot wait.

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing the brake fluid every two years to flush moisture and contaminants from the system. Check vehicle owner’s manuals for specific recommendations.

4. Don’t let fluids checks leak out of your maintenance routine. Leaking fluids mean that your vehicle needs maintenance. Oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and brake fluid are all flammable and can burst into flame when they meet a hot engine or exhaust component. Fluid leaks are the number-one cause of vehicle fires.

5. Keep good vision in sight. Motorists need to see the road. Worn, cracked or brittle windshield wipers will limit visibility because they cannot remove insects, grime and other debris from the windshield. A good spray of windshield washer fluid will help wiper blades remove contaminants.

Certified technicians at AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can provide motorists with trustworthy guidance on repairs and vehicle safety. Shops can be identified by the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign, or by searching online at AAA.com/Repair.

John Nielsen joined the AAA executive management team in 1998 as national director of the Approved Auto Repair network. Nielsen has 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has held an ASE Master Automotive Technician certification, authored the book “Making Sense of Car Care” and given testimony to the state and national legislatures, and he now serves as Editor in Chief of AAA’s new car and truck reviews. He is a regular guest on radio and TV shows throughout the country.

Mastering the Alaska Home Heating Test

<b>Mastering the Alaska Home Heating Test</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – If a wall-hung boiler can heat a home in Alaska problem-free for 10 winters, then it can heat a home anywhere, according to mechanical contractor Mike La Fay.

La Fay, owner of Meadow Lakes Supply in Wasilla, Alaska, installed his first Baxi Luna modulating wall-hung boiler in early 2000. Since then, he has installed more than 100 of these high efficiency, eco-friendly heating appliances in homes throughout Matanuska Susitna County, which is a 50-minute drive north-east from Anchorage.

“It can be 30 below zero here for three weeks straight, so a reliable heating appliance is essential for both home comfort and survival,” La Fay says. “I have not experienced any significant problem with Baxi Luna performance. With Gensco, the exclusive Baxi distributor in Alaska stocking parts and accessories, I am really looking forward to my second decade as a Baxi contractor.”

Gensco is a leading wholesale distributor of heating supplies and equipment, selling only to qualified contractors trade in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana since 1947. More recently, Gensco supplied 250 Baxi Luna boilers for an award-winning community redevelopment of Seattle Housing Authority, which reported 37 percent energy use savings over another hydronic heating system.

“My neighborhood just got natural gas recently, so I now have a Baxi Luna heating our family home and my shop. Our former oil fuel bill was up to $500 a month, and now we are spending around $150 for gas,” La Fay notes. “You simply can’t get better than that — saving lots of money while knowing your heating system will withstand the coldest challenges of our winter.”

Baxi is one of Europe’s largest heating products manufacturer and has been making leading wall-hung boilers since the late 1960s. The firm’s Bassano, Italy, plant has been producing Baxi Luna wallhung heating since it opened in 1978 and now makes 4,000 boilers a day for export to 70 countries, including the United States. Baxi heat exchangers are stainless steel and bear the ASME H-Stamp.

“I can recommend this appliance to homeowners with confidence, knowing it has a proven Alaska track record for quality, safety and environmental performance,” says La Fay, who does ongoing maintenance of his installations and remains committed to learning more about the product. “I have learned a lot from a Baxi Luna training and contractor-certification CD-ROM. It is a great tool for a contractor located in Alaska.”

To learn more about proven Baxi energy-efficient, eco-friendly heating solutions, including modulating, condensing or near-condensing boilers

(in either combination central heating and domestic hot water mode, or heating-only), visit www.wallhungboilers.com.

Expanded Health Insurance Options Increase Choices for Cancer Care

<b>Expanded Health Insurance Options Increase Choices for Cancer Care</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – UnitedHealthcare and Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) announced a new multi-year agreement that will expand health care options and accessibility for many cancer patients at all four hospitals in the CTCA network.

The new agreement, effective July 1, 2009, provides UnitedHealthcare Options PPO customers access to more than 330 physicians across all four CTCA-affiliated cancer treatment hospitals. CTCA serves patients with complex cancer at hospitals located in Philadelphia and Tulsa and suburban Chicago and Phoenix.

“This is a welcome choice for cancer patients,” said Kimberly Perrin of Washington, D.C., a UnitedHealthcare plan participant who is being treated at CTCA. “Cancer patients need increased access to quality cancer care and more options when it comes to choosing a hospital that is right for each of us.”

UnitedHealthcare Options PPO customers can call the number on the back of their UnitedHealthcare member identification card to verify they have access to the CTCA hospitals. Cancer patients may also call 888-353-7687 to speak with a CTCA oncology information specialist for access verification.

“This is very good news for consumers across the nation,” said Tom Wiffler, president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Illinois. “The addition of CTCA to UnitedHealthcare’s broad national network gives our customers increased choice, and access to affordable, quality health care.”

The agreement is consistent with UnitedHealthcare’s longstanding commitment to promote evidence-based decision-making and aims to benefit employers and employees alike by promoting consistent, high-quality care.

“Our new agreement with UnitedHealthcare will enable more patients to access our fully integrated, individualized model of cancer care,” said Steve Bonner, president and CEO of CTCA. “At CTCA, we strive to empower patients as advocates and decision-makers. Giving patients and their families more cancer care options extends that commitment to patient empowerment.”

“Cancer patients deserve choice, access and quality when it comes to medical decisions; among the most important decisions they’ll make in their lives,” said Dr. Edgar D. Staren, senior vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer at CTCA.

For more information about Cancer Treatment Centers of America, visit www.cancercenter.com.

Nuclear Power Key to Low-Carbon Plans

<b>Nuclear Power Key to Low-Carbon Plans</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As climate and energy bills work their way through Congress, it’s clear that the Obama administration wants to assert America’s energy independence. No single electricity-generating technology can meet America’s future energy needs by itself. But nuclear energy must play a significant role in any viable plan to meet the nation’s energy needs and reduce carbon emissions.

Nuclear energy can compete from a cost standpoint with other sources of electricity. While coal and natural gas plants may be less expensive to build — new nuclear plants are estimated to cost $6 billion to $8 billion — nuclear energy produces electricity using less fuel and with lower operating costs.

There’s also the issue of life span, which varies depending on the technology and makes a difference in evaluating up-front construction costs: Nuclear plants can operate for 60 and possibly 80 years. Wind turbines have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years, according to Minneapolis-based National Wind, a developer of large-scale wind farms.

Aggressive carbon caps under consideration in Washington will make nuclear energy more attractive. Nuclear power plants do not generate carbon emissions. At the same time, nuclear plants require less acreage and provide more reliable electricity than wind, solar and biomass generators.

A biomass fuel cultivation area would have to be larger than Delaware to replace a nuclear power plant. To produce the same amount of electricity as a 2-unit nuclear power plant, a wind farm would need to be 10 times larger than Washington, D.C.

Consider this: The much-publicized Texas wind farm project that T. Boone Pickens recently postponed was estimated to cost $10 billion and require up to 200,000 acres. This cost didn’t include the estimated $3 billion to $6 billion in additional transmission necessary to distribute the energy from its source.

Space constraints and reliability issues prevent renewable sources of electricity from becoming primary power sources. While renewable sources of electricity should pay important roles in a diverse energy profile, an emission-free future will require nuclear power. This position has been embraced by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Congress and by various environmental groups. Tony Kreindler, media director of the Environmental Defense Fund, put it succinctly when he recently said, “Given the scope of the climate problem and the emissions problem, we need to look at all the energy options we have, and nuclear is one of them.”

For more information, visit www.nei.org.

In Recession, Luxury Hotels Offer Deals

<b>In Recession, Luxury Hotels Offer Deals</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In a tough economy, taking a luxury vacation might seem impossible. But some of the nation’s nicest hotels are taking steps — including lower rates and vacation specials — to lure new visitors.

Take Gaylord Hotels. The luxury multi-property operation with resorts in Nashville, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Orlando offers guests majestic views, high-end shopping and dining experiences, full business accommodations and world-class entertainment. Even better, the hotels offer packages for special events.

Starting at just $199, guests can discover the rich history of the Nation’s Capital and enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience at the Washington region’s newest waterfront resort destination. The package includes round-trip tickets on the resort’s exclusive shuttle to downtown Washington, D.C., which makes stops at Union Station and the Old Post Office. Afterwards, guests can take advantage of the resort’s offerings, which include four restaurants, Pose Ultra Lounge, Relache Spa, nightly entertainment and an all-season pool. This package is available now through August 31, 2009, but other great packages can also be found.

In addition to finding great packages, Gaylord offers these tips for travelers hoping to enjoy a little luxury without breaking the bank:

– Plan meals carefully. Choose package deals that provide breakfast at no extra cost. If you have children, choose family-friendly restaurants that allow children to eat for free. If your hotel room has a refrigerator, consider purchasing lunch staples so that you can prepare you own mid-day meal.

– Save your money for nice dinners. Before making a dinner reservation, look for coupons or ask the front desk about area restaurants that give discounts to guests.

– Travel with friends or family members. Some hotels and entertainment destinations, like museums or theme parks, offer discounts to guests traveling as a large group.

– Pack wisely. Don’t bring things that the hotel will provide, like soaps or shampoos. Bring refillable water bottles so that you don’t have to purchase new ones at every destination. If you have a young child, bring a light stroller to save on rentals.

To find and reserve your vacation package, call 301-965-2000, or book online at www.gaylordnational.com.

Home Is Where the Healthcare Is

<b>Home Is Where the Healthcare Is</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Home is where the heart is. Increasingly, the home is also where the healthcare is.

For various reasons, older people prefer to receive medical care at home, whether it be in their own home or their children’s home. Census data show a 67 percent jump between 2000 and 2007 in the number of parents who have moved in with their adult children.

More than 8 million seniors and people with disabilities enjoy the benefits of medical care at home. Services and equipment that enable people to receive care at home include oxygen therapy, power wheelchairs, hospital beds and diabetic supplies. Congress and the White House will consider the value of homecare for patients and taxpayers as they explore avenues for healthcare reform.

Reforming healthcare, especially Medicare, is a top issue in Washington, D.C. Medicare provides health insurance to approximately 43 million Americans aged 65 and older, and to people with permanent disabilities. The spending of Medicare is projected to grow annually by 7.5 percent over the next decade. Medicare trustees project that Medicare’s Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2019.

While total Medicare spending skyrockets, the portion devoted to home medical care and equipment remains less than 2 percent. At the same time, homecare holds down costs better than other healthcare segments. Two years of home oxygen therapy costs less than the average Medicare cost for a single day in the hospital, which is more than $5,500.

Providing care to seniors in their homes requires services. Homecare providers serve clients after hours and over weekends to ensure that their patients stay safe – and out of emergency rooms. Also, homecare providers help vulnerable seniors during emergencies such as ice storms and hurricanes.

As the President and Congress work toward solutions regarding the uninsured and the rising costs of care, the role of home medical care and equipment is likely to be considered as one of the key solutions that will help sustain Medicare and Medicaid.

Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, notes, “Homecare will continue to be safe and cost-effective only as long as policy-makers in Washington remember that homecare requires a human touch, including services and personal attention.”

For more information on homecare and its services, visit www.aahomecare.org/athome.

The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.

<b>The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Everyone has a different vision of what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant to the world. King was a philosopher, a preacher, a man of peace and a risk taker. He was strong, thoughtful, intelligent and direct in his mission to spread hope, justice and democracy for all.

There have always been strong opinions regarding our national memorials -; from the location and aesthetics of the National World War II Memorial to the abstract design of the Vietnam Memorial.

A passionate discussion has surfaced surrounding the design of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.

Recently, we received a letter from one member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) regarding the Stone of Hope, calling the image “confrontational” and creating a stir in the press. What did not get reported was that there are seven design elements required for CFA final approval, and we had received a “green light” on all but one.

While it is not unusual for the CFA and foundations similar to ours to have creative differences, we were surprised at the criticism, since we had submitted images of the Stone of Hope to the CFA since November.

We scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the chairman of the CFA this week. We agreed that some tweaking needs to be made, not a major overhaul. We will submit an updated image, and it is our hope to receive final CFA approval.

During our Design Competition in 2000, our team considered more than 1,000 images and pictures of Dr. King. It was ultimately decided that the image of him with his arms folded, as portrayed by photographer Bob Fitch, was ideal.

Mr. Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of Dr. King and president and chief executive officer of The King Center in Atlanta, agreed with our selection. “He said, “My uncle was very strong and confrontational with the weapon of love and nonviolence.”

Now, we should work on the task at hand -; building a four-acre memorial honoring Dr. King. The memorial will be the first on the National Mall to honor a man of peace and a person of color. The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has already raised $93 million from individuals, corporations and foundations, and we anticipate beginning construction shortly.

McKissack & McKissack, an African American woman-owned architectural and construction firm, will head the Design-Build team. The majority of the granite used will be domestic granite -; we will soon announce the sources of that granite.

We are confident that, at the end of the day, we will build a memorial which honors the legacy of Dr. King and one that inspires visitors from across the globe.

MLK’s ‘Dream’ to Shine in Four-Acre Memorial

<b>MLK’s ‘Dream’ to Shine in Four-Acre Memorial</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – During the 1963 March on Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered what would become his most famous public words. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech left an indelible imprint on hundreds of thousands of civil rights demonstrators that day and would continue to do so for generations to come. Now, more than 45 years after King’s inspirational words rang through the crowd of more than 200,000 people, plans for King’s legacy to be immortalized in a large-scale memorial are fast becoming a reality.

In early 2008, construction will commence at the site of the the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, a four-acre plot located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For the past 10 years, the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has led this historic effort, taking the helm after it was conceived more than two decades ago. Throughout this time span, the Foundation has remained committed to King’s legacy, virtues and humanity for all people -; regardless of race, color or creed.

“This year we will see the culmination of a decade’s worth of work,” said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the MLK National Memorial Project Foundation. “We enthusiastically anticipate reaching a number of key milestones that will bring the national MLK Memorial one step closer to taking its permanent residence on the National Mall in our nation’s capital.”

The MLK Memorial will be situated adjacent to the FDR Memorial, directly between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The centerpiece of the MLK Memorial is the “Stone of Hope,” a three-story statue of King that emerges from a stone wall of granite. A grove of cherry trees will also encompass the landmark to underscore themes of justice, love and hope.

“To date, we have raised nearly $90 million for the MLK National Memorial Project -; but we are still working tirelessly to meet the $100-million goal required to actually build and maintain the memorial,” Johnson said.

For more information on the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project, or to find out how to contribute, visit www.BuildtheDream.org or call 1-888-4-THE-DREAM.

Aflac Donates $1 Million to African-American Museum

<b>Aflac Donates $1 Million to African-American Museum</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution will soon welcome an addition to its family of museums that house priceless works of art and other relics.

To celebrate the legacy and contributions of black people in the U.S., the Smithsonian is developing the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The museum will be the only institution devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, art, history and culture. Its exhibits will cover topics as varied as slavery, post-Civil War reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

Aflac, an insurance company based in Columbus, Ga., donated $1 million to the Smithsonian for the museum, making it the first Fortune 500 company to donate funds toward the landmark’s construction. Corporate donations like these are vital to the museum’s future success and timely presentation of the facility to the public.

“Aflac is proud to lead the way in contributing to this most worthy cause,” said Dan Amos, chairman and CEO of Aflac. “The museum will serve as a great way to spotlight America’s diverse history while honoring the African-American experience that has been instrumental in the development of our great nation.”

During the presentation of the check to the Smithsonian, Aflac was presented with a special smithsonite stone in honor of its gift to the museum. Further, Aflac was recognized with a special glass engraving of the company’s name that will be housed in the Benefactors Room of the Smithsonian, an honor designated for museum donors.

Aflac also is dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer and sponsors the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as part of its major philanthropic effort. The company has pledged more than $20 million to the center and over 66,000 plush Aflac Ducks have been sold, with proceeds benefiting the center.

In addition, Aflac sponsors other minority efforts in the community, such as the Hispanic Award for Business Entrepreneurship and The National Black Chamber of Commerce/Aflac Entrepreneur of the Year Award. To learn more, visit www.aflac.com.