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Twelve of the 345 nursing homes in Kansas meet Kansas Advocates for Better Care criteria for high-performing facilities, according to the organization’s annual evaluation. Another 66 were deemed low-performing.

“The nursing home industry is fond of saying that quality-of-care standards are too high and that they can’t be met,” said Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care. “But here are 12 facilities that clearly have done just that."

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked implementation of a U.S. Department of Labor regulation that would have required state Medicaid programs to pay in-home care workers minimum wage and overtime.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

When diabetes began to steal her mother’s legs and vision three decades ago, Lawrence resident Judy Bellome and her family joined the ranks of thousands of caregivers across Kansas.

Bellome had advantages others don’t, but even so she found it challenging.

“If I hadn’t been a nurse — and my sister is a physical therapist — there’s a very good chance we would not have been giving my mother the right insulin doses,” says Bellome, former CEO of the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association. “Because nobody trained us.”

Kansas’ efforts to address the ever-burgeoning needs of its aged and disabled populations rank 17th best in the nation, according to a scorecard released Thursday by AARP.

“Seventeenth — that places us in the second quartile of states, or somewhere toward the middle of the road,” says Maren Turner, director of AARP Kansas. “Kansas can do better than that. I mean, who wants to receive middle-of the-road services? Most people don’t.”

Kansas ranked 18th in a similar report last year. It came in ninth in 2011.

Mark-Adkins / Flickr-CC

As the parents of baby boomers move into their twilight years, an elephant enters the room: when should we start to talk about long-term care? 

With 12 million Americans already in need of attention and a further 15 million just around the corner, that question of how to best look after ourselves and loved ones is becoming more important by the day.

Ethan Prater / Flickr - CC

We all know that the baby boomer generation is getting older. As the baby boomers enter into their  sixties and seventies, our population will experience a significant age shift. In fact, the number of residents over age 65 will double over the next 20 years, and community members over the age of 80 will be increasing at an even faster rate. But what happens when Grandma and Grandpa can no longer drive, or even live on their own?

A nursing home watchdog group says Kansas nursing home residents would benefit from increased requirements for direct care from nurses and nurse-aides in nursing homes. Current regulations require adequate staffing to provide each resident a minimum of two hours of direct care daily.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Driving out of the western Iowa town of Panora, the winding roads offer broad vistas of rolling hills. Many of the mailboxes along Redwood Road show the name Arganbright. Jim Arganbright grew up in this area, one of 10 children. He and his wife, Beverly, have eight kids.

Though Jim Arganbright farmed here his whole life, three years ago at the age of 80 he started renting his cropland to his son Tom, the only one of his children who farms full-time. Now, all Jim Arganbright has to worry about is the livestock — and he doesn’t have too much of that.

Ray Meints / NET News

Working beyond retirement is a fairly common refrain these days. In 2012, 5 percent of the U.S. workforce was beyond retirement age. But farmers seem to work longer than most. In the last Agriculture Census 25 percent of all farm operators were over 65 years old.

Why do farmers keep working? For one thing, modern machinery makes it easier to work longer.

“It’s more you use your mind rather than your back, so you can go longer,” said Mike Duffy, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University.

The Medicare Summary Notice senior citizens receive every month has been redesigned. The changes are meant to make it easier to spot fraudulent claims.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the federal government has devoted new resources to rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicare program. The notice beneficiaries receive each month to explain their claims is being upgraded to make it easier to spot claims for services they never received.

Parenting Our Parents

Mar 5, 2013

For most of a child's life, from infancy and into adulthood, parents take care of, support and help their children make decisions. It's an odd experience though when the parents gets elderly and the child has to step in as caregiver. On this Central Standard, we look at how the family dynamic changes when parents can't take care of themselves and how to approach the situation from an emotional and logistical point of view.

With the first of the Baby Boom generation reaching the milestone of mid-life, the number of Americans in or nearing retirement age is both unprecedented and expanding.