Associated Press

Santa Barbara Joins Forces to Train Dementia Caregivers

With rates of dementia expected to reach epidemic proportions as an aging American populous lives longer, a Southern California city has formed an impressive coalition of business leaders, educators, foundations and long-term care settings to help train the next generation of caregivers.

When the Spirit Moves You… in Later Life

Sex scandals in the Catholic Church. Nativity scenes nixed during Christmas holidays. God kicked out of schools. In American culture, God is taking one hell of a beating. At the same time, the nation’s hunger for divine connection – especially among older adults – has never been higher. With advancing age, the soul’s gnawing desire for spiritual attachment often grows, and many older adults long to discuss both meaning and mortality.

Community Clinics Under Pressure to Keep Patients

LifeLong Medical Care, like many community clinics, has been through the spin cycle of the sign-up for the Affordable Care Act. And now, also like clinics across the state, they have to compete for those newly insured and paying patients they helped to enroll.

ACA Offers Critical Support for Foster Kids

Before the ACA became law, California extended Medi-Cal coverage for former foster children until their 21st birthdays. In Los Angeles County, that deadline meant some 1,500 former foster youth lost their health coverage each year. Statewide estimates set the number at up to 5,000 youths a year. Now, the ACA guarantees access to health care services for former foster youth until age 26, just like other young people who can stay on their parents’ private insurance plans until that age.

Barriers to Mental Health Treatment Remain Under Obamacare

When a patient at St. James Health Center needs mental health care, the first thing Susana Farina does is check insurance. The type of insurance patients have — if they have any at all — determines what kind of doctor they can see and even the date of their appointments. The Affordable Care Act covers treatment for some mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, but the law is not comprehensive and many Californians with mental illnesses still face challenges accessing care.

A Class Robot Helps Kids with Autism

An 8-year-old boy with autism ran up to a booth where a small robot named Nao sat on a display table at a technology conference a few years ago. Nao was “looking” around. When the child touched the robot’s shiny white and blue body, its sensors engaged, and it turned its head and began to ask the boy questions in a pleasant, computerized voice.

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