Dignity has a home at Louisville’s Hildegard House

The spirit of compassion permeates the air at Hildegard House, the Louisville home where 65 volunteers serve on a rotating schedule to care for those “individuals at the end of life who have no home or loved ones to care for them.”

Insider Louisville LogoKaren Cassidy, a palliative care nurse, is the executive director. She led the drive to establish Hildegard House, and the non-profit was able to purchase the former church property, which was home to Ursuline Sisters for decades, in 2016.

Before taking on the leadership role at Hildegard House, Cassidy said that she was witness to many sad stories of individuals who came to the end of life with nothing.

“Every day I would see people at the end of life who had no home or caregivers to care for them,” she said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “It’s hard to see someone die by themselves.”

On Sept. 22, a fund-raising event, “An Evening with Hildegard” is planned from 5-8 p.m. at the Atria Hospitality Center at 300 E. Market St. Local TV personality Rachel Platt with emcee the event, with guest performances by the Louisville Ballet and performance artist Jeannde Ford. Tickets are available through Hildegard House.

For more information, please click here.


Kentucky ranks 49th in seniors’ well-being, new survey shows

WellBeingFor the seventh year in a row, Kentucky has been ranked as the second-lowest state when it comes to the well-being of people aged 55 and older, beating out only West Virginia.

The rankings  are part of the 2015 Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series. Kentucky’s “well-being index score” was 61.2, ranking just ahead of West Virginia (59.9) and just below Oklahoma (62.0), Ohio (62.5), Indiana and Vermont (62.7 each). The score is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the best. Hawaii ranked No. 1, with a score of 67.0.

The analysis ranks states according to five different measures of well-being for seniors and then ranks them based on the overall score. Those measures (with Kentucky’s ranks noted in parentheses) are:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals (48)
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life (46)
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security (41)
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community (40)
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily (49)

James Kimbrough, president of AARP Kentucky, told Darla Carter of The Courier-Journal that he thought the problem was rooted in poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity and said he would like to see state’s legislative leaders be public role models in these areas.

“The healthiest states in the country have a culture of encouraging people to exercise, to be outdoors, to not sit in front of the TVs,” he said.


Kentucky seniors’ health ranking increases in new report, but state still lags in overall health outcomes

Kentucky seniors are making some progress in their health, according to a new report, but the state still ranks last in overall health outcomes and 44th in determiners of those outcomes, meaning that we’ve still got a long way to go.

The state moved up three spots, from 48th to 45th, in the fourth annual America’s Health Rankings Senior Report (Massachusetts rose five places to claim the top spot, while Louisiana remained at the bottom in 50th place). Meanwhile, in the 2015 America’s Health Rankings (all ages), Kentucky ranks 44th.

According to the report, Kentucky seniors had three strengths – a low prevalence of excessive drinking, a low percentage of low-care nursing home residents, and a high flu vaccination coverage– and three weaknesses – a high prevalence of physical inactivity, a high rate of preventable hospitalizations, and a high prevalence of full-mouth teeth extractions.

The 2016 report provides a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across 35 measures of senior health. It is built upon the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

This year, the report took an in-depth look at today’s middle-aged population who will age into senior status (65+) over the next 14 years and examined how the challenges of that generation will impact the senior population. Overall, today’s middle-aged population smokes less, but will be entering their senior years with higher rates of obesity and diabetes and lower rates of high health status, putting significant strain on the health care system. Compared to the current senior population when they were middle-aged, the next wave of seniors:

  • Smokes 50% less
  • Has a 55% higher prevalence of diabetes
  • Has a 25% higher prevalence of obesity
  • Has a 9% lower prevalence of very good or excellent health status

The report was produced by the United Health Foundation. For more information, please click here.


Kentucky Seniors Rank Low on Annual Health Ranking Report

health rankingKentucky seniors (age 65 and older) rank in the bottom 10 states for 23 of 35 measures ranked by the 2015 America’s Health Ranking Seniors Report, placing Kentucky in 48th place for the second year in a row. The state ranked last in “total health outcomes” and “preventable hospitalizations”; next to last in “premature deaths” and “education”; and third-from-last for “smoking,” “seniors who are considered underweight,” and “poor mental health days.” But it wasn’t all bad news – the report said that Kentucky seniors’ strengths are in “low prevalence of chronic drinking,” “low percentage of low-care nursing home residents,” and “high flu vaccination coverage.” For more information, go online to http://www.americashealthrankings.org/Senior/KY.