Cape Cod Times
December 9, 2014
by Cape Cod Times Staff
Every late fall for the past three years, we have written at least one editorial about the high rate of suicide on the Cape and Islands. As we approach the holidays, it appears some people just can’t bear the pain of depression or addiction any longer.
Mental health experts can only speculate as to why Barnstable County has the second highest rate of suicides in the state, after Franklin County. Representatives from the Cape and Islands Community Health Network Alliance report that 95 percent of individuals who commit suicide suffer from mental illness. Further, they note that loneliness, loss, addiction, and lack of treatment can all contribute to someone taking his or her life.
The latest spike in suicides has hit Nantucket, where five island residents have died in the past two months. We hope as many people as possible can attend a community meeting Dec. 15 at the high school. Beginning at 6 p.m., the meeting will include representatives from the state Department of Mental Health, the Cape and Islands Suicide Prevention Coalition and Family and Children’s Services of Nantucket.
Continue reading Suicide Prevention Efforts are Everyone’s Responsibility
Cape Cod Volunteers has been diligently gathering a list of holiday volunteer opportunities available on Cape Cod this holiday season. Organizations are seeking volunteers to help in a variety of ways including laying wreathes at the National Cemetery in Bourne, delivering holiday meals to those in need, and even organizing first night celebrations across the Cape.
If you or your loved ones would like to make a difference this holiday season by giving the gift of time, check out the Holiday Volunteer Opportunities page on the Cape Cod Volunteers website today!
The Cape Cod Commission has released a draft of its Coordinated Public Transit – Human Services Transportation Plan for public comment. The plan is intended to identify needs and gaps in human transportation services for seniors and individuals with disabilities in Barnstable County.
Comments may be submitted via email to Glenn Cannon, Director of Technical Services at email@example.com or via mail to: CPT Human Services Transportation Plan, Attn: Glenn Cannon, P.O. Box 226, Barnstable, MA 02630.
The comment period runs through December 22nd. Further information can be found on the Cape Cod Commission website.
On November 18, 2014 individuals can take advantage of free confidential memory screenings as part of National Memory Screening Day, an annual initiative to promote proper detection of memory problems. Hope Dementia & Alzheimer’s Services, part of HopeHealth’s family of services, will provide memory screenings at 12 locations across southeastern Massachusetts. Screenings will be held at senior centers in Barnstable, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Mashpee, New Bedford, Orleans, Plymouth, Sandwich and Yarmouth.
As many as 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. The number is escalating in line with the aging population; the first baby boomers turned 65 in 2011. Advanced age is the greatest risk factor, with the incidence of the disease doubling every five years between 65 and 95. One in nine people aged 65 and older have the disease, affecting 120,000 individuals age 65 and older in Massachusetts.
A memory screening averages 30 minutes and consists of questions and tasks to assess memory. It does not diagnose any illness, but can indicate whether someone should pursue a follow-up medical exam. It is estimated that missed diagnoses of dementia may be as high as 90 percent.
Memory screenings are administered by Hope Dementia & Alzheimer’s Services trained staff. For more information, call 508-775-5656 or visit HopeDementia.org.
Medicare’s Open Enrollment period for Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th for 2015 plan choices. The Cape and Islands Regional SHINE Program has been offering community presentations at local senior centers to explain Medicare coverage options, plus plan costs and changes for 2015. Presentations have run approximately 1.5 hours including time for Q&A.
The final community presentation will be on Wednesday, November 5th at 10:30 a.m. at the Sandwich Senior Center. Advanced registration is required. Please call 508-888-4737 to RSVP if you wish to attend.
SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) is made available through the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide free and unbiased counseling services for medicare beneficiaries, their family members, caregivers, and representatives. Certified SHINE Counselors are available at local senior centers and other locations throughout the Cape and Islands.
If you’re unable to attend the community presentation on November 5th and have questions about your 2015 plan choices, the regional SHINE office can be reached at 508-375-6762 or SHINE@barnstablecounty.org.