Plenty to scare us this Halloween

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Today is Halloween, one of my favorite days. But tonight, while I will enjoy the costumes and the festivities, I’ll wonder if we need the holiday at all this year. After all, life seems scary enough.

Just this week the media gave us some frightening news—a contraction in the GDP that confirms a recession, the U.S. auto industry asking for a government bailout, and Joe the Plumber, celebrity of the campaign trail, pondering a book deal (I mean, could life get any freakier!).

In your corner of the world, you have experienced events that could certainly keep you up at night, as well. In the spirit of the holiday, here’s a rundown of some of the spookier happenings of the last few days:

- Dementia resident casts vote: This week, a family in Ohio raised a fuss when they found out their father, who has severe dementia, was allowed to vote in the upcoming election. Click here for more. They told the news they are debating whether to have the vote declared invalid.

We’ve seen the effects of voting errors in years past in elections and we don’t need more of them—especially this year when so much is riding on so many races.

- Diabetes diagnosis soaring: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported a 90% jump in the rate of new diabetes cases among U.S. adults during the past 10 years. To see the report, go to The rate increased from 4.8 cases per 1,000 people during 1995-1997 to 9.1 cases per 1,000 in 2005-2007. States with the highest incidence were mostly in the South.

The diabetes epidemic has become increasingly worse in recent years. The toll it takes on patients and the healthcare system is astronomical—and makes me shudder.

- Plunging state revenues: The July to September quarter wasn’t just bad for state revenue collections, it was the worst in years. As I wrote in my last blog entry, this could mean bad news for Medicaid payments.

For long-term care providers and affiliates this Halloween, this may be the scariest news of all.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.