Articles of Interest

Why ageism never gets old

“Ageism is so hard to root out because it allows us to ward off a paralyzing fact with a pleasing fiction. It lets us fool ourselves, for a time, into believing that we’ll never die.” From the New Yorker, a look at the “sharp shift in the age of authority” that has resulted from the tech revolution—but also, from prejudice against older adults.

Learning to advance the positives of aging

People who would never crack a racist or sexist joke will nonetheless make ageist remarks without even thinking about it. But that is changing. More experts are taking on the negative images of aging—and many of them are older adults. This is an instance where “Nothing about us without us” is a good rallying cry.

The museum of you does not have a gift shop

Anyone who is planning to downsize, or to help a parent do so, will appreciate this lovely rumination about the meaning of possessions by psychiatrist Anna Fels.

Everything you should know about designing a home for aging in place

Architectural Digest presents simple, elegant design choices that can allow seniors to safely live independently for longer.

A spate of deadly disasters for the elderly

CNN reports that older adults continue to be disproportionately affected by natural disasters, but making the decision to evacuate is not a simple one.

Sleep aids aren’t safe for older adults, but 1 in 3 still take them

University of Michigan experts say many seniors are under the mistaken impression that sleep problems are just a part of growing older. So, they self-medicate with sleeping pills—and they don’t tell their doctor about it.

Aging in America: a special report

Politico, a national and global political news and information company, recently investigated the many ways our growing senior population is expected to challenge American policy.

Generations: supporting people with dementia and their caregivers

With support from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, the American Society on Aging has released a publication examining a wide range of issues affecting families who provide care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss. (Requires Adobe plugin)

Leaving behind a digital legacy for loved ones

As we’ve noted before, many adult children today have a lack of interest in inheriting possessions that their senior parents consider treasured heirlooms. CNN reports that some elders are instead creating a high-tech collection of memories.

Are many retirees with dementia lacking help?

The Boston College Center for Retirement Research recently took a look at the money management challenges that arise when a person has cognitive impairment.

Simulation shows the high cost of dementia, especially for families

The cost of long-term care is high. The cost of care when a person has dementia is very high—averaging $321,000. And families are out of pocket for 70 percent of that cost, says a Brown University researcher.

 

Past Articles

“Just Use the China” or “Call 1-800-Got-Junk”: Readers on Inheriting Keepsakes

After the New York Times published an article about aging parents leaving a lot of stuff to their kids who don’t want it, readers chimed in. One points out, “Gen X-ers and older millennials are contending with as many as four households of parental belongings, if a young couple are both children of divorce.”

Hospital admissions for older adults increase for weeks after natural disaster

For some, Hurricane Harvey is bringing back memories of Sandy in 2012. Here’s another reason to help senior loved ones prepare for emergencies: They may be vulnerable even if aren’t injured in the initial situation, say University of Michigan experts.

Drinking on the rise in U.S., especially for women, minorities, older adults

There’s been an unprecedented spike in high-risk alcohol consumption among older adults. NPR reports that abuse and dependence among the senior population has more than doubled since the year 2000.

New report shows that opioid misuse increases among older adults

You’ve probably heard about the opioid epidemic is striking older adults hard. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently announced that while fewer younger people are misusing these drugs, the number of seniors to do so continues to rise.

Baby boomers fuel wave of products meant to help them live longer and better

“Older people don’t want 1,000 apps for their smartphones. They want a screen that has numbers and letters in a large font so they can read them. They don’t dislike technology. They just want it to be easier, and we can do that.” The San Diego Union-Tribune takes a look at the growth of “senior tech.”

Caregiving needs increase as older adults approach the end of life

Researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital report that when an elder has a life-limiting illness, family members need a lot more support from friends and family, as well as from paid caregivers.

As seniors get sicker, they’re more likely to drop Medicare Advantage plans

NPR reports that seniors with serious illnesses should be careful when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

The patient wants to leave. The hospital says “No way”

In this age of patient-centered care, columnist Paula Span takes a look at the complex issues that come into play when a senior leaves the hospital A.M.A.—against medical advice.

Older Americans don’t get—or seek—enough help from doctors and pharmacists on drug costs, poll finds

The cost of the medications they take is a burden for seniors—but few share this information with their doctors, say researchers from the University of Michigan. Says Dr. Preeti Malani, “We see a need for health professionals to find ways to more routinely engage with patients about cost, especially through formal medication reviews such as the one that Medicare will cover.”

Alzheimer’s deaths jump 55 percent: CDC

“We are staring at a tsunami of Alzheimer’s disease,” says an expert, who notes, “Out of every 5 Medicare dollars, 2 of them are spent on someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia—that’s just not sustainable.”

Leaving hospital, older patients resist home help at their peril

Almost one-third of senior patients who are offered home health care upon hospital discharge turn it down, says a report from Kaiser Health News. Better communication might be the solution.

Feds to waive penalties for some who signed up late for Medicare

Here’s some good news from Kaiser Health News for procrastinators, or people who are just plain confused about the healthcare system: Certain seniors who didn’t sign up for Medicare at age 65 may not have to pay a penalty.

Baby boomers are downsizing—and the kids won’t take the family heirlooms

The silver? The china? Grandma’s ornate curio cabinet? No thanks, says the younger generation. The Boston Globe reports on an experience that is becoming very common as the baby boomers seek to pass their treasures to their children.

How to care for aging parents from a distance

U.S. News & World Report says that when elderly parents need help, but adult children live far away, it’s important to know about resources that can help—including aging life care professionals (also known as geriatric care managers).

US Death Rates from Alzheimer’s Disease Increased 55 Percent

With the aging of the baby boomers, a growing number of families will be providing care to loved ones with dementia, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Says CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, “As the number of older Americans with Alzheimer’s disease rises, more family members are taking on the emotionally and physically challenging role of caregiver than ever before. These families need and deserve our support.”

A police training program in age-related health helps communities better serve older adults

The American Geriatrics Society examines an understudied aspect of community policing: how our law enforcement officers can help seniors with whom they come into contact. The AGS calls for better training in the areas of dementia, elder abuse, and the services in the community that can help seniors in need.

Health Care? Daughters Know All About It

Trumpcare? Obamacare? What about “daughter care”? The New York Times recently reported on a topic that is quite familiar to aging life care professionals: the heavy burden women carry in supporting loved ones with chronic illness, especially dementia.

Family caregivers help with wider range of healthcare tasks than thought

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrates a truth that aging life care professionals know very well: Family caregivers are carrying a heavy burden! The study was performed by a Yale University research team, who noted that caregivers often give up the social activities they enjoy as they gradually spend more time on their loved ones’ healthcare routines.

Few Researchers Consider the Effect of Hearing Loss in Physician/Patient Communication, NYU Study Finds

Many doctors fail to take into consideration how hearing loss affects older patients’ ability to understand instructions and recommendations, said NYU professors in a recent study. Recommended the study authors, “Common sense, low (or no) cost strategies can be employed to mitigate the negative impact of both hearing and vision loss in patient communication. Some accommodations (e.g., minimizing ambient noise, speaking face to face, creating patient education materials with large-print font) are so simple and potentially beneficial that they could be implemented universally.”