Articles of Interest

Meaningful life tied to healthy aging

University College London experts have done quite a bit of research over the years on the importance of having a sense of purpose as we grow older. Their latest study demonstrates that taking part in activities that we consider worthwhile promotes physical and cognitive health in a number of ways.

How to select a quality nursing home

The Buffalo News recently shared insights from a retired elder law professor on how to locate the best nursing home care. Among his suggestions: consult with an Aging Life Care professional (geriatric care manager).

The geography of families and the art of long-distance caregiving

The Seattle-King County Aging & Disability Services Advisory Council takes a look at the challenges of providing care from afar, including a recommendation for the services that Aging Life Care professionals can provide.

Working with older adults

With the rapidly growing over-65 demographic, there will be a greater need for geropsychologists, who specialize in the mental health issues of seniors and family caregivers. The American Psychological Association reports on efforts in training and recruitment to expand the profession.

Study illuminates the largely unrecognized role of youth caregivers

University of Miami School of Medicine researchers recently took a comprehensive look at caregivers younger than 20. Many of these kids are helping with medication management and other challenging tasks, and they often miss the normal activities of school-age kids.

ERs can be loud, hectic and even dangerous for the elderly. Here’s how hospitals are trying to fix that.

The Washington Post reports on efforts to create a more senior-friendly emergency medicine setting.

A cornucopia of grandparents

New York Times columnist Paula Span recently took a look at an interesting demographic shift. With our greater life expectancy, there are many more grandparents are around—and with divorce and remarriage, new grandparent figures also come into the mix. What an asset for children! But it can be a balancing act

I’m a former war reporter. I learned a lot about vulnerability being my mom’s caregiver.

From the front lines of caregiving, a reporter offers experience and advice about the “Rubik’s cube” of providing care for a loved one.

Adaptive clothing takes stress out of dressing

Looking for holiday gift ideas for older adults? The AARP reports that challenges in helping a senior loved one dress can be “the breaking point” for families trying to care for older relatives at home. But there’s good news—today’s adaptive wear choices are far more stylish and innovative than the muumuus of yesteryear. Even Zappos has gotten into the act!

The future of aging just might be in Margaritaville

From the New York Times Magazine, a look at trends in senior housing. Says one expert, “The rapidly aging worldwide population will affect us more than global warming, I think. It’s the seminal event of the 21st century.”

Hearing and visual aids linked to slower age-related memory loss

Researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK provide more evidence that treating sensory loss in older adults also protects their brain health.

Past Articles

No kids? Who will care for you as you age?

U.S. News & World Report recently looked at the growing “elder orphan” situation. ALCA president-elect Lisa Mayfield estimates that one-third of her clients fall into this category. (Includes video.)

AP-NORC Poll: Many caregivers neglecting their own health

In a recent poll, family caregivers reported they are careful to be sure elderly loved ones keep doctor appointments and fill their prescriptions—but do they take as much care with their own health and wellness regimen? Not so much. One expert says that caregivers and care receivers should be “looked at as a unit.”

What do Hurricane Florence and frail old age have in common?

“In the face of an approaching calamity many of us do nothing.” Forbes columnist Howard Gleckman made this very apt analogy last month.

The comforting fictions of dementia care

A Reporter-At -Large article and video in the New Yorker takes a look at memory care facilities that build nostalgic environments to create meaningful lives for their residents.

No more secrets: Congress bans pharmacist ‘gag orders’ on drug prices

For years, many pharmacists have been forbidden to alert customers that it might be cheaper to pay for a medication out of pocket than to use their Medicare Part D or other insurance plan. Kaiser Health News reports that this is about to change … but customers might still need to ask.

Should Medicare pay for toothpaste and shoes?

We know that beneficial lifestyle changes improve health and save money. Politico reports on a new program that could shape the future of Medicare by focusing not only on hands-on care, but also on social supports.

To manage dementia well, start with the caregivers

A dementia care expert tells NPR that caring for a person with dementia falls into the “put your oxygen mask on first” category! Here’s some information about the innovative DICE approach.

The sexism of Brexit

Here’s a thought-provoking article from the U.K. examining a common assumption about who will provide eldercare. News flash: 40 percent of caregivers are men, and changes in the way we live will no doubt push that number higher.

Issue brief: LGBT and dementia

LGBT elders who are living with Alzheimer’s face many challenges, reports the Alzheimer’s Association. What can family caregivers and professionals do to meet the needs of these vulnerable seniors?

When siblings share the caregiving for an aging parent, will it be welfare or warfare?

Forbes reports on an often overlooked challenge of caregiving: coming to an agreement with your siblings. They suggest bringing in an Aging Life Care Professional to provide an assessment of elderly parents’ needs and a workable plan.

This firm already microchips employees. Could your ailing relative be next?

Would you have your loved one with Alzheimer’s microchipped? One company is working on it, reports the Washington Post.

Scientists discover why some people with brain markers of Alzheimer’s have no dementia

We’ve known for a while that some  people can have the characteristic plaques and tangles in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease—without any signs of the disease. Experts from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are trying to find out why.

When Caregivers Dislike “Loved Ones” They’re Caring For

Here’s an interesting question from the AARP: how can you take care of yourself while providing care for a person you might not particularly like?

“There’s a window, and once it closes, it closes forever”

When is the right time to move into assisted living? The Boston Globe says it’s not as easy as some people might think; they report that an Aging Life Care Professional can help with the decision.

Do longer lives mean that one lifelong marriage isn’t enough?

Quartz takes a look at the rise of “gray divorces”; what’s behind the doubling of the divorce rate among older adults since 1990? As is often the case these days, baby boomer trends are a big piece of the puzzle.

America is running out of family caregivers, just when it needs them most

This Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall, but MSN has republished it. Their study shows that “Americans reaching retirement age are in a squeeze unseen in generations.”

What to do when caregiving finally ends

The AARP says that after a loved one passes away, family caregivers often find themselves feeling disoriented, not knowing what to do next, and not really knowing who they are any more. One option: enter the profession!

Aging Life Care Professionals can help families avoid the pitfalls of guardianship

You may have read recent articles about abuses in the guardianship system. And even people with the best of intentions who are serving as a guardian for an elderly loved one often wonder if they’re making the right decisions and providing adequate support. An Aging Life Care Manager can help!

Older Americans: cost, coverage drive hearing aid inequality

Hearing aids help seniors remain active, safe and socially connected. Yet many older adults don’t have them or don’t use them. University of Michigan researchers recently explored the barriers.

Protecting people with dementia from harm

Forbes reports that the measures families and facilities take to keep people with dementia safe can also make them feel less secure. It’s a constant balancing act between safety and independence, and between physical and emotional well-being.

This is what the challenging life of a millennial caregiver looks like

Today 25 percent of family caregivers are millennials—those aged 18 – 34. Economic challenges of this generation, combined with changes in caregiving, are sending out an SOS that they need help!

Unseen face of the opioid epidemic: drug abuse among the elderly grows

The Washington Post reminds us that while most coverage of the opioid crisis focuses on young people, in fact older adults are seriously affected—and Medicare is of little help. The debate continues in the comments section.

What to look for in a geriatric care manager

U.S. News & World Reports says the Aging Life Care Association website is a good resource for locating a qualified, reliable Aging Life Care Professional.

In elderly hands, firearms can be even deadlier

For the New York Times, an aging life care specialist confirms that gun ownership among elders, especially those with dementia, is a complex and under-researched issue.

A surprising bullying battleground: Senior centers

Nursing homes, senior housing complexes and other organizations that serve older adults are recognizing the problem of bullying, and introducing policies and programs to address the issue.

Older couples are increasingly living apart. Here’s why.

TIME magazine reports that more seniors in committed relationships are choosing to maintain their separate residences, for financial and personal reasons.

Homes with multigenerational family members are a growing trend

The Washington Post reports that home remodeling to accommodate senior relatives is on the upswing.

Can caregivers help seniors with money?

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says trouble handling financial tasks can be “the canary in the coal mine” indicating that a loved one is developing dementia.

“Helicopter children:” More and more adults trying to control their elderly parents’ every move

This might sound familiar to some family caregivers! The balancing act between keeping senior loved ones safe while preserving their independence can be a real challenge.

Your most important Medicare decision

From CBS MoneyWatch, information to help people who are turning 65 make the important decision between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.

5 ways to prepare when your parent moves in

“It’s not like when someone brings home a new baby. There are no books, or celebrations for bringing home your elderly parent.” Forbes takes a look at things families should consider before sharing their home with an older loved one, and notes that an aging life care specialist can help make the home a better fit.

Caregiving—With Your Mom’s New Husband

The AARP recently took a look at an increasingly common dynamic: blended families that form later in life.

Elder abuse: sometimes it’s self-inflicted

A senior is found in shameful condition. Who’s to blame? Quite often, it’s a matter of self-neglect—though the person often can’t help it.

New technologies help seniors age in place—and not feel alone.

A recent article in USA Today reported that technology for “monitored independence” is expanding.

Five ways millennial caregivers can find help

Despite the stereotype that this generation is self-centered, they are stepping up to care for loved ones in record numbers—and these younger caregivers need help. (If you are a millennial caregiver, learn about the services aging life care professionals provide, as well.)

What’s a Geriatric Care Manager anyway?

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says aging life care specialists can do much more than most people realize!

New studies find America’s silent workforce has a lot to say about their jobs as caregivers

Forbes reports that family caregivers today face many challenges and pitfalls. But there are resources—including aging life care managers—that can help.

More older adults are moving in with their children

We hear a lot about “boomerang kids,” young adults who move back in with their parents—but according to AARP, the older generation may beat them to it!

His elderly mother wandered out into the cold and died. Whose fault was it?

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: The line between independent living and assisted living is blurring. What should families expect when a loved one develops memory loss?

Older adults who are frail are more likely to experience delirium following elective surgery, new study suggests

Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto found that frail and cognitively impaired seniors have a 30 percent lower risk of hospitalization complications if they have caregiver support.

What to do with Dougie? Man with special needs outlives expectations, bringing caregivers to crossroads

In the past, children with physical and intellectual disabilities seldom outlived their parents. But today, better care often sees them surviving into their later years, when parents and other loved ones are no longer living.

The Cause of So Many Estate Fights

Forbes reports that tensions in blended families can spill into the legal realm, especially when a senior has dementia in the final years.

For elder health, trips to the ER are often a tipping point

Why does an emergency hospital visit often lead to decline in older patients? It’s complicated, but there are mitigating steps hospitals and family caregivers can take, says Navigating Aging’s Judith Graham in an article for Kaiser Health News.

‘The problem child of seasonal flu’: beware this winter’s virus

STAT reports that one of the flu viruses this year is the H3N2, one which is especially dangerous—and deadly—for older adults. Says an epidemiologist, “We don’t have a flu vaccine problem so much as we have an H3N2 vaccine problem.”

How caregivers, aides and recipients can build bonds

The AARP recently explored the human connection between home care workers, clients and family.

How care for elders, not children, denies women a paycheck

After a five-decade rise in the number of women in the workplace, the numbers leveled out. Why? A New York Times analyst says, “Focused laser-like on child care, we haven’t noticed that the United States is walking into an elder-care crisis.”

The coming family caregiver crunch: 8 tips to survive

An article that recently appeared in Forbes asked, “Do your parents have a financial caregiving plan? Hint: It’s you.”

Lost at sea: caregivers stressed by navigating support systems

There are plenty of support services available for family caregivers—but understanding and accessing them can be very challenging, reports Mather Lifeways.

How to hire in-home help

Consumer Reports recently offered advice to families seeking to hire home care for their loved one. The author suggests enlisting the help of a geriatric care manager (aging life care professional) to help things go smoothly, and invites readers to the ALCA website.

The double whammy of long-term health care costs

CBS Moneywatch says that even people who have carefully budgeted for their own potential long-term care costs can be blindsided when a relative who didn’t do the same needs care. FYI: aging life care professionals can be of great help in these situations.

How to reduce dementia’s tragic toll on families

In the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Marc Agronin takes an in-depth look at the tremendous impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and offers suggestions on how families and our culture can better the situation.

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.

“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.”