Hurricane Maria Still Taking A Toll On Puerto Rico’s Seniors

The question of who will care for Puerto Rico’s aging population is a growing crisis, says Dr. Angel Muñoz, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. The island’s elderly population is particularly at risk amid the new Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

Earlier this year, a study by Harvard researchers estimated that 4,600 Puerto Ricans died in the months after Hurricane Maria hit last September. Many were seniors who faced delays in getting medical care.

Meanwhile, projections show that one-third of Puerto Rico’s population will be 60 or older by 2020, even as the number of young people are increasingly fleeing to the mainland in search of employment, often leaving behind aging parents.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Visual illusion proves effective in relieving knee pain for people with osteoarthritis

In a new study published in the journal Peer J this week, researchers at UniSA’s Body in Mind Research Group have found people suffering osteoarthritis in the knees reported reduced pain when exposed to visual illusions that altered the size of their knees.

UniSA researcher and NHMRC Career Development Fellow, Dr Tasha Stanton says the research combined visual illusions and touch, with participants reporting up to a 40 per cent decrease in pain when presented with an illusion of the knee and lower leg elongated.

“We also found that the pain reduction was optimal when the illusion was repeated numerous times — that is, its analgesic effect was cumulative,” Dr Stanton says.

Full story at Science Daily

The Do’s and Don’ts of Alcohol Intervention for Seniors

IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT an elderly parent or grandparent’s substance use, you’re not alone.

Americans over the age of 65 should limit their weekly alcohol consumption to no more than seven drinks, according to guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Yet some estimates suggest that as many as 15 percent of older adults in this country exceed this healthy limit (above which drinking is associated with various alcohol-related issues and constitutes “at-risk drinking”).

For this at-risk population, even a brief, more informal alcohol intervention (as opposed to a formal intervention facilitated by a certified professional) can be effective. Both the approach and level of advance preparation, such as familiarity with senior-specific treatment considerations and options, can be critical to ensuring a successful intervention. Here’s how to express your concerns in a way that’s helpful – not overbearing.

Full story at US News

Higher income and being married protect older people from broken bones

Research led by scientists from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton has shown that a higher income and being married reduces the risk of experiencing a broken bone in old age.

The study, published in Osteoporosis International, investigated whether differences in socioeconomic status, represented by income and marital status, were associated with fracture risk.

Researchers from the University of Southampton, University of Oxford, University of Bristol as well as Aalborg and Southern Denmark, analysed data from 189, 838 patients who had broken bones, compared with 189,838 patients who had not experienced a broken bone, drawn from the Danish population.

Full story at Medical Xpress

How This New Law Will Help Grandparents Raising Grandkids

While Congress continues to duke it out on most issues, legislators have come together a remarkable number of times this year in support of grandparents and other relatives raising children — also known as grandfamilies.

On Monday, July 9, President Trump signed into law The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, first introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in May 2017. The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act has received support from 40 older adult and child advocacy groups including AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics and my group, Generations United, which aims to improve the lives of kids and older adults.

Helping Grandparents Raising Grandkids

What does the new law mean for the more than 2.5 million grandparents who’ve stepped up to raise children when their parents are unable to do so?

Full story at nextavenue.org

Walgreens and Humana are partnering to create senior health hubs

Drugstore chain Walgreens is partnering with health insurer Humana to open senior-focused care centers.

They plan to open two locations inside Walgreens stores this fall in the Kansas City, Missouri, area with primary care services, pharmacies and other services like a Humana representative to answer seniors’ Medicare questions.

Humana will run the clinics through its Partners in Primary Care business. The unit already opened four independent centers in the area last year. The partnership is just the latest example of health insurers trying to become more consumer-facing businesses.

Full story at CNBC

New research could banish guilty feeling for consuming whole dairy products

Enjoying full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and butter is unlikely to send people to an early grave, according to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The study, published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no significant link between dairy fats and cause of death or, more specifically, heart disease and stroke — two of the country’s biggest killers often associated with a diet high in saturated fat. In fact, certain types of dairy fat may help guard against having a severe stroke, the researchers reported.

“Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke,” said Marcia Otto, Ph.D., the study’s first and corresponding author and assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Full story at Science Daily

Through my eyes: A stroke experience

I am Tracy Lyn Lomagno, a 45-year-old dental assistant with lots of other hobbies. I’m a mom to my 10-year-old son and a wife of 12 years to my husband Vincenzo. And, earlier this year, I had a stroke that changed my life dramatically.

It was around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday February 25, 2018, when I felt as though I was struck in the head by lightning.

I experienced a horrible, surging pain and sat up. I immediately grabbed my husband and screamed, “I’m dying, call 911.”

It’s hard to put my experience into words, but if anyone remembers what the teacup ride at an amusement park is like, just imagine being on one of those.

Full story at Medical News Today

Why your pool’s lifeguard is more likely to be a senior citizen

Just after she turned 70, Leslie Botts became a lifeguard.

Botts, a longtime swimmer from Austin, was looking for a way to stay active while supplementing her income. After retiring in 2007 from her 30-year career as a special-education teacher, she taught yoga at a Caribbean resort for a year, then worked as a substitute high school teacher, making just over $10 an hour. But she was frustrated by the unpredictable hours and low pay.

So when a friend in his 60s started lifeguarding last summer, she considered yet another change.

“I thought, ‘What the heck, I love the water, so I’ll give it a try,’ ” said Botts, who now makes nearly $14 an hour working at Austin’s pools.

Full story at the Washington Post

Mind over matter: Amygdala circuit counteracts pain-driven emotion

Two pathways in the brain converging at the amygdala regulate the anxiety and depression that often accompanies chronic pain, suggests research in male rats published in JNeurosci. One of these pathways may represent a top-down mechanism that controls negative emotion under stress.

Using optogenetic stimulation, Zhizhong Pan and colleagues identify two opposing neural pathways — one that carries pain signals from the parabrachial nucleus to the central nucleus of amygdala (PBN-CeA) and another from the basolateral amygdala to CeA (BLA-CeA) — that integrate negative and positive emotion.

Full story at Science Daily