Veteran Benefits for Assisted Living

IF YOU SERVED THE United States of America as a member of the armed services, you may be entitled to certain benefits that could make some aspects of getting older a little easier. Namely, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers some funding programs that can help offset the cost of certain kinds of care later in life. For some people, this sort of benefit can be a real help when weighing how to pay for assisted living or other long-term care options.

“Veterans and their spouses have multiple financial benefits that can help cover the cost of assisted living,” says Rick Wigginton, senior vice president of sales at Brookdale Senior Living, a Tennessee-based company that has more an 1,000 senior living and retirement communities across the United States.

Wigginton says that Brookdale, like many other senior living companies, seeks to “help many veterans maximize these benefits, which in some cases can really reduce the cost of senior living.” Senior living options can get expensive. Every little bit that can help offset these sometimes-large costs is often a welcome relief for families.

Full story at US News

Medical mistrust impacts African American men’s preventive health, but racism also matters

Mistrust of health care providers, fueled by painful experiences with racism, makes African American men more likely to delay routine screenings and doctor’s appointments, according to a new study in the journal Behavioral Medicine by the Health Disparities Institute (HDI) at UConn Health, with potentially serious implications for their overall health.

“Medical mistrust is significantly contributing to delays in African American men utilizing the health care system,” says Dr. Wizdom Powell, the study’s lead author, who is HDI director and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UConn School of Medicine.

The new study reports that “medical mistrust” — defined as a suspicion or lack of trust in medical organizations — is associated with delays in African American men’s routine health visits, blood pressure, and cholesterol screenings. It also found that men who report experiencing frequent everyday racism had higher odds of delaying screenings and routine health care visits. Also, those who perceived racism in health care had more medical mistrust with significantly reduced rates of preventive health care utilization.

Full story at Science Daily

ACL Announces Initial Meetings of Caregiver Advisory Councils

The Administration for Community Living is pleased to announce the first meetings of the advisory councils established by the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (SGRG) Act.

Both meetings will be held on August 28 – 29 at the Holiday Inn—Washington Capitol, located at 550 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20024.  The meetings will be open to the public (registration required) and will be live streamed.

A complete list of council members, as well as schedules and registration instructions for participating in the meetings, can be found at ACL.gov/RAISE and ACL.gov/SGRG.

“The number of family caregivers, including grandparents who are raising grandchildren, is significant and growing. They are the backbone of our country’s caregiving system, and supporting them is critical,” said ACL Administrator Lance Robertson. “ACL is proud to lead the implementation of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act. We are excited to announce the membership of the two advisory councils, and we are looking forward to the inaugural meetings.”

Full story at ACL

11 Decorating Tips for Assisted Living

Decorating can ease the transition into assisted living.

Helping someone move into an assisted living facility can be an emotionally fraught experience. Collaborating with loved ones to decorate their new living quarters in a way that helps protect their physical safety and boost their emotional outlook can assist them in their transition, says Julia Bailey, a senior associate and interior design project manager with Denver-based OZ Architecture. “Moving into assisted living often can feel like a loss of independence and privacy for your loved one, but thoughtful interior design can go a long way toward improving happiness and well-being for the resident, as well as improving overall functionality of the new living space,” Bailey says.

Here are 11 assisted living decorating tips that can improve safety and boost the mood of your loved one.

Full story at US News

Normal Brain vs. Brain With Dementia

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A brain specialist to notice certain differences in images of a healthy older person’s brain compared to that of someone with dementia. Narrowed, depleted folds on the brain’s surface, the presence of blotchy plaques, twisted fibers and significant shrinkage are clearly visible. What you can’t see is how brain changes like these affect how people’s minds work.

In a program from the National Press Foundation and funded by AARP, “Understanding the Latest on Dementia Issues,” journalists heard from a spectrum of dementia experts, including researchers, gerontologists, family caregivers and a brilliant engineer who described her personal journey with early-onset Alzheimer’s. In addition, a leading neuroscientist detailed how normal brain aging is very different than changes arising from dementia and not something to be feared.

Full story at US News

Call it Mighty Mouse: Breakthrough leaps Alzheimer’s research hurdle

University of California, Irvine researchers have made it possible to learn how key human brain cells respond to Alzheimer’s, vaulting a major obstacle in the quest to understand and one day vanquish it. By developing a way for human brain immune cells known as microglia to grow and function in mice, scientists now have an unprecedented view of crucial mechanisms contributing to the disease.

The team, led by Mathew Blurton-Jones, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior, said the breakthrough also holds promise for investigating many other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. The details of their study have just been published in the journal Neuron.

The scientists dedicated four years to devising the new rodent model, which is considered “chimeric.” The word, stemming from the mythical Greek monster Chimera that was part goat, lion and serpent, describes an organism containing at least two different sets of DNA.

Full story at Science Daily

Older Parents May Have Better Behaved Kids

Many people wait until they’re older to have children, and that decision can raise the risk of problems like infertility and genetic abnormalities. But new research suggests there may be at least one benefit to having children later in life.

The study found that kids with at least one older parent were less likely to be defiant rule-breakers or physically aggressive.

“Older parents-to-be may be reassured that their age is not necessarily a negative factor with respect to behavioral problems in their child,” said study author Marielle Zondervan-Zwijnenburg. She’s a post-doctoral researcher at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Full story at US News

Can scientists find the formula for ‘better aging?’

Some researchers hope to find the secret of keeping old age at bay and enjoying eternal youth instead. However, a team of scientists from Southern California is looking for a different “recipe” — that of better aging.

“To drink from the fountain of youth, you have to figure out where the fountain of youth is and understand what the fountain of youth is doing,” says Nick Graham, who is an assistant professor in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science at the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering in Los Angeles.

However, this is not what Graham and his colleague from USC are trying to achieve. As Graham himself notes: “We’re doing the opposite; we’re trying to study the reasons cells age so that we might be able to design treatments for better aging.”

Full story at Medical News Today

Exploring genetic ‘dark matter,’ researchers gain new insights into autism and stroke

With its elegant double helix and voluminous genetic script, DNA has become the of darling of nucleic acids. Yet, it is not all powerful. In order for DNA to realize its potential — for genes to become proteins — it must first be transcribed into RNA, a delicate molecule that requires intense care and guidance.

“Gene expression is a lot more complicated than turning on a switch,” says Robert B. Darnell, the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor. “There’s a whole layer of regulation that alters both the quality and quantity of a protein that’s produced from a gene. And much of it happens at the level of RNA.”

In the brain, RNA’s job as a gene tuner is vital to ensuring that the right proteins are made at the right time; and when this process go awry, the consequences can be serious. Darnell’s lab recently found that the brain’s response to stroke depends on the precise regulation of a subtype of RNA; and they have also learned that mutations affecting gene regulation underlie some cases of autism spectrum disorder.

Full story at Science Daily

Could Extra Weight Weaken Your Brain?

Extra pounds and a wider waistline won’t do your brain any favors as you get older, a new study suggests.

In fact, obesity appears to accelerate brain aging by a decade or more, the researchers added.

People with a wide waist circumference and higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely to have a thinner cerebral cortex, a condition that has previously been linked to a decline in brain function.

“This association was stronger in those aged less than 65 years,” said lead researcher Michelle Caunca, an epidemiology researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “Overall, this suggests that weight status, especially before older age, is related to less gray matter later in life.”

Full story at US News