New Technologies Help Seniors Age In Place — And Not Feel Alone

Nancy Delano, 80, of Denver has no plans to slow down anytime soon. She still drives to movies, plays and dinners out with friends. A retired elder care nurse who lives alone, she also knows that “when you reach a certain age, emergencies can happen fast.” So, when her son, Tom Rogers, talked to her about installing a remote monitoring system, she didn’t hesitate.

With motion sensors placed throughout the house, Rogers can see if his mom is moving around, if she’s sleeping (or not), if she forgot to lock the door and, based on a sophisticated algorithm that detects behavioral patterns, whether her activity level or eating habits have changed significantly, for instance.

“It gives both of us peace of mind, particularly as she ages and wants to live at home,” said Rogers, who lives near Washington, D.C., hundreds of miles away from her.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Discovery paves way for treatment to prevent blood vessel damage

The discovery of a previously unknown interaction between proteins could provide a breakthrough in the prevention of damage to healthy blood vessels. Led by the University of Bradford, the research shows how the two proteins combine to protect blood vessels from inflammation and damage and could pave the way for treatments to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, found that when a protein called SOCS3 binds directly with another protein called Cavin-1, small cell surface regions of blood vessels called caveolae are stabilised, preventing damage. This mechanism, previously unknown, is important for maintaining healthy vascular function. This process happens naturally in healthy cells but can be compromised when damage occurs, through natural processes such as ageing or as a result of lifestyle.

Full story at Science Daily

New app to help connect elderly spending Christmas alone

For most Australians, Christmas is a time of celebration and togetherness.

But for thousands of elderly people across the country, the festive season represents loneliness and isolation.

And it is not a trend exclusive to this part of the world.

Research suggests as many as 450,000 elderly people in the United Kingdom will spend Christmas by themselves this year.

Tull Roseby, owner and manager of Absolute Care Health, a Melbourne-based organisation which provides at-home care for elderly people, said the number of people seeking care over the festive season had increased.

“It’s certainly up,” he says.

“We’ve got a number of clients who don’t have families in Australia or in Melbourne. They’ve moved away and not always easy to get to them.

“It puts an enormous amount of pressure on family members.”

Full story of elderly app for Christmas at SBS News

Elderly survivors commemorate Pearl Harbor attack

American survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, many in their 90s, gathered yesterday for the 72nd anniversary of the attack that took the lives of more than 2,000 of their peers and thrust the United States into World War Two.

Many used wheelchairs, while others leaned on canes or relied on the help of family members as they commemorated the attack of December 7, 1941, a date that President Franklin Roosevelt said “will live in infamy.”

“We’re getting to be fewer and fewer every time,” said Robert Irwin, an 89-year-old retired lieutenant with the San Francisco Fire Department.

About 50 Pearl Harbour survivors attended the day’s commemorative ceremony, and roughly 2,500 people attended overall.

Irwin was just 17, serving at Pearl Harbor when Japanese air and naval forces attacked the island of Oahu. The assault took about 2,400 American lives.

Nearly half of those who died were sailors aboard the battleship USS Arizona, which Japanese torpedo bombers sank early in the attack, killing 1,177 of its 1,400-member crew.

Full story of the elderly on the Pearl Harbor attack at The Malay Mail Online

Today’s elderly may be mentally sharper than yesterday’s

Elderly people today might be more mentally nimble than their counterparts were a decade or two ago, according to a new European study.

Researchers found people who were in their 80s when they took thinking and memory tests in the late 2000s performed similarly to others who were tested more than 10 years earlier while in their 70s.

General health in old age is probably improving for most people, Dallas Anderson said.

“People are better educated than they used to be, their economic wellbeing may be better compared to previous groups,” Anderson said. He studies dementia at the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, and was not involved in the new study.

“All these various factors working together lead to an improved situation.”

For their study, researchers tested the thinking and memory skills of 204 elderly French men and women selected from the memory clinic of a Paris hospital between 1991 and 1997. They compared their test scores to those from 177 similar people tested at the same clinic in 2008 and 2009.

Full story of elderly’s mental sharpness at the Chicago Tribune

Oversight of nursing home trust funds limited

Many states do not require criminal background checks on nursing home staff who manage residents’ trust funds, and few demand audits of those accounts – a regulatory gap that contributes to scores of cases in which the money is stolen or mismanaged.

Nearly every state requires background checks for nursing home staff in caregiving roles, but 20 states don’t apply that requirement to office workers who do not routinely have direct patient contact, a USA TODAY review of state laws finds. Those office employees typically manage the trust accounts that nursing homes must maintain for residents who request that the facility safeguard their money.

In an investigation published in October, USA TODAY found that thousands of nursing home residents have had their savings stolen while held in the trust accounts, usually by business managers, bookkeepers and other office staff. Because the accounts generally don’t have to be audited, those crimes often go undiscovered for months, even years, and the thefts can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Obviously, this is a problem that should be addressed, and obviously it’s one that hasn’t been addressed very well,” says Janet Wells, former director of public policy for the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.

Full story of nursing home trust funds at USA Today

The Hospital Is No Place for the Elderly

It is 1976. Brad Stuart is in his third year of medical school at Stanford, doing his first clinical rotation. He is told to look at an elderly man with advanced lymphoma. The patient is feeble and near death, his bone marrow eviscerated by cancer. The supervising oncologist has ordered a course of chemotherapy using a very toxic investigational drug. Stuart knows enough to feel certain that the treatment will kill the patient, and he does not believe the patient understands this. Like a buck private challenging a colonel, he appeals the decision, but a panel of doctors declines to intervene. Well, Stuart thinks, if it must be done, I will do it myself. He mixes the drug and administers it. The patient says, “That hurts!” A few days later, the man’s bed is empty. What happened? He bled into his brain and died last night. Stuart leaves the room with his fists clenched.

To this day, he believes he killed the patient. “I walked out of that room and said, ‘There has got to be a better way than this,’ ” he told me recently. “I was appalled by how we care for—or, more accurately, fail to care about—people who are near the end of life. We literally treat them to death.”

Here is a puzzling fact: From 1970 until 2009, spending on health care in this country rose by more than 9 percent annually, creating fiscal havoc. But in 2009, 2010, and 2011, health-care spending increased by less than 4 percent a year. What explains the change? The recession surely had something to do with it. But several recent studies have found that the recession is not the whole story. One such study, by the Harvard University economists David Cutler and Nikhil Sahni, estimates that “structural changes” in our health-care system account for more than half of the slowdown.

Full story of elderly and hospital care at The Atlantic

How Obamacare may help families caring for elderly

Those who are taking care of children as well as elderly parents are facing a real strain when it comes to expenses.

However, Utah experts say health costs under Obamacare should be improving, and many are overlooking some benefits.

Far away from the assembly line, light years from the cubicle, they are some of the nation’s most tireless workers. They are loved ones who care for their aging parents.

Sheri Thompson has a mom with Alzheimer’s. It’s basically a second job on the weekends.

“I didn’t think it’d ever be like this,” she said.

Jeanie Williams is increasingly providing care for her parents.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if we have the resources then we’ll help.’ It’s a ‘we’re going to do it,'” she said.

Laura Polacheck with AARP Utah said “The huge burden with care-giving really is that it’s uncompensated care.”

Full story of Obamacare for the elderly at KSL.com

How does it feel to be elderly? Becky finds out.

Stiff joints, heavy limbs, restricted eyesight and poor hearing: just some of the physical impairments experienced by the over-65s in societies all around the world. Ailments that mean everyday life can get increasingly challenging.

To see what it’s like to move around and carry out day to day activities as an elderly person, Becky Anderson wore an “ageing suit” and went for a trip around central London. The suit was developed by Barclays Bank as a way to help their staff experience life as an over-65 year old.

New research from Barclays has found that over 40% of the older generation in the United Kingdom feels that they live in an “alien nation”. They see their society increasingly becoming geared towards young people.

Becky found that the very smallest things that younger people take for granted – shopping, eating and travelling around the city – can become huge tasks when you’re old.

Full story of being elderly at CNN Health

Watchful Eye in Nursing Homes

A pretty nightie, a new lipstick, a fresh toothbrush: Doris Racher noticed that small things she had bought for her 96-year-old mother, Eryetha Mayberry, a dementia patient at a nursing home in Oklahoma City, had been disappearing. Ms. Racher assumed the culprit was another resident who sometimes wandered into her mother’s room and fell asleep in her bed.

So in 2012, Ms. Racher placed a motion-activated camera in her mother’s room. It looked like an alarm clock, and Ms. Racher nearly forgot about it.

About two months later, the family decided to pore through the recordings.

The camera had not caught the petty thief. But it captured something else:

An aide stuffed latex gloves into Mrs. Mayberry’s mouth, while another taunted her, tapping her on the head, laughing. Hoisting her from her wheelchair, they flung her on a bed. One performed a few heavy-handed chest compressions.

“My niece started bawling and couldn’t watch anymore,” said Ms. Racher, 78. “I was furious.” Mrs. Mayberry died soon after.

On Nov. 1, propelled by the outcry over the Mayberry case, Oklahoma became the third state — along with New Mexico and Texas — to explicitly permit residents in long-term care facilities to maintain surveillance cameras in their rooms. In the last two years, at least five states have considered similar legislation.

Full story of watching nursing homes at The New York Times