For Some, Trouble Tracking Finances Could Be Sign of Dementia

If someone you know is struggling to keep track of their finances as they age, early dementia might be the culprit.

That’s the conclusion of researchers who tested 243 adults, aged 55 to 90, on their financial skills and performed brain scans to assess the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of the participants had no mental decline, some had mild memory impairment and some had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Specific financial skills declined with age and at the earliest stages of mild memory impairment, with similar declines in men and women, the study authors said.

Full story at US News

Questions to Ask When You’re Diagnosed With Dementia

ACROSS THE U.S. THIS year, about 500,000 people will learn they have Alzheimer’s disease. If that happens to you or someone you love, you won’t be happy about it, even if it confirms what you’ve long suspected. This is the illness Americans fear most, even more than cancer or AIDS. Dementia has many types, including Alzheimer’s, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body disease and others. They all cause a continuous, ultimately fatal decline in many functions, including memory, planning, speech and ultimately walking and even swallowing. We have no cure, and no reasonable expectation that one is around the corner. For this reason, some doctors still choose not to tell patients that they have dementia. It’s hard to excuse this approach – a person has a right to know about their health, and someone with dementia has many challenges ahead. Planning can ease later burdens – and even make room for happiness.

Dementia runs in my family, so I am at risk as I age. Here are some things I’ve thought about that you may want to think about, too.

Full story at US News

Short Visits to Polluted Places Can Hurt Your Lungs and Heart

SUMMER IS APPROACHING and travel season has begun. Tourism is expected to increase, with the U.N. forecasting 1.8 billion people to annually travel abroad by 2030. Travel can present problems, however, and experts are raising new warnings about the damaging effects of taking even short-term trips to highly polluted cities.

A new study by researchers from New York University School of Medicine shows that short trips overseas to polluted cities can lead to significant breathing problems. The goal of the research was to determine if “visits to cities abroad with greater levels of air pollution adversely impacts cardiopulmonary health,” the authors said in the study.

“Everybody heard of people traveling to polluted cities and having symptoms right away when they (arrive) at the airport, so we wanted to document that these symptoms are indicative of functional changes in the lungs and the heart system,” says Terry Gordon, professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine at NYU and one of the authors of the study.

Full story at US News

Seniors Turn To Suicide In Long-Term Care Homes At Alarming Rates

When Larry Anders moved into the Bay at Burlington nursing home in late 2017, he wasn’t supposed to be there long. At 77, the stoic Wisconsin machinist had just endured the death of his wife of 51 years and a grim new diagnosis: throat cancer, stage 4.

His son and daughter expected him to stay two weeks, tops, before going home to begin chemotherapy. From the start, they were alarmed by the lack of care at the center, where, they said, staff seemed indifferent, if not incompetent — failing to check on him promptly, handing pills to a man who couldn’t swallow.

Anders never mentioned suicide to his children, who camped out day and night by his bedside to monitor his care.

But two days after Christmas, alone in his nursing home room, Anders killed himself. He didn’t leave a note.

Full story at the Huffington Post

How to Prevent Senior Fraud

THERE ARE 5 MILLION cases of elder fraud in the United States annually, resulting in $27.4 billion in losses. Most victims don’t report it, due to embarrassment. As awareness of this issue grows, so does the brazenness of those committing the frauds.

Too Trusting = Susceptibility

Seniors seem to be most susceptible to fraud and abuse; they come from a generation that trusted. Baby boomers are more skeptical. But I think as you age, you want to believe in the goodness of people, and that makes you more vulnerable.

Seniors are in more frequent contact with medical professionals who can steal their vital information. My brother-in-law’s identity was stolen by someone who stole a credit card receipt for his inpatient hospital TV service.

Full story at US News

Using EEG data to diagnose Parkinson’s disease

Currently, diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease relies on a neurologist’s professional opinion. Researchers behind a new study believe that an EEG may be a more effective alternative.

Parkinson’s disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation, but no scan has been proved to definitively diagnose it.

Instead, a neurologist will assess a person by asking them to carry out certain tasks. These may include writing or drawing, walking, and speaking.

They will also examine the face and limbs to check for signs of tremors and facial expression difficulties.

Full story at Medical News Today

New Research Grant Opportunity: Technology for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

A new grant opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced.

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: NIDILRR seeks to fund research and development that leads to innovative technological solutions and strategies to improve the accessibility, usability, and performance of technologies designed to benefit people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The purpose of the RERC program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act by conducting advanced engineering research on and development of innovative technologies that are designed to solve particular rehabilitation problems or to remove environmental barriers. RERCs also demonstrate and evaluate such technologies, facilitate service delivery system changes, stimulate the production and distribution of new technologies and equipment in the private sector, and provide training opportunities.

Full story at acl.gov

 

Lessons on Living From My 106-Year-Old Aunt Doris

My Aunt Doris recently passed away, exactly two weeks before her birthday. She would have been 107.

I have been involved in health care for my entire professional life, as a hospital executive, consultant and professor of health care management. But the time spent with my aunt at the end of her life taught me more about living and dying than all my experience had prepared me for.

Doris lived in the same Manhattan apartment for seven decades. For years, she had stubbornly resisted moving into a relative’s home or assisted living community. When she was 103, she had a fall that landed her in the hospital, after which she agreed, reluctantly, to hire a live-in aide.

The aide was caring and capable, but over the next two years, Doris became exceedingly feeble and bedridden, her mind confused. Her breathing grew labored and her voice was practically inaudible when she told my wife, Amy, and me that she didn’t want to die with a “stranger,” whom we took to mean the aide.

Full story at The New York Times

Older Dads’ Sperm Isn’t What It Used to Be

Just because a guy can make babies later in life doesn’t mean it’s risk-free.

The partners and children of men who become fathers at an older age are at increased risk for health problems, a new study finds.

“While it is widely accepted that physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the health of the child, most men do not realize their advanced age can have a similar impact,” said study author Gloria Bachmann. She’s director of the Rutgers University Women’s Health Institute in New Jersey.

For the study, Bachmann and her team analyzed 40 years of research on how parental age affects fertility, pregnancy and the health of children.

Full story at US News

More Seniors Are Using Marijuana and It May Decrease Their Opioid Use

The U.S. population is aging, which means a growing percentage of Americans are experiencing the aches and pains that come with the senior years. Apparently, many have found a way of managing those aches and pains: marijuana.

Using cannabis for pain relief is a growing trend among seniors. The New York Times recently reported that “older Americans are flocking to marijuana.” They interviewed a 66-year-old Orange County, Calif., resident who uses a salve containing cannabidiol (CBD) on an aching toe she broke decades ago. She also said she smokes a little weed in the evening because “relaxing is healthy for you.”

Seniors are a huge market.

Seniors are a growing market for cannabis producers, thanks to the post-World War II generation of Baby Boomers. That giant generation born between 1946 and 1964 gave us hippies in one era and yuppies in another. Now, as they enter their golden years, they are giving us the first generation of senior marijuana users — and there are many, many of them.

Full story at the Entrepreneur