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

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

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

This 87-year-old D.C. woman just made it easier for you to keep your independence

The 87-year-old wore a silk dress she had sewn herself. The bright blue fabric featuring yellow, turquoise and lavender flowers pulled at the eyes, and against it, the pale pink stones of her necklace seemed a conservative choice. But that’s not why she wore it.

With a smile, she explained that she had picked the beads less for the statement they made than for the promise they held.

“They’re supposed to help you get a boyfriend,” she said, laughing.

When the woman tells people she is not far from 90, they show genuine surprise. She has not yet let her hair turn white and she speaks with a well-earned wit. She also takes care of most of her needs by herself, getting dressed on her own, taking the right amount of medications as needed and making appointments that she gets to herself by using public transportation. She recently enrolled in a college class after deciding she wants to learn Italian.

Full story at the Washington Post

Families Confront Dementia And Guns

WITH A BULLET IN HER gut, her voice choked with pain, Dee Hill pleaded with the 911 dispatcher for help.

“My husband accidentally shot me,” Hill, 75, of The Dalles, Oregon, groaned on the May 16, 2015, call. “In the stomach, and he can’t talk, please …”

Less than four feet away, Hill’s husband, Darrell Hill, a former local police chief and two-term county sheriff, sat in his wheelchair with a discharged Glock handgun on the table in front of him, unaware that he’d nearly killed his wife of almost 57 years.

The 76-year-old lawman had been diagnosed two years earlier with a form of rapidly progressive dementia, a disease that quickly stripped him of reasoning and memory.

Full story at US News

Direct Support Workers In Short Supply As Demand Surges

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The commercial lasts less than a minute. Time enough, Ben Young hopes, for viewers to see what he needs and to imagine what he can give.

“Come change my life,” Young says in a computer-generated voice. “I promise it will change yours forever. Help me help myself.”

The pitch, from a bright and determined young man who can neither feed nor dress himself, or even speak clearly without aid of technology, is part of a statewide campaign to recruit the workers known as “direct support professionals.” The well-being of Young and tens of thousands of other Ohioans with developmental disabilities turns on the availability of competent and reliable support providers.

Full story at Disability Scoop

Study: A Social Circle is Key to Protecting the Aging Mind

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE as you age, because they may be the key to keeping your brain healthy, according to a new study.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, found mice housed in groups had better memory and healthier brains than those living in pairs. The findings influence “a body of research in humans and animals that supports the role of social connections in preserving the mind and improving quality of life,” according to lead author Elizabeth Kirby.

The study used mice that were 15 months to 18 months old during the experiment – a time of significant memory decay. Some of the mice lived in pairs, while others were housed in groups of seven for three months. The first test required the mice to recognize that a toy, such as a plastic car, had been moved to a new location.

Full story at US News

Dodging Dementia: More Of Us Get At Least A Dozen Good, Happy Years After 65

You’ve turned 65 and exited middle age. What are the chances you’ll develop cognitive impairment or dementia in the years ahead?

New research about “cognitive life expectancy” — how long older adults live with good versus declining brain health — shows that after age 65 men and women spend more than a dozen years in good cognitive health, on average. And, over the past decade, that time span has been expanding.

By contrast, cognitive challenges arise in a more compressed time frame in later life, with mild cognitive impairment (problems with memory, decision-making or thinking skills) lasting about four years, on average, and dementia (Alzheimer’s disease or other related conditions) occurring over 1½ to two years.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Link between IBD and Parkinson’s might allow doctors to slow down condition

Doctors may be able to modify or slow down the progress of the neurological condition Parkinson’s disease in the future by spotting signs of it in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggest a study published in the journal Gut.

Danish researchers found patients with IBD appeared to have a 22% greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in a study that monitored participants for almost 40 years.

IBD, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic conditions with onset in young adulthood.

It has already been suggested in previous studies that inflammation plays a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy.

Full story at Science Daily

Preventing Senior Isolation: Can You Actually Adopt a Senior?

A recent article in The Washington Post focused on the millions of Chinese citizens living alone. There was a particular emphasis on one: Han Zicheng. He literally wanted to be adopted.

Han posted note in a bus shelter. According to the Post, the headline read: “Looking for someone to adopt me.” The text that followed said: “Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB [$950] a month.”

A woman saw the note and posted it on social media, and Han received extensive media coverage. Unfortunately, he died March 17 – his death mostly unnoticed, his adoption just a dream.

Full story at US Health News