Benzodiazepines are associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease

The use of benzodiazepines and related drugs (Z drugs) is associated with a modestly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. The risk increase was similar with both benzodiazepines and Z drugs regardless of their half-life. The results were published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

Even though the increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease was small in this study, the threshold for prescribing benzodiazepines and related drugs should be high enough due to their several adverse effects and events, such as falls. These medications are commonly used for sleep problems, but their effectiveness for this indication diminishes over weeks or months. However, the risk of adverse events remains in longer-term use.

Full story at Science Daily

Older Oklahoman’s vulnerable to scams, abuse

As much as 10 percent of Oklahoma’s adults age 60 and older are victims of physical, psychological, sexual or verbal abuse.

Also, senior citizens are seriously neglected or victims of financial exploitation, according to a new report co-authored by Lance Robertson, assistant secretary for aging in the Trump administration. Robertson served as Oklahoma’s director of aging services from 2007 to 2017.

Now, elder-abuse costs in the United States are estimated to be $8.2 billion a year, according to Robertson and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams.

“Elder abuse is a critical social, health and economic problem,” the report notes.

Full story at newsok.com

CHANGE IS COMING FOR NONPROFIT HUMAN SERVICE PROVIDERS, BUT WILL IT MAKE OR BREAK THEM?

It is a time of reckoning for Connecticut’s private, nonprofit social services.

After two decades of flat or reduced funding from its chief client — state government — community-based agencies are struggling to retain both their programs and the low-paid staff who deliver care for thousands of poor, disabled and mentally-ill adults and children.

Depending on the vantage point, Connecticut’s nonprofit social services sector is viewed as either the best means to preserve the state’s safety net or as the cheapest route to drive down government spending.

Those in the first category — relatives and advocates for the state’s most vulnerable citizens — are waiting to see whether Connecticut will fulfill the program of comprehensive, neighborhood-based care that was envisioned nearly four decades ago when the movement away from institutionalized care began.

Full story at The Connecticut Mirror

‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans

For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy.

The signs of potential trouble — vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings — have been building for years. Now, new research sheds light on the scope of the problem: The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, the study found, and the same group accounts for a far greater share of all filers.

Driving the surge, the study suggests, is a three-decade shift of financial risk from government and employers to individuals, who are bearing an ever-greater responsibility for their own financial well-being as the social safety net shrinks.

Full story at New York Times

Nine out of 10 people caring for a family member with dementia don’t get enough sleep

More than 90 percent of people caring for a family member with dementia experience poor sleep, according to new research by the University at Buffalo School of Nursing.

The study found that most participants got less than six hours of sleep each night, accompanied by frequent awakenings as often as four times per hour.

These disruptions can lead to chronic sleep deprivation and place caregivers at risk for depression, weight gain, heart disease and premature death, says lead author Yu-Ping Chang, PhD, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor in the UB School of Nursing.

Full story at Science Daily

The hidden male caregiver

When we think of family caregivers, we tend to think of women. And in fact the typical caregiver is a middle-aged woman caring for a relative, often her mother.

But the face of American caregiving is changing rapidly, according to “Breaking Stereotypes: Spotlight on Male Family Caregivers,” a recent report from AARP. Eight years ago, just 34 percent of caregivers surveyed were men. Today, 40 percent of the 40 million Americans caring for a loved one are male.

In many respects, male caregivers resemble their female counterparts. Both say they had little choice about taking on caregiving responsibilities, whether they are caring for a parent, a spouse or partner, or other relative. Both are more prone to health problems and depression than non-caregivers. Both often not only manage finances and medical care, but also provide personal care, including helping their loved one with eating, bathing, dressing and toileting.

Full story at San Diego Union Tribune

Feel lightheaded when standing up? You may have a greater risk of dementia

People who feel faint, dizzy or lightheaded when standing up may be experiencing a sudden drop in blood pressure called orthostatic hypotension. Now a new study says middle-aged people who experience such a drop may have a greater risk of developing dementia or stroke decades later. The study is published in the July 25, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Orthostatic hypotension has been linked to heart disease, fainting and falls, so we wanted to conduct a large study to determine if this form of low blood pressure was also linked to problems in the brain, specifically dementia,” said study author Andreea Rawlings, PhD, MS, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md.

For this study, low blood pressure upon standing was defined as a drop of at least 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) in systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats, or at least 10 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure, the pressure when the heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

Full story at Science Daily

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

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

Research Pertaining to People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

ACL has issued several funding opportunities for data collection and longitudinal research pertaining to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please see the short descriptions below and links for more details.

State of the States in Developmental Disabilities-On-going Data Collection and Information Dissemination — The purpose of this project is to maintain national longitudinal research on state fiscal efforts related to services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Activities include: analyzing developmental disabilities and financial and programmatic trends in each state;  collaborating with other ACL or other federal agencies data collection projects; developing products for public knowledge and use; and conducting evaluation to demonstrate the impact of the project. View more details and application instructions . Deadline for submissions is by midnight on July 25.

Full story at acl.gov