This professor began studying Alzheimer’s caregivers. Then her mother showed symptoms.

Dr. Oanh Le Meyer had recently started studying health disparities in Vietnamese Americans with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers when she first noticed symptoms in her own mother about five years ago.

First Meyer’s mom started asking the same questions over and over. Then the complex meals she would cook became simpler. By the time Meyer published her first study on support programs for those caring for Vietnamese Americans with dementia in 2015, she was one of her mom’s primary caregivers.

“There’s a grieving process to it that continues,” Meyer said. “But I think, being a scientist, I approached it more this is just an illness taking over her brain.”

Full story at NBC News

8 Ways to Ease Holiday Isolation for Older Adults

Holidays can heighten loneliness.

The household baker who loaded platters with red-and-green frosted cookies. The grandfather who proudly carved the massive turkey. The mom who was a wrapping-paper whiz. The neighbor whose outdoor decorations outshone the entire block. The dad who carefully lit the menorah. The parents who planned amazing family trips for winter breaks. The jovial host who filled guests’ glasses with eggnog or champagne. As they grow older, the people in your life who once made holidays special could use some cheer and attention themselves. Here’s how you can help them celebrate and feel connected.

Full story at US News

What Activities Are Best for Seniors in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

WHEN IT COMES TIME TO find the right assisted living community or nursing home for your loved one, there are a lot of things to consider in finding the right fit, such as the quality of the medical care, fees and location. But in the scramble to find a good place for your loved one, it’s also important to consider the quality of life they’ll find in that community and whether they’ll be supported in living their best life possible.

Finding and engaging in appropriate activities for seniors – and these can run the gamut from hobbies and physical exercise to social events and outings – is a major component of a high quality of life for older adults in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. That’s because socialization and eliminating loneliness and isolation among older adults is a crucial component of staying healthy in our later years. “It’s a critical part of well-being to be able to interact with others and to have those social connections,” says Dr. Tanya Gure, section chief of geriatrics and associate clinical professor in internal medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Full story at US News

 

Regular exercise can keep the body decades younger

In a new study involving people over 70 who have exercised regularly for years, scientists discovered that the participants’ hearts, lungs, and muscles were in equivalent shape to those of people in their 40s.

Researchers from the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University in Muncie, IN recently assessed the physical condition of people in their 70s who have been exercising regularly for decades.

The team compared the health measurements of these participants with those of their more sedentary peers and with the measurements of healthy people in their 20s.

Full story at Medical News Today

Better Training, Career Development Needed for America’s Direct-Care Workforce

By 2034, all of America’s baby boomers will be over the age of 70, many living with complex health care needs and multiple chronic conditions.

A well-trained direct-care workforce will be critical to keeping those baby boomers safely in their homes as they age. Without one, experts predict, public and private insurers will struggle in meeting the population’s needs.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that works to promote bipartisanship on key issues facing the United states, highlighted the need to support the country’s direct-care workforce in a report released on Thursday.

Full story at Home Healthcare News

One of the fastest-aging US states has rejected free care for seniors

Voters in Maine were presented with a ballot measure that would have provided disabled adults or people over the age of 65 with full-time, long-term care in their own homes, at no cost to individuals or their families. It was hailed by supporters as a visionary model for ensuring support for vulnerable people, one that could be rolled out in other states as the US elder population grows.

Alas, it’s a vision whose time has not yet come. Voters in Maine soundly defeated Question 1 at the polls on Tuesday (Nov. 6).

Maine is one of the fastest-aging states in the US. People aged 65 and older there are expected to outnumber those under 18 by 2020, a full 15 years before the US as a whole reaches that crucial threshold.

The vast majority of seniors prefer to age in their own homes. The availability and affordability of in-home care in Maine, however, is among the poorest in the nation. Without access to home care, family members typically shoulder the work—along with the financial cost of their own lost wages—to care for elderly relatives.

Full story at Quartz at Work

Aging Bodies and Nimble Minds Can Go Together

REMEMBER THE jump-to-conclusions mat in the movie “Office Space?” Maybe there should be a square for concluding: “My parent’s signs of normal aging must mean dementia is around the corner.” In truth, for most adults 65 years or older, that just isn’t the case.

In 2012, about 9 percent of U.S. seniors had dementia, according to a study published January 2017 in JAMA Internal Medicine, with the prevalence of dementia declining from 11.6% in 2000. The vast majority of seniors will not develop dementia.

However, well-meaning family members are sometimes anxious about any changes they see in an older loved one. Adult children can conflate medical conditions, physical disabilities or memory slips with impending mental impairment.

Full story at US News

Parents Struggle To Find In-Home Nurses

BALTIMORE — Jill Pelovitz depends on an army of in-home nurses to keep her teenage daughter alive.

Fourteen-year-old Nadiya suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes life-threatening seizures, breathing problems and other complications. The teenager, who needs help with basic life skills such as dressing and walking, requires constant monitoring in case she has a seizure, especially at night when she is sleeping in their Severn, Md., home.

But finding nurses to assist families who have children with disabilities and other relatives at home can be difficult, largely because such nurses aren’t paid enough in Maryland or even as much as in neighboring states, according to the families and companies that place nurses. They are pushing to increase how much the nurses are reimbursed under Maryland’s Medicaid program, which covers most of the costs of at-home nursing care for those with disabilities.

Full story at Disability Scoop

When the Hospice Care System Fails

Let me start with an apology.

When I saw that your 90-year-old father was in our emergency department, after being resuscitated while on home hospice, I assumed that I understood what had happened. As a critical care doctor, I have cared for patients whose families have changed their minds at the last minute, grasping on to impossible hopes rather than face the reality of death.

On the phone with the E.D. physician, I sighed. “Family?” I asked.

“Must have reversed the D.N.R.” — the do-not-resuscitate order that is standard for a patient on hospice care. “They’re on the way,” she said.

I told her I’d head down. I was fairly sure that nothing was going to change. But before we took this patient to the intensive care unit, tethered to machines he had never wanted, I wanted to begin to talk with you.

Full story at the New York Times

The New Face of Grandparenting

GRANDPARENTS ARE IN THE news more than ever today. Some are caregivers, raising their grandkids, while others are separated or estranged from them. What’s going on? Has the role of grandparents diminished, or is it needed now more than ever?

Separated or Estranged

In a recent survey by the National Association for Grandparenting, many adults – 23 percent – had no memories of their grandparents. They were either deceased before they were born, lived far away or made no effort to connect.

We can’t do much about the first, and distance is no excuse for not connecting, not when you can use tools like Skype, Zoom and FaceTime. Even grandparents in the same geographic vicinity may not have a close relationship.

Full story at US News