Pooch Peril: More Elderly Are Fracturing Bones While Dog Walking

Walking the dog can be great exercise for seniors, but there could be one downside: bone fractures.

Fractures suffered by elderly Americans while walking their dogs have more than doubled in recent years, new research shows.

Still, taking your dog for a walk can also bring big health rewards, one joint specialist said.

“Pets can provide companionship for older adults, and the physical exercise from regularly walking a dog may improve other aspects of physical and psychological health,” said Dr. Matthew Hepinstall, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

Full story at US News

Gains of ‘Brain Training’ for Elderly Seen 10 Years Later

Elderly people who participate in “brain training” classes to keep their minds sharp continue to see positive benefits 10 years after the training, according to a new study.

Even if they took only an initial set of classes aimed at improving their ability to solve problems and react quickly, participants showed that the training stuck with them a decade later, the researchers reported in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Those who received “booster” sessions during the following 10 years displayed even better mental abilities, compared with people who received no brain lessons at all.

The lasting mental boost that can be achieved by taking brain training is a surprise, said study co-author Jonathan King, program director for cognitive aging at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, a co-sponsor of the study.

“When the study first started, people had some idea you could get a short-term effect,” King said. “I don’t think anyone anticipated you could get a five-year or a 10-year effect.”

There is a drawback, however. Problem-solving and quick-reaction training stuck with participants, but memory lessons did not, the researchers said.

Full story of elderly brain training at Health Day Living

Turning robots into surrogates for homebound senior citizens

Imagine sitting on a park bench and a 23-inch tall robot sidling up next to you and striking up a conversation. Would you be flustered and find another place to sit? Or would you squat down and chat with it at eye level?

British researchers have undertaken a three-year examination of whether robots, acting as surrogates, can take the place of humans in public spaces. They want to help senior citizens who may lack the mobility to get out and about. One day robots might wheel around public places, piloted remotely by a 70-year-old grandfather who wants to experience a rally or concert, but has trouble leaving the house.

“People want to be on the streets together. There’s a very important social function of being with others in public. Being able to use technology to do that kind of stuff is one of the things I think would be really neat to get out of this,” said Mark Levine, a social psychologist at the University of Exeter and researcher on the project.

Full story of turning robots into surrogates at The Washington Post

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

More Seniors Living With Adult Kids, But Don’t Blame Economy

The last few years have seen an increase in multigenerational living. Young adults became far more likely to live with their parents during the recession than before and haven’t really started to move out. On the other side of the life cycle, seniors – specifically adults 65 and older – are also more likely to live with relatives than in the recent past. That means fewer Americans today need to go “over the river and through the wood” to see Grandma and Grandpa for Thanksgiving than they did 20 years ago. (Yes, the original poem is actually “through the wood,” not “woods,” and to grandfather’s house. We’ve been singing it all wrong. Have you?) But the reasons that seniors are increasingly likely to live with relatives are totally different from those that lead young adults to live with their parents.

Why are More Seniors Living with Relatives?
According to the Census (2012 ACS), 9% of seniors live in a household headed by their children, children-in-law, or other relatives (other than their spouse). Another 2% live in a household headed by people they aren’t related to, and 3% live in “group quarters” like nursing homes. The other 85% live in their own home.

Another survey, the Current Population Survey’s American Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), shows the share of seniors living with their children or other relatives has grown over the past 20 years, from an average of 6.6% over the years 1994-1998 to 7.3% in 2013.  These data are volatile year to year, but the overall trend is clearly upward, as the “unadjusted” line in the chart below shows. (Confusingly, different government surveys report seniors’ living arrangements differently. See note at end of post for all the details. But don’t worry: all of the trends and comparisons in this post are based on apples-to-apples analyses.)

Full story of seniors living with adult kids at Huffington Post

Seniors can call new hotline to report scam, abuse

A new, toll-free hotline has bene set up to help seniors who have become victims of a scam or fraud.

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging unveiled the hotline Nov. 14.

The toll-free number will make it “easier for senior citizens to report suspected fraud and receive assistance. It will be staffed by a team of committee investigators weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” states a news release.

Investigators, who have experience with investment scams, identity theft, bogus sweepstakes and lottery schemes, Medicare and Social Security fraud, and a variety of other senior exploitation issues, will “directly examine complaints and, if appropriate, refer them to the proper authorities.”

Call the fraud hotline at 1-855-303-9470, or contact the committee through its website, www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline.

Full story of seniors scam hotline at Highlands Today

More seniors are working past retirement age

For more and more people, turning 65 is no longer the time to put away the old working boots.

Senior citizens across the country are choosing to stay on the job well past the time they qualify for Medicare. Work offers not only cash to supplement Social Security checks, but also a chance to engage in the world around them.

“For me, when I turned 65, I was amazed I was that old. I thought, ‘how could I be that old and feel so young?'” said Roni Johnson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, will retire at the end of the year at the age of 70. “Turning 65 was just another birthday to me. It wasn’t enough to erase my enthusiasm for coming to work.”

Presently, 23 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are still working, with more than a third of this group clocking in because they are forced to financially, according to a 2012 Gallup poll.

The rest do so because they love going to work, opting to wake up early and even stay at the office late to do the things that need to be done.

Full story of seniors working past retirement ages at My San Antonio

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

5 Tips for Helping an Elderly Parent or Relative Pay Bills

It’s almost as inevitable as death and taxes that late in life, many people find it a struggle to pay their taxes – not to mention their cable and water bills. With the aging population growing rapidly, it’s a situation that will only become more common. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, by 2030, there will be 72.1 million people over age 65, more than twice the number in 2000. A sobering view came from an AARP report earlier this year that stated, “the supply of family caregivers is unlikely to keep pace with demand to assist the growing number of frail older people in the future.”

So if you find yourself observing your parents or an elderly relative and believe they need a helping hand paying the bills, here are a few of many issues to consider.

Look for signs your parent or elderly relative needs help. Because they probably won’t advertise that they need assistance.

“For years, my parents were making a mess of their finances and none of their seven children knew,” says Mary Meyer, 48, a freelance writer in St. Charles, Ill. “They are 80 years old, and at some point, they lost track of the amounts they were spending and weren’t paying bills on time, if at all.”

It didn’t help that her parents had health issues that took a toll on their cognitive abilities. Meyer’s mother had a stroke in 2004, and her father was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009. Still, they appeared to get through their health issues without too many problems. “We made the mistake of thinking everything was okay because my parents sounded okay,” Meyer says.

Full story of helping elderly pay their bills at US News Money

I’m a full-fledged senior citizen today

VICTOR Hugo was 60 when he wrote Les Miserables. I am 60 today and I am far from publishing my great novel. True, I have written three novels when I was in my early 20s, but those were largely forgotten, marginalised as picisan (trash) by critics. I made less than RM500 from them anyway.

I have reached the golden age. I am a full-fledged senior citizen entitled to benefits worthy of, well, a senior citizen.

I woke up this morning looking at a portrait of myself presented by my teh tarik buddies. It reminded me of what Oscar Wilde said while grazing with pleasure at a finished image of him painted by someone: “What a tragic thing it is. This portrait will never grow older and I shall.”

Old portraits and pictures remind me of how young I once was. Someone showed a picture of me playing Patih Kerma Wijaya in Othman Zainuddin’s play, Titah Tuanku in 1981. And there was another picture of me playing Omar, the playboy, in A. Samad Said’s Di Mana Bulan Selalu Retak in 1982. I must say I was dashing. Mind you that was three decades ago.

I have gone through interesting times since then. As an editor of a newspaper in the 90s, I was labelled an Anwarista, associated with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. I was told to leave four months before Anwar was fired in September 1998. Yet 15 years later, he had threatened to put the senior management of TV3, including me, in prison if he won the 2013 General Election. See, I have certainly come full cycle!

Full story of becoming a senior citizen at New Straits Times