‘Con­sci­en­tious daugh­ter’ is best long-term care plan

This was originally from the New York Times News Service  by Roni Caryn Rabin, and appeared in Canada on May 26th, 2017. I'd filed it, and forgot about it, but having just found it agian, feel it's important to share. So please take a look a this and reflect…

 

‘Con­sci­en­tious daugh­ter’ is best long-term care plan!


This week, the med­i­cal jour­nal JAMA Neu­rol­ogy high­lighted a loom­ing cri­sis for women and their em­ploy­ers: The grow­ing ranks of de­men­tia pa­tients who will end up re­ly­ing on fam­ily mem­bers, typ­i­cally daugh­ters, for their care.


“The best long-term care in­sur­ance in our coun­try is a con­sci­en­tious daugh­ter,” wrote the au­thors, all of whom are fel­lows at Stan­ford Univer­sity’s Clin­i­cal Ex­cel­lence Re­search Cen­ter, which stud­ies new meth­ods of health-care de­liv­ery.


The au­thors note that by 2030, one in five Amer­i­cans will be 65 or older, and the num­ber of older Amer­i­cans liv­ing with de­men­tia is ex­pected to in­crease to 8.5 mil­lion, up from 5.5 mil­lion now.


Most de­men­tia pa­tients even­tu­ally re­quire round-the-clock care, yet there is no clear na­tional road map or over­ar­ch­ing plan for pro­vid­ing it. Most of the care for older adults in the United States – from pay­ing bills to feed­ing, bathing and dress­ing – falls on un­paid care­givers and most of them are women.


Although men do pro­vide some care­giv­ing for older fam­ily mem­bers with de­men­tia, the bur­den is not shared equally, ex­perts say.


“Women are at the epi­cen­tre of care­giv­ing as a whole, and Alzheimer’s care­giv­ing in par­tic­u­lar,” said Ruth Drew, di­rec­tor of fam­ily and in­for­ma­tion ser­vices at the Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion. “Even though two-thirds of peo­ple with Alzheimer’s are women them­selves, two-thirds of the care­givers are also women. So there are more wives car­ing for their hus­bands than the re­verse, more daugh­ters car­ing for par­ents than sons.”


“We see a lot of daugh­ters car­ing not only for their par­ents, but their in-laws,” she added.
Most ex­perts don’t an­tic­i­pate that chang­ing sig­nif­i­cantly. That’s be­cause, de­spite progress, women con­tinue to do a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of child care.


Although men have be­come more in­volved and taken on more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home, “it hasn’t been a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion and cer­tainly hasn’t kept pace with women’s in­creased
par­tic­i­pa­tion in the work force,” said Dr. Clif­ford Sheck­ter, a fel­low at the Clin­i­cal Ex­cel­lence Re­search Cen­ter, surgery res­i­dent and a co-au­thor of the es­say.


When it comes to car­ing for peo­ple with de­men­tia, “the num­bers are skewed strongly to­ward women, and it’s hard to imag­ine that by 2030 the num­bers will even out to 50-50,” said Ni­cholas Bott, a neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist and an­other co-au­thor who is also a fel­low at the Clin­i­cal Ex­cel­lence Re­search Cen­ter. “It shouldn’t be an un­spo­ken rule that this falls on cer­tain mem­bers of the fam­ily, but as of now, it still is fall­ing pri­mar­ily on the daugh­ters and fe­male spouses more than on men.”

So how old might your parents get to be?

Just found this interesting piece online, I think on CTV. It appeared in Septemer, but what's a few months when you're talking a century-plus?

So how old might your parents get to be?

Dutch researchers claim to have discovered the maximum age "ceiling" for human lifespan, despite growing life expectancy because of better nutrition, living conditions and medical care.
Mining data from some 75,000 Dutch people whose exact ages were recorded at the time of death, statisticians at Tilburg and Rotterdam's Erasmus universities pinned the maximum ceiling for female lifespan at 115.7 years.


Men came in slightly lower at 114.1 years in the samples taken from the data which spans the last 30 years, said Prof. John Einmahl, one of three scientists conducting the study.
"On average, people live longer, but the very oldest among us have not gotten older over the last 30 years," Einmahl told AFP.


"There is certainly some kind of a wall here. Of course the average life expectancy has increased," he said, pointing out the number of people turning 95 in The Netherlands had almost tripled.


"Nevertheless, the maximum ceiling itself hasn't changed," he said.


Lifespan is the term used to describe how long an individual lives, while life expectancy is the average duration of life that individuals in an age group can expect to have — a measure of societal wellbeing.


The Dutch findings come in the wake of those by US-based researchers who last year claimed a similar age ceiling, but who added that exceptionally long-lived individuals were not getting as old as before.


Einmahl and his researchers disputed the latter finding, saying their conclusions deduced by using a statistical brand called "Extreme Value Theory", showed almost no fluctuation in maximum lifespan.


Einmahl said however there were still some people who had bent the norm, like Frenchwomen Jeanne Calment who died at the ripe old age of 122 years and 164 days. Calment remains the oldest verified woman to date.


Extreme Value Theory is a brand of statistics that measures data and answers questions at extreme ends of events such as lifespan or disasters.


Einmahl said his group's findings will be submitted for publication in a peer review magazine "within the next month or so."

Where’s your head at when it comes to parent care?

Where’s your head at when it comes to parent care?


So I’m watching a younger friend in what from my vantage point looks like a life and death struggle of values and wills about how to deal with his failing parents.


His father’s now 89; his mother’s 86, and they’re both on the steep and slippery slide toward needing major attention and care. His father is clearly suffering from some form of dementia, seemingly deteriorating by the day. His slip of a mother is frail and just a week ago broke her elbow in a fall and tests show osteoporosis is going to be a major health issue.


My friend is very focused on his career and social status. He really does have what’s often called a ‘trophy wife’. And two still young kids who are keeners and work hard at school and all the other activities they’re pressed to take.


The more evident his parents’ ills, the more he dives into his work and presses ‘the wife’ into service—to deal with his parents, support them, take them where they have to be taken, and even cook for them.


I know for a fact that he really loves his parents, and feels his achievements are due to their full court press on focusing his life, education, and career. Yet right now, he’s avoiding them and working harder than ever.


I have no idea what’s happening in his head at the moment. I only see conflict: the deeply rooted love vs. the distance he’s keeping.


Something’s out of whack. I think his drive for career success is a bit of a refuge because maybe he doesn’t know how express his affections and caring for his parents.

Do you take a regular reality check of where you stand in your support of aging parents?

 

Keep elderly on the move

Japan automakers look to robots to keep elderly on the move

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese automakers are looking beyond the industry trend to develop self-driving cars and turning their attention to robots to help keep the country's rapidly graying society on the move.

Toyota Motor Corp said it saw the possibility of becoming a mass producer of robots to help the elderly in a country whose population is ageing faster than the rest of the world as the birthrate decreases.

The country's changing demographics place its automakers in a unique situation. Along with the issues usually associated with falling populations such as labor shortages and pension squeezes, Japan also faces dwindling domestic demand for cars.

Toyota, the world's second largest automaker, made its first foray into commercializing rehabilitation robots on Wednesday, launching a rental service for its walk assist system, which helps patients to learn how to walk again after suffering strokes and other conditions.

Toyota's system follows the release by Honda Motor Co of its own walking assist "robotic legs" in 2015, which was based on technology developed for its ASIMO dancing robot.

"If there's a way that we can enable more elderly people to stay mobile after they can no longer drive, we have to look beyond just cars and evolve into a maker of robots," Toshiyuki Isobe, chief officer of Toyota's Frontier Research Center, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, he added that mass producing robots would be a natural step for the company which evolved from a loom maker in 1905 into an automaker whose mission is to "make practical products which serve a purpose".

"Be it robots or cars, if there's a need for mass produced robots, we should do it with gusto," Isobe said.

GROWING OLD

Japan is graying faster than the rest of the world, with the number of people aged 65 or older accounting for 26.7 percent of the population in 2015, dwarfing the global average of about 8.5 percent. 

As a result, demand for care services for elderly people has boomed and a shrinking working population means that fewer able-bodied adults are available to look after them.

Globally, sales of robots for elderly and handicap assistance will total about 37,500 units in 2016-2019, and are expected to increase substantially within the next 20 years, according to the International Federation of Robotics. 

At the same time, car sales in Japan have fallen 8.5 percent between 2013-2016, as older drivers stop buying cars while car ownership becomes less of a priority among younger drivers.

Like most major automakers, Toyota is still competing fiercely to develop self-driving cars, committing $1 billion to a robotics and A.I. research center.

Isobe conceded that it took Toyota longer to develop robots than cars, as it stretched the company further beyond its comfort zone. As a result, Toyota's new walking assist system took more than 10 year to bring to market.

"The biggest challenges have been in determining the needs of the robot market, which is relatively new, and to ensure that our products are safe," Isobe said.

Still, industry experts said that automakers were well placed to compete with medical technology companies including Switzerland's Hocoma and robot manufacturers such as ReWalk Robotics of the United States, both of which have developed robotic walking assist systems.

"Cars operate using engines and other components which enable mobility and control," said Nagayoshi Nakano, research vice president at Gartner Research's IoT Center of Excellence.

"On top of that, many of them have been partnering with the likes of Google and other companies looking at applying artificial intelligence, which will put them in a strong position to compete in robot services for the elderly."

 

Care costs for aging parents higher

 

A recent CIBC study reported by CTV news reveals that the care costs for aging parents are ever higher and higher.

It notes that there are the direct costs of caring for aging parents, and then the indirect costs, like lost worktime.

Read the story here: www.ctvnews.ca/business/caring-for-aging-parents-costs-canadians-33b-a-year-survey-1.3402778

A last wish: to die at home

Have you heard this from an aging parent? "It's a last wish: to die at home".

I've heard that from hundreds of families.

And it's not an unrealistic wish.

There is a certain comfort and dignity to being able to die in one's own bed, in one's own home. Clearly this is not an option for a parent whose been institutionalized in a hospital or nursing home. Howevever, it seems that dying at home with the appropriate care for someone who is sliding toward the end can be accommodated. 

Hospic-like arrangements can be provided in the home, and ideally as much of the broader family would be engaged in the process.

This also can allow time to share memories, and if possible photos.

It's worth exporing if the circumstances are right.

Why bother buying time and looks when you’re aging?

Posted on May 2017 by

Most all of us who are aging are busy buying time and looks.

Just saw a piece on BBC UK online that said seniors can buy five extra years with enough and the right kind of exercise.

Yesterday, saw an article that claimed various seaweeds help us stay healthier and live longer.

Continue reading “Why bother buying time and looks when you’re aging?”

Family in need is family indeed: the sandwich generation

The sandwich generation has a challenge. Why?

Because many of us have it coming and going.


‘Coming’ is our now adult kids who rediscover home as a good, safe, and, to tell the whole truth, financially very convenient place to be for a while. It might be for lack of a job or a failed marriage or simply rents getting too high. But consider that ‘for a while’ can become pretty open ended.


‘Going’ is our now ever more elderly and frail parents, who brave on and still want to command our lives, but who, in fact, are in every more need of help and support. The occasional dollop of help has become the daily routine.


And we’re stuck in the middle, striving to balance both being good parents and good children and often rationalizing that we can handle push and shove at the same time without imploding or exploding. We’re the shoulder generation, carrying a lot on those shoulders.
Are you into this scene? Is coming and going becoming a real part of your real life? If it is, what are you doing about it? Why? And how? Because in your own self interest, you should.

 

A housing crisis for seniors

According to this informative article that appeared in the New York times, we are into a housing crisis for seniors. This should not be a suprise to any of us who have or will confront the challenge of finding quality, affordable housing for our elderly parents when they need it.

Read it here:  https://nyti.ms/2jBSNHu

 

 

How can we look after our aging brains?

How can we look after our aging brains? If you're interested, the following article from the January 4th issues of the Los Angeles Times is a must read. 

The aging brain is a shrinking brain, and a shrinking brain is, generally speaking, a brain whose performance and reaction time are declining: That is a harsh reality of growing older.

But new research shows that brain shrinkage is less pronounced in older folks whose diets hew closely to the traditional diet of Mediterranean peoples — including lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil, little red meat and poultry, and regular, moderate consumption of fish and red wine.

In a group of 562 Scots in their 70s, those whose consumption patterns more closely followed the Mediterranean diet experienced, on average, half the brain shrinkage that was normal for the group as a whole over a three-year period.

To glean how diet might influence brain aging, researchers tapped into a large group of Scottish people who were all born in 1936 and had many measures of health status and lifestyle tracked from an early age.

Around the time they reached age 70, 843 members of the “Lothian Birth Cohort” filled out a dietary frequency form that gave researchers a broad look at what foods they ate, which they avoided, and how often they consumed them. At about age 73 and again around age 76, their brains were scanned to gauge the volume of the overall organ and a few of its key components.

The researchers used the food-frequency surveys to divide the group into two — those who at least approximated a Mediterranean-style diet and those who came nowhere close. Even though many in the Med-diet group were far from perfect in their adherence, the average brain-volume loss differed significantly between the two groups.

Findings on the impact of Mediterranean diet on healthy aging have been pretty strong — this is generally a good way to eat. Studies large and small have established that following a Mediterranean diet is effective at driving down heart attack, stroke and premature death risks, and improving the health conditions — including hypertension, worrisome cholesterol levels and metabolic problems — that raise those risks.

But researchers are less sure of the particulars of how the diet promotes better health.

In recent years, studies have sought to tease out not only how great the benefits are, but how they work: whether healthier brain-aging is a function of better vascular health or preserved brain volume, and whether the diet’s advantages lie in its dearth of red meat, the positive effects of the fatty acids in fish or olive oil, or the combined benefits of its plant-based foods.

Researchers also must demonstrate that, in their measurements of dietary intake and health, they’re not actually capturing well-understood relationships between intelligence, education and long-term health: People with certain cognitive strengths do better and stay longer in school and earn more; yes, the better educated and paid may consume healthier diets, but they are generally healthier anyway, so maybe the healthier diet is incidental.

The newest study, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, helps untangle many of those mysteries. But it also leaves many questions unanswered.

Contrary to some research findings on the Mediterranean diet, the findings suggest that reduced brain shrinkage is not specifically linked to low intake of meat and high intake of fish. Maybe, the authors suggest (and many researchers believe this), the magic in the Mediterranean diet is all those plant-based foods, acting collectively to improve subjects’ cognitive health.

The study also finds that subjects across the spectrum of intellect and educational attainment reaped the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in reducing brain shrinkage (or, alternatively, suffered the effects of diets that departed sharply from that diet’s emphasis on plants, fish and polyunsaturated fats). That suggests the researchers are not wrongly crediting subjects’ dietary choices for advantages that may actually stem from higher intelligence and educational attainment.

Finally, the researchers wrote, the study’s design helps establish that the brain-shrinkage rates seen are likely to be the result of dietary patterns, and not just an association. That’s because the subjects’ dietary patterns were measured first, about the time that participants reached 70 years old. Their brain volumes were then measured by imaging scans three and six years later.

Assuming that people did not dramatically change their dietary patterns — a shift that is considered unlikely for folks in their 70s — researchers believe that the dietary habits that Scots reported as they entered older age played some role in the brain changes they detected further down the road.

Left unexplored here is whether a midlife shift toward the Mediterranean diet could have the same effects, or whether the group differences in brain volume are the rewards or penalties for a lifetime of dietary choices.

There’s good evidence that, when it comes to making better dietary choices, earlier is better. In a 2013 study of more than 10,000 women, researchers found that those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet in their 50s and 60s were about 40% more likely to live past the age of 70 without chronic illness and without physical or mental problems than were those with less-healthy diets.