This announcement came from the U.S. Administration on Aging this morning:
Today, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will hold a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force, where they will lay out key investments for middle class families that the President will discuss in his State of the Union address, including efforts to expand support for families balancing work with caring for elderly relatives (emphasis added by All Things Aging).
HHS Secretary Sebelius, a member of the Middle Class Task Force, will participate in the meeting, and Assistant Secretary Greenlee will attend with her. The event will be webcast at 11 a.m. EST at www.hhs.gov We encourage everyone to watch!
If you do watch the webcast, please comment here with your thoughts.
Monday, January 25, 2010
This announcement came from the U.S. Administration on Aging this morning:
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Do you know of an older adult who is passionate about making this world a better place? Consider nominating him or her for the Purpose Prize.
The Purpose Prize, an initiative started by Civic Ventures in 2006, recognizes people over the age of 60 who are using their experience and talents to address and solve social problems at local, regional and national levels.
Each year 10 Purpose Prize winners are named. This year five winners receive $100,000 to continue their work and five will receive $50,000 for their efforts. In addition, dozens of Purpose Prize fellows will be recognized for using their so-called "retirement years" to bring about needed change in their communities.
Some of last year's Purpose Prize winners accomplished the following:
- Brought mental health care to 100,000 trauma victims in nine countries
- Launched an alcohol/drug recovery program aimed specifically at Native Americans
- Designed and engineered "green" bricks for use in construction
- Resuscitated a dying farming industry through the use of broadband technology
- Created a support system for youth who take on the responsibility of caring for a sick or aging relative
Nominations for this year's Purpose Prize must be submitted by March 5, 2010. For more information about how to nominate yourself or someone else, click here.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Research is beginning to show that the massage we used to think of as a simple “back rub” is actually a powerful therapeutic tool. This popular therapy is now used to treat a variety of health conditions common in aging adults.
Massage by definition is the “manipulation of tissues (rubbing, kneading or tapping) with the hand or an instrument for therapeutic purposes.”(1) There are many types of massage, often distinguished by the techniques applied and the purpose for the massage. For example, traditional Swedish massage is often used to enhance relaxation and increase circulation in muscles and other tissues. This style of massage uses strokes called “effleurage” (a long, smooth stroke that glides over the skin) and “petrissage” (kneading, rolling, wringing tissue).
Recent research studies indicate that therapeutic massage may significantly reduce pain and enhance mood associated with osteoarthritis of the hands and/or spine.(2,3) Several studies show that massage can lower pain and anxiety levels in women dealing with breast cancer.(4,5) A specialized type of massage called lymphedema massage can also be helpful in reducing edema (pooling of fluid) associated with mastectomy. (6)
Massage has also been found to have a relaxation effect in adults who have high blood pressure; one study demonstrated that six 30-minute massages over 6 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by 10 points (mmhg) and diastolic pressure by 5 points (mmhg). (7) Massage doesn’t have to be fancy; one study showed that simple hand massage appears to reduce agitation in some elders with dementia. (8)
One doesn’t have to have a significant health problem in order to benefit from massage. Massage increases circulation to skin and tissues and it enhances feelings of well being and relaxation in most individuals who enjoy this form of touch. In these days of high stress, massage may be the perfect way to relax and gain perspective on life. One study has shown that adults aged 60 years and older who received massage therapy 50 minutes twice weekly for 4 weeks experienced significant improvements in mood (decreased anxiety) and self-rated measures of positive well-being, self-control, vitality, and general health. (9)
Who can provide massages for older adults? A certified massage therapist who is licensed or has completed a recognized course of study may provide this service. Some massage therapists have also completed specialized training to work with older adults. Other professionals qualified to provide massage to older adults are physical and occupational therapists and licensed physical and occupational therapy assistants.
Massage is not for everyone, and there are some health conditions that prohibit its use. Massage should not be performed on individuals who have skin infections, any acute illness such as flu, and in people who have a fever. Massage should not be performed over sites of recent surgery or open cuts, nor in areas of the body that have advanced circulatory problems. Typically, massage is not prescribed for individuals with epilepsy, some forms of cancer (unless prescribed by physician), or in people with asthma or other severe respiratory problems. (10) Massage performed on older adults must be done carefully to avoid tearing the skin, which is thin and vulnerable to injury.
When in doubt, ask your doctor whether you or a loved one might benefit from a massage. In most cases, the cost is worth the many benefits. And, in some cases, health insurance will pay for this procedure. Check to see if your own policy covers this service. Massage may make a big difference in your quality of life!
Constance McCloy, PT, EdD
1. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11623 retrieved January 10, 2010.
2. Carrington R, Papaleontiou M, Ong A, Breckman R, Wethington E, Pillemer K. Self-management strategies to reduce pain and improve function among older adults in community settings: A review of the evidence. Pain Medicine. 2008;4:220-224.
3. Field T, Diego M, Hernandez-Reif M, Shea J. Hand arthritis pain is reduced with massage therapy. J Bodywork Movement Ther. 2007;11:21-24.
4. Steurgeon M, Wetta-Hall R, Hart T. Effects of therapeutic massage on quality of life among patients with breast cancer during treatment. J Alternative & Complementary Med. 2009;15:373-380.
5. Wilkinson S, Barnes K, Storey L. Massage for symptom relief in patients with cancer: systematic review. J Advanced Nursing. 2008;63:430-439.
6. Forchuk C; Baruth P, et al. Postoperative arm massage: a support for women with lymph node dissection. Cancer Nursing. 2004;18:25-33.
7. Kaye AD, Kaye AJ, et al. The effect of deep-tissue massage therapy on blood pressure and heart rate. J Alternative & Complementary Med. 2008;14:125-128.
8. Viggo HN, Jorgensen T, Ortenblad L. Massage and touch for dementia. Cochrane AN: CD004989. Date of Electronic Publication: 2006.
9. Sharpe PA, Williams HG, Granner ML, Hussey JR. A randomized study of the effects of massage therapy compared to guided relaxation on well-being and stress perception among older adults. Complement Ther Med. 2007;15:157-163.
10. http://www.massageforailments.com/massage-strokes.phpWhen Not To Massage
Retrieved January 10, 2010.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
As I was scanning the blogroll on this page, my eyes fell on an entry at About.com's Longevity Blog: Helping Men Be Caregivers. I clicked to read the post because this is a reality in our family right now.
My father-in-law is caregiver to his wife of almost 45 years. She lives in a nursing home near the home they've shared together for decades and he goes to visit her daily. Before her health necessitated the move to the nursing home, he retired from his job to help her at home. He researched home health equipment and purchased a van so he could take her places. He learned to cook.
When the weather is good, he brings her home for a few hours a couple times each week. He grills steak for dinner and brings it to the nursing home to share it with her. On Sunday mornings, he brings the donut holes she likes -- the glazed yeast kind.
For a man who grew into parenthood at a time when the father's job was to work and the mother's job was caregiving, he is an excellent and loving caregiver. But I can tell he is weary. He's told us that.
Mark Stibich, Ph.D., author of About.com's post on the subject, offers some ways to help men in their caregiving roles:
- Ask how they are: It is important to acknowledge that illness is hard on the partner as well as the patient.
- Give 'em a Break: Golf, fishing -- help figure out how the male caregiver can take some time off. Volunteer to sit with his wife while he relaxes.
- Listen: It's hard enough for men to talk about their feelings (excuse the stereotype), but talking about the feelings that come with the illness of someone you love is even harder.
- Give some couple time: Offer to babysit or housesit so the couple can have some time together or send them on a weekend away.
- Ask for suggestions: Ask the caregiver what would be helpful. Sometimes just expressing your support for them is all it takes.
Certainly this list could apply to men or women. But sometimes we women (ok, at least I) have a tendency to want to rush in and take charge. These suggestions not only give men caring for loved ones an opportunity to express their feelings and their needs, but they give those of us who would presume to rescuers an opportunity to slow down and listen.
Do you know a male caregiver who could use some support -- a listening ear, an hour or two of respite? Call him today.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
And while we could argue that the use of the word "aged" is condescending and assuming an elder's wits are slow is stereotypical, I think overall the sentiment -- thank you to those who treat our older adults with dignity and respect -- is worth passing on.
Beatitudes for the Friends of the Aged
Blessed are they who understand
My faltering step and palsied hand.
Blessed are they who know that my ears today
Must strain to catch the things they say.
Blessed are they who seem to know that my eyes are dim
and my wits are slow.
Blessed are they who looked away
When my coffee spilled at table today.
Blessed are they with a cherry smile
Who stop to chat for a little while.
Blessed are they who never say,
"You've told that story twice today."
Blessed are they who know the ways
To bring back memories of yesterday.
Blessed are they who make it known,
That I'm loved, respected and not alone.
Blessed are they who know I'm at a loss
To find the strength to carry the Cross.
Blessed are they who ease the days
On my journey home in loving ways.
-- Esther Mary Walker
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Last month the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation issued, as part of its Workforce Wise initiative, a report on the aging of the state's workforce and how Indiana businesses can turn aging issues into opportunities.
"Aging Implications: A Wake-up Call" reports that in the next 20 years, two in five Indiana workers will move into retirement. The professions that will most feel the pinch include:
- Library, community and social services
- Computer and mathematical science
- Legal, architecture and engineering
- Office and/or administrative support
For their part, employees should investigate and pursue opportunities to update their skills in order to stay relevant to and competitive in the workplace.
The Aging Implications report is a compilation of existing state and national studies as well as four papers commissioned by the foundation for Workforce Wise.
The University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community was a co-author on one of those papers. CAC is no stranger to issues related to older adults in the workplace. The Center previously issued two publications as part of it "Gray Matters: Opportunities and Challenges for Indiana's Aging Workforce."
Posted by University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community at 10:59 AM