Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Program aims to help elders manage chronic disease

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday that it was giving 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia a total of $27 million to help older Americans with chronic diseases learn how to manage their conditions and take control of their health. The distribution is part of the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.

Indiana will receive $600,000. For a list of the distributions to other states, click here.

“Prevention activities can strengthen the nation’s healthcare infrastructure and reduce healthcare costs,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These new grants will provide an important opportunity for states, tribes, territories and communities to advance public health across the lifespan and to help reduce or eliminate health disparities.”

Chronic disease can negatively affect quality of life and threaten the ability of older adults to remain independent within their own homes and communities. The more chronic diseases an individual has, the more likely that individual will become hospitalized. According the HHS, Two-thirds of Medicare spending is for beneficiaries with five or more chronic conditions.

The Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), which serves as a model for this initiative, emphasizes the patients’ role in managing their illness and building their self-confidence so they can be successful in adopting healthy behaviors.

Indiana is not new to CDSMP. The Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana Division of Aging, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community, recently completed the implementation and evaluation of a two-year statewide CDSMP project, named "Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions."

Monday, March 29, 2010

E-news series to look at the 4 Ps of aging

Over the next several months, CAC's e-newsletter Aging in Indiana will look at the 4 Ps of aging -- perception, purpose, place and preparation -- as presented in the documentary "When Did I Get Old: Reflections on Aging Today."

This month's focus is on perception. Here's a teaser of the article found in the March e-newsletter:

Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging
Messages in the media about aging tend to emphasize the negative aspects associated with growing older. But, if you listen to and accept these messages, you may actually shorten your life. Research shows that adjusting your perception of aging while you're still young can have a tremendous effect on your life expectancy.

Want to know more? Read the e-news for yourself.

To ensure you don't miss any of the 4-part series, subscribe to our e-news by clicking here.

Other things you'll find include news from the world of aging, conference and event listings and grants to go for.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What will you be doing at 114?

What’s that you say? Me, live to be 114 years old? Oh pleeeeez, not gonna’ happen with all that Velveeta cheese.

Like it or not, your longevity is really a roll of the dice with any number of variables impacting it but, according to the most advanced research, the most prominent variable affecting longevity is your genes. As the saying in gerontology circles goes, “Choose your parents well if you want to live a long healthy life.”

On March 8, 2010, two women who were reported to be two of the oldest people in the world died within hours of each other. Mary Ray, the oldest person at 114 years and 294 days was reportedly active until two weeks before her death and had been planning her next birthday party. Daisy Bailey who was 113 years and 342 days old also passed away. She had experienced dementia and had been living in a care home.

These ladies weren’t your everyday old folks. They were “supercentenarians,” people who live beyond 110 years and worthy of our awe and wonder. Think about how old you are now and add another lifetime (or more) onto that – now you are a supercentenarian. Feeling special? You should. It is an amazing accomplishment when you realize that just 50 years ago you could only expect to live to be half that age.

Check out these centenary stats:

  • As of November 2008, an estimated 96,548 centenarians were living in the U.S.
  • Japan had the second highest centenarian population with 36,276 people over the age of 100 years.
  • In 2007 Hallmark reportedly sold around 85,000 "Happy 100th Birthday!" cards.
  • According to Dr. Robert Butler, president of the International Longevity Center in New York, the projections for the year 2050 indicate there could potentially be nearly 1 million centenarians.

What’s going on in the world that people are living so much longer?

John W. Santrock wrote in his book A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development that research has indicated five contributing factors to greater longevity:
  1. Heredity and family history
  2. Health, i.e. weight, diet, whether or not a person smokes, amount of exercise
  3. Education level – more is better
  4. Personality - centenarians are most often optimists and extroverts
  5. Lifestyle – being social and involved in activities that are meaningful to you increases your level of satisfaction and well being.
Interestingly one reason Santrock points out for women living longer is never being married. Shhh, don’t tell e-Harmony, it might put them out of business!

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Tamara Wolske, MS
Academic Program Director

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Early-onset Alzheimer's added to Social Security's "Compassionate Allowances"

Check out Inside Elder Care today for news about the addition of early-onset Alzheimer's disease to a list of medical conditions that qualify a person for the Social Security Administration's "Compassionate Allowances" initiative.

The initiative is a way to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s standards.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hey docs, listen up!

Earlier this week, Twitter user @HBSSLTC sent out this tweet:

I'm speaking to a group of new MDs specializing in Geriatrics this week at Emory - What are the top 5 things you want them to know?

We posed the question on the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community Facebook page and got this response:

Patience isn't only a virtue; it becomes a necessity in geriatrics. And remember, these patients ALWAYS try to LOOK THEIR BEST for you. It may be the first time in two weeks they've been out of their jammies! So when you ask them how they are, and they say "fine," and their adult child snorts or rolls their eyes ... perhaps investigate a little deeper :)

How would you answer the question:

What are the top 5 things you would want new doctors specializing in geriatrics to know?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Under construction

All Things Aging is under construction as we attempt to find a more user-friendly format. Please feel free to browse through the archives while we work on our layout.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tom Brokaw's eye on Boomers

After defining "the Greatest Generation," it seems only natural that veteran reporter Tom Brokaw would turn his eye toward the Baby Boom generation. He does just that in a new two-hour documentary, "Tom Brokaw Reports: BOOMER$," set to air on CNBC Thursday, March 4 at 9pm ET.

Brokaw will look at the impact 78 million baby boomers have had on American culture, politics and economy over the past 60 years. He'll talk to famous and everyday boomers, getting their reflections on the past and their outlooks on the future.

"Tom Brokaw Reports: BOOMER$" will re-air on CNBC on the following dates and times:

  • Saturday, March 6 at 7pm ET
  • Sunday, March 7 at 9pm ET
  • Monday, March 8 at 8pm ET
For more information on the documentary and to take the Boomer's Quiz, click here.