Studies have shown a startling trend in the increase of suicides among older adults, which has brought the subject of elderly mental health into the spotlight. Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health show that suicide among older adults is more common than most realize and more disproportionate to suicides committed by any other age group.
Photo credit: ultra-team on Stock.xchng
Adults over the age of 65 represent only 12% of the people in the United States, but they represent 16 – 25 percent of all suicides that occur in this country. What is surprising is that four out of five suicides are committed by elderly men. The numbers increase drastically for white men over the age of 85 to 50 occurrences out of 100,000 men.
No Previous Warning
What is even more disturbing is the majority of elderly suicide victims gave no indication that they were considering suicide and had no outward signs of depression. Many had been seen by their doctors in the month and even days before their deaths. Even though practitioners are trained to recognize symptoms of depression, which can be crucial in preventing suicides, often there are no signs exhibited by their patients.
Concern for Elderly Men
While depression plays a large part in many of these cases, other elderly health issues can increase feelings of hopelessness and not having anything left to live for. Social isolation can increase these feelings also. This is the case for many elderly men who tend to become more socially isolated than women do. The risk increases for elderly widowers because their wives managed many of their social connections. Once their wives has passed, these social connections may be greatly reduced or totally cease.
Elderly men may also find themselves losing a sense of purpose because they were poorly prepared for retirement and now do not know what to do with themselves. This is especially true if they have never developed interests or hobbies outside of work. The added stress of being alone may become too much to bear and they feel they would be better off dead.
Risks and Signs to Watch For
As with so many elderly health concerns, if an older man finds himself facing the prospect of going through a major health crisis such as cancer alone, this can become overwhelming. This is one major risk in which to be aware. Returning home after a stay in the hospital can be a trying time for many and can increase the risk of suicide.
One signal that may suggest depression is taking hold of one’s life may be drastic weight loss. This is often because they have stopped eating as their will to live fades. They may also stop taking their medications and sleep more often. They may also appear very sad and say such things about being a burden on others, and how their family would be better off if they were gone. This is not a normal stage of aging; this is a sign that help is needed, and now.
What Can You Do?
The key to helping to prevent depression and suicide among the elderly is to help them remain socially active and involved in activities. These activities could be of any type whether joining a senior center or a book club. Getting the person involved in volunteering for their church or local school or museum will give them a sense of they are making a contribution and have a purpose.
If you suspect that an elderly person you know is exhibiting signs of depression, take steps to stop them from becoming a statistic. Help find mental health services geared toward the elderly for them immediately. If you feel that they are in immediate danger, contact your local hospital for an immediate referral.
Halloween isn’t just for kids! A Halloween superstore in Winston-Salem, NC, notes the number of customers in their 60s and 70s this year buying costume supplies. Popular themes include hippie clothes, accessories and other nostalgic items. Do you have a costume picked out for the big day?
Assisted Living Today watches the trends and topics that matter to older adults and caregivers. We hope you find something of interest or just enjoy, and please tell us about any interesting news you’ve heard or read this week!
Ever heard of the “boomerang” child? Baby boomers are increasingly making room for their adult children in their lives, and in their houses. Do you have a grown child living at home with you? A recent report in Realty Biz News describes the trend of both boomerang children and aging parents moving in with baby boomer parents.
The recent outbreak of spinal meningitis has many people on edge. Those who have received a spinal shot within the last six weeks could be at larger risk and should be monitored, even if no symptoms present, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more on the NY Times well blog.
Check your Assisted Living facility for low-impact yoga classes for seniors, they do exist! A recent article in the Huffington Post connects yoga practice with easing insomnia, a problem that seems to grow in an adult as he or she grows older.
Trends in Technology
Move over dogs, robots could be our next best friend. iRobot co-founder, Rodney Brooks, said this week that “a natural next frontier for Rethink’s human-like robot Baxter would be in care for the elderly.” Will you have a Rethink’s robot bustling around your kitchen soon? Mass High Tech tells more.
MedGaget interviews BeClose president Liddy Manson about her company’s products, including sensors for beds, chairs, doors and toilets, as well as general motion detectors and “panic pendants” for emergency situations. A way for caregivers and elderly patients to “be closer.”
Piles by the bedside are both unsightly and potentially dangerous. The more that books and magazines pile up, the better the chances everything will topple over. Plus, with all of those reading materials stacked alongside a bed, there’s little space available for a clock, glass of water, tissue box, lip balm, pills, the T.V. remote control and other bedside necessities that seem to gather on a night stand. How to organize that space in the bedroom that always seems to be unruly?
Brookstone’s Reader’s Night Stand could be your answer. An attractive, space-saving piece of furniture, the Reader’s Night Stand offers six shelves to store books, magazines, crossword puzzles or other items that often gather near the bed. Organize or categorize your reading materials or activities based on title, type or size in the open shelves. The stand’s top can accommodate all the other things you need at your bedside.
Standing 31″ high and measuring 15″ wide, the night stand is made from warp-resistant wood composite materials and comes in either mahogany, distressed black or honey finish. Assembly is required for the unit.
At a sale price of $149.00 on Amazon.com, reviews of the night stand comment on the sturdiness and strength of the furniture, although one reviewer said it was a little tall for the bedside and used it as an end table. A few people suggested having more than one person on hand to assemble the unit, which requires a Phillips head screwdriver.
De-clutter and find the things you want–fast–with the Reader’s Night Stand!
Carol Bradley Bursack has devoted much of her professional career to educating caregivers, both professional and non, on the importance of caring for their loved ones and themselves. She is a regular contributor to various industry leading blogs including HealthCentral/Alzheimer’s, and the forum moderator and a regular contributor to AgingCare.com. She is also the author of “Minding Our Elders:Caregivers Share their Personal Stories” and runs MindingOurElders.com a portable care giving support organization.
Erin: All right. Can you give me a basic description of what you do?
Carol Bradley Bursack: Yes. I’m an author, columnist, blogger. I’m a forum moderator and anything else. I support caregivers, pretty much. My aim is to support caregivers along their journey, based on what I’ve been through. Also, I’m very strong on preserving the dignity of elders. My background is a family caregiver, as you’ve seen, of multiple elders, so most caregivers can relate to me. I can generally tell them how to sell their experience in one of my seven elders to what they’re going through. Anyway, that…
Erin: [inaudible 00:54] .
Erin: I said, you definitely can, yes.
Carol: Yes. Anyway, what I do is really offer support from the depth of my experience. Plus, all the years I’ve done…I’ve learned so much from other caregivers. It all has built over the last decade to the point that…It’s a matter of give and take, but I do draw on my background a great deal. I just want people to know they’re not alone. That’s the whole point of my website, my book, everything else I do. They are not alone in this. When I first started, there was almost no support, and it was extremely isolating. I know now how isolating people can be now, even though there is a lot of support, so I try and help them along.
Erin: What should a loved one do if they suspect their elderly loved one may have memory loss?
Carol: I would take the person to a physician who understands that memory loss may not be due to dementia. There are other causes. That’s one of the reasons for so many misdiagnoses. UTIs, medication problems, and other health problems can have people acting like they’ve got dementia when they don’t. They can mimic dementia‑like behavior. Once those causes have been ruled out, then I make sure that they are given a battery of tests by some doctor, a specialist, probably, who understands the different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s can become a catch‑all, these days. Sometimes it’s important to decide what kind of dementia they’re dealing with once they’ve ruled out all other causes.
Erin: How would somebody find out which doctors are familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s?
Carol: Generally, they’re neurologists. If they are able to get into a gerontologist for a beginning, that is wonderful. We don’t have enough gerontologists to handle all our elders. That is really the place to start, if they can get in to see a gerontologist. From there, a good gerontologist will direct the people to other doctors if they don’t feel that they have the expertise to make that diagnosis. If they can’t get into a gerontologist, and they see, say, their family doctor, they can test for a UTI or something of that nature, but probably, people should go and see a neurologist. Maybe check ahead, see if they deal with Alzheimer’s.
Word of mouth is still great, but doctors, just like it is everything else. If they have friends who have had a diagnosis or been to doctors because of memory issues, certainly I would advise the families or the people themselves to look around and ask, too.
Erin: What did you learn on caring for your six elderly family members and your elderly neighbor?
Carol: It’s hard to put in a nutshell. I learned a great deal from them. I learned compassion. Not that I was not a compassionate person to begin with, I guess, or I wouldn’t have done it. I really, really learned compassion for their losses. The losses that occur during the aging process I often compare to a rose losing petals. It can be gradual, but it can also in the end be devastating. Compassion is number one. Also, respect and dignity are due to elders no matter what they have wrong with them. Elders are not our children. They are adults with a legacy, and they should be treated as such.
Also, each elder is different. Even if you have two people that have the same disease, they may show different symptoms or behave differently, so it’s important to treat them uniquely.
Erin: What made you write “Minding Our Elders”?
Carol: I wrote my book while I was deep into…Well, there were five of my elders remaining. My whole life revolved around elder care, child rearing, and going to doctors. I did feel quite alone. I felt other people did. I began my book as a therapy and a catharsis. My dad had had brain surgery that was to correct the ill effects of a World War II brain injury. What happened was it threw him into dementia overnight. That was really the catalyst. He’s on the cover of my book. I had to work through the pain of seeing my adored dad turned into a different man by a failed surgery. From that book grew the website, blog, and all the other things I’ve done in the eldercare field.
Erin: I’m sorry there about your dad.
Carol: It was horrendous. I just answered a question…
Erin: It sounds like it.
Carol: I’m writing a column now. I wrote an answer to a woman for my next column. The same thing happened to her from surgery. She said people just don’t understand what can happen with elders in surgery. She had the same thing. It’s devastating. The medical people generally don’t want to acknowledge what happened because they’re afraid of lawsuits.
Erin: Yes, exactly.
Carol: So anyway, yes, it’s horrible. But that was my catalyst in that. Yes, it is on the cover of my book, and a great deal of what I write about when it comes to dementia, his was not Alzheimer’s, obviously, but I learned a great deal at a time when not too much was known.
Erin: Can you tell me what “Minding Our Elders” is about?
Carol: Well, the book Minding Our Elders, the subtitle is Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories, and it provides insight into family caregiving through short interviews with 20 caregivers, and it has my seven experiences with my seven elders. I set it up so that people can find the story that most reflects their own experiences, and I’ve been told by many people they keep it for bedside reading, because what they do is, they’ll go through these very short little encapsulated stories and say, wow, that’s me. And that’s one that will help keep their heads above water, because they relate to that one caregiver who is going through a similar circumstance. So, what it’s about, it’s there to support people, and it’s real stories about real people in their own words.
Erin: When is it time to move an elderly loved one to assisted living? How do you know it’s time?
Carol: From the elder’s standpoint, I believe it’s when they are no longer safe living on their own, or they become so isolated that their lack of socialization is affecting them mentally and physically, and they can then start showing dementia symptoms simply because they’re so isolated. The other reason would be from the caregiver standpoint. I believe it’s before the caregiver gets so burned out that he or she’s no longer capable of providing care alone. The caregiver’s own health can be compromised if the strain is too great, so assisted living or other help, I think should be sought out before this happens, and that can free a person up to be a son or a daughter rather than just constantly be doing the physical things that drain you to the point that you can’t actually interact with your loved one on a personal basis, because there’s no time.
Erin: So, being isolated can actually cause the elderly person to first show signs of dementia?
Carol: Oh, it can certain seethe it. They can become more paranoid. My mother‑in‑law’s an example, so she did obviously have dementia, at that time, they weren’t diagnosing Alzheimer’s as much because they knew less about how to do so, and so that was never diagnosed. When she was so isolated, even though I went every day, I fixed her lunch, I got her groceries, I did everything, she got to the point she was afraid of everything out there. I mean, people become agoraphobic, they become afraid just because they only have their own company.
And you know, even younger people, if we’re alone in our own heads too long, our thinking can go off base. So, when you take an elder who maybe is afraid of, well, reads the paper, listens to the news, starts to get afraid and has no socialization or very little, doesn’t have a reason to maybe go out of their home, I think little by little they become more withdrawn.
And depression can be a problem, and also maybe paranoia which may or may not be from dementia itself as a physical cause, but it could tip somebody over the edge if they’re, say, leaning toward dementia.
Recording: This call is now being recorded.
Erin: Should be on. OK, there we go, I think we’re all right now.
Carol: Oh, OK.
Erin: Sorry about that.
Carol: No problem.
Erin: What topics do you typically discuss when speaking to caregivers?
Carol: I’m primarily a writer, but I do speaking. And I guess because I’m a writer, when I speak, I talk about the things that people ask me to write about. I speak on the pain of watching loved ones’ cognitive abilities decline, I speak about my dad’s surgery and how professionals can better work with family members to help them through the difficult times, and also how family members can help the professionals. It can become a very mutual helpful experience to work with professionals, or it can become antagonistic.
I speak and write a lot about people forging good relationships with paid caregivers who help our elders once they move to a facility or have in‑home care. It’s very, very easy for people sometimes to think they should get only one‑on‑one…You know, we all want the best for our elder, and people can unknowingly create an antagonistic relationship.
So, I speak about that, how important that is to try and work together as a team. And I speak a great deal, as I mentioned earlier, protecting the elder’s dignity, and also when it’s time to get outside help, and the other big one would be coping with siblings who won’t help, or those that criticize the help you give. Those are big questions from people, so I speak about those and many other things.
Erin: What tips can you give caregivers on caring for someone with Alzheimer’s?
Carol: First thing, don’t argue. An elder with Alzheimer’s is in a world that to him or her is as real as ours is to us. And if you argue with them, you’re just telling them they are wrong, and that obviously isn’t going to get us very far. If the issue isn’t vital to health or well‑being, just go along with the elder, it doesn’t hurt anything. I began doing that with my dad, because that was the only way I could keep him from being miserable. And at the time, psychiatric care was leaning in the other direction. I even had a psychiatrist yell at me for it when he found out what I was doing, that I was going along with Dad’s fantasies of life.
And within a few years, it had totally turned around and now they have what’s called the validation theory. And that seems to be the accepted theory is that you validate these people. When someone has dementia, their life is tough enough. And it doesn’t matter to us if they say the sky is green and the grass is blue. I mean, what does it matter? So, not arguing is very, very important. I mean, there are times, obviously, when we have to, or at least, try and divert them. But arguing doesn’t work.
Second, remember the person’s not a child, never will be a child. No matter how disabled he or she may become, the person should be treated with the respect and dignity of an adult.
And third, I’d say, among many, would be don’t ever assume that the person with Alzheimer’s doesn’t know what’s going on. People can be very sensitive of body language and vocal stress, even if they don’t seem to understand words. We really don’t know how much they’re taking in. And so, even if they seem totally in their own world, I always think that we should assume they understand more than we think they do.
Erin: Absolutely. OK, can you tell me about your blog and how the stuff on your blog may be helpful to caregivers?
Carol: My blog updates daily. And my topics cover anything from the newest studies on drugs or what may prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia or a healthy aging population, or help younger people age better and not get dementia. I cover, obviously, many issues on helping people provide care for their loved one, while trying to live a life of their own. I was a member of the sandwich generation before there was a term sandwich generation. So, I do talk about that quite a bit. I have a son with many health issues, so I was also caring for a son with health problems along with all these elders. So, I know a lot about being part of the sandwich generation.
It’s about setting boundaries and providing compassionate care. So, there is a wide range of information on the blog and it’s all centered around giving care or caring for the caregiver and the aging, in that context, there’s a great variety.
Erin: Great. Any other relevant timely information regarding caring for seniors that you want to tell us about?
Carol: I would say to make sure that you or someone else your elder trusts has a power of attorney for financial issues as well as a power of attorney to help make health decisions. This is vital. This document, sometimes called a health directive, should also contain a living will that hopefully, you’ve talked over with the elder so that you’re aware of the kind of care they would want, given the fact that things change and they may not be able to. But at least know their wants and needs so that you can help them if they can’t speak for themselves.
And also, I would say, never promise you love them that you won’t put them in a nursing home. Many of our elders still think of nursing homes, and there, unfortunately, are still some in the country that are the old military style and not very good. We still have far too many that are not. But a lot of them are very good, they’re coming along and realizing that hands‑on care and some of the new methods are helpful. So, that helps.
But the main thing is don’t promise that you won’t put them in a nursing home. Tell them, instead, that you’ll do your best to give them the best care possible with whatever tools are available. And just always knowing that we don’t know what’s going to occur. And so, caregivers shouldn’t have to live with the guilt of having a broken promise.
So, if we can avoid that, that’s good. One little note on that, if they’ve already made that promise, while they are care giving, they can pat themselves on the back and say they are honoring the spirit of the promise and if it should come that a nursing home is needed, they can be guilt free.
Erin: Absolutely. All right, thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it.
Ever wonder what the biggest injury risks for seniors are? This new infographic from Your Local Security shows some of the most common causes of injuries to senior citizens and also gives a few suggestions for how to prevent such injuries from happening.
Promoting Awareness through Residents’ Rights Awareness Month in October
Seniors living in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are entitled to the same rights as everyone else–those of dignity, choice and self-determination. The Federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law was enacted to ensure that facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are promoting and protecting the rights of each of their residents. Each October, The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care promotes Residents’ Rights awareness.
What are Residents’ Rights?
Taking into consideration residents’ physical, mental and psychosocial well being, the reform law outlines rules governing each facility. Whether you are a resident, you work in an assisted living environment or you have a relative or friend in an assisted living facility, you should know the rights afforded to the elderly in an assisted living, long-term care, or other care facilities. They include:
The right to be fully informed, in your native language, of available services and charges for each service, the rules and regulations of the facility, advance plans of room changes or roommates, how to reach your State Ombudsman and state survey agency as well as the state survey reports and plans of correction for the community in which you live.
The right to complain, without fear of reprisal, if you have a grievance. You should see prompt efforts by the facility to resolve the problems, or be able to further your complaint to the ombudsman program or the state survey and certification agency.
The right to participate in your own care. Participation includes knowing how to access your medical record, what’s going on with your medical condition and what assessments, care-planning, treatments and possible discharge plans are. You’re also allowed to refuse medication, treatment, chemical or physical restraints.
The right to privacy and confidentiality, during treatment and care, regarding medical, personal and financial affairs, and to be allowed unrestricted, private communication with whomever you choose.
Rights during transfers and discharges to receive a 30-day notice of transfer and discharge, including the reason and new location. You have a right to appeal these actions if you don’t agree you should be transferred or discharged.
The right to dignity, respect and freedom. No resident should experience mental or physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion or physical or chemical restraints. Your dignity and self-determination belong to you, and laws against elderly abuse, like the 1987 Reform Law protect your most basic rights to safety.
The right to visits, whether from your physician, relatives, friends, organizations that provide social, legal or health services, or the state survey agency and ombudsman program. You may also refuse visitors.
The right to make independent choices. From what you wear to what doctor your choose to managing your financial affairs, just because you are in an assisted living facility does not mean your choices are stripped. The facility must accommodate reasonable needs and preferences.
What is the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care?
Originally the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR), the organization formed in 1975 as a result of public concern about less-than-acceptable care residents of nursing homes were receiving. Most of the original members of the NCCNHR had either witnessed or endured personal experiences with substandard conditions and took action. Today, the Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers of long-term care, providing tools and resources for residents, caregivers and advocates as well as advocacy related to federal and state regulatory and legislative policymaking. More than 200 member groups exist across the country, with an individual membership of over 2,000.
This week’s spotlight is on Anthony Cirillo a prolific writer, public speaker, elder care advocate, and widely recognized inspiration to the millions of seniors nation wide. His history with elder care and public speaking has given him the knowledge and ability to spread his knowledge and advice throughout the country being recognized by many national organizations.
Anthony started his career as a producer for CBS-TV in Philadelphia. He uses those skills developed early in his career when he appears on radio and TV as an expert in aging and healthcare including: the Carolina Business Review, Charlotte Today, CBS-TV Charlotte, NBC Jacksonville, WB in Tampa, and Ageing with Attitude; just to name a few. Many radio appearances have include, but are not limited to: WS Radio, Age Wise Living, Coping with Caregiving, Charlotte Talks, University of South Dakota Elderlaw Forum, First Talk Hickory, and more.
As a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Anthony consults with healthcare organizations globally. He is the About.com guide to assisted living and a member of the board of CCAL, the Consumer Consortium for Person-Centered Living dedicated to improving the lives of seniors. And as a Healthcare Channel Partner for CEO2, he helps organizations lead from the heart. Anthony knows the ins and outs of healthcare delivery and is currently working with the National Council on Aging on their Self Management Alliance.
As an experienced thought leader in the healthcare industry, he knows how to navigate that industry. As someone who spends thousands of hours a year with seniors and caregivers, he understands consumer perspective and needs.
Anthony shares that knowledge with consumers in many ways. Anthony is a prolific writer, having written hundreds of blogs and articles. In 2011, Anthony wrote two of the top three blogs on Hospital Impact. In addition, he is often cited in the press including wide-ranging publications such as USA Today, Fierce Healthcare, CBS Interactive, and Business Journal publications. His blog, Who Moved My Dentures and corresponding video blogs help consumers understand the healthcare system while imparting ways to live a quality life. The blog is listed as one of the top boomer blogs by AllTop and feeds to other health sites including Dr. Oz’s Sharecare, contributing to Anthony’s online Klout influence that tops 60. His book of the same name dispels myths about aging.
Anthony fell into a duty and activism for elders when he started performing in nursing homes. A gifted singer-performer, he has been to Nashville to record and has sung around the country. He uses his performing gifts in his keynote speeches and press engagements.
Anthony brightens the lives and promotes the quality of life and the dignity of caregivers and seniors. And he is an outlet that helps businesses reach and connect to boomer and senior audiences. If you would like to learn more about Anthony, his events, speaking engagements and upcoming endeavors be sure to visit his website http://anthonyssong.blogspot.com/.
Keeping fit by implementing a daily exercise routine is not only a healthy way to live, it can also a happy one. Research shows that seniors who maintain a daily exercise routine are more productive and, in general, feel good about life. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) offers some suggestions on how to stay active, healthy, and happy:
Activities like hiking, jogging, or running help to maintain a good heart rate and burn calories, but even something as simple as parking your car farther away from a store to walk or taking stairs instead of elevators will do wonders.
Strength training is an essential component to leading a healthy lifestyle. Strengthening the core muscles of your back and stomach helps to boost endurance and keep you motivated. The AAOS recommends varying the frequency of which muscles you work out, the speed at which you work them and the quantity of repetitions during each program. It is important to take strength training slow at first; unused muscles will need care to return to their former tension and resistance.
Eating healthier also increases your level of energy and reduces the risk of heart problems and obesity. This includes eating leaner meats, more fruit and vegetables, and whole grain foods. Drinking plenty of water and keeping hydrated, especially during a workout, is also important and coincides with eating healthier. Staying away from fatty food and caffeinated beverages such as coffee or soda not only keeps calorie intake and the risk of dehydration down, but helps to eliminate that sluggish, always-full-but-wanting-more feeling.
Relaxation, perhaps surprisingly, is an integral part of maintaining a healthier, happier lifestyle. Massages, day spas, yoga, or just sitting quietly in a room will relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, and even strengthen your immune system. Taking some time for you is a great way to ensure happiness.
Spending time outdoors, breathing fresh air, also raises the spirits and invigorates the body. Even simple tasks like raking leaves, barbequing or having a yard sale will sustain and strengthen your positive mental attitude.
It is important that you consult a physician in case of medical issues that may prohibit certain kinds of activity before beginning any exercise regimen. Some senior housing facilities may have exercise programs readily available; it is always a good idea to check with an administrator for more information on what types of activities are offered and if there is an additional cost. There may also be gyms, YMCAs, YWCAs, and other health facilities nearby worth looking into. If you’re determined to stay fit and eat healthy, no matter how you go about exercising – either with a specially designed fitness program or by taking stairs when available or even going for a walk around the park – you’re on the fast track to a happier, richer life.
It’s the time of year that everything is pumpkin flavored! From coffee and doughnuts to candles and potpourri, the taste and smell of spiced pumpkin is everywhere. Did you know there are more than 700 types of gourds grown in the world? Chances are you’re seeing a variety in harvest decorations at assisted living facilities, adorning people’s doorsteps and in stores.
Assisted Living Today has noted some interesting tips, trends and topics buzzing on the web for older adults. We hope you learn something or just enjoy, and please tell us about any interesting news you’ve heard or read this week!
Weird but True
Bring on the insults! British actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson is speaking out about a “creeping culture of censoriousness” which is limiting people’s free expression and free protest. Britain’s The Telegraph reports on Atkinson’s latest pro-insult campaign for change.
The Social Security Administration announced this week that Social Security retirement benefits will go up 1.7 percent for 62 million Americans, but it may not be enough to offset rising premiums for Medicare. Will the increase help you? Yahoo News reports.
Don’t shrug off sleep apnea! A new study has shown how sleep apnea can lead to other health issues down the road, especially in women. DementiaToday covers how sleep apnea in older women has been linked to dementia.
The earliest uses of pet therapy were documented in the 1860s, and connection between people and animals in regards to improved health are still being studied and hailed today. Alz.org talks about how to bring pet therapy into your life, or the lives of those who could benefit from it.
Trends in Technology
What effects more than 2.5 million people and fetches a good $10 billion each year in healthcare costs? Bedsores! Newly developed “Smart-e-pants” electric underwear help prevent bedsores through electric shock. How does it work? Read about it on abc News.
Your lap is never a suitable table. Whether you’re working at a computer, crafting or eating a meal, you need a good table that’s big and sturdy enough to support your activity. For people confined to a bed or wheelchair, or who simply spend many hours a day seated, their lap or a unstable TV stand are not acceptable options.
Reviewers have applauded the Multi-Position Tilt and Overbed Table for it’s usefulness and store-ability when not in use. Among the table’s many features, the flexibility in positioning seems to be most pleasing. Overall, the table’s features include:
A table mast that is foldable in three positions, from flat–able to be stored under a bed–to upright and extended within a person’s reach.
A pivot feature allowing the table top to be positioned closer to individuals in a bed, seated at an armchair, or in a wheelchair.
Tilting angle so that the table top tilts with the angle of the mast, providing an absolutely flat surface regardless of the mast’s angle.
Four solid, 2″ casters, two of which are lock-able.
At its highest, the table stands 37″. It can lower to just 30″ high. The desk surface is large–24″ across–able to accommodate any laptop computer and accessories or provide optimal space for crafting or activities.
A few users commented on the size of the table’s base, which is 26.5″ across, saying that it was slightly cumbersome and got in the way. However, the width of the base is what makes the table very stable and sturdy. And although the packaging indicates that no assembly is needed, there are a few parts to assemble in order to use the table.
Coming in at just under $105.00 on Amazon.com, users say there are few other tables on the market that work the same way, and none with the ability to fold flat for storage. When you already have a room crowded with people, additional medical equipment or just a small space, it’s great to be able to fold the table flat and store it easily.