Rebecca Johnson and her team determined that older adults who also are pet owners benefit from the bonds they form with their canine companions. Credit: Sinclair School of Nursing.
"Our study explored the associations between dog ownership and pet bonding with walking behavior and health outcomes in older adults," said Rebecca Johnson, a professor at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing in the Sinclair School of Nursing. "This study provides evidence for the association between dog walking and physical health using a large, nationally representative sample." Read more.
Congress finally just passed bipartisan legislation renewing the Older Americans Act for three years and President Obama has signed it. Passage comes almost 10 years since the Act was last reauthorized, a delay which has been a source of great consternation to older adults and their advocates. What’s In the Bill... Read more.
With years of experience behind the wheel, senior drivers likely are among the safest on the road. However, skills and abilities required for safe driving do deteriorate with age. The good news is that a few simple actions often can provide older drivers with years of safe driving.
To learn more about your driving abilities to drive safely ... Read more.
There are many uncertainties in retirement. For example, we don’t know how long we are going to live, what the interest rates will be or how the stock market will behave. But one thing is nearly certain: our health will decline as we age.
That means at some point, most of us will face serious functional limitations and, in the event of serious health shocks, maybe even permanent disability. As a result, a large number of older Americans might require professional medical care at home or in institutions such as nursing homes. But there is a lack of awareness about the risk of long-term care because of two big misconceptions surrounding the topic.
Misconception No. 1: Very few people end up using long-term care.
Misconception No. 2: Medicare pays for all long-term care needs. Read more.
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic illness for older adults. It can impact everyday life and can significantly affect a person's health and safety if gone untreated. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. However, in 2005 more than 325,000 hearing aids, less than four years old were unused according to a previous study in the Hearing Journal. Now, a new hearing aid adjustment program created by Kari Lane, assistant professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, may help increase hearing aid use for those who need them.
"Being able to hear is very important, especially as we age, and older adults don't wish to be told they're confused," said Lane. "Yet, not being able to understand what is being said, or missing out on conversations, can cause the perception of confusion. This can lead to social isolation and deteriorating relationships." Read more.
If someone will need to settle your estate or care for you because you’re seriously ill, that could mean needing to amass critical financial information about you in a hurry. But this kind of scavenger hunt — finding legal documents, bank accounts, insurance policies, credit cards, online accounts and the like — is very hard when that person is grieving or dealing with a multitude of caregiving issues.
That’s why you should take the necessary steps now, before a potential crisis arrives, to get your records together.
I call this focusing on three dimensions: What you want to document, Where it is located and Who should know about it. This way, your loved ones will easily be able to find what they need when the time comes. Read more.
One friend swears by CoQ10. Another insists she’d never make it out of bed without her vitamin D tablets. Your mother is shocked you don’t take a multivitamin. Your colleague believes if a little is a good thing, a lot must be better, so he takes way more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of various supplements.
There is a lot of good, a lot of bad and a whole lot of confusing information out there, making it tough to figure out which vitamins and supplements you should — and should not — be taking. Read more.
The first study to measure the full extent of age-related damage to all five senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell, and feel — found that 94 percent of all adults have at least one sensory deficit.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, found that 94 percent of people between the ages of 57 and 85 had at least one sensory deficit, 38 percent had two, and 28 percent had more than two.
Although some of the deficits were mild, 64 percent had at least one significant deficit, and 22 percent had at least two major deficits. Read more.
Older adults at risk of dementia may benefit from eating fish. A new report found that fish has brain-protecting benefits.
According to Reuters Health, older adults should not worry about having higher brain levels of mercury because of fish. Eating fish can help protect them against dementia, a benefit that certainly outweighs any potential harms from mercury. Read more.
The car of the future arrives, a silver pod with the face of a robot puppy.
It's not much bigger than a golf cart. The interior is a spacious but spartan affair: a thinly padded bench seat, a lone LCD screen where the instrument panel would be and, most strikingly, no steering wheel. Sitting down in what would be the driver's seat, I face a disconcerting void — an absence of controls.
... the advent of self-driving technology will also affect the nation's growing number of older drivers. There are more than 45 million people in the U.S. age 65 or older, a figure that stands to grow by another 27 million by 2030. Read more.
I never imagined my mother would have anything in common with actor and comedian Robin Williams. But when his widow revealed that he suffered from Lewy body dementia, she said, “Lewy body dementia killed Robin. It took his life.”
She linked this often-misdiagnosed and incurable form of dementia to his suicide, saying that he had been expected to live only three more years.
No one can truly predict anyone’s life expectancy. I believe my mother suffered from the same debilitating illness for at least 10 years.
A Misunderstood Disease
Lewy body dementia (LBD) affects 1.4 million people in the United States, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, ... Read more.
The generation known for rock ‘n roll, free love and flower power is moving closer to, or already in, retirement. The baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, will be between the ages of 51 and 70 in 2016.
If the generation that altered every stage of life now lives on a tight budget or a fixed income, then saving money matters more than ever. Here are 20 things that boomers can save money on in 2016. Read more.
Older adults who have negative feelings about aging also perform less well in tests of hearing and memory when the negative feelings appear to undermine confidence in their ability to hear and remember things.
This was the finding of the first study to look at associations among three variables in the same group of older adults: views on aging, self-perceptions about one's hearing and memory ability, and one's actual performance in those skills. Read more.
Whether you’re missing the grandkids or retirement has been more solitary than you expected, it’s natural to be lonely sometimes. In fact, it’s part of being human. But when you’re chronically lonely — when you feel socially isolated or disconnected for long periods — it can seriously damage your health.
Research shows that chronic loneliness leads to dementia, cognitive decline, immunity issues, and heart disease, among other problems. In fact, a 2015 study in Perspectives on Psychological Science revealed that chronic loneliness increases your chance of dying by a staggering 26 percent. Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. Although the symptoms of RA can be painful, there are many treatments and therapies to help you take your life back.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease causing pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. A healthy immune system protects the body by attacking foreign bacteria and viruses, but an autoimmune disease causes the body to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. Read more.
If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you will notice that as the condition worsens, so does your loved one’s ability to initiate or participate in conversations; understand and process information; and communicate wishes, wants and needs.
Behavior changes, such as forgetfulness and confusion, mood swings, frustration or anger are red flags that they have reached the “moderate” stage of dementia. Read more.
Most people have some kind of lifestyle vision for retirement. Unfortunately, without proper planning their dreams won’t always become a reality as they enter the encore time of their lives, said Michael Bivona, a certified public accountant who retired almost 20 years ago. Read more.
Heads-up, seniors. For those on Medicare, this month can be critical.
It’s the official start of a once-a-year window when seniors can switch their Part C (hospital/medical care) and Part D (prescription drug) plans. Those who ignore the open enrollment season, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, could wind up paying hundreds of dollars in unnecessary prescription drug charges next year, especially as some drug prices have soared in recent months, say Medicare experts. Read more.
Doctors share inside information on what it’s really like to get joint replacement surgery. Read more.
Fifty years ago, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) played a critical role in the enactment of the Older Americans Act (OAA), helping to establish a national network to support seniors’ desire to live with health and security in their own communities.
Yesterday, NCOA continued that advocacy—for today’s seniors and future generations—by actively participating in the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA). Read more.
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, millions of Americans 65 and over face a double whammy: Their income is fixed, and their spending on food is consuming a larger portion of their budget.
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, millions of Americans 65 and over face a double whammy: Their income is fixed, and their spending on food is consuming a larger portion of their budget. Read more.
Research published in Activities, Adaption & Aging calls for increased understanding about older adults, the relationship between pet ownership and health, and the current barriers which limit older adults' chances to own a pet. The study, Fostering the Human-Animal Bond for Older Adults, goes into detail about physical and financial risks for older adult pet ownership and how it can be diminished.
Medical problems that arise with older adults, such as physical illness and emotional issues, have the potential to be mitigated by companionship of pets because it reduces social isolation and enhances physical activity. Read more.
Despite the fact that millions of Americans are facing elder care challenges and struggles, there are not a lot of supportive and informative resources that can prepare families for what to expect.
Getting access to information, demystifying the role of elder care, and learning what is ahead can lighten the load for those just beginning their journey. As a longtime elder law attorney in California and author of The ElderCare Ready Book, I know that families can learn not to fear the elder care role, but just be ready for it. Read more.
Recently, one of my good friends observed her neighbor sitting quietly on a chair in her front yard. As a woman who is normally milling around her yard tending to her flowers, it was unusual to see her there.
“I’m lonely,” she replied when asked how things were going.
Turns out, one of her dear friends died last week, and the loss left the neighbor questioning the value of her own day-to-day life. Read more.
A husband's story on the need to take alarming symptoms seriously
For most boomers, a memory lapse can be an annoyance. For my wife, Sue, it was a lifesaver.
One late December afternoon, Sue left our New York City apartment for an exercise class. She returned a little over an hour later, unable to remember how she arrived home.
Then things got really strange. Read more.
The new law will raise Medicare premiums, but could improve care
You may have read that President Obama just signed into law a Congressional fix to a Medicare formula that threatens to slash payments to doctors every year. What you may not have seen is how this legislation will affect people 65 and older who are on Medicare. I’ll explain how below.
First, a brief explanation about the Medicare fix. Read more.
Today’s 75-year-olds are cognitively fitter and happier than the 75-year-olds of 20 years ago
Older adults today show higher levels of cognitive functioning and well-being than older adults of the same age 20 years ago. This has been found in a collaborative study among several research institutions in Berlin, including the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB), and the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). The result will be published in the scientific journal “Psychology and Aging”.
For all of those who are worrying about getting old, here is some good news... Read more.
Benefits that will help you afford the life you want.
Every year, millions of Americans enter retirement with the hope that they’ll enjoy a life of quiet leisure thanks to their hard-earned nest eggs. However, as we age, we face new, costly challenges in nearly every facet of life, including health, housing, transportation and even our everyday routines.
Fortunately, the U.S. government has developed or spawned several programs that can let you and your parents afford a life of independence and dignity by receiving specialized financial assistance. Read more.
Meditating may help older adults sleep better, a new study suggests.
The study involved about 50 adults in Los Angeles ages 55 and older who had trouble sleeping, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or who felt sleepy during the day. Participants were randomly assigned to complete either a mindfulness meditation program — in which people learn to better pay attention to what they are feeling physically and mentally from moment to moment — or a sleep education program that taught the participants how to develop better sleep habits. Read more.
In an interview of 600 seniors aged 65 and older, 33 percent had trips to the hospital and ER caused by falls and other accidents at the home. Problems with eyesight and/or hearing can increase the risk of accidents in the home.
Driving is one of the most sensitive of senior issues. But there’s good news and support for older adults who want to extend their days behind the wheel.
Is your 81-year-old father still in relatively good health and driving? However you are becoming concerned about his safety. You want him to be able to drive as long as possible. How can you tell if he’s still a safe driver? And, are there ways to help improve his driving skills? What’s more, he wants to buy a new car, and you are not sure that is a good idea. Read more.
The Peace Corps and Baby Boomers have something in common: age. The Peace Corp will celebrate its 54thanniversary in March this year. Today, about 7% of the program’s volunteers are 50 or older.
“I’d like it to be closer to 15 percent” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “The Peace Corps has always been open to volunteers of all ages, but we’ve made a much more purposeful effort to recruit older volunteers.” Four generations of Director Hessler-Radelet’s family have served as volunteers in the Peace Corps. Read more.
These strategies will ease your transition into retirement.
Retirement is a major life transition that requires changes to your income and lifestyle. Here are the final preparations you should be making if you plan to retire in 2015. Read more.
A new study finds ‘a strong relationship’ between people's self-perceived age and their cardiovascular health.
It's all in your mind.
Older people who reported feeling younger had a far lower death rate than those who said they felt older, according to a new study by two researchers from University College London. The pair also found “a strong relationship” between a person’s self-perceived age and his or her cardiovascular health: those with worse hearts, in other words, tended to feel older. Read more.
Gathering this information now will save you trouble and anxiety later
There’s no real training program for family caregivers, but there are things you can do to make it easier when the time comes that you need to step in to help your parents.
November, which is National Family Caregiver Month, is a good time to go through what they are. Read more.
Timely advice if one shows up in your mailbox soon
Beginning this month, many workers will get Social Security benefit estimate statements in their mailboxes for the first time since 2011. But to get the most out of them, you need to know how to read them, fix mistakes in them and plot your retirement plans around them.
If you do receive one of these statements from the Social Security Administration, don’t toss it or file it away unread. “It’s probably the most crucial financial planning document for every American. Read more.
Group Holds Special Meeting to Discuss, Vote on Pneumococcal Vaccines
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) held a special meeting(www.cdc.gov) Aug. 13 to discuss and vote on the use of pneumococcal vaccines in older adults. The meeting concluded with the committee recommending routine immunization with 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) for adults 65 or older. Read more.
It's long been known that the older you get, the less you sleep. There are many proposed reasons for why this happens, and they include new medications, psychological distress, retirement or simply the theory that the elderly need less sleep.
But a new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and University of Toronto researchers offers, for the first time, a neurological reason for the phenomenon: namely, that a specific cluster of neurons associated with regulating sleep patterns, called the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus, may slowly die off as you get older. Read more.
The following yoga practices teach proper body alignment and breathing techniques for relaxation.
This breathing technique is one of nature’s best anti-stress medicines. Read more.
Practicing hatha yoga three times a week for eight weeks improved sedentary older adults' performance on cognitive tasks that are relevant to everyday life, researchers report. Read more.
Why do musical memories linger long after other memories have faded? That question is at the heart of a new documentary, Alive Inside, which looks at the effects of music on people living with Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementias. Read more.
The decision to help an aging adult move out of a current home is a complex one -- both emotionally and practically. Above all, you want the person to be safe and well. How can you all feel more confident about whether circumstances suggest that your loved one should no longer be living alone? Read more.
New research finds a hidden benefit in caring for grandkids
Grandmothering, but not too much grandmothering, may be good for your brain, new research suggests.
Older adults with large social networks and those who report high levels of participation in social activities, such as volunteer work and visiting friends, have sharper brains and keep them that way longer than their peers who are less engaged and less active, Australian scientists wrote recently in the journal Menopause. But, they said, researchers have overlooked caring for grandchildren as a social activity that could help stave off a decline in thinking ability and memory. Read more.
Explaining the Internet to people who have never used it before can be tricky business, but for one group of teens, they're up for the challenge.
In the touching -- and at times hilarious -- documentary trailer for "Cyber-Seniors," senior citizens are featured getting their first glimpse of the World Wide Web with the help of some experts.
Inspired by their grandparents' technology transformation after learning about Skype and Facebook, sisters Macaulee and Kascha Cassaday wanted to help close the generational gap by teaching other seniors about the Internet through a teen mentoring program.
"Yes, I've heard of [YouTube] but I have no clue what it means," says one senior to her teen mentor. View video.
Every "decade" birthday is big, but turning 60 somehow feels... bigger. Checking off these goals will make the transition feel a whole lot smoother.
Many baby boomers already know a thing or two about marriage and are choosing not to tie the knot on their relationships — often because of money.
Census Bureau data show adults older than 50 are among the fastest growing segment of unmarried couples in the U.S.
Financial advisers say concerns about debt, benefits, taxes and cash flow are often the primary reasons they decide not to walk down the aisle.
"The biggest considerations couples have in deciding whether or not to remarry ... Read more.
Every "decade" birthday is big, but turning 60 somehow feels... bigger. Checking off these goals will make the transition feel a whole lot smoother.
What is it about turning 60 that’s feels so different from all other ages? "It’s a time of major transition," says Damon Raskin, M.D., a gerontologist and anti-aging specialist. ”It’s a time when things often start falling apart, both physically and emotionally.” But, there’s also good news. If you use your 50s to prepare for the big 6-0, you’ll make the transition much more easily. Better news, if you’re already over 60, embracing these activities will only make your life better. Granted, it’ll take some effort on your part, but the pay-off will be huge.
Read on for 10 things that should be on your bucket list. Read more.
Having friends doesn't just help with loneliness. It may also improve your health. See how staying in touch might add years to your life.
Just like a balanced diet and exercise, an active social life is an important part of healthy living. Studies show that people who have good social networks may live longer — and better. So, how socially connected you are now may help determine how healthy and independent you will be in the future. Read more.
The economy might be on the mend, but that doesn’t mean baby boomers’ security in being able to retire is also on the mend.
Earlier this month, the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) released its fourth annual report on the retirement preparedness of boomers, called “Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2014.” The report shows only 35%of boomers says they’re confident in their efforts to prepare financially for retirement, a drop from the 44% who felt that way in 2011.
Iyengar makes it possible for people with a variety of ailments to practice and heal.
Katherine Beattie was skeptical about her first Iyengar yoga class two years ago. She wondered how she would ever get into the positions. A hip replacement, knee surgery and osteoarthritis in her hands and wrists left her with chronic pain and discomfort.
"I had never experienced anything like it before," says Beattie, 66, director of a Los Angeles program for at-risk teens. "I never knew yoga could be like that. The props made all the difference." Read more.
Jump 10 times, crush some cans and other tips to boost bone density.
Bone building reaches a peak during adolescence but then slows after age 25. In addition to this natural bone loss, we’re less likely to perform high-impact, bone-stimulating exercises (such as jumping) after age 50. This adds up to an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone breaks and fractures.
Fortunately, you can build stronger bones at any age. Read more.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and a good time to learn more about colorectal cancer – cancer of the colon and rectum – and how it can be prevented or treated.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among men and women. This year, about 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed, and 56,000 people will die from the disease. Read More
Contrary to popular belief, getting older is not synonymous with declining health.
You've probably heard a thousand times that as you age, your body and mind begin to "go" — you can no longer move the way you used to and your health deteriorates. But those "facts" couldn't be further from the truth. Aging doesn't have to mean decline, in fact, just the opposite. Below are six myths and why each is not true. Read more.
The beginning of a new year prompts many of us to start thinking about a personal-finance tuneup, but if you’re 50 or older — a time when those vague retirement dreams are starting to coalesce into a hoped-for reality — it’s crucial to take time to assess your finances. Read More
How many times have you ignored achy joints or feelings of fatigue, assuming it's all part of getting older? If you're like most people in midlife, probably too often. But sometimes symptoms we pass off as age-related may actually be signs of something more, something that could be addressed with treatment. Read more.
"Smarter Brains," which reports on the latest research and discoveries in neuroscience and how we can apply them to our daily lives to boost our brain power at any age. Read more.
The digital technology revolution is intersecting with the realities of an aging society. It's not clear yet which, if any, products or services will emerge as "killer apps" for seniors, their families and their caregivers. But at least some of the flood of tech products, software and related apps are moving toward commercial development, and outlines of an industry are taking shape.
One powerful focal point of these developments is "aging in place". Read more.
A new survey looks at the way we feel about our role in our parents' lives as they age. Read more.