agebuzz weekly

June 29th, 2017

Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:

Take Pains To Ask: Is This The Right Pain Medication For Me: It's everywhere in the news: the surge in opioid addiction and the deadly consequences that can result. And seniors are not immune: data show that one in three Medicare beneficiaries received an opioid prescription in 2015. Regularagebuzz readers will remember that back in February, we highlighted a piece from Kaiser Health News about how a physician should think about prescribing opioids for older patients. Now, from the patient's perspective, consider this: what questions should you be asking your physician when you receive an opioid prescription for pain management? Besides concern about addiction, seniors can be seriously affected by opioid use, with memory, cognitive and balance problems all possible consequences. Often, patients don't even realize that their physician has prescribed an opioid. So, before you fill that new prescription, and swallow that pill, take a moment and Read Hereabout what the Harvard Women's Health Watch wants you to consider before using opioids.

Taking Care Of Business: Caregiving Daughters In The Workplace: For years, working women have struggled to juggle the demands of work with their role as mothers. And now, there's a newer ball thrown in the mix of that balancing act- the tension of being a caregiving daughter for aging parents while also working (and many working women deal with the caregiving demands of both children and aging parents.) Whether it's taking time off, tailoring work assignments or creating a more flexible work environment, so many working women are now forging ahead to create new models of what it means to be a caregiving daughter in the 21st century work world. Recently, Liz O'Donnell, the force behind the website Working Daughter, wrote a commentary urging working women who are also caregivers to mentor others in their workplace who are trying to manage this struggle. Read her personal words of wisdom Here and check out her website Working Daughter Here.

The Long Game: A Physician Learns The Secrets To Longevity: It sounds like a great travel novel: a middle-aged doctor, stressed and afflicted by multiple medical concerns, journeys to a remote village in China and learns that ancient Chinese practices may be the key to a long life in our modern world. But in fact, it's the true story of Dr. John Day, a once stressed-out, overweight cardiologist who visited Bapan, China and has now written a book chronicling his travels and revealing the lessons he learned from the many Chinese centenarians he encountered. Practically disease-free and living an active, outdoor life, the residents of what is known as "Longevity Village" have many lessons and much practical wisdom to share. Find out more about Dr. Day's travels Here (Wall Street Journal paywall) and get a sneak peak of his book, The Longevity Plan, coming out on July 4th, by Clicking Here.

Blazing A Trail: Hiking The Appalachian At Age 82: We all know that regular, sustained exercise is essential for healthy aging. But some of us take that advice to its extreme: For example, consider Dale Sanders. At age 82, he is currently on a 2190 mile journey to be the oldest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Given that only one in four hikers ever complete that goal, and that the average age of an Appalachian hiker is about 25 years old, Dale is certainly out of the ordinary. He's also a very competitive guy, having already become the oldest person to paddle the Mississippi from source to sea. Equipped with hiking poles and an alert system in case of trouble, Dale hopes to finish the journey by September, which means he would be out on the trail for about 6 months. Feel inspired? Read more about the man known as "Grey Beard" Here, and follow along his journey by going to his "Dale On The Trail" website Here

Commit This To Memory: Pills To Enhance Your Memory Are Likely Scams: Anyone who's had a "senior moment" can understand the allure of pills that promise memory enhancement or cognitive clarity. It's no fun feeling like a word is just out of reach or on the tip of your tongue. But these feelings also leave you vulnerable to scams and fraud. Manufacturers are preying on your concerns and will try to sell you pills or dietary supplements that claim to improve your memory or enhance your thinking, despite having no scientific data to back up their claims. It's a multi-billion dollar industry that far too many of us succumb to. And now that Silicon Valley money is pouring in to this industry, the allure of these "smart drugs" will be harder to resist. For seniors, especially those already on various medications, the risk is not only that these dietary supplements won't work but in fact, mixed with other drugs, they could do real harm. Read Here about the fantasy, and potential fraud, of this new class of drugs called nootropics.

Life And Death: Environmentally Friendly Funeral Practices: Perhaps this is a taboo topic, but to anyone concerned about the environment, it's important to understand how current funeral practices are resource wasteful and even toxic to the environment. And in response, there is now a growing ecologically-driven death care industry that looks to create new funeral rituals for families while re-thinking how to handle the bodies of the deceased. Katrina Spade is the architect at the forefront of this movement, and to better understand what drives her, and what the options are, watch her recent TED talk Here. She has also developed a program called The Urban Death Project that is piloting new ways to both honor the dead and respect the environment. For further details, check out its website Here.

THE LAST WORD: “The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting.The secret is not to look back." Norman Rockwell