agebuzz weekly

June 7th, 2018

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

Hurry Up: Your Walking Pace May Extend Your Life: We all know that a leisurely stroll outside can be an enjoyable way to spend your time. But it turns out if you pick up the pace to walk more briskly, you may not only experience the pleasure of the outdoors but you may also be extending the length of your life. In a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, lead researcher Emmanuel Stamatakis found an association between the pace of walking and lowering the risk of premature death. And the benefits seemed more pronounced in older age groups. Read more about this study Here. And for some tips about how to increase the speed of your walking, strap on your sneakers and watch the video Here. Finally, part of the joy of walking includes the social aspect you may find from conversations with fellow walkers. But for many of us, finding a walking companion is no easy task. EnterThe People Walker, a new business that's started up in LA, to provide companionship for those who walk alone. Read more about this new walking service Here.

How Much Does It Cost? Start Asking Questions About Your Medications: For those of us lucky enough to have insurance coverage for medication costs, we assume that no matter what our co-pay, we must be saving money over the "actual" cost of the medications. But it turns out that may not be a correct assumption. Reporter Susan Jaffe, in a post from Kaiser Health News recently reported on the phenomenon of pharmacist gag rules, which prohibit pharmacists from revealing to patients what the cash cost of a medication is unless the patient asks. In fact, seniors on Medicare may be able to get quite a few dollars in savings if they ask their pharmacist for the cash price of their medications, rather than the Medicare co-pay they usually pay. In a recent letter in JAMA, researchers found that the co-pay can be higher than the cash price nearly 25% of the time. So next time you're at the pharmacy, don't be afraid to speak up. And for more ideas about saving money on your medications, take a look at this Consumer Reports piece.

 

Scope It Out: Recommended Revisions For Colon Cancer Screening: Oh, the joys of diagnostic medical tests! Anyone who's ever had a colonoscopy surely knows that it's no walk in the park. From the prep to the test, you understand why there are more pleasant ways to spend your time. Yet, there's no denying the value of screening tests for colon and rectal cancer, and no doubt thousands of us are alive today because these tests revealed problems before they became life-threatening. For a comprehensive review of the process and procedures for colon and rectal cancer screening, Read Here.

In fact, these screenings have been so effective that the American Cancer Society has just come out with newly revised guidelines recommending such screenings begin at age 45 rather than the standard recommendation of age 50. So grab some prune juice and read more Here. However, it's important to realize that there are some risks involved in colonoscopies, especially the risk of infection. And a newly published study in the BMJ Journal Gutdescribes the higher than anticipated levels of bacterial infection following colonoscopies and endoscopies in outpatient ambulatory surgery centers. Apparently, it really does matter where you get scoped. So before you swallow the syrup, take a look at the infection statistics Here.

Time Flies: Make Time For Fun As You Age: The list of worries as you get older can be endless: between health, money and family concerns, it's easy to let anxiety and fear overwhelm you. But as a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (paywall) reminds us, it's critically important to make sure you allow for some fun in your life. We already know the cognitive benefits of staying mentally engaged and socially involved as you age. So making sure to include some pleasurable activities in your daily life will not only be enjoyable but will also work to ensure continued good health. Need some suggestions for finding fun activities (especially those that get you off the couch and moving)? Take a look at these ideas Here and Here. Or interested in a new sport? You may not know about the growing devotion that many seniors have forpickleball. Take a look at this brief video extolling the enticement of pickleballHere. Finally, sometimes fun can be found with groups rather than flying solo. For some suggestions on how to find friends as you get older, look at the suggestions Here.

Remote Control: Technology To Assist Long Distance CaregivingAs the trend to "age-in-place" continues, and many seniors determine that moving to a facility or retirement community is not for them, there remains the challenge of ensuring that supports are in place for community-dwelling seniors, especially as physical or cognitive impairments mount and family caregivers are far away. New research out of the University of Surrey underscores what many have already found: that new home-based sensors and technologies can allow remote monitoring of older individuals, even those with dementia, so that they can continue residing independently in their homes. Read more about this new research Here. In fact, there is a website specifically devoted to this phenomenon- Aging In Place Technology Watch- that highlights innovative products to help seniors continue living in their homes. Take a look at this recent post discussing four types of technology that can remotely monitor caregiving Here. What's less clear, however, is whether older individuals gladly accept this kind of remote monitoring. There is no doubt that the privacy of the senior takes a back seat to all of the sensors and monitors that, while well-intentioned, can capture every move someone makes in their home. Is the peace of mind that long-distance caregivers may feel worth the invasion of privacy? For an interesting (and humorous) take on this trade-off, check-out the comments of Robert Caro writing in Tech-Enhanced Life, and make sure to watch the accompanying video, Here.

Stand Guard: Comedian John Oliver Schools Us On Senior Guardianships: In case you missed it, last fall The New Yorker published a groundbreaking piece on the pitfalls and dangers of guardianship appointments for unsuspecting seniors. Without being aware, vulnerable seniors can have a court-appointed legal guardian in place who may steal their assets and take away their rights. It's a scary predicament and happens more frequently than you realize, especially in states where the quality of judges appointing guardians, and the integrity of the appointed guardians, is less than professional. For a comprehensive overview of the legal parameters and protections in place for state-appointed legal guardians of seniors, take a look Here.

This past week, comedian John Oliver, on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, did his own humorous take on this serious problem, complete with language we can't repeat here, and references you might not always understand. But what you will understand, even while laughing, are the serious problems in our nation's system of appointing legal guardians for impaired seniors. So be prepared to laugh, and learn, by watching John Oliver and his celebrity helpers,Here.

THE LAST WORD: “May you live as long as you want and not want as long as you live." Tom Hanks