agebuzz weekly

March 30th, 2017

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

At A Loss: Concern About Losing Your Sense Of Smell: It's not uncommon for your sense of smell to diminish a bit as you age. In fact, there are estimates that 7 out of 10 older people develop anosmia, which is an impaired sense of smell. Does this matter? Well, in addition to the annoyance and effect this may have on your sense of taste, it could be an indication of something more serious happening. According to a new study published in theJournal of the American Geriatrics Society, loss of smell could indicate problems with the brain. In fact, researchers in Sweden found an association between middle-aged people with a poor sense of smell and an increased risk of dying within the next 10 years.  In essence, the loss of smell was a "canary in the coal mine" indicator. It should also be a trigger to get you to a doctor for further evaluation. Read more about this study Here.  And read about additional research that connects the loss of smell with social isolation in older womenHere.

Watch Out: New Videos For Family Caregivers: Anyone who's been a family caregiver quickly comes to realize that the tasks of the job are often more technical or demanding than the skill set of the caregiver. It's not uncommon for a family caregiver to be asked to provide help that requires real training and practice, such as giving injections, cleaning catheters or managing medications. It can be daunting and dispiriting to be asked to undertake a task for which you have no training. Luckily, a new national alliance of groups, including AARP, The United Hospital Fund and the Family Caregiver Alliance have come together to produce training videos to help family caregivers with these hands-on tasks.  The new Home Alone Alliance has so far put out 10 training videos, with the expectation that another 10 will be out by the end of the year. The videos are available in English and Spanish, and the goal is to disseminate their availability as widely as possible. So get your remote ready, and take a look at this Kaiser Health News article Here.

Pushing Boundaries: Research Into Life Extension: The stuff of science fiction got a little closer to reality last week, as two different research studies presented new ideas for combatting the aging process. Scientists from the University of New South Wales identified a critical step in the molecular process that allows cells to repair damaged DNA, which happens due to aging or radiation exposure. Mouse trials have been so positive that human trials are expected to start later this year at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. You can read about this study Here. And in another study, scientists fromErasmus University in Rotterdam found a peptide that is able to target senescent cells, which are the damaged cells accumulating in your organs and tissues, causing inflammation and age-related disease. This new technique is able to get rid of these senescent cells without harming healthy cells or causing side effects, a huge scientific advance. Read about this study Here. Both of these studies herald a new era in the effort to extend the human lifespan. And, in case you didn't know, this is an area of serious interest to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: you can read about their hot pursuit of immortality in this week'sNew Yorker magazine Here.

Know Your Stuff: How To Get Rid Of A Lifetime's Possessions: Most of us have been on one side of this equation or the other: either we've decided it's time to downsize or we're helping someone else do the same...or perhaps even cleaning out a home after a loved one has passed. The question that quickly arises: what to do with all the stuff? Some items may have monetary value, others perhaps just have sentimental value. Developing a plan of attack can be an overwhelming process. Over at Next Avenue, you can read some valuable advice about sorting through items, figuring out values and determining the best steps to clearing out possessions. In fact, there's even an organization called the American Society of Estate Liquidators that can link you with local businesses to help you through this process.  So, whether you're about to start the sorting and sifting, or you've decided this may be a second career opportunity for you, check out the suggestions for clearing out the clutter Here.

Senior Service: Opportunities For Intergenerational Connection: There aren't many places in today's environment where young and old come together, especially for a common purpose. Yet with the burgeoning growth of our senior population, and the challenges facing millennials, especially in the job market, it feels like a natural opportunity to bring these communities together for a win-win collaboration. Trent Stamp, the CEO of The Eisner Foundation, recently wrote an opinion piece inWashington Monthly calling for the engagement of seniors in a new role of national service, and so have the founders of Lustre. And writer Robert Goldfarb, 86, described in The New York Times his personal experience of mentoring young veterans who are trying to return to the civilian workforce. Coaching them on how best to present themselves to potential employees, Goldfarb also reaped his own reward: finding meaning and purpose at a late stage in life. Could it be that in today's crazy world, one way to bridge the divide is through intergenerational connection? Find out more Here.

In Style: Fashionable Options For Hospital Garb: Being a hospital patient can be a disorienting and distressing experience. Routines are upended, familiarity is absent and even your clothes are missing.  In fact, for many of us, our clothing plays an essential role in our unique identity. Being without our usual clothes, or being forced into uncomfortable hospital gowns, can add to the physical and emotional distress of illness, even leading to the loss of dignity or unwillingness to get out of bed. Nikla Lancksweert, the co-founder of INGA Wellbeing, saw this phenomenon first hand as she watched her mother suffer during hospitalization for cancer. She determined there must be a better way: clothing that allows you to maintain a sense of style and individuality while permitting the necessary intrusion of medical devices or nursing care essential in a medical setting. Premiering on the web just last month, the INGA Wellbeing website has clothing for men and women, and ships worldwide. Listen to an NPR interview with Nikla Lancksweert Here and view the options for dressing well while feeling unwell Here.

THE LAST WORD: “I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright