agebuzz weekly

November 16th, 2017

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

Gatecrasher: Bill Gates Goes All In On Alzheimer's Research: You know him as one of the founders of Microsoft and now one of the richest, and most philanthropic, men in the world. And he's just announced his investment of $50 million of his personal wealth toward a new venture capital investment fund devoted to dementia research. Bill Gates announced on his own website that for the first time, he's devoting considerable money for research into a non-communicable disease, i.e., Alzheimer's. Citing both humanitarian and economic reasons, including personal family history, Gates describes the challenges facing Alzheimer's researchers, including the need for better understanding of the biology of the disease, better diagnostic tests, and the need to improve research into novel theories, with quicker clinical trials and better patient recruitment. In a conversation with CNN's Sanjay Gupta, Gates describes the devastation that Alzheimer's causes and the escalating toll this will take on families and countries if effective treatments are not discovered. Watch the CNN interviewHere and read more about this new Dementia Discovery Investment Fund Here.

For Those Who Care: November Is National Family Caregivers Month: Those of you caring for aging loved ones need no reminder- but for the rest of us, it's important to acknowledge the reality that family caregiving is a very tough job, and family caregivers need help and support. In recognition, November has been declared National Family Caregiver Month, and the "theme" of this year's recognition is the "round the clock," non-stop nature of caregiving. Even if you're not personally delivering hands-on care, as a family caregiver you know the oversight and responsibilities can be all-consuming. For those of you in need of some advice and resources, take a look at this Family Caregiver Toolbox Here. And while it seems as though there's no national policy in place to help family caregivers, there are some people in Washington who understand your plight. Next Avenue recently published a piece highlighting members of Congress who have also been family caregivers and know first hand the challenges and difficulties- and the need for better policies and provisions from DC. Take a look at the article Here. Finally, even experts in aging and end-of-life care struggle with family caregiving. Next Avenue also just published an interview with Melanie Merriman, a hospice consultant with a new book, Holding The Net: Caring For My Mother On The Tightrope Of Aging. Merriman describes the difficulties she encountered with the daunting task of caring for her mother over many years of decline. Even for this expert, it was an all too familiar tale of caregiver challenges. Read the interview with Merriman Here.

An Open Book: Become A Member Of This New Virtual Book Club: Maybe you love to read but haven't had the time or inclination to join a reading group. Or, maybe you're already in a book group but your group's in need of a little novelty or challenge. Well, best-selling author and novelist Jane Green has news for you. She's starting the Jane Green Book Club, which you can join as a solo, or all members of your current group can join in, from the comfort of your own couch. Her goal with this "virtual" book group is not only to create conversation around a shared story but to give you access to her many author friends who will join in the discussion via Facebook Live. And her first session is tonight, November 16th, at 8:00 pm EST with author Tom Perrotta, who will be discussing his most recent book, Mrs. Fletcher. Going forward, this group will read both fiction and non-fiction, and there is even a plan to create a "book club in a box" so that each month you'll get sent all you need to host a wonderful book group gathering. To learn more about Jane Green, Click Here. And if your own book group is searching for inspiration, check out this list of must-read newly published novels Here.

Diet Advice: What Should You Add To Your Healthy Aging Diet: As if you needed further evidence: more research was just published out of England that further substantiates what we already know. Improving the quality of your diet, with vegetables, fruits and whole grains, can have a beneficial effect on your strength and physical well being, even if you start on this path later in life. So, no excuses- you're never too old to improve your food intake. Read about the study Here. And what healthy additions might you want to include in your diet? Seems like mushrooms may need to become a food of choice for healthy aging. A new study out of Pennsylvania has found that mushrooms, especially porcini mushrooms, contain two anti-oxidants that are considered highly beneficial to stave off some of the negatives of aging. Check out this new research, and consider some mushroom toppings on your next meal, Here. Finally, whole grains- the mantra of every nutritional expert. But what exactly does that mean? There are whole grains, there are sproutedwhole grains... How do you know what's best? The Harvard Health Blogbreaks it down for you.. So crank up the toaster and check out their adviceHere.

Doctors' Orders: Updates From The Front Lines Of Advance Care Planning: No matter how often you're told that planning in advance for serious illness is essential, many of us still refuse to fill out forms or partake in conversations. And as our society continues to age, such advance care planning just becomes more important, as the technological options for treatment, and the increasing aging of our population, collide. Recently, Kaiser Health News hosted a comprehensive video conversation on Facebook Livewith some of the leading experts on advance care planning, to help sort through the clinical, legal and ethical issues that continue to challenge end-of-life care and planning. Take a look at what the experts have to say Here (alert-the conversation starts about 10 minutes into the video). And new options seem to be arising in this arena. For example, one provocative option that has taken hold in some settings is the decision to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED) as a way to not prolong the inevitable in the face of advanced serious illness. Check out this new JAMA article on this process Here. Finally, in the state of Washington, new controversial guidelines have been created to allow patients, in advance of incapacitating dementia, to assert they do not want spoon feeding should they refuse it once dementia takes hold. Though not widely utilized right now, these guidelines for advance refusal of spoon feeding could be the next explosive order in the advance care planning arsenal. Take a look at these new guidelines Here.

Bold And Brave: A New Documentary About Grace Jones: While she's not a typical grandmother, 69-year-old Grace Jones has never tried to be typical in her life- whether in the worlds of modeling, acting or singing. This controversial performer, who bent the rules and played with gender well before the likes of Madonna or Lady Gaga, is the subject of a new documentary which recently premiered in Toronto. Entitled Bloodlight and Bami, the film shines a light on the life and history of this still performing and thrilling icon. And if the movie excites you and you want to follow her continued career more closely, check out the Grace Jones official Facebook page Here. Or, if you'd rather take a look at other exciting documentaries, grab some popcorn and check out Vogue's new list of the 61 best documentaries of all time Here.

THE LAST WORD: “In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid to change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways." Edith Wharton