agebuzz weekly

October 27th, 2016

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

Word Of Mouth: Dismal Dental Care For Impoverished Seniors: No one enjoys going to the dentist, but there's no dispute that regular dental care is essential for good health and well being.  Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to pain, poor nutrition, social isolation and even medical problems involving your heart. So it makes little sense that our current insurance systems for seniors provide little if any coverage for dental care. Traditional Medicare provides no dental coverage. Medicare Advantage plans may lure you in with the promise of dental insurance but in fact they are usually grossly inadequate. Medicaid recipients can get coverage in a dental emergency, but even that is not universal in all states. Given the significant costs often involved with dental procedures, this means that all too many seniors go without care- which can dramatically affect quality of life and ends up costing our health care system more in the long run. Isn't it time to demand better dental coverage for our growing senior population? To find out more, open wide and Read Here.

In The End: A Way To Control The End Of Your Life: For many of us, it's our worst nightmare: to be desperately ill with no end in sight and no way to relieve the suffering. While a few states are wrestling with the concept of physician-assisted death, that involves a complex legal system of checks and balances to ensure that only those who fully understand the implications of what they seek can gain access. And even so, that is unavailable to most people at the end of their lives. Is there another option? There is, but it requires strength of will and a deep resolve, not to mention expert guidance to avoid further distress: it's called VSED, or Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking. To find out more about this controversial technique, Read Here. And another source of comfort and help? The newly emerging concept of a Death Doula, a person trained to help patients and their families transition through the end of life. Read more about Death Doulas here.

Walk Down Memory Lane: Exercise To Lessen Memory Loss: Yet another reason, if you needed one, to exercise: A new, albeit preliminary, study suggests that regular aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk, may benefit those with memory problems.  Certain non-Alzheimer's dementias involve narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain and in those cases, aerobic exercise seems to lessen the impact of memory loss. While this is an early study, we know clearly that regular exercise provides significant heart health and blood pressure benefits, which can lessen the risk for mental decline. So commit this advice to memory, and Read Here.

Home Work: The Fragile State Of Home Health Workers: Safe, reliable home care is often a challenge to put in place, and perhaps the weakest link in the chain is the home care worker. She (the majority of such providers are women) is usually poorly paid, with few benefits and an often uncertain work schedule. It's a tough way to make a living.  The combination of ever increasing demand for such workers and the 50% yearly turnover rate in the industry could lead to disaster in coming years, as more and more patients and families look to avoid institutions and age in the community but need home care assistance to do so. In some states, higher minimum wages and a union workforce is changing the situation- and that's a win-win for workers and patients. Because in order for home care to work, we need a trained and loyal workforce. To understand the complexities of this dynamic, Read Here.

Dream Weavers: Making Dreams Come True For Seniors: You've probably heard of the organization Make-A-Wish Foundation, which provides seriously ill children with opportunities to experience events or activities that would otherwise be unattainable for them. For many seniors, especially those living in long term care facilities, there are also wished-for-dreams, but little way to fulfill them. One organization, however, is doing its best: Second Wind Dreams is a not-for-profit that works with hundreds of facilities in the US and across the world to make senior dreams a reality. By hosting on-line fundraisers and securing donations, Second Wind provides fun and fantasy fulfillment for seniors who would otherwise be unable to experience such events.  Moreover, through its Virtual Dementia Tours, Second Wind provides training and sensory experience for professional and family caregivers, so that they can better understand the limitations and realities of the dementia patients for whom they care. To find out more about this dream team, Read Here.

State Of The Art: Emerging Older Artists: Few artists find the acclaim and acceptance of a Picasso or Koons during their professional lives. Many toil away in anonymity and survive with outside income and a passion that drives them even without mainstream success.  If they're lucky, like Carmen Herrera, for example, their talent and vision are eventually recognized, even if later in their lives. For three artists currently over 80, the light has finally begun to shine on them. The popular art website Artspace has just come out with a list of three international artists who, because of their gender, geography or some other combination of forces, have previously been overlooked by the art world. To find out about these "late bloomers," and perhaps be among their first collectors, Read Here.

THE LAST WORD: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in." Greek Proverb