First came “villages,” hyper-local groups created by aging neighbors to build a greater sense of community and help each other grow old at while remaining at home. These nonprofit groups arranged volunteer drivers, household helpers, social events and, in some cases, kept lists of reliable professionals, including plumbers, roofers, estate lawyers and even art appraisers. Now, 15 years and some 220 villages after the first one was born in Boston, a move is afoot to woo and welcome the active 50+ set. Most of these folks still work and don’t need rides to the supermarket or help raking leaves. They have no use for the names of pre-screened health aides or note-takers for medical visits. Their main goal is a richer social life with others similarly situated.
Religion consumes up to a tenth of economic productivity in some societies. So it must produce corresponding benefits. What are they? By religion, I mean any supernatural belief system that is invoked with the intention of altering the outcomes of an individual, or group. Clearly, there are many different types of religion ranging from the animism practiced in small-scale hunter-gatherer societies to the more grandiose efforts carried on in Egypt at the time of construction of the Great Pyramids.
When the nurse calls your elderly parent “sweetie,” she may be doing it to be kind, but using “elderspeak” like this actually can be quite harmful, according to research published in Oxford University’s The Gerontologist. Elderspeak is characterized by a slow speech rate, exaggerated intonation, elevated pitch and volume, the intentional use of simple vocabulary and reduced grammatical complexity, changes in affect, pronoun substitutions (“how are we today?” instead of “how are you?” for example), diminutives, and repetition. And the bottom line is: Elderly people, especially those with cognitive issues, really don’t respond well to it.
Acute shortages of home health aides and nursing assistants are cropping up across the country, threatening care for people with serious disabilities and vulnerable older adults. In Wisconsin, nursing homes have denied admission to thousands of patients over the past year because they lack essential staff, according to associations of facilities that provide long-term care. In New York, patients in rural areas have been injured, soiled themselves and gone without meals because paid caregivers aren’t available, according to testimony provided to state legislators in February.
It is estimated that, of the 38.2 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States, 29% receive assistance for health or functioning reasons. Of the 6.6 million older adults who receive assistance in the community, 66% rely exclusively on help from family, friends, or neighbors (family caregivers). These caregivers play a critical role in older adults’ health care, yet their personal well-being may suffer as a result of the demands they face.
Researchers used Add Health data to investigate the impact of volunteering on crime involvement later in life, as studies have shown that volunteerism or community service can increase levels of prosocial behavior, belonging, and happiness among adolescents. Participants reported their illegal behaviors, arrests, and convictions during Waves III and IV of Add Health.
For most of her career, Dorothy Keenan worked with older adults, eventually becoming the supervisor of senior services in Fairfax County, Va. But three years ago, as a retiree, she decided to focus on the younger generation, volunteering at elementary schools that primarily serve lower-income children.
Have you ever wished you could fast-forward your life so you could see if the decisions you’re making will lead to satisfaction and health in the future? In the world of scientific research, the closest you can get to that is by looking at the Harvard Study of Adult Development — a study that has tracked the lives of 724 men for 78 years, and one of the longest studies of adult life ever done.
When scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives. They got more than they wanted. After following the surviving Crimson men for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, researchers have collected a cornucopia of data on their physical and mental health.
Last year, baby boomers began turning 70 years old. Thanks to advances in modern medicine and growing awareness about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, it’s no surprise that these seniors are living longer, healthier lives. Questions about retirement and where they’ll spend their post-retirement years remain top-of-mind for them, however. Continuing care retirement communities, also known as life plan communities, are evolving to attract and fulfill the needs of active boomers.