Advocacy Groups

Fight Procrastination by Changing Your Social Security Direct Deposit Early!

Fight Procrastination by Changing Your Social Security Direct Deposit Early!

by Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

September 6 is National Fight Procrastination Day. With our busy lives, it is easy to fall into that cycle of constantly postponing some tasks because of other things we need to address right now. This may be true for you when it comes to changing your payment method for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, procrastinating on reporting changes can lead to delayed payments, resulting in undue hardship with bills and living expenses. Ultimately, it’s less hassle — and less stressful — if you report a direct deposit change as soon as it occurs. 

How can you change your direct deposit information with Social Security? The most convenient way is by creating a my Social Security account. Once you create your account, you can update your bank information without leaving the comfort of your home. Another way to change your direct deposit is by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make the change over the phone. If you prefer to speak to someone in-person, you can visit your local Social Security office with the necessary information.

What exactly will Social Security need to make the direct deposit change? Because we are committed to protecting your personal information, we need some form of identification to verify who you are. If you are online, we verified your identity when you initially created your my Social Security account. All you need to do is log in with your secure username and password to gain instant access to your information.

If you call Social Security, we will ask identifying questions to ensure we are speaking to the right person. If you visit the office, you will need to bring a driver’s license or some form of ID with you. Once we have identified you are the correct person and are authorized to make changes on the Social Security record, all we need is the routing number, account number, and type of account established. We don’t ask for a voided check, nor do we obtain verification from the bank. Therefore, you should be sure you are providing accurate information to us.

The day of the month you report the direct deposit change makes all the difference. Though the exact date varies each month, generally, you will need to report changes by the 15th to see the effect on the next check. When the 15th falls on the weekend or a holiday, the cutoff is usually the previous business day. For example, if you switched banks or have a new account in September, you will need to provide the new information to Social Security by September 14 to receive your next payment in the new account. If you don’t report this change to us until September 28, your next payment will go into the old account.

Because you may be unsure if your direct deposit change will affect your next payment, we highly recommend that you do not close the old bank account until you have seen your first Social Security deposit in the new bank account. That way, you can feel secure you will receive your benefits on time, regardless of when the change was reported to Social Security. Waiting until you see the deposit in your new account also gives you the extra peace of mind that we processed the change correctly.

The first step in fighting procrastination is increased awareness. Knowing how easy it is to report a direct deposit change, what information to report, and when, can encourage you to get in touch with Social Security at the earliest possible moment. In addition, making sure we know about a change early ensures we help make the transition as smooth as possible.

When you have to report changes, be sure to contact us or visit us online. Social Security always strives to put you in control by providing the best experience and service no matter where, when, or how you decide to do business with us.

For more information on Social Security visit:  www.socialsecurity.gov.

Categories: 
Advocacy Groups
City: 
Boston
States: 
Massachusetts

Staying Out Of The Closet In Old Age

Seniorhelpdesk.com Healthcare Blog by Anna Gorman and Kaiser Health News    http://khn.org

Cover photo:Partners Edwin Fisher, 86, and Patrick Mizelle, 64, moved to Rose Villa in Portland, Oregon, from Georgia about three years ago. Fisher and Mizelle worried residents of senior living communities in Georgia wouldn’t accept their gay lifestyle. (Anna Gorman/KHN)

 

Patrick Mizelle and Edwin Fisher, who have been together for 37 years, were planning to grow old in their home state of Georgia.

But visits to senior living communities left them worried that after decades of living openly, marching in pride parades and raising money for gay causes, they wouldn’t feel as free in their later years. Fisher said the places all seemed very “churchy,” and the couple worried about evangelical people leaving Bibles on their doorstep or not accepting them.

“I thought, ‘Have I come this far only to have to go back in the closet and pretend we are brothers?” said Mizelle. “We have always been out and we didn’t want to be stuck in a place where we couldn’t be.”

So three years ago, they moved across the country to Rose Villa, a hillside senior living complex just outside of Portland that actively reaches out to gay, lesbian and transgender seniors.

As openly gay and lesbian people age, they will increasingly rely on caregivers and move into assisted living communities and nursing homes. And while many rely on friends and partners, more are likely to be single and without adult children, according to researchpublished by the National Institutes of Health.

 

Rose Villa Senior Living, located just outside of Portland, Oregon, has made a point of welcoming LGBT elders. The community, which offers independent and assisted living, also has a nursing home on site. (Anna Gorman/KHN)

 

Rose Villa Senior Living, located just outside of Portland, Oregon, has made a point of welcoming LGBT elders. The community, which offers independent and assisted living, also has a nursing home on site. (Anna Gorman/KHN)

But long-term care facilities frequently lack trained staff and policies to discourage discrimination, advocates and doctors said. That can lead to painful decisions for seniors about whether to hide their sexual orientation or face possible harassment by fellow elderly residents or caregivers with traditional views on sexuality and marriage.

This KHN story also ran on The Oregonian. 

“It is a very serious challenge for many LGBT older people,” said Michael Adams, chief executive officer of SAGE, or Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders. “[They] really fought to create a world where people could be out and proud. … Now our LGBT pioneers are sharing residences with those who harbor the most bias against them.”

There are an estimated 1.5 million gay, lesbian and bisexual people over 65 living in the U.S. currently, and that number is expected to double by 2030, according to the organization, which runs a national resource center on LGBT aging.

 

Andrea Drury, 69, and Kate Birdsall, 73, got married in 2014 and moved to Rose Villa last year. Birdsall said she wanted to grow old together in an accepting environment. “We are just one of the couples who are here,” she said. “It just so happens we are both women.” (Anna Gorman/KHN)

Nationwide, advocacy groups are pushing to improve conditions and expand options for gay and lesbian seniors. Facilities for LGBT seniors have opened in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and elsewhere.

SAGE staff are also training providers at nursing homes and elsewhere to provide a more supportive environment for elderly gays and lesbians. That may mean asking different questions at intake, such as whether they have a partner rather than if they are married (even though they can get married, not all older couples have).  Or it could be a matter of educating other residents and offering activities specific to the LGBT community like gay-friendly movies or lectures.

Mizelle, 64, and Fisher, 86, said they found the support they hoped for at Rose Villa, where they live in a ground-floor cottage near the community garden and spend their time socializing with other residents, both gay and straight. They both exercise in the on-site gym and pool. Fisher bakes for a farmer’s market and Mizelle is participating in art classes. Fisher, who recently had a few small strokes, said they liked Rose Villa for another reason too: It provides in-home caregivers and has a nursing facility on site.

But many aging gays and lesbians — the generation that protested for gay rights at Stonewall, in state capitols and on the steps of the Supreme Court — may not be living in such welcoming environments. Only 20 percent of LGBT seniors in long-term care facilities said they were comfortable being open about their sexual orientation, according to a recent report by Justice in Aging, a national nonprofit legal advocacy organization.

 

Ed Dehag, 70, at the Triangle Square Apartments in Los Angeles, California, in August 2016. The retired floral designer moved into the building when his partner passed away and he couldn’t afford the rent on his old apartment by himself. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

 

Ed Dehag, 70, at the Triangle Square Apartments in Los Angeles in August 2016. The retired floral designer moved into the building when his partner passed away and he couldn’t afford the rent on his old apartment by himself. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

This summer, Lambda Legal, a gay advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the Glen Saint Andrew Living Community, a senior residential facility in Niles, Illinois, for failing to protect a disabled lesbian woman from harassment, discrimination and violence. The resident, 68-year-old Marsha Wetzel, moved into the complex in 2014 after her partner of 30 years had died of cancer. Soon after, residents called her names and even physically assaulted her, according to the lawsuit.

“I don’t feel safe in my own home,” Wetzel said in a phone interview. “I am scared constantly. … What I am doing is about getting justice. I don’t want other LGBT seniors to go through what I’ve gone through.”

Karen Loewy, Wetzel’s attorney at Lambda Legal, said senior living facilities are “totally ill-prepared” for this population of openly gay elders. She said she hopes the case will not only stop the discrimination against Wetzel but will start a national conversation.

“LGBT seniors have the right to age with dignity and free from discrimination, and we want senior living facilities to know … that they have an obligation to protect it,” Loewy said.

 

A photo of Dehag’s partner sits on the dresser in his bedroom. Dehag moved into one of the apartments shortly after his partner passed away. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

 

A photo of Dehag’s partner sits on the dresser in his bedroom. Dehag moved into one of the apartments shortly after his partner passed away. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Spencer Maus, spokesman for Glen Saint Andrew, declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit but said in an email that the community “does not tolerate discrimination of any kind or under any circumstances.”

Many elderly gay and lesbian people have difficulty finding housing at all, according to a 2010 report by several advocacy organizations in partnership with the federal American Society on Aging. Another report in 2014 by the Equal Rights Center, a national nonprofit civil rights organization, revealed that the application process was more difficult and housing more expensive for gay and lesbian seniors.

Recognizing the need for more affordable housing, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing organization opened Triangle Square Apartments in 2007. In the building, the first of its kind, residents can get health and social services through the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The wait for apartments with the biggest subsidies is about five years.

Residents display rainbow flags outside their doors throughout the building. On a recent morning, fliers about falls, mental health, movie nights and meningitis vaccines were posted on a bulletin board near the elevator.

 

Lee Marquardt, 74, at the Triangle Square Apartments in Los Angeles, California, in August 2016. Marquardt moved into the apartment building two years ago. She said she didn’t want to spend her elder years hiding her true self as she had as a younger woman. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

 

Lee Marquardt, 74, at the Triangle Square Apartments in Los Angeles, California, in August 2016. Marquardt moved into the apartment building two years ago. She said she didn’t want to spend her elder years hiding her true self as she had as a younger woman. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Ed Dehay, 80, moved into one of the apartments when they first opened. His partner had recently passed away and he couldn’t afford the rent on his old apartment by himself. “This was a godsend for me,” said Dehay, a retired floral designer who has covered every wall of his apartment with framed art.

His neighbor, 74-year-old Lee Marquardt, said she came out after raising three children, and didn’t want to spend her elder years hiding her true self as she had as a younger woman. Marquardt, a former truck driver who has high blood pressure and kidney disease, said she found a new family as soon as she moved into the apartment building two years ago.

“I was dishonest all the time before,” she said. “Now I am who I am and I don’t have to be quiet about it.”

Tanya Witt, resident services coordinator for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, said some of the Triangle Square residents are reluctant to have in-home caregivers — even in their current housing — because they worry they won’t be gay-friendly. Others say they won’t ever go into a nursing home, even if they have serious health needs.

 

Marquardt holds an old photograph of herself of when she was married. Marquardt, a former truck driver who has high blood pressure and kidney disease, came out after raising three children. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

 

Marquardt holds an old photograph of herself of when she was married. Marquardt, a former truck driver who has high blood pressure and kidney disease, came out after raising three children. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

In addition to facing common health problems as they age, gay and lesbian seniors also may be dealing with additional stressors, isolation or depression, said Alexia Torke, an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University.

“LGBT older adults have specific needs in their health care,” she said. And caregivers “need to be aware.”

Lesbian, gay and bisexual elders are at higher risk of mental health problems and disabilities and have higher rates of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. They are also more likely to delay health care, according to a report by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. In addition, older gay men are disproportionately affected by some chronic diseases, including hypertension, according to research out of UCLA.

Torke said LGBT seniors are not strangers to nursing homes. The difference now is that there is a growing recognition of the need to make the homes safe and welcoming for them, she said.

 

The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing organization opened Triangle Square Apartments in 2007. In the first of its kind building, residents can get health and social services through the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

 

The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing organization opened Triangle Square Apartments in 2007. In the first of its kind building, residents can get health and social services through the Los Angeles LGBT Center. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

At Rose Villa, CEO Vassar Byrd said she began working nearly a decade ago to make the community more open to gays after a lesbian couple told her that another facility had suggested they would be more welcome if they posed as sisters. Today, several gay, lesbian and transgender people — individually and in couples — are living there, Byrd said. Her staff has undergone training to help them better care for that population, and Byrd said she has spoken to other senior care providers around the nation about the issue.

Bill Cunitz and Lee Nolet, who began dating in 1976, didn’t come out as a couple until they moved to Rose Villa last year. Cunitz is an ordained minister and former head of a senior living community in Southern California. He said he didn’t want to be known as the “gay CEO.”

Nolet, a retired nurse and county health official, said it’s been “absolutely amazing” to find a place where they can be open— and where they know they will have accepting people who can take care of them if they get sick.

“After 40 years of being in the shadows … we introduce each other as partner,” Nolet said. “Everyone here knows we’re together.”

KHN’s coverage of aging and long-term care issues is supported by The SCAN Foundation. KHN’s coverage in California is funded in part by Blue Shield of California Foundation.

 

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at: http://khn.org

Categories: 
Advocacy Groups
City: 
Portland
States: 
Oregon

Like Hunger Or Thirst, Loneliness In Seniors Can Be Eased

Seniorhelpdesk.com Healthcare Blog by Judith Graham and Kaiser Health News    http://khn.org  

 

It’s widely believed that older age is darkened by persistent loneliness. But a considerable body of research confirms this isn’t the case.

In fact, loneliness is the exception rather than the rule in later life. And when it occurs, it can be alleviated: It’s a mutable psychological state.

Only 30 percent of older adults feel lonely fairly frequently, according to data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, the most definitive study of seniors’ social circumstances and their health in the U.S.

The remaining 70 percent have enough fulfilling interactions with other people to meet their fundamental social and emotional needs

“If anything, the intensity of loneliness decreases from young adulthood through middle age and doesn’t become intense again until the oldest old age,” said Louise Hawkley, an internationally recognized authority on the topic and senior research scientist at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

Understanding the extent of loneliness is important, insofar as this condition has been linked to elevated stress, impaired immune system function, inflammation, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive dysfunction and an earlier-than-expected death in older adults.

A new study, co-authored by Hawkley, highlights another underappreciated feature of this affliction: Loneliness is often transient, not permanent.

That study examined more than 2,200 Americans ages 57 to 85 in 2005 and again in 2010. Of the group who reported being lonely in 2005 (just under one-third of the sample), 40 percent had recovered from that state five years later while 60 percent were still lonely.

What helped older adults who had been lonely recover? Two factors: spending time with other people and eliminating discord and disturbances in family relationships.

Hawkley explains the result by noting that loneliness is a signal that an essential need — a desire for belonging — isn’t being met. Like hunger or thirst, it motivates people to act, and it’s likely that seniors reached out to the people they were closest to more often.

Her study also looked at protective factors that kept seniors from becoming lonely. What made a difference? Lots of support from family members and fewer physical problems that interfere with an individual’s independence and ability to get out and about.

To alleviate loneliness, one must first recognize the perceptions underlying the emotion, Hawkley and other experts said.

The fundamental perception is one of inadequacy. People who are lonely tend to feel that others aren’t meeting their expectations and that something essential is missing. And there’s usually a significant gap between the relationships these people want and those they actually have.

This isn’t the same as social isolation — a lack of contact with other people — although the two can be linked. People can be “lonely in a marriage” that’s characterized by conflict or “lonely in a crowd” when they’re surrounded by other people with whom they can’t connect.

Interventions to address loneliness have received heightened attention since 2011, when the Campaign to End Loneliness launched in Britain.

Here are two essential ways to mitigate this distressing sentiment:

Alter perceptions. Loneliness perpetuates itself through a gloomy feedback cycle. We think people don’t like us, so we convey negativity in their presence, which causes them to withdraw from us, which reinforces our perception that we’re not valued.

Changing the perceptions that underlie this cycle is the most effective way to relieve loneliness, according to a comprehensive evaluation of loneliness interventions published in 2011.

Heidi Grant, associate director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University, described this dynamic in an article published in 2010. “If co-worker Bob seems more quiet and distant than usual lately, a lonely person is likely to assume that he’s done something to offend Bob, or that Bob is intentionally giving him the cold shoulder,” she wrote.

With help, people can learn to examine the assumptions underlying their thoughts and ask questions such as “Am I sure Bob doesn’t like me? Could there be other, more likelyreasons for his quiet, reserved behavior at work?”

This kind of “cognitive restructuring” is an essential component of LISTEN, a promising intervention to treat loneliness developed by Laurie Theeke, an associate professor in the school of nursing at West Virginia University. In five two-hour sessions, small groups of lonely people probe their expectations of relationships, their needs, their thought patterns and their behaviors while telling their stories and listening to others.

Joining a group can be effective if there’s an educational component and people are actively engaged, experts said.

Invest in relationships. With loneliness, it’s not the quantity of relationships that counts most. It’s the quality.

If you’re married, your relationship with your spouse is critically important in sustaining a feeling of belonging and preventing loneliness, Hawkley said.

If you haven’t been getting along, it’s time to try to turn things around. Remember when you felt most connected to your spouse? How did that feel? Can you emphasize the positive and minimize the negative? If you’re badly stuck, seek professional help.

Investing in relationships with family members and friends is similarly important. This is the time to move beyond old grievances.

“If you want to recover from loneliness, try to deal with difficulties that are disrupting relationships,” Hawkley said.

Also, it’s a good idea to diversify your relationships so you’re not depending exclusively on a few people, according to Jenny de Jong Gierveld and Tineke Fokkema, loneliness researchers from the Netherlands.

Training in social skills can help lonely people deal with problems such as not knowing how to renew contact with an old friend or initiate conversation with a distant relative. And learning coping strategies can enlarge their arsenal of adaptive responses.

Both of these strategies are part of a six-week “friendship enrichment program” developed in the Netherlands. The goal is to help people become aware of their social needs, reflect on their expectations, analyze and improve the quality of existing relationships and develop new friendships.

One simple strategy can make a difference. “If you have good news, share it,” Hawkley said, “because that tends to bring people closer together.”

KHN’s coverage related to aging & improving care of older adults is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation.

 

Judith GrahamNAVIGATING AGING

Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system.

To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment use following link:  http://khn.org/columnists/

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at: http://khn.org

Categories: 
Advocacy Groups
City: 
New Haven
States: 
Connecticut

End-of-Life Care for People with Dementia

Senior Help Desk healthcare Blog By National Institutes of Health . Nation Institute of Aging

 

As they reach the end of life, people suffering from dementia can present special challenges for caregivers. People can live with diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementia for years, so it can be hard to think of these as terminal diseases. But, they do cause death

.sad dog resting head on an empty chair

Hard Decisions

Dementia causes the gradual loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning abilities, making it difficult for those who want to provide supportive care at the end of life to know what is needed. Because people with advanced dementia can no longer communicate clearly, they cannot share their concerns. Is Uncle Bert refusing food because he’s not hungry or because he’s confused? Why does Grandma Sakura seem agitated? Is she in pain and needs medication to relieve it, but can’t tell you?

As these conditions progress, caregivers may find it hard to provide emotional or spiritual comfort. How can you let Grandpa know how much his life has meant to you? How do you make peace with your mother if she no longer knows who you are? Someone who has severe memory loss might not take spiritual comfort from sharing family memories or understand when others express what an important part of their life this person has been. Palliative care or hospice can be helpful in many ways to families of people with dementia.

Sensory connections—targeting someone’s senses, like hearing, touch, or sight—can bring comfort. Being touched or massaged can be soothing. Listening to music, white noise, or sounds from nature seem to relax some people and lessen their agitation.

When a dementia like Alzheimer’s disease is first diagnosed, if everyone understands that there is no cure, then plans for the end of life can be made before thinking and speaking abilities fail and the person with Alzheimer’s can no longer legally complete documents like advance directives.

Learn more about legal and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care he or she would prefer. Someone newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease.

Alma and Silvia’s Story

Alma had been forgetful for years, but even after her family knew that Alzheimer’s disease was the cause of her forgetfulness,they never talked about what the future would bring. As time passed and the disease eroded Alma’s memory and ability to think and speak, she became less and less able to share her concerns and wishes with those close to her.

This made it hard for her daughter Silvia to know what Alma needed or wanted. When the doctors asked about feeding tubes or antibiotics to treat pneumonia, Silvia didn’t know how to best reflect her mother’s wishes. Her decisions had to be based on what she knew about her mom’s values, rather than on what Alma actually said she wanted.

Weighing Care Choices

Quality of life is an important issue when making healthcare decisions for people with dementia. For example, medicines are available that may delay or keep symptoms from becoming worse for a little while. Medicines also may help control some behavioral symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

However, some caregivers might not want drugs prescribed for people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. They may believe that the person’s quality of life is already so poor that the medicine is unlikely to make a difference. If the drug has serious side effects, they may be even more likely to decide against it.

When making care decisions for someone else near the end of life, consider the goals of care and weigh the benefits, risks, and side effects of the treatment. You may have to make a treatment decision based on the person’s comfort at one end of the spectrum and extending life or maintaining abilities for a little longer at the other.

With dementia, a person’s body may continue to be physically healthy while his or her thinking and memory are deteriorating. This means that caregivers and family members may be faced with very difficult decisions about how treatments that maintain physical health, such as installing a pacemaker, fit within the care goals.

Dementia’s Unpredictable Progression

Dementia often progresses slowly and unpredictably. Experts suggest that signs of the final stage of Alzheimer’s diseaseinclude some of the following:

  • Being unable to move around on one’s own
  • Being unable to speak or make oneself understood
  • Needing help with most, if not all, daily activities, such as eating and self-care
  • Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing

Because of their unique experience with what happens at the end of life, hospice and palliative care experts might be able to help identify when someone in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease is in the last days or weeks of life.

Caregiver Support

Caring for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias at home can be demanding and stressful for the family caregiver. Depression is a problem for some family caregivers, as is fatigue, because many feel they are always on call. Family caregivers may have to cut back on work hours or leave work altogether because of their caregiving responsibilities.

Many family members taking care of a person with advanced dementia at home feel relief when death happens—for themselves and for the person who died. It is important to realize such feelings are normal. Hospice—whether used at home or in a facility (such as a nursing home)—gives family caregivers needed support near the end of life, as well as help with their grief, both before and after their family member dies.

Caregivers, ask for help when you need it. Learn about respite care.

Questions to Ask About End-of-Life Care for a Person with Dementia

You will want to understand how the available medical options presented by the healthcare team fit into your family’s particular needs. You might want to ask questions such as:

  • How will the approach the doctor is suggesting affect your relative’s quality of life? Will it make a difference in comfort and well-being?
  • If considering home hospice for your relative with dementia, what will be needed to care for him or her? Does the facility have special experience with people with dementia?
  • What can I expect as the disease gets worse?

Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

For More Information About Dementia and End-of-Life Care

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
1-800-438-4380 (toll-free)
adear@nia.nih.gov 
www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Alzheimer's Association
1-800-272-3900 (toll-free, 24/7) 
1-866-403-3073 (TTY/toll-free)
info@alz.org 
www.alz.org

Alzheimer's Foundation of America
1-866-232-8484 (toll-free)
info@alzfdn.org 
www.alzfdn.org

Eldercare Locator
1-800-677-1116 (toll-free)
www.eldercare.gov

For more information on The National Institutes of Health . Nation Institute of Aging please visit their web page at:   https://www.nia.nih.gov

Categories: 
Advocacy Groups
City: 
Cambridge
States: 
Massachusetts

2018 Orange Senior Health & Safety Fair on Friday, September 21, 2018, 9:30 AM to 12:00 pm. Located at The High Plains Community Center Gym, 525 Orange Center Road, Orange, CT 06477

2018 Orange Senior Health & Safety Fair on Friday, September 21, 2018, 9:30 AM to 12:00 pm. Located at The High Plains Community Center Gym, 525 Orange Center Road, Orange, CT 06477.   

Community Services is looking for local businesses and service providers for the 17th Annual Orange Senior Health and Safety Fair Friday, September 21, 2018, 9:30 AM to 12:00PM at the High Plains Community Center Gym, 525 Orange Center Road, Orange, CT 06477.  Early bird registration by July 31 is $80, after that the fee is $85 a table for businesses and free to non-profit providers with a 501©3 designation.  The event is free to the public.

All proceeds from this event will go to the Community Assistance Fund.  All of our programs, activities, events and offerings are self-generated solely from fees and donations.  For more information or to reserve a table, please contact Joan Cretella, Dennis Marsh or Denise Stein at Community Services 203-891-4788.  We ask your support to maintain these vital programs.

Categories: 
Advocacy Groups
City: 
Orange
States: 
Connecticut

2019 Harvard/Glenn Symposium on Aging will be held on Monday, May 20, 2019. Save the Date!

2019 Harvard/Glenn Symposium on Aging will be held on Monday, May 20, 2019. Save the Date!

Each year, the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging hosts the Harvard Symposium on Aging with a mission to educate the wider research community about advancements in this fast-paced field and to stimulate collaborative research in this area. We have been fortunate to have many of the leaders in the aging field speak at the symposia. 

We wish to acknowledge the generosity and vision of Paul F. Glenn, whose unwavering support for aging research for over 30 years has allowed it to grow into the cutting-edge field it is today. Today we are joined by Mark Collins, President of the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and K. Leonard Judson, the Foundation’s Executive Vice President. Since the inception of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard in 2005, the network of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging has grown into a consortium that includes Princeton University, Buck Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Salk Institute, Stanford University, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

The reasons for accelerating research into the molecular biology of aging are clear. First and foremost, the number of aged individuals in developed countries is growing rapidly, which is going to place an unprecedented burden on the families and the economies of those nations. Because chronic illness in the elderly is a major medical cost, enormous savings would be achieved if mortality and morbidity could be compressed within a shorter duration of time at the end of life. A study by the RAND Corporation concluded that advances in medicine arising from aging research would be one of the most cost-effective approaches to age-related disease. Advances in aging research have shown that it is possible to extend the healthy lifespan of laboratory animals through genetic and pharmacological means. Many leaders in the aging field predict that significant strides will be made in understanding how human health and lifespan are regulated, leading to novel medicines to forestall and treat diseases of aging such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Attendees come not only from the Harvard research community but from across the nation and from overseas for this one day event. On behalf of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging and Harvard Medical School, we welcome you to the Harvard/Paul F. Glenn Symposium on Aging.

Guests are responsible for their own travel and hotel accommodations. Hotel discount can be made at The Inn at Longwood Medical, Boston, MA.

David Sinclair and Bruce Yankner
Co-Directors, The Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School

For registration information visit: http://www.hms.harvard.edu/agingresearch/index.php/events/symposium/regi...

For More Information contact: Susan_DeStefano@hms.harvard.edu
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur Boston, MA 02115
Phone: (617) 432-6260
Fax: (617) 432-6225​

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Learning To Advance The Positives Of Aging

Blog by Judith Graham and Kaiser Health News​

 

What can be done about negative stereotypes that portray older adults as out-of-touch, useless, feeble, incompetent, pitiful and irrelevant?

From late-night TV comedy shows where supposedly clueless older people are the butt of jokes to ads for anti-aging creams equating youth with beauty and wrinkles with decay, harsh and unflattering images shape assumptions about aging. Although people may hope for good health and happiness, in practice they tend to believe that growing older involves deterioration and decline, according to reports from the Reframing Aging Initiative.

Dismal expectations can become self-fulfilling as people start experiencing changes associated with growing older — aching knees or problems with hearing, for instance. If a person has internalized negative stereotypes, his confidence may be eroded, stress responses activated, motivation diminished (“I’m old, and it’s too late to change things”) and a sense of efficacy (“I can do that”) impaired.

Health often suffers as a result, according to studies showing that older adults who hold negative stereotypes tend to walk slowly, experience memory problems and recover less fully from a fall or fracture, among other ramifications. By contrast, seniors whose view of aging is primarily positive live 7.5 years longer.

Can positive images of aging be enhanced and the effects of negative stereotypes reduced? At a recent meeting of the National Academy of Sciences’ Forum on Aging, Disability and Independence, experts embraced this goal and offered several suggestions for how it can be advanced:

Become aware of implicit biases. Implicit biases are automatic, unexamined thoughts that reside below the level of consciousness. An example: the sight of an older person using a cane might trigger associations with “dependency” and “incompetence” — negative biases.

Forum attendee Dr. Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer for AARP Services Inc., spoke of her experience after being struck by a car and undergoing a lengthy, painful process of rehabilitation. Limping and using a cane, she routinely found strangers treating her as if she were helpless.

“I would come home feeling terrible about myself,” she said. Decorating her cane with ribbons and flowers turned things around. “People were like ‘Oh, my God that’s so cool,’” said Yeh, who noted that the decorations evoked the positivity associated with creativity instead of the negativity associated with disability.

Implicit biases can be difficult to discover, insofar as they coexist with explicit thoughts that seem to contradict them. For example, implicitly, someone may feel “being old is terrible” while explicitly that person may think: “We need to do more, as a society, to value older people.” Yet this kind of conflict may go unrecognized.

To identify implicit bias, pay attention to your automatic responses. If you find yourself flinching at the sight of wrinkles when you look in the bathroom mirror, for instance, acknowledge this reaction and then ask yourself, “Why is this upsetting?”

Use strategies to challenge biases. Patricia Devine, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies ways to reduce racial prejudice, calls this “tuning in” to habits of mind that usually go unexamined.

Resolving to change these habits isn’t enough, she said, at the NAS forum’s gathering in New York City: “You need strategies.” Her research shows that five strategies are effective:

  • Replace stereotypes. This entails becoming aware of and then altering responses informed by stereotypes. Instead of assuming a senior with a cane needs your help, for instance, you might ask, “Would you like assistance?” — a question that respects an individual’s autonomy.
  • Embrace new images. This involves thinking about people who don’t fit the stereotype you’ve acknowledged. This could be a group of people (older athletes), a famous person (TV producer Norman Lear, now 95, who just sold a show on aging to NBC) or someone you know (a cherished older friend).
  • Individualize it. The more we know about people, the less we’re likely to think of them as a group characterized by stereotypes. Delve into specifics. What unique challenges does an older person face? How does she cope day to day?
  • Switch perspectives. This involves imagining yourself as a member of the group you’ve been stereotyping. What would it be like if strangers patronized you and called you “sweetie” or “dear,” for example?
  • Make contact. Interact with the people you’ve been stereotyping. Go visit and talk with that friend who’s now living in a retirement community.

Devine’s research hasn’t looked specifically at older adults; the examples above come from other sources. But she’s optimistic that the basic lesson she’s learned, “prejudice is a habit that can be broken,” applies nonetheless.

Emphasize the positive. Another strategy — strengthening implicit positive stereotypes — comes from Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University and a leading researcher in this field.

In a 2016 study, she and several colleagues demonstrated that exposing older adults to subliminal positive messages about aging several times over the course of a month improved their mobility and balance — crucial measures of physical function.

The messages were embedded in word blocks that flashed quickly across a computer screen, including descriptors such as wise, creative, spry and fit. The weekly sessions were about 15 minutes long, proving that even a relatively short exposure to positive images of aging can make a difference.

At the forum, Levy noted that 196 countries across the world have committed to support the World Health Organization’s fledgling campaign to end ageism— discrimination against people simply because they are old. Bolstering positive images of aging and countering the effect of negative stereotypes needs to be a central part of that endeavor, she remarked. It’s also something older adults can do, individually, by choosing to focus on what’s going well in their lives rather than what’s going wrong.

Claim a seat at the table. “Nothing about us without us” is a clarion call of disability activists, who have demanded that their right to participate fully in society be recognized and made possible by adequate accommodations such as ramps that allow people in wheelchairs to enter public buildings.

So far, however, seniors haven’t similarly insisted on inclusion, making it easier to overlook the ways in which they’re marginalized.

At the forum, Kathy Greenlee, vice president of aging and health policy at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City and formerly assistant secretary for aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called for a new wave of advocacy by and for seniors, saying, “We need more older people talking publicly about themselves and their lives.”

“Everybody is battling aging by themselves, reinforcing the notion that how someone ages is that individual’s responsibility” rather than a collective responsibility, she explained.

Underscoring Greenlee’s point, the forum didn’t feature any older adult speakers discussing their experiences with aging and disability.

In a private conversation, however, Fernando Torres-Gil, the forum’s co-chair and professor of social welfare and public policy at UCLA, spoke of those themes.

Torres-Gil contracted polio when he was 6 months old and spent most of his childhood and adolescence at what was then called the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in San Francisco. Back then, kids with polio were shunned. “It’s a real tough thing to be excluded,” he remembered.

His advice to older adults whose self-image is threatened by the onset of impairment: “Persevere with optimism. Hang in there. Don’t give up. And never feel sorry for yourself.”

Now age 69, Torres-Gil struggles with post-polio syndrome and has to walk with crutches and leg braces, which he had abandoned in young adulthood and midlife. “I’m getting ready for my motorized scooter,” he said with a smile, then quickly turned serious.

“The thing is to accept whatever is happening to you, not deny it,” he said, speaking about adjusting attitudes about aging. “You can’t keep things as they are: You have to go through a necessary reassessment of what’s possible. The thing is to do it with graciousness, not bitterness, and to learn how to ask for help, acknowledging the reality of interdependence.”

We’re eager to hear from readers about questions you’d like answered, problems you’ve been having with your care and advice you need in dealing with the health care system. Visit khn.org/columnists to submit your requests or tips.

KHN’s coverage related to these issues is supported in part by The John A. Hartford Foundation and The SCAN Foundation.

Judith Graham: @judith_graham

To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment use following link:  http://khn.org/columnists/

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at: http://khn.org

This KHN story can be republished for free. Details link: http://khn.org/syndication/

NAVIGATING AGING BY JUDITH GRAHAM

Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system.

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Boston
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Massachusetts

Good Friends Might Be Your Best Brain Booster As You Age

 

Blog by Judith Graham and Kaiser Health News​

Ask Edith Smith, a proud 103-year-old, about her friends, and she’ll give you an earful.

There’s Johnetta, 101, whom she’s known for 70 years and who has Alzheimer’s disease. “I call her every day and just say ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ She never knows, but she says hi back, and I tease her,” Smith said.

There’s Katie, 93, whom Smith met during a long teaching career with the Chicago Public Schools. “Every day we have a good conversation. She’s still driving and lives in her own house, and she tells me what’s going on.”

Then there’s Rhea, 90, whom Smith visits regularly at a retirement facility. And Mary, 95, who doesn’t leave her house anymore, “so I fix her a basket about once a month of jelly and little things I make and send it over by cab.” And fellow residents at Smith’s Chicago senior community, whom she recognizes with a card and a treat on their birthdays.

“I’m a very friendly person,” Smith said, when asked to describe herself.

That may be one reason why this lively centenarian has an extraordinary memory for someone her age, suggests a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University highlighting a notable link between brain health and positive relationships.

For nine years, these experts have been examining “SuperAgers” — men and women over age 80 whose memories are as good — or better — than people 20 to 30 years younger. Every couple of years, the group fills out surveys about their lives and gets a battery of neuropsychological tests, brain scans and a neurological examination, among other evaluations.

“When we started this project, we weren’t really sure we could find these individuals,” said Emily Rogalski, an associate professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

But find them they did: Thirty-one older men and women with exceptional memories, mostly from Illinois and surrounding states, are currently participating in the project. “Part of the goal is to characterize them — who are they, what are they like,” Rogalski said.

Previous research by the Northwestern group provided tantalizing clues, showing that SuperAgers have distinctive brain features: thicker cortexes, a resistance to age-related atrophy and a larger left anterior cingulate (a part of the brain important to attention and working memory).

But brain structure alone doesn’t fully account for SuperAgers’ unusual mental acuity, Rogalski suggested. “It’s likely there are a number of critical factors that are implicated,” she said.

For their new study, the researchers asked 31 SuperAgers and 19 cognitively “normal” older adults to fill out a 42-item questionnaire about their psychological well-being. The SuperAgers stood out in one area: the degree to which they reported having satisfying, warm, trusting relationships. (In other areas, such as having a purpose in life or retaining autonomy, they were much like their “normal” peers.)

“Social relationships are really important” to this group and might play a significant role in preserving their cognition, Rogalski said.

That finding is consistent with other research linking positive relationships to a reduced risk of cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Still, researchers haven’t examined how SuperAgers sustain these relationships and whether their experiences might include lessons for others.

Smith, one of the SuperAgers, has plenty of thoughts about that. At her retirement community, she’s one of nine people who welcome new residents and try to help make them feel at home. “I have a smile for everybody,” she said. “I try to learn someone’s name as soon as they come in, and if I see them it’s ‘Good morning, how do you do?’”

“Many old people, all they do is tell you the same story over and over,” she said. “And sometimes, all they do is complain and not show any interest in what you have to say. That’s terrible. You have to listen to what people have to say.”

Brian Fenwick, administrator of the Bethany Retirement Community where Smith lives, calls Smith a “leader in the community” and explains that “she’s very involved. She keeps us in line. She notices what’s going on and isn’t afraid to speak out.”

Fifteen years ago, Smith became a caregiver for her husband, who passed away in 2013. “All the time he was ill, I was still doing things for me,” she recalls. “You cannot drop everything and expect to be able to pick it up. You can’t drop your friends and expect them to be there when you’re ready.”

What she does every day, she said, is “show people I care.”

William “Bill“ Gurolnick, 86, another SuperAger in the study, realized the value of becoming more demonstrative after he retired from a sales and marketing position in 1999. “Men aren’t usually inclined to talk about their feelings, and I was a keep-things-inside kind of person,” he explained. “But opening up to other people is one of the things that I learned to do.”

With a small group of other men who’d left the work world behind, Gurolnick helped found a men’s group, Men Enjoying Leisure, which now has nearly 150 members and has spawned four similar groups in the Chicago suburbs.  Every month, the group meets for two hours, including one hour they spend discussing personal issues — divorce, illness, children who can’t find jobs, and more.

“We learn people aren’t alone in the problems they’re dealing with,” Gurolnick said, adding that a dozen or so of the men have become good friends.

“Bill is the glue that holds the whole group together,” said Buddy Kalish, 80, a member of the group in Northbrook, Ill., a Chicago suburb. “He’s very, very caring — the first one to send out a thank-you note, the first one to send out a notice when there’s been a death in the family.”

Activities are another way of cultivating relationships for Gurolnick. On Mondays, he bikes 20 to 30 miles with more than a dozen older men — many of them from his men’s group — followed by lunch. On Tuesdays, he’s part of a walking group, followed by coffee. On Wednesdays, he goes to the Wenger Jewish Community Center in Northbrook for two hours of water volleyball. On Thursdays, it’s back to the JCC for pickleball, a racquet sport.

“You really get a sense of still being alive,” Gurolnick said, when asked what he takes away from these interactions. “You get a sense of not being alone.”

Without her best friend, Grayce, whom she’s known since high school, and friends who live in her condominium complex, Evelyn Finegan, 88, might have become isolated. Another SuperAger, Finegan is hard of hearing and has macular degeneration in both eyes, but otherwise is astonishingly healthy.

“It’s very important to keep up with your friends — to pick up the phone and call,” said Finegan, who talks to Grayce almost daily and chats with four other friends from high school on a regular basis.

Today, the staples of Finegan’s life are her church; a monthly book club; volunteering at a resale shop in Oak Park, Ill.; socializing with a few people in her building; attending a club of Welsh women; and seeing her daughter, her son-in-law and grandchildren, who live in Oregon, whenever she can.

“It’s so nice to spend time with Evelyn,” said her upstairs neighbor, June Witzl, 91, who often drives Finegan to doctors’ appointments. “She’s very kind and very generous. And she tells you what she believes so you really feel like you know her, instead of wondering what’s on her mind.”

We’re eager to hear from readers about questions you’d like answered, problems you’ve been having with your care and advice you need in dealing with the health care system. Visit khn.org/columnists to submit your requests or tips.

KHN’s coverage of these topics is supported by John A. Hartford Foundation and The SCAN Foundation

Judith Graham: @judith_graham

To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment use following link:  http://khn.org/columnists/

For more KHN coverage of aging, and for more information on Kaiser Health News, please visit our web page at: http://khn.org

This KHN story can be republished for free. Details link: http://khn.org/syndication/

NAVIGATING AGING BY JUDITH GRAHAM

Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system.

Categories: 
Advocacy Groups
City: 
Chicago
States: 
Illinois

2018 The Gerontological Society of America (GSA)​ Annual Scientific Meeting For The Purpose of Longer Lives​. On November 14-18 2018. Located at t the Sheraton Boston Hotel 39 Dalton St, Boston, MA 02199​

2018 The Gerontological Society of America (GSA)​  Annual Scientific Meeting For The Purpose of Longer Lives​. On November 14-18 2018. Located at t the Sheraton Boston Hotel 39 Dalton St, Boston, MA 02199​

About: 

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary scientific organization devoted to the advancement of gerontological research, learning, and practice. Through its Annual Scientific Meeting, GSA offers nearly 4,000 international professionals in the field of aging the opportunity to learn the latest trends and development from industry leaders, build strategic partnerships to address aging challenges, and network with peers.

GSA’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting will take place November 14-18, 2018 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts and will focus on the theme, "The Purposes of Longer Lives" chosen by incoming GSA 2018 President, Dr. David Ekerdt, University of Kansas

For more conference information visit:  https://www.geron.org/meetings-events/gsa-2018-annual-scientific-meeting

 

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Advocacy Groups
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Boston
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Please join the Aging2.0 Boston Chapter for a Fireside Chat on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 6:00pm. Stay tuned for further details, including speakers and venue.

Save The Date:

Please join the Aging2.0 Boston Chapter for a Fireside Chat on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 6:00pm. Stay tuned for further details, including speakers and venue. ​

For more information visit: https://www.aging2.com/boston/

About Aging2.0:

Founded in 2012 by Stephen Johnston and Katy Fike, Aging2.0 supports innovators taking on the biggest challenges and opportunities in aging. Aging2.0 is international, interdisciplinary and intergenerational - focused on changing the conversation from 1.0 (focused on local, clinical, siloed approaches) to 2.0 (collaborative, lifestyle-oriented, opportunity-driven) - hence the name: Aging2.0.

Over the past 6 years, Aging2.0 has hosted more than 550 events around the world and relies on 65+ volunteer Chapters to build and connect our 25,000 person community in 20+ countries. Aging2.0 has 150 corporate Alliance members and works with ‘CEOs’ - Chief Elder Officers, who help us design with, not for, older people.

Aging2.0 is run by a small, dedicated, mission-driven team out of San Francisco, California.

For more information, please email info@aging2.com

 

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