Archive for November, 2005

Chron.com | Katrina’s toll on the sick, elderly emerges

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3484843.html

All told, the dead from nursing homes account for about 10 percent of Louisiana deaths from the storm. Most died not as floodwaters rose or even in the immediate hours after the storm, according to interviews, but instead succumbed after days in brutal conditions. Their deaths and the effects on survivors represent the worst medical catastrophe for the elderly in recent U.S. history.

It isn’t just a medical catastrophe, but a social one if we all assume that the elderly are doing fine because they have “nice place” to live and none of us have to deal with them.

How singing unlocks the brain

Eskimo dancing would be very helpful, with or without dementia (e.g., strong rhythm, exercise, etc.). Many older people were not allowed to learn this as children and have asked to have it included at the senior center.

By Jane Elliott BBC News Health reporter, read here

Singing is thought to help the brain re-learn communication skills

As Bill Bundock’s Alzheimer’s progressed he became more and more locked into his own world.
….
Jean said Bill lost his motivation, and his desire and ability to hold conversations, but all this changed when the couple started attending a local sing-song group, aimed especially for people with dementia.

Jean said Singing for the Brain had unlocked Bill’s communication block.

Personality change

“The first time we went to Singing for the Brain he did not join in. On the second session he was starting to join in and by the third he was thoroughly taking part.”
….


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Senior softball champion is an enigma even to his teammates

from Boing Boing

Friday, November 18, 2005
Senior softball champion is an enigma even to his teammates
Sixty-four-year-old John Meeden is regarded as the best player out of the two million aging baby boomers who belong to "senior softball" leagues, but nobody knows much about him, even his teammates. J.R. Moehringer of the LA Times traveled to St. Louis to see if he could find out more about the mysterious Meeden. It’s a wonderfully-written piece.

Nosy sons save mother via webcam – Engadget

Really wasn’t nosiness (see here http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/11/18/internet.rescue.ap/)

Posted Nov 18, 2005, 11:40 AM ET by Marc Perton

If you thought webcams were only good for video calls, monitoring coffee pots and traffic conditions and, of course, pr0n, think again. Karin Jordal, a 69-year-old artist was recently rescued by her far-flung sons after they discovered, via her webcam, that she had collapsed in her California home. One son, in the Philippines, was spying checking up on his mom, when he saw her lying motionless on the couch in her living room. He called his brother in Norway, who contacted an ambulance, which arrived in 10 minutes, telemergency style. The mother had apparently been in a diabetic coma for about two hours, and is now in a hospital recovering. Of course, she’s lucky that her boys were checking the cam when she passed out; they may want to consider giving her some kind of panic button to use in case they’re not glued to the screen next time she collapses.

Japan Today – Abuse of elderly – a secret sin

http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=comment&id=860

….
This week, a law was passed requiring anyone who discovers abuse to inform local authorities, who then will be required to investigate each case in cooperation with the police. This new law defines abuse as assault that could cause physical injury, verbal abuse, neglecting care and wrongful management of the property of the elderly. The law will become effective in April, 2006.
….
So, just who are these hidden victims and who is mistreating them? There were two studies conducted in 1993 and in 1997 in Japan that produced some of the answers. The victims are mostly over the age of 80 and 70% of them are women. The most common form of abuse was financial and sons most commonly perpetrated it. Somewhere between 33 to 57% of the elders were physically abused and 57% were victims of neglect.

Almost half of the elders were very dependent on their families for assistance. The highest rated cause for this abuse was stress, followed by poor relationships, particularly between older women and their daughters-in-law. A perception of a lack of appreciation for the care being provided and physical fatigue from care giving were additional reasons.

Perhaps, one of the most disturbing aspects of this study was the fact that many of the abusers believed they were entitled to the financial resources of the older person. This may be a result of the pre-World War II inheritance law that gave older people’s inheritance directly to the eldest son.

The types of abuse cited included mental abuse, willful neglect, denying food, physical beatings and tying the old people to their beds. According to a government poll, in over 54% of the cases, the alleged abusers did not recognize that they were abusing their victim, while only 24% stated that they knew what they were doing.

The elderly people often hesitate to call out for help and sometimes even try to conceal the abuse from outsiders. The reasons why they do not flee vary, but in some cases they fear their children will steal their possessions, they blame themselves for having raised such children and they feel it is their duty to stay until they die.

Last April, Japan released its first survey on elderly abuse, finding 1,991 cases. While this appears to be a small number, some experts believe the actual number may be as high as 10,000 and all experts agree that the numbers are increasing.

Elderly abuse is an international problem with Scandinavian countries reporting somewhere between 1 to 8% of the population over the age of 65 years as victims of abuse. In the United States, the percentage ranges between 4 to 10% and in Britain, it is estimated to be around 10%. In fact, in Britain this past February, the BBC launched a television drama, “Dad” in an effort to shed light on this growing problem.
….

Older American Indian women appeared less concerned about elder abuse than older men

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096411912

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

AISES Science and engineering conference gathers students

Twyla Baker-Demaray, of Grand Forks, N.D., was one of several American Indian graduate students presenting their research at the conference.

Older American Indian women appeared less concerned about elder abuse than older men, said the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara graduate student. She is studying American Indian elder abuse for a master’s degree at the University of South Dakota.

Baker-Demaray conducted a survey of elders at the National Indian Council on Aging conference a year ago in Milwaukee, Wis., where 470 questionnaires were completed by American Indian elders 55 and older.
….

”The trend was basically that as our age groups went up, the older age groups showed less concern for all types of abuse than the younger, 55 years, who showed a little more concern for abuse in the communities.”

Baker-Demaray said people on the reservations or in Indian communities showed more concern for abuse than those off the reservations.

Her survey showed that older-generation females were less concerned about abuse. ”Our review showed that … overall, older-generation females are at the highest risk of abuse,” she said. ”Either they are not really talking about it, [are] not willing to talk about it, or they don’t know what it is.”

Often, that was the case, Baker-Demaray said. ”If nobody hits me, I am not being abused” is what the older women seem to say, she explained.

”It depends on what Indian nation you are talking to, [what] their definition of abuse [is]. It’s different in Alaska than it is in New Mexico. And these are all based on culture,” she said.

Baker-Demaray found that the oldest of Americans Indians studied appeared less concerned about abuse, likely because they are from the generation of government boarding schools. ”Maybe they are a bit more accepting of this type of behavior: ‘This is the status quo. This is how it always has been, and this how it always is going to be.’ They accept it,” she speculated.
….
Baker-Demaray admitted her survey was of older American Indians who were healthy enough to attend conferences. Her survey did not include those in nursing homes or in formal health care facilities, she said.

Commission surveys the effects of eroding benefits for elderly

http://ap.alaskajournal.com/stories/state/ak/20051113/3426415.shtml


The Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska ? A study by the Alaska Commission on Aging finds the state’s elderly have little income to spare and are more dependent on Social Security payments and the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend than on any other sources of income. And while the number of Alaskans aged 65 and over is projected to nearly triple statewide over the next couple of decades, benefits aimed at the elderly have eroded.
….
MaryAnn VandeCastle, planner for the Alaska Commission on Aging, said proponents of cutting or reducing benefits for the elderly often think they’re among the state’s wealthiest residents.

But a McDowell Group study in 2000 found that while elderly Alaskans account for money flowing into the state by way of medical payments and retirement income, more than half of elderly Alaskans live on the edge of solvency. The state Commission on Aging, a unit of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, recently concurred that the elderly have little spare income and rely on Social Security payments and the permanent fund dividend more than any other income source.
….
About 21 percent of 1,254 people responding to the commission’s statewide survey said they did not have enough money for food, clothing, rent, fuel and medicine. Another 36 percent said that while they can meet monthly expenses, there was little left over, VandeCastle said. Only 8 percent of elderly responding reported monthly income of $6,000 or more.
….


O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

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