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Sarah Palin, the elderly, the disabled, older Americans and rural Alaska

[revised]

naomidagenbloom 2008 September 2

Vuee, Vuee, We need to hear MORE from you now about the way Alaska has come into our consciousness via your governor–the believer in “stakeholders.”

Readers can’t get off that easy, Little Red Hen— what questions do folks have?

The reason I have been rather quiet, blogwise, is because the news from rural Alaska about living there isn’t good. There has been next to nothing improved since earlier posts, this includes the past 18 months of the personable Gov. Sarah Palin. I’ll give examples below, but they sound depressing. So readers, what do enquiring minds want to know? If nothing else, I can at least point you to some good sources of facts or commentary from Alaska perspective.

An older friend of mine (from Tucson) sends this musing upon the early photo of Sarah Palin and her caribou ( http://newsminer.com/photos/galleries/2008/sep/01/sarah-palin-growing-alaskan/1156/. It is the photo of the red-nosed caribou NOT a reindeer.)

>My deep reflections, caribou inspired::
1. Macho women don’t need to wear pantsuits to assert themselves.
2. Most currently popular female names go from my daughter Michelle to my mother Sarah.
3. Sarah definitely shoots better than Dick. How about Joe’s expertise with firearms?
4. Candidates should not be judged only on basis of age, gender, and looks.
5. Candidate’s children are given on-stage prominence. It should be unfair to have the youngest ones debate politics, but what about having a food fight?

————————————-

  • there’s the older gentleman who is resigning himself to move 400 miles away from home to be near his grandkids because his grown children had to move to Anchorage to find work to meet the utilities payments
  • there’s all the older people who need an assisted living arrangement or nursing home (a 400 mile trip, if one can afford to get into Bethel from the village to get on the jet)
  • there’s fuel oil at $6-15 a gallon
  • there’s the Bush-Cheney stimulus payments which only went to those who have taxable income. They don’t go to those who cashed in IRAs early to pay electricity or who struggle to make sense of their returns.
  • there’s electricity at 40 cents or more per kilowatt hour (with a subsidy for residences) in rural Alaska (Wasilla pays considerably less, without subsidy)
  • there’s gasoline, needed to go out and “grocery shop” on the tundra or out in the river, at $6 to $18 gallon.
  • there’s gaining grandmother status at 34
  • there’s raising grandchildren at 70
  • there’s having your one-time $1200 “energy check” from the state stolen by your children for smokes and booze

2008-09-04 Look guys, what someone else found
gov-sarah-palin-call-in-kyuk/

2008-09-04 Fact Check of Governor Palin’s Speech http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2008/09/saradise-lost-chapter-twenty-five-obama.html

PALIN: “Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest – and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.”
REALITY: PALIN OPPOSED CRUCIAL EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND SENIORS FUNDING […]

Andrew Halcro does a fine job at http://www.andrewhalcro.com/grading_palins_speech_a

Also: tech support has a listing of reasonable sources at Sarah Palin content

2008-10-27 Palin’s gaffe about her policy on “special needs” while her record shows she has none
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/BlueOasis/~3/431498178/showDiary.do


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Love and respect never grow old

Love never grows old condom card

Safe sex for older people is a major concern of A Little Red Hen http://alittleredhen.typepad.com/a_little_red_hen/ who has been reminding people with her condom amulets.

2007-11-30 [revised] Stop the ‘tubes! A Little Red Hen has a new blogzine announced here–
Knit A Condom Amulet, the Blogzine

and click image to see the new site–
button for knitacondomamulet

Fortunately, there has been recent news coverage about the need for HIV and STD testing, and practicing safe sex, by those over 50.

Experts and older patients are teaching a belated lesson to battle a risky HIV generation gap that has left many unprotected and infected.
By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 26, 2007

…although the number of HIV and AIDS patients in the over-50 crowd nationwide had grown in recent years, some of the increase was attributed to people who are living longer with the virus or disease, thanks to improvements in therapy treatments.

But without widespread testing, “we don’t really know what the true prevalence [of STD infection] is in this group,” Lieb said. “There’s reason to think, at least anecdotally, this is a combustible situation that is being overlooked.”

That’s why some social service and public health officials have turned to HIV-positive patients like Fowler to speak out and try to get their peers’ attention…. Fowler recently met up with a graying group to commiserate about sexually transmitted diseases, and recounted her cautionary tale. How a divorce in her 50s led her back into the dating pool, and how she enjoyed a New Year’s Eve fling with a former co-worker. Fowler said she never considered using condoms, given that she had already gone through menopause.

“I had lived what I considered a conventional, traditional life. I had been a virgin on my wedding night in 1959,” said Fowler, a founder of the National Assn. on HIV Over Fifty, who now coordinates the speakers bureau at a local AIDS organization. She has spoken before hundreds of groups over the years, including medical researchers and HIV/AIDS advocates to senior centers.

“I remained monogamous for 23 years of marriage. . . . After the divorce, I didn’t consider myself promiscuous. I didn’t frequent the singles bars. I went out with men my age who, like me, had been married and were divorced.”

Her own physician, she said, dismissed her questions about getting tested for HIV as unnecessary for someone her age. Her early symptoms were dismissed as routine ailments of aging.

Read the rest at

The National Association on HIV Over Fifty (NAHOF) was founded at the National Conference on AIDS and Aging in October of 1995 in New York City. Our mission is to promote the availability of a full range of educational, prevention, service and health care programs for persons over age fifty affected by HIV.

People over age fifty are affected by HIV in numerous ways. People in their mid or later years may be infected with HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. Ten percent of all AIDS cases are persons age fifty and up, a quarter of these are over age 60. Older women appear to have higher incidence rates than older men, and persons of color are especially at risk.

AIDS and HIV affect families, both traditional and families of choice. Increasingly older adults care for relatives and friends infected with HIV. Many adults with HIV turn to older parents for help and care. Increasingly grandparents are substitute parents for their grandchildren whose own parents are unable to care for their children due to HIV-related needs. Many of these are “AIDS orphans” and grandparents have stepped in to be full or part time caregivers for the children; middle-age and older adults with adult children may need emotional support….

Older people with HIV/AIDS face a double stigma: ageism and infection with a sexually-or-IV-drug transmitted disease.
http://www.hivoverfifty.org/tip.html

Safe sex is needed especially in what seems to be a new tourism–

By Jeremy Clarke, Sun Nov 25, 2007
Older white women join Kenya’s sex tourists

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) – Bethan, 56, lives in southern England on the same street as best friend Allie, 64….

Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex.

Allie and Bethan — who both declined to give their full names — said they planned to spend a whole month touring Kenya’s palm-fringed beaches. They would do well to avoid the country’s tourism officials.

“It’s not evil,” said Jake Grieves-Cook, chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, when asked about the practice of older rich women traveling for sex with young Kenyan men.

“But it’s certainly something we frown upon.”

Also, the health risks are stark in a country with an AIDS prevalence of 6.9 percent. Although condom use can only be guessed at, Julia Davidson, an academic at Nottingham
University who writes on sex tourism, said that in the course of her research she had met women who shunned condoms — finding them too “businesslike” for their exotic fantasies.
[…]


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Vibrators and exercise for strength among the frail

There has been additional research into vibrating platforms as a means to improve bone and muscle health. An earlier post is here,

  • Vibrating beds as osteoporosis exercise
  • These platforms may be similar to one manufactured by Soloflex and one about to come out by Nintendo Wii. The Wii will have a game console attached for using video games as an exercise on a balance board. The news reports don’t mention how the human tests are done.

    Other Wii games mentioned earlier–

  • Ideas to exercise in small cold places
  • The SoloFlex would be easy to set-up as a study in a senior center. See the news story (Boston Globe) Vibrating machines are studied for health benefits. A home machine called Soloflex Whole Body Vibration Platform is smaller and less powerful, generating more of a massage sensation at the lowest setting. More and stronger vibration doesn’t mean faster results and could be dangerous as the article points out. There would have to be modifications for those with balance problems. However, measures of muscle strength, balance, and coordination are easy enough to set up.

    Here’s a cautious review from epinions.com– It is considered a class 1 Medical Device by the FDA. Those who shouldn’t use this are recovering from surgery, have heart disease, neurological conditions, pre-existing deep vein thrombosis, joint implants or are pregnant.

    No one has yet tested vibrating motel beds (don’t forget your condom amulets http://www.alittleredhen.com/a_little_red_hen/2007/09/safe-sex-alerts.html or http://www.alittleredhen.com/a_little_red_hen/2007/10/jenna-bush-wear.html

    Vibrations Shown to Build Bone, Reduce Fat (National Public Radio)

    Morning Edition, October 29, 2007 · Standing on a gently vibrating platform for 15 minutes a day can build bone mass and reduce fat in mice, according to a new study. The changes are due to a stem cell in bone marrow that can become muscle, bone or fat. Testing has begun in humans…. Scientists are about to launch a similar study in humans. Douglas Kiel works at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston, where subjects will soon get 10 minutes of jiggling a day.

    Intergenerational Approaches to HIV/AIDS Prevention

    2007 Intergenerational Approaches to HIV/AIDS Prevention Education with Women Across the Lifespan Pilot Program Grant
    deadline: Jul 02, 2007

    http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=13759
    The purpose of the Intergenerational Approaches to HIV/AIDS Prevention Education with Women Across the Lifespan Pilot Program is to develop cross-generational HIV/AIDS prevention education approaches specific to women at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS and other female members of the family 12+ years old , particularly African American, Native American/American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander women from the Diaspora who are grandmothers, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, and aunts. [Grants.gov Opportunities Posting Update]

    It probably would support condom amulets, too.
    From the always useful, BHIC blog focuses on health information issues related to the community, especially underserved communities.

    http://library.med.utah.edu/blogs/BHIC/archives/cat_scholarships_and_grants.html#002287

    Condom amulets

    A Little Red Hen is an interesting elder blog about a variety of issues, especially peace, politics, yarnlife after 60. A special topic is AIDS awareness among older people. This is also a topic of HelpAge International (see sidebar).

    The condom amulets are a useful idea. I’m sure folks out here could add their designs based on traditional basketweaving and the crocheted recycled shopping bags techniques.

    Despite stereotypes, many older women [and men] are sexually active. If you talked to your recently divorced friend about these amulets, could a casual conversation lead to sex education? It’s worth a try….

    CONDOM AMULETS in techniques other than knitting. Left to right, copper wirecloth (similar to kitchen scrubbing pads), recycled fine brass metal container for chocolates strung on colored telephone wire, and black wirecloth (as for window screens).

    WORLD AIDS DAY is DECEMBER 1…Would you wear one as a neckpiece to alert friends and neighbors that HIV in women over 50 is on the rise?


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