Want to write for Global Health Aging?

Hey all! Would you be interesting in writing for Global Health Aging? They are looking for regular contributors, guest contributors, assisting with social media, editors, graphic designers, and will be expanding to panels, webinars and more in the future!
If you are interested (I know you are!!!), please contact them at info@globalhealthaging.org or at editor@globalhealthaging.org. They are especially looking for someone to cover North America at the moment – just may be your chance to shine 🙂

For more inspiration, check out their website at:  https://globalhealthaging.org/

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Improve the human rights of dementia patients and carers

The government must act to improve the human rights of dementia patients and carers

Few now question the right of parents to stay with children in hospital – so why don’t patients with dementia have similar rights?

John’s Campaign is single-issue and simple. It is for the right of carers to stay with people with dementia if they are admitted to hospital. It is named for the father of my friend, the writer Nicci Gerrard, whose father’s dementia was catastrophically accelerated by a stay in hospital where he was largely cut off from his family.

In the 1960s we had to campaign for parents to have the right to stay with their children in hospital. Few question this right now. So why does the same right not apply to carers of people with dementia?

Source: The government must act to improve the human rights of dementia patients and carers

As the world ages, more must be done to protect the rights of older persons

The UN’s expert on the human rights of the elderly describes the key issues she is dealing with and how she hopes to build support to advance her important agenda. Español

Source: As the world ages, more must be done to protect the rights of older persons

Dementia is not only about memory

From the always helpful ThirdAge Services! I studied Gerontology with Carole at the University of North Texas. I was a fan of her back then and an even bigger fan now. If you are looking for advice or coordination in dementia care, she is an excellent Certified Dementia Consultant.

Most People think Alzheimer’s is only about Memory Loss; it Isn’t!

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What’s it like to be an unemployed dementia specialist?

Shortly said, it’s incredibly frustrating.

By 2015, there are very few people who have not hear of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Many people have also had personal experience with a friend, family member, or community member who has developed dementia. Many people are also aware that there are more and more people being diagnosed with dementia, and that there is a growing demand for quality care and services. Most governments specifically announce an increased need for qualified professionals in the area of dementia.

In a time when there is a growing demand for dementia specialists, it is both confusing and counteractive to be unemployed.

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8 Smart Ideas for Aging in Place

 |  By : 03/05/2015 

For related information, see my post on my work with the WHO on the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.

Baby boomers have long proclaimed their desire to stay in their homes post-retirement, a practice known as aging in place. They want to stay in the communities where they have friends, know their way around and have a support network. Cities and communities have “heard” them and many places are preparing for the groundswell of what happens when their residents creep up in years. Building a senior citizen center is nice, but clearly there’s more to it than having a place to play Bingo. Here are a few of the programs and trends that are making a difference in the lives of the nation’s aging population.

1. Solve the “driving is my independence” problem once and for all.
Older drivers have slower reaction times and more vision issues. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But the ability to drive is synonymous with independence and independent living, so many older people are reluctant to give up their automobiles.

Twenty years ago, inspired by a desire to keep unsafe drivers off the road after an 84-year-old motorist struck and seriously injured her toddler son, Katherine Freund started the Independent Transportation Network. ITN was launched in Portland Maine and has now spread to 25 cities. People who are 65 or older (or visually impaired), pay a modest fee and are provided a ride to where they need to go, a door-to-door escort and assistance. Forty-six percent of ITN customers have an annual income of less than $25,000 and only 2 percent found the service too expensive.

Best of all, seniors can trade in their cars and earn ride credits. Rides are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any purpose.

2. Acknowledge the need to sit down.
Age-Friendly NYC wants to encourage older adults to get out to walk, shop and socialize. So the goal of this program is to install 1,500 park benches throughout the city for people to sit on. Before you scoff, remember that New York is the city that doesn’t sleep. It also doesn’t stop and rest much. There are 1 million people over 65 living in NYC, and by 2030 this number is expected to increase by 50 percent, according to the program’s website. Age-Friendly NYC also connects older New Yorkers to opportunities at NYC-area colleges and universities.

3. Make it easy to keep the brain active.
The Bernard Osher Foundation has established Lifelong Learning Institutes for adults 50 and older on 119 college and university campuses. Many community campuses allow those 65 or older to audit free uncredited courses.

Publications are printing more large print books too. Large-print crossword puzzles and word-solving games are also available.

4. Understand that eating healthy food keeps people healthier.
While everyone knows about Meals On Wheels, which delivers already prepared meals to shut-ins, not everybody wants to stop cooking for themselves. Buying groceries though can involve the need to drive and/or carry heavy bags home. In 2014, the Food For Free programs in Cambridge Massachusetts distributed 1.5 million pounds of food. It began its home delivery program in 2001, serving 12 clients that first year. Now it’s up to about 100 housebound elders. It gives seniors and people with disabilities more control over their meals, while providing a supportive service that helps them to stay in their own homes, says the group’s website. Two 40- to 45-pound food deliveries are made each month to clients and half the food delivered is fresh produce.

And there’s Mom’s Meals, which for less than $7 a meal will deliver freshly made meals that just need to be heated up and can keep up to 14 days. Mom’s Meals ships by FedEx and offer menus for diabetics and heart patients, vegans and those who are gluten-free.

5. Doctors who make house calls.
While doctors making house calls used to be a common practice a few decades ago, it’s practically unheard of now. But it’s enjoying a second life in North Carolina. Doctors Making Housecalls is a medical group of 52 clinicians who make more than 75,000 home visits a year in private residences, retirement communities, apartments and assisted living facilities in North Carolina. This is an idea that’s bound to spread, along with some routine medical procedures being handled online.

6. Encourage the building of more lifelong housing.
Rogue Valley, Oregon, has a “lifelong housing” certification program whereby home builders and sellers can have their homes certified as such. The checklist of desirable housing features includes a no-step entry, a first floor full bath, etc. The certification levels are noted in MLS listings so homebuyers seeking age-friendly/multi-generational housing can more easily find appropriate housing and housing creators will hopefully be more encouraged to create age-friendly housing, says AARP.

7. Build a park and they will come.
A vacant field in Wichita, Kansas, was turned into a grandparents park — an outdoor space that children and grandparent (caregivers) could enjoy together. http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/grandparents-park-wichita-kansas.html

8. Help keep people active.
Brownsville, Texas, has a very poor, overweight population with high diabetes rates. One in four residents is age 50 or older. The city hosts several “CycloBias” a year in which streets are closed off to cars so that people can walk, bicycle and participate in health-targeted activities.

What is a gerontologist?

Aging is nothing new to societies; however, the term gerontology was first used in 1903. Contemporary gerontology, as a scientific field of study, began in the early to mid-1900s, with a notable boom after 1990. While those who work with aging adults may be familiar with the term gerontology, it is not widely known in the general public. I thought I would write a bit on what gerontology is and what a gerontologist does.

What is Gerontology?

The word gerontology comes from the Greek word geron, meaning “old man,” and the Greek word –logia, meaning “study of.” Gerontology is different from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of older adults – the opposite of pediatrics.

Gerontology is the study of aging, focusing on the biological, psychological, cognitive, and sociological aspects of aging. Gerontologists view aging in terms of four distinct processes: chronological aging, biological aging, psychological aging, and social aging.  Continue reading

Redefining “old”

This is a re-post from The Telegraph, a UK news source. It’s about how the current generation of “older adults” are redefining what aging and what old means. This has been a hot topic in the field of Gerontology over the past decade or so, and there is a growing popular opinion that “old” doesn’t begin until age 75, whereas it currently is defined as starting at age 65.

65 year olds are considered “young-old” by Gerontology definition. This definition is based on former UK retirement age programs. The United Nations defines “old” as starting with age 60, and the WHO has even defined “old” as starting at age 50 for certain studies on aging in Africa (where life expectancy is lower than in Western countries). And, of course, if you ask people who are younger than 25, many of them will say that “old” starts in your 30s or 40s – ah, the follies of youth!

The interesting part is that in recent years, people are living healthy and active lives well into their 70s or 80s, and many are not retiring until after age 65. This is causing us to redefine “old” not only based on retirement ages, but also on the lives that people are living.

Popular Gerontology definitions of “old”:

Young-old:  ages 65-74

Middle-old:  ages 75-84

Oldest-old:  ages 85+

I am always a little happy inside when I hear people say, “I’m old” and I get to tell them that by definition, the earliest that one is considered old is age 65. Especially when they are under age 60. And I think they are a little happy inside to hear that as well 🙂

Middle age now lasts until 74 as baby boomers refuse to grow old

Old age does not begin until 74, researchers suggest in a new report which looks at the real impact of an ageing population

Old age does not begin until 74, researchers suggest in a new report which looks at the real impact of an ageing population

Old age does not begin until 74, researchers suggest in a new report which looks at the real impact of an ageing population Photo: Alamy

5 Ways Memory Care Will Change By 2025

This is a re-post from Seniorhousingnews.com.

Written by Tim Mullaney

Senior housing providers recognize the rapidly growing need for memory care services, with recent industry surveys showing construction booming in this area.

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My BRAIN is alive . . . with the Sound of Music

Technologies help with dementia

Digital Journal has written an op-ed article citing one of my research articles!! You can access my 2012 article, “The future of assistive technology for dementia” as an open-source article through the journal Gerontechnology. You can also read the original op-ed by digitaljournal.com.

Op-Ed: Technology helps families cope with challenges of dementia

By Kimberly Reynolds     Feb 17, 2014 in Technology

The challenges of dementia and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are difficult on the patient, family and caregivers alike. Technology eases the burden.

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Key terms in Healthy Aging

I came up with this list of definitions used in Gerontology (aging studies). I made this during my internship with WHO Age-Friendly Cities, as a guide. To my knowledge, they didn’t do anything with this list of terms, so I am sharing it here.

Age effect  A difference due to chronological age or life-course stage.

Age grade  Use of age as a social category to group people by status-the expectations for when the transition from one role to another should occur.

Age stratification theory  Underlying proposition is that all societies group people into social categories and that these groupings provide people with social identities; age is one principle of ranking, along with wealth, gender, and race.

Chronological age  Number of years a person has lived.

Continuity theory  A more formal elaboration of activity theory; uses a life-course perspective to define normal aging and to distinguish it from pathological aging.

Convergence theory  A theory of aging that views old age as a great leveler, which reduces inequality that was evident at earlier stages of the life-course.

Convoy model of social relations  A theoretical model stating that each person moves through life surrounded by a group of people to whom he or she is related through the exchange of social support; dynamic and lifelong in nature.

Coping  A state of compatibility between the individual and the environment so that the individual maintains a sense of well-being or satisfaction with quality of life.

Countertransition  A life course transition produced by the role changes of others.

Life-course  The interaction between historical events, personal decisions, and individual opportunities; experiences early in life affect subsequent outcomes.

Life-course framework  An approach to the study of aging that combines the study of the changing age structure with the aging experiences of individuals.
Period effect  The impact of an historical event on the people who live through it.

Role  The expected behaviors associated with a given status; also a status and the behaviors associated with it.

Role allocation  Processes by which roles are assigned to individuals and the dynamics of role entry and exit.

Role conflict  An inability to meet competing demands of two or more roles; occurs when two or more roles are partially or wholly incompatible.

Role reversal  Reversal of parent-child role, with the child becoming the decision maker.

Role transition  Role changes individuals make as they leave school, take a job, marry, have children, retire.

Self-concept  The organized and integrated perception of self; consists of such aspects as self-esteem, self-image, beliefs, and personality traits.

Social clock  The age norms that provide a prescriptive timetable, which orders major life events.

 Note the difference between

  • Universal ageing – age changes that all people share
  • Probabilistic ageing – age changes that may happen to some, but not all people as they grow older including diseases, such as type two diabetes
  • Chronological ageing – numerical
  • Social ageing – cultural age-expectations of how people should act as they grow older
  • Biological ageing – an organism’s physical state as it ages
  • Proximal ageing – age-based effects that come about because of factors in the recent past
  • Distal ageing – age-based differences that can be traced back to a cause early in person’s life, such as childhood polio

Webpage design and aging

Since I started this blog, I have been frustrated with the small font. So, today, I have had enough! I decided to learn to code in order to increase the font size so that more people can read the site. The font is a little small for me, too, and I’m only 33 so I don’t think it’s due to age-related vision changes. Well, coding did not go so well and I didn’t want to pay to upgrade my site as I am not making money off of it or promoting a business. In the end, I decided to go with another design theme that already has larger font.

Great, so now I have larger font and hopefully everyone can read my posts, at least better than before. But, with the new theme, I have to manually change the colors of hyperlinks. This means, that if I don’t want to go and change the color of the text each time I put a link to another website or post (and I don’t), it’s a little tricker for people to know that it is even a link! I try to put some leading text, like “read more here,” but I must say I am frustrated that WordPress.com can’t accommodate readers of all ages and ability levels without the author paying for it (and I’m not even sure you can after you buy their premium package).

In further trying to make my site accessible for anyone who would want to visit, I used a few web sites that have some good information worth sharing with all of you. I had also made a blog post on Errorless Learning and design of technologies for aging adults. This was part of the work for the start-up I was involved in for the past year. That post doesn’t necessarily fit in with the Dementia Adventure theme, but I will likely be posting it here anyway, at least to get the information out to the public.

In the meantime, please take a look at the handful of websites I link below. I hope you get some inspiration for updating your website as well!

4 Easy Steps to Make Your Site More Usable to Older People

National Institute on Aging:  Making your website senior friendly 

Designing for Seniors 

Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland:  Universal usability web design guidelines for the elderly (age 65 and older)

Designing for Senior Citizens

Wiser Usability

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative:

Web accessibility and older people:  meeting the needs of ageing web users

Developing websites for older people:  how web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 applies

 You can also find some great information on Slideshare.

website-design-for-senior-citizens-2-1024

Course on living with dementia

To keep up to date and in the loop on the latest in dementia care, I signed up for a course on Coursera, a massive open online course, or MOOC. It consisted of online videos to watch and weekly assignments. We all communicate to each other through the discussion boards on the course web page. The course is offered for free, but I decided to take the signature track in order to receive a certificate when I am done. It was Living with dementia:  Impact on individuals, caregivers, communities, and societies.

This course is offered through the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and is lead by Dr. Laura Gitlin, PhD and Dr. Nancy Hodgson, PhD, RN, FAAN.

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Redesigning dementia care

This is a re-post from Crisis Prevention Intervention. Amy Schoenemann gives some great insight into design considerations for care!

Spotlight on Design for Dementia Care: An Interview With PDC Midwest’s Amy Schoenemann

By Terry Vittone | Posted on 06.04.2014

Spotlight on Design for Dementia Care: An Interview With PDC Midwest’s Amy Schoenemann

CPI recently had a chance to catch up with Amy Schoenemann, Director of Design Development and Project Architect for PDC Midwest, a Wisconsin-based architect-led design-build firm that specializes in senior living.

Throughout the last 18 years, PDC has been commissioned by regional and national senior care owner-operators to provide nearly 490 senior care projects in 27 states, and they are on the forefront of the trend in memory care facilities toward designing environments that engage and support residents.

Firms like PDC Midwest are of special interest to CPI’s Dementia Care Specialists, because we believe strongly that physical environments are critical components of successful memory care programs, where the combination of specialized care and environment create an optimum level of function, safety, and quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
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