An interesting study out of the UK found that the COVID-19 lockdown was a catalyst for many older people to embrace technology to reconnect with friends and build new relationships with neighbors. The findings are a counterpoint to other research documenting the toll that loneliness and social isolation has been taking on many elders during the pandemic.
Understanding the coping mechanisms adopted by some older adults during the pandemic will play a key role in developing interventions to help tackle loneliness, isolation and well-being in the future. Continue reading
In a deep-dive story for the Center for Public Integrity, a reporting team looked at the risk of contracting the virus among families living together — households that can include elders, essential workers and school-age children — and the gap by states prioritizing those households for vaccination. Their investigation showed that COVID-19 cases were disproportionately higher in counties with large concentrations of multigenerational households. Continue reading
For most of humankind’s existence, the average life expectancy was around 18 years. It’s only in the past century that advances in public health, medicine, and social services have enabled many of us to reach very old age. And we’re still at the beginning of a longevity revolution.
But when it comes to living longer, the United States is only somewhere in the middle compared with the rest of the world, according to the World Health Organization. Although we spend almost twice as much on health care as any other nation, 33 other countries boast longer life expectancies. That’s why we need to consider health span as well as lifespan, rethink how our medical systems care for aging adults and address the need for well paid, well-trained caregivers, according to an expert panel at the opening keynote of the American Society on Aging’s annual conference, which was held virtually this year due to the pandemic. Continue reading
Losing some hearing or eyesight is fairly common as we age. However, a new study says losing function in both senses may increase risk of dementia and cognitive decline down the road.
Journalists may want to consider looking at any local programs that address vision and hearing loss in older adults and how, or if, these programs address challenges of cognitive decline or multiple sensory impairments. Continue reading
Cannabis. Weed. Pot. Whatever you call it, marijuana use is on the rise among the older population, especially the Baby Boomers.
Thirty-six states plus the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories have so far approved the drug for medical purposes; 15 of those also allow recreational use and several others are considering it or already have bills in the works. My home state of New York, which had approved the use of medical marijuana, recently passed legislation to legalize small amounts for recreational use. Continue reading