Tag Archives: culture

Experts discuss coming shifts in quality of life, culture around aging

Blog photo credit: Image by NCVO via flickr.

Image by NCVO via flickr.

“Have we matched our healthspan to our life span?”

AgeWave.com founder and author Ken Dychtwald asked that question yesterday of a standing-room-only audience at the American Society on Aging Conference in San Diego. “Are we doing the right version of aging?”

Dychtwald moderated a panel discussion on the social, health, financial and cultural implications of our aging population which included Joseph Coughlin of the MIT Age Lab; Fenando Torres-Gil, director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging, UCLA School of Public Affairs; and Jo Ann Jenkens, chief operating officer of AARP. The speakers joined Dychtwald to offer some predictions on a very different looking future of aging than previous generations lived through.

“The new challenge of an aging society is not just living longer,” said Coughlin, “but how we will live better.” After getting some appreciative laughter when showing a slide of aging hippies, and commenting “These are the people your parents warned you about,” he turned serious and asked, “Do you think these folks are going to age as politely and nicely as their grandparents and great-grandparents did?” Continue reading

Explore how changing nursing home culture affects care

Nursing home rankingsAny journalist who covers nursing homes should check out this month’s special supplement in The Gerontologist, the Gerontological Society of America’s journal. It focuses on the two-decade long effort to change nursing home culture and many of the articles and studies raise important questions about whether enough progress has been shown.

For example, this study finds that nursing homes that are considered culture change adopters show a nearly 15 percent decrease in health-related survey deficiency citations relative to comparable nonadopting homes. This study looks at what is meant by nursing home culture change – the nature and scope of interventions, measurement, adherence and outcomes.  Harvard health policy expert David Grabowski and colleagues take a closer look at some of the key innovators in nursing home care and what it might mean for health policy – particularly in light of the Affordable Care Act’s directive to provide more home and community-based care. Other articles look at the THRIVE study, mouth care, workplace practices, Medicaid reimbursement, and more policy implications.

Any of these studies — or several taken together — can serve as a jumping off point for local coverage. Continue reading

Culture an important factor in ‘successful’ aging

The Senior Stutters Line Dancers of Valdosta performed a show at Lake Park United Methodist Church on March 1, 2011.

Image by Judy Baxter via flickr.

What is “successful” aging? According to experts at this week’s Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Conference, it depends on the lens through which it’s viewed.  “Most of our current definitions are applicable to non-Latino white individuals,” said Linda Phillips, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., from the School of Nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But these definitions may be inappropriate for elders in other ethnic and racial groups.”

For African-Americans, successful aging is directly connected to the life course process, said Kia Skrine Jeffers. “Health is either built or diminished based on social, economic and environmental experiences, that occur throughout life.” Stressors which occur during sensitive periods have significant impact on disease risk, and the cumulative effect, known as weathering, may also affect health-seeking behaviors. “Many racial and ethnic health disparities can be attributed to weathering, to the accumulated experiences of economic and social adversities.” Continue reading