Experts on aging are sounding the alarm about another U.S. drug crisis: Too many older adults taking too many medications.
This trend is leading to a surge in adverse drug events (ADE) over the past two decades. The rate of emergency department visits by older adults for ADEs doubled between 2006 and 2014 — a problem as serious as the opioid crisis but whose scope appears to remain virtually invisible to families, patients, policymakers and many clinicians, according to a recent report by the Lown Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Brookline, Mass. Continue reading
There’s little question in Lisa McGuire’s mind that Alzheimer’s disease is a public health threat in progress. She leads the CDC’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Both the prevalence and costs of Alzheimer’s are expected to increase as baby boomers age, meaning this crisis is fast approaching.
So the CDC, along with the Alzheimer’s Association, embarked on an ambitious “Healthy Brain” initiative to help bring down the trajectory. They created a series of roadmaps for state and local health departments, highlighting different health strategies that can quickly and easily blend into existing public health programs. Continue reading
You may have heard about Jeopardy host Alex Trebec’s announcement this year that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It’s a devastating disease, with only about a 9% relative five-year survival rate for those at any stage of the disease, and an even more dismal 3% five-year survival rate for those in a late stage like Trebec, according to the American Cancer Society.
While surgery may not be viable for someone in such a late stage of the disease, Trebec, 78, has vowed to fight hard to beat it. CBS News reported that chemotherapy and radiation may still be viable treatments. Symptom management through palliative care will also play a key role for him, as it does for tens of thousands of other cancer patients and millions of people with other debilitating diseases. Continue reading
Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJBrent P. Forester
While scientists are getting closer to understanding the various causes and risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, there’s still no cure.
However, that doesn’t mean life is hopeless for millions of people who have the disease, or their families. There’s a lot we can do improve their quality of life, according to panelists at a Health Journalism 2019 session on Alzheimer’s. Continue reading
The number of middle-income seniors age 75 and older is projected to nearly double over the next decade and likely will continue struggling to find affordable senior housing with supportive personal care services, according to a new study from the NORC research institute at the University of Chicago.
The study, published online in the April 24 issue of Health Affairs, identifies a vast new “middle market” for the seniors housing and care industry. The authors underscore the need for government and private sector actions to ensure middle-income seniors can afford the housing and care they will need. Continue reading
Almost every older adult — about 90% according to AARP — will tell you that they want to remain in their own home or in their community as they age. However, that can be a challenge as health issues mount, frailty takes hold or barriers like stairs seem insurmountable. Aging in place is often more easily said than done.
Challenges of social isolation, lack of nearby family to help, or appropriate, safe housing are among the biggest roadblocks to successful aging in place, according to the National Institutes on Aging. While some older adults can afford to hire caregivers who can help them with the various tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or meal preparation, many cannot. Continue reading