Hurricanes. Wildfires. Floods. Blackouts. We all like to think we would know what to do when a disaster or emergency strikes, but a new national poll shows that many adults over 50 haven’t taken key steps to protect their health and well-being in case of severe weather, long-term power outages or other situations.
Less than half have signed up for emergency warning systems offered by their community, which can give crucial information in case of storms, natural disasters, lockdowns, evacuation orders, public health emergencies and more. Continue reading
Millions of older adults struggle to make ends meet. They’re often faced with nearly impossible choices — food or medication; rent or a doctor visit. Some 9.2% of older adults were considered poor in 2017, according to the official poverty rate.
That’s an income of less than $11,756 per year to meet basic costs for food, housing, health care and transportation. Using a more realistic Supplemental Poverty Measure, even more older adults are considered poor, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Continue reading
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