It looks like you guys have been doing a good job of taking care of yourselves. The August edition of Circulation reports that amongst elderly Americans, death by heart disease has fallen precipitously over the past four decades. Now if we can just get those young folk to follow your example. The same study indicates that the rate of heart disease among the youth is flat, and attributes it especially to the rising rates of obesity and diabetes in that demographic.
This Monday, August 31st, Al Jazeera America’s Fault Lines will be airing the film “Take as Prescribed”. The name “Al Jazeera” may evoke hostile reactions, but it’s worth checking out as a credible, international news source that’s quite different from the memories you may have from when Americans only heard about it because that’s where Al Qaeda was releasing their videos. The film will explore the 8.5 million senior Americans who are prescribed opioids, which account for 70% of drug overdoses.
The are plenty of famous senior citizens still going strong — take Betty White, for example. But who are the coolest of the cool? Montevideo American News, weary of those 30-under-30 lists, decided to assemble a list of their own: the coolest senior citizens. Of course, Betty White is on the list, but so are 11 others — some of whom you may not know, some of whom you may know have known were still alive, but all of whom are unquestionably cool class acts.
Not that there’s anything wrong with statins; in fact, a July journal article that statins are unquestionably of use in lowering cholesterol. However, amongst the very elderly (those 79 and above), prescription of statins increased from 8.8% in 1999-2000, to 34.1% in 2011-12. The increase itself would be fine if there were clear benefits, but it seems to be widely used as primary prevention — amongst those with no history of coronary heart disease, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. And for that use in this population, it’s almost completely untested. So, if you’re taking statins purely for preventative purposes, you may want to ask your doctor again.
“Medical tourism” has been a big deal for quite a while. With seemingly never-ending price increases, worse health insurance, and cheaper travel, people have been combining world vacations with optional surgeries for years. But Mexico has never been at the top of the list of destinations. That’s changing now, particularly for senior citizens. With nearly 70% of seniors lacking dental insurance, there’s a growing trend amongst the demographic to head south of the border. Now, what’s Spanish for hygienist?
Last week, the New York Times published an opinion piece entitled “Republicans Against Retirement”. Arguably more interesting than the piece itself are the letters to the editor that came in response. They cover the gamut from basic agreement, with minor nits to pick such as the understanding that social security is an earned benefit vs. an entitlement, to complete disagreement on the fundamental points of the article. As always, both editorials and responses should be taken with a grain of salt, but they’re worth reading, just to see what people are thinking out there.
Stereotypes are there for a reason — they almost always include a fair bit of truth. And there are certainly plenty of stereotypes when it comes to senior drivers. But stereotypes also change over time, and as the Baby Boomers enter their senior years, we’re seeing an evolution in the relationship between seniors and cars. In fact, in many ways, the elderly are the future of the auto industry. None of the major companies are yet explicitly targeting this demographic, but expect it to come soon. Don’t forget to buckle up!
It may seem inevitable that one loses mental function as one ages. In fact, it may not be a feeling, it may actually be unavoidable. However, the degree to which one loses mental function need not be particularly severe. In fact, except in the case of a few degenerative diseases, research is indicating that following a few simple tips can keep you sharp as you age. And as it happens, these tips are pretty much good advice for anyone, so follow them and keep your cognitive function up throughout your life.
Everyone in the modern world has a notion of retirement — and no matter what your personal vision, it certainly involves a degree of stability, freedom, and choice. This blog has recently covered a number of issues related to elder abuse, not the least of which is the potential for fraud and financial exploitation. The actor Mickey Rooney, back in 2011, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging on exactly this topic. “My money was stolen from me. I was eventually stripped of the ability to make even the most basic decisions … my daily life became unbearable.”
This blog has covered a few times the rising risk of financial fraud targeting the elderly. But it’s worse than just the elderly being targeted explicitly. Many of our older friends and neighbors are still holding on to the same land-line that they’ve had for decades. There are lots of reasonable reasons to do that; however, one of the downsides is the increased risk of fraud through robocalling. Take a look at some of the arguments made in this article, and make the decision for yourself whether or not keeping the land-line is worth the risk.