I stumbled across this article today, about a gentleman who teaches free course on genealogical research, which is increasingly frequented by senior citizens. Unfortunately, he teaches it on Staten Island — which is less than ideal for many of my readers. Genealogy can be exciting for anyone, but I think it is of special interest to seniors, so if you’d like to dive in, you can get free classes online from BYU, or online classes from the National Geological Society that are free to members.
I’m a firm believer in common sense. So, when articles started coming out a few years ago about all of those “brain game” programs only improving ones ability to play that particular game, but not improving overall cognition, that made sense to me. But similarly, it also makes sense to me that your brain needs exercise, and if you’re not exercising it, it will lose function. Therefore, it comes as no surprise at all that a general brain fitness program can improve cognition. Go exercise your brain!
This year, Medicare began reimbursing doctors for having end-of-life discussions as a separate, billable service. One the one hand, suggesting that doctors should be having this discussion, and that they should be paid for it, seems somehow wrong; almost antithetical to the Hippocratic oath. But the reality is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There are challenges with the American view towards death, and questions regarding quality of life, religion, and social policy. This article for USA Today does a surprisingly good job of hitting on the key points, at least at a cursory level.
On this day in 1976, U.S. News & World Report published A Bicentennial Guide to Black History, as February, 1976, was the first official Black History Month. From there, the idea spread, and now Black History Month is celebrated in the United Kingdom, and in Canada. The reason the article struck me was that Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week — a major success that began in 1926. Reading that article from 1976, I reflect on how much time has changed, and how much readers of this blog are, yourselves, part of history — after all, you were almost certainly an adult in 1976. Give the article a read, and see how much you think things have changed.
Recently, I wrote about some sub-par ratings that some nursing homes had received from Medicare. As I was reading the news this morning, I came across yet another article highlighting this problem, and I realized something — neither article gave a link to the actual data. So, here it is. Of course, Medicare ratings won’t give you enough information to let you pick the right nursing home — but they may well help you make some early eliminations and avoid major problems down the road.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about a number of financial perks that are available to the elderly — largely in the form of AARP discounts. But actually, there are quite a few more financial perquisites that one acquires with age. The good folks at Money magazine have compiled a list of 10 such benefits. They cover everything from tax implications, to free education. Of course, almost all the things they mention require a little more research, but it’s a great list to use as a starting point!
Among the alarming list of maladies that seem to be getting progressively worse in the U.S., we have some good news when it comes to dementia. In a forty-year study covering over 5,000 people, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine it appears that things are getting better. Not only is the onset of dementia coming later (average onset age of 85 now, vs. 80 in the 1970s), there appears to be an overall 20% reduction in the risk of developing dementia at all.
When I first saw the title of this article — Senior citizens embrace ‘cane-fu’ to help fight off trouble — I immediately understood the idea, but thought the name was just a joke, or maybe some marketing buzz to grab headlines. But it turns out, cane-fu actually exists, with over 300 instructors worldwide. And, as all good martial arts, its not just about the fighting, it teaches prevention, and how to keep yourself out of harms way; how to lessen your chances of becoming a target. So, if you’re self-defense minded, take a search around your local area. Maybe there’s a cane-fu instructor near you.
If you’ve flown internationally since 9/11, then you’ve undoubtedly encountered the enhanced security questions that everyone gets asked these days. One of those questions is, often, “are you carrying anything for anyone else”, or some variant on it. I’ve never really thought much about this particular question, even when the answer has been “yes”, but it may turn out to be more important than you think. It seems, there’s an ongoing scam to get seniors to inadvertently become drug mules So, be very careful from whom you accept packages if you’re traveling abroad.
In the Northwest on Sunday, St. Valentine brought with him record-setting low temperatures in a number of places. And for February, that’s saying something. Many local municipalities urged people to check on their elderly neighbors. But as I got to thinking about it, why do we need outlandish weather to go check on our neighbors? Regardless of where you live and what the weather might be like, keep in mind that being neighborly is the neighborly thing to do, and go check on the seniors around you.