Monthly Archives: December, 2016

“Descriptive terms for older people: older is in and elderly is out” – GeriPal


“Never be the first to use a new descriptive term for older people nor the last to give up an old one.” 

“This is the advice given by Laura Morrison and colleagues in the discussion section of a fascinating new study published in JAGS this week.  The authors looked at how ‘older people’ are described in the English-language medical literature from 1950 to 2015. Specifically they looked at the use of the terms ‘geriatric,’ ‘aged,’ ‘old,’ ‘older,’ and ‘elderly’ in Pubmed.

“Here is what they found:

  • We liked using the term ‘aged’ in publications before 1961, but ‘aged’ quickly lost its appeal over the next decade.
  • ‘Geriatric’ became more common from 1955 to 1976 but again fell out of favor over the last couple decades
  • ‘Elderly’ peaked around the time of George Michael’s release of ‘Father Figure’ (I’m not sure if there was a connection between the two)
  • ‘Older’ hit its low point in 1962 but boomed in use with the boomers, and is now our most popular term accounting for 55% of references”

Continue reading this article at GeriPal, click here.

“Carrie Fisher’s Heart Attack Should Be No Surprise | Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.” – nextavenue

women-heart-diseaseCarrie Fisher (left) and her mom, Debbie Reynolds (right). Photo by Getty Images. (SOURCE: American Heart Association)

Seems it takes tragedy to bring intensity and focus on the obvious. nextavenue‘s email hits home with these articles:

  • “Carrie Fisher’s Heart Attack Should Be No Surprise”“Carrie Fisher. George Michael. Alan Thicke. The sudden deaths of the three celebrities from heart issues this month should remind us that coronary artery disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the U.S. And yet we often don’t pay much attention to the threat it poses.”
  • “5 Things Women Don’t Know About Heart Disease” – “We all know what a heart attack looks like. You feel a crushing pain in your chest and collapse to the floor. It all happens in a matter of seconds. Right? Not necessarily. Especially if you are a woman.”
  • “Mediterranean Diet Cuts Cardiac Risk 30 Percent” – ” …there is more definitive scientific evidence than ever before of the diet’s benefits. According to a study published online by The New England Journal of Medicine, the Mediterranean diet can help prevent 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease death for people at high risk of those conditions.

And this piece from is reinforcement:

  • “Women’s Heart Disease Symptoms To Watch Out For In Family And Friends” – “As if 2016 wasn’t already difficult enough for us all to handle, we lost Hollywood mother-daughter legends Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher within one day each other as the holiday season wound down. On Dec. 23, Fisher suffered a heart attack while on a plane from London to Los Angeles.”‘s article:

  • “The Deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Are a Cruel Reminder of a Sad Reality” – “In our memories, Debbie Reynolds will always be “Singin’ in the Rain” and Carrie Fisher will forever shine as Princess Leia. We should hold dear the way they make us feel each time we see them on screen. Yet as we process their deaths, we need to remember them as more than their most beloved roles. We also must set aside the incredibly sad timing of their deaths coming a single day apart. Once you peel away those layers, what remains is the sad reality of a mother and daughter both dying of cardiovascular diseases.”

“It’s Time to Redesign Death | A powerful TED talk on patient-centered compassion” – nextavenue


“Death is  a complicated topic. Explaining how to make death ‘good’ requires an ability to think both comprehensively and with subtlety. B.J. Miller, in this TED talk released in March and now making the rounds of social media, does just that .

“Miller was a sophomore in college when, horsing around with friends, he climbed onto a parked commuter rail car and was electrocuted. He lost part of one arm and the bottom of both legs as a result. That, he says, was the beginning of his ‘formal relationship with death.’

“Now a physician working at the Zen Hospice guest house in San Francisco, Calif., he focuses on providing palliative care and on fundamentally changing the American health care system. Right now, medical care centers on the disease. Miller argues that it should center on people — what patients want to do and what makes them feel good — taking into account caregivers as helpers and healers.

“Miller says ‘life and health and health care can become about making life more wonderful, rather than just less horrible.’

The video is 20 minutes long and lays out rich ideas. –

READ MORE about BJ Miller at this fascinating and insightful Princeton University Alumni Weekly newsletter article, “BJ Miller ’93: Wounded Healer.”

“Loneliness: A Growing Health Threat for Older Adults” – nextavenue

“A new campaign aims to bring more attention to the issue.”


by Emily Gurnon

“When Sol Moran, 63, left her home in Puerto Rico to move to Minneapolis, things initially went well. She enjoyed being closer to her son, who lived in a nearby suburb, and she had a job she enjoyed. Then Moran got hit with a constellation of serious illnesses. She wasn’t able to keep up her work as an interpreter and home health aide and didn’t have the energy to get out of her apartment for anything other than medical visits.

“Her world became very small.

“‘I had given up on life,’ Moran said last week. ‘I was wondering sometimes why I had a phone,’ since the only calls she received were about doctors’ appointments.

“’A Potent Killer’

“Loneliness and social isolation are not merely a source of sadness for many older adults. Studies have shown that isolation increases the risk of mental and physical illnesses. In fact … ”

To read this nextavenue article in its entirety, click here.


Do you know what to do if someone’s choking? What if it’s you?


This article from The Reading Eagle, “Home remedies: when someone is choking”, is so important.

This is something that can happen anytime. You could be at a restaurant, a friend’s place or you could be alone.

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.”

This is an important article, too, because it shows the procedures that might save a life … maybe yours: wikiHow to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself”

“A Dangerous Health Problem No One Talks About – The risk increases with age, but there are ways to prevent it” – next avenue

food sticking





The “Social Security Reform Act of 2016” | according to, this is “an impressive wish list of devastating Social Security cuts and upper-income tax breaks.”

According to an email from Social Security Works, “Just before Congress left for the holidays, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced the ‘Social Security Reform Act’ – an impressive wish list of devastating Social Security cuts and upper-income tax breaks.

“Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute Policy Center have crunched the numbers on the Johnson plan, and they are even scarier than we thought.

“More than 2/3s of beneficiaries would see, on average, a 27% cut in benefits. This includes:

  • Raising the retirement age to 69 (equivalent to a 13.5 percent across-the-board cut)
  • Changing the benefit formula (9 percent average cut)
  • Slashing the cost-of-living adjustment (13 percent average cut)
  • Some long-lived beneficiaries could see cuts of up to 74 percent!
  • Eliminates the taxation of benefits on high earners–giving a tax cut to those who need it least while reducing revenue back into the Social Security trust fund”

“Improve your health with a buddy” – Jus+care

buddies“No matter how old you are, if you have a chronic condition, it’s important to bring someone with you to your doctor’s appointment.”

buy Diane Archer

“We live in an ‘every man for himself’ society at a time when we would fare better recognizing the benefits of being “all in it together.” Social solidarity has a lot to say for it when it comes to our health and financial security. At the policy level, there’s no better testament to the value of social solidarity than Medicare and Social Security. And, at the personal level, there’s mounting evidence that we improve our health when we have a buddy.

“Most older adults see many different health care providers and depend on their families to navigate their health care options and coordinate their care. Family members can be terrific health care buddies. But nearly one in four older adults are elder orphans, with no one to help them with their care questions and coordination. Imagine figuring out when to enroll in Medicare and what choices to make on your own?

“The data suggest that having a health care buddy improves your health and extends your life.”

Continue reading this article at

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Merry Christmas to everyone, everywhere!

Click on the graphic above to watch this wonderful Christmas message.

Holiday message from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary


With the holiday season upon us, 2016 is quickly drawing to a close. On behalf of the Department of Aging, I want take this opportunity in this end of the year Friday Wrap-Up to thank each of you for your efforts to serve, protect, enable, and empower older Pennsylvanians and their families in communities throughout the 67 counties of our commonwealth. It was a year full of incredible opportunities for us to engage in meaningful dialogue with so many of our stakeholders as we journeyed throughout the state conducting community listening forums and holding public hearings to craft our 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging, which received approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living. Such approval is important as it assures our stakeholders and the seniors we strive to serve that our State Plan on Aging meets the complimentary objectives of the Older Americans Act, which calls us to be the constant and vigilant voice for older Pennsylvanians. A voice especially for those who are often not heard, those on the margins of society, those whose rights have been violated, and those who have been the victim of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

It was also a year full of amazing experiences, such as hosting the National Adult Protective Services Association Conference in Philadelphia, which brought over 650 professionals from across the country together to address the issue of elder abuse and neglect; and participating in two national Alzheimer’s disease forums. The first was held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with The Atlantic, and was entitled, The Path Forward: An Atlantic Forum on Alzheimer’s; and the second was held in Washington, D.C. last month with The Hill, and was entitled, Race Against Time: Overcoming Alzheimer’s by 2025. These two opportunities, combined with our own 2016 Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Forum and our on-going partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Pennsylvania and the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, allowed the department to connect with policy makers, medical experts, caregivers, and individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease for conversations about what combination of federal policies, state policies, new treatments, funding and support for patients and their families will be most effective with diagnosing, treating, and curing Alzheimer’s, while also ensuring that those impacted are connected to community services and supports.

While I could continue sharing and otherwise reminding everyone about our highlights and accomplishments, along with the challenges before us as we respond to the current and not-so-distant future of aging and long-term services and supports, I will wrap-up this last message of 2016 by thanking you for the strong support and assistance you provide the department and me every day. At this joyous time of year, we pause to wish you an abundance of happiness, and wish you and all those you hold dear a New Year filled with peace and hope.

Teresa Osborne


“you know, this sounds a lot like another one of my friends, who is bipolar.”

We happened on this post at, What does it feel like to have bipolar disorder?”

“Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” – National Institute on Health | National Institute on Mental Health

In the article the story about Jeff includes his five minute Excite Seattle presentation.


“This is a talk about what it actually feels like to lose your mind. It is an insiders look into madness and recovery. Jeff was committed in 2011 and diagnosed with bipolar disorder; he almost died twice. He now works as a crisis counselor and a mental health advocate.”