“Are you taking too many meds?
“If you’re an older American, chances are your medicine cabinet is crammed with bottles of pills to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and treat everything from acid reflux to underactive thyroid.
“Forty-two percent of adults over 65 take five or more prescription drugs, and nearly 20 percent take 10 or more, according to the Lown Institute, a health care think tank in Brookline. The institute warns of a growing epidemic of overmedication that’s sent millions of seniors to hospitals and emergency rooms in the past decade with often serious side effects.
“Lown, which published a report on ‘medication overload” last year, will release a national action plan later this month alerting patients, caregivers, doctors, and pharmacists — as well as policy makers — to the perils of overprescribing. The plan was developed by a group of patient advocates, geriatricians, nurses, and health insurers concerned about the unintended consequences of the ‘pills for all ills’ mind-set.”
Continue reading this article at The Boston Globe, click here.
Here’s what senior citizens should know about the new tax form.
“Lawmakers have been trying for years to cut seniors a bit of a break at tax time, and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 finally took a solid step in that direction by simplifying tax filing for individuals aged 65 and older. They’ll now have their own tax form, the 1040-SR.
It’s said to be similar to the 1040-EZ in several ways and much easier to negotiate than Form 1040. The tax form was first proposed in 2013 as part of the Seniors Tax Reconciliation Act. The AARP, the National Taxpayers Union, and the Association of Mature Americans all supported the bill. Alas, it never won the approval of the Senate.
Continue reading this article at the balance, click here.
“Like climate change, the aging of America demands a serious rethinking of the way we live.”
“Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times”
by Sysan Jacoby
“One of the paradoxes of this presidential campaign is that while many of the candidates are in their eighth decade of life, fundamental issues associated with the aging of American society are still receiving relatively little attention from the public, the press and politicians themselves. In 2031, the oldest baby boomers will turn 85, entering the land of the ‘old old’ and facing exponentially higher risk for dementia, serious physical disabilities and long-term dependency.
“Like climate change, the aging of America demands serious reconsideration of the way we live. Confronting the issue and its many implications, from Medicare’s failure to cover long-term care to the ethics of physician-assisted dying, requires what seems to be the most difficult task for human beings — thinking about the future.
“In November, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the birthrate among women of childbearing age had dropped to a record low, continuing a sharp decline in births that began around the financial crisis of 2008. At the same time, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported an increased death rate in the 25- to 64-year-old age group, with the main causes thought to be opioid overdoses, alcoholism and suicide.”
Continue reading this New York Times opinion piece, click here.
These patients are not aware of the true risks, and surgeons aren’t telling them, new research suggests.
by Paula Span
“The patient, a man in his 70s, had abdominal pain serious enough to send him to a VA Pittsburgh Healthcare hospital. Doctors there found the culprit: a gallstone had inflamed his pancreas.
“Dr. Daniel Hall, a surgeon who met with the patient, explained that pancreatitis can be fairly mild, as in this case, or severe enough to cause death. Recovery usually requires five to seven days, some of them in a hospital, during which the stone passes or a doctor uses a flexible scope to remove the blockage.
“But ‘because it can be life-threatening, after patients recover, we usually take out the gall bladder to prevent its happening again,’ Dr. Hall said.”
Read this article in its entirety at The New York Times.
If you happened to catch 60 Minutes last week, perhaps you watched the segment about extended life studies: “George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School is working to make humans immune to all viruses, eliminate genetic diseases and reverse the aging process.”
Today, we read this article (“The Limits of Longevity”) at at Time Goes By: What it’s really like to get old. Admittedly, this is a favored website of ours.
It’s just interesting to see so much interest in extending life. For centuries, man has wondered what it would be like to never age. The Greeks and the Romans thought about aging. In school, some of us learned that Ponce de León was seeking the fountain of youth.
The 1985 movie, Cocoon, romanticized “When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigor.”
Here are a few Internet-searched Websites dealing with the subject of extending aging:
More than 102,000,000 google results (0.74 seconds) pop up, when searching “fight aging.” And about 2,050,000,000 results (0.77 seconds) when searching “live longer.”
by Jane Eleey, for The Inquirer
“Loneliness may have the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous to health than obesity. Recent nationwide studies highlight the close relationship between social isolation and loneliness and serious health problems — memory loss, depression, self-neglect, changes in blood pressure, medication errors, decline in functional status, poor management of everyday living tasks — as well as greater mortality.
“Social ties provide support during illness, encourage people to maintain better health habits, and have positive effects on the immune system. Isolation from others contributes heavily to illness burden and premature death in at-risk populations.”
Read this article at The Inquirer, click here.
A new National Council on Aging report synthesizing the results of a national survey taken earlier this yearreveals that the aging network is spending more time addressing effects of the opioid epidemic, and older adults face increased financial concerns as a result of the crisis. Read the full issue brief for more findings and recommendations to address these issues.
“In 1964, with ‘Seven Up!’ Michael Apted stumbled into making what has become the most profound documentary series in the history of cinema. Fifty-five years later, the project is reaching its conclusion.”
“On a brisk Saturday morning, one uncommonly cloudless and bright for late autumn on England’s moody North Sea coast, the filmmaker Michael Apted paced a sloping headland of mud and stubble with an air of fretful preoccupation. Though the day’s shoot would amount, in the end, to an additional five-minute increment of the documentary project that had intermittently consumed the entirety of his working life, these occasions never ceased to surprise and unnerve him. He had known Jackie, whose arrival was imminent, for 56 years, but her interviews could be volatile, and this one was particularly important, he felt, to get right.”
Read this interesting article in its entirety at The New York Times Magazine here.