“An aging index compares health, equality and social cohesion among countries.”
by Judith Graham
“The U.S. has a long way to go in becoming a truly age-friendly society, according to a new international scorecard — the most comprehensive assessment to date of how nations across the world are responding to their aging populations.
“Results were released last month at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics’ World Congress in San Francisco.
“The United States performed well, overall. With a score of 59.8 (out of a possible 100), it came in third of 18 countries for which composite scores were compiled, behind Norway (with a score of 65) and Sweden (with a score of 62).
“Hungary brought up the rear (at 23.5), followed by Poland (at 31.4) and Estonia (33.3).
“Many improvements needed
“Still, striking areas of weakness are highlighted in the analysis: rates of poverty among older adults in the U.S. are high; income inequality is pronounced; public expenditures for long-term care are low; tension between older and younger generations is palpable and healthy life expectancy is below that of several other nations.”
In this article there’s a familiar name. “Kevin Hines was 19 and suffering from severe bipolar disorder when he caught a bus, alone, towards the Golden Gate bridge in September 2000.” Hines has spoken locally at Kutztown University and in Lebanon County last year.
“Steve Mallen thinks the signs first started to show when his son stopped playing the piano. Edward, then 18, was a gifted musician and had long since passed his grade-eight exams. Playing had been a passion for most of his life. But as adulthood beckoned, the boy had never been busier. He had won a place to read geography at the University of Cambridge and was revising hard for his A levels. At his school, Edward was head boy, and popular among pupils and teachers. His younger brother and sister idolised him.
“‘We didn’t attach any particular significance to it,’ said Steve of what he saw as merely a musical pause. ‘I think we just thought, “Well, the poor lad’s been at the piano for years and years. He’s so busy … ’ But these are the small things – the ripples in the fabric of normal life – that you don’t necessarily notice, but which, as I know now, can be very significant.”’
“Three months after Edward stopped playing, and just two weeks after he handed in an English essay that his teacher would later describe as among the best he had read, police knocked at the door of the family home in Meldreth, a village 10 miles south of Cambridge.”
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Major Senior, Health Advocates Endorse Governor Wolf’s Unified Department of Health and Human Services
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that a broad coalition of advocates for seniors, recovery, people with disabilities, and other health and human services populations is speaking out in support of the unification of the departments of Health, Human Services, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs into one Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Having the support of this broad coalition of senior and human services advocates strengthens my administration’s efforts to break down silos, increase government efficiency, and listen across party lines and ideologies to develop a practical solution of integrating these vital human services agencies into one unified Department of Health and Human Services,” Governor Wolf said. “I applaud these organizations for sharing their ideas as we move through this process and for their support as we make the new department a reality for the people of Pennsylvania.”
These groups include: Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association (RCPA), The Arc of Pennsylvania, The Alliance of PA Councils, PA Health Access Network (PHAN), Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A), Pennsylvania Homecare Association, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, Equality Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association – Greater PA Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association – Delaware Valley Chapter, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, and Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR).
Governor Wolf has worked closely with the four departments and myriad advocates to identify and break down silos and reimagine how the state delivers such critical services. A website — https://www.governor.pa.gov/health-and-human-services/ — was launched … Continue reading this news release in its entirety; click here.
“The word ‘addiction’ brings to mind alcohol and drugs. Yet, over the past 20 years, a new type of addiction has emerged: addiction to social media. It may not cause physical harms, such as those caused by tobacco and alcohol, but it has the potential to cause long-term damage to our emotions, behaviour and relationships.
“While the older generation – those born in the baby boom period shortly after World War II – had alcohol and drugs as their vice, the younger generation – the so-called millenials – have social media as theirs. The millennials, born between 1984 and 2005, have embraced the digital age, using technology to relax and interact with others. Social media is a big deal for them; it is a lifeline to the outside world.
“Although people of all ages use social media, it is more harmful for younger users than it is for older people.
“Addiction may seem a bit of a strong word to use in the context of social media, but addiction refers to any behaviour that is pleasurable and is the only reason to get through the day.”
“Feeling at times sad, disappointed, envious, lonely—that isn’t maladaptive, it’s human.”
“Social pressure to feel happy can actually have the opposite effect–and might contribute to the prevalence of depression–according to recent research.
“‘Depression rates are higher in countries that place a premium on happiness,’ says social psychologist Brock Bastian. ‘Rather than being the by-product of a life well-lived, feeling happy has become a goal in itself. Smiling faces beam at us from social media and happiness gurus flog their latest emotional quick fixes, reinforcing the message that we should aim to maximize our positive emotions and avoid our negative ones.’
“‘If we fail to live up to that, what effect does it have on us?’ asks Bastian, associate professor in the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.”
“Taking care of your kids can mean taking care of yourself, too. Shutterstock” – SOURCE: The Conversation
“Prevention is the mantra of modern medicine and public health. Benjamin Franklin said it himself: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’
“Unfortunately, childhood adversities such as abuse and neglect cannot be prevented by vaccinations. As we now know, a large proportion of adults go through adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and can exhibit symptoms such as substance abuse. The symptoms seen in adults can in turn expose the next generation to adverse outcomes – creating a cycle that’s hard to break.
“However, we can limit the impact of ACEs on future generations by taking a close look at what we are doing today – not only for our children, but for ourselves, as adults. Therefore, to prevent adversities for children, we must address the healing and recovery of trauma in adults.”
Continue reading this article at The Conversation – click here.
Childhood trauma can have an impact across generations. ambrozinio/Shutterstock
Editor’s Note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This article is the first in a series exploring how research into adverse childhood experiences – or ACEs – is helping therapists, parents, educators and the medical community better understand the lasting effects of trauma on mental health.
“For millions of children in the U.S., poverty, neglect or abuse is a reality of everyday life, though these struggles are often hidden from view.
“Adult survivors often feel ashamed about and stigmatized for their childhood adversity. This makes it difficult to recognize that these events occur.
“While it’s easier to turn away than to face these issues, we can no longer afford to do so. Stress, mental illness and substance abuse – all health outcomes linked to childhood trauma – occur in the U.S. today at very high rates.
“In 1999, I joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an early investigator on a study to examine how childhood trauma can impact health decades later. Little did I know that I was about to begin both a professional and personal journey that would forever change my understanding of medicine, public health and the human capacity to heal.
“That seminal study provided insight into the lifelong health consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).”
Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.