“Average life expectancy in U.S. increased in 2019 for the fifth straight year” – STATNews

active aging

U.S. life expectancy rose last year for the fifth year in a row — to an average of 78.8 years — according to new CDC data. Here’s more: 

  • The figures: The 2019 increase in mortality was only 0.1 year higher than the year prior, when the life expectancy was 78.7 years. Although men and women saw increases, women’s life expectancy was five years higher, at more than 81 years. 
  • Causes of death: The 10 leading causes of death last year were the same as in 2018, including heart disease and cancer. The rate of death decreased for seven of the 10 causes, including for Alzheimer’s disease and influenza. 
  • Infant mortality: Although infant mortality rates decreased last year — to 558.3 deaths per 100,00 live births — the difference was not statistically significant. 


Mortality in the United States, 2019 – This report presents final 2019 U.S. mortality data on deaths and death rates by demographic and medical characteristics. These data provide information on mortality patterns among U.S. residents by variables such as sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, and cause of death.

“What Is Death?” – The New York Times

How the pandemic is changing our understanding of mortality.


by Dr. Miller is a hospice and palliative medicine physician, author of ‘A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death,’ and founder of Mettle Health, which provides consultations for patients and caregivers navigating serious illness.”

“This year has awakened us to the fact that we die. We’ve always known it to be true in a technical sense, but a pandemic demands that we internalize this understanding. It’s one thing to acknowledge the deaths of others, and another to accept our own. It’s not just emotionally taxing; it is difficult even to conceive. To do this means to imagine it, reckon with it and, most important, personalize it. Your life. Your death.

“Covid-19’s daily death and hospitalization tallies read like ticker tape or the weather report. This week, the death toll passed 300,000 in the United States. Worldwide, it’s more than 1.6 million. The cumulative effect is shock fatigue or numbness, but instead of turning away, we need to fold death into our lives. We really have only two choices: to share life with death or to be robbed by death.

“Fight, flight or freeze. This is how we animals are wired to respond to anything that threatens our existence. We haven’t evolved — morally or socially — to deal with a health care system with technological powers that verge on godly. Dying is no longer so intuitive as it once was, nor is death necessarily the great equalizer. Modern medicine can subvert nature’s course in many ways, at least for a while. But you have to have access to health care for health care to work. And eventually, whether because of this virus or something else, whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, death still comes.”

Read this opinion column at The New York Times in its entirety, click here.

Department Of Health Provides Update On COVID-19: 6,209 Patients Hospitalized And 1,246 Patients In The Intensive Care Unit

PA doh logo– news release –

9,320 Additional Positive Cases Of COVID-19, Hospitalizations Remain At Double Peak In The Spring

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., December 18, that there were 9,320 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 538,655.

There are 6,209 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, double the peak in the spring. Of that number, 1,246 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.

The trend in the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 5,300 since the end of September.

Click here to continue reading this report.

“No More Emotional Support Peacocks As Feds Crack Down On Service Animals On Planes” – NPR

Orlando, emotional support animal, ESA

“Under a new rule issued last week by the Transportation Department, only dogs that meet strict service animal standards will be allowed to fly with passengers. Orlando, emotional support animal, ESA.” (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

by David Schaper

“The days of bringing your emotional support cat, pig or even a miniature horse on a plane may soon be coming to an end. The federal government is enacting a new rule restricting the types of service animals allowed on commercial airline flights, allowing only dogs that meet specific training criteria.

“The new Department of Transportation rule is in response to a growing backlash in recent years to airline passengers trying to bring all kinds of wild and outlandish pets onto planes, including the woman who tried to bring an “emotional support” peacock on board a United Airlines flight in 2018, and the “comfort” turkey that was actually allowed to fly on Delta Airlines back in 2016.

“‘It’s gotten really out of control,’ says Paul Hartshorn, Jr., a flight attendant for American Airlines and spokesperson for the flight attendants’ union there. ‘For years, our members have been dealing with untrained, sometimes wild animals in the aircraft cabin.

“‘For the most part, I will say it’s dogs that are not properly trained, but we’ve seen everything from pigs, to monkeys, to hamsters. You name it, we’ve seen it,’ Hartshorn added.

“The untrained animals can have behavioral issues, and some even relieve themselves on the plane.”

Continue reading this article at NPR; click here.

“Older people spend more time alone, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lonely”

alone not lonely

As we go through life we build personal relationships with different people – family, friends, coworkers, partners. These relationships, which are deeply important to all of us, evolve with time. As we grow older we build new relationships while others transform or fade, and towards the end of life many of us spend a lot of time alone.

“Taking the big picture over the entire life course: Who do we actually spend our time with?

“From adolescence to old age: who do we spend our time with?

“To understand how social connections evolve throughout our lives we can look at survey data on how much time people spend with others, and who that time is spent with.

“The chart below shows the amount of time that people in the US report spending in the company of others, based on their age. The data comes from time-use surveys, where people are asked to list all the activities that they perform over a full day, and the people who were there during each activity. We currently only have data with this granularity for the US – time-use surveys are common across many countries, but what is special about the US is that respondents of the American Time Use Survey are asked to list everyone who was present for each activity.

alone not lonely 2

Read this article in his entirety – click here.

“Welcome to the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities” – AARP

age friendly

  • The population of the United States is rapidly aging.
  • By 2030, one of every five people in the U.S. will be 65 or older.
  • By 2035, the number of adults older than 65 will be greater than the number of children under 18.

That’s why AARP staff and volunteers are working throughout the nation to engage and mobilize communities, share expertise, and deliver technical assistance to the towns, cities, counties and states in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities

The work that happens within the network — which is a program within the larger AARP Livable Communities initiative — is hands-on and locally determined and directed.

The common thread among the enrolled communities and states is the belief that the places where we live are more livable, and better able to support people of all ages, when local leaders commit to improving the quality of life for the very young, the very old, and everyone in between.

AARP engages with elected officials, partner organizations and local leaders to guide communities through the age-friendly network’s assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation processes.

Read more; click here.

ATTENTION Link partner agencies: 2020-21 Veterans’ Trust Fund Notice of Funding Announcement

veterans trust fund

Click on the above graphic to download the entire .pdf file.

NOTE: The due date for the application is Wednesday January 27, 2021 by 2:00 pm

“THE OTHER SIDE OF ANGER | How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger” – NPR


(top) – For more than 30 years, the Inuit welcomed anthropologist Jean Briggs into their lives so she could study how they raise their children. Briggs is pictured during a 1974 visit to Baffin Island. – Jean Briggs Collection / American Philosophical Society; (center) – Inuit parenting is gentle and tender. They even have a special kiss for kids called kunik. (Above) Maata Jaw gives her daughter the nose-to-cheek Inuit sniff. – Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR; (bottom) – The elders of Iqaluit have lunch at the local senior center. On Thursdays, what they call “country food” is on the menu, things like caribou, seal and ptarmigan. – Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR

by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh

“Back in the 1960s, a Harvard graduate student made a landmark discovery about the nature of human anger.

“At age 34, Jean Briggs traveled above the Arctic Circle and lived out on the tundra for 17 months. There were no roads, no heating systems, no grocery stores. Winter temperatures could easily dip below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Briggs persuaded an Inuit family to ‘adopt’ her and ‘try to keep her alive,’ as the anthropologist wrote in 1970.

“At the time, many Inuit families lived similar to the way their ancestors had for thousands of years. They built igloos in the winter and tents in the summer. ‘And we ate only what the animals provided, such as fish, seal and caribou,’ says Myna Ishulutak, a film producer and language teacher who lived a similar lifestyle as a young girl.

“Briggs quickly realized something remarkable was going on in these families: The adults had an extraordinary ability to control their anger.”

To continue reading this fascinating story at NPR, click here.

“Covid’s strange moment: Joy over vaccines coincides with new levels of deaths and hospitalizations in U.S.” – STATnews

covid and vaccineMedical staff members at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston watch a monitor screen for an endoscope while performing tracheostomy procedure on a patient in the Covid-19 ICU.”GO NAKAMURA/GETTY IMAGES

by Andrew Joseph

The vaccines — the elixirs that will help drag this pandemic to a close — had finally arrived. There they were on Monday, being readied for health care workers in New York, Colorado, Ohio, Texas, and beyond, each rolled-up sleeve marking an initial step in curbing Covid-19.

“And yet, even as the images of trucks, planes and unpacked boxes offered a triumphant respite for a public desperate for hope, the bad news kept knocking. The country crossed 300,000 official deaths from the coronavirus on Monday. It hit a record number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized — more than 110,000, according to the Covid Tracking Project. For the week that ended Monday, the average daily toll included more than 2,300 deaths and more than 210,000 infections, according to STAT’s Covid-19 Tracker.

“It would have been a jarring split screen, if not for the fact that so much of the suffering from Covid-19 has seen people dying or mourning alone. While doctors and nurses administered vaccines in front of cameras as governors kept watch, the 1,300 people who died from the virus Monday largely did so isolated in hospital rooms.”

Click here to read this article at STATnews in its entirety.


“Picturing the ‘patience, love, and devotion’ of Alzheimer’s care” – STATnews

alz4My mother is feeding my father. He is no longer able to chew his food. My mother prepares mashed food for him.” – JALAL SHAMSAZARAN/NVP IMAGES

by Alissa Ambrose – photos by Jalal ShamsaZaran

“Alzheimer’s disease runs in photographer Jalal Shamsazaran’s family: his aunt, grandfather, and father, Majid, all have been diagnosed.

“So as he documented the final years of his father’s life, in Tabriz, Iran, Shamsazaran recognized his own potential future.

“’Perhaps the character and behavior of my father is a part of my character and behavior in future,’ he told STAT via a translator. ‘I can say that I am photographing myself.’

“Shamsazaran’s photographs depict grief and loss, but also show the strength and love in his family. In the photo above, Shamsazaran’s mother, Aliyeh, tightly embraces her husband during the late stage of his illness. In another, a portrait drawn by a young grandchild is placed by the elder Shamsazaran’s sleeping face — a reminder of the passage of time that a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s makes all the more apparent.”

Continue reading this article at STATnews; click here.