Tag: aging

Depressive Symptoms Linked to Mobility Limitations in Older African Americans

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Journal of GerontologyA new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and featured in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Gerontology, has identified demographic and health related characteristics that were related to mobility limitation. Investigators found that African-American women who reported major depressive symptoms had nearly three times the odds of mobility limitation than those without major depressive symptoms. In addition, African Americans who reported two or more medical conditions had higher odds of mobility impairment than those who reported one or fewer medical conditions. The new study has implications for members of the aging baby boomer population, in light of previous studies that have suggested that impaired mobility is a precursor to adverse events in older adults such as hospitalizations and nursing home admissions.

“The rapidly growing U.S. population 65 and older will bring with it greater numbers of minorities and people with mobility challenges,” said Roland Thorpe, PhD, MS, assistant scientist with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “Major depressive symptoms have not been previously identified as a factor of mobility difficulty, but these findings suggest that apathy may play a role in this relationship. It’s possible, participants could do the measured activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, but lacked the motivation to do so. Strategies to preserve mobility among African Americans must include efforts to reduce major depressive symptoms and proper health care to treat and control medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart trouble, arthritis and stroke.”

Full story at Newswise

You’re never too old for exercise

By Lenny Bernstein

Aging ExerciseSome things should go without saying. But sometimes we need to say them anyway.

Here are two: You can’t stop exercising as you grow older. And if you’re 50 or so, and you’ve never adopted a fitness regimen, you’d better start.

Both ideas seem so blindingly obvious, but the numbers tell a different story.

According to the National Institute on Aging, only 25 percent of people age 65 to 74 engage in any kind of regular physical activity. For people 85 and older, it’s just 11 percent.

Does it seem unreasonable to ask an 85-year-old to exercise regularly? It shouldn’t, because it isn’t.

“At age 85, you want to continue enjoying life and not be limited by your physical abilities because your muscles aren’t strong and you’re having balance problems,” says Chhanda Dutta, chief of the clinical gerontology branch of the National Institute on Aging. “There’s so much more to life than simply being able to dress yourself.”

Full story at Daily Herald

Abuses in assisted-living facilities come under Senate panel’s spotlight

By Erika Bolstad

Abuse in Assisted Living HomesWASHINGTON — It was an early-morning awakening that Alfredo Navas said he’ll never forget: His sister on the phone, telling him that their 85-year-old mother had drowned in a shallow drainage pond behind the facility that was caring for her.

But the safeguards his family had assumed were in place to monitor an elderly woman with dementia – cameras, door locks and vigilant caretakers – failed his mother in 2008, Navas told the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging on Wednesday.

Those abuses and others were chronicled in a Miami Herald series "Neglected to Death," which focused this spring on critical breakdowns in Florida’s enforcement system, including failures by the state’s Agency on Health Care Administration to fully investigate deaths or to shut down some of the worst offenders among Florida’s 2,850 assisted-living facilities.

Full story at Miami Herald

The Stigma Around Aging And Chronic Pain

By Richard W. Besdine, M.D.

"Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself."

– Physician and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

When you’re in pain, nothing else seems to matter. And if you’re an older adult, you are not only more likely to have pain, but also to get less help for it than younger people are.

Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, and is the top-cited reason for seeking medical care. The relief of pain is the heart and soul of health care. And while always unwelcome, pain often has an important role to play. It can provide a warning that something is wrong, such as infection or undiagnosed disease. It is sometimes called the "fifth vital sign," as essential as temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate, for assessing health status.

Full story at Huffington Post