Category : Aging / the Elderly

(Front page of yesterday’s NYT) As Gen X and Boomers Age, They Confront Living Alone

In 1960, just 13 percent of American households had a single occupant. But that figure has risen steadily, and today it is approaching 30 percent. For households headed by someone 50 or older, that figure is 36 percent.

Nearly 26 million Americans 50 or older now live alone, up from 15 million in 2000. Older people have always been more likely than others to live by themselves, and now that age group — baby boomers and Gen Xers — makes up a bigger share of the population than at any time in the nation’s history.

The trend has also been driven by deep changes in attitudes surrounding gender and marriage. People 50-plus today are more likely than earlier generations to be divorced, separated or never married.

Women in this category have had opportunities for professional advancement, homeownership and financial independence that were all but out of reach for previous generations of older women. More than 60 percent of older adults living by themselves are female.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Children, Economy, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Marriage & Family, Psychology

(NPR) 1 in 4 young adults live with a parent, grandparent or older sibling, research shows

The percentage of young adults living with parents, grandparents, or older siblings or roommates has nearly tripled since 1971, new data from the Pew Research Center shows.

In a 2021 survey of nearly 10,000 Americans, one in four adults from ages 25 to 34 lived in a “multigenerational family household” — defined as a household of adults 25 and older that includes two or more generations. About 9% of adults had these living circumstances in 1971, the report said.

While most young adults in multigenerational households lived in households led by one (39%) or two parents (47%) — the most common arrangements — about 14% lived in a household headed by someone other than a parent, such as a grandparent, sibling, roommate or an unmarried partner.

In contrast, 15% of young adults had at least one parent who had moved in with them, according to Pew.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, Marriage & Family

(NYT) During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People

Despite strong levels of vaccination among older people, Covid killed them at vastly higher rates during this winter’s Omicron wave than it did last year, preying on long delays since their last shots and the variant’s ability to skirt immune defenses.

This winter’s wave of deaths in older people belied the Omicron variant’s relative mildness. Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the Omicron surge as did in six months of the Delta wave, even though the Delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness.

While overall per capita Covid death rates have fallen, older people still account for an overwhelming share of them.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine

(Economist) Asia’s advanced economies now have lower birth rates than Japan

Japanese fertility is still ultra-low compared with almost any society in human history. Yet it is now higher than that of any well-off East Asian or South-East Asian economy. The numbers in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan ranged between 0.8 and 1.1 in 2020 (see chart). Nor is this a temporary blip caused by the pandemic: Japan’s figure was higher than all those countries in 2019, too.

Rich, baby-averse Asian countries in the region have three things in common. First, their people rarely have children outside marriage. Only around 2% of births in Japan and South Korea are to unmarried mothers, the lowest levels in the oecd, a club of rich countries. In wealthy Western countries that figure is typically between 30% and 60%. In China, the few who become pregnant out of wedlock are often denied benefits. The region’s decline in births has closely tracked a decline in marriages. The age at which people commit to a lifetime of entanglement has also been rising, further delaying child-bearing.

A second shared factor is expensive schooling. Pricey private tutoring and other wallet-emptying forms of “shadow education”, as such extras are known, are common in East Asia. The most frequent reason cited by Japanese couples for having fewer children is the cost of raising and educating them. Lucy Crehan, an education researcher, says that these problems might be even worse in other parts of Asia. Japanese pupils face their first high-stakes exams only at the age of 15. In contrast, children in Shanghai and Singapore must take such tests as early as primary school, piling on the parental pressure to perform and adding to the family’s tuition bills.

Yet it is the third factor that might explain why Japan is out-sprogging its rich Asian peers. A flurry of research in recent years suggests that high house prices cause young couples to delay having children.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Asia, Children, Marriage & Family

(Halifax Courier) Probably the country’s oldest active bell ringer has celebrated his 100th birthday

Terry Halstead, from Todmorden, took up the hobby when he was in his teens and still at school.

“Four of us lads went to Christ Church, in Todmorden, and they agreed to teach us the art. It was probably a mistake – four teenagers were something of a handful – but I have loved it ever since,” he said.

“I continued when Christ Church closed as a Church, and moved to St Mary’s in Todmorden, where a new set of eight bells were installed by the local ringers, seven newly cast, and one chiming bell taken from Christ Church. As I got older St Mary’s proved to be a wise move. “It is a ground-floor ringing room, there are no well-worn stone steps to climb.”

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(Jim Houston) Letters From a Hospital Bed #14: Reflections From a 99 Year Old

Earlier I wrote of how dreams have changed my life and through it, even events that have shaped others. The early indigenous explorers that discovered New Zealand were responding to their ‘a dreaming’. Augustine and his mother Monica found themselves united through having had the same dream that they were both, together, in the presence of the Lord, a reality that Augustine explored more fully in his Confessions. The silence of Quakers often led to shared dreams that had some profound social impacts, such as the abandonment of slavery, as they recognized through dreams the universal equality of each person, each made uniquely in the image of God. In a time where we think that Zoom is our only way of being ‘together’, perhaps the Lord has other ways for us to enjoy a communion that our busyness has too long resisted. Martin Luther-King energized a generation and more, by declaring so memorably that “I have a dream”. In our hyper-cognitive times, in which the rational brain is amplified, and cognition celebrated, where is the place of our emotions, even the deep depression expressed by Kierkegaard? In our dreams, our emotional life can find greater freedom of expression.

As I have entered this more sleep-filled season of my life, I sense a greater urgency to attend to my dreaming, not only because there is more opportunity – I sleep a lot more – but because I am discovering a richness of life that I was too busy to engage as fully before. I was always blessed by being raised in Spain as the ‘siesta’ was a daily feature and one I have recovered more fully in later life. But dreams are not only for the old – young men will see visions, says the prophet, Joel. I see dreams as a double consciousness that can intensify our identity as Christians, to take our faith beyond the simple affirmation of catechism and entrust our entire unconsciousness into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. It is hard to argue with God in a dream! Instead, we can know His gentle guidance and prodding of our stubborn wills.

As we prepared this letter, Chris has pressed me to express my deep desire for you with respect to our dreaming. In response to his well-intentioned pestering, I make this my prayer for you.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Canada, Seminary / Theological Education

(Lifeway) Average U.S. Pastor and Churchgoer Grow Older

Not only are congregations growing older, so are their leaders. The average clergy member is 57 today compared to 50 in 2000, according to the FACT study. The seven year increase comes despite a small dip in the average age, 58 to 57 years old, in the past five years. Other studies have shown similar increases.

The Faith Communities Today report said, “the postponement of retirement by many clergy and fewer young adults enrolling in seminaries make this general trend unlikely to reverse anytime soon.”

The trends of graying pulpits and pews appears to be related. The older the pastor, the heavier the concentration of senior citizens in their church. Pastors under 45 lead congregations where 27% are 65 and older. Senior citizen pastors, on the other hand, have churches where older adults make up 40%.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(BioEdge) Euthanasia has had negative effect on palliative care in Canada: report

Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) act began to operate in 2016. It is a laboratory for how legalised euthanasia will operate in a largely English-speaking country. And, according to an article in the journal Palliative Care written by five Canadian specialists, it has had a very negative effect upon palliative care.

The authors interviewed 13 doctors and 10 nurses about their impressions. Some of the feedback is unexpected.

First, all of them spoke about an inherent conflict between the provision of palliative care (PC) and eligibility for MAiD. To ensure that their patients remained eligible, they had to withhold medications which would have otherwise removed or alleviated their pain. “Maintaining lucidity and eligibility for assisted death, by avoiding sedative medications, took priority over achieving good symptom control for some patients,” they write. Both the patients and the PC providers found this distressing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

Archbishop Justin Welby speaks on Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords

Sadly, I believe this Bill to be unsafe. As a curate and parish priest I spent time with the dying, the sick and the bereaved. I still do. All of us have personal experience. I have as well. We know that the sad truth is that not all people are perfect, not all families are happy, not everyone is kind and compassionate. No amount of safeguards can perfect the human heart, no amount of regulation can make a relative kinder or a doctor infallible. No amount of reassurance can make a vulnerable or disabled person feel equally safe, equally valued, if the law is changed in this way.

All of us here are united in wanting compassion and dignity for those coming to the end of their lives.

But it does not serve compassion if by granting the wishes of one closest to me, I expose others to danger.

And it does not serve dignity if in granting the wishes of one closest to me I devalue the status and safety of others.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Unherd) Mary Harrington–The death of Britain’s dignity–The Assisted Dying Bill exploits the rhetoric of compassion

We largely have Christianity to thank for our faltering modern belief that human life is sacred. The ancients took a much more casual approach. Unwanted babies were abandoned to die or be rescued by strangers: like Romulus and Remus, Rome’s mythical founders, who were raised by a wolf.

Much as new lives were not automatically worth preserving, taking your own life in the ancient world wasn’t automatically bad either. Socrates’ decision to drink hemlock rather than face exile, was deemed honourable by many ancient philosophers.

Christian doctrine, though, taught that human life is sacred, because it holds a spark of the divine. Thus only God should be permitted to give or take life. The 325AD Council of Nicaea decreed that every Christian village should have a hostelry for the sick, a principle which extended to abandoned children. For the same reason, a long-standing Christian tradition forbids suicide. But as the Christian era has faded, so old debates about the beginning and end of life have re-surfaced – most recently, in the accelerating campaign to legalise assisted dying.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General

(AFP) Living with Alzheimer’s: China’s health time bomb

Doctors diagnosed Chen with Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia, where people suffer impaired cognitive function including memory loss, eventually needing full-time care.

Approximately 10 million people have been diagnosed with the degenerative — and incurable — brain disorder in China, which accounts for approximately a quarter of the world’s cases.

As the country’s population is rapidly aging, this figure is expected to soar to 40 million by 2050, according to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The report warned this surge in cases would cost the economy $1 trillion each year in medical expenses and lost productivity as caregivers drop out of the workforce.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, China, Health & Medicine

The Church of England’s adviser on medical ethics responds to calls for ‘[so-called] doctor assisted dying’

The authors speak of ‘safeguards’ to ensure that vulnerable people are not put at risk and reference the provisions of the ‘Meacher Bill’. Safeguards on paper, however, are worthless unless they can be consistently, universally and comprehensively translated into practice.

It is a tragic irony that on the day the authors’ article was published, news headlines were dominated by the deaths of three vulnerable adults in Care. In spite of every written policy, protocol, and approved practice, their reality was tragically different.

These were not isolated incidents; we have only to think of the hundreds of avoidable deaths in the Mid-Staffs hospital scandal, abuse of residents with learning disabilities in Eldertree Lodge and ‘systemic biases contributing to unequal mortality outcomes in ethnic minority women and women facing multiple problems and deprivation’.

We can add to this, the recent experience of many elderly care home residents in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic who were given DNACPR notices without proper protocols being followed.

Human lapses and failings build upon one another until catastrophic outcomes ensue…a process that, in too many instances, no amount of assumed monitoring or paper safeguards has been able to capture, never mind stop.

What can possibly give us confidence that similar safeguards will provide a better outcome if the law on assisted suicide were to be changed?

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Theology

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Aging / the Elderly, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(Local Paper front page) As South Carolina and US grapple with home care shortage, Charleston caregiver wins prestigious honor

Several hours each week, Bill Glover visits Jean-Marc Bollag at the apartment he and his wife share on Daniel Island.

He works on exercises with Jean-Marc and they take walks. They spend time together on the computer, answering emails, a lot of time talking. Sometimes Glover drives Bollag to Shem Creek or to Starbucks or to run errands.

“He is a very good teacher. And I’m a very bad student,” Jean-Marc, 86, said with a smile.

Glover is a 67-year-old professional caregiver — one of relatively few men in the industry — who launched a second career in 2014 after retiring as a clinical mental health counselor. These days, he works almost exclusively with clients like Jean-Marc Bollag who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Nearly 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number is expected to triple in the next 30 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine

(NPR) With Workers In Short Supply, Seniors Often Wait Months For Home Health Care

For at least 20 years, national experts have warned about the dire consequences of a shortage of nursing assistants and home aides as tens of millions of baby boomers hit their senior years. “Low wages and benefits, hard working conditions, heavy workloads, and a job that has been stigmatized by society make worker recruitment and retention difficult,” concluded a 2001 report from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Robyn Stone, a co-author of that report and senior vice president of Leading Age, says many of the worker shortage problems identified in 2001 have only worsened. The risks and obstacles that seniors faced during the pandemic highlighted some of these problems.

“COVID uncovered the challenges of older adults and how vulnerable they were in this pandemic and the importance of front-line care professionals who are being paid low wages,” she says.

Michael Stair, CEO of Care & Comfort, a Waterville, Maine-based agency, says the worker shortage is the worst he’s seen in 20 years in the business.

“The bottom line is it all comes down to dollars — dollars for the home care benefit, dollars to pay people competitively,” he says. Agencies like his are in a tough position competing for workers who can take other jobs that don’t require a background check, special training or driving to people’s homes in bad weather.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(BBC) Assisted Suicide bill to be lodged at Scottish Parliament

A new bill to legalise assisted dying will be lodged at the Scottish Parliament, the BBC has learned.

The proposals – brought forward by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur – aim to introduce the right to an assisted death for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

Previous attempts to change legislation in Scotland have failed.

A cross-party steering group of MSPs have outlined their support of the bill in an open letter.

The bill will be lodged at Holyrood on Monday and it is understood a consultation on its contents is expected to take place in the autumn.

Read it all and there is more there.

Posted in --Scotland, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture

(Yesterday’s NYT front page) A nursing home where vaccinations have finished offers a glimpse at what the other side of the pandemic might look like

But amid the clinking of silverware and the soothing sound of jazz, the losses of the past year could be felt at each table where someone was missing.

Good Shepherd shut down in March, even before the virus had been found in West Virginia. Residents went without visits with loved ones, outings to the movies, even fresh air.

“I felt really lost,” said Joseph Wilhelm, 89, a retired priest who said he had found it difficult to concentrate on prayer.

Twice, the nursing home tried loosening restrictions, only to shut down again.

Sally Joseph, 85, grew tearful as she told of being separated from her children and grandchildren. At Christmas, she looked out the window and waved at her grandson, who visited in the parking lot. “This is the hardest thing,” she said. “But then when I get weepy and feeling sorry for myself, I think, ‘Everybody in the world is having the same problem as I am.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(C of E) Chaplain mobilises churches and community to identify more than 1,000 over 80s for Covid-19 vaccination

The Revd Andy Dovey, Lead for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in south London, reached out to churches and faith groups in the area to raise awareness of the availability of the vaccine.

It came as NHS teams across the country booked appointments for the most vulnerable people in our society, including those over 80 who were already coming in to hospital for outpatient appointments,

“The response has been amazing,” he said.

“I am really grateful to the community of churches that have pulled together to support our congregations in these difficult times.”

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

(FT) Oxford Covid19 vaccine trials offer hope for elderly

A vaccine considered a frontrunner in the race to protect the global population from Covid-19 has produced a robust immune response in elderly people, the group at highest risk from the disease, according to two people familiar with the finding.

The discovery that the vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups has encouraged researchers as they seek evidence that it will spare those in later life from serious illness or death from the virus.

Age has emerged as the principal risk factor for a severe bout of Covid-19. However, the immune system weakens with age, raising concerns that the very group that most needs the protection of a vaccine may generate the least effective response to one.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NYT Magazine) Elderly and Homeless: America’s Next Housing Crisis

Oliver was born at the tail end of the baby boom, when American families celebrated postwar prosperity by having more children than ever before — 72.5 million between 1946 and 1964, or nearly 40 percent of the population of the United States at the time. Many of those children went on to live stable, successful lives. Others teetered on the edge as they aged, working jobs that didn’t come with 401(k) plans or pensions and didn’t pay enough to build a nest egg, always one misfortune away from losing all they had. Amid the pandemic, many of them are now facing homelessness, at an age when they are often too old to be attractive to employers but are not old enough to collect Social Security.

Policymakers had decades to prepare for this momentous demographic shift, but the social safety net has only frayed under a relentless political pressure to slash funding for programs that senior citizens rely on to make ends meet, like subsidized housing, food and health care. “It’s the first thing fiscally conservative people want to cut,” says Wendy Johnson, executive director of Justa Center in Phoenix, the only daytime resource center in the state set up exclusively for older homeless adults. “But this is every single senior to whom we promised that if they paid into the system, we’d take care of them.”

Last year, after analyzing historical records of shelter admissions in three major American cities, a team of researchers led by Dennis P. Culhane, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the country’s leading authorities on homelessness, published a sobering projection: In the next 10 years, the number of elderly people experiencing homelessness in the United States would nearly triple, as a wave of baby boomers who have historically made up the largest share of the homeless population ages. And that was before a pandemic arrived to stretch what remains of the social safety net to the breaking point.

“If we’re forecasting a flood, where the water will reach up to our heads,” Culhane told me, “it’s already up to our knees, and rising very, very fast.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Poverty, Theology

Thursday Encouragement–(NBC) Florida Utility Worker Brings Birthday Joy To Nursing Home Resident Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

When Albert Jones learned it was 94-year-old Barbara’s birthday, he stopped what he was doing to sing “Happy Birthday” to her; enjoy it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(NYT Op-ed) Russell Moore–God Doesn’t Want Us to Sacrifice the Old

A generation ago, the essayist and novelist Wendell Berry told us that the great challenge of our time would be whether we would see life as a machine or as a miracle. The same is true now. The value of a human life is not determined on a balance sheet. We cannot coldly make decisions as to how many people we are willing to lose since “we are all going to die of something.”

A life in a nursing home is a life worth living. A life in a hospital quarantine ward is a life worth living. The lives of our grandparents, the lives of the disabled, the lives of the terminally ill, these are all lives worth living. We will not be able to save every life. Many will die, not only of the obviously vulnerable but also of those who are seemingly young and strong. But every life lost must grip us with a sense of lament, that death itself is not natural but is, as the Bible tells us, an enemy to be withstood and, ultimately, undone.

That means we must listen to medical experts, and do everything possible to avoid the catastrophe we see right now in Italy and elsewhere. We must get back to work, get the economy back on its feet, but we can only do that when doing so will not kill the vulnerable and overwhelm our hospitals, our doctors, our nurses, and our communities.

And along the way we must guard our consciences. We cannot pass by on the side of the road when the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and the vulnerable are in peril before our eyes. We want to hear the sound of cash registers again, but we cannot afford to hear them over the cries of those made in the image of God….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Theology

(EF) Spanish parliament starts the final process to decriminalise euthanasia

The first official debate to finally pass the draft law to decriminalise euthanasia, proposed by the social democrat party PSOE, took place this week in the Spanish Parliament.

It has the support of the majority of the parties. The draft law, inspired by the Dutch and Belgian model, proposes that those who suffer a serious and incurable or disabling illness, with unbearable suffering could ask for euthanasia.

First, the patient and a doctor will have to agree, afterwards a second medical opinion is needed, then the patient will have to confirm his decision two weeks later, and 15 days later it can be made. The process will not last more than a month.

Furthermore, the law foresees the creation of a Commission for Control and Evaluation in each region, in addition to a registry of health professionals who decide to be conscientious objectors. Doctors who allege this cause must do so in writing.

The draft law must now go through the Health Commission, go back again to the Parliament and, finally, to the Senate. A process that could be resolved before summer.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Spain, Theology

(NYT Op-ed) The Unending Indignities of Alzheimer’s

But while his family, and his physician, agree on the need for more advanced care, his health insurers do not.

Medicare does not generally cover long-term nursing home care. Medicaid does, but only when it deems those services “medically necessary” — and that determination is made by insurance agents, not by the patient’s doctors. The state of New Jersey, where my parents live, recently switched to a managed care system for its elderly Medicaid recipients. Instead of paying directly for the care that this patient population needs, the state pays a fixed per-person amount to a string of private companies, who in turn manage the needs of patients like my father. On paper, these companies cover the full range of required offerings: nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and a suite of in-home support services. In practice, they do what most insurance companies seem to do: obfuscate and evade and force you to beg.

When I told my father’s care coordinator what his doctor said, she was unequivocal. “He is not even close to qualifying,” she said. “He’s only 78, and he can still walk and wash and dress himself without assistance.”

I countered that he had “bathroom issues” and that he frequently refused to shower.

“Refusing to do something is not the same as being physically incapable of doing it,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing

(NPR) Older Americans Are Increasingly Unwilling — Or Unable — To Retire

Bob Orozco barks out instructions like a drill sergeant. The 40 or so older adults in this class follow his lead, stretching and bending and marching in place.

It goes like this for nearly an hour, with 89-year-old Orozco doing every move he asks of his class. He does that in each of the 11 classes he teaches every week at this YMCA in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

“I probably will work until something stops me,” Orozco says.

He may be an outlier, still working at 89, but statistics show that there may be more people like him in the near future. About 1 in 4 adults age 65 and older is now in the workforce. That number is expected to increase, making it the fastest-growing group of workers in the country.

Older adults are turning their backs on retirement for many reasons. Some, like Orozco, just love what they do. Others, though, need the money, and there are a lot of reasons why they do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pensions, Personal Finance, Social Security, Theology

(NPR) Isolated And Struggling, Many Seniors Are Turning To Suicide

Across the country, suicide rates have been on the rise, and that rise has struck the nation’s seniors particularly hard. Of the more than 47,000 suicides that took place in 2017, those 65 and up accounted for more than 8,500 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who are 65 and older face the highest risk of suicide, while adults 85 and older, regardless of gender, are the second most likely age group to die from suicide.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 47.8 million people over the age of 65 in the U.S. as of 2015. By 2060, that number is projected to reach 98.2 million.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(PRC) On average, older adults spend over half their waking hours alone

Americans ages 60 and older are alone for more than half of their daily measured time – which includes all waking hours except those spent engaged in personal activities such as grooming. All told, this amounts to about seven hours a day; and among those who live by themselves, alone time rises to over 10 hours a day, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In comparison, people in their 40s and 50s spend about 4 hours and 45 minutes alone, and those younger than 40 spend about three and a half hours a day alone, on average. Moreover, 14% of older Americans report spending all their daily measured time alone, compared with 8% of people younger than 60.

While time spent alone is not necessarily associated with adverse effects, it can be used as a measure of social isolation, which in turn is linked with negative health outcomes among older adults. Medical experts suspect that lifestyle factors may explain some of this association – for instance, someone who is socially isolated may have less cognitive stimulation and more difficulty staying active or taking their medications. In some cases, social isolation may mean there is no one on hand to help in case of a medical emergency.

People ages 60 and older currently account for 22% of the U.S. population – 73 million in all. It’s estimated this share will rise to 26% by 2030, fueled by the aging of the Baby Boom generation. The well-being of older adults has become a topic of much interest both in the United States and in other developed nations, particularly as it relates to social connection.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(AP) Maine Becomes 8th State to Legalize Assisted Suicide

Maine legalized medically assisted suicide on Wednesday, becoming the eighth state to allow terminally ill people to end their lives with prescribed medication.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who had previously said she was unsure about the bill, signed it in her office.

Oregon was the first state to legalize such assistance, in 1997, and it took over a decade for the next state, Washington, to follow suit. While still controversial, assisted suicide legislation is winning increasing acceptance in the United States, and this year at least 18 states considered such measures.

Maine’s bill would allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill people a fatal dose of medication. The bill declares that obtaining or administering life-ending medication is not suicide under state law, thereby legalizing the practice often called medically assisted suicide.

The proposal had failed once in a statewide vote and at least seven previous times in the Legislature. The current bill

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Science & Technology, State Government, Theology

(CT) A Visit with Luis Palau, Still on Fire for Christ in the Sunset of Life

As our time drew to a close, I felt compelled to ask Palau how he faces the sunset of his life. In A Life on Fire, he deals quite candidly yet encouragingly with his illness. I wondered what he might tell Christians in similar circumstances who might be tempted to fall into despair.

With a slight laugh, Palau said, “Now that I’m sick, I have more authority. I tell people I’m dying, and suddenly they listen to you.” A short while later, he addressed the issue head-on. “Every campaign, I always talked about heaven. So, to me, it is as real as flying to New York, only better. But the fact is that Satan attacks, and he’ll use all his stratagems to make you feel guilty or lose faith or despair. Be ready for that. I went back to Hebrews 8, 9, and 10 … all of those passages about this intercession for us, the assurance. Go back to that. Don’t read too many other books about heaven. Just read what the Bible says. Underline those passages. Take it to heart. Make notes to yourself that the One who is seated in heaven covered all your sins. Don’t let Satan lie to you that some sins are unforgiven. They’re all forgiven. They’re all cleansed.”

Perhaps it was cliché to ask, but I couldn’t resist: “It’s one thing to be passionate, starry-eyed, and eager in your 20s and 30s. But as you’ve aged and are now facing this possible closing of your life here, do you still feel that you are living a life on fire?”

“Yes. I am,” he said confidently. “The only regret is that the body won’t respond.” Ever the evangelist, Palau takes to the airwaves if he can’t be somewhere in person. For him, media interviews are “a chance to speak these wonderful truths one last chance [while] alive.”

“I’m still on fire, praise the Lord,” he said.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Evangelicals, Theology

(Patch) Senior Hunger: 5.5M Older Americans Struggle To Find Enough Food

Hunger among senior citizens is in many ways an invisible crisis, but the troubling reality is that 5.5 million older Americans are skipping meals or going entire days without eating anything. And with more Baby Boomers leaving the workforce every year, the problem is getting worse, not better, even with a strong economy.

“Oftentimes, all food insecurity is under the radar, but this is a really, really important topic,” said Craig Gunderson, the lead author in The State of Senior Hunger report released Tuesday by Feeding America, a Chicago-based nonprofit that operates 200 regional food banks and 60,000 food pantries around the country,

“I don’t think we’re talking nearly enough about this issue,” said Gunderson, also the director of undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, who has spent his career researching issues of food insecurity and making policy recommendations on how to curb it.

For these senior citizens — your parents and grandparents — aching questions about the availability of food never go away, and many go at least a day without eating to stretch their limited incomes farther, Gunderson said. As with America’s hungry kids, depression rates and medical costs soar when older Americans don’t have enough nutritious food in their pantries.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty