Monthly Archives: May 2016

Why I decided to make friends with death

We know we will die someday, so we must accept and plan for it

By Irene Kacandes for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

(This article was written as a part of The Op-Ed Project.)

While we may fear meeting death alone, most of us are actually more afraid of dying surrounded by the wrong kind of people — that is, by health care workers.

Yet that is all too likely to be our fate. Statistics are squirrely, but many point in this direction. Seven out of 10 Americans express the wish to die at home. More than 80 percent of patients say they want to avoid hospitalization and intensive care at the end of life. And yet, the current reality is that about three-quarters of us actually die in some kind of institutional setting. read more

5 things to do during and after a hospital stay

Tips for making your time there as painless as possible

By George H. Schofield, Ph.D. for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

Any hospital stay can be a revelation. When it’s totally unexpected, the experience can be even more fraught with surprises. I speak from personal experience and have some advice based on it.

Last year, I had pain severe enough to require a middle-of-the-night visit to the ER. It turned out to be kidney stones — stones that felt like boulders and required an invasive procedure (a ureteroscopy) to view, measure and then zap them into dust. Star Wars inside my body while I was out cold.

The procedure was performed at a great hospital. I had a great specialist. It all went well. read more

Purposeful aging: A model for a new life course

New possibilities for older adults produce dividends for all

By Paul H. Irving for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging  project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging. Paul H. Irving was a member of the 2015 Influencers In Aging Advisory Panel.

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org, offers an insightful observation about the promise and potential of longer lives. “Thousands of baby boomers each day surge into their 60s and 70s,” he wrote in a recent article for The Wall Street Journal. “It’s time to focus on enriching lives, not just lengthening them; on providing purpose and productivity, not just perpetuity.” read more

5 ways to keep your kids from fighting over your will

Follow these rules now to prevent a family war later

By Patrick O’Brien for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

It is your worst nightmare. You’ve passed away, and now your adult children no longer speak to each other. Circumstances around your death have destroyed the family you spent your life building. As the CEO and co-founder of Executor.org, I’ve seen this all too often.

But this terrible scenario is preventable, if you plan properly.

The 2 big misconceptions about long-term care

Cautionary words from a Next Avenue Influencer In Aging

By Sudipto Banerjee for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

(Editor’s Note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging.)

There are many uncertainties in retirement. For example, we don’t know how long we are going to live, what the interest rates will be or how the stock market will behave. But one thing is nearly certain: our health will decline as we age.

That means at some point, most of us will face serious functional limitations and, in the event of serious health shocks, maybe even permanent disability. As a result, a large number of older Americans might require professional medical care at home or in institutions such as nursing homes. But there is a lack of awareness about the risk of long-term care because of two big misconceptions surrounding the topic. read more

PMMA wins three awards in international competition

trophies_newThe winners of the 22nd Annual Communicator Awards have been announced by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts April 26.  With over 6,000 entries received from across the U.S. and around the world, the Communicator Awards is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America received two awards of distinction, one for the Presbyterian Manors corporate website, PresbyterianManors.org, and one for the newly redesigned PMMA campus websites. read more

Why am I just getting allergies?

Allergic reactions can strike adults, and here’s what you can do

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

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When my daughter was two, I took her and her older brother blueberry picking near our hometown of Arcata, Calif. The farm owners weren’t too concerned about children “sampling” the goods. So my kids scarfed plenty of fruit before we got out of there with a full bucket.

The next day, a red rash blanketed my daughter’s torso. She was allergic.

Now that she’s a teenager, the allergy has disappeared. Allergies are funny that way. We often grow out of the ones we had as children.

But — as many of us know all too well  — we can also grow into allergies as adults. read more

PMMA’s Art is Ageless® calendar wins marketing award

Calendar cover 8-29- 2016Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s 2016 Art is Ageless® calendar won a gold award from the Healthcare Advertising Awards. The 33rd annual competition is administered by Healthcare Marketing Report.

Art is Ageless is a trademarked program of PMMA, a faith-based organization with 18 retirement communities in Kansas and Missouri. Each community holds a juried art competition exclusively for people age 65 and older.

Historically, winning art is displayed in the ever-popular Art is Ageless calendar and greeting cards. Electronic greeting cards featuring winning artworks can be sent by visiting ArtIsAgeless.org. Periodic programs and classes are held throughout the year to encourage seniors to express their creativity. Started in 1981 when resident art was featured in a calendar, the competition is now open to all seniors in the area. Learn more about the program at ArtIsAgeless.org. read more

This play puts Alzheimer’s caregivers in the spotlight

By Deborah Quilter for Next Avenue

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Credit: Photo by Carol Rosegg Caption: (L to R) Sharon Washington, Marjorie Johnson, Finnerty Steevens.

If you have ever cared for an older person with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a new play by Coleman Domingo (who’s also an actor and director) running through March 23 at  Manhattan’s Vineyard Theatre will likely touch a nerve. Though Dot focuses on a middle-class black family from West Philadelphia, audience members who stayed for a discussion about caregiving after the performance I attended found the message of this comedy-drama universal.

Shelly, sympathetically portrayed by Sharon Washington, is the put-upon daughter who performs the lion’s share of her mother Dotty’s care. Shelly, who also has a 9-year-old son, is already at the boiling point when the play opens. If we could see her blood pressure, it would be through the roof. read more

PMMA observes Older Americans Month

ShowcaseB_300x250For more than 50 years, the contributions of older adults in the U.S. have been recognized every May during Older Americans Month. President John F. Kennedy established the observance in 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging us all to pause and pay them tribute.

Since then, Older Americans Month has evolved into a celebration of older adults’ ongoing influence in all areas of American life. Spearheaded by the Administration for Community Living, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency stages activities throughout the month to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults and to highlight the ways that they are advocating for themselves, their peers and their communities. read more