Category Archives: Research

7 Reasons Why You Should Travel

Reap the benefits of health, happiness and gratitude on your next journey. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Wendy Sue Knecht for Next Avenue

Some people are just lucky — they’re born with it. I’m not talking about good looks or money. I’m talking about wanderlust …. that something inside of you that just makes you want to go places, explore and of course, wander.

My own wanderlust was cultivated at a young age. Although my family never took anything but road trips growing up, my father used to regale me with bedtime stories of Gee Gee Go-Go, a fictional character who traveled all over the world on his tricycle. It’s no surprise I became a Pan Am flight attendant! read more

Treating Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia Without Drugs

Happy senior woman gazes into the eyes of a sweet beagle in a comfortable setting

There is evidence for potential solutions like aromatherapy and pet therapy.

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

Most people think of dementia as affecting memory and cognition, and it certainly does. But some of the most distressing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementias are behavioral and psychological.

“What takes a lot of families by surprise are the things like agitation, problems sleeping, getting up and wandering; sometimes people even become violent,” said Dr. Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Some people exhibiting these kinds of behaviors have been treated with anti-psychotic drugs, which has sparked widespread criticism. And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated a black box warning on such drugs with older adults with dementia; they are associated with an increased risk of death. read more

Why Doctors Shouldn’t Treat All Older People the Same

Doctor meets with senior man in a medical office.

A New York Times op-ed makes the case for recognizing ‘oldhood’ in health care. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

By Grace Birnstengel for Next Avenue

Health care systems have very distinct doctors and procedures for treating children vs. adults — but the division often stops there. People ages 65 and older are largely lumped into the category of geriatric, without considering the vast differences between those in their late 60s or 70s and those in their 80s or 90s.

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Louise Aronson, author and professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), argues that the experiences of older adults are much more nuanced than currently considered. Aronson cares for older adults in the UCSF’s Care at Home Program and directs the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center. read more

Can Technology Predict Falls in Older Adults?

Man has fallen on a public sidewalk.

Fascinating new research sheds light on the precursors to potentially deadly spills. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

By Randy Rieland for Next Avenue

The prospect of aging can conjure up a multitude of horrors — a mind stolen by dementia, a body debilitated by illness, a soul crushed by social isolation. For most, fear of falling would be well down the list.

But falls are, in fact, one of the more common and consequential risks faced by older adults. The statistics, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, are both eye-opening and alarming.

One out of four Americans 65 or older falls at least once every year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult in the U.S. is treated in an emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, one dies from a fall. By 2020, the financial cost related to falls by older adults in the U.S. is expected to top $67 billion per year. read more

Caffeinated or Not, Coffee May Help You Live Longer

New research provides more good news for those who love their java

By Rita Rubin for Next Avenue

Man satisfyingly sips coffee from a mug while sitting outside with an open laptop

Two new, large studies found that people who drank even a single cup of coffee a day lived longer than people who didn’t drink any coffee. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

Two recent large studies suggest it might have been coffee that bubbled from the fountain of youth.

Both studies, one conducted in the United States, one across 10 European countries, found that people who drank even a single cup of coffee a day — decaf and/or caffeinated — lived longer than people who didn’t drink any coffee.

The effects were modest; compared to non-coffee drinkers, those who quaffed the most in the U.S. study, four or more cups a day, had an 18 percent lower risk of dying by its end. But given that half of U.S. adults drink coffee every day, the impact on the population could be substantial. read more

The Amazing Technology That Could Change How We Age

Experts say it will make life happier, healthier and easier for older adults and caregivers

By Suzanne Gerber for Next Avenue

Hand typing on a laptop

“Future tech will increase older people’s independence and help relieve the health services,” says Naomi Climer. [Photo credit: Getty Images]

Pop quiz: When you think about how technology will personally impact your life over the next 10 to 20 years, which of these things do you envision as being part of that evolution?:

  1. Holographic technology to communicate with your family
  2. A car that chauffeurs you around
  3. 3-D-printed medicine
  4. Drones to help with household activities
  5. All of the above

If the tech-prognosticators are to be believed, the correct answer is E: All of those Jetsons-sounding devices will be available in the coming not-so-many years.

Whether that news thrills or terrifies you, it’s ultimately a good thing, because these technological developments can help older adults and those who are housebound with tasks keep them mobile, keep them at home longer and help them stay connected to others, which is one of the most important factors for a long and fulfilling life. read more

How to make a real difference giving to charity

The views of ethicist Peter Singer, author of ‘The Most Good You Can Do’

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

MakeDifferenceGiving-blog

Thinkstock

Heartbreaking tragedies like the Nepal earthquake often make us want to donate to a charity and do our part to help. We’re also often touched by TV commercials imploring us to open our wallets for needy pets and children.

But since you can’t afford to help every cause, how should you decide which ones to assist? In his provocative new book, ‘The Most Good You Can Do,’ world-renowned Australian ethicist Peter Singer offers his views about “effective altruism.” (His site, Thelifeyoucansave.org, has a list of charities Singer thinks are highly cost-effective.) read more

Wichita State studies residents’ computer use

computerIndependent living residents at Newton Presbyterian Manor have the chance to sign up for computer training this summer to help them communicate electronically with family and friends who are off-campus.

Employees at Newton Presbyterian Manor and Wichita Presbyterian Manor have been working with a team of graduate researchers from Wichita State University to recruit residents who want to learn about computers, e-mail and social networking, said Susan Fry, senior vice president for clinical services for Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America. The WSU team is studying whether technology can help combat feelings of isolation among seniors. read more