April 2013

What’s old has become new again – the halo of aging in place

Henry Cisneros discovers aging in place.  In August, 2012, Kaiser Health News published an interview with former HUD Secretary, Henry Cisneros, who talked about his mother who is aging in place, following some well-considered home modifications. Cisneros also edited a book, Independent for Life – and just published an op-ed in the Miami Herald discussing this new frontier in housing, using his own mother as an example. Home modifications enabled her to remain in her home -- she insisted and he was apparently too cowardly to argue. She is described as widowed, 87 years old, requiring an alarm system, her home in a "neighborhood somewhat in decline." Her neighbors on three sides had passed away, and he admits that even though he visits her frequently (every other day, come on, now really???): "Aging in place in that neighborhood means older women living on their own." Looking ahead: he could have noted that one-third of the 90+ live alone – and while aging in place sounds pretty good, one must pause and remember life expectancy and personal expectation – half of the 65+ today expect to live to 90. And they're right. If a woman lives to 65, she is likely to live to 85. But by age 90, there is an equal likelihood of each of these scenarios: she will live alone, or with her relatives, or in some type of institution.   >>> Read more . . .

Smart phones are impossible to use -- no wonder seniors refuse

Every time a technology divide is crossed, a new one is created.  For years, we have documented the incremental growth in Internet use among older adults. And now, 41 million (13.3%) of the 315 million US citizens are 65+. Finally Pew announces, for the first time, that 53% of that 65+ population is online. Using whatever -- it doesn't say. But hang on now, almost 70% of affluent adults own smart phones. Yippee! But when it comes to the 65+ and smart phone use, the sleeping market giant of older adults online still dozes -- only 11% of the 65+ have them. Although smart phones represent 56% of mobile phone use, senior smart phone users represent only 23% of all those mobile phone users -- and their mobile phone usage is the lowest percentage of any of their other online access methods. So why do you suppose that’s the case? It surely isn’t for lack of money – they have significantly more wealth than younger cohorts. >>> Read more . . .

Montessori and dementia care – studied but not deployed?

Perhaps you’ve seen them, idle and bored 'memory' care residents.  If you study the calendar at a typical dementia care setting (adult day, assisted living, or nursing home) – it is possible to find a time of day in when there are no facilitated activities underway. Before and after meals, perhaps – a time period stretching an hour or more. The TV is on or music is playing. The day or evening shift staff members are doing a variety of chores, nurses are dispensing and recording medication doses – and residents are wandering or seated, in wheel chairs perhaps, or perhaps they are repeatedly approaching and deflected from exits.   >>> Read more . . .

Age is a number, longevity is irrefutable, but not for AARP

MetLife study pegs older at 40.  Down it goes. No, that’s not the value of the dollar. It’s the line at which 'mature' markets and older adults are segmented and studied in this doom-and-gloom study. The latest from MetLife -- On the Critical List – mulls the impact of obesity and the rise of chronic disease among the 40+ population, but on page 9, it’s coughing up a technology to promote independence – you guessed it, the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). Sure. Meanwhile, on the other end of the demographic dial, we find an impressive rise in a population living to 90 and beyond. Now the fastest growing group in the older population, some suggest that a change in the definition of the oldest be moved from 85 to 90.  And life expectancy continues to rise among those who might have the money to buy goods and services, creating a viable target markets for sellers of goods and services. >>> Read more . . .