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Life News Practicalities of Living

Immigration Issues as They Affect Employment in the Elder Care Industry

March 30, 2018

One of the top issues in the news recently is immigration, with changes in protected status for immigrants from countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras; uncertainty for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children; limitations on immigration from several predominantly Muslin countries; and potential changes to family reunification processes.

The New York Times highlighted the impact of immigration on the elder care industry, both official structured agencies and the larger informal direct employment segment.

Increasingly, direct caregiving job openings are attracting fewer candidates. A growing economy has led to native-born Americans opting instead for better paying, less physically demanding work in other fields. This leaves openings often filled by immigrants, many of whom have increasingly uncertain status.

PHI (Protected Health Information) points out that one in four workers in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home care agencies are foreign-born. Shares are thought to be even higher in the informal sector. In states such as California, Florida, New Jersey, and New York, more than 40 percent of direct care workers are foreign-born.

According to Freedonia Group analyst Jennifer Mapes-Christ, “the formal elder care industry will require nearly 6.1 million employees by 2021 to accommodate the growing need for these services. This need will be driven largely by an aging population, particularly as the large baby boomer demographic advances into age cohorts that require a greater level of care.”

She continued, “Many consumers worry about who will take care of them and how much of a burden they will be on their families as they age. As a result, Americans are more open than ever to hiring professional caregivers when it is available and they can afford it.”

Mapes-Christ added, “However, finding, hiring, retaining, and supporting staff is an ongoing concern for elder care services providers. Employee turnover is one of the largest issues facing most of these service providers. The physical and emotional demands of the job, coupled with a lack of professional advancement opportunities, are the most oft-cited reasons for this turnover. Changes in immigration policy will affect the size of the pool of potential employees, possibly resulting in service shortages, particularly in rural areas, or wages hikes that would drive up costs if providers are unable to attract enough qualified workers.”

Additional analysis of employment in the US elder care industry can be found in the following Freedonia report: Elder Care Services in the US.

For more information: https://www.freedoniagroup.com/industry-study/elder-care-services-in-the-us-by-service-provider-payment-source-and-region-4th-edition-3587.htm

Health News Practicalities of Living

Cannabis Safe and Effective for Regular Use in the Elderly

February 21, 2018

A new published clinical study out of Israel offers scientific evidence that the therapeutic use of cannabis can be a safe and effective treatment for elderly people, and is often a factor leading to the decreased use of other drugs, including opioids.

The groundbreaking article, “Epidemiological characteristics, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in the elderly” published on February 7, 2018 in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, is the first of its kind. The study surveyed patients above 65 years of age who received medical cannabis at Tikun Olam clinics in Israel from January 2015 to October 2017. All 2,736 patients, with a median age of 74.5 years, were prescribed one or more of Tikun Olam’s proprietary cannabis strains, each developed over a number of years to address specific symptoms. The main strains used in the study were Erez, (53.2%), Avidekel (33.4%), Alaska (25.7%), and Midnight (20.4%).

The most common indications for cannabis treatment were pain (66.6%) and cancer 60.8%). After six months of treatment, 93.7% of the respondents reported improvement in their condition and the reported pain level was reduced by half — from a median of 8 on a scale of 0–10 to a median of 4. Adverse side effects were minor and rare and included dizziness (9.7%) and dry mouth (7.1%).

Importantly, after six months, 18.1% of the patients reduced their dose of opioid analgesics — or stopped using them entirely.

The largest supplier of medical cannabis in Israel, Tikun Olam partnered with Israel’s Soroka University Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the study. Bernie Sucher, chief executive officer of Tikun Olam Global LLC, said, “This study is an unprecedented affirmation by the scientific community of the efficacy of medical marijuana in the elderly. These people are arguably the most medically vulnerable population and already a large and growing proportion of the users of medical cannabis.”

“This pioneering clinical study on the use of cannabis in the geriatric population is the first step in finding safer, and less toxic medications for use in our elderly populations,” Sucher added. “We are proud to have partnered with the scientific and academic communities for this release, and ongoing analysis and study will be a significant factor in improving and developing new cannabis products in both the traditional and the pharmaceutical markets.”

About Tikun Olam
Tikun Olam (“repair the world” in Hebrew) is the world’s leading cannabis brand and globally recognized as the pioneer of modern medical cannabis. The company’s global mission is to research, develop and provide efficacious, data-based cannabis treatments to help sufferers. Operating as a commercial venture for over 10 years, Tikun Olam’s products have been used since 2010 in ongoing clinical trials in Israel’s regulated medical cannabis market, treating over 10,000 patients for a variety of symptoms of medical conditions such as Cancer, PTSD, AIDS, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease/Colitis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, chronic pain and neuropathy. Through this access to patients, medical personnel and data collection, Tikun Olam has developed multiple proprietary strains, including the first-ever, high-CBD, “high-less” strain Avidekel™, its high-THC strain Alaska™, and its “one-to-one” CBD/THC strain Midnight™. Tikun Olam’s U.S. operations, established in 2015 as T.O. Global LLC, are a joint venture with Tikun Olam Ltd. (Israel). Tikun Olam also operates similar partnerships in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and South Africa.

Health Life News Practicalities of Living Travel

Olympian Finds Gold in Giving Back to Seniors

February 16, 2018
No Regrets Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

World Champion and Olympic Freestyle skier Jeremy Bloom is used to skiing with some of the world’s best skiers, but his most recent skiing partner was equally inspiring. He recently met up with an 88-year-old Brookdale resident who dreamed of skiing one last time. As founder of Wish of a Lifetime, Jeremy spends much of his post-Olympic days granting wishes to deserving seniors like Eleanor “Ellie” Ross.

Ellie never thought she would ski again after breaking her hip and damaging her knees during a ski trip six years ago. Prior to her accident, the Massachusetts woman had been skiing nearly every weekend for more than 50 years. Doctors told her to put away her skis but she wasn’t going to give up just like that. She remembered seeing ski teams towing people in sleds and modified skis during her travels.

“Whatever you want to do, make a way to do it,” said Ellie. “If you don’t, you’re going to regret it the rest of your life.”

When Ellie heard about Wish of a Lifetime from her caregivers at Brookdale, her eyes lit up as she envisioned herself among the trees once again. Ellie said her only hope was to once again glide a steep slope covered with fresh fallen snow and to feel cold fresh air fill her lungs and caress her cheeks.

Through the use of adaptive skiing, Ellie and Jeremy recently hit the slopes on the same mountain where Jeremy learned to ski as a kid. Ellie’s family and friends cheered them on as she and the Olympian shared the excitement of their mutual life’s passion.

“Ellie’s wish experience shows that people can do anything as they age,” said Jeremy. “I want people to know that you don’t have to stop wishing, you don’t have to stop dreaming, and you don’t have to stop pursuing life to the fullest as you get older.”

Jeremy says seeing Ellie ski again was very special. It’s moments like this that remind him why he founded Wish of a Lifetime. The nonprofit’s mission is to shift the way society views and values the oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ dreams and sharing their stories to inspire people of all ages. He teamed up with Brookdale Senior Living in 2010 as a way to reach more seniors. He said the size and scale of Brookdale help him make more dreams come true for seniors.

“Working with Jeremy and Wish of a Lifetime has given our residents incredible opportunities to live life to the fullest,” said Sara Terry, senior vice president of resident and family engagement. “This partnership allows residents to fulfill those dreams they may have stored away or thought weren’t possible to achieve.”

Since the partnership’s inception in 2010, more than 900 Brookdale seniors have had their Brookdale Wishes granted. While Brookdale is the founding sponsor of the nonprofit organization, Wish of a Lifetime is open to all seniors across the country. Click here to learn more about how to submit a wish for a deserving senior.

About Wish of a Lifetime

Wish of a Lifetime™ fosters respect and appreciation for deserving seniors by fulfilling their life-enriching Wishes. Founded in 2008 by two-time Olympic skier, World Cup gold medalist, entrepreneur, and former NFL football player Jeremy Bloom in living honor of his grandmother, Wish of a Lifetime has made over 1,000 Wishes come true for seniors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The organization aims to create a positive shift in the way society views and values aging by sharing the stories of its inspiring Wish recipients with those of all generations. After experiencing a wish, 93 percent of Wish recipients stated they felt their quality of life improved and 76 percent said they felt their overall health improved. To learn more about the organization or to help fulfill a senior’s Wish visit www.wishofalifetime.org.

About Brookdale

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is the leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States. The Company is committed to providing senior living solutions primarily within properties that are designed, purpose-built and operated to provide the highest-quality service, care and living accommodations for residents. Brookdale operates independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers, with approximately 1,031 communities in 46 states and the ability to serve approximately 101,000 residents as of September 30, 2017. Through its ancillary services program, the Company also offers a range of outpatient therapy, home health and hospice services.

Health News Practicalities of Living

Nordic Walking for Fitness

January 26, 2018

I recently had some health issues that made me realize that if I want to be able to successfully travel when I “retire” I need to up my game when it comes to walking. It seems that my natural state is seated, either behind my computer or in the lovely recliner that I bought to “put my legs up”! Unfortunately, I have arthritis in both knees and sometimes it seems to me that I would prefer to cease moving!

This is not to be allowed! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I don’t use it I will lose it! But oh, I hate to walk for exercise! Hiking is not bad, but I am not at the place where I can do much of that at the moment.

I was looking for some photos to use in a previous story and ran across some of seniors with walking poles. Now, I have seen these for hikers. As a matter of fact, my sister has quite a nice pair, but I had never really seen them used on walking paths. I started going down the rabbit trail in Google and discovered that what my photo people were doing was Nordic walking, a type of exercise that was initially started as a summer fitness program for cross-country skiers in Finland.

It seems this exercise is wonderfully suited to seniors and escalates the normal benefits of walking. According to Patricia Sands in her article ” 5 Reasons Nordic Pole Walking is Amazing for Older Women, “This sport gives you a tall feeling – naturally aligning your spine and strengthening your core. Over 50% more muscles are engaged than walking without poles. Pole walking targets arms, abdominals, waist, chest, bottom, hips and thighs.” http://sixtyandme.com/5-reasons-nordic-pole-walking-is-an-amazing-fit-for-older-women/

I also learned that there is a big difference in the way the poles are used for Nordic walking and hiking. When using poles in hiking you want to keep the poles out in front of you to help balance and steady you. In Nordic walking the poles stay to the rear of your body and are used to push off with your arms and engage your core muscles. Take a look at this informative video to see the difference: https://youtu.be/bp6vMhcazis

Bottom line is I will be walking more because there are so many interesting and wonderful places that I want to be able to walk to and through. And if Nordic walking will help me accomplish that, well, the poles are already in my Amazon cart! En avant!

Finances News Practicalities of Living

Grandparent Scam

January 14, 2018

Recent cases of two senior citizens in Pennsylvania falling victim to the “Grandparent Scam” are reminders that people of all ages need to pay attention to details and exercise caution before sending money across long distances and state or international borders, says Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann.

Senior citizens in Berks and Bucks counties were victimized and lost thousands of dollars to criminals who followed this script:

A grandparent receives a phone call and a young voice says, “Hi Grandma (or Grandpa), it’s me.” In a moment of confusion, the grandparent answers this greeting with something like “Yes, Michael (or Sharon). How are you?” Alternatively, a stranger purporting to be an attorney, law enforcement official, or friend may be on the line claiming a grandchild has been arrested or is in otherwise dire straits.

The scam artist tells the victim about an emergency – legal trouble in a foreign country, a medical emergency, or a lost/stolen wallet – and that grandma or grandpa can help by wiring money to a faraway city.

The caller will then swear “grandma” to secrecy (“mom and dad will get angry if they know about the trouble I’m in”) or will insist the grandparent’s action is required far too swiftly to allow time to contact other family members.

The victim then wires hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the faraway city. Sometimes the scam continues for days or weeks, with follow-up calls explaining that for whatever reason, the first wire transfer did not contain enough money and the “grandchild” needs more money wired immediately.

Wiessmann noted that once the wire transfer is completed, the money most likely cannot be recovered. She advised senior citizens to take the following steps to protect themselves from the Grandparent Scam:

Call your relative back using a phone number known to you. If you receive this kind of phone call, contact the grandchild who is supposedly involved by reaching them through a known phone number or check it out with your grandchild’s parents before you decide to help someone claiming to be a family member or friend. If they are really your family, your grandchild will understand your need to verify the information you are being given.

Ask the caller personal questions known only to family members. Engage the caller in conversation about issues that only family members would know involving information not easily obtainable. Ask about their birthdate or school they attend – or ask them what they got for Christmas from you last year, or ask them to give you the name of the pet cat or dog you have had for as long as they can remember.

Don’t send money right now. Scammers will play on your emotions and push you to act quickly, but there are few faraway emergencies that require you to act immediately.

Be cautious about wire transfers – that money cannot be recovered. Wire transfers are typically the preferred payment method of scam artists. Any request for a wire money transfer should be approached with extreme caution.

Review personal information posted on social media. Be careful about the personal information you post on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter and advise your family members to be cautious as well. Sometimes this is just enough personal information on social media that anyone can see to help a scam artist convince you that they know you.

If you believe you have fallen victim to this or any other scam, contact the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (1-800-441-2555) or your local law enforcement.

Anyone can contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-600-0007 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products. Members of the public are also invited to connect to the department through Facebook and Twitter, or by subscribing to the department’s newsletter http://www.dobs.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

Finances Health News Practicalities of Living Travel

Before You Buy Your Travel Insurance

January 12, 2018

TravelInsurance.com today outlined five key points retirees should consider in regard to travel insurance before they hit the road in the coming year.

“While travel can be complicated at any age, retirees are faced with additional considerations, especially when it comes to medical coverage,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com. “There are not only ways to save on your next travel insurance policy, but also things to keep in mind to ensure you are taken care of under unforeseen circumstances.”

Here are five things retirees should consider when purchasing travel insurance:

Medicare doesn’t provide coHealthcareide the United States. Health care received outside the U.S. is generally not covered under standard Medicare plans. Travel insurance can provide emergency travel medical coverage with limits that can reach $250,000 per person or more. For extreme situations where an overseas hospital can’t handle the emergency, most travel insurance plans offer Emergency Evacuation coverage with limits up to $1.0 million per person. Retirees planning to travel overseas multiple times a year should consider purchasing Medicare supplement insurance or a Medigap plan. However, since Medigap plans can have deductibles, lifetime coverage limits up to $50,000, and limits on the length of trip, most retiree travelers may find single-trip travel insurance a better option.

Purchase travel insurance early to qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver. Most travel insurance plans will exclude coverage for losses that stem from a pre-existing condition. However, many plans offer a Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver (meaning pre-existing conditions will be covered). To qualify, one must meet certain requirements, the most important being to purchase the travel insurance plan within a strict time window – usually 7-21 days – from when the initial payment was made. Also, travelers typically need to insure 100% of their pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, this is one of the most important considerations in purchasing a plan, as prior injuries, illnesses, diseases or other types of medical conditions in which any treatment or care was sought in the 6-12 month period prior to the policy effective date all fall into this category. We highly recommend travelers speak to a licensed agent to see if they qualify for a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver or read full coverage details prior to buying.

If you’re traveling with a group, you can save money with Group Travel Plans. Some Group Travel Plans do not factor in traveler ages when pricing the cost of travel insurance, which can make plans more affordable to older travelers. Typically, to qualify for this coverage, the group must include at least 10 individuals all traveling on the same itinerary on similar dates. Group plans are also designed for easy administration by a group leader who can manage sign-ups and changes on behalf of each individual.

Trip Cancellation provides greater flexibility for those who need it. Unlike Medigap coverage, travel insurance can offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage. This coverage can cover the reimbursement of trip costs due to a range of unexpected circumstances, from last-minute illnesses to severe weather and natural disasters. For the most flexibility, travelers may consider purchasing a plan with a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade, which provides reimbursement for up to 75% of the total trip costs for a cancellation for any reason, as long as the cancellation occurs more than 48 hours prior to the trip departure date. This benefit is usually only available if the policy is purchased within 7-21 days of the initial trip payment and 100% of pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs are insured.

You can buy travel insurance for your activities, too. Just because travelers are retired doesn’t mean they aren’t adventurous. For the active or adventure traveler, we recommend plans that offer Hazardous or Adventure Sports coverage, which provide coverage for higher risk activities, such as heli-skiing, off-trail snowboarding, bungee jumping, rock climbing or SCUBA diving below a certain depth. If travel entails any of those activities, travelers will need travel insurance plans that offers coverage for those specific activities.

About TravelInsurance.com
https://www.travelinsurance.com/ helps simplify the complicated world of travel insurance by providing consumers with the easiest way to compare and buy trip insurance coverage online. A member company of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, owned and operated by DigiVentures Holdings, LLC, a licensed agency that works with some of the largest travel insurers in the industry. Purchases can be made directly through the website, with policies sent via email within minutes.

Health News Practicalities of Living

Cold Weather Tips for Seniors

January 5, 2018

As winter storms threaten, Home Instead Senior Care is encouraging us all to help senior loved ones and neighbors stay safe in the snow and extremely cold temperatures.

“Winter is a difficult time, and storms like this can be especially hard on seniors,” said Lakelyn Hogan, a gerontologist at Home Instead Senior Care. “Older adults can be relatively sensitive to even moderately cold conditions and they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they’re in danger, so we want to make sure seniors and their loved ones are aware of simple ways they can stay safe and warm in extreme conditions.”

Those over the age of 65 account for nearly half of all hypothermia deaths. As the body ages, the ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature decreases, creating an insensitivity to moderately cold temperatures. Seniors may not realize they are putting themselves at risk until symptoms appear. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. If symptoms are present, immediate medical attention is necessary. The leading reason for hypothermia in the elderly is due to poorly heated homes, which is entirely preventable. Follow these simple tips to ensure a warm household.

Stay Warm

Keep the thermostat at 65 degrees, at least. Consistently check it to make sure your home is sufficiently warm. Even as heating costs rise, your safety should be a priority.
Put a carbon monoxide detector near where you sleep.

Ensure that there is adequate insulation, and check and clean the fireplace and furnace. Furnace filters should be replaced monthly.

Minimize drafts by filling old socks with sand and using them in drafty windowsills and door jambs. Weather-strip around windows and doors. Keep doors to unused rooms closed and close curtains at night.

Add an extra blanket to the bed and warm the bed in advance with a hot water bottle. Never use an electric blanket – it may be difficult to operate the controls if the temperature needs to be adjusted in the night.

Dress in layers of loose fitting clothing. If you go outside, make sure your head is covered.

Preventing Falls

Every year, more than 1.6 million seniors end up in the emergency room because of a fall. With icy conditions, the chances of falling are even greater. Take a couple minutes per day and stretch your limbs in order to loosen muscles.

Stay inside – make arrangements for someone to shovel and salt driveways and walkways. Professional caregivers can assist with to-do items, such as bringing in the mail and/or picking up groceries.

Wear shoes or boots with a non-skid sole.

Have handrails installed on outside walls for frequently used walkways.

If you use a cane or walker, check the rubber tips to make sure they are not worn smooth.

Additionally, winter storms can be unpredictable. It is important to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Build a network

Winter weather can take a toll on everyone, especially seniors. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur in seniors and impact their emotional health. Some signs to watch for with SAD include a loss of energy, an increased appetite and an enhanced feeling of lethargy and tiredness. If symptoms are present, talk to your medical provider about treatment options.

Stay in touch in with family, friends and neighbors. Schedule phone calls, or enlist the help of a professional caregiver to come in for an hour a week.
Make arrangements for assistance in case of a blizzard or power outage. Keep important numbers in an emergency kit, along with non-perishable foods, water and medications.

Be familiar with your local resources. Visit https://www.ready.gov/seniors or http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/seniors for more information about cold weather.

To learn how Home Instead Senior Care can assist in the cold weather, visit https://www.homeinstead.com/.

Humor Life Practicalities of Living

The Pursuit of Geekdom

January 2, 2018

I have decided to call this year for myself the “Year of the Geek”. I have always been a closet geek and even when I was a little girl I enjoyed playing with the toys that my brother got more than my own. (Did anyone else out there have that ugly bubble hair-do Barbie? I was so happy when some bully threw her on the roof!) In juxtaposition, my brother got this awesome circuit board thing that you could build a radio on. Much more interesting!

Anyway, in pursuit of my geekdom, I have signed up to take some courses at Lynda.com and also have been buying Kindle books like crazy to inspire creative thinking, “What is Your Dangerous Idea? Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable” by John Brockman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_Your_Dangerous_Idea%3F and “Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics_of_the_Future by Michio Kaku are just a few.

I also ran across this website this morning and thought it looked interesting. I love TED talks but never thought to look specifically for ones that were aging-related. Check out the link, you might find something to interest you. https://www.ted.com/topics/aging

The point for me is to never stop learning. Keeping my mind engaged and active not only makes for more interesting conversations but also makes me feel like I am keeping my brain healthy. Since it looks like I will be working in some capacity until what my doctor has promised me could be the ripe age of 95 if I will only do what he tells me, then all the new geeky stuff I learn should translate into employment opportunities. Who knows? In my next role, I might be a programmer…..or a romance writer because after all, a woman can’t live on geekdom alone!

Health Life Practicalities of Living

Vehicle Safety Adjustments For Senior Drivers

November 30, 2017

Nearly 90 percent of senior drivers do not make inexpensive adaptations to their vehicles that can improve safety and extend their time behind the wheel, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Common vehicle adaptations like pedal extensions, seat cushions and steering wheel covers can help to improve safety by reducing a senior driver’s crash risk. Seniors aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely as younger drivers to be killed when involved in a crash. AAA urges seniors to consider making the necessary adaptations to their vehicles in order to reduce crash risk and extend the time they can continue to drive.

“While many seniors are considered to be safe drivers, they are also the most vulnerable,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our research suggests that most senior drivers are not taking advantage of simple and inexpensive features like steering wheel covers that can greatly improve their safety and the safety of others on the road.”

The research brief, In-Vehicle Technologies, Vehicle Adaptations, and Older Drivers: Use, Learning, and Perceptions is the first phase in the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s groundbreaking Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. Researchers are currently engaged in generating the largest and most comprehensive senior driver database in existence. This critical information will support in-depth research to better understand the risks and transportation needs of our aging population.

For this phase of the study, researchers investigated 12 vehicle adaptations and found that fewer than nine percent of senior drivers reported using any of the devices in their vehicles. Some of the inexpensive devices that can be purchased and put to use in new or existing vehicles are:

*Cushions and seat pads (Which improve the line of sight and can help alleviate back or hip pain)

*Convex/ multifaceted mirrors  (Which improve visibility and minimizes blind spots)

*Pedal extension (Which helps drivers obtain a safe distance from the steering wheel/airbag and optimize visibility)

*Steering wheel covers (Which improve grips for drivers with arthritic hand joints)

*Hand controls (Which allow the driver to perform all vehicle maneuvers and functions without the use of lower extremities)

Choosing the right features and working with a trained technician is imperative to safety behind the wheel. Of those drivers who have a device, almost 90 percent reported that they did not work with a trained professional to install the modification, a key recommendation by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). AAA urges drivers to consult with a trained technician to guide them in making adjustments to their vehicle.

“When an ache or pain begins hindering driving ability, many older drivers are able to continue driving safely after making a few adjustments,” said Elin Schold Davis, project coordinator of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Older Driver Initiative. “Occupational therapy practitioners trained in driving rehabilitation are especially valuable in connecting the dots between medical challenges that can affect driving and the appropriate equipment and adaptations needed to remain safely independent in the vehicle.”

Vehicle adaptions also benefit seniors’ mental health by extending their time on the road. Previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that seniors who have stopped driving are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times more likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel.

In the LongROAD study, more than 70 percent of senior drivers had experienced health conditions that impact muscles and bones such as arthritis, hip/knee replacement and joint pains. Some seniors in the study reduced their driving due to these conditions. The installation of certain devices like steering wheel covers can help lessen the impact of arthritis while larger mirrors and assistive devices on seats can help with limited neck mobility.

“It’s surprising that more seniors are not utilizing simple and inexpensive vehicle adaptations when you consider the large number who are dealing with muscle and joint conditions,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety and advocacy. “Knowledge is power when it comes to extending time behind the wheel, and AAA is committed to providing seniors with the information they need to make sound decisions.”

AAA is promoting the report in partnership with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to support Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. AAA and AOTA worked in collaboration with the American Society on Aging and AARP to develop CarFit to help senior drivers better utilize the features and technologies in their vehicles. The community-based program allows trained professionals to conduct a quick, yet comprehensive 12-point check of a senior’s personal vehicle and make recommendations for needed adjustments or adaptations. Older drivers can sign up for an event online. AAA also offers the Smart Features for Older Drivers tool, which can help senior drivers identify in-expensive devices and vehicle features that optimize their comfort and safety.

About LongROAD: Recognizing that lifestyle changes, along with innovative technologies and medical advancements will have a significant impact on the driving experiences of the baby boomer generation, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has launched a ground-breaking, multi-year research program to more fully understand the driving patterns and trends of older drivers in the United States. The LongROAD (Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers) study is the largest and most comprehensive senior driver database on senior drivers incorporating 2,990 participants. It will support in-depth studies of senior driving and mobility to better understand risks and develop effective countermeasures.

Health News Practicalities of Living

ARPF Launches New Brain Longevity®Therapy Training

August 22, 2017

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF) launched the new Brain Longevity® Therapy Training that will premiere on October 19-22 at the UCLA campus. The training will help better equip leaders within the wellness and health care fields.

There will be an in-depth examination of the science and clinical application of the 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention®:

  • Diet and Supplements
  • Stress Management
  • Exercise
  • Spiritual Fitness

in addition to ARPF-sponsored studies on integrative medicine and healing modalities like yoga and meditation.

One of the key components of this course is the application of Kirtan Kriya, a targeted yogic meditation used to support brain longevity. Professor of psychiatry at UCLAHelen Lavretsky, M.D. said, “The science behind this course has shown in our research at UCLA that yoga and Kirtan Kriya helped reduce depression, improve mental health and cognitive functioning, as well as reverse cellular aging and inflammation, and provide brain fitness effects in stressed dementia caregivers when compared to relaxation while listening to music.”

“Research also found positive effects of Kundalini yoga practice on mood, memory and executive function, and brain connectivity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment compared to memory training.”

The Brain Longevity Therapy Training is designed as a multi module system of training, so that course topics and materials can later be used individually or in entirety – offering a breadth of options for consulting and teaching aging adults.

ARPF founders Dharma S. Khalsa, M.D. and Kirti Khalsa will conduct the training, along with well-known healthcare providers in the integrative medicine field, such as clinical psychologist Chris Walling, MBA, PsyD, C-IAYT president of the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy, and Helen Lavretsky, M.D.

Presentations of new standards and methods to champion brain health, Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention, and healthy aging, as well as extensive practicum sessions, will provide participants with all the necessary tools to become a Brain Longevity® Specialist at the end of this course.

This CEU accredited training is a unique opportunity to learn how to make a significant impact in the demanding field of longevity medicine, as well as expand personal practice/expertise in yoga therapy.