I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Nelson Mandela over the past several days. Since he died last Friday (December 6, 2013), I’ve considered especially the moral courage he demonstrated during his 95 years as well as his ability to work with and lead others even as he aged into his elder (and elder, elder) years — times when most people think about quitting work.
Two interesting quotes from Bill Keller’s extensive New York Times Nelson Mandela obituary remind me that just like any other elder, he took steps to ensure his stamina and condition, attending to physical challenges of aging — while at the exact time he assumed extraordinary leadership responsibilities. Continue reading →
I’ve just returned to the hospital for another surgery on my right eye. When I last reported on my detached retina issues, I explained how oil was placed into my eye to hold the retina in place.
Click to read about epiretinal membranes @ the Mayo Clinic.
That was about four months ago, and since that surgery I’ve been reporting to my retina specialist on a regular basis, and he has been monitoring my condition. He is watching the development of epiretinal membranes (read about them at the Mayo Clinic site — 4th paragraph down), studying them through the oil at each visit. These membranes needed to be removed, because extra tissue puts pressure on my retina.
So today my surgeon performed a vitrectomy, going in through the oil and removing the scar tissue but leaving the oil in place. The plan is to watch the retina for another two or three months, let it continue to heal, and then remove the oil and see how my retina fares (yes, I’m crossing my fingers and toes, just in case it helps). Continue reading →
Anyone who has spent time with an elder parent in the hospital knows just how easy it is for one problem to be solved only to have the person discharged with different problems. This is not necessarily the fault of the medical caregivers or the hospital itself — it’s a result of a system that puts older people into beds and keeps them there. Add in bed alarms, the inability to move much, and that hospitals isolate elder patients from their routines and support communities, and you have a recipe for unsuccessful care, a result of age associated hospital complications.
So I recommend reading The Hospital is No Place for the Elderly, a November 20, 2013 article that appeared in the The Atlantic. This piece aptly illustrates the conundrum of frail elderly patients with chronic health issues admitted to hospitals where medical care focuses primarily on fixing acute health problems. The difficulty is that most of frail elders’ medical issues cannot be fixed — but the quality of their lives can improve. Author Jonathan Rauch also describes several programs in the United States — teams of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals — that collaborate to keep patients as healthy as possible and out of the hospital. The teams even save money. Continue reading →
I am reprising this post from two years ago when I cooked my first low-sodium Thanksgiving dinner — attending to sodium because of my father’s congestive heart failure diet requirements.
Most preparations are staying the same, though I am dividing the stuffing this year into two parts. The first half I will prepare in a crockpot. The other half I’ll roast inside a pumpkin. Watch for a picture.
Each year this preparation gets easier and easier, because so many people are experimenting and trying out new ideas. But another reason is my local Penzy’s spice store — the selection of low salt and no salt spices continues to increase giving me more and more options.
Start November 2011 Thanksgiving Post
I’ve just read an article, Experts Warn: Thanksgiving Poses Hidden Sodium Dangers, describing the dangers of stealth sodium in Thanksgiving foods. The Associated Press article, which appeared in NJ.com points out that people can reach and exceed the appropriate daily sodium intake just in the one holiday meal. A big thank-you to my cousin, Sandy, for sending me the link. Continue reading →
The other day when I picked up a copy ofFindings, the alumni magazine of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, I discovered that the entire fall 2013 issue focuses on how to age well and improve old age. My husband is a Michigan alumnus, but the magazine is freely available as an easily downloadable and easy-to-read PDF file. The magazine is filled with information about retirement, aging, changes to expect, and ideas to make retirement fulfilling — useful for adult children and their aging parents.
This issue’s theme, A Better Old Age, addresses a range of topics including 15 Ideas for a Better Old Age, an article that examines future changes in the world of aging, and a special Guide to Thriving filled with interesting tips. In another article author Nicholas Delbanco shares thoughts on Lastingness: The Art of Old Age — his 2011 book that examines artists who live long and productive lives into advanced elderhood. And 95-year-old retired but still active Michigan professor Robert Kahn discusses his principles of aging well, taken from his 1998 book Successful Aging. In another feature, To Retire or Not, Michigan School of Public Health professors who have retired share some of their thoughts about their new lives. Continue reading →
When we offer any kind of support to aging parents, we learn quite a bit about Social Security along the way. One thing we discover is information about the various retirement ages that qualify for benefit payments. If other adult children are anything like me, they begin to think about their retirement years ahead and just how Social Security fits into the picture.
Visit the Social Security website to learn more about benefits.
The New York Times Your Money column published an article that addresses just these issues. In The Payoff in Waiting to Collect Social Security, columnist Tara Siegel Bernard explains how Social Security payments work and how they increase from year to year if a person is able to put off collecting retirement benefits from the program for even a few years. The November 15, 2013, column describes a typical couple considering when to apply for Social Security benefits and how they might benefit from delaying payments if they can afford to do so, quoting experts from the Boston College (BC) Center for Retirement Research, which happens also to publish The Social Security Claiming Guide, a booklet that walks readers detail-by-detail through the steps that retirees need to consider when the start thinking about when to apply for payments.