Archive for the 'Aging' Category

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Falls, Depression and Antidepressants in Later Life

Falls, Depression and Antidepressants in Later Life: A Large Primary Care Appraisal
Ngaire Kerse1, Leon Flicker, Jon J. Pfaff, Brian Draper, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Moira Sim, John Snowdon, Osvaldo P. Almeida
Source: PLoS ONE
Risk factors associated with sustaining a single and sustaining multiple falls differ suggesting potential separate mechanisms for single and multiple falls. Use of antidepressants (most notably SSRIs) and depressive symptoms are independently associated with increased risk of falls in later life. The prevalence of falls with depression means that fall prevention strategies should be a routine part of the management of depression in older people.
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Social Vulnerability, Frailty and Mortality in Elderly People

Social Vulnerability, Frailty and Mortality in Elderly People
Source: PLoS ONE
Social vulnerability is reproducibly related to individual frailty/fitness, but distinct from it. Greater social vulnerability is associated with mortality in older adults. Further study on the measurement and operationalization of social vulnerability, and of its relationships to other important health outcomes, is warranted.

Aging Everywhere from AARP International

Aging Everywhere: AARP International’s resource featuring quick facts, research, and events around the world.

The Aging Everywhere interactive world map serves as a “one-stop” international clearing house of the most relevant and timely information on aging populations worldwide. This site is updated regularly with newly published regional and country specific research, reports, and resources. We intend for it to serve as a useful tool for policymakers, researchers, students, media, and all others interested in the issues of global aging.

Successful Ageing in Adversity

Successful ageing in adversity: the LASER–AD longitudinal study
Source: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry
G Livingston, C Cooper, J Woods, A Milne, C Katona

Background: Most models of successful ageing do not allow for the possibility of living “successfully,” despite some degree of cognitive or physical impairment. We reviewed the successful ageing and related quality of life literature to identify their potential predictors. We then tested our hypotheses that wellbeing in adversity would be predicted by mental health (anxiety and depression) and social factors rather than physical health and that it would be stable over time.

Method: We interviewed 224 people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and their family carers, recruited to be representative of those living with AD in the community. We re-interviewed 122 (73.1% of eligible) participants 18 months later. Our main outcome measure was the perception of the person with AD on their life as a whole.

Results: Mean “wellbeing in adversity” scores did not change significantly over time (t = 0.23). Social relationships, subjective mental health, health perception, activities of daily living and baseline wellbeing in adversity were the significant correlates of wellbeing in adversity on univariate analysis. Only baseline wellbeing in adversity and mental health score were significant predictors in our regression analysis. In a well fitting structural equation model, less severe dementia and better health perception predicted fewer mental health problems and social relationships, but were not direct predictors of wellbeing in adversity at 18 months.

Conclusion: Successful ageing was common among a cohort of people with dementia. The most important predictors of this were mental health and social relationships, which fully mediated the relationship we found between health perception and wellbeing 18 months later.

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Economy’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans

The Economic Slowdown’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans
Jeffrey Love and Gerard Rainville
Research Report from the AARP

AARP commissioned a nationwide survey to determine how people age 45 and older are responding to the current economic slowdown. The survey asked respondents for their assessments of the economy’s condition, whether they have taken actions in response to the changing economy, and if they felt enough was being done to address economic problems. This executive summary of the study reveals that a majority of those 45 or older believe the economy is in bad shape and that many have adapted their behaviors in response to the floundering economy.

Survey findings include:

* Eighty-one percent say the economy is in fairly bad or very bad condition. A similar percentage (75%) feel the economy is getting worse.
* Over one-fourth of respondents said they are having trouble paying their mortgage or rent and one-third have stopped putting money into their retirement accounts. More than one-fourth (27%) of all workers 45+ have postponed plans to retire.
* As the economy slows and prices rise, most middle-aged and older respondents report that they are having difficulty paying for food, gas, utilities, and medicine, and are responding to the situation by cutting luxuries and postponing major purchases and travel.
* Respondents age 65 and over were less likely than those ages 45-64 to report having taken steps to cope with a slowing economy or increasing prices as a result of the recent economic slowdown. This does not indicate that the older population is better off financially. Rather, the data suggest that the 65 and over group had, even prior to the economic downturn, been forced to adjust their spending habits because of their work status, fixed income, and rising costs.

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Older Americans and Poverty

More Older Americans are Poor than the Official Measure Suggests
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Barbara Butrica
Source: The Urban Institute

Abstract

The number of poor adults age 65 and older has declined dramatically since the official poverty rate was designed back in the 1960s. Today the federal government considers fewer than 1 in 10 older adults to be poor, compared with about 1 in 3 in the 1960s. These estimates show the share of people with insufficient income to meet basic living expenses, such as food and housing. However, substantial research shows that the official poverty measure no longer reflects the true resources or needs of older adults.
The lack of an accurate poverty measure for older adults hampers efforts to reform Medicare and Social Security, which face significant revenue shortfalls. Reform proposals often aim to reduce costs by combining benefit cuts with increased cost sharing for older adults. To target any cuts or increased costs to older adults with the greatest ability to pay, an accurate measure of economic well-being is critical.
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Future care of dependent elderly population in Europe

Report of study projecting dependent elder population up to 2030, distinguishing among family situations.

Variation in Health Care Costs

Researchers Find Huge Variations in End-of-Life Treatment
Robert Pear | NY TIMES
April 7, 2008
Based on a report from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care
Tracking the Care of Patients with Severe Chronic Illness

Treatment of Hypertension in Patients 80 Years of Age or Older

Authors: Nigel S. Beckett, et al.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Elevated blood pressure is common in persons 80 years of age or older, a group constituting the fastest-growing segment of the general population. HYVET provides unique evidence that hypertension treatment based on indapamide (sustained release), with or without perindopril, in the very elderly, aimed to achieve a target blood pressure of 150/80 mm Hg, is beneficial and is associated with reduced risks of death from stroke, death from any cause, and heart failure.

Abstract; PDF

Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being

Older Americans 2008 provides an updated, accessible compendium of indicators, drawn from the most reliable official statistics about the well-being of Americans primarily age 65 and over. The 160-page report contains data on 38 key indicators—and a one-time special feature on health literacy.