Thursday, March 20, 2014

New reports indicate that women are much more likely to develop major dementia before dying than men

Women are almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as men, according to the latest reports as aired on NBC News on March 19.
  
One in six women over 65 and one in eleven men will develop significant dementia.  The primary reason seems to be that women live longer. 
  
I do recall that at an Emeritus Facility, I was told that 70% of the memory-impaired residents were women.


The report also noted that about two-thirds of custodial caregiving is done by women.
There are also reports that some proteins, found in infant brains and controlled by genetics, may predict a much lower risk of dementia late in life.

Do some activities preserve intellectual function and short term memory?  How about chess?  How about jotting down dreams right after waking from them in order to train the short term memory to retain things.    

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The senior workforce is growing, but it is more individually tailored than most beancounters realize

The Wall Street Journal Tuesday had some perceptive levels on senior employment, with the link here.  The group title was “We’ll all rethink our retirement one way or another”.  One writer said that he was 67 and managed a server with different nodes at home for his own blogging and publishing business, something like what I do, but that he felt he would have a very hard time getting a major employer to hire him.
    
If I did have enough money to do what I want and not face existential challenges from those who don’t want newbie competition or who want to capture me into serving the purposes of others, I wouldn’t necessarily want to be hired by big corporate America – unless I could do what I wanted.  I do think I could contribute to a media organization as an interviewer or commentator or columnist, or even documentarian.  Let us see.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

NY Times looks at why so many retirees' plans for second careers go afoul

The New York Times, on Thursday March 13, 2014 has a large Retirement section in print.
Probably the most important story is “The Gray Jobs Enigma” by Steve Greenhouse, link here

The story examines the contradiction that people discover with retirement, especially if they are “bought out” by employers in their late 50s and early 60s and expected to make a go of it on their own (as I was). 
  
The weaker economy may make it more important to work.  But it may also make it harder to find employment that is acceptable, let alone rewarding, to them.
   
My own personal experience is that is a lot of pressure to move into hucksterism, or at least selling other people’s ideas rather than your own.  I remember the phrase “We give you the words” from a Primevest briefing back in April 2002 (when I was still in Minneapolis).  Later, given my background as a programmer-analyst with a life insurance company, I would be contact by no fewer than two life insurance companies (unsolicited) about becoming an agent.  But employers are finding out that a lot of techies don’t want to sell, or appropriate their own social media presence for somebody else’s purposes.  

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Caregiving: The Washington Post offers a special report, and there are proposals for a Caregiver Corps

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the Washington Post has a major special insert, section AA, “Caregiving: The Quiet Force Caring for an Aging America.”
  
Online. the Post also has a video with an ironic title, “Coming Out as a Caregivers”, here

There are two cover stories. One is by Tara Bahrampour, photos by Nikki Kahn, “Endless demands, relentlessness routine”.  And Richard Harris talks about “Heading toward a crisis: Heading for a care cliff,” link here

The biggest concern is obviously the aging population, with many families having fewer children.  People are living longer with diseases that require caregivers. 
  
The social paradigm has shifted.  A few decades ago, spinsters or “old maids” were expected to stay behind and take care of their parents, as the “family slaves”.  The elderly didn’t live very long once they became really disabled, and medicine could do little for them.  People accepted death as inevitable.  Yet, “family values” kept the scope of eldercare largely within the family.  As more people didn’t marry and have children of their own, the fabric began to crack, while at the same time life spans started to increase partly because medicine could extend lives.  Alzheimer’s will become the biggest source of disability, eclipsing predictions about AIDS during the 1980s.   
  
The article by Harris proposes a “Caregivers Corps” that would be a bit like the Peace Corps  or Americorps, in theory.  It could try to recruit other retirees and put a lot of pressure on “people like me.”
Actually, in 2002, when I was still in Minneapolis and had been through my “layoff”, I did hear about a “senior home companion” program with minimum age of 60 and payment of a “small stipend”.   
    

Harris talks about early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s, and severe disability of aging veterans. He also discusses other areas of disability, like autism.  Yet it is likely that autism seems to be increasing because it is being reported more often, and more can be done about it.  At the same time, some people with some social issues but no cognitive issues probably should not be counted.  
  
It would be well for the press to cover some other unusual issues that could become very disruptive in caregiving environments, ranging from bedbugs (imported from hotels) to finding tuberculosis in the patient.

Update:

NBC reports on the death rate from Alzheimer's:

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Detroit retirees given ultimatum: over 26% cut in current benefits for most retirees, or nothing later

Detroit municipal pensioners face a 26% cut in their pensions, with police and fire getting a 4-6% cut.  The city would not have to make contributions to their funds until 2023.  If the current agreement fails because pensioners balk, they could lose everything later.
   
Kevin Olsen called this a “buzzsaw to pension benefits” in his Pionline article yesterday, here

The Detroit Free Press reports the tough talk by Kevyn Orr here


This will only exacerbate eldercare concerns for adult children in other states.