Monthly Scoop: January 2021

Thank you to Jarett Hughes and Hayley Gleason from Emerging Leaders in Aging (Colorado) and Ilana Mittleman from EmergingAging (New York City) for joining Boston Bridge in sharing best practices, insight and policies. This panel, which also included Barbara Friedman and Rita Marsh from Boston Bridge, discussed how our organizations began, how they function presently, and what we foresee as the future for each group and the field of aging. It was a meaningful sharing of ideas and a stimulating and informative discussion. All agreed that we need more of these organizations in order to best meet the needs of our growing older population.

Announcements:

Articles

  • The light may be visible at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, but the effects of the pandemic could be long-lasting. What will the future hold for older adults? The Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging and Next Avenue have created a series of articles on the future of aging after the pandemic. Two of particular interest concern workforce trends and housing.
  • The pandemic has also brought to light the need for assisted living facilities to increase their focus on health care. While this type of housing was originally intended to avoid isolation and help older persons’ lives remain meaningful, the need for onsite health care is growing as the population ages.
  • It is not surprising that overwhelmed caregivers are dealing with greater personal issues during the pandemic. But it might be surprising that they anticipate even greater needs following the pandemic. In the Carer Well-Being Index prepared by Embracing Carers, this predicament by essential personnel in caring for our older citizens is addressed.
  • While the pandemic has increased the isolation of many older adults, not everyone is suffering – some are actually thriving. In NYC, a writer’s group considers their time together a lifeline.
  • A Fenway Health study has concluded that LGBTQ older adults in Massachusetts face more ageism and health care discrimination than their straight peers. The full report highlights the issues and suggest solutions for helping this community. A summary and access to the full report, LGBT Aging 2025, is available here.
  • The number of geriatricians in the US has certainly not kept pace with the number of centenarians. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, of which former Secretary of State Alice Bonner is a part, has initiated “Age-Friendly Health Systems,  a nationwide effort that seeks to improve outcomes for elderly patients by giving all hospitals and health care providers a single framework for elder care, replete with evidence-based and empathetic practices”. About 200 US hospitals are now seeking that Age-Friendly designation.
  • The move to improve equity and eliminate systemic racism in healthcare is also part of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement initiative mentioned above. Racial and ethnic data is being collected and will be used as part of the Age-Friendly Health System framework. Health Affairs reports that this insistence on healthcare equity is a promising innovation.
  • JF&CS recently held a symposium on talking and teaching about dementia in many cultural and linguistic communities. The recording and resources from this past event may be of interest. This dementia symposium report can be accessed here.
  • The Brookings Institute has indicated that initial studies of the 2020 census data show stagnation in population growth, a decrease in geographic mobility, continuation of an aging population, and a first-ever decrease in the white population. The initial findings of the 2020 census are available but the full report is still being processed. 

Mixed Media

Boston Bridge monthly meetings will resume on the third Wednesday of each month with our next meeting on Wednesday, February 17th. Please be sure to mark your calendar!

Stay Safe and Healthy,

Colleen Morrissey and Barbara Friedman, Boston Bridge Board Members