Monthly Scoop: June 2021

At our June meeting, Boston Bridge attendees had the chance to meet each other on a more professional and personal level through small break-out sessions. It was an opportunity to discuss what works and doesn’t in the aging world today, how the pandemic has affected us personally, and other areas that interested each group. It was generally agreed that we are a thoughtful group of people with expertise that covers a wide range and, therefore, provides a richness to our organization. In a difficult year, Boston Bridge has thrived and grown – thank you to all.Become a Boston Bridge Member
Announcements
Cake, an online end of life planning platform, has developed a new product. If anyone has recently lost a loved one and would be willing to discuss it and find out about this new opportunity, visit www.joincake.com.

Rogerson House has recently opened its Day Program for people living with dementia. Go to www.rogersonhouse.org.

Articles
Ageism
Age diversity in the workplace has always been a problem, even though older adult concerns traditionally focus on health issues. But Colorado, pre-pandemic, initiated infrastructure that focused on workplace and ageism. Post-pandemic, Colorado is braced to be a test case for whether that type of infrastructure focus will make a difference, despite many who fear that the pandemic only increased ageist thinking.

Age inequities do affect hiring procedures but feelings of belonging as well. Forbes reports that age bias, for both younger and older, can create a workplace culture that is counter-productive to the vision of the company. The imperative is to seek a culture of age-inclusivity and respect that provides increased productivity and lessens liabilities.

Can our attitudes about aging affect our own future health as older adults? A recent Yale University study said yes. In addition, other research has shown that those who had positive attitudes about aging were more likely to develop protective proteins against Alzheimer’s disease.

Home Care“Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, recently introduced The Pace Plus Act to help states fund additional PACE programs, especially in rural and underserved urban areas,” reports Next Avenue, a website from PBS stations. PACE serves older adults with health and specialty care and is often viewed as better home care.  During the pandemic, telehealth medicine was used by the PACE program and endorsed by Medicare and Medicaid. Now there is a bill in Congress to allow audio-only telehealth to be a permanent option in the PACE program. Read about it here.

Caregiving
The 2020 Research Report, “Caregiving in the United States” was released by AARP Family Caregiving and the National Alliance for Caregiving. The full report is linked here for those who may need it for their work, but it is also informational for all.

Another report, authored by UMass Boston and Community Catalyst and entitled, “What Family Caregivers Need: Findings from Listening Sessions”, is also linked here in its entirety. It is lengthy but certainly worth the information.

Older adult caregiving can result in family conflicts, especially if guardianship is involved. A new program, “eldercaring coordination”, can provide caregiving without family conflict. Legally accepted in 5 states, this is a possible new trend in caregiving.

Social and Medical Innovations
Will an attempt to consumerize hearing aids provide the impetus for those who need them, to actually use them? Hearing loss affects about 50% of those over 75, yet few wear hearing aids due to stigma, cost, and difficulty of access. Read how marketing and direct-to-consumer purchases are changing hearing aid use.  

The FDA recently approved a drug, Aducamumab, to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. While some experts argue that clinical trials show the drug has only questionable success, others say since the disease is so widespread, and the drug does attack a protein causing the disease, that it is worth trying. Read about the controversy over Aducamumab in this interview from the PBS Newshour. 

Medically Home, a Boston-based company, recently received investments of $100 million from Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic to refine the idea that many hospital visits with older adults can actually be treated at home. Other hospitals, including Johns Hopkins and Mass General, have already done this with success. Yet hospital financial calculations figure into the success of these programs. Read about this innovation here.

Take Action
President Biden is proposing spending $400 billion on in-home and community-based care for older adults. Kaiser Health News presents a visual data analysis on why this spending is so important. If you agree, you can call your elected representatives to urge passage of this infrastructure bill that is now pending in the Congress.  

After a year of turmoil and emotional pain, don’t we all need some peace and relaxation? This article teaches how to practice mindfulness as a way to reach happiness. Do it and perhaps this past year will just be a bad dream! Read it here.