Monthly Scoop: September 2021

A Message from the Board of Boston Bridge:

The ongoing and ever-changing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have put Boston Bridge in an enviable yet challenging position this year. Hosting our meetings virtually last year enabled many emerging and established professionals, unable to attend in-person meetings, to participate. This included people from areas outside of Greater Boston and the state of Massachusetts. Yet, to a degree, virtual meetings prevent those opportunities for networking and spontaneous social interactions that make the in-person meetings of Boston Bridge so special and important for career advancement. Adding to the challenge of finding a comfortable compromise for our events this year, MIT (like many other colleges and universities in our area) is implementing new COVID-19 policies for visitors, and Boston Bridge is working to secure a meeting space with the ability to accommodate virtual and onsite participation.

While much of this has resulted in the delay of our first meeting, it has reinforced our resolve to ensure upcoming meetings of Boston Bridge will be meaningful, accessible, and spark opportunities for interaction and collaboration. We hope you enjoy this issue of the Scoop in lieu of a September meeting. We appreciate your patience and will “see” you, one way or another, at our first meeting on October 20th!  Become a Boston Bridge Member

Articles

Ageism

Attempting to prevent an older person from making poor decisions, trying to empathize with what motivates that decision, and finding a way to address the ageism that is the root of that decision is a sure way to be overwhelmed. But a new book by author Steven Petrow titled, Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old, attempts to demystify that experience and simultaneously adds insight to the insidious nature of ageism.

Home Care and Maintaining Healthy Aging

  • While the pandemic has affected all of us in different ways, a survey published by the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Health Aging found that the pandemic created a significant change in the number of falls and general mobility in those between the ages of 50 and 80. Awareness and interventions are needed.
  • Hospice care in the US is becoming harder to access due to staffing shortages, varying degrees of care due to state guidelines, low reimbursement rates that hospice can provide for certain services, and limited understanding by clinicians of what hospice does. The availability of hospice care is addressed in this Next Avenue article.
  • Researchers from the University of Maryland and Yale School of Medicine found that “…socially isolated older adults are at significantly heightened risk for disability and more than twice the risk of death within a year if they are admitted to the ICU because of a COVID-19 infection or other serious illness.” The challenge is to find innovative ways to keep elders connected.

Caregiving

  • A recent AARP study found that 46% of all caregivers are between the ages of 18 and 49, and they are less prepared for caregiving than ever before. A new guide of tools for caregiving is available through WayWiser, a multi-platform application that helps prepare for caregiving.

Social and Medical Innovations and Issues

  • In 10 states, the option of medical assistance to end one’s own life is available. But for those living in a state without that option, there is now a non-medical and perfectly legal way to reach that same outcome. It is called VSED and to understand what that is, and its ramifications, a new book titled VSED – Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking has been published.
  • The UK appointed a Minister of Loneliness in 2018 and Japan did the same this year. Recognizing that loneliness is a public health issue, is it time to the United States to do the same? A recently proposed bill in the MA Legislature would provide funds for Area Agencies on Aging to address this issue.
  • Research at MIT has shown that aging has driven the move to greater automation and robotic use. Shortages in the workforce, especially among middle-aged labor (rather than any technological advancements), have meant robots are becoming more available.

Mixed Media

  • PBS streaming service is airing a documentary series entitled “Lives Well Lived”, based on 40 interviews of those 75+. We can all share in the wisdom that comes with age. Connect to PBS here.

Take Action

  • Taking action is often associated with political or social change. But it can also be a private effort that enhances you and others. This Next Avenue article explains how one author writes about the wisdom of stories from elders, and how perhaps we too, whatever our age, can gather the wisdom from our own families to pass on to other generations.