I’m committed to finding ways to advocate for aging populations. And while I’ve been lax with original content for this space, I have been dutifully keeping up with the latest in issues relating to seniors, aging, dementia and elder care. I do so by reading as much as I can on these subjects whenever I can steal a moment.
With a rapidly aging global population and the likelihood of more individuals than ever before being afflicted with dementia,there seems to be a new study or report released every day. Many of these studies are from highly reputable institutions. Others are from businesses looking to profit off the coming “grey tsunami” .
The best time to talk to the older people in your life about end of life matters is when they are still able to make decisions for themselves.
If the elderly people in your life haven’t had “the talk” with you and aren’t likely to do so, then you need to have the talk with them. And it’s best to do it sooner than later. Believe me, carrying out a person’s wishes is much easier than having to decide for them.
Ageism is the cause of age-based discrimination. It is probably the most tolerated form of social prejudice world wide and it exists in many forms.
I am willing to bet just about everyone has practiced ageism at some point in their lives whether they realize it or not.
Think about it:
- Have you have ever made a joke about old people or laughed about how an older person was depicted on a television show or movie?
- Have you ever assumed something about an individual solely because of their age?
- Have you treated someone differently than you would others due to stereotypes about their age?
According to the Revera Report on Ageism, the three most common forms of age discrimination faced by Canadian seniors are:
- being ignored or treated as though they are invisible (41 per cent);
- being treated like they have nothing to contribute (38 per cent);
- and the assumption seniors are incompetent (27 per cent).
Let’s face it. We’ve all been guilty of ageism at one point or another in our lives. But just because it’s so prevalent doesn’t make it right. You probably experienced ageism when you were a teenager. If we live long enough to see our senior years, we’re likely to experience it again. Are you willing to stem the tide of ageism? If so, how?
Recently I wrote about my continuing interest in studies relating to aging populations. Now I want to tell you how I determine if a report is worth sharing with others. This may not be how you go about it, but for an individual with a non-medical background who is neither an economist or a gerontologist, this is what works best for me.
When deciding if a study merits attention, I look to which organization commissioned the study and how many people were followed in order to achieve the reported results. For instance: if a report released by the Coca Cola Company claimed that increased soft drink consumption can cure Alzheimer’s, I’m not going to give that report any attention. Same goes for medical reports that looked at an extremely small cross-section of the population to come up with the stated results. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are some hard working scientists behind these reports. And I understand some of the medical findings may be significant down the road. I hope many of them will lead to a greater understanding of age-related illness. I just don’t want to be putting out false hope (or fear) based on results of a small sample size.
I share what I deem to be the more interesting information through my Twitter account. I hope you will follow along with me. If you’re not following already, my Twitter handle is @judila416.
Sadly, elder abuse is far more common than most of us realize. It’s certainly not an unfamiliar concept to me. Both my mother and my late uncle were victimized by paid caregivers.
A few years ago, my brother and I were given three hours notice that my mother was to be released from hospital but would require around-the-clock care for several months. We didn’t have a clue how to hire a care giver. All we knew was my mother really wanted to go home and the hospital wanted its bed back. Lorna was the only applicant I spoke with and I hired her immediately. She seemed trustworthy and competent. And she was immediately available.
Having written about Lorna, one of two caregivers I had to fire for cause, I think it’s only fair I devote time to Lea, the best PSW I hired. In case you’re curious, between my uncle and my mother, there were nine.
Lea was my Uncle Benny’s caregiver during the last years of his life. She was hired after I let four others go when he moved into Cummer Lodge, a long-term care home. I didn’t think he would need private caregivers in a nursing home, but I was very wrong. After two weeks of daily calls about frequent falls and aggressive behavior, it was becoming clear my uncle wasn’t getting as much care as he needed. But by then the people I let go had all found new jobs.
Single or widowed men who live to be over 100 will have lots of ladies to choose from if Canada’s 2011 Census is any indication.
Our most recent national census counted 4,870 women and just 955 men aged 100 and over. The numbers aren’t really a surprise when you take into account the corresponding sex ratio of approximately 500 women for every 100 men, the highest of all age groups.
Among the Canadian population, there were slightly more men than women up to age 26, after which there were more women than men. By age 65, there were about 125 women for 100 men and by age 80, 170 women per 100 men.
More women than men reach the age of 100 because women experience lower probabilities of dying at all ages than men. In 2008, life expectancy at birth was 78.5 years for men and 83.1 years for women.