When Carol Gee turned 55, she made a new friend: 4 a.m. In the past, she usually slept through it. But once she entered menopause, it became her new wake-up time. “I would go to sleep and wake up every morning around the same time, almost like you set the clock,” says Gee, who is now 68. She’s not the only older adult to have experienced an exasperating shift in her sleep cycles. In 2017, a national poll conducted by the University of Michigan found that 46 percent of adults 65 and older have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis.
Your parents would also like you to know that driving is more than a utility; it is about independence and freedom – a kind of personal sovereignty. Decades after getting a driver’s license, many older drivers still view driving as the personal freedom to decide when to go and where to go. Most Americans over 50 years old live in the suburbs and rural areas. Few transportation alternatives are as responsive as driving for those outside the immediate city limits. Consequently, the emotions that shape how your parents may feel about driving is often based upon physical realities.
Jeffrey Bell, 58 of West Liberty, has Stage 4 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an intense respiratory failure condition that requires him to rely on an oxygen machine around the clock and prevents him from working. Much of his costly medical expenses for this disease, widely known as COPD, aren’t covered by Medicare. So, his wife, Debby Bell, 59, uses her health benefits as a University of Iowa employee to cover the cost of Jeffrey’s checkups, prescriptions and medical machines that supply oxygen and stimulate normal breathing. One prescription is for an inhaler that costs more than $500 a month. Checkups are required every six months and include an echocardiogram costing $1,500.
More than six months after being forced to absorb a 7 percent cut in public funding, Rochester area disability organizations are coping with crisis-level staffing shortages. Officials at Ability Building Center and Hiawatha Homes say the scarcity of workers has led to lengthening waiting lists, referrals put on hold, stressed-out employees and a workplace situation that in the long run is unsustainable. Residential homes have been hit particularly hard by the shortage, say residents and staff. Hiawatha Homes, a residential home network for people with disabilities, has openings for 80 positions right now, Crystal Landherr, Hiawatha’s director of development and communications, said to the Post-Bulletin. A staff of 400 employees is now down to 323 people. The shortage means that when shifts open up, it falls on existing staff to cover them.
The introduction of dozens of new accessibility-themed emojis has been welcomed by disability rights campaigners. The new characters include hearing aids, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, white “probing” canes and guide dogs. They follow a complaint by Apple that few existing emojis spoke to the experiences of those with disabilities. Their inclusion in 2019’s official list means many smartphones should gain them in the second half of the year. “Social media is hugely influential and it’s great to see these new disability-inclusive emojis,” said Phil Talbot, from the disability charity Scope.
MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, blind and low vision children are included in their neighborhood public schools. Although this is largely a positive thing, many blind youth are now growing up with no connections to other blind kids or successful blind adults. If none of the adults in your life look or function like you do, it can be difficult to envision what adulthood and parenthood might look like for you. Furthermore, many blind kids and young adults receive negative messages from family and friends about their ability to be parents. This can leave many people who are blind wondering if parenting is realistic or even possible.
Masako Wakamiya, 83, has become a poster child of sorts for a socially involved and economically active senior in Japan’s “super aging” society. Her seemingly unlimited ability to acquire new knowledge and skills long after her corporate life is most admirable. After her retirement from a bank at 60, Wakamiya learned to code and is now one of the oldest app developers in the world. She has met Apple CEO Tim Cook, spoke at the United Nations and was featured in numerous media. She is a celebrity and role model in Japan, where many people can realistically expect to live to 100 years old.
The current system of guardianship is “butchering a number of human rights” and it’s taking too long to reform the system, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner says. Alastair McEwin, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, said Australia was falling behind in its international obligations on the rights of people with disabilities, with the United Nations due to report on the nation’s progress this year.
New Jersey becomes second state to require schools to teach LGBT and disability-inclusive material | CNN
New Jersey has become the second state to require public schools to teach LGBT and disability-inclusive material. The measure was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday and modeled after a similar law that passed in California in 2011. New Jersey boards of education must adopt instruction that accurately portrays “the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, where appropriate,” according to the text of the law.
Does money change everything, as the old saying goes? If Alicia had won the lottery, then she might understand why her siblings were now treating her a little differently. But all she’d done was become certified as a home health aide so she could receive a modest hourly wage from her county for dressing, grooming and feeding her Parkinson’s disease-stricken mom. Nowadays, however, her sisters seemed less interested in pitching in with caregiving tasks since family caregiving had officially become her “job.” Even her mother seemed to be asking more of her, as if she were now the hired help and not her youngest daughter.
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