Today on January 21 we observe the legacy ad memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many of us will take this time to reflect on the mission of inclusion for which Dr. King gave the ultimate sacrifice for many Americans to even have a concept of this level of Freedom. As we consider his life and words, and the NAB’s work toward a future that works and is accessible by all, we are bolstered by Dr. King’s words and hope that you join us in these efforts:
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A “huge and largely unreported problem” is happening in ERs across the nation, one expert says. “The extent to which ERs are now flooded with patients with mental illness is unprecedented,” said Dr. David R. Rubinow, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
And this overflow is “having a really destructive effect on health care delivery in general,” he added. “There are ERs now that are repeatedly on diversion — which means they can’t see any more patients — because there are so many patients with mental illness or behavioral problems that are populating the ER.”
On January 15, disability justice activists celebrated the reintroduction of the Disability Integration Act (DIA). This monumental piece of legislation is an important step forward for the full civil rights of those with disabilities. The DIA would ensure that people with disabilities have the right to live in their homes and receive services to do so. Insurance companies and state governments would be barred from discriminating against people with disabilities through imposing what is essentially segregation. Far too many of those with disabilities are forced into nursing homes and other institutions rather than given in-home supports they need, which are often less expensive than institutionalization.
I have been fascinated by the topic of the aging population for quite some time now, as my husband and I have been caregivers for our parents. Taking care of aging parents is hard — emotionally and physically. After all, we used to depend on them not so long ago.
The first half of the Trump administration is over, so it’s an opportune time to evaluate how older Americans have fared under the president’s policies over the past two years. As someone who reports and writes frequently (and without a political bias) about public policy and people 50+, I’ve just scrutinized the president’s actions regarding experienced workers, retirement security, Social Security, Medicare, health insurance and the “fiduciary rule” for investors.
Electric scooter companies Bird and Lime have scattered thousands of rentable, dockless, electric scooters across US cities over the last year. And one complaint keeps coming up: they block sidewalks. Advocacy group Disability Rights California is now suing the two companies in federal court in San Diego for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The group, which is seeking class-action status for the case, says Bird and Lime are obstructing public sidewalks, making them unsafe for people with mobility and sight disabilities. Disability Rights California is also suing the City of San Diego for not maintaining accessible sidewalks.
cientific institutions need to work toward a more inclusive environment for disabled scientists. That’s not just because it’s fair, but also because it’s crucial to the scientific enterprise. While I was applying for grad school in the winter of 2015, I noted that most university websites carry a statement something to the effect of “we encourage underrepresented minorities and individuals with disabilities to apply.” I was elated at how progressive and welcoming this statement sounded as a scientist navigating this world with a life-altering and disabling disease. But I quickly found out that beyond that statement, there was never any support or even mention of providing an inclusive environment for me at any of the universities at which I interviewed. Over the course of my education, one thing has become clear: the topic of disabled students is not talked about enough. We don’t have a voice and that needs to change.
Faye Kirtley doesn’t appreciate it when store clerks talk down to her and act as if “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said. “It’s embarrassing, and I don’t know why they think it’s okay to treat an older person like that,” added the 88-year old resident of Bardstown, Ky. “Maybe they have people in their family that they talk down to, too.” Barbara Tack, 76, of Exeter, N.H. cringes at diminutives such as “miss” and “little lady” and has been known to correct a supermarket cashier on the impact of those monikers.
The questions about parents’ finances often come up when a parent starts to need some help. Basics like shopping, cooking or bathing can become too difficult for an elder with chronic illness, frailty and problems with memory. It may have started at retirement when income became fixed but unpredictable expenses weren’t figured into the cost of living. You, the adult children grow concerned that Mom or Dad need to spend more now for new things in their lives, such as paying a caregiver. You ask questions. Often there is push-back from the parent: “That’s not your business!” In your mind there is fear that the cost of these new expenses will fall on you. It might! But at least you want to find out what they have available to cover these things, right? It can be very frustrating when they avoid the subject.
Startups seek to fill a niche; Doppler radar to monitor heartbeat and breathing, ultrasonic bladder monitors. Takahiro Taniguchi was walking down the hall at the home for senior citizens where he works when his wireless earbuds signaled him: A resident was ready to be escorted to the bathroom. The alert came from the ultrasonic bladder sensor taped to the resident’s abdomen. “We’ve cut down on incontinence in some patients,” says the 28-year-old Mr. Taniguchi. In a country with one of the world’s fastest-growing elderly populations and a tight labor market, the demand for senior care is driving innovation and spawning startups. Like other gadgets that got their start in Japan—from the Walkman to the email-displaying cellphone—the resulting devices may go global over the next few years.
Scientists from the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a possible explanation for why African-Americans appear to be more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease than white Americans. They published their findings in JAMA Neurology, a peer-reviewed medical journal. The study of 1,255 people, including 173 African-Americans, found cerebrospinal fluid from African-Americans tended to have lesser amounts of tau protein, which is associated with Alzheimer’s. In healthy neurons, tau proteins bind to and stabilize microtubules, which help maintain the structure of cells. With Alzheimer’s, tau detaches from those microtubules and attach to other tau, forming tangles that block communication between neurons.
The National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health reports that 4.2 million Americans age 40 and older are visually impaired, and by 2030, this number is projected to soar to 7.2 million — 5 million of these individuals will have low vision. Low vision is the eyesight condition when prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication and surgery cannot correct one’s vision.
Actor Rob Lowe: I was my sick mother’s caregiver, don’t underestimate the stress caregivers face | USA Today
Right now, 40 million Americans are doing truly selfless work by serving as unpaid family caregivers for a loved one. About 25 percent of those caregivers are millennials, who often feel forced to choose between their careers and caring for their aging parents and grandparents.
I can relate. When I was in my thirties, my brothers and I cared for our mother throughout her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis. It’s not a role I was expecting to land, it didn’t come with much preparation, but it turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done — and, undeniably, one of the most difficult.
This week’s Bloomberg Equality segment looks at disability inclusion in the business world. New research by EY shows one-in-five leaders with a disability do not feel comfortable admitting it to colleagues. Bloomberg’s Annmarie Hordern speaks to Caroline Casey, founder of the Valuable campaign, which works to tackle disability exclusion, and Virgin Media MD Jeff Dodds, a strategic partner of the campaign.
The market for tech products for aging baby boomers is expected to balloon to $20 billion by 2020. Here are some of the best | Business Insider
Our elders may be wise in years but they’re not always very tech savvy, as anyone who’s had to provide tech support to an uncle or grandparent can attest. But tech products are starting to become more senior-friendly. New innovations, like voice recognition, touch screens and sensors, are making the power of digital technology more accessible to older people. The market for tech products aimed at people aged 60 and over is set to swell by $20 billion in the next two years.
The 2009-2019 challenge sweeping the internet may as well be renamed the “How Hard Did Aging Hit You?” meme. In the so-called #10YearChallenge, people post photos of themselves taken ten years apart, and for the most part, they show massive glow-ups from the decade past. It’s rough for people who didn’t age so gracefully in those ten years, who can’t help but ask: Why do some people age faster than others?
January Results From the Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor Reveal That Only 63% of U.S. Seniors Have Been Immunized This Season | PR Newswire
Today, newly conducted survey results from the January Clover Health Flu Shot Monitor reveal that only 63% of U.S. seniors 60 and older have gotten a flu shot so far this season. This is a negligible improvement from last month’s findings, which showed that just 60% of adults 60 and older had been vaccinated. As the height of flu season nears, the latest Flu Shot Monitor results are prompting the Medicare Advantage insurer to urge all older Americans to get vaccinated immediately.
On February 4th, 2016, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off in their final debate before the New Hampshire Democratic primary. That night, Clinton’s closing statement followed a script that resembled her stump speeches and previous debate appearances: She listed specific groups that experience discrimination and for whom she’s spent her career fighting. Until this point in the campaign, she had listed women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ Americans, but on that Friday night, she added “people with disabilities” to her litany.
Most of us think of our aging parents as living on longer than they or we expected. It’s great that an elder is part of the family into one’s 80s, 90s and beyond, perhaps living to see grandchildren and great grandchildren. And then there’s the long goodbye and the caregiving that almost inevitably comes with long life. Medical improvements can keep us going, overcoming some of the illnesses and conditions that used to end lives sooner. The question of quality of life remains unanswered–is it worth keeping someone going that long when the body and mind are failing and they no longer enjoy life? Philosophically, we puzzle over the issue of whether we need to have doctors treat everything a person has, with everything they can for as long as they can, no matter whether it’s painful or intrusive or both.
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