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NEWSLETTER                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     DECEMBER 2015


If you ask my wife, she’ll probably tell you that I’m a news junkie. When I hit an airport, I load up on newspapers and magazines. And here are some odds and ends which I found interesting and thought I would pass on to my readers.

According to an article in Kaiser Health News, carrying for older relatives is usually a task associated with Baby Boomers, the 50 – and 60 – somethings who find their aging parents need assistance. Almost a quarter of the adults who take care of older people – on top of their regular jobs and responsibilities – are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to research by the AARP policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving. As millions of Americans are expected to live longer than they used to – often losing the ability to do so independently – their families and communities are grappling with how best to take care of them. About 40 million Americans considered themselves caregivers in 2013, according to an AARP report. Those people are typically women. The work they do caring for older relatives – usually parents and grandparents – is estimated that same year to be worth about $470 billion. Makes you think.

According to an article in the New York Times, the ranks of older and frail adults are growing rapidly in the developed world, raising alarms about how society is going to help them take care of themselves in their own home. Even though fully functioning robot caregivers may be a long way off, roboticists and physicians predict that a new wave of advances and computerized, robotic, and Internet – connected technologies will be available in coming years to help older adults stay at home longer. “Loneliness is at epidemic levels among elders in the U.S. today,” said Juliet Holt Klinger, senior director of dementia care and programs at Brookdale Senior Living, one of the nation’s largest providers of assisted living and home care. Brookdale is using a variety of Internet – connected services to help aging clients

stay more closely connected with family and friends. There is growing evidence that staying connected, even electronically, offsets the cognitive decline associated with aging. Examples of robotic and artificial – intelligence derived technologies that will be commercially available in the next decade include intelligent walkers, smart pendants that track falls in “wandering,” room and home sensors that monitor health status, balancing aids, virtual and robotic electronic companions, and even drones. Makes you wonder.

This is my favorite. In a report from CBS news in Tampa, Florida, police busted a game of mahjong at a condominium clubhouse. The group accused of the crime: four women between the ages of 87 and 95. Apparently the word spread about this friendly game and a “troublemaker” in the community called the police stating a law that prohibits playing the game for money. The police closed the clubhouse. The women were sent a formal notice from condominium management stating that there would be no more mahjong, bingo or poker played in the location until further notice. Police reportedly stopped by several times later that week to make sure the games weren’t being played. One of the participants stated “we haven’t played in the clubhouse for weeks! We have to go to each other’s’s homes to play and not everyone lives in Escondido. It is an international game and we are being crucified!” The 87-year-old woman said the game is good for the elderly and even her doctor has told her it can delay dementia. The women suggested that they could “just play for fun” without money, but the property manager said that they should “lay low,” until things were resolved. Makes you laugh.

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