One of the key challenges in current and future elderly care is how to engage the younger generation in this topic. We need to inspire young people to innovate for elderly and to become elderly care entrepreneurs.
At ACCESS Health International, we believe that it is time to give the elderly care industry an “injection” in the form of new ideas and knowledge that enables improvements in the lives of the elderly. In the light of this, we have launched the innovation program Modern Aging, which aims to support young entrepreneurs with ideas with the potential to improve quality of life for the elderly.
Modern Aging helps young entrepreneurs to take their ideas from vision to reality during a four-month innovation program and make the ideas as impactful as possible. The program is filled with seminars and workshops as well as coaching and mentoring for the entrepreneurs and their ideas. Through the program the entrepreneurs will build important networks of industry experts, mentors and peers. The entrepreneurs will develop leadership skills in order to take their idea concepts forward as well as gaining in-depth understanding of the conditions, attitudes and lifestyles of the new generation of the elderly and how ideas can be tailored to their needs.
The goals of the program is twofold; both to bring new innovation for elderly to the market as well as highlighting elderly care as an industry of the future.
The recruitment of entrepreneurs is currently taking place. Do you have an idea for elderly that you would like to realize – visit the Modern Aging website for your chance to participate in the program that runs August-November in Stockholm, Sweden. The application deadline is the 24th of May.
The program has been made possible by support from the Swedish Postcode Lottery.
Rates of social isolation are only increasing — not only because of an inherently Western attidude being adapted in so many cultures where individualism is favored over family — but because of new techniques, paradigms, and interventions of health that directly have been improving the global age of survival. Without the ability to counterbalance this increasing age due to a lack of technology to keep our neurons from diminishing over time, for example, or the lack of decreasing the rates of non-communicable, age-related diseases, it remains for us thus as a major obstacle in attaining the state of “living in balance,” as the world-renown statistician Hans Rosling once so eloquently put it in a Global Health lecture at Karolinska Institutet, year 2011. If we are to make no further progress to keep our foundation in supporting the elderly, we will inevitably crumble and shall once again be “dying in balance” as our ancient ancestors have done with leaping infant mortality rates. In our situation, it may be waves of elderly who will be at the brunt end of the sword. It appears to be so that in the near future, when our fertility rate will balance itself, our situation is reversing. Not enough children already now in high income countries will not be able to support or give attention to the growing needs of their elders.
One solution to help diminish this problem is the introduction of elderly-friendly pets. While a large motivation for them may be food and a home, pets are able to give unconditional attention to their owners. They are just as capable of banishing social isolation.
Several pet-elderly-friendly foundations, for example, exist in Pennsylvania within the United States, such as The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Hope for the Animals. Organizations such as these promote the well-being of pets and seniors, and ultimately try to create a win-win situation. While this animal-elderly strategy may seem to be overly simplified, there certainly is nothing wrong in the logic. In fact, the simplicity of such a strategy as giving pets to seniors to banish isolation may also be its brilliance: this initiative can reach far, and across countless homes. If the elder would like a pet, there is nothing to lose aside from allergies, but then you can always find yourself a breed not privy to causing such a reaction.
HLA-DR molecules can be altered genetically in such a sense to lead to the pathway of the so called “Cinderella Slipper” coined by the work of researchers Peter K. Gregerson of the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, Lars Klareskog of the Karolinska Institute, and Robert J. Winchester of Columbia University. They have discovered that having one HLA risk gene coupled with being a smoker will quintuple the risk of developing the autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis – so called the “Foot” that fits into the Cinderella Slipper. Having two HLA risk genes together with being a smoker makes that risk ten times higher in developing Rheumatoid Arthritis when compared to having one risk gene.
For their work, these three researchers have been awarded the 2013 Crafoord prize in polyarthritis research. Watch the video here:
This means that particularly for middle-income countries with high and rising rates of smoking, high population, and high rates of aging, Rheumatoid Arthritis will pose a truly serious problem in the coming future unless preventative mechanisms will come into play concerning smoking, i.e. education campaigns, warning labels, and increased taxation.
The New York Times’ Personal Health blog included an article written by Jane Brody: “Staying Independent in Old Age, With a Little Help.” Here, the writer mentions how the majority of American elderly prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. A barrier remains, however, as the homes they stay in are outdated relevant to the modernization of our people and the rate at which aging is increasing. Therefore, solutions are mentioned here — both on the house level and the community level — that may allow for elderly to live as independently as long as possible. House level solutions include the installment of grab bars, curbless showers, and the removal of steps. Community level changes include the provision of cluster housing in walkable communities within the vicinity of stores and public transportation.
While these solutions will help prevent social isolation and improve human elderly factors, one must also be aware of the signs of when one should consider moving an elder to a more supportive environment. These signs have been mentioned by Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor at Caring.com. Accidents, falls, diminishing health, slow recovery, inability to leave the house, not picking up the mail, not checking food expiration dates, fluctuating behavior, and increased loneliness are one of few signs to tell when the time may be right. Not only these, but if it takes considerable time and effort to care for this person and you are becoming affected if you yourself are the care provider, it is probably the right time to let him or her come to a place where he or she can be helped with a more constant environment of support. The question remains if these facilities will remain available in the coming future with enough staff. This will of course remain a concern and, to boldly say, should be a target addressed in all coming worldly or national health meetings of any kind.
I came across this article from the UK about elderly people spending their merry Christmas on their own. I found it interesting, depressing, and even discovered a link to health in the whole dilemma.
While for many people Christmas is the only time in the year when they actually meet family and friends, others are not cared for by anybody or do not care for anybody (anymore). Thus, they spend the celebration of love alone, like a quarter of all people in the UK that are older than 75 and live by themselves – even though the majority of them have children.
Experts say that “family breakdown is fuelling an epidemic of loneliness in old age” and that the fact that two in five marriages fail has serious impacts for the elderly. Young people have to divide their time between parents and step-parents. Besides, ‘silver separations’ are also becoming more common, with latest figures showing that more than 11,500 over-60s were granted a divorce in 2009.
In one of the largest surveys of its kind, the think-tank polled 2,000 over-75s to test how isolated the elderly truly are. ‘I’m 88 and I have nobody at all. I’m on my own’, said one, and ‘some days the only person I speak to is the boy in the shop when I pick up my paper.’
Growing isolation and loneliness makes elderly people particularly vulnerable – also in terms of health. Related mental and physical health conditions include a weakened immune system, sleep deprivation, higher blood pressure, a higher risk of dementia and depression. What to do?
In the UK there is an initiative that involves the police, fire officers conducting home safety checks, as well as social workers who see “warning signs” to connect people to local voluntary groups that can provide companionship. But is that a solution of the problem really?
Chapman J (2011): 250,000 elderly people who’ll be spending their Christmas alone. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2078261/250-000-elderly-people-ll-spending-Christmas-alone.html#ixzz2FXDlyfWT
If your body was a mobile phone, your liver would be the SIM card
Although this post is not particularly tailored to the stereotype of Irish men who not only fashionably drink some ale at the Green Dragon tavern (rather, quite more than a hobby), naturally, it would be important for this group of individuals — and of course those who follow that bandwagon, namely, the particular binge-drinking bandwagon — to read this!
It is so that with a healthy liver you are a liver.
While being a liver — one who lives — you can live when there is an organ that clears toxins from your body, converts food into energy, regulates the levels of cholesterol; among several others. Of course, that is why this organ is called a liver! You can’t live without it.
Henceforth, as once a liver takes a considerable amount of time to restore itself after being diseased or taking a large amount of damage, one should consider as one ages that this organ must be kept healthy. Not to sole out this from any other vital organs — of course general health is directly related to holistic wellness — but let us take some time to appreciate what our liver does for us.
Therefore, my liver, I liver you!
If your body was a mobile phone, your liver would be the SIM card: