Life expectancy has increased for Americans from 49 in 1900 to 78 in 2010, and there are now 53,000 centenarians living among us. September 22 is National Centenarian Day, and ASA salutes these individuals who defy life expectancy projections by 20 years.
More than 60 of these centenarians have so far volunteered to help with the X PRIZE 100 Over 100, a $10 million competition to accurately sequence the whole genome of 100 subjects within 30 days, in a quest to advance research in predictive and personalized medicine.
Elaine Clark suffered from end-stage renal disease and needed a kidney transplant in order to survive. Unable to obtain a kidney where she lived in Santa Clara County, Calif., she decided to return to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, when she learned she could get a transplant. The operation was successful. However, what she didn’t realize was that after the move, she would lose her Social Security benefit and spend the few remaining years of her life without any income.
The numbers are staggering: according to the Centers for Disease Control, 20 percent of those 55 years or older experience some sort of mental health issue, whether it be anxiety, severe cognitive impairment or mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. Older men have the highest rates of suicide of any age group at 45.23 per 100,000 compared with 11.01 per 100,000 for the overall population, and mental health issues are often implicated as a factor.
More than 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) live in the United States, with a projected three-and-a-half-fold increase between 2010 and 2050 of AI/ANs ages 65 years or older. Much of what we think about aging among AI/ANs is largely based on anecdotal information and cultural stereotypes.
This past June, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance establishing a task force on issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders; LGBT Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Campos and Christine Olague sponsored the bill. The task force will address housing, legal equity, research and demographics, social services and inclusion of elders within the community. The Board selects the 15 task-force members in September, and they will have 18 months to investigate the issues and report back with their recommendations.
We wanted to know how important you thought creative self-expression is to the well being of older adults. The results are in and an overwhelming 88 percent of you think it's very important. One respondent offered a particularly compelling example of how creativity can make a vital difference:
September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and individuals and organizations across the country are planning events and celebrations in order to increase public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults. We asked if you or your organization were planning to particpate and 44% said you were. Here are some of the activities you had planned:
The Quick Question for September 5, 2012, was "If you had a client or potential client who was lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, how would you get information on providing the best services possible?" Suprisingly, among our respondents, "analog" still prevails over digital: fifty percent of respondents chose "Ask a Colleague," versus 41 percent who chose "Look on the Internet." And a sizable minority of 25 percent ranked academic or trade journals as their preferred source.
Wondering which foods have been shown to be associated with better cognitive health? Nearly 96 percent of respondents said “all of the above” when given the following choices: green tea, baked or grilled fish, walnuts, brussels sprouts. And you are RIGHT!