Aging Today

Aging Today is the bimonthly newspaper published by the American Society on Aging. Aging Today covers developments in public policy, research, practice, media, and programming in the field of again. Each issue includes four pages devoted to in-depth coverage of a single issue.

Articles from Vol. 32, No. 6, November/December

A Graveside Promise to Improve Care for the Dying
Ihave spent most of my adult life working to improve care for the seriously ill and dying. My reason for doing so is personal; it's about a promise I made at my mother's graveside nearly 35 years ago.After a two-year battle with cancer, my mother died...
...And Quality Healthcare for All: Reducing Health Disparities in America
The March-April 2011 issue of Aging Today featured a timely article by Dr. Fernando Torres-Gil and Diana Lam ("America Is at the Nexus of Aging and Multiculturalism") that not only identified our nation's impending "silver" tsunami, but also considered...
Artfully Composing a Life: A Conversation with Mary Catherine Bateson
Writer and cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, is the author of six books, including her most recent Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom (Knopf, 2010). For more information about...
ASA Keeps Workforce Advocacy Front and Center
America will need an additional 3.5 million healthcare workers by 2030 just to maintain current ratios of caregivers to elders. Developing a quality eldercare workforce to serve the burgeoning need cannot wait, which is why ASA will address this issue...
Ask a Simple Question: Four Model Programs Help American Indians Plan for End of Life
When the end is near, most of us don't cope with it very well. Both medical and social end-of-life decisions rank among life's most painful and stressful for patients and loved ones. And these important decisions often are made under the worst circumstances:...
Can We Talk? Clinicians, Patients Must Communicate to Build Better Care
America has a healthcare system that ably treats sudden threats to life, prevents many illnesses and cures much of what ails us. But that system cannot reliably and efficiently support us when we live with serious chronic illnesses and disabilities-a...
Choosing Time, Purpose and Meaning in Old Age
Someone was banging on the upstairs door. My caregiver poked her head out to see who was there, and a gray-haired, middle-aged woman was at the door. With her was a younger man holding a notebook."We're looking for Bonnie Genevay," the woman said. I...
Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom
The following excerpt is from Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom (September 2010) by Mary Catherine Bateson, reprinted with the permission of Knopf Copyright 2010 by Mary Catherine Bateson.Chapter I Thinking About LongevityI like to think...
Diving Deeper into the Future of Aging
At the end of 2010, a wave of articles appeared nationwide in newspapers and magazines with the news that the oldest baby boomers were about to turn 65.This could hardly be classified as "new" news. One remarkable aspect of the baby boom is how quickly...
Educating a Nation
Recently the Journal of Hospital Medicine published a study on end-of-life discussions and their effects on survival rates. The study, which involved more than 350 patients who had "low or medium risks of dying within one year," found that "discussing...
Embracing Death, Discovering Life: Bearing Witness to the End of Days
No one understands the truth of Ben Franklin's witticism about death and taxes better than older adults. Beginning somewhere between ages 45 and 55, the developmental task begins to shift from gratification outside the self to a more internally driven...
Honoring Loss, Respecting a Life: End-of-Life Rituals in Nursing Homes
The following is excerpted and adapted from Mercedes Bern-Klug's article, "Rituals in Nursing Homes," which appears in the Fall 2011 issue of Generations.Rituals punctuate life. This truth remains even during the last chapter of life, and even when life...
Is Long-Term-Care Technology Keeping Pace with Demand?
The September 2011AARP Bulletin has full-page ads for two brands of neck pendants used to protect against falls: you just press a button, which sends a call to an emergency center that can dispatch someone to your home. These ads have been around for...
It's Complicated: End-of-Life Care Needs a Streamlined, More Compassionate Approach
Death is inevitable, but the experience of illness and dying has changed tremendously. At the beginning of the 20th century, most people died at home, usually from a sudden illness or injury. Now, most Americans die of chronic, progressive illnesses,...
Laura Trejo, a One-Woman Force for Social Change
Laura Trejo, general manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, is the winner of the 2011 Gloria Cavanaugh Award for Excellence in Training and Education (http://asaging. org/gloria-cavanaugh-award). The award is given to an individual or...
Medicare Part D Shows Welcome Improvements, but There's Work Ahead
Changes to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), though important, are not enough to fix outstanding problems, especially those affecting low-income beneficiaries.The benefit designs of Medicare...
Openhouse Gets the Go-Ahead for LGBT Elder Housing
The LGBT elder population in San Francisco is growing apace with the general silver tsunami, straining already tight housing resources. On Aug. 4, 2011, the San Francisco Planning Commission gave the go-ahead to Open-house and Mercy Housing to proceed...
Protecting LGBT Elders' Benefits in a Post-DOMA World
For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders with same-sex partners, the denial of federal spousal benefits can have devastating financial consequences. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, currently bars same-sex couples from...
Sedating Our Elders: Beneficial Treatment or Mistreatment?
Mrs. M. is an 82-year-old Florida widow with two married children living in other states. A petite woman who has always had a pleasant, outgoing personality, she likes walking to keep fit. For the past five years, though, she has resided in assisted...
The ASA Leadership Academy: Educating Next-Generation Leaders in Aging
The American Society on Aging (ASA) announces the ASA Leadership Academy, a three-month leadership development intensive that debuts February 2012. Long at the forefront of leadership development education for professionals in the field of aging, ASA...
The New Face of Palliative Care
One day, years ago when I was a young intern, my pager went off: my 89-year-old patient was in cardiac arrest. One person was doing chest compressions, another was giving electric shocks to the chest. His chart said he'd been hospitalized for three months...
The Solace (and Sense) of Hospice and Palliative Care
When I visit my older patients, conversation often turns to "the end": "When my time comes, I want hospice," they say. These individuals are not necessarily near death; in many cases they are patients with chronic illnesses whom I have long cared for...
Transportation for When Extreme Climate Becomes the Norm
What will public transportation for older adults look like when temperatures are more extreme and natural disasters more frequent? Though a study of current transportation in areas with extreme temperatures, and during emergencies, is likely to provide...
Two-Thirds of California Voters Are Unprepared for the Costs of Growing Older
For more than a year, 57-year-old Darice Mori of Los Angeles has been caring for her 95-year-old grandmother, Yayoi Oki, who has balance problems and severe dementia.While Mori works, she places Oki at St. Barnabas Senior Services, a nearby adult day...
What Draws Clinicians to Palliative Care?
At a recent dinner party, a fellow guest asked about my field of medicine. "I'm a geriatrician but I practice palliative care," I replied. An uncomfortable hush descended. Another guest asked, in (tactless) amazement, "Why would anyone choose to do that?"...