A record number of seniors aged 85 year or older are working in America. Since 2006 this number has grown from 2.6% to 4.4%, its the highest number in record. As life expectancy grows, retirements plans shrink and education levels rise people are working until later in life. They usually work in fields that demand less physical work, like management positions and sales.
This number is steadily rising, and statistics also show that this segment is working mostly full time jobs instead of part time jobs. Other popular jobs among this age group are ranchers, farmers, crossing guards and even truckers. Staying active is important at that age, you can read more about ways to staying active and social for seniors here.
To learn more about the increase in people aged 85 or older working, read more here.
“I hate growing old,” says everyone, “but it’s better than the alternative.” We tend to see aging as this inevitable decline in physical and mental capability. In American society especially, we see the elderly as somehow lesser than their younger selves -- weaker, sadder, lonelier. On November 30, Anne Tergesen wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal, backed by some solid scientific evidence, that shows that everything we believe about aging may just be wrong.
Myth #1: The Elderly Tend to be More Depressed
Are seniors more depressed? Not according to the research. Participant of a long term study conducted by research scientists at Heidelberg University, among others, older people focus on positive rather than negative emotions. “Contrary to the popular view that youth is the best time of life, the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade,” Prof. Laura Carstensen, director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity says.
Myth #2: Cognitive Decline is Inescapable
With age comes wisdom. With age come experience and knowledge. Barring dementia, studies show that older people tend to see problems from multiple perspectives. Also good news? Studies have shown that older adults can improve memory by learning new skills. Old dog --meet new tricks.
Myth #3: We Become Less Productive as We Age
Fewer older workers can retire early, thanks to our economy. According to the Department of Labor, workers 55 or older make up 22% of the American labor force. That’s up from 12% in 1992. Older workers have the edge over their younger counterparts due to experience and tend to make fewer errors in their work.
Myth #4: The Aged are More Prone to Loneliness
The elderly have shown that when it comes to people they feel close to, they prefer quality over quantity. Closer ties with loved ones means that seniors value their inner circle more and shed the relationships they find problematic. Of course, loneliness is still a problem for some elderly, especially if they are isolated but, on average, research shows that older adults are less lonely than younger adults.
Myth #5: Creativity Declines With Age
This one I love: academic studies dating far back into the 19th century show that many artists are most prolific in their 40s, 50s and 60s. David Galenson, a professor at the University of Chicago, conducted research that showed artists who “rely on wisdome, which increases with age” take years to perfect their style. He cites Mark Twain, Paul Cézanne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Frost and Virginia Woolf as just a few of the artists who did their best work later in life.
Myth #6: More Exercise Produces Better Results
While getting some exercise is key to healthy aging, too vigorous activity can cause “overuse injury” to the heart. Dr. James O’Keefe, professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City recommends sticking to a “moderate cardiovascular workout of no more than 30 miles a week or 50 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and taking at least one day off each week.”
We here at Caregiverlist are firm believers in healthy aging. With proper nutrition, exercise, and preventative measures, we know that we can enjoy life much longer than ever before. And it doesn’t hurt to follow the advice of the late Ms. Besse Cooper who made it to 116 years old. During an interview with the Guinness Book of World Records, when asked her advice on living a long, healthy life Ms. Cooper responded, “I mind my own business. And I don’t eat junk food.”
Take the time to read the full Wall St. Journal article, along with the substantiating data.
Recently and rather infamously, Ezekiel Emanuel, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and brother to Chicago’s own mayor Rahm Emanuel, wrote a piece for the Atlantic entitled Why I Hope to Die at 75.
Citing the physical and mental degeneration that often accompanies old age, Dr. Emanuel asserts in his essay that he will forego not only life-sustaining interventions such as dialysis, ventilators and defibrillators after the age of 75, but also simple diagnostic and preventative measures, like colonoscopies and flu shots.
Reading his essay, one gets the distinct impression that Dr. Emanuel doesn’t buy the notion of aging well — the idea that as we increase our lifespans, diet and exercise (both mental and physical) can delay the decline and disabilities we face as we age. Instead of what he calls “American immortality,” Dr. Emanuel espouses his “75 and no more” philosophy.
It was like the shot heard ‘round the world, prompting responses and rebuttals from all over the web. As you can imagine, such a provocative essay hit people where they live (pun intended.) When one imagines a long life, it comes with the caveat of being able to continue functioning fully, without descending into frailty or senility.
What got me, however, was Dr. Emanuel’s supposition that your creativity declines as you age — his assertion that the elderly have nothing left to give to society. I disagree. Heartily. And I am not alone. Our friends at Homecare Together, a Dublin-based quality home care agency, sent me this wonderful infographic, Life Begins at 60+, which presents examples of seniors who changed direction, reinvented themselves, gave back to the community, and prospered well into later-stage life.
Of course, not all of us will enjoy such a run, but it won’t happen without trying. I may not take drastic measures to prolong my life after 75, but I hope by the time I get there, with the help of an exceptional senior caregiver ( or perhaps a robot companion), an aged quality life full of vim, vigor, and creativity will be the rule and not the exception.
"Do not go gentle into that good night... Rage, rage against the dying of the light" — Dylan Thomas
Sharing stories allows us to connect with other people through their own life experiences. The TED Talks app allows speakers to share insightful and inspirational content with senior caregivers and their clients by watching videos on their smartphones and tablets.
The organization TED aims to spread "ideas worth sharing" by giving speakers a platform to speak for 18 minutes or less about their idea worth sharing. Many times, the speakers shares a deeply personal story with the audience and relate it back to their larger topic. Disability, Aging and Prosthetics are all category options on the TED Talks app, each with more than ten videos from speakers that senior caregivers and their clients may find value in.
Under the Aging category, one of the videos focuses on, "how I'm preparing to get Alzheimer's" which senior clients could watch and spark a discussion with their caregiver or family about their own preventative measures for dementia. Additionally, the app features more categories for almost any interest- Art, Climate Change, Education, Law, Philosophy, etc. Caregivers could sit down with their senior clients and search through the database to pick out a few videos to watch together and share their thoughts at the end.
The app also opens to a Featured page at first, which shows the most popular videos of the moment, and a Surprise Me feature shows users a video at random. If a video particularly moves you, bookmark it and it will save under the My Talks area so you can watch again later or share with a friend.
The TED Talks app is available for Apple platforms and Android.
Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.
Winter storms drive even the most hale and hearty of us to seek the shelter of warmth indoors. While it’s enticing to stay inside by a roaring fire (or space heater) snuggled under a blanket with a favorite book, I think we can all agree, and studies show, exercise is just as important, if not more so, in the winter than other times of the year. So it’s imperative to get up and get moving.
Fitness classes for seniors are a great option, as is a simple walk around the mall. But what about the transport? In inclement weather, even getting in and out of a car can be daunting. How does a senior, with limited mobility on the best of days, keep strong, flexible and fit when snow and ice keeps them housebound?
Caregivers can help with a regiment of at home exercises for seniors. Remember — it’s always important to consult a doctor before starting a home workout plan.
Ideally, a comprehensive workout plan will address endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.
If possible, invest in a low-impact piece of exercise equipment, such as a stationary bike. It’s great aerobic exercise and will strengthen leg muscles. For those who are very limited in their mobility, check out the Sit and Be Fit series, either on YouTube or your local PBS station. Learn about Chair Yoga, which is a great way to increase blood flow and fluidity of movement.
Resistance bands and free weights, if used with caution, can increase muscle mass and promote strength. Building strength can help counteract the weakness and frailty usually associated with aging.
Balance is a special concern for the elderly. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), one in every three adults 65 years and older falls. Many times those falls can cause severe injuries, such as breaks and head traumas. Regular exercise will help a senior bounce back more quickly from an injury or illness, as well as help prevent those falls in the first place.
Exercise is an essential part of aging well. Exercise helps alleviate depression — which can be a problem for the elderly, especially during these dark, cold months. It can also help prevent osteoporosis, keep diabetes at bay, enhance energy, and generally make a person feel better. If you’re not sure where to start, consult a physical therapist or senior fitness expert. If I’m a caregiver, that’s a gift I want to give to the senior for whom I care. That’s a gift I want to give to myself.
If you are a senior caregiver, consider Caregiverlist’s Caregiver Training and Certification. One of the training modules deals specifically with promoting and maintaining good mobility, and that’s a skill that will make you more attractive to future employers.
Concerns about the economy, unemployment rates and the uncertainty of the country’s financial future have everyone worried. But there is one segment of society experiencing less anxiety about what the future holds: Seniors.
A recent survey from the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today shows that most older Americans (over 60) are optimistic about their future. Generally regarded as the last generation to experience and enjoy the fruits of their labors, older Americans may very well be the last to live The American Dream. Many receive employer-provided pensions, sold homes before the real estate crisis (or have paid off their mortgages), and are grandfathered in to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits. This all adds up to a rather rosy outlook on life.
The inaugural United States of Aging Survey to examined 2,250 seniors about their outlook and preparedness for aging, and their community’s ability to meet their needs as they age. Most seniors plan to age in place and continue to live in their homes, those surveyed view senior-living facilities in their community favorably.
And while most respondents were generally content with their finances and health, the one area of concern is caregiving. More than half of seniors aged 70 and older have someone they consider a caregiver and the vast majority of caregivers are family members. But when senior needs become greater than the family caregiver can provide, most realize that they will have to turn to local, professional caregivers to accomplish the tasks of daily living. The question then becomes how to pay for care in this age of declining government funding?
But until those caregiving needs arise, the majority of older Americans believe that they are aging healthy and have a strong sense of purpose and passion about their lives and their future.
The Science of Happiness includes 3 different types of happiness:
1) Rock-Star Moments
2) In-the-Flow of a Favorite Activity
3) Sense of Purpose
The Rock-Star Moments are those emotional highs that are wonderful but not lasting because they are "moments", such as your graduation day, your wedding day, the day your baby is born or the day you received the big promotion. It is a wonderful moment and this is why often you'll hear about the rock star who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol because they are in search of that same high again and again. It is a wonderful moment, but does not last.
The In-the-Flow happiness is when you are running or biking or boating or doing that favorite activity that just makes you feel relaxed and at peace.
The Sense-of-Purpose happiness is lasting happiness that sustains a person because it delivers fulfillment and also is lasting. This happens when people are actively involved in living life and engaged with others in their daily activities. Seniors, we hope, have figured out this sense of purpose and perhaps this helps deliver their happiness.
For now, this is good news that the elderly we are finding are the happiest bunch of Americans!
seniorcare, aging, caregiver, agingSurvey, USAToday
Sometimes it is tough when you are providing care for a senior who does not appreciate the care services and who, sometimes, does not even want the help, even though their life is much better with the assistance of a caregiver.
This quote is a reminder to all of us that wrinkles are a good thing! Aging does have a few benefits.
senior, seniorcare, aging
The Oscar nominations for this year are out and the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" has socred nominations in several categories, including best picture.
The movie, adapted from the 1920's story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, follows a man who is born in his 80's and ages backwards. By turning the wisdom of aging around, the movie offers much food for thought for those of us of all ages, including seniors.
Anyone who is a caregiver will definitely appreciate this story, and appreciate the acting (and of course, Brad Pitt is still easy on the eyes). Check it out.
senior, caregiving, aging
Explorer and writer Dan Buettner has written a book called The Blue Zones which profiles the areas of the world where the most people have lived the longest - and lived those years with happiness and vitality.
More seniors have reached 100 years of age in these “blue zones”, which include towns in Italy, California and Costa Rica. The book brings to light their lifestyles that seem to suggest why they are living longer.
The website also offers a Vitality Compass so you can find out how well you are doing with healthy aging right now. This provides a great tool for both seniors and their caregivers.
Included in The Blue Zones top-10 list for healthy aging are growing a garden, eating nuts, drinking Sardinian wine (has the world’s highest levels of antioxidants), meditating and having a personal mission.
seniorcare, aging, caregiver