Each year we invite contributions to AgeBlog from members of the Aging in America Conference community who will be making a presentation at the conference. For 2017, we have a rich series of contributions covering issues ranging from use of acupuncture for pain remediation to the impact of aging on the workforce, and many other topics.
Do you know someone who lives with dementia through your profession or personally? If so, it's likely at some point their cognitive health has made you concerned for your own. You forget an old friend's birthday... you can't find your car keys, again... you forget the very item you went to the grocery store to buy. Do you wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you? When is forgetting part of the normal course of life? When does forgetting become a reason to worry? How can we tell the difference?
Pain, you could say, is the great equalizer. Young athletes, women in childbirth, sedentary office workers, manual laborers, old athletes—everyone deals with it at some time. Often it goes away on its own; sometimes you need a little help: aspirin, acetaminophen, liniments, or the like. In many instances, it’s no big deal; it goes away, and you forget about it.
According to the American Community Survey, about 1 in 50 Americans experiences “serious trouble seeing, even when wearing glasses or contacts.” For Americans over age 55, the rate of vision difficulty is 1 in 20, and for those over age 85, the rate approaches 1 in 5 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015).
The following is an excerpt from Sky Above Clouds: Finding Our Way Through Creativity, Aging and Illness. Oxford University Press; $27.95; ISBN 9780199371419, 352 pages, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.
Have you ever helped an older person navigate the complexities of life—arranging transportation to a doctor’s appointment, setting up meals on wheels, or even ensuring they can see a medical professional—only to find out they are alone at home with no family or friends to support them? Who will ensure they are able to bathe each day and help them with the tasks of daily living we all take for granted? If you’ve ever cared for an older person, you know that the questions are endless.