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Life Extension: The Modern Anti-Aging Movement – Are We Standing at the Threshold of Immortality?

July 17, 2016 by · Comments Off on Life Extension: The Modern Anti-Aging Movement – Are We Standing at the Threshold of Immortality?
Filed under: General 

Why is skincare the focus of longevity research? I guess a cell is a cell, and if you can crack the code for one human cell, it is only a matter of time to solving the puzzle with different types of cell – and skin is without doubt the most visible cells each of us have. And it’s our faces in particular we often judge ourselves and others by, and we are in turn quickly scrutinized, and often opinions reached in a fraction of a second. Our faces often show the most visible signs of aging, and for many in modern society age is by nature “bad” and young or looking young is the ideal. That is why billions and billions of dollars each year are poured by consumers into all sorts of treatments to minimize wrinkles, to push back the effects of gravity, and to turn back the hands of time. And with that much money to be spent by consumers, there are many manufacturers eager to find the next step in arresting Father Time – and at least detaining him until the next stagecoach arrives, where hopefully he can be encouraged to move on before too much damage can be done.

The Entire Issue Explained – In A Pair of Shoelaces

Some time ago a friend gave me a simple analogy that puts this entire issue in perspective. The science may not win a Nobel Prize, but it gave me the necessary ah-ha moment.

The double helix of the DNA strand – our most basic foundation for life – is held together at each end by things that act in the same way as the hard plastic bits on the end of shoelaces do – preventing the DNA from unraveling, and the individual chromosomes scattering across the floor like dropping a string of pearls down a marble staircase. These things are called telomeres.

Somewhere programmed into these tiny telomeres is the entire basis to how long the DNA stays intact – and by inference these are the keys to the length of life of the organism. Somewhere written into the telomere is a great musical score but like all musical scores it has a double bar somewhere to signify the end; but is it to be a minuet or a Wagnerian epic? But sure enough, when the time comes, and the telomeres blow the full time whistle, the DNA strand will unravel and die – and the circle of life begins again. Telomeres govern how often our skin cells are replaced; why a puppy and a child born on the same date may age exactly the same chronologically, but the puppy has become a geriatric before the child reaches puberty.

Telomeres, my friend explained, occasionally go on the fritz (that must have a very specific scientific meaning). One of the ways this occurs is they may forget their programming to release and unravel, and they just hang on, allowing the cells thus affected to multiply again and again without dying. In fact, when this occurs often they become very difficult to kill and to all intents and purposes once the telomeres act in this way, the cell – and those it propagates – are effectively immortal.

This condition has a name which we all know. Cancer.

But, what if we were able in some way to persuade the telomeres within a cancer to behave normally – would that not be the “magic bullet” cure for cancer? And the other side to that equation – if the telomeres in healthy cells could be persuaded to act as they do in a cancer – then is this the recipe for a healthy cell that does not die? Does the cure for cancer and immortality hang on just this one thread?

Whatever your views may be, the reality is that some of the world’s finest research scientists are working on that exact question and some would say it is only a matter of a decade or two before this is neither conjecture nor science fiction, but a reality to face up to. The changes that would take place in society even if life expectancy were to take a leap forward by say 10 or 20 years are enormous, but we should all be thinking that this is a distinct possibility.

From the dab of lanoline a generation ago to what I know hold in my hand as an anti aging skincare treatment is more than just a revolution – and I have no doubt in a few years I will be saying this cream will not just slow the aging process and reduce the visible signs of aging, making your face appear younger – but it will actually be younger.

But before that, let’s look back at how this whole engagement with life extension and anti-aging started. Mankind has always striven for longevity and mused about immortality – but the past 50 years has seen some dramatic steps in reality toward this goal.

Genesis

The thought of extending life has been on the mind of mankind for millennia. References to the search for ways to prolong life can be found as far back as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh was reputedly the fifth king of the kingdom of Uruk, the modern-day Iraq, around 2500 BC. According to the Sumerian list of kings, he reigned for 126 years. The Torah or Old Testament records Methuselah as living over 900 years, with life spans measured in centuries apparently commonplace before the time of Noah.

Throughout the development of scientific thought from the Reformation onwards, scholars have applied themselves to solving this riddle and these endeavors continue today at the very leading edge of scientific progress.

Unraveling Secrets

As the secrets of our existence are unraveled in ever more minute detail, we are beginning to understand what it is that makes us grow from tiny babies into adults. We now know, for example, that cell functions slow down as the body ages and that production of certain substances required by the body to regenerate decrease or cease completely.

Skin, for instance, needs two substances to retain strength and firmness.
The production of these substances namely collagen (strength, tightness) and elastin (flexibility) decreases with age. The decreases in production together with other factors that include the threat of free radicals make the skin age and become wrinkly. Free radicals are essentially incomplete oxygen molecules causing destructive chain reactions within cells.

The same kind of thing happens in every cell, every tissue and organ around the human body. For example, people develop frown lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles. Nutrients are no longer absorbed easily and vital cell functions, hormones and other substances are produced at decreased rates resulting in the body aging.

A Brief History of the Life Extension Movement

Science has been looking for ways to slow down this process for centuries. The forming of life extension movements, however, did not really begin until around 1970.

➢ In this year, Denham Harman, the originator of the so-called ‘free radical theory of aging’, decided that an organization dedicated to the research and information sharing between scientists working in biogerontology (the field of science concerned with the biological aspects involved in the aging process) was needed. As a result, the American Aging Association was formed.

➢ In 1976, two futurists, Philip Gordon and Joel Kurtzman wrote a book on the research into extending the human lifespan. This popular volume was titled ‘No More Dying. The Conquest Of Aging And The Extension Of Human Life’.

➢ Kurtzman was then invited to speak at Florida’s House Select Committee (HSC) of Aging, which was chaired by Claude Pepper, an American politician and spokesman for the elderly. The aim of this talk was to discuss the impact on Social Security by life extension.

➢ In 1980, Saul Kent, a prominent activist in the field of life extension, published the book ‘The Life Extension Revolution’ and founded the nutraceutical (from ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical’, in other words, a nutrition supplement) firm known as ‘The Life Extension Foundation’.

This foundation is a non-profit making organization promoting dietary supplements and publishing the periodical ‘Life Extension Magazine’. Kent was later involved in work relating to cryogenics. He was jailed in the course of this work over a dispute at one point, although charges were dropped at a later stage.

➢ In 1982, American health writer and life extension advocate Sandy Shaw and her co-writer, Durk Pearson, popularized the term ‘life extension’ even further with the bestseller ‘Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach’.

➢ Roy Walford, a gerontologist and life-extensionist, published ‘Maximum Lifespan’, another popular book on the subject. He and Richard Weindruch, his student, followed this up in 1988 with their summary on the research they had conducted into the ability to prolong the life of rodents through calorie restriction. The title of this book is ‘The Retardation of Aging and Disease by Dietary Restriction’.

Although this ability to extend life with calorie restriction had been known since the 1930’s, when gerontologist, biochemist and nutritionist Clive McCay did some research into the subject, it was the work of Walford and Weinbruch that gave solid scientific grounding to the McCay’s findings.

Walford’s scientific work was driven by a personal interest in life extension. He practiced calorie restriction as part of his own life and eventually died at the age of 80. The cause of his death was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive motor neuron disease.

➢ A4M, the ‘American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine’ was founded in 1992 to create a medical specialty for anti aging that was distinctly separate from geriatrics. This allowed scientists and physicians interested in this particular field of science to hold conferences and discuss the latest developments.

➢ The sci.life-extension, a Usenet group, was created by California-born author, philosopher and translator Brian M. Delaney. This represented an important development within the movement of life extension. It made it possible, for example, for the CR (Calorie Restriction) Society to be created.

➢ A more recent development is the proposal of Dr A. de Grey, a biogerontologist at Cambridge University. This proposal suggested that damage to cells, macromolecules, organs and tissues can be repaired with the help of advanced biotechnology. This is evident in hair restoration products, for instance.

More than Books

Although it would appear that most of the work revolving around life extension has been done solely by writing books or founding societies or organizations of some kind or another, the reality is that these books were written in response to or based on very specific, detailed scientific research that have yielded positive results.

They are no longer the works of hopeful minds, but the works of dedicated scientists who have spent their lives working on discovering facts about aging and trying to find ways to slow down, or even reverse the process.

Many breakthroughs have been made, and in many ways, we are already able to extend lives to a certain extent. The average lifespan of a human being is already far greater than it used to be as a result of medical, pharmaceutical and nutritional advances brought about by research and development.

The work continues, and scientists around the world are continually conducting research, comparing results, discussing options and making advances on our behalf.

Driving Forces behind the Development of the Life Extension Movement

What factors are driving this movement into ever greater efforts to find solutions to the extension of Life? The answer to this question actually includes a whole range of factors.

Expectations Have Risen

As the ‘baby boomer’ generation (born between 1946-1964) enters retirement age, expectations of this group are dramatically different from those of the preceding generations. They have greater expectations and desires to enjoy their life as pensioners to the fullest and for as long as is possible. This expectation covers not only length of life, but quality of life as well and this is not a passive request but an active and strident demand in many cases.

Pharmacology

Progress in pharmacology has led to a wide selection of drugs that allow people to live longer and fuller lives being developed over the last two decades or so. The work is still very much in progress and many more drugs are being developed daily.

One of the classic examples of a drug raising the quality of life for older individuals are erectile dysfunction treatments – notably Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. These drugs have dramatically reduced the number of fatalities or serious injury resulting from elderly men rolling out of bed, as well as a number of more qualitative benefits.

Advances in Genetics

Some of the latest scientific research and subsequent advances made in biotechnology and genetics are providing some hope that it may be possible to hold back some of the fundamental causes of aging.

As we outlined previously, chromosomes containing DNA strings are essentially capped with a binding substance known as telomeres. In effect, the telomeres are consumed during cell division and over time, they become shorter and shorter.

This was first observed by a scientist called Leonard Hayflick, and the process of limited cell division was subsequently named the Hayflick Limit. Advocates of life extension work on the thought that lengthening the telomeres through drugs or gene therapy may ultimately extend the Hayflick Limit and thereby fool the cells, and as such the body, into ‘thinking’ it is younger than it actually is.

Developments in Precision Manufacture

Advances made in the fields of nanotechnology, miniaturization, computer chips and robotics also provide hope for potentially life extending solutions.

In the 1970’s, a popular TV series starred Lee Majors as the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’? Science fiction then. Today, it is science fact. Millions of people now walk through life with artificial ankle, knee and hip joints and healthy feet. A generation ago, mass production of this kind of technology was a distant dream.

The same applies to many individuals with artificial limbs. Artificial legs used to be crude wooden contraptions that were just able to keep a person balanced. Today’s artificial limbs are almost fully functional.

The Blessings of Medical Progress

Who would have thought even 50 years ago that it would become possible to bypass a coronary artery, or even replace a heart completely? Yet there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individuals enjoying their lives after having this kind of surgery – few of whom would be alive just half a century ago.

Millions of people no longer have to wear glasses, because of the availability of laser surgery. This, too, was science fiction just a few years ago. Today, it is advertised next to shampoo in magazines and on TV.

In other words, science is moving rapidly towards not only extending life, but making the quality of these extra years better as well.

Is it Science, Science Fiction or Lunacy?

What should the average person believe? This question is almost as difficult to answer as finding solutions to extended life. Even among scientists, opinions are divided. Some do believe that extending the quality of life is as possible as extending life in general.

Others brush off the thought as un-scientific nonsense. This is often simply based on the fear of anything ‘new’ disturbing the status quo of established limits. Fortunately, real scientists do keep on looking, because if every single scientist had decided that some of the advancements already in medical, pharmaceutical and technological fields could not be possible, we would all still be dying at 30.

So where does that leave us?

There is no doubt what-so-ever that there are many charlatans out there trying to make a quick buck out of people’s desire to retain their youth. Even today, many products being sold in their millions are essentially non-effective – often given fantastic names and have the most bewildering ingredients to make them look scientific to consumers and justify their cost.

But the facts are while many advancements are being made and research points to the possibility of eventually finding the key to maintaining youth for longer, the scientific community is still warning the public that many of the products being sold today are unreliable to say the least.

➢ Although food supplements may assist in keeping a body healthier – something that can often be achieved by simply adopting a healthier life style and diet – there is as yet no categorical and undeniable proof that they slow down aging as such.

➢ The same goes for many hormone treatments. Although they may have a short term effect of some kind, it is not yet scientifically proven that they will actually work in the long run. The fear that it may not work is based on the fact that taking hormones, a good example is the hormonal acne treatment, will ultimately actually slow down the body’s own production of these hormones.

In addition, many treatments may have potential (and yet unknown) side effects in the long run that could be harmful to the user’s health. This includes the fears that such hormone treatments could increase the risk of cancer, diabetes and other major illnesses.

➢ Other ideas, like the calorie restriction method, are working for rodents. In fact, studies conducted with rats on 30 to 50 per cent restricted diets have shown to almost double the life span of rats.

Similar studies conducted on primates have also shown tendency to extend life to a certain extent and prevent a list of age related illnesses. There are as yet no studies on humans, although some are actually living on calorie restricted diets. Whether this will prolong their lives, however, is a question of having to wait and see.

The theory is that by reducing calorie intake, the metabolism of the body is slowed down, thereby slowing the aging process as well. Nutritionists say there is a certain amount of calories a body of a certain size and weight needs to have to maintain health. Reducing this amount by up to 50 per cent is hardly a good idea in the long term.

Time will tell, as they say, but how will anyone be able to tell the difference? If a person lives to the age of 80, is this because they are on this diet or would they have lived to this age anyway?

Where Will This Lead?

Many believe there is realistic hope and expectation of making significant strides in the area of longevity within the next two decades. This group typically believes the answer will ultimately lie within genetics and biotechnology. It is too early to make definite predictions, but the research so far shows promise and, as mentioned earlier, some of the results of this research are already being used in certain treatments to improve patients’ lives.

At present, overall aging is difficult to slow down, to say the least. Some products indicate they will assist in maintaining overall health/longevity, but the area we are seeing the first commercial products being developed is in the area of skin care and given the size of this market, it is likely that this will continue to be the weather-vane of longevity treatments.

Science or Snake Oil?

It will be difficult to tell these two apart for many years. Charlatans are likely to about, because it is difficult to disprove many theories easily. Equally difficult will be positive proof from those with an ethical perspective on the trail of a real breakthrough, as products based on valid research and using technology or ingredients that will actually have an effect rarely promise overnight results. This is something that anyone looking to find improved youthful looks, etc, will have to bear in mind. None of these products can perform miracles. Even the best of them will take time and regular use in order to achieve the desired effect.

The bottom line is that where we stand now, we can be sure there are some things which are ineffective or even harmful; there are some that show some promise and there are some that are starting to cross the line of being able to demonstrate results – albeit modestly at this point.

In the meantime, it is wise to research products very carefully and to refuse to be baffled by weird and wonderful sounding ingredients or fantastic sounding promises of instant youth. Regeneration will take time – let’s face it, it has taken a lifetime to get to this point, turning back the clock can never be possible over night.

Skin Care and the Life Extension Movement

One may well ask just what all this, and in particular the life extension movement as such, could possibly have to do with skin care, health and beauty products. The fact is, much of the research into life extension is resulting in new approaches to skin care as a kind of by-product.

A greater understanding of how genetics and cellular processes affect the aging and condition of skin allows these research and development teams to investigate different compounds, their compatibility with human cells and genetic make up.

Many compounds found in nature are not just compatible to human skin but in fact the skin cells actually have natural receptors for these compounds. Because life extension research has discovered these receptors, skin care developers can now use this knowledge and create the formulae for their products to provide maximum effect.

Another skin care ‘by-product’ of life extension research is the use of nanotechnology. The use of nanotechnology, or, to be more precise, nanoparticles, has had a huge impact on the way nutrients and other components of skin care products are being delivered to the skin cells. In some ways, nanotechnology has already revolutionized skin care. It is now possible to use active ingredients previously difficult to effectively deliver to the skin, as well as making old, proven ingredients even more effective. Some ingredients used in cosmetics for hundreds, if not thousands of years by certain cultures can now be even more effectively used to improve skin condition and maintain a healthy, youthful look.

Even the moisturizing effect of skin care products can be improved with nantechnology. For this effect, so-called nanosomes are used. Nanosomes are small, pocket-like particles that melt or disintegrate on skin contact. By doing this, the moisturising effect is accelerated, assisting the skin faster and more efficiently.

Nanotechnology plays a key part not only in slowing the aging of skin, but is believed to actively assist in repairing and healing skin cells and tissue.

Another breakthrough in life extension research that is beginning to make itself felt in skin care products is the research into stem cells. Stem cells are elements of all life, plant, animal and human. Stem cells have two properties other cells do not have. These properties are the ability to develop into any kind of cell type and the ability to divide almost indefinitely. The use of plant stem cell extracts in skin care is likely to become one of the next ‘big things’ in the industry. And prepare for the debate when human stem cells are proposed as part of an anti-aging skincare regime, as will inevitably occur!

One thing we can be certain of, is that science will continue to search for answers to the question of life extension, and business will drive the commercialization of discoveries. But whether these lead us to a utopian future or potentially a minefield of strife as we debate who will use and who will benefit from these new godlike powers. In the meantime, at a practical level in the skincare, health and beauty industry we remain hopeful and expectant we will see the emergence of products that not only promise results, but produce them.

David Christensen is a veteran of Asia Pacific business, currently residing in Bangkok, Thailand and heading up the business he was a co-founder of, Royal Siam Natural Health & Beauty – who can be located at [http://www.royalsiam.asia], and the information supporting site at [http://www.royalsiam.info]. Royal Siam was established after careful planning in early 2011, spending 2011 concentrating on building the necessary business infrastructure and concentrating on the domestic Thai market. Early in 2012 Royal Siam launched its international website and online store, and in April 2012 publicly declared the ambition to be among the world’s top 20 premium health and beauty brands by the year 2020. Royal Siam is a unique business, operating in the premium skincare, anti aging, and related fields. At its core, one mission is to commercialize and bring to a global market the immense wealth of knowledge about the healing and beneficial properties of Thai and South East Asian plants – a knowledge base carefully built up over the last thousand years. At the same time, the mission is to bring to market the very latest in scientific advances in the area of anti aging… resulting in the unique position of having a Thai heritage and offering the best of nature, tradition, and science.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/David_D_Christensen/1317312

Aging Is a Treatable Disease

May 22, 2016 by · Comments Off on Aging Is a Treatable Disease
Filed under: General 

Live Healthy – Look Marvelous – Live Longer

There are actions you can, and should take today to dramatically improve your health, your appearance and your longevity. You can control 70% of the factors affecting your longevity; only 30% are controlled by genetics until very late in life when genetics become more controlling

Almost all of the effects of aging and the common diseases that come with aging are treatable, to at least some extent. The key is early detection and early treatment.

Our understanding of the aging process is advancing rapidly. Some scientists believe that the first immortal human may be living today.

In 1786, life expectancy was 24 years. Better diets and some medical innovations allowed it to double to 48 years in the next 100 years.

Modern medicine has now increased life expectancy to over 76 years. Future medicine promises to increase it to over 100 years during our lifetime.

“Over half the baby boomers here in America are going to see their hundredth birthday and beyond in excellent health.” says Dr. Ronald Klatz of the American Academy of Anti-Aging. “We’re looking at life spans for the baby boomers and the generation after the baby boomers of 120 to 150 years of age.”

The key to Live Healthy – Look Marvelous – Live Longer is to delay the diseases of aging so that when they do occur, it is very late in your life.

The causes of aging are finally being understood. There are actions you can take today to take advantage of the recent medical developments. Dr. Rudman ran a series of tests on aging people and demonstrated that the effects of aging could be slowed and even reversed. He concluded: “The overall deterioration of the body that comes with growing old is not inevitable.”

The Causes of Aging

Almost all life on earth blossoms with youth, until it has reproduced and passed its genes on to the next generation. After that, the flowers wilt and die, and we humans began to age. Yes, we begin to age while we are still in our 20’s.

We age because the products of our metabolism, I.e., the “ashes” from the oxidation processes that produce energy in our cells, accumulate faster then our endocrine system can remove them. This is because most of the cleansing hormones that surged through our youthful bodies begin to decrease as we begin to age. Some of these more critical hormones have decreased by about 10 to 30% as we enter our 30’s. The decreases become ever more dramatic as we enter successive decades of life. Most of our hormones have decreased by over 50% and some have been reduced to near zero as we enter our 70’s. So we age. Our muscles and bones weaken; our reaction time slows; we lose our agility; all combine to make us more susceptible to accidents. Our immune system weakens and makes us more susceptible to disease. And we die.

The Death Clock

Dr. Hayflick has shown that we have another cause of aging. He has shown that we have a built-in death date of about 120 years, if diseases or accidents do not get us earlier. The point at which our cells have divided a fixed number of times sets this death date. It has been termed the “Hayflick limit.”

Our cells divide to produce new cells to replace the old cells damaged by metabolic ash build-up, free radicals, toxins, and other wear and tear mechanisms. As the cells divide, the chromosomes split to provide chromosomes for the new cells. When the chromosomes split, they lose part of their telomeres – the genes at their ends that keep the chromosomes organized. After a certain number of splits, the telomeres wear away and become too short to keep the chromosome organized and therefore the cell dies without being able to replace itself.

You can think of telomeres as analogous to the plastic bands on the ends of shoelaces. Telomeres hold the important DNA code intact, preventing it from fraying as the molecules replicate over time.

Resetting the Death Clock

But tests over the past few years have shown that the “Hayflick limit” can be extended by the use of an enzyme that causes the “organizing genes” at the ends of the chromosomes (the telomeres) to re-grow. This enzyme is called telomerase.

Telomerase treatments on human cells in the laboratory have indicated that telomerase can make human cells immortal. Doctors and researchers involved in these treatments are reporting that it is their belief that death is not inevitable.

Telomerase is actually an enzyme (a catalytic protein) that is able to arrest or reverse the telomere shortening process. The body produces telomerase when we are embryos in the womb to accommodate the very rapid growth of the embryo. But, unfortunately our bodies do not produce telomerase after birth except possibly for the creation of sperm.

So for humans to extend life we must do two things: first, eliminate the oxidants and toxins in our foods and environment; and find a dietary or pharmaceutical method for increasing and preserving the length of our cells’ telomeres.

Promising Anti-Aging Research

There are many ongoing projects that promise to solve our problems of aging. One is from a team of South Korean scientists. They report that they have created a newly-synthesized molecule, named CGK733 that can make cells younger.

“All cells face an inevitable death as they age. On this path, cells became lethargic and in the end stop dividing but we witnessed that CGK733 can block the process,” Prof. Kim Tae-kook reported. He further stated: “We also found the synthetic compound can reverse aging, by revitalizing already-lethargic cells. Theoretically, this can give youth to the elderly via rejuvenating cells.”

Kim expects that the CGK733-empowered drugs that keep cells youthful far beyond their normal life span would be commercialized in less than 10 years.

Researchers at The Wistar Institute have defined a key target of an evolutionarily conserved protein that regulates the process of aging. The study provides fundamental knowledge about key mechanisms of aging that could point toward new anti-aging strategies and cancer therapies.

Aging saps our strength and ability to enjoy life, cripples us, and eventually kills us. Tens of millions die from age-related conditions each and every year. Comparatively few people know that degenerative aging can be slowed with diet and lifestyle choices, medicines and nutracuetials.

Comparatively few people are aware of the many serious scientific efforts, presently underway, aimed at understanding and intervening in the aging process – in order to one day reverse its effects.

Your objective should be to have a healthy life and continue to live long enough to take advantage of all the medical advances and technologies now in development.

Our health is determined by our genetics, our diets, and our past and current lifestyles. You can now optimize your current and future health by defining and taking medications, vitamins, and other supplements and treatments tailored to your specific health needs. The program to do this recognizes the validity of three basic themes:

  • The Future of Medicine is in Personal Tailoring
  • Preventative Medicine is Key
  • Aging is a Treatable Disease.

Your Anti-Aging Longevity Plan

It is strongly recommended that you get familiar with the latest anti-aging information and develop your personal Longevity Plan. The key to longer life is to detect any health issues as early as possible and take advantage of the available technology to address them. Time really is of the essence.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5073181

The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

April 18, 2016 by · Comments Off on The Development of Old Age and Related Issues
Filed under: General 

In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the “ice-flows” have names such a “Sunset Vista” and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.

SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.

GENERAL PROBLEMS OF AGING

Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an “ages and stages” theory of human development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage – conception to birth.

  1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.
  2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.
  3. Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.
  4. School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.
  5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.
  6. Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.
  7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.
  8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one’s life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one’s whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving integrity means fully accepting one’ self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one’s life and being able to review the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer “mature age” we are instead classified as “old”, or “senior citizens”. How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous – people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted – people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male, (Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:

Health.

Housing.

Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.

BIOLOGICAL CHANGES

Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we’ve “bounced back” 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed – old and new may get mixed.

Intelligence.

Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer’s syndrome and Pick’s syndrome. In Pick’s syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK’S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer’s in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson’s disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson’s where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson’s are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Physiological

Safety

Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one’s interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy – activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.

DISENGAGEMENT

Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

  1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change in attitude to work.
  2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.
  3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage to self concept, depression.
  4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in “The fear of death”, 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.

CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her “On death and dying”, NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

  1. Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.
  2. Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”
  3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”
  4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.
  5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross’s typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June ’08 a guest of the Sydney writer’s festival in relation to his book, “Swimming in a sea of death: a son’s memoir” (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th ’08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, “I’m dying, I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it”, and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new “Knighthood” replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the “vain glories of the world”. This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff’s negative assessment of Kubler Ross’s theories.

THE AGED IN RELATION TO YOUNGER PEOPLE

The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings – fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.

A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE

The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, “The New Physics of Healing” which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we’ve been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn’t exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice’s immune system to automatically strengthen as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or destroyed the mice’s immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease – family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures – Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are “eavesdropping” on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of “time” Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in reality linear time doesn’t exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor’s work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play “Let’s Pretend”. They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor’s experiment: “We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging.”

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won’t let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging – men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness – otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.

Readings

Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.

[http://www.psychologynatural.com/DepressionBroch.html]

Dr. Victor Barnes is an Adelaide psychologist and hypnotherapist. He has also had three decades of experience in adult education including serving as Dean of a Sri Lankan college (ICBT) teaching several Australian degrees. His overseas experience includes studies and consulting experience in USA, PNG, Poland and Sri Lanka.

Inspirational Stamps Teach History of Civil Rights

January 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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11725_A(Family Features)  The influence of family can be a powerful thing. When asked who inspired her as a child, Rosa Parks, an extraordinary American activist, answered, “My family, I would say, my mother, and my maternal grandparents. I grew up with them.”

 

On December 1, 1955, Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man. Her arrest sparked a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted longer than a year, posing an ultimately successful challenge to racial segregation and inspiring others to similar action.

 

Rosa Parks’ lifelong dedication to civil rights has influenced generations of Americans. The U.S. Postal Service wants its 2013 Civil Rights set of stamps to continue to educate and inspire. It released the Rosa Parks Forever® Stamp this year, along with a stamp commemorating the day 50 years ago when nearly a quarter of a million people came together in Washington, DC, to participate in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A third stamp in the Civil Rights set celebrates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.

 

Parents looking for ways to teach their children about historic American events like these can turn to stamps for fun, interactive ways to discuss national milestones and iconic figures with their children outside the classroom. Since 1893, the U.S. Postal Service has issued limited-edition stamps that honor prominent people, places, icons and events of contemporary American life. These miniature works of art serve as excellent resources for teaching about our country and our culture in a new and exciting way that reaches beyond a textbook.

 

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service has developed a worksheet to help guide exploration into civil rights and equality. The worksheet features a “how to” guide for making a family tree, as well as a coloring sheet and exercise that empowers children to think about what equality means to them. Download the worksheet and find other resources at http://blog-stampofapproval.com.

 

Educators will want to explore the U.S. Postal Service’s Community Connection website, found at www.uspsconnection.com, which brings the history and heritage of the Postal Service’s 238 years into elementary grade classrooms, using stamps as a catalyst to spark conversations and learning opportunities for students.

 

Twelve civil rights pioneers, including Mary Church Terrell and Mary White Ovington, have also been honored in the past with their own postage stamp. Every year the Postal Service commemorates notable leaders and cultural milestones through other stamp collections, such as the Black Heritage series and the American Treasures series.

 

Photos courtesy of Daniel Afzal/United States Postal Service

How To Start Your Own Senior Citizen Events Service by Vince Stead

October 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Expert Author Vince Stead

You can start your own business and make money helping others have a good time, and have a good time yourself doing it! As the population of baby boomers grows, and more of our population becomes older as time goes by. There are millions of folks 55 and older that have a lot of energy, desire, time and money, to do many things still! Some of the retirement communities that allow only people 55 and older to live their, have some of the most active seniors, with all kinds of wants and needs, and if you can fulfill that market, you can make some money doing it.

Find a way to fulfill this need, with either day trips, bus tours, cruises, vacation scheduling help, or even bingo, and you can set up various outings, where someone will win a big grand prize! You could arrange with local tour operators who are already in business. Find out their prices for certain day trips, and then negotiate for even a better price, so that you can make even more profit. You could make up your own fliers, and offer the same trips, but market it differently than the tour operators do, by going directly to places older folks like to be. You can try places like mobile home parks, senior citizens centers, hospitals, churches, etc…

You could start this business part time, and turn it into a full time business with a little imagination, and by putting lots of free classified ads up on the internet!

Vince Stead has written 9 books so far. You can find his books at places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and http://www.vincestead.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Vince_Stead

 

Treat them like a person, not a patient

September 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Treat them like a person, not a patient

New living systems developmental model of care shifts the focus of treating Alzheimer’s disease and other debilitating illnesses

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Donald H. Ford observed that advanced Alzheimer’s patients, like his mother-in-law, are typically bored and lonely, and often depressed, frightened or angry.  His professional knowledge convinced him it didn’t have to be that way.  When Alzheimer’s struck his wife, he created a scientifically based alternative form of Alzheimer’s care that enabled her to still have a satisfying life.
Ford shares this revolutionary plan he used with his wife, Carol in the new book Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey: Treat Them Like a Person, Not a Patient. He is an experienced psychology professional and developed a living systems developmental model for care that incorporates an individual’s humanity. It helps patients live a meaningful and pleasurable life, despite their limitations. Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey is a guide for caregivers of senior citizens with serious limitations to improve their care receivers’ quality of life.
“Traditional medical model caregiving focuses on what’s wrong with a person and tries to fix it. However, when what is wrong can’t be fixed, the caregiver can’t succeed and that’s discouraging,” Ford says. “In Our developmental model of care, the focus is on what the person can still do and on designing experiences from which they get satisfaction.”
As people continue to gain more awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other seriously debilitating diseases, plans like the model in Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey become more relevant. Based on his professional research, Ford believes that a person always functions as an integrated unit, so a model was needed that combined the biological, psychological, behavioral, social and contextual aspects of a person’s patterns of behavior when planning for elder care. Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey asks society to adopt the view that it is not enough to focus on keeping senior citizens alive and “warehousing them” until they die.
Ford’s plan in Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey is a person-centered quality of care focus.  It replaces the traditional medical emphasis on what is wrong with the person with a positive emphasis on using their remaining capabilities to create a satisfying life, despite limitations.

 

Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey: Treat Them Like a Person, Not a Patient
By Donald H. Ford
ISBN: 978-1-3008-0321-8 (sc); 978-1-3009-9178-6 (e)
Softcover, $26.55
Ebook, $8.99
Approximately 564 pages
Available at www.LuLu.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

 

About the author
Donald H. Ford earned a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and doctorate degrees in mathematics and psychology from KansasState and PennsylvaniaStateUniversities.  He spent the first 10 years of his career creating a new kind of psychological and developmental services program at PennState for students and their families.  Then PennState asked him to create a new kind of college called Health and Human Development.  It stimulated other universities to develop similar colleges.  After 10 years as Dean, he resigned and returned to his first love of teaching, scholarly and professional work.  He published seven books about psychotherapy and human development.

A Comprehensive Look At Senior Citizens Travel by Bruce A. Hoover

August 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Expert Author Bruce A. Hoover

Travel is becoming popular among many groups of people. Children are traveling more with their parents, teens are traveling more in groups and people who thought they could not afford to travel are traveling more now because of the availability of so many deals! Senior citizens travel too and today, they are traveling more than ever!

In the past, only seniors who had a substantial retirement savings were able to travel. Today, there are so many deals and opportunities for cheap, quality travel that anyone, including seniors on a budget can see the world without going broke!

Some destinations are cheaper than others such as the Caribbean, Mexico and some countries in Europe. Of course, there are many places to see in your own backyard and The United States and Canada are no exception where deals are concerned. Just like there are cheaper destinations, there are also cheaper methods of travel. Cruising is a great way to see many different parts of the world at a low price and all-inclusive Caribbean vacations are great deals as well.

If you are a senior looking for a great travel deal, there are many things you can do to maximize your chances of finding the best deal. First, ask around. You never know what you might find out from friends and family members who have traveled recently. Do a thorough internet search and sign up for travel deal newsletters that allow you to be among the first to find out about deals. Start looking for your trip and book your trip as early as possible in order to get the best savings.

If you put the proper amount of time and effort into your search, you will have no problem the right vacation for you at the right price and next thing you know, you will be on your way to relax and have some fun in a place you have always wanted to see!

Next, now that you understand how you can get inexpensive senior citizens travel will you take advantage of it?

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bruce_A._Hoover

An Enjoyable Disney World Adventure For Senior Citizens by Herb Leibacher

August 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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You have finally decided to go to Disney World. The difference between you and many of the others who decide to go is that you have been waiting to travel here for most of your life. But, now that you are able to go, you wonder if it is too late. Disney World is a kids place so will there really be enough for you to do as a Senior Citizen? Do not worry and do not hesitate to pack your bags because not only will you have a blast while there, you will leave feeling like a kid again!

Attractions and Shows

Disney World is known for its magic and their shows and attractions are no exception. You could literally fill up each of your days at Disney World by just attending the shows. While they do have traditional dinner and short shows you can enjoy, Disney World goes above and beyond with several of their longer shows such as the Hall of Presidents and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Hollywood Studios also has two great attractions that you will easily enjoy. Both The Great Movie and Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream offer wonderful historical perspectives of both Walt Disney and movies. Another great place to find attractions you will enjoy will be the Animal Kingdom where you can visit a petting zoo, travel nature trails, and observe animals while learning about their care.

Rides

Trying to decide the kind of ride you will be able to experience may be a little worrisome as well but rest assured there are plenty of rides that are fun for everyone. Many of Disney’s rides are developed so they are safe for people of all ages. In the Magic Kingdom, take the gentle It’s a Small World boat ride to learn about the various cultures, visit the jungle on the Jungle Cruise, fly through Neverland on the magical Peter Pan’s Flight, explore the unknown of outer space on the Astro Orbiter, or discover the sea with your mates on the Pirates of the Caribbean. After that, head over to Epcot to explore the world of energy on Ellen’s Energy Adventure before experiencing the evolution of communication on the slow riding Spaceship Earth. Finally, let your adventurer out to observe animals on the Kilimanjaro Safari at the Animal Kingdom.

Resorts

You have many options for places to stay during your visit to Disney World. All resorts offer rooms with showers wide enough to roll a wheelchair into and that have tub handrails. Additionally, all resorts have handicap accommodated rooms. Just make sure you do ask questions about any specific need you may have when you book the reservation.

Additional Activities

While you are at Disney World, make sure you take the time to see as many of the shows and street events as possible. Not only are these fantastic shows, but they will give you a great opportunity to rest during the day as well. Each park offers a variety of shows during the day and do not forget the night shows with fantastic light and firework displays.

Disney World may seem to be a place for young kids, but really it is a place for the young at heart. Do not let this misconception be a reason you do not go. There is plenty to do and experience as a senior citizen, so book your vacation, pack your bags, and let the adventure begin.

Herb likes to write about Disney World. Please check out his website that contains Disney World Vacation information as well as Disney Fantasmic information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Herb_Leibacher

Recovering from Hip Replacement Surgery

August 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

 

Recovering from Hip Replacement Surgery

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One of the most complex joints in the human body is the hip. In order for the thighbone to move smoothly and normally in the socket, the body must have healthy cartilage and adequate joint fluid.

Disruption of this system — disintegrating cartilage, fluid imbalance, fractures, etc. — can cause the joint to swell, bringing severe pain and stiffness that makes daily activities and work almost impossible. Osteoarthritis, overuse of the joint, injury and other medical conditions can cause these problems.

Treatment Options

If physical therapy and medication do not control hip pain or improve mobility, doctors may consider one of two surgical options. One treatment is hip resurfacing, a procedure that caps the ball of the joint with a metal prosthesis and replaces the socket. The other treatment option is hip replacement, a procedure that replaces the original joint with an artificial one.

Hip Replacement Surgery and Complications

Hip replacement surgery is a very serious procedure that requires a lot of preparation on the patient’s end. In addition, it is important that recovery plans and follow-up treatment are tailored carefully to the needs of the patient to ensure safe and effective healing. Without a proper recovery plan, complications and additional surgeries could follow.

The most common complications from hip replacement surgery are infection and blood clots. To reduce the risk of infection, patients are usually given antibiotics after surgery. To prevent blood clots, health care providers may choose medication and/or physical therapy.

Some patients experience complications with the hip implants themselves. Implants with two or more metal parts, including some made by manufacturers Biomet and DePuy, can lead to metal poisoning and other severe complications. Zimmer manufactures the Durom Cup, which can come loose and cause serious pain. Patients need to contact their surgeon right away if they have any serious complications after hip surgery.

Recovery

After hip replacement surgery, it is important to do mild strengthening exercises, such as contracting and releasing the leg muscles, and short pumps of the ankles. However, patients must limit the movement of their hips. Exercises should be initially performed with a physical therapist, and then at home after proper instruction has been given.

Patients should plan ahead to have family and/or friends assist them at home for at least the first week or two after hip replacement. In addition, patients will not be allowed to drive for up to four weeks and will need to plan transportation to doctor appointments, physical therapy and the grocery store.

After hip replacement, patients should avoid using lotions or oils on the hip area, especially around or near the incision. Keeping the area dry is important in order for the incision area to heal properly. Within one to two months, physical activities and daily routines should start to return to normal, however, these activities should be resumed gradually to avoid falls and other injuries that might damage the hip again.

Slow walks with leverage from a crutch or cane can be helpful during recovery. Patients should avoid steps, hills and slopes. Routine visits to the physician should occur at three, six and 12 weeks, as well as six and 12 months after surgery.

 

Jennifer Mesko is the managing editor of Drugwatch.com. She keeps the public informed about the latest medical news, recalls and FDA warnings.

Choosing A Nursing Home For Your Parents

July 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles, Press-Media Releases 

nursing-home-abuse

CHOOSING A NURSING HOME FOR YOUR PARENT

So many of the most important decisions we make in life are made when we are least prepared to make them.   So it is, when the time comes to choose whether, or which nursing home facility in which to place an aging parent.  It’s estimated that 60% of nursing home admissions are made from a hospital, rather than from a home, or an assisted living facility.  Your loved one may have suffered a broken a hip or a stroke, or may be suffering from dementia.  The time constraints in this type of situation press care givers to make a quick decision regarding care of their love one, without the luxury of investigation and due diligence that such a decision deserves.

We will attempt in this post, to review resources which are available to help you make a decision of this kind, whether the situation is a hurried one or not.  Making such a decision depends, in large measure, on the condition of the parent and what types of care or treatment will be required for their individual circumstances.  It will largely depend on whether they are injured due to a broken hip, or other disabling condition, suffering from Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, or other conditions.

There is a growing amount of information available online to assist in this process.  At the federal government level, there are many resources to assist.  The website, http://www.eldercare.gov/eldercare.NET/Public/index.aspx is a good place to begin.  You can either search by location or by topic to find resources available in your state or city.  There are a large number of resources listed on this site which address many of the concerns and problems faced by care givers to our aging populations.

Additionally, to assist with evaluating potential nursing homes, a publication called, Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home, (http://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/02174.pdf)  presents a fairly complete outline of considerations when attempting to evaluate a place for an aging parent.   Subjects such as “Choosing the Type of Care You Need” to “Steps to Choosing a Nursing Home” are included.  The Nursing Home Checklist (http://www.medicare.gov/nursing/checklist.asp) will also provide many ideas for evaluating and screening potential facilities.

The federal government also funds state level Ombudsmen to assist in these matters.  The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center website (http://www.aging.state.nv.us/) will allow you to find these resources in your state.  For Nevada, that contact information can be found here. (http://www.aging.state.nv.us/)  The Las Vegas office of the Ombudsman can be called at (702) 486-3545.  Concerns ranging from finding an appropriate care facility to reporting cases of elder abuse can be directed to the State Ombudsman’s office.

Among non-government agencies, there are many advocacy groups that can also provide assistance.  The Consumer Voice provides a Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home .

http://www.theconsumervoice.org/sites/default/files/advocate/A-Consumer-Guide-To-Choosing-A-Nursing-Home.pdf ) This organization also provides private ombudsman services to families and residents of nursing facilities.  Another privately funded website provides a registry and grading of nursing homes is http://www.memberofthefamily.net/.  This site provides listings of Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes and grades various aspects of the operations of the nursing home.

Beyond these and other resources that you may uncover in your search for a nursing home, many of the considerations you may want or need to consider have to do with costs.  Medicare will only pay for medically necessary care in a nursing home.  It will not pay for non-medical everyday assistance with normal living.  If your loved one needs assistance with walking or eating, these things are not covered.  Most nursing home costs are paid out of personal savings, social security benefits, Long Term Care (LTC)  insurance benefits, or Medicaid if the patient qualifies.  Nursing home costs are estimated to average $200 per day for patients, and this doesn’t include cost for treatment needed for additional services, such as dementia care, for example.  Long Term Care insurance must be purchased and in force, prior to your loved one’s need for services.

Once you’ve done the initial research, nothing replaces visiting the facility and seeing for yourself.  Visit often and at various unexpected times, to be sure that the facility is the type of environment you would want your parent or loved one to be exposed to.  Considerations include turnover rate of personnel in the home.  Does the home offer “consistent assignment” which means do nurses and aids treat the same patients on most of their shifts.  Consistency and familiarity are important considerations for your loved one.  Relationships built between patient and nursing home staff can provide a measure of security for your loved one.  If a home employs a high number of temporary workers, or turnover is high, that consistency can be lost.

Four items to think about in any nursing home placement include, how convenient is the home to all family members, quality of care for chronic conditions including dementia and/or physical disability, supportive environment for the potential resident, and do costs fall within an affordable range.  And once this decision is made and your parent or grandparent is now in such a facility, keeping an eye open for negligence or even abuse is important.  Unfortunately, this is a growing problem as our population ages and requires higher levels of care.  So if such a thing should happen to your loved one, the services of a trusted attorney may be required.  Our firm does provide such services, and more information can be found here.  (http://www.richardharrislaw.com/personal-injury/nevada-nursing-home-abuse-lawyer.php)

Additional resources:

http://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/02174.pdf

http://www.medicare.gov/nursing/checklist.asp

http://www.theconsumervoice.org/sites/default/files/advocate/A-Consumer-Guide-To-Choosing-A-Nursing-Home.pdf

http://www.memberofthefamily.net/

http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

http://www.ltcombudsman.org/

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/how-to-choose-a-nursing-home

http://guides.wsj.com/health/elder-care/how-to-choose-a-nursing-home/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/20/health/20patient.html?ref=health&_r=0

http://www.richardharrislaw.com/personal-injury/nevada-nursing-home-abuse-lawyer.php

 

 

New Interview with I.C.E. Keytag Inventor Tom Force Reveals What Inspired Him To Create The Potentially Life Saving I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) Keytag

July 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

 

New Interview with I.C.E. Keytag Inventor Tom Force Reveals What Inspired Him To Create The Potentially Life Saving I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) Keytag

SOUTHLAKE, Texas, July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Tom Force, inventor of the I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) Keytag was recently interviewed by Mike Taylor, Sr. Editor at Newswire.  Tom reveals how the tragic events surrounding his mother’s death spurred him to create a potentially life-saving product, the I.C.E. Keytag.

Tom’s mother lived in a seniors’ complex in apparently good health. In January 2010 she was rushed to the hospital after neighbors found her unconscious. She had suffered an aneurysm and several hours later slipped into a fatal coma.

The national average time from accident to notification of next of kin is 6 hours. In Tom’s case, it was 7.

Tom regrets those lost hours with her and said, “Having those few hours with her would have been priceless.”

Tom said the I.C.E. Keytag “was the result of the way things played out with my own Mom.”

Tom created the I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) Keytag as a way to put emergency contact information literally into the hands of an emergency responder. In case of an auto accident, their first action is to turn off the ignition. The over-sized tag on the key-ring carries emergency I.C.E. labeling, alerting authorities whom to call. The company also provides a critical emergency medical form for the glove compartment. This info could potentially help to save a life.

The I.C.E. Keytag, with its prominent “I.C.E.” logo, has other applications. Tom said, “One of these on your backpack, bike, in your sneaker laces or on golf bag could help to save your life.”

Tom is proud of this American made product and has partnered with businesses and non-profits in 30 states to facilitate widespread distribution. Custom designs allow businesses or charities to promote their cause.

Stephanie Miller, independent I.C.E. Keytag representative, said, “My clients love them. They are giving their customer base something that helps them in a time of need.” She added, “They provide peace of mind. You can’t get any better.”

Tom’s veteran-owned company gave away “We Will Never Forget” I.C.E. Keytags at the local 9-11 observance. “We let people throw money into the hat and raised $2,600 for their cause. This will stay on their key-ring, and they always WILL remember,” said Tom.

To learn more about Tom Force and ICE Key Tags visit www.icekeytag.com

Contact:  Tom Force – 888-901-2477

  • Senior Industry Network Group Events

    Monthly SING Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at our NEW location below:

    Desert Canyon - HealthSouth
    9175 W. Oquendo Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89148

    S.I.N.G. Agenda:
    - Coffee and bagels will be served
    - A time to show gratitude by thanking those who have sent you referrals
    - Announcements around the room
    - One minute commercials
    - Open Discussion on topics of Self Empowerment

    * When? The 1st Thursday of every month. Networking starts at: 8:00am | Meeting starts at: 8:30am

    * How Much? It’s free!