Navigating Aging

Doctors Weigh Pros and Cons of Prescribing Hot-Button Alzheimer’s Drug

As physicians and health policy experts debate the merits of Aduhelm, the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease approved in 18 years, patients want to know: “Will this medication help me — and how much?” Doctors explaining the pros and cons of Aduhelm won’t have a definitive answer. “On an individual basis, it will be …

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Paying Billions for Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug? How About Funding This Instead?

If you could invest $56 billion each year in improving health care for older adults, how would you spend it? On a hugely expensive medication with questionable efficacy — or something else? This isn’t an abstract question. Aduhelm, a new Alzheimer’s drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month, could be prescribed to …

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Tips for Older Adults to Regain Their Game After Being Cooped Up for More Than a Year

Alice Herb, 88, an intrepid New Yorker, is used to walking miles around Manhattan. But after this year of being shut inside, trying to avoid covid-19, she’s noticed a big difference in how she feels. “Physically, I’m out of shape,” she told me. “The other day I took the subway for the first time, and …

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As Pandemic Eases, Many Seniors Have Lost Strength, May Need Rehabilitative Services

Ronald Lindquist, 87, has been active all his life. So, he wasn’t prepared for what happened when he stopped going out during the coronavirus pandemic and spent most of his time, inactive, at home. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. “I found it hard to get up and get out of bed,” …

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Aiding Her Dying Husband, a Geriatrician Learns the Emotional and Physical Toll of Caregiving

The loss of a husband. The death of a sister. Taking in an elderly mother with dementia. This has been a year like none other for Dr. Rebecca Elon, who has dedicated her professional life to helping older adults. This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free. It’s taught …

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Covid Forces Cohousing Communities to Examine Shared Values and Relationships

Tensions were running high at PDX Commons, a cohousing community for adults 55 and older in Portland, Oregon. Several people wanted to keep visitors off-site until all 35 residents were vaccinated. Others wanted to open to family and friends for the first time in a year. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. …

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Reopening of Long-Term Care Facilities Is ‘an Absolute Necessity for Our Well-Being’

For nearly a year, nursing homes and assisted living centers have been mostly closed to visitors. Now, it’s time for them to open back up and relieve residents of crushing isolation, according to a growing chorus of long-term care experts, caregivers, consumer groups and physicians. This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished …

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Countless Homebound Patients Still Wait for Covid Vaccine Despite Seniors’ Priority

This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Opening another front in the nation’s response to the pandemic, medical centers and other health organizations have begun sending doctors and nurses to apartment buildings and private homes to vaccinate homebound seniors. Boston Medical Center, which runs the oldest in-home medical service in …

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Family Caregivers, Routinely Left Off Vaccine Lists, Worry What Would Happen ‘If I Get Sick’

Robin Davidson entered the lobby of Houston Methodist Hospital, where her 89-year-old father, Joe, was being treated for a flare-up of congestive heart failure. This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Before her stretched a line of people waiting to get covid-19 vaccines. “It was agonizing to know that I …

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Older Adults Without Family or Friends Lag in Race to Get Vaccines

A divide between “haves” and “have-nots” is emerging as older adults across the country struggle to get covid-19 vaccines. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Seniors with family members or friends to help them are getting vaccine appointments, even if it takes days to secure them. Those without reliable social supports are …

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If I Have Cancer, Dementia or MS, Should I Get the Covid Vaccine?

As public demand grows for limited supplies of covid-19 vaccines, questions remain about the vaccines’ appropriateness for older adults with various illnesses. Among them are cancer patients receiving active treatment, dementia patients near the end of their lives and people with autoimmune conditions. Recently, a number of readers have asked me whether older relatives with …

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With Vaccine Delivery Imminent, Nursing Homes Must Make a Strong Pitch to Residents

Imagine this: Your elderly mother, who has dementia, is in a nursing home and COVID-19 vaccines are due to arrive in a week or two. You think she should be vaccinated, having heard the vaccine is effective in generating an immune response in older adults. Your brother disagrees. He worries that development of the vaccine …

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What Seniors Can Expect When COVID Vaccines Begin to Roll Out

Vaccines that protect against COVID-19 are on the way. What should older adults expect? The first candidates, from Pfizer and Moderna, could arrive before Christmas, according to Alex Azar, who heads the Department of Health and Human Services. Both vaccines are notably effective in preventing illness due to the coronavirus, according to information released by …

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Facebook Live: Helping COVID’s Secondary Victims: Grieving Families and Friends

Can’t see the video player? View the video here. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 246,000 people in the U.S., but it also has left hundreds of thousands of others grieving, and often feeling as if they have been robbed of the usual methods for dealing with the loss. For every person who dies of …

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Long-Term Care Workers, Grieving and Under Siege, Brace for COVID’s Next Round

In the middle of the night, Stefania Silvestri lies in bed remembering her elderly patients’ cries. “Help me.” “Please don’t leave me.” “I need my family.” Months of caring for older adults in a Rhode Island nursing home ravaged by COVID-19 have taken a steep toll on Silvestri, 37, a registered nurse. She can’t sleep, …

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Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care

A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country. Workers are already …

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Older COVID Patients Battle ‘Brain Fog,’ Weakness and Emotional Turmoil

“Lord, give me back my memory.” For months, as Marilyn Walters has struggled to recover from COVID-19, she has repeated this prayer day and night. Like other older adults who’ve become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls “brain fog” — difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to …

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Lifetime Experiences Help Older Adults Build Resilience to Pandemic Trauma

Older adults are especially vulnerable physically during the coronavirus pandemic. But they’re also notably resilient psychologically, calling upon a lifetime of experience and perspective to help them through difficult times. New research calls attention to this little-remarked-upon resilience as well as significant challenges for older adults as the pandemic stretches on. It shows that many …

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We Put Off Planning, Until My Father-in-Law’s Medical Crisis Took Us by Surprise

Earlier this month, my husband picked up the phone and learned his 92-year-old father had been taken to the hospital that morning, feeling sick and short of breath. We were nearly 2,000 miles away, on a vacation in the mountains of southern Colorado. No, it wasn’t COVID-19. My father-in-law, Mel, who has diabetes, high blood …

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Technology Divide Between Senior ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’ Roils Pandemic Response

Family gatherings on Zoom and FaceTime. Online orders from grocery stores and pharmacies. Telehealth appointments with physicians. These have been lifesavers for many older adults staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. But an unprecedented shift to virtual interactions has a downside: Large numbers of seniors are unable to participate. Among them are older adults …

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States Allow In-Person Nursing Home Visits As Families Charge Residents Die ‘Of Broken Hearts’

Navigating Aging Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system. To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment, click here. Join the Navigating Aging Facebook Group. See All Columns States across the country are beginning to roll …

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