Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2014 Report on Aging in 2050

Photo by Sam Howzit.
Granted, projections are just educated guesses, but I find them interesting.  Government programs are particularly interested in the future of aging, so various agencies produce reports from time to time.

Here are some highlights from a May 2014 report An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States published by the United States Census Bureau.   The report compares 2012 statistics on age, gender, and race and makes projections to 2030 and 2050.

This report interests me because these are years that I was 50, will be 68 and will be 88 (God willing).  And I'm one of the youngest Baby Boomers, so that will tell you how this large cohort will be aging in the next few decades.

But enough about me. Let's look at some of the report's numbers. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stroke Survivors: Celebrity Boomers

Detail of Bergen from a photo by Alan Light.
Strokes can happen to people at any age, but they are more common among people as they get older.

The Baby Boomers (b. 1946 to 1964) are at increased risk for strokes now that they are in their 50s and 60s.

Even though stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the United Stats, that is a reduction from the 3rd leading cause just a decade ago.  Great news!

With immediate treatment (within 1 to 3 hours) followed by rehabilitation (physical therapy, speech therapy and/or occupational therapy) people can survive and recover a great deal of function post stroke.

Note: I am not a doctor. If you have any concerns about your risk for stroke, see a licensed medical professional. If you have any signs of stroke, call 911. 

Here are a few Baby Boomers who suffered strokes and survived.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Know the Signs of Stroke

Photo by Trying2.
Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States, and it's a significant cause of disability for those who survive.

For more statistics about the prevalence of stroke, see the CDC's page.

Note: I am not a doctor.  Please talk to a licensed medical professional about how to reduce your risk for stroke. 

Risks for stroke include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, TIAs (sometimes called "mini strokes") and a prior stroke.

In addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, you should be aware of the signs of stroke in order to get medical attention quickly.

Here are some of the common signs of stroke:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Causes of Death in the US for those 55-64

Photo by Steven Feather.
Over the last 100 years, Americans have increased their life expectancy significantly.

Some of the credit for this is due to improvements in public sanitation, the availability of inoculations, and improvements in prevention and early intervention.

People used to die much younger from heart disease, cancers and diabetes.  Now medical treatments allow people to avoid these diseases or to live much longer with these diseases.

While not a very cheery topic, looking at rates of death motivates me to work on prevention through healthy lifestyle choices and by seeking regular medical care.

The National Vital Statistics Report lists causes of death in the US during 2010 for a number of age ranges.  The report also breaks down the data by gender and race.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Old Alchemist: An Elder Tale

Photo of an alchemist's workshop by Curious Expeditions.
I love a good fairy tale. I was reminded of their depth and complexity when my children were small, and I scoured the local library for collections of fairy tales.  After all, literature is equipment for living.

As an English-teacher-turned-gerontologist, I still see the value in fairy tales.  True, there may be more tales about people launching into the world from childhood. Nevertheless, there are a handful of tales where the protagonist is older. He or she has already settled down with a trade, a spouse and children.   Conflict is more about managing day-to-day life in home-and-work spaces rather pursuing wild adventures in distant lands.