The Week: Most Recent old-age recent posts.en-usMon, 15 Apr 2013 14:41:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent old-age from THE WEEKMon, 15 Apr 2013 14:41:00 -0400WATCH: 6 crazy-adorable grandparent reactions to things young people like [Updated]<img src="" /></P><p>Old age &mdash; it's inevitable. But just because you're finally able to order off the senior menu at&nbsp;IHOP doesn't mean you have to lose your zest for life. Au contraire!&nbsp;Here, six truly awesome videos of seniors reacting to foreign, weird, and puzzling things young people like, guaranteed to zap warm fuzzy feelings into even the iciest of hearts:</p><p><strong>1. Grandpa answers the&nbsp;<em>Call of Duty<br /></em></strong>Wee. This exuberant, 84-year-old fellow picks up an Xbox controller for the first time and knocks out a few casual rounds of <em>Black Ops 2</em> and <em>Halo</em> with his grandson. Warning: You will smile. (Via <em>BuzzFeed...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Mon, 15 Apr 2013 14:41:00 -0400Medicare and Social Security: Fixing the safety net<img src="" /></P><p><strong>Are the entitlement programs in trouble?<br /></strong>Not immediately. But spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security is on an unsustainable trajectory, eating up an ever-larger chunk of the federal budget and adding to the government's ballooning deficit. Today, 46 percent of the government's non-interest spending goes to the three safety-net programs. By 2030, they will consume 61 percent, thanks to retiring baby boomers and skyrocketing medical costs. "Even if you love these entitlement programs, at some point they begin to crowd out everything else," said Tim Penny, a former congressman who served...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 17 Dec 2012 06:51:00 -0500'Granny pods': The future of elderly living?<img src="" /></P><p>If you're not among the 23 millions Americans already caring for your elderly parents, you probably will be soon, says Mary Fischer at <em>The Stir</em>. By 2030, when the baby boomers have all reached retirement age, there will be more than 72 million Americans 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau. But let's be honest: "It can be pretty tough to convince grandma to check into an assisted living center if she's used to being pretty independent, and the idea of moving her in with you may not go over so well and opens up the gate to a whole host of conflicts and problems." Enter the "granny pod," which...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/peter-weber" ><span class="byline">Peter Weber</span></a>Wed, 28 Nov 2012 16:15:00 -0500Are bald people more likely to get heart disease?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong>The question:</strong>&nbsp;It turns out that going bald can harm a lot more than just your ego. Previous studies have demonstrated a link between baldness and an increased risk of heart disease, but this time around, researchers wanted to test if merely <em>looking</em> old correlated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems. Specifically, they analyzed thousands of subjects for six tell-tale signs of aging: Receding hairlines, bald heads, creases near the ear lobes, fatty deposits near the eyes, gray hair, and face wrinkles. &nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><strong>How it was tested:</strong> The research, presented at the American Heart Association...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 07 Nov 2012 12:17:00 -0500Is exercise better for your brain than crossword puzzles?<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The question:</strong> A relatively large new study published in the journal <em>Neurology</em> takes a look at mild physical exercise's relationship with mental health for the elderly, posing the question: Is going for a brisk walk better for your brain than, say, completing a crossword puzzle?&nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><strong>How it was tested:</strong> Nearly 700 people born in 1936 were enlisted for this study, conducted at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In 1947, nearly all of them had been given mandatory intelligence and mental health tests in school. That gave researchers a baseline to work with, and decades later, researchers administered...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 23 Oct 2012 10:15:00 -0400Is 72 the new 30?<img src="" /></P><p>"Despite what the fashion magazines tell you, 40 isn't the new 30," says Rachel Ehrenberg at <em>Science News</em>. "Seventy is." Thanks to advances in medicine, better sanitation, and other environmental changes, humans are living longer than ever before. In Japan, for example, a 72-year-old has the same likelihood of dying in one year as a 30-year-old hunter-gatherer did some 1.3 million years ago. Here, a concise guide to the new research backing these claims:</p><p class="p2"><strong>How was this study conducted?</strong><br />A team of evolutionary anthropologists, led by Oskar Burger at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 16 Oct 2012 16:00:00 -0400How coffee keeps Alzheimer's at bay<img src="" /></P><p>Want to ward off Alzheimer's? Start your day off with a cup of joe. It's long been known that the caffeine in coffee helps keep neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's away by suppressing the build-up of brain-clogging plaque. But scientists haven't been entirely sure <em>how</em> coffee wards off brain plaque &mdash; until now. New research suggests that caffeine helps put a stop to a dangerous chain reaction in the brain that leads to clogging, therefore allowing the neural circuitry to operate fluidly. Here, a brief guide to coffee's mind-protecting powers:&nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><strong>What causes Alzheimer's, exactly...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 10 Oct 2012 14:31:00 -0400Aging: Can aspirin really help slow brain decline?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">An aspirin a day might just keep you sharp. A new study out of Sweden suggests that older women at risk of cardiovascular disease could slow the onset of cognitive decline by taking a low dose of aspirin every day. Don't, however, go reaching for the medicine cabinet just yet. Here, a concise guide to the study:</p><p><strong>How was the study conducted?</strong><br />Researchers enlisted 681 women between the ages of 70 to 92 and measured their mental capacities at the beginning and the end of the five-year study with a test called the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). The MMSE measures a testee's sense of orientation...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 05 Oct 2012 15:47:00 -0400Do people with fall birthdays live longer?<img src="" /></P><p>There's a lot to be said for a birthday in September, October, or November. You get to celebrate the occasion in crisp autumn weather, safe from the blazing heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter. More importantly, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Chicago, your autumn birthday might be your ticket to a longer life. Is the timing of your birth the key to longevity? Here, a brief guide:<br /><br /><strong>Do people born in fall really live longer?</strong><br />Well, it's no guarantee, but apparently it improves your odds of reaching really, really old age. The researchers studied the lives of more...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 26 Jul 2012 07:49:00 -0400Polypill: The magic pill that could add 11 years to your life<img src="" /></P><p>A new multipurpose pill that reduces blood pressure and cholesterol while lowering a person's risk of heart attack and stroke could ostensibly save thousands of lives a year, according to a new British study. The "polypill" is intended to make life remarkably easier for adults over age 50, and some doctors predict it could even be a game changer. Here's what you need to know:</p><p><strong>How does it work?</strong><br />The "four-in-one pill," which is meant to be taken every night, combines three generic blood pressure medicines and a cholesterol fighting drug called simavastatin. The idea of a "one-size-fits-all" cocktail...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 20 Jul 2012 07:42:00 -0400Dementia: The ending no one wants<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">ON THE WAY</span></strong>&nbsp;to visit my mother one recent rainy afternoon, I stopped in, after quite some constant prodding, to see my insurance salesman. He was pressing his efforts to sell me a long-term-care policy with a pitch about how much I'd save if I bought it now, before the rates were set to precipitously rise.</p><p class="p3"><span class="s1">I am, as my insurance man pointed out, a "sweet spot" candidate. Not only do I have the cash (though not enough to self-finance my decline) but I also have a realistic view: Like so many people in our 50s &mdash; in my experience almost everybody &mdash; I have a parent in an advanced stage...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 22 Jun 2012 10:40:00 -0400Do old people really smell different?<img src="" /></P><p>No, you weren't imagining it: Grandma's house really does smell different. New research confirms that elderly people emit a distinctly different "aroma" than other adults, and that may even be a good thing. Here, a concise guide to the smelly study:</p><p><strong>How was the experiment designed?</strong><br />Researchers at Monell Chemical Sense Center divided 41 volunteers into three age groups: Young people ages 20 to 30, middle-aged people ages 45 to 55, and an older group 75 and up. Participants were all given the same odor-free soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent, and were asked to avoid spicy foods, which can affect...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 01 Jun 2012 16:03:00 -0400The experimental drug that could prevent Alzheimer's: A guide<img src="" /></P><p>The U.S. government wants to have a cure for Alzheimer's ready to go by 2025, and is prepared to spend big money to get there. An ambitious new international study will begin testing an experimental drug intended to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, in what could mark a huge shift in the way health experts approach the disease. Here, a brief guide to the big undertaking:</p><p><strong>Why is Alzheimer's such a big deal?</strong><br />The degenerative brain disease affects 5.4 million Americans every year, but that figure could climb as high as 8.7 million by the year 2030. Symptoms generally begin appearing in adults around...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 16 May 2012 16:14:00 -0400How music improves the memory of dementia patients<img src="" /></P><p>Henry Dryer, a 92-year-old who suffers from dementia and has been in a nursing home for 10 years, loves listening to music. It energizes him, makes him more talkative, and even helps him remember the old days when he would play Cab Calloway records. Dryer's story is featured in a new documentary,<em> Alive Inside</em>, which debuts April 18 in New York City's Rubin Museum. The film follows seven patients who have "come alive" thanks to Music &amp; Memory, a nonprofit organization that donates iPods with personalized music to people with dementia. About 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 16 Apr 2012 07:15:00 -0400Can playing World of Warcraft sharpen old people's brains?<img src="" /></P><p>You could always give an elderly loved one a book of sudoku puzzles to keep his mind sharp. But new research suggests it might be more beneficial to get him to summon up his inner Night Elf Hunter and go on a quest. Researchers from North Carolina State University discovered that playing <em>World of Warcraft</em>, the hugely popular online role-playing game, can noticeably improve the cognitive functions of older adults. Here's what you should know:</p><p><strong>What is <em>World of Warcraft</em>?</strong><br />It's a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG, developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Players spend copious amounts...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 28 Feb 2012 06:45:00 -05008 lessons for living a full life<img src="" /></P><p>WE ARE ON the verge of losing an irreplaceable natural resource. The inexorable process of human aging is depriving us of one of the most extraordinary groups of human beings that has ever lived: America's older generation. The last veteran of World War I has died; those of World War II are now in their 80s. The youngest children of the Great Depression have reached their late 70s. When this generation has passed, where will we go to recover the lessons they learned about life? For five years, I have collected the advice and wisdom of over a thousand of our elders &mdash; "experts," as I call them...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 24 Feb 2012 11:38:00 -0500