Seniors & Aging | KERA News

Seniors & Aging

Dr. Louise Aronson says the U.S. doesn't have nearly enough geriatricians — physicians devoted to the health and care of older people: "There may be maybe six or seven thousand geriatricians," she says. "Compare that to the membership of the pediatric society, which is about 70,000."

Why We've Formed Stereotypes About Aging — And How To Re-Think Them

May 24, 2019
Central Texas certified life and relationship coaches Junice and Rock Rockman say stereotypes and even jokes about aging are one way we wrestle with our own fears about aging and the unknown of what lies ahead.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Plenty of data show that the population of older Texans, especially older Central Texans, is growing. The numbers certainly tell one story about seniors — but it does not show how our society regards and treats them.

Older Americans Month is a time to take a closer look at stereotypes, misconceptions and even jokes commonly aimed at seniors.

Hospitals and nursing homes in California and Illinois are testing a surprisingly simple strategy to stop the dangerous, antibiotic-resistant superbugs that kill thousands of people each year: washing patients with a special soap.

The efforts — funded with roughly $8 million from the federal government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — are taking place at 50 facilities in those two states.

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Many American families are staring down retirement with hardly any money set aside.

In fact, sociology professor and author Katherine S. Newman says about half of Americans have no savings at all. Many others haven't saved enough.

Primary care doctors are really good at checking seniors' cholesterol levels and blood pressure but often fail to use tests that could detect dementia.

Fewer than half of primary care doctors surveyed say they routinely test patients 65 and older for problems with memory and thinking, according to a report released Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association.

In this Dec. 10, 2018 photo, Janet Fein, 84, poses for a photo in Richardson, Texas. Fein completed her bachelor's degree and will graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas with the winter undergraduate class.
Associated Press

After raising five kids and retiring at age 77 from her secretarial job, Janet Fein couldn't be blamed for finally relaxing, but that's not her.

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Even though people sleep less as they age, it doesn’t mean they need less sleep. A geriatrics specialist talks about factors that can impair sleep for seniors and steps they can take to get some needed rest.

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The New York Times recently reported on an ongoing health problem: People once vigilant about vaccinating their children aren’t nearly as careful about protecting themselves as they age – even though some diseases are particularly dangerous for older people. 

Courtesy of The Village at Mapleshade

For the past week, KERA has been talking to early voters all across North Texas. Today, senior citizens — one of the most active voting blocs in the country.

Ageism Isn't Just About The Old

Sep 26, 2016
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Today’s economic realities keep many Americans working beyond the “traditional” retirement age of 65. Why, though, do folks who have proven themselves for decades find it so hard to get hired?

Christopher Connelly/KERA

As baby boomers head into retirement and are living longer, they’re more independent that any previous generation. Cities across the country are watching the demographic trend and trying to figure out if they are ready to accommodate the needs of this silver tsunami. In Fort Worth, it’s a work in progress.

STEPHANIE KUO

The homeless have plenty to worry about, and their health often takes a backseat to more pressing concerns like housing and food. Doctors say that ultimately takes a toll.

PBS Independent Lens

Mimi is 92, but it's her 64-year-old daughter who must leave their suburban Dallas home for an assisted living facility. Sophie Sartain's  documentary "Mimi and Dona" airs on KERA TV at 10:30 p.m. 

Tim Hamilton / Flickr

KERA’s One Crisis Away project examines life for folks on the financial edge. Many senior citizens fall into that category. They might struggle with getting a job, paying for medicine, or managing wills and power of attorney.

That’s where Dallas County’s Elder Financial Safety Center comes in.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Instead of having to go to the doctors for a checkup, how about getting a physical every day, without having to do anything at all? Starting this fall, a senior citizen will move in to a live-in laboratory in Fort Worth.

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By the year 2050, one in five Americans will be 65 or older. Texas has the third largest population of older adults in the U.S. and the population will jump to 20 percent of its overall population in the next decade. 

Older people are working more, voting more and drinking and smoking less than they used to. That's the good news.

But nearly three-quarters of older men and about two-thirds of women over age 64 are overweight or obese, making them more likely to have to deal with diabetes, arthritis and impaired mobility.

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The Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado just wrapped up its opening week devoted to health issues. What were some the top takeaways? Here’s three: robotics, aging and making vegetables sexy.

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In this week’s installment of Vital Signs, a new study challenging the idea of simply staying active and engaged to keep aging minds sharp. Researchers at U-T Dallas found activities like reading, socializing or word games aren’t enough. Learning new, mentally challenging skills produced more benefit.

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Senior citizens will have some extra protection this flu season: A new “high dose” version of the flu vaccine intended the boost the immune system of people 65 and older. In this installment of KERA’s Vital Signs, Dr. Adam McDaniel, an internist with Centennial Medical Center, explains how the new vaccine works.

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Attention seniors, you will not lose Medicare coverage when the health insurance marketplace opens in October, nor will you have to go to the new online exchange to sign up for plans.

Sorry, wrong number

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Seniors in Texas are among the worst off in a new report ranking states by level of food security. While hunger is a problem usually associated with extreme poverty and children, the reality is we’ve got millions of seniors in the U.S. who are going hungry.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If you’re nearing the age of 65, and hoping to live a long, healthy life, Minnesota, Idaho, and Washington are looking a lot better than Texas.

Older men are at high risk of suicide, and they're far more likely to kill themselves if they have access to firearms.

Doctors should ask relatives of older people with depression or cognitive problems if there are guns in the home, much as they might ask about whether it's time to take away the car keys, an academic paper says.

Experts say Texas does a good job moving people out of nursing homes, but could do better keeping the elderly out of the homes in the first place.