EMPOWERING OLDER ADULTS IN DISASTERS
New York Academy of Medicine Report Emphasizes Community ApproachFrom the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 23-Jul-2014 10:15 AM EDT Source Newsroom: New York Academy of Medicine
Newswise — Drawing on the lessons of Superstorm Sandy, a new report from The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), “Resilient Communities: Empowering Older Adults in Disasters and Daily Life,” presents an innovative set of recommendations to strengthen and connect formal and informal support systems to keep older adults safe during future disasters.
Following the 2012 superstorm, tens of thousands of older adults were isolated in high-rise buildings and private homes, in need of food, water, heat, medical attention, and medication.
This unprecedented report looks at not just the vulnerabilities of older adults, but at the role many can play in leading and supporting their communities during disasters. Its findings are especially important for policymakers; city, state, and federal agencies; community and faith-based organizations; health care and housing providers; and emergency management personnel. While the report looks at the experience of older adults in New York City, it has implications for communities across the U.S.
“Older adults have unique needs during disasters, but also unique strengths to offer in supporting their communities,” said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, NYAM President. “With extreme weather projected to increase, a new strategy is required to keep older adults, who are often among New York City’s most long-term, civically engaged residents, safe. Older people are also effective first responders, and should be seen as problem solvers in disasters rather than problems to be solved.”
New York City’s 1.4 million people age 60 and over constitute 17 percent of the city’s total population. This number is projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years. Efforts to increase individual preparedness among older people through the creation of “go-bags” and the stockpiling of supplies have been repeatedly undertaken, but this approach is not enough. Vulnerable populations face significant barriers in attempting to prepare, including lack of funds, transportation, and storage space, as well as difficulty reading maps and other preparedness content.
“Individual preparedness is important, but it does not connect older adults with the resources and support they need in disaster situations,” said Lindsay Goldman, report author and Project Manager at NYAM.
“We are calling for a paradigm shift towards a community preparedness model of disaster recovery from one of primary emphasis on individual preparedness. Resources are needed for enhancing communities’ social networks, connectedness, and integration of assets long before disaster strikes.”
The report draws on data collected immediately after Superstorm Sandy, and interviews with older adults, experts, and leaders of community-based organizations in affected neighborhoods. It presents four key findings about the experience of older adults post-Sandy:
• Formal and informal social networks influenced older adults’ decisions and facilitated their access to information and assistance.
• Because older people had not been engaged in emergency planning, emergency services were often inadequate, inappropriate, or inaccessible, and basic and health care needs went unmet.
• Older adults actively supported their communities before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy.
• The local neighborhood infrastructure was a critical factor in meeting the needs of older people within affected communities.
The report recommends 12 action steps toward community preparedness, including establishing community planning hubs in each neighborhood, supporting landlords with large concentrations of older adults, enacting a pharmacy law for disasters, and consulting with home health care and hospice providers on emergency plans.
Funded by the New York Community Trust and the Altman Foundation, the report builds on the platform of Age-friendly New York City, a public-private partnership led by NYAM to enhance city life for older adults.
About The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine advances the health of people in cities. An independent organization since 1847, NYAM addresses the health challenges facing the world’s urban populations through interdisciplinary approaches to policy leadership, innovative research, evaluation, education, and community engagement. Drawing on the expertise of diverse partners worldwide and more than 2,000 elected Fellows from across the professions, our current priorities are to create environments in cities that support healthy aging; to strengthen systems that prevent disease and promote the public’s health; to eliminate health disparities; and to preserve and promote the heritage of medicine and public health. For more information, visit http://www.nyam.org.
How true this is in the USA as well as in the UK. How prepared are we with the heavy rainfall, flooding and storms. We run out of sand bags, can be stranded and worried for hours and we are really not prepared for the worst weather. With the obvious changes in our climate patterns the UK should be looking at making plans for our older adults . As they grow older they lose their strength and cannot help themselves. Sadly our Government often seems to forget that charity still begins at home.
With the next story the message seems to be, if you cannot beat them, join them. Get younger if you can.
STRATEGY PROPOSED FOR PREVENTING DISEASES OF AGING
From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Embargo expired: 23-Jul-2014 1:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Washington University in St. Louis
Citations Nature, vol. 511 (7510), pp. 405-406
Newswise — Medicine focuses almost entirely on fighting chronic diseases in a piecemeal fashion as symptoms develop. Instead, more efforts should be directed to promoting interventions that have the potential to prevent multiple chronic diseases and extend healthy lifespans.
Researchers writing in the journal Nature say that by treating the metabolic and molecular causes of human aging, it may be possible to help people stay healthy into their 70s and 80s.
In a commentary published July 24 in Nature, a trio of aging experts calls for moving forward with preclinical and clinical strategies that have been shown to delay aging in animals. In addition to promoting a healthy diet and regular exercise, these strategies include slowing the metabolic and molecular causes of human aging, such as the incremental accumulation of cellular damage that occurs over time.
The researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Brescia University in Italy, the Buck Institute for Aging and Research and the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, write that economic incentives in biomedical research and health care reward treating disease more than promoting good health.
“You don’t have to be a mathematician or an economist to understand that our current health care approach is not sustainable,” said first author Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and nutrition at Washington University and Brescia University. “As targeting diseases has helped people live longer, they are spending more years being sick with multiple disorders related to aging, and that’s expensive,” said
The diseases of old age — such as heart failure, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease — tend to come as a package, the researchers write. More than 70 percent of people over age 65 have two or more chronic diseases. But, they noted, studies of diet, genes and drugs indicate that interventions targeted to specific molecular pathways that delay one age-related disease often stave off others, too.
“Heart failure doesn’t happen all at once,” Fontana said. “It takes 30 or 40 years of an unhealthy lifestyle and activation of aging-related pathways from metabolic abnormalities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes to give a person heart failure in his 60s. So we propose using lifestyle interventions — such as a personalized healthy diet and exercise program — to down-regulate aging pathways so the patient avoids heart failure in the first place.”
His own research has highlighted potential benefits from dietary restriction in extending healthy life span. He has found that people who eat significantly fewer calories, while still getting optimal nutrition, have “younger,” more flexible hearts. They also have significantly lower blood pressure, much less inflammation in their bodies and their skeletal muscles function in ways similar to muscles in people who are significantly younger.
Fontana and his co-authors also point out that several molecular pathways shown to increase longevity in animals also are affected by approved and experimental drugs, including rapamycin, an anticancer and organ-rejection drug, and metformin, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Numerous natural and synthetic molecules affect pathways shared by aging, diabetes and its related metabolic syndrome. Also, healthy diets and calorie restriction are known to help animals live up to 50 percent longer.
But it’s been difficult to capitalize on research advances to stall aging in people. Fontana and his colleagues write that most clinicians don’t realize how much already is understood about the molecular mechanisms of aging and their link to chronic diseases. And scientists don’t understand precisely how the drugs that affect aging pathways work.
Fontana and his colleagues contend that the time is right for moving forward with preclinical and clinical trials of the most promising findings from animal studies. They also call for developing well-defined endpoints to determine whether work in animals will translate to humans. They are optimistic on that front because it appears that the nutrient-sensing and aging-related pathways in humans are very similar to those that have been targeted to help animals live longer and healthier lives.
But challenges abound. The most important change, they argue, is in mindset. Economic incentives in biomedical research and health care reward treating diseases more than promoting good health, they note.
“But public money must be invested in extending healthy lifespan by slowing aging. Otherwise, we will founder in a demographic crisis of increased disability and escalating health care costs,” they write in Nature.
“The combination of an aging population with an increased burden of chronic diseases and the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes could soon make healthy care unaffordable for all but the richest people,” Fontana added.
Fontana, L. Kennedy BK, Longo V. Treat ageing: prepare for human testing. Nature, vol. 511 (7510), pp. 405-406. July 24, 2014
Aging experts urge more focus on disease prevention to promote a long and healthy lifespan. Strategies include a healthy diet, exercise and possibly manipulating molecular pathways that slow aging.
Washington University BioMed Radio
Some researchers are proposing that changing how medical care is delivered could help prevent multiple chronic diseases and extend healthy lifespan. The idea, they argue, would be to target the molecular pathways that slow aging as a way to prevent the diseases many of us develop later in life. Jim Dryden reports.
Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.
If you cannot beat them join them.Look after yourself, do some exercises even if it is only dancing around your kitchen or walking around the garden. Drink plenty of water before meals to keep your weight down, and of course maintain the 5 fruit and 5 veg routine. I am sure there are more things you can do to help yourself but at the moment, I happen to have brain fade commonly known among my friends as fibro fog. Sorry.
Glad to say we have had our mini storm tonight – not too loud although quite a bit of rain. In the earlier part of my article tonight it refers to the American big storm Sandy in 2012, and the need to have contingency plans.
I now sleep with a torch beside my bed. Safer than a candles and matches..but I must remember to check the battery and keep a spare battery, remembering where it is – that is the hard part. Not much fun it it does not work.
Think of yourself as a Boy Scout who is said to be prepared. When the power goes off in the night you need to be self sufficient with your mobile telephone if your telephone landline goes down. The mobile should always be charged with your families and friends numbers indexed as well as emergency numbers. Blankets nearby…bottle of water. These are simple these but do help in an emergency. Remember to look after your pets who may be as scared as you are. Do not be complacent. With these climate changes just be ready. In a thunder storm you are safer indoors instead of out. Hope you sleep well tonight.
Feel free to pop over ton a thunder storm fmsglobalnews.wordpress.com – my research and study blog – tonight it is about planets and a fly inspired sound detector which may help the military and futurist hearing aids. It seems a fly’s hearing equipment is freakish and very acute.
Back tomorrow. Jeanne