In today's busy society, people aren't typically thinking about aging or elder care. By 2030, there will be more older adults than children under age 5 for the first time in human history. Here's a fantastic podcast with different topics ranging from clinical care of older adults to things that family caregivers need to know. Hosted by Dr. Melissa Batchelor (MelissaBPhD) 'This Is Getting Old' highlights all of the things we need to do to create an age-friendly world - because when things are age-friendly, they are friendly for everyone.
EP120: Aging Parents During Holiday Visits: 4 Things to Check
For adult children who do not live close to their aging parents, the holidays can be a good time to visit to make sure things are good as they seem. In addition to staying connected throughout the year by phone or Zoom calls, a personal visit may give you more information that things are ok – or confirm any suspicions you may have had that there is truly a problem.
Many of these suspicions may be around whether or not your parent – or parents – are becoming more forgetful or if they are becoming more frail and unable to keep up with everything independently.
Some parents will ask for help if they recognize they are starting to struggle, but many aging parents will not want anyone to know because it means a potential threat to their independence and/or autonomy. The holidays create a time to get together, and it’s an excellent opportunity for adult children to check in and see how their aging parents are really doing.
In this episode of This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards An Age-Friendly World, I’ll share with you four things to look for during your holiday visits this year that may be warning signs that you need to dig deeper to find out what’s going on.
I will list them in order of least invasive to most invasive…and keep in mind that you do want to respect the dignity, privacy, and autonomy of your loved one – and these need to be investigated from a place of concern – not to undermine your parents. It’s a thin line, so listen to your intuition if you suspect a problem and engage your loved one in the process as much as possible.
Open communication is always the best approach, and you are looking for differences from the last time you saw them.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ Tip #1: Give Them a Hug
Clues that things are changing aren’t always visible from a distance, so a hug may tell you more without setting off any alarms that you’re concerned about.
✔️ Tip #2: What’s the Kitchen Look Like?
My Mom has always told me that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Think about what the kitchen has always looked like and compare any differences you see.
✔️ Tip #3: Ask About Their Social Life
If your parent - or - parents were always socially active – has that changed? And if it has, ask them why?
✔️ Tip #4: Look For Any Visible Mail
The mail may offer clues about how your parents are managing their bills or if they are being/ have been scammed.
✔️ How To Catch More Flies With Honey?
These four tips are a starting point for a conversation about how things are going at home – how they are really going.
Create a safe space to discuss what’s concerning you and listen to the answers. One other thing my Mom taught me is that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar…so be kind, observant and listen.
Also talk to other people close to them – friends, neighbors or other families who visit regularly. These signs could indicate a bigger problem, but get others involved to learn more about anything that concerns you before making an assumption that there is a memory or thinking problem.
✔️ Additional Resources
You can check out some of these related episodes:
How To Talk To Someone You Think May Have A Memory Problem:
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease:
How Alzheimer’s is Diagnosed?:
If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.
About Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN:
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of Nor
EP119: Ten Things Older Adults Need to Know Before Elective Surgery
Over the past five years, more than 20 million Americans aged 65 and over had elective surgery. This number is expected to grow to more than 27 million by 2030.
While elective surgery can be life-changing and even life-saving, it’s not without its risks. There are many things to consider before elective surgery – from the cost of the procedure to who will provide caregiving afterwards during recovery.
In addition to the normal conversations, exams, and tests that will be run to clear an older adult for surgery, there are ten additional things older adults and their families should know before heading into the Operating Room.
Most surgical offices will require thorough lab work, along with heart, lung, and kidney function tests; but if you are over 65 years old or the loved one of someone who’s going to have the elective surgery, be sure you—and those the surgical team — know the following because many of these have been linked to a higher risk of death or complications after an older adult has surgery. These recommendations are based on the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and the American Geriatrics Society Developed Best Practice Guidelines recommend the following:
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ #1: Know The Person’s Pre-Surgery Cognitive Ability Though you may be an older adult, have been feeling great recently, and even played golf the day before surgery, things can take a turn for the worse post-operation. You can end up looking pretty sick to providers who don’t know you—and due to pervasive ageism, health care professionals can unfortunately make an assumption that you have a cognitive impairment (when you don’t!)
You want to be sure that your surgical team knows what the person's cognitive ability was before the surgery ~ because you should return to baseline with your thinking.
✔️ #2: Depressed Or Not? Depression has been associated with a higher likelihood of dying after surgery and more days in the hospital after surgery. It is essential that the surgical team understands what the person’s emotional state was before surgery.
Older adults may not want to talk about it, but if a loved one is going in for surgery, please ask: “Have you been feeling down or depressed lately?”
✔️ #3: Any Alcohol Or Substance Abuse/ Dependence Issues? While a glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the game may be part of your routine, there may also be some signs that alcohol use is more along the lines of alcohol dependency or abuse.
There are four questions that are asked, and we call it the CAGE questionnaire:
C: Have you ever felt the need to Cut down on your drinking?
A: Have you ever felt Annoyed by people criticizing your drinking?
G: Have you ever felt Guilty about your drinking?
E: Have you ever had an Eye-opener (a drink first thing in the morning) to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Substance abuse isn’t only about alcohol. It can includes taking other drugs. In either case, alcohol and substance misuse also puts the person at a higher risk for complications after surgery
✔️ #4: Know Your Risk Of Post-Surgery Delirium And How To Recognize It In A Loved One Delirium is a change in mental status, and people can fluctuate in and out of it. They may be confused at times and then clearheaded at other times in the same day.
Being 70 or older and taking multiple medications increase a person’s risk for delirium. Before elective surgery, it is essential to let your loved one’s surgical team know about any medications they are taking and if they have had issues with delirium in the past.
The bottom line after surgery: If you have any feeling that your loved one “just isn’t right”, mention it to their medical team because it needs to be investigated.
✔️ #5: Know Functional Status And History/ Risk Of Falls Can the person get dressed? Take a bath? Get out of a chair or the bed by
EP118: Marketing to the New Consumer Majority
Around 10,000 boomers today are turning 65; by 2029, all boomers will be 65 or older - that milestone’s seven years away.
Historically, the boomers have always been the largest generation in the US. That changed two years ago when the Millennials became the largest generation.
Marketers need to be aware of this demographic shift because there are now more adults over 40 than children under 18 for the first time in human history - older adults are the New Consumer Majority.
Also, adults aged 50 and over control 70% of America's household disposable income, spending $0.51 on every dollar. But by 2050, they will be spending $0.61 per dollar.
In total, this group is projected to spend 84 billion annually just on tech products by 2030, and they are projected to contribute over 26 trillion to the US economy by 2050.
These statistics speak to the spending power that marketers may not be fully tapping into. Business as usual will need to change - which is a good thing if you want to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace and a shifting media environment.
What do you need to know about this demographic shift? Tune in to This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards An Age-Friendly World to learn more.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ Older Adult’s Spending Power
Adults aged 50 and over control 70% of America's household disposable income, spending $0.51 on every dollar. But by 2050, they will be spending $0.61 per dollar.
✔️ Why Ageism Awareness Matters in Marketing
Baby Boomers are leading the way in reinventing the concept of older age - they aren’t accepting what has generally been a negative connotation about aging . Marketers who learn how to translate the new concept of older age have the opportunity to develop actionable advertising, promotion, public relations, and social media strategies that will have profitable results.
✔️ What’s The Problem With Current Marketing Strategies?
The problem is that most current media marketing strategies aren't keeping up with most portrayals of this group. Either their images aren't included, or the messages are not around healthy aging or aging well - which most Americans over 40 are doing.
✔️ But Wait, There’s More - IMPLICIT BIAS + PERSONAL BELIEFS ABOUT AGING
AGEISM is stereotypes (how we think), prejudices (how we feel), and discrimination (how we act) about aging. This can be institutional, interpersonal, or self-directed.
✔️ What Should We Change?
All industries need to pay attention to the 40-plus if they want to maximize revenue. However, as a marketing team, your messaging matters. Being aware of ageism will help you develop a marketing campaign for the new consumer majority effectively.
✔️ How To Make Age-Friendly Marketing Campaigns
-Older Adults Should Not Be Treated As Or Viewed As A Specific Demographic
-Correct Myths And Misconceptions About Older Adults
-Avoid Marketing That Misses The Bullseye
-Use Titles That Reflect Older Adults’ Life Role
-Make Sure That Your Images Are Intergenerational And Focus On Experiences
-Invest In - And Market To - The Grandparent Economy
-Understand Generational Buying Criteria
-Design Personalized Consumer Interactions That Are Easy For The Customer
-Prioritize Customer Service
-Use Multi-Channel Marketing
-Use Relatable Language
✔️ What Age-Friendly Marketing Should Be?
👏 Chevrolet’s EV Car Commercial
Chevrolet has a brand new commercial for EV cars. The reason this commercial's ageless is because the images were intergenerational. The experience of sitting in the car is an experience that all generations have and enjoy and expresses the shared value of thought and happiness. The words used in the commercial— “everybody” and “everywhere”- were inclusive.
👏 Marriot’s “Travel Makes Us” Campaign
Another example is Marriot’s “Travel Makes Us” campaign. The commercial taps into the core values such as time with famil
EP117: Funeral Industry
Death, dying and the funeral business are all inevitable parts of life that we will all deal with at some point - either for ourselves or someone we love.
I had a fascinating conversation a few months ago with someone who had been training to become a mortician. As someone who has helped families navigate end-of-life care for nearly my entire career, I hadn’t really ever thought about what happened when my job ended. Much of what this person shared with me bothered me but was also eye-opening – so I wanted to share some of that information with you.
Thousands of people have dealt with funeral costs in light of the pandemic, and today I’ll share some things I learned about the funeral industry in this week’s episode of This is Getting Old: Moving Towards an Age-Friendly World.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ The Funeral Industry Pulls In Big Bucks
The costs for burial and cremation are skyrocketing. Most funeral homes are privately owned, but large corporations are starting to own more and more funeral homes.
Here’s a fun fact…funeral homes pull in $20 billion dollars a year in the United States. Yes, BILLION.
The largest death-care corporation in the country, Service Corporation International, has nearly 2,000 locations. In 2018 alone, they brought in $3B in revenue. The second largest funeral company, StoneMor Partners, pulled in $316M in the same year.
We also have a growing monopoly on our hands due to fewer large, corporate parent companies. These large corporations have bought up the trusted, well-known family-owned businesses. They typically keep the name of the original business but bring in new staff and salespeople, and often increase prices. These large corporations can do this because there isn’t a lot of competition. This means fewer wealthy and powerful corporations manage this industry.
✔️ The Funeral Industry Is Poorly Regulated
This big, wealthy industry has been largely left to regulate itself. Businesses in the industry have a history of committing widespread deceptive practices that limit a consumers’ ability to make informed decisions
Some attempts have been made to fix this, starting in 1984 when the Funeral Rule was introduced. The Federal Trade Commission established this rule to protect vulnerable families from exploitation by licensed funeral homes. Funeral homes can be fined up to $40K each if they violate this rule.
The problem is there’s a loophole. Suppose a funeral home is found to be in violation of the Funeral Rule. In that case, they can opt into the Funeral Rule Offenders Program – a training program run by the industry’s largest trade association and lobbying group – the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). This organization then is responsible for “policing” and penalizing offending businesses and is ultimately able to conceal violations from public knowledge.
✔️ Profit-Seeking + Poor Regulation = Predatory Practices
Since 1970, we have known that funeral homes have used predatory practices to increase profits. When you need a funeral home, the consumer is often not in the right frame of mind to handle the logistics of a funeral, burial, or cremation. Funeral homes have been known to prey on the emotionality of bereaved family members making funeral decisions by offering “up charges" for products or services that give the appearance of a higher quality funeral or burial.
When we as individuals do this type of planning for our families in advance, we are giving them a huge blessing when we die. Leaving your funeral planning to loved ones can evoke a lot of intense emotions; and the multiple decisions that have to be made may have conflicting answers within a family that causes unnecessary stress during an already stressful time.
✔️ Historically, Price Transparency Non-Existent In The Funeral Industry
One thing that isn’t transparent is the price tag associated with
EP116: Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care
A lot of people don’t want to talk about death and dying. Yet, talking about death doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, and it’s usually better to talk about it before it happens – for everyone involved.
Death and dying are something that a lot of people don’t have a lot of experience dealing with. That’s because, over the past several decades, as a society, we have moved death out of the home and into institutions.
For some, the information I share in this podcast may be an intellectual conversation/ information) – for others, it may hit the heart. It’s one thing to listen to information about death and dying when you’re not right in the middle of it; compared to being in the middle of it and trying to learn more. Listening to and learning about death and dying can be harder when your heart is hurting.
Many of the most important things tend to range from education around what to expect, preparing by getting their finances straight, and getting advanced directives in order. There are many things to think about when preparing for the end of life— if you’re lucky enough to have time to do so.
In my experience, some people have the luxury of this time, and some don’t. Those whose loved one dies unexpectantly are upset because they didn’t have time to resolve unfinished business or get to a place of acceptance ~ compared to those families whose loved ones take months to weeks to ultimately die being upset that it’s taking so long for death to come, because it’s emotionally exhausting.
In this episode of This is Getting Old: Moving Towards an Age-Friendly World, we will discuss end-of-life care— two different types of care; as well as the providers involved and the type of care provided.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ What is the difference between End-Of-Life Care, Palliative Care, and Hospice Care? It can be very stressful when you or someone you love is diagnosed with a life-threatening, serious illness. For most people who go through this experience, it is helpful to understand what type of care and resources are available. This information will help you navigate the system to get answers to the questions you have – or will have - and help you manage the uncertainty of what to expect next. End-of-Life Care End-of-life care is an umbrella term that refers to the process of addressing all the issues that come into play from medical care, social and emotional support, and the spiritual care that you may need either as the person dying or as a family member. Palliative Care Palliative care begins early during the course of treatment for a life-threatening, serious illness, and it can be delivered at several points of care across the continuum of healthcare settings. This type of end-of-life care includes institutional long-term care settings (nursing homes and assisted living); home health, acute care facilities, and outpatient clinics. Palliative care has limited funding, and most palliative care programs need alternative funding.
Hospice Care Hospice care is comfort care when you reach the point in the disease trajectory where aggressive care or therapies are no longer a viable option. It's a service delivery system that provides interdisciplinary care for people with limited life expectancy—typically when you're given six months or less to live. Hospice care also includes comprehensive biomedical, psychosocial and spiritual support as you enter the terminal phase of an illness or condition. Hospice care also supports you, your family member(s) understand what to expect as death nears. Luckily for people 65 and over or those with a disability, Hospice care is funded by Medicare's Hospice Benefit. ✔️ What Type of Healthcare Providers Provide Palliative Care?
Basic Palliative Care Basic palliative care is delivered by health care professionals who are not palliative care specialists—they are not “certified” in pa
EP115: Top Car Consideration for Older Drivers: Age-Friendly Technologies/Age-Friendly Cars
In today’s world, there are advances in many age-friendly products and services — meaning that when things are age-friendly, they are friendly for everyone.
Another term I’ve learned for designing age-friendly products is “universal design”. Universal design means products that are accessible for all people — regardless of age, disability or other factors.
Over the years, I’ve noticed many advances in the automotive industry that I consider to be age-friendly, so I wanted to do a podcast focused on age-friendly cars. Many of the technology features in newer vehicles help drivers of ALL ages.
However, when I googled “best cars for older drivers”, most of what came up had to do with seating comfort, how easy it was to get in and out of the vehicle, safety ratings, reliability and/or warranties. It was more difficult to find articles focusing on technologies that could make us all safer drivers, particularly as we get older.
Contrary to popular belief, as we age, some of us may prefer to drive cars with all of the technology — but some older adults don’t like all the new bells and whistles — the technology they are used to is what they like. My parents are two great examples — my Dad loves technology, and my Mom wants to keep it simple. You may have gleaned from that statement that I’m more like my Dad, but some of the technology I’ll share also keeps it simple.
With a new driver in my own family I’ve had to learn to use these technologies as a passenger, and have promised my kids that I would try not to “freak out if the car wasn’t,” with all of its sensors and warning capabilities.
Tune in to this episode of This Is Getting Old: Top Car Consideration for Older Drivers: Age-Friendly Technologies/Age-Friendly Cars, to learn about a few of the age-friendly technologies in cars and how they help drivers of all ages.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ Blind Spot Information Systems with Cross-Traffic Alert
Blind spot information systems with cross-traffic alerts are great for older drivers and those with reduced mobility–or if you’re the passenger in the vehicle with a newly-licensed driver (like my 16-year-old!). This feature uses sensors to alert drivers, and displays a warning light in the side mirror (and/or make a sounds, depending on your vehicle) when a car is in your blind spot.
✔️ Front 180-Degree Camera with Split View
The front 180-degree camera helps see small children, pets, or other obstacles that may be too close to your car when trying to pull out, with limited visibility for oncoming traffic. A split-view camera can also show you what’s on the front of your car's left and right sides.
I decided this was a good feature when I inadvertently pulled out of a grass parking lot that I thought was level on all four sides, only to drive right into the only ditch. Said ditch was the length of the front of my car, and my older children had a field day laughing at my error while we waited for the tow truck to pull me out. My next vehicle had the front camera, which has proven handy for several intersections in my town and when I drive in Washington, DC.
✔️ Park Assist System for Parallel Parking
Park assist systems are another helpful feature for drivers of all ages. This feature helps you with traditional parallel parking (and some vehicles also assist with perpendicular parking). Parallel parking assist systems are very useful in urban areas where there may not be much room between cars.
And while I love this feature, my 16-year-old son enjoys using this feature and has been quite proud of himself for successfully parallel parking. What he may not realize is that he needs to pay attention to the angles the car uses to parallel park so he can park without this feature — because the chances that his first car will self-park are pretty slim.
✔️ Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go
Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-