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Aging Well - eNewsletter
In this issue...
Crossroads Hospice - Expect more from us. We do.
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Other Aging News...

Surgery at Any Price
Improved surgical techniques and increased longevity combine to make age nearly irrelevant when considering advanced surgical procedures, according to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Early Retirement Increases
Layoffs and other financial uncertainties press older adults to access Social Security benefits earlier that they had planned, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Live Long and Prosper
Studies suggest that childbearing later in life may contribute to an extended life span, according to an article in The Gazette in Montreal.

Never Too Old to Party
An innovative program for older adults with dementia offered at a New York retirement community offers overnight care to elders and respite for desperate family members, The New York Times reports.

Choose the Perfect Fit.

Editor’s E-Note

Who among us anticipates the aging process without some concern about the unwelcome intrusion of Alzheimer’s disease into our later lives? Overwhelming statistics bring into focus the reality that the future holds a very real prospect of suffering incurable brain shrinkage, affecting both memory and language.

Even if we’re fortunate enough to escape the devastating manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s unlikely we’ll be left unscathed by the disease’s incursion into the lives of our parents, spouses, and siblings.

The human brain’s processing capability peaks around the age of 20, according to Howard Fillet, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation in New York. After that point, the brain’s functional capability continues to diminish, declining by about 70% by the age of 70. Despite the decreased capacity, most older adults continue to function without difficulty.

Maintaining cognitive vitality is certainly a goal we all strive to achieve. This month’s E-News Exclusive spotlights a program implemented by a number of innovative professionals intent on boosting brainpower among residents of a retirement community. By all accounts, the monthly sessions have become popular with the older adult participants, not only for the benefits derived from each session, but also for the opportunity to increase the odds of winning the ultimate prize—maintaining optimal brain function.

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— Barbara Worthington, editor

E-News Exclusive

Steps Toward Cognitive Preservation
By Barbara Worthington

The possibility that cognitive decline lurks in their future prompts resourceful older adults to take proactive measures to prevent its onset. The opportunity to help ward off such decline sparked an interest among a group of professionals in developing programming to enhance elders’ memories and keep mental function at the highest possible levels throughout the ACTS Retirement-Life Communities, which are located in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Structured as part of the communities’ wellness initiative, the new Memory Enhancement Program is a collaborative effort among several of the communities’ departments to sharpen residents’ memory skills—whether or not they’ve already experienced some cognitive impairment. At the core of the program are a nurse, a dietitian, a fitness instructor, and a recreation coordinator, according to Peggy Brenner, RN, MSN, who serves as director of education and special care programs for ACTS. The program facilitators received specialized training at the Muller Center for Senior Health at Abington Memorial Hospital.

Brenner says older adults find the programming appealing not only for its primary function in keeping brains sharp but also for the opportunities it offers to learn and interact with others who share a common purpose.


Online in Aging Well...

New Hope in Neuroprotection? A Parkinson’s Disease Update
Neuroprotection may hold the key to slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Read more

Aging in the Suburbs: A Changing Population
Is the infrastructure in American suburbs capable of supporting the aging population? Read more

Beyond Therapy — Aging and the Arts
The arts provide opportunities for elders to develop creative talents and expand their minds. Read more

Ask the Expert
Renew Today
Have a question you want answered by one of our experts? Send your question to and it may be featured in an upcoming e-newsletter or print issue.

Is there a way to determine the programs, benefits, and services to which older clients are entitled without spending hours researching?

Matthew Krolikowki, RN, MS
Danville, PA

The Internet can facilitate the search. Go to and you will discover a Web site that assists clients and caregivers with finding the available benefits. It assists with locating and enrolling in federal, state, local, and private programs that help with paying for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, healthcare, and other needs. The Web site also provides other valuable information specific to older clients and caregivers.
Other locations for information are disease-specific organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Heart Association that provide important information concerning programs and services.
At the local level, I have used both the United Way and the VA (if applicable) in my geriatric care practice. I also recommend state agencies or departments that deal with aging issues and suggest becoming familiar with the information they provide.

— James Siberski, MS, is director of the Graduate Geriatric Care Management Program at Misericordia University
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