Aging & Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Care for the Caregiver, Alzheimer's Disease, Memory Fitness, Safety

Information, updates and interesting tidbits from across the country and around the world.

In this issue:

  • Cook your holiday turkey safely
  • Alzheimer’s disease takes heavy toll on American women.
  • Antibiotics: use them wisely.

A New Holiday Classic: Food Safety Videos

It's fair to say that these videos from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) probably aren't destined to take the place of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," "White Christmas" or "Miracle on 34th Street." On the other hand, foodborne illness is never a welcome guest at your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast! The traditional holiday turkey dinner requires a good measure of food safety precautions, just at the point when cooks often are distracted by socializing and juggling all the side dishes. Before the holiday madness begins, take a quick refresher course by watching this set of online videos from the USDA. The series includes information about safely thawing, stuffing, and cooking a turkey, and storing leftovers safely. Do you like to brine, smoke or deep fry your turkey? The USDA has a video for that, too. Here's to a happy, healthy holiday season!

Alzheimer's Disease Is a Women's Issue

As we saw in the article "Family Caregivers: 10 Myths and Facts," caregivers are becoming a more diverse group. But when it comes to the impact of Alzheimer's disease, public health experts say women still carry a heavier economic load. According to a study published by Georgetown University's Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, women are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, and live longer with the disease. In addition, women bear six times the cost of providing care for loved ones with the disease. The study authors found that many female caregivers are employed, trying to balance their work responsibilities with physically and emotionally demanding dementia care that can span the course of ten years. Study author Zhou Yang of Emory University says that increased funding for Alzheimer's research, along with reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, could help ease this challenge. "Public policy interventions that aim at curing or slowing the progress of Alzheimer's disease, as well as those meeting the special home health care or long-term care needs of Alzheimer's disease patients, will greatly benefit the welfare and economic status of women," Yang says.

Have a Winter Cold or the Flu? Antibiotics Won't Help.

When the seasonal flu or a common cold strikes, many people still rush to their doctor to ask for an antibiotic prescription in hopes of treating the bug. "Antibiotics are powerful drugs used to fight specific infections. However, they do not work for every illness, including viruses that cause colds and the flu," warns infection control specialist Lisa Waldowski of the Joint Commission, the organization that accredits and certifies health care organizations in the U.S. When we take antibiotics for no good reason, other bacteria can build up a resistance to them. This makes antibiotics less effective in fighting diseases. The Joint Commission explains that antibiotics also can kill good bacteria in a person's body, potentially leading to other problems, especially in young children and seniors, who are at higher risk for illness. To raise awareness of appropriate and safe use of antibiotics, the Joint Commission has launched its SpeakUp on Antibiotics campaign. Featured resources include a video and podcast.  View the infographic below, and visit the Joint Commission's SpeakUp: Antibiotics—Know the Facts    website to download these helpful resources.

Antibiotics infographic

Click to enlarge. Infographic courtesy of the Joint Commission (

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2015 IlluminAge