Aging & Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Health & Wellness, Caregivers, Care for the Caregiver, Safety

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

In this issue:

  • Detergent pods are dangerous for people with dementia.
  • Family caregivers face many challenges.
  • Can stress management protect our vision?

Recent Fad Reminds Us Detergent Pods Can Be Dangerous—And Not Just for Kids

Detergent pods

The viral internet meme of late 2017 was the so-called "Tide pod challenge," which dared teens to eat one of those colorful single-use detergent packets and post online videos of the foolish feat. In response, the manufacturers of these products launched an ad campaign to warn against this fad, and both Facebook and YouTube removed the videos. But fame-seeking teens aren't the only ones in danger of getting poisoned by these handy laundry packets. Ever since the products were introduced in 2012, parents have been warned to keep them out of the reach of small children, who might mistake the colorful packets for candy. And in 2017, Consumer Reports warned that seniors with dementia, too, could mistake these packets for something edible. Indeed, they noted, as of 2017, more adults with dementia than children had died from consuming these pods. Keep detergent pods out of the reach of people with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. Always use the childproof packaging. Better yet, say many experts, don't keep these products in a home where a person with dementia lives.

Study: Family Caregivers Risk Their Health, Careers, and Financial Well-Being

These days when most states are facing threats to the funding for senior programs, it's important to remember that when seniors need care, they aren't the only ones affected. The nonprofit Transamerica Institute recently surveyed over 3,000 family caregivers and found that 55 percent neglect their own healthcare, 69 percent had been unprepared for the financial implications of serving as a caregiver, and almost one-third had suffered an adverse action from their employer due to the conflict between their jobs and their caregiving duties. "Millions of Americans are serving as family caregivers for relatives or friends who need help taking care of themselves. With people living longer, the high cost of long-term care, and the aging of the baby boomer generation, the number of family caregivers is likely to increase," said the institute's CEO, Catherine Collinson. "Caregivers play a vital role in our society by providing support for family, friends, and loved ones. It is a labor of love that comes without a paycheck. As a caregiver, many are putting their own health and long-term financial security at risk. From a societal perspective, it is imperative that we raise awareness of the issues and risks that caregivers face and offer meaningful solutions that can help them better manage their duties to assist their care recipients and themselves." Read the entire study here.  

Lowering Your Stress Might Protect Your Eyesight

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among older adults. People with AMD gradually lose the ability to read, drive and recognize faces, which naturally can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. Now, a research team from the Ohio State University College of Optometry is trying to determine whether the relationship between stress and AMD goes in both directions. According to the research, "Less is known about the relationship between the stress that AMD patients experience and the severity of their disease—for example, whether stress can cause AMD to worsen or not." Study author Dr. Bradley E. Dougherty noted that stress causes increased inflammation, and said, "Because AMD is an inflammatory disease, we are studying the link between inflammation, stress, and AMD treatment outcomes." Dr. Dougherty and his team hope to learn more about whether stress management techniques, such as mindfulness practices, which have been found to be beneficial in controlling many stress-related illnesses, could also slow the progression of AMD. The study was published in Optometry and Vision Science.

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2018