Aging & Caregiving in the News

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

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

In this issue:

  • "Dog-stracted" driving
  • Millennial caregivers are stepping up to the plate
  • Food reactions—allergy, or intolerance?

Dog riding in convertible with senior driver

Are You Guilty of Dog-stracted Driving?

Many dogs love nothing better than to go for a car ride, and a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirmed that most dog owners drive with their dog in the car. But the survey also found that some of these drivers have mid-trip interactions with their pooches that could cause an accident. Anything that is distracting and causes drivers to look away from the road or take one hand off the steering wheel raises their risk of an accident. The owners surveyed reported risky doggie driving habits such as driving with their dog in their lap, reaching back to keep their dog from coming into the front seat, or holding their dog in place with one arm while braking. Some even admit to taking selfies with their pet while driving.

AAA traffic safety expert Jennifer Huebner-Davidson recommends using a leash, harness or other pet restraint to keep both owner and pet safe. She said, "An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path." Visit the AAA website to find more information about driving with your pet.

10 Million Millennial Caregivers

Despite predictions that the millennial generation—those born between 1980 and 1996—would be less likely to provide care for elderly loved ones, the AARP recently reported that in fact they are stepping up to the plate in great numbers as the baby boomers age. Released in May 2018, "Millennials: The Emerging Generation of Family Caregivers" shows that today, 25 percent of caregivers are millennials.

This generation faces a different situation than the current majority generation of caregivers, the baby boomers: More millennials also work full-time (73 percent) and many of them are the only person in the family available to care for a loved one—in part, a result of boomers having fewer children. It's more important than ever that we advocate for caregiver support on the local, state and federal level to help families take care of their loved ones and their own physical and financial health.

Is It a Food Allergy or a Food Intolerance?

One person experiences uncomfortable digestive effects after drinking milk, while another is hospitalized for breathing problems. People who have a reaction to food substances should know the difference between an allergy and an intolerance, said Baylor University professor Dr. Carla Davis. She explained, "A food allergy is when the body's immune system is activated against a food and causes an allergic reaction with typical symptoms, such as hives. On the other hand, a food intolerance is when the immune system is not involved but there's another reason for a reaction in the body, and typical allergic symptoms do not occur."

Food intolerances, especially those with digestive effects, can be life-changing—but the effects of food allergies, says Dr. Davis, can be life-threatening, including anaphylaxis, when the immune system causes difficulty breathing and a drop in blood pressure. She recommends consulting a board-certified allergist to get a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Read more of Dr. Davis' advice here.

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2018