Entries in Senior Citizens (7)


Senior Citizens Can Age Easier with Endurance Exercise

Comstock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Endurance training like long distance track competitions can possibly protect against the effects of aging in senior citizens, a new study suggests in MedPage.

Among the subjects that were between the ages of 66 to 77, the endurance athletes tended to have longer telomeres, which are ends of chromosomes that protect from deterioration, according to Javaid Nauman Ph.D. of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

The researchers used a small sample group of 20 individuals and believe their findings are preliminary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Older People Like Living Together, But Fewer Want to Marry

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Not that long ago, a man and a woman living under the same roof without the benefit of marriage were regarded as “living in sin.”

If that’s really the case, then the country is turning into a real den of iniquity.

The number of men and women over the age of 50 who are cohabitating has exploded from 1.2 million in 2000 to 2.75 million a decade later, based on records from the Health and Retirement Study and the Current Population Survey covering that time span.

Bowling Green State University researcher Susan Brown says what’s most interesting about the study is that while older Americans are mimicking the lifestyle of younger people, they are more committed to staying together even though they're not legally bound to do so.

For instance, among the couples over 50 who were cohabitating in 2000, 70 percent were still in that same arrangement by 2010, with 18 percent breaking up and 12 percent deciding to tie the knot.

As for the past experience of couples 50 and older who “shack up,” most have been divorced, followed by widows and widowers and lastly, people who have never been married.

Brown says many older Americans enjoy cohabitation because there’s no mixing of financial assets and women, in particular, are less inclined to want to be tied down, especially if a partner’s health takes a turn for the worse.  In this way, there’s arguably less of an obligation to be a caregiver.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Says Thyroid Surgery is Riskier for Seniors 

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seniors who undergo thyroid surgery are more likely than younger patients to suffer from serious postoperative complications, Health Day reports.

Researchers said the findings challenge the prevalent belief that thyroid surgery for older patients is low-risk. Authors of the study analyzed data from almost 8,000 U.S. patients who had all or part of their thyroid gland removed. The risk of serious complications after surgery was double in patients ages 65 to 79 and five times higher in patients 80 and older, compared to younger patients.

The findings come from a recenty study that appears in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sleep May Improve with Age, Study Suggests

BananaStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- While it's a common belief that getting older means less sleep and more fatigue, a new study suggests that older adults may actually enjoy better sleep than their younger counterparts.

Researchers conducted phone surveys of more than 150,000 Americans and found that people in their 80s had the fewest complaints about sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue compared to other age groups.  The study appears in the March edition of the journal Sleep.

Reports of poor sleep were associated with health problems and depression, and women said they had more sleep disturbances and were more tired than men.  The quality of sleep improved throughout the life span, although there was a small increase in sleep difficulties during middle age.

"These results suggest that the often-reported increase in sleep problems is a non-linear phenomenon, mediated by factors other than physiologic aging," wrote the authors, led by Michael Grandner of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

While older adults in this study reported having less trouble sleeping, previous research has found that the total amount of sleep generally decreased with age by around 10 minutes per decade.  The same research also found that older adults experienced less slow-wave sleep, considered by some experts to be "good" sleep.

"This highlights the difference between what we see when we look at someone's sleep and what they tell us when we ask about their sleep," Grandner told ABC News in an email, and there could be a number of reasons for the discrepancy.

"Perhaps with other pain or health issues going on, especially if they have been going on for a long time, which is common in older age, those older people don't really see their sleep as a problem, compared to everything else," Grandner said.  "They might also have attitudes and beliefs about sleep that don't place much importance on getting a good night's sleep.  After all, we live in a 'sleep when I'm dead' society that seems to think that sleep is for sissies."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seniors Sickened by Pot Brownies at Funeral

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock (HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.) -- Three Huntington Beach, Calif., senior citizens were hospitalized Saturday after they were fed pot brownies at a memorial service for their friend.

Two Huntington Beach and Newport Beach women, both 71, and an 82-year-old man ended up in the emergency room at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach Saturday night with “nausea, dizziness and [an] inability to stand unassisted,” according to a report on the Huntington Beach Police Department’s Facebook page.

According to the report, a tray of brownies with medicinal marijuana was served during the ceremony, but no one was aware of the added ingredient.

“Our understanding is the person who passed away consumed brownies with medical marijuana in them, and apparently somebody put out a tray maybe in honor or tribute to that person, but didn’t tell everybody what was in them. And people were consuming the brownies without knowing they had the marijuana in them,” Lt. Russell Reinhart of the Huntington Beach Police told ABC News affiliate  KABC in Los Angeles.

All three people have since been treated and released.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


83-Year-Old Proud of New Breast Implants

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- Marie Kolstad, an energetic property manager from Orange County, Califorinia, needed a lift in her busy life, but kept it secret from her four children, 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, fearing they would disapprove.

At the age of 83, after being widowed for more than a decade, Kolstad spent $8,000 on a three-hour breast implant surgery on July 22.

"I never gave a thought to meeting someone different," she said.  "It was more about looking in the mirror and liking who I am."

And she says her doctor has other plastic surgery patients who are even older than she is.

"This seemed like a simple way to go and I didn't think it was a big deal," she said.  "I want my children to be proud of what I look like."

Kolstad -- a 32A as a young woman -- had blossomed in middle age into a 36C.

"Your breasts go in one direction and your brain goes in another," she said.  "It's something you dream about.  I just wanted nice ones.  I didn't want anything outlandish or out of place.  Now, they are firmer and rounder."

Plastic surgery is on the rise among baby boomers, but now doctors are also seeing an uptick among septuagenarians and octogenarians.  Those who are over 65 represent about seven to eight percent of all procedures, according to Dr. Norman Rowe, a New York City plastic surgeon.

"People say, just because my life age is 84, doesn't mean I have to be happy or content looking 80," Rowe said.

"The whole population is getting older," he said.  "People in their 40s and 50s are now in their 60s and 70s getting things done.  Americans are aging and their length of life is increasing."

Americans like Kolstad are more active than any generation before them, and they say they want their bodies to match their energy level and lifestyle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Walking Speed Predicts Who Will Live Longer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) -- Seniors who can still walk at a relatively speedy pace have a good chance of living to an even riper old age, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

When researchers at the University of Pittsburgh pooled the data from nine large studies that involved more than 34,000 seniors, they were able to correlate walking speed in people 65 or older with expected longevity.

At the beginning of each study, subjects were timed at their normal, comfortable walking pace for about 13 feet and periodically retested for up to 21 years.  Anyone who could ambulate, even if they used a cane or walker, was included.

The faster an older person can walk, the longer they can expect to live and, according to the researchers, walking with some pep in your step appears to be a better predictor of who survives than simply looking at someone's age and sex.

"It's a real part of the human experience to see that when someone slows down with age, they may not be doing as well as they once were," said lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Studenski.  "One of the major goals of this study was to quantify this experience for practical and clinical purposes."

Studenski notes that the act of placing one foot in front of the other requires the cooperation of many body systems including the heart, lungs, blood, bones, muscles, joints, nerves and brain -- and all of these systems synchronize, coordinate and integrate in a way that allows each individual to choose their own ideal walking speed, a speed that remains remarkably constant throughout life unless it's affected by medical issues.

For this reason, scientists consider how quickly a person walks, when correlated with age and sex, a reflection of their underlying health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio