Those 77 million Baby Boom kids (born 1947-1964) are marching steadily into their “golden years,” which so happens to be prime time for major donations. AARP has been in front of the curve as the Boomers swell its ranks. A case study by Direct Marketing News explains how AARP has parlayed research findings into new directions for its Facebook and YouTube sites.
NBC might have gotten some bad press for giving away results before showing them tape-delayed in the lucrative hours of prime time. These Olympics have both been the ‘first Social Olympics’ and the first to struggle to understand what such instantaneous communication can mean to corporate and sporting interests. And, as it turns out, most of the griping is coming from the world of social networks. According to the Pew Research Center, 76% of Americans find the NBC communications conglomerate’s coverage excellent or good.
What are the numbers when age is taken into consideration?
Last week we introduced an AARP report encouraging the development of ‘Technology for All,’ namely, technology that includes the interests, expectations, and needs of Baby Boomers. Here is an example of how technology makes a common exercise machine that much more interesting and beneficial: a computer screen offering a virtual tour for a stationary biker.
Hans Villarica of TheAtlantic.com presented a report found in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine that brings computer screens and visual stimuli to recumbent bikers in elder-care homes. The experiment was to encourage exercise among residents on incumbent bikes – some used bikes with screens that monitored their effort and presented a ‘tour’ while others simply rode the bikes for the same amount of time.
Not surprisingly, those who got a tour on what the study calls ‘exergaming’ found the experience of exercising more pleasurable. But the long-term study also showed added cognitive benefits of having the tour inspire/follow the exercisers who had the computer addition. As Hans summarizes the study’s medical/statistical conclusion: “Even though there was no difference in exercise frequency, intensity, or duration between the two groups, the cybercycle riders had significantly better executive function than those who used a plain stationary bike. They also experienced a 23 percent reduction in progression to dementia compared to the control group.”
The addition is simple, the technology is not expensive, and the user gets physical, mental, and emotional benefits. What’s not to like?
The fact of the aging of the global population is something our readers are likely at least acquainted with. The phenomenon has arisen as life expectancy has lengthened even in developing countries and populations in developed countries often are not having enough children even to replace themselves. The result is that most national populations whose citizens or subjects are over 60 are quickly moving toward 30%. To put that number in historical perspective, The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) posits that, before the Twentieth Century, the percentage of inhabitants over 60 was 5-8%.
The CSIS released a sobering report earlier this year that measured the ‘Global Aging Preparedness’ (GAP) Index. The report stresses the demographic facts of the so-called ‘Silver Tsunami’ (a tide that can not now be turned, even if we all started having larger families) and the current economic situations of a number of countries both rich and poor, both developed and developing. So how did the US do?
Earlier today we posted a story concerning DoSomething.org’s drive, ‘Grandparents Gone Wired.’ In the process of working up that story we came across this brief list of gift ideas for some of those same grandparents: A Grandparents’ Tech Gift Guide. The blogger who is developing the list is Michele McGraw of northern Virginia, and her site, ‘Scraps of My Geek Life’, is one of the cuter and more engaging tech blogs we’ve come across.
The list for grandparents seems to be growing, and she also has Tech Gift Guides for Moms, young teens, and Bloggers (I’d like the iPhone 4S, please). All of these lists include her brief comments/reviews and she solicits reviews from her readers. Well worth a look, and it’s refreshing to see a site savvy to technology in its various guises with a fun and family-focused aura.
Doctors, teachers, and athletes encourage us all to get more exercise. For many of us, our springtime means the energy to start a program to get fit and overcome the initial discomforts. As we enter our summer months, the foundation of better health has been set, and we begin to push some of our boundaries. The shortening days of fall might dissuade some of us, but the weather remains warm enough to keep us moving. Besides, winter could prove a notable setback, so we better give an extra push now.
But what about the seasons of our lives? Are we building a solid foundation in our earlier decades to encourage an active and engaged senior life? Many seniors are even competing in an Olympic-style festival that can inspire us all.
Remember Obama’s Death Panels? No, they didn’t exist. But like ‘cooties,’ the scared and the immature just kept repeating that they were waiting to snatch us up. What the Healthcare Reform Bill wanted to institute was the opportunity – nay, the expectation – for families to have regular consultations with their doctors about end-of-life/palliative care that would per force be covered by insurance.
Healthcare Reform became law in the early days of 2010, and we have been litigating it ever since – and no one has found any mention of a death panel. But even requiring insurance companies to pay doctors for these end-of-life consultations has proven to be a political hot potato – even though evidence of their efficacy is mounting.
A report from a group of oncologists from Sweden is the latest study to show the benefits of having a frank discussion about what treatments are working, what are not working, and what options/opportunities the patient has. The abstract of the report, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, can be found here (a subscription to the Journal is required to read the full report).
Fortunately, Paula Span of The New York Times discusses the full report and talks with Dr. Gunilla Lundquist, a palliative care specialist at Umea University and lead author of the study. One of the hard truths of the report is that about 70% of people who have that tough conversation about their terminal conditions die at home and among loved ones, in contrast to under 40% who do not have that conversation yet do not die in a hospital.
Paula Span also steps into the cultural and political difficulties of getting such a study done in the US, or even discussing the Swedish report. Instead, we’ll invoke the Bogie Panel to ensure our freedom from everything, except fear.