The Jolie Effect: A Jump in Breast Cancer Gene Testing

Just how big of an effect did movie star Angelina Jolie have on women getting tested for the BRCA breast cancer gene? A hefty 40 percent jump, according to the first study to look at the impact of Jolie’s announcement that she had undergone testing. The study by the AARP Public Policy Institute analyzed more than 6.5 million health insurance claims for women 35 and older during 2013. Researchers found that testing rates increased from about 350 a week prior …

What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

Reconnecting Small-Town America by Bus

Growing up in America’s heartland, my parents frequently put me and my sister on a Greyhound bus to visit our grandparents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Along this three-hour trek from Ames, we would stop for passengers in six small towns. These were memorable opportunities to flex a bit of pre-driver independence and stay in touch with extended family. Today, my son could make the trip by bus between Ames and Cedar Rapids, but children from the smallest four towns along …

A Call to Nurses: Family Caregivers Need You

Gallup public opinion surveys consistently show that nursing is the most trustworthy profession in America. This recognition comes with a responsibility – to help people manage their health conditions with the confidence that they can do it. Nurses who care for patients in hospitals have a critical role in teaching them how to take care of themselves after they leave. Many of these patients will not be able to do everything on their own.  They will rely on caregivers  – spouses, …

AARP Experts to Speak at Smart Growth Conference

Three AARP experts will be speaking at the 13th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Denver, Feb. 13-15. Attend their presentations if you’ll be at the conference. A General Plan Meets Smart Growth: TOD, Millenials, and Boomers – Oh My! Thursday, Feb. 13, 4-5:30 p.m. The Panel Sonja Ewing, M-NCPPC, Revitalization Program manager, County of Fairfax, Virginia Office of Community Revitalization (moderator) Howard Ways, AICP, executive director, Prince George’s County Redevelopment Authority Aldea Douglas, project manager, AARP Livable …

The Family Caregiver’s Job Description: Add Nursing Care to the List

Daily activities completed by family caregivers has been often grouped by task – a job description of sorts. Tasks such as bathing and dressing, helping with eating, moving around or toileting are called Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs for short. Shopping, cooking, managing finances or providing transportation are referred to as assisting with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs.) Now we know that almost half of family caregivers are doing all of these things and more.  They are doing things that …