Posted by Kendall Harmon

t's not exactly "The Golden Girls," but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it'll do.

Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship.

"It's a wonderful arrangement," said the white-haired Rosenfeld, who when asked her age will only say she's a senior citizen. "The way the rents are these days, I couldn't stay here without it."

She shares her two-bedroom, $1,000-a-month Brooklyn apartment with Carolyn Allen, a 69-year-old widow who has suffered two strokes and no longer wants to live alone.

Agencies that put such seniors together say the need appears to be growing as baby boomers age and struggle to deal with foreclosures, property taxes and rising rents. The typical situation involves an elderly woman, widowed or divorced, who has a house or an apartment with extra room and needs help with the upkeep.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The arguments against assisted suicide are strongly held. Many people object on moral or religious grounds, while some doctors say that it conflicts with their oath to “do no harm”. Opponents add that vulnerable people may feel pressure to spare their carers the burden—or, worse, may be bullied into choosing suicide. And there is a broader argument that allowing assisted suicide in some cases will create a slippery slope, with ever more people being allowed (or forced) to take their own lives, even for trivial reasons.

But the arguments in favour are more compelling. In a pluralistic society, the views of one religion should not be imposed on everybody. Those with a genuine moral objection to assisted suicide need not participate. What a doctor sees as harm a patient may see as relief; and anyway it is no longer standard for medical students to take the Hippocratic oath. The hardest argument concerns vulnerable people: they may indeed feel pressure, but that is simply a reason to set up a robust system of counselling and psychiatric assessment, requiring the agreement of several doctors that a patient is in their right mind and proceeding voluntarily.

It is also true that as some countries relax their restrictions on assisted suicide, the practice will become more common and there will probably be pressure for other restrictions to be removed. But there is nothing unusual in this. Moral absolutes are rare. When faced with dilemmas societies draw boundaries and carve out exceptions.

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up until yesterday for someone who has little love for what I consider to be a deeply flawed bill, it’s been pretty depressing following the coverage. The pro-assisted dying lobby are a slick and well oiled machine and it’s most vociferous cheerleaders have been out in force to bang the battered right-to-die drum. In contrast the voices of opposition, at least in the secular mainstream media, have been few and far between. Having spent some time attempting to record as many articles as possible from the papers and the BBC over he last week that have either had an opinion piece or an item on an individual or group with a partisan view, the results have been stark. There have been 34 pieces with strongly held views in favour of assisted dying and only 8 against. In the last day and a bit at least there has been a noticeable increase in the voices opposing the bill. This is partly because the BBC has produced various interviews, being very careful to finally balance their coverage and also because the Guardian somewhat surprisingly came out strongly against the bill and also published a powerful piece by the Bishop of Worcester whose wife died of cancer in April. Andrew Lloyd Webber has also revealed that he contacted Dignitas whilst struggling with depression last year seeking to end his life, but now believes that taking such action would have been “stupid and ridiculous”.

It’s not that those in favour have more to talk about, it’s more that the same things have been said more frequently. Predictably, so much of this talk has been emotive and far less has been focused on the mechanics of what assisted dying would look like in practice. ComRes have published a poll today that finds that although 73 per cent of the public back assisted dying in principle, this dwindles to 43% when they are presented with (mostly empirical) arguments against it. Doctors who need to be listened to and considered more than any other group still overwhelmingly oppose assisted dying, but you probably wouldn’t know it from the coverage in the last few weeks.

Having trawled the internet it has become apparent that much of what has been driving the media coverage has been the religious aspect.

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, argue that it would have been the “compassionate” and “caring” thing to do. How difficult it would have been for Denise to argue with me if she was made to feel that she was a “burden” to myself and others. Had assisted dying been legal, I daresay the medics might have agreed with me, and the pressure on her, though subtle, would have been unbearable.

That is one of the many reasons I believe Lord Carey’s arguments to be so profoundly misguided and dangerous. He quotes a dying woman parishioner of his who whispered in his ear before she died that, “It is quality of life that counts, not length of days”. Well, maybe – but who is to decide, when, and on what grounds?

Denise’s quality of life at the time of her prognosis and following it was poor by any standards. However, against the odds the chemo did have an effect and the tumour shrank for a while. Had assisted dying been legal, we might never have had the opportunity to enjoy the precious months together that we were given as the more debilitating effects of the treatment wore off. The despair of the moment would have determined our actions. What a tragedy that would have been.

Read it all.


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Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

11.20 Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left disabled by the IRA’s bombing of the Brighton hotel, speaks against the Bill.

“No-one could dispute the good intentions of this bill, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“I notice Baroness Greengrass talked of the right we have to take our own lives. We do not have that right. We have only the capacity to do it.”

It creates financial inventives to end the lives of the "ill, disabled, frail and elderly".

Read it all.

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Care Minister Norman Lamb has said he has "changed his mind" and would now support a new law on assisted dying.

The Liberal Democrat told BBC Newsnight an individual should be able to "make their own decision about their life".

But a cancer specialist told the programme it could create "death squads" by putting the decision in the hands of doctors.

Read it all.

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The $2.8 trillion Social Security Trust Fund is on track to be totally spent by 2030, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

That's one year earlier than projected in 2013 and a decade earlier than the CBO estimated as recently as 2011.

The CBO delivered the warning in a gloomy long-term budget outlook that shows federal debt reaching 106% of GDP in 25 years, up from 74% now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityThe National Deficit* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I yield to no one in my respect for Lord Carey and for the good things he has said and done, but I am simply amazed at his arguments (or lack of them) in support of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill for the terminally ill. Lord Carey says that he has changed his mind after encountering the cases of Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb, who had severe paralysis but were not terminally ill. In what way do these cases support a Bill specifically for those with a life expectancy of six months or less?

The majority of those who are terminally ill want what Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, calls “assisted living” rather than “assisted dying”. This is what the Christian-inspired hospice movement seeks to do, enabling those nearing the end of their lives to prepare for a peaceful and good death. The fact that good hospice care is based on a postcode lottery is what should shame us, rather than not having our own answer to Dignitas in Switzerland.

Instead of concocting expensive ways of getting rid of those at their most vulnerable, I strongly believe we should be making sure that good hospice care is evenly available across the length and breadth of the country.

Read it all.

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One in three cases of Alzheimer's disease worldwide is preventable, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

The main risk factors for the disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, it says.

Previous research from 2011 put the estimate at one in two cases, but this new study takes into account overlapping risk factors.

Alzheimer's Research UK said age was still the biggest risk factor.

Read it all.

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the social apparatuses and laws of post-Christian cultures continue to develop in ways opposed to Christianity, Christian churches faithful to the hope of the Christian message will have to create alternative structures of care for those who are dying. Rather than relying on for-profit hospices and state-funded apparatuses that participate in the utilitarian logic of assisted death, they will once again have to create hospices engaged in the Christian tradition of hospitality.

The narrative of Resurrection is opposed to the logic of assisted death. The hope of the Resurrection is not one of fanciful longing for reversal of physical death. Rather, the Christian narrative is one that claims that even the least of these can find hope, meaning and a life worth living in death's darkest hour, and that death does not have the final word in the hard work of dying.

The work animated by the Christian message is what created health care in the West, and it is what should animate Christian care of the dying against the logic of assisted death in the regnant social structures of modern health care.

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I am against Lord Falconer’s Bill because actually, it has got lots of holes in it and it is not really fit for purpose,” argued Dame Grey-Thompson, describing the Bill as “too vague”.

Speaking on internet station Fubar Radio, she added: “I am worried that there will be people, vulnerable people, who will think they have got no choice, who will be encouraged to choose assisted suicide when it is not really their choice.

“What we have to make laws for is to protect the vast majority of people in society and there are vulnerable people who just would not be protected and that is the biggest worry.”

Read it all.

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This takes me to the question of what does it mean to be alive. What constitutes quality of life and dignity when dying? These are big, important questions. I have come to realise that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially. I think when you need machines to help you breathe, then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced and about the way money is being spent. This may be hard for some people to consider.

But why is a life that is ending being prolonged? Why is money being spent in this way? It could be better spent on a mother giving birth to a baby, or an organ transplant needed by a young person. Money should be spent on those that are at the beginning or in full flow of their life. Of course, these are my personal opinions and not of my church.

What was done to Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was disgraceful. There was that occasion when Madiba was televised with political leaders, President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. You could see Madiba was not fully there. He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba's dignity.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England (CofE) has called for an inquiry into assisted dying.

It follows a U-turn by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who said he would back legislation to allow the terminally ill in England and Wales get help to end their lives.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says the Assisted Dying Bill is "mistaken and dangerous".

But the Church said an inquiry would include expert opinion and carefully assess the arguments.

Read it all.

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Posted July 13, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dorothy’s words — ‘It is quality of life that counts, not number of days’ — ring in my ears.

The current law fails to address the fundamental question of why we should force terminally ill patients to go on in unbearable pain and with little quality of life.

It is the magnitude of their suffering that has been preying on my mind as the discussion over the right to die has intensified.

The fact is that I have changed my mind. The old philosophical certainties have collapsed in the face of the reality of needless suffering.

It was the case of Tony Nicklinson that exerted the deepest influence on me. Here was a dignified man making a simple appeal for mercy, begging that the law allow him to die in peace, supported by his family.

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

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4 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The compassion argument, as presented by proponents of the bill, runs something like this:

1 It is always right to act in a compassionate way;
2 Some terminally ill people face unbearable suffering and wish to have help in ending this suffering by bringing their lives to an end;
3 It is compassionate to provide
this help;
4 The law ought to be changed to allow this to happen.

Even if we leave to one side major difficulties in determining what legally constitutes “unbearable suffering” and “terminal illness”, the above argument is deeply flawed. Were it to be presented by a candidate in a GSCE religious education exam, I should expect an examiner to take a dim view of it.

The matter is, however, of more than academic interest; it is, in truth, a matter of life and death.

Read it all.

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Posted July 12, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I don’t need to remind you of the widespread concern about the ill-treatment of the aged and those at the end of life in some of our care homes and hospitals - and this in spite of the many dedicated people working in these fields of care. It seems all the more incomprehensible, then, that we would be considering a change in the law to diminish the protection given to those most vulnerable.

Next month a Bill to legalize “assisted suicide” for those at the end of life will begin its passage through Parliament. This legislation will be presented as a “compassionate” measure, whose sole aim is to relieve the suffering of the sick and the aged. Yet, it is far from compassionate to remove the legal protections provided for some of the most vulnerable members of society. The proposed change to our laws will license doctors to supply lethal drugs to assist the deaths of those expected to live for six months or less. If Parliament allows exceptions to the laws which protect the very sanctity of human life, it would be impossible to predict where this will end. In 1967, the politicians who legalised the killing of unborn children in limited and exceptional circumstances did not foresee how violating the sanctity of human life would lead to the wanton destruction of millions of lives. It is not surprising that many vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, are today worried by Lord Falconer’s “assisted dying” Bill. It might sound reasonable to speak of “choicesat the end of life” - as the campaigners for euthanasia do - but what choice will be left for many?

Read it carefully and read it all.

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Posted July 7, 2014 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of course choice is good. I aspire to more of it and so do people who have enjoyed much less of it than I have. Offer me more choice, at least in theory, and I'll say Yes. I'll answer your loaded opinion poll and tell you I am in favour of this choice and that choice because who, in this culture, can be against more choice without being a heretic? But talk about choice on that day in the future when I am wholly dependent on the people around me, when my life is almost over and I have far more chance of pleasing others by getting out of their way quietly than of making much difference to my own situation, and my choice won't be about me, it will be about them. And those last days of life, surely, are precisely the moment when choices ought to be about the one approaching the end - and no one else.

How many Parliamentarians who will shortly debate the Falconer Bill on assisted suicide are people with wide enough life experience to empathise with those who see more choice as a threat and not a blessing? How many subscribers to the BMJ put themselves, day by day, into the shoes of people for whom consumer choice is someone else's luxury, even if their editor chooses to use his journalistic position to make a ruling on behalf of ethicists everywhere?

Some of them, to be sure - maybe many of them. Will they encourage the rest to dig deep into their imaginations, to empathise with people who are not articulate, who are used to being done unto, and who have lived on the receiving end of other's choices all their lives?

They are in Parliament to govern on behalf of all citizens. The weak. The poor. The vulnerable. The dying. The ones who don't want to be a nuisance. The ones who do not regard choice as an unalloyed good, as well as the people who are used to choosing. And the medical profession too - despite the sweeping assertions of the BMJ about the nature of ethics, are also in business for those people.

Will the Parliamentarians and the medics empathise beyond their own kind? I hope so. I do hope so.

Read it all.

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Posted July 7, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you are considered a burden by others, you sense it. Like Dr Ashton’s youngish men disheartened not to be the breadwinners, sick old people may well be overwhelmed by a sense of rejection, made worse by physical pain. The supporters of Lord Falconer’s Bill make much of the fact that those handed out the “only six months to live” sentence proposed by the Bill will take the fatal drugs it provides themselves, and by their own choice. But what in the culture will guide that choice? What is the effect on the patient’s free will when a profession whose entire previous raison d’être has been to assist life now stands ready to give you the tools of death?

Once it becomes legal that such a thing could happen, how long before it becomes expected? Most old people in hospital try to conform to what they think the system wants. If it wants them dead, and gives them the power to die, their grim path of duty lies clear. Some will have families who do not care enough whether they live; others will have no families at all. To all of these, Lord Falconer’s “choice” could become as proverbial as Hobson’s.

It does not have to be this way. Think of the revolution in attitudes to the disabled and mentally handicapped that has taken place in the past 40 years.

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Posted July 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One French court acquitted a doctor of poisoning seven terminally ill patients while another ordered physicians to suspend treatment for a comatose man, while Britain's top court said the country's ban on assisted suicide may be incompatible with human rights.

The decisions of the past week are fueling the arguments of Europeans who say the duty of doctors is to end the suffering of those beyond treatment.

But emotions run high on all sides around the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as is shown by the bitter case of the comatose Frenchman, Vincent Lambert. Hours after the French court sided with his wife in ordering an end to treatment, the European Court of Human Rights blocked the move at the request of his parents, in a rare late-night ruling.

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Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

French law now contains guidelines for palliative care, discontinuing life support and other matters. Yet the debate surrounding Mr Lambert’s case differs little from the debate over Humbert.

In urging patience, the European Court acted responsibly. Few of the desperately ill are truly incommunicado or lack any kind of “living will” or directive. And drawing up rules for securing the “dignity” of patients is a dangerous business in the best of cases. Death by natural causes, as we have always understood it, involves many things we consider undignified.

Assertions that the patient “wouldn’t have wanted to suffer” can offer too much leeway to doctors and relatives. The danger is that we will turn the “end of life” into an excuse for making exceptions to our medical and moral common sense.

Read it all.

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Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As lawmakers continue the call for answers into the troubled Veterans Affairs health care system, including South Carolina's Sen. Tim Scott, the White House released findings Friday describing "significant and chronic system failures," substantially verifying problems raised by whistleblowers and internal and congressional investigators.

A summary of the review, ordered by President Barack Obama and conducted by deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors, says the Veterans Health Administration must be restructured and that a "corrosive culture" has hurt morale and affected the timeliness of health care. The review also found that a 14-day standard for scheduling veterans' medical appointments is unrealistic and has been susceptible to manipulation.

Read it all.

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Posted June 28, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Jerry Conkle, life in America’s fastest-growing metropolitan area moves as slowly as the golf carts that meander through his palm-lined neighborhood at dusk. Most days, he wakes early, reads the newspaper, and then hops into his four-wheeled buggy for a 20-mile-per-hour ride to one of the 42 golf courses that surround his home.

“It’s like an adult Disney World,” Conkle, 77, said of The Villages, Florida, whose expansion has come with virtually no crime, traffic, pollution -- or children.

The mix has attracted flocks of senior citizens, making The Villages the world’s largest retirement community. Its population of 110,000 has more than quadrupled since 2000, U.S. Census Bureau data show. It rose 5.2 percent last year, on par with megacities like Lagos, Nigeria, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, National Adviser: Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy for the Archbishops' Council, said...."We remain convinced that the current law and the DPP guidelines for its application provide a compassionate framework within which difficult cases can be assessed while continuing to ensure that many vulnerable individuals are given much needed protection from coercion or abuse...."

Read it all.




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Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American people -- most of us, anyway -- did "choose" to provide first-class medical care for our veterans. But we didn't do it. We set up the Veterans Administration to do it. And the Veterans Administration -- or, more accurately, some of the people who work for and run the Veterans Administration -- had a stronger interest in other things. Things like fat bonuses, and low workloads in comfy offices.

Thus we find that, even though veterans were dying, and books were being cooked, every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of "fully successful" or better over a 4-year period. That's right. Every single one. Over four years. At least 65% of them received bonuses ("performance awards"). All while veterans around the country were suffering and dying because of delayed care. The executives got these bonuses, in part, because they cooked the books, because the bonuses were more important to them than the veterans' care.

It would be nice to believe that this sort of problem is limited to the VA, but there's no particular reason to think that it is. The problem with the VA is that, like every other government agency -- and every other human institution -- it's not a machine that runs itself. It's a collection of people. And people tend to act in their own self interest.

Read it all(emphasis is his).

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Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading woman priest in the Church of England has spoken out in favour changing the law to allow assisted dying.

Canon Rosie Harper, vicar of Great Missenden and chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham, said she supports Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill which receives its second reading in the House of Lords on July 18.

Her position directly contradicts that of the Church of England, which has argued consistently for no change in the law.

Read it all from Christian Today.

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3 Comments
Posted June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

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Posted June 11, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Patients who document their end-of-life wishes using a special medical form get the specific care they want in their final days, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University looked at the growing use of the voluntary form, called Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or Polst. The document lets patients request or refuse certain medical treatments such as CPR or intensive care. The study is the largest on the topic so far and the first to look at preferences stated in the form and where people actually die.

Polst programs have been adopted or are in development in 43 states. Proponents say that in addition to giving patients a voice in the face of advanced illness, they can help trim the nation's bill for costly interventions that don't extend life for patients who don't want them. However, the programs remain controversial with some groups in the often-fraught national debate about end-of-life care.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Latin America is a very, very particular church", he says. As he sees it, the Catholic Church - particularly under Pope Francis - must try to work more closely with the local community.

In keeping with that sentiment, he has already overseen some impressive infrastructural projects during his 40 years in the town.

"First we started with the elderly. We used to gather the elderly people who die on the street during the night because of the cold and we built them a home," he recalls.

"Then we built an orphanage for the street kids."

The list goes on: a nutritional centre, a kindergarten, a bakery, a healthcare centre for local AIDS patients and even a prison to tackle chronic overcrowding in the penal system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryLatin America & Caribbean* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted June 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With five months to go until the Affordable Care Act’s 2015 open enrollment season, states that had troubled exchanges during the inaugural sign-up period are scrambling to either upgrade their sites or transition to the federal exchange—all on the taxpayer’s dime.

A new analysis from the Wall Street Journal finds that the cost for Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon to overhaul their exchanges or transition to healthcare.gov will be as high as $240 million in total.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I know that if she could, my mother would grab that pail and toss it out the window. She would forgive me; in fact, I believe she has forgiven me. But in a way, that makes it harder. Knowing of her unfailing love and grace makes me feel worse about my own failure. Of course, I am envisioning her at her very best, now in heaven knowing as she is known and seeing me with the eyes of God, and I am remembering myself at one of my lowest moments. What about God’s forgiveness? God is always in a best moment and ever aware of our worst. Does that divine forgiveness erase our regret or increase it?

Jesus’ first word to the disciples on the other side of the locked doors is peace. I imagine myself in that room, staring at his wounds and accepting the resurrection miracle. I imagine embracing the improbable, exciting mission commended to me in the words that follow. But peace? Peace is another story.

After Jesus called Peter to feed his sheep, did Peter ever think back on that day around the charcoal fire when he denied the one he dearly loved? Did Peter remember when Jesus yelled at him and called him a terrible name? When Peter stood to preach on Pente­cost and 3,000 were baptized in one day, did he go home and lie awake wishing he could take back his actions on another day? According to the psalm, our transgressions are removed “as far as the east is from the west.” If we accept that as true, then it seems that regret should not linger. But in my experience, forgiveness has not erased regret. Not yet anyway.

These post-Easter days, I am thinking that if my mind and heart are not yet in sync with what should be—with sin removed to a distance beyond my reach—perhaps mere inches matter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & Medicine* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Previous studies suggest that many people will use the new coverage to obtain medical care for conditions that went untreated while they were uninsured.

The new health law reduces special payments to hospitals serving large numbers of low-income patients, on the assumption that many of the uninsured will gain coverage through Medicaid.

But hospital executives are unsure that the savings will materialize. Dr. Campbell said the cuts could create serious financial problems for hospitals treating large numbers of Medicaid patients.

Recent research in other states has raised similar questions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentMedicaidThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The time has come. On Sunday, May 4, I announced my retirement plans. In case you were not present at worship, this letter will provide the details. My last day to serve as Rector of St. Paul’s Summerville will be Friday, November 14, 2014. That date will mark my 19th anniversary among you and in the meantime provide a window to enjoy our remaining months among you.

I will always treasure these years…always. In vestry meetings for many years, I made this observation: ‘St. Paul’s needs a long-term pastorate! It doesn’t have to be me, but it needs to be someone. I am willing to be that person, but it may not work out that way.’ I would offer that thought in light of the fact that since the retirement of Dr. Ambler in 1940 (He served as St. Paul’s Rector for 32 years.), the average tenure of a Rector has been 4 ½ years. That is not healthy for a parish since you never have time to establish traction and momentum under sustained leadership. It is not unlike the long coaching tenures which often complement the strongest programs in athletics, think Coach K at Duke or Dean Smith at Chapel Hill, etc.

So, it turned out to be me after all—a long-tenured priest for St. Paul’s. I step down grateful and excited for all we have done together. It has been so rich and fruitful! May the Lord and you continue to build on the foundation that has been laid. Don’t you just know, He will! And may St. Paul’s next Rector be enabled and empowered as well for a long pastorate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* South Carolina* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 10, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 5, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world is on the cusp of a staggering rise in the number of old people, and they will live longer than ever before. Over the next 20 years the global population of those aged 65 or more will almost double, from 600m to 1.1 billion. The experience of the 20th century, when greater longevity translated into more years in retirement rather than more years at work, has persuaded many observers that this shift will lead to slower economic growth and “secular stagnation”, while the swelling ranks of pensioners will bust government budgets.

But the notion of a sharp division between the working young and the idle old misses a new trend, the growing gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Employment rates are falling among younger unskilled people, whereas older skilled folk are working longer. The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce.

Policy is partly responsible. Many European governments have abandoned policies that used to encourage people to retire early. Rising life expectancy, combined with the replacement of generous defined-benefit pension plans with stingier defined-contribution ones, means that even the better-off must work longer to have a comfortable retirement. But the changing nature of work also plays a big role.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We start with this reality: Social Security and Medicare are practically sacrosanct. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans say they're good for the country. That's an amazing number. But the popularity of these programs really isn't all that surprising. People love them because they do what they were created to do. They ease many of the frets and dreads of old age – a blessing not just for seniors but for everyone who loves, supports and depends on seniors. Which is to say, everyone.

But the status quo is unsustainable. Some 10,000 Baby Boomers will be going on Social Security and Medicare every single day between now and 2030. By the time everyone in this big pig-in-the-python generation is drawing benefits, we’ll have just two workers per beneficiary – down from three-to-one now, five-to-one in 1960 and more than forty-to-one in 1945, shortly after Social Security first started supporting beneficiaries.

The math of the 20th century simply won’t work in the 21st. Today's young are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for today's old that they have no realistic chance of receiving when they become old. And they know it – just 6% of Millennials say they expect to receive full benefits from Social Security when they retire. Fully half believe they’ll get nothing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out (with thanks to BrianHains1) and you can find liveblogged coverage there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlySports* South Carolina

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Posted April 5, 2014 at 8:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before he graduates from Bowdoin College this year, Alex Doering wants to leave the greater Brunswick area better educated about a topic that is sometimes considered taboo for American families: end-of-life care.

That's why Doering, with the help of others, is organizing a two-day symposium on the topic at Bowdoin this Friday and Saturday. The free, public event will include sessions with professors, doctors and local health workers that will explore death and dying through different lenses.

The symposium will also include a performance by actress Megan Cole, best known for her work in the popular TV series "ER," in a piece called the "Wisdom of Wit," a "dramatized lecture" of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called "Wit," that explores life "through the eyes of a 50-year-old professor of English Literature who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer," according to Cole's website.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLife EthicsYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 27, 2014 at 8:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The demand for rehabilitation robots is very high as societies around the world are aging,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo, who says he is considering buying Cyberdyne shares.

A 54-year-old paraplegic, strapped into a white exoskeleton made by Cyberdyne, recently walked slowly forward -- covering about a foot -- during rehab at Fukuoka University Hospital before collapsing on his physiotherapist. The suit he used has been approved for use as a medical device in Europe, and Cyberdyne said it may seek clearance this month to sell the product in the U.S.

Widespread use of the Cyberdyne device is some distance away. It is presently used in 170 hospitals and nursing homes across Japan, and it costs about 1.8 million yen ($17,700) annually to lease each suit. While founder Yoshiyuki Sankai’s ambition is to make the robots cheap enough for home use, he doesn’t have a specific time frame. For now, a Cyberdyne rehab center south of Tokyo makes them available to individuals at 10,000 yen ($98) per 60-minute training session.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineScience & Technology

0 Comments
Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Aging baby boomers want to stay in their own homes as long as possible and a way to do that, the so-called village concept, is catching on in South Carolina.

Experts say it's less expensive for baby boomers as they age to live at home than in nursing homes, and people who remain in their homes are often happier and live longer. Some 8,000 baby boomers reach retirement age each day in the U.S.

"The baby boomers do not intend to go into nursing homes," said Janet Schumacher, the coordinator of the Office on Aging in Charleston. "They are looking to each other to provide support."

Virtual villages are associations set up to provide help to members with everything from transportation and home repairs to social and cultural connections. The first was started on Beacon Hill in Boston 13 years ago.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychologyRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted March 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his new book, The Next America, Pew Research executive vice president of special projects Paul Taylor identifies two key trends that are already reshaping the United States and will continue doing so for decades to come. The first: far greater racial and ethnic diversity, driven largely by immigration. In 1960, the U.S. population was 85% white, 10% black and 4% Hispanic. By 2060 whites will be a minority (43%), while 31% of the population will be Hispanic, 13% black, 8% Asian and 6% other races or ethnicities. As Taylor puts it, “We were once a black and white country; now we’re a rainbow.”

But there’s also going to be a lot more gray in that rainbow. Not only are some 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day (and will continue doing so till 203o), but Americans are living longer and having fewer children than ever. Result: The nation’s “age pyramid” is turning into more of a rectangle. That poses challenges for, among other things, Social Security. In 1960, near the peak of the Baby Boom, there were 5.1 workers for every Social Security-eligible retiree. By the time the last Boomer retires, that ratio will be down to 2 workers per retiree.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted March 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just why is American politics so dysfunctional? One answer is that both parties, for different reasons, have created self-serving mythologies that reward them for not dealing with pressing problems that, though daunting, are hardly sudden or secret. For proof, see Paul Taylor’s new book, “The Next America.” Taylor oversees many of the Pew Research Center’s opinion surveys. His masterful synthesis of polls shows that three familiar mega-trends lie at the core of America’s political and social stalemate.

First, immigration....

Second, family breakdown. In 2011, unmarried women accounted for 41 percent of U.S. births, up from 5 percent in 1960....

Finally, aging. Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. The retiree flood is swamping the federal budget. By 2022, Social Security, Medicare and the non-child share of Medicaid will exceed half the budget, up from 30 percent in 1990, projects an Urban Institute study. To make room for the elderly, defense and many domestic programs are being relentlessly squeezed.

There’s no generational justice, argues Taylor: “The young today are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for the old that they themselves have no prospect of receiving when they become old.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...more people every year, locally and across the nation, continue laboring for a paycheck past the time when they could be collecting Social Security.

The average age of retirement in America, which had been on the decline during much of the 20th century, has been rising for the past two decades for a combination of reasons. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that about 27 percent of people ages 65 to 74 were still in the workforce, compared with just 20 percent in 2002. It predicted nearly one in three people of that age would be part of the labor pool in 2022.

“People today are working later than they have been for quite some time … as long today as in the 1970s,” said Kevin Cahill, a research economist for the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. “The incentives have shifted in favor of work.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr [John] Haas says that because of the current demographic trend the world population is aging and it is not being quickly replaced: “I think it is a very apt topic – these are grave social problems in most Western countries with an aging population, all kinds of ethical questions arise with regard to their treatment – end of life decisions have to be made”. “It can be “a very difficult time of life but it can also be a very beautiful time of life depending on how we go in to it” he said.

Commenting on the emphasis Pope Francis puts on the importance and value of the elderly, Dr. Haas says Francis has a profound impact on the way people think by virtue of his personality which leads them to “sit up and pay more attention”. He also says that Francis’ emerging “theology of compassion and of accompaniment” is fundamental in the way society treats its elderly. “I think that this call will really resonate with the faithful” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those in positions of leadership in over a dozen churches in..[Pictou County] it’s been a tough job knowing when to do what.

Declining membership, coupled with population decline, migration, rising heating costs and a decline in those practising Christianity, has caused churches of all stripes to re-examine themselves, their mission and their facilities.

Archdeacon Peter Armstrong of Christ Anglican Church in Stellarton believes this is part of a continuing cultural shift that began 40 years ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Many people ask me, several times a week... if I ever contemplate (assisted suicide). It makes one feel like I should be contemplating it for the sake of the health service, for my family watching what I'm going through. I'm afraid that it will extend into the social conscience that people will almost expect assisted dying.... a (new) law will pressurise people."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgiumThe Netherlands* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers make up the largest share of banking customers in the U.S., according to a December Gallup poll. Nearly nine in 10 baby boomers (89%) currently have at least one checking, savings, or money market account at a bank or another financial institution. But Gallup's 2013 retail banking study shows that just 12% of baby boomers with active bank accounts trust banks a "great deal," with the majority placing only "some" or "very little" trust in these institutions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...while they are having a lot of sex, seniors didn’t seem to get the safe sex memo, or when it came through they ignored it because they did not think it applied to them. They obviously don’t have to worry about pregnancy. And they grew up before the safe sex era. So seniors might think they have no reason to use condoms. According to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, among college-age Americans, condoms are used in about 40 percent of sexual encounters, but only in about 6 percent of sexual encounters among those 61 and older. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that older men who use Viagra and similar drugs are six times less likely to use condoms compared with men in their 20s.

Combine retirement communities, longer life, unfamiliarity with condoms and Viagra — and what do you get? You get an S.T.D. epidemic among the Social Security generation that rivals what we imagine is happening in those “Animal House” fraternities.

These S.T.D. numbers demand that seniors take responsibility for their actions.''

Read it all and there is more here also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

True to their "live to work" reputation, some baby boomers are digging in their heels at the workplace as they approach the traditional retirement age of 65. While the average age at which U.S. retirees say they retired has risen steadily from 57 to 61 in the past two decades, boomers -- the youngest of whom will turn 50 this year -- will likely extend it even further. Nearly half (49%) of boomers still working say they don't expect to retire until they are 66 or older, including one in 10 who predict they will never retire.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial SecurityPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Paul Gregoline lies in bed, awaiting the helper who will get him up, bathed and groomed. He is 92 years old, has Alzheimer's disease and needs a hand with nearly every task the day brings. When the aide arrives, though, he doesn't look so different from the client himself: bald and bespectacled.

"Just a couple of old geezers," jokes Warren Manchess, the 74-year-old caregiver.

As demand for senior services provided by nurses' aides, home health aides and other such workers grows with the aging of baby boomers, so are those professions' employment of other seniors. The new face of America's network of caregivers is increasingly wrinkled.

Among the overall population of direct-care workers, 29 percent are projected to be 55 or older by 2018, up from 22 percent a decade earlier...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While plenty of baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, have become affluent and many elderly around the U.S. face financial hardship, the wealth disparity of this father and daughter is emblematic of a broad shift occurring around the country. A rising tide of graying baby boomers is less secure financially and has a lower standard of living than their aged parents.

The median net worth for U.S. households headed by boomers aged 55 to 64 was almost 8 percent lower, at $143,964, than those 75 and older in 2011, according to Census Bureau data. Boomers lost more than other groups in the stock market and housing bust of 2008, and many also lost their jobs in the aftermath at a critical point in their productive years.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial Security

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But there’s a problem. [Charles] Lindblom’s common-sense insight has a giant exception: crises. Change, forced by outside events, then happens by “leaps and bounds.” The recent financial crisis caused Congress and two presidents to embrace measures (the rescue of big banks, General Motors and Chrysler) that were unthinkable a few months earlier. In the 1960s, civil rights demonstrations pushed Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that, in outlawing most public racial discrimination, wasn’t “incremental.” History offers other examples, including the Civil War, the New Deal and both World Wars. Small changes won’t suffice when big changes are required.

On the budget, muddling through comes with a crucial assumption. It is that continuous deficits won’t provoke a crisis that compels political leaders to take harsh steps that they would otherwise not take. This optimism may be justified. For decades, “experts” have warned of the dire consequences of unchecked deficits. Yet no great crisis has occurred. But this conviction also could be complacency. Government debt is in territory that, except for wartime debt, is unprecedented. We don’t know the consequences. Someday, we may no longer have the luxury of muddling through.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Billy Graham has gotten weaker since celebrating his 95th birthday at a celebrity-studded party last month in Asheville, but he is “not in any imminent danger,” and his “vital signs are quite good,” Graham spokesman Mark DeMoss told the Observer in an email on Sunday.

DeMoss, citing Graham’s medical and personal staff, said Graham has not been as strong lately as he was at the Nov. 7 party at the Omni Grove Park Inn, but that his health is not as dire as some news reports have suggested.

Those reports were reacting to recent comments by Franklin Graham, son of the Charlotte-born evangelist.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You may watch the announcement by Jacob Zuma here.

The Wall Street Journal now has an interactive obituary complete with some of his most memorable quotes, tweets and video there

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa

2 Comments
Posted December 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A long-retired first grade teacher who died a couple of years ago in Simsbury, Connecticut, lived very simply and wasn’t aware of how many riches she had – not until her lawyer discovered she was actually quite wealthy. NBC’s Harry Smith reports that she gave it away to the institutions that mattered to her the most in the community.

There are two videos and they are both well worth your time: The first may be foundhereand the second there.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyEducationRural/Town Life* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

3 Comments
Posted December 5, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has turned down an invitation to become part of an “army of Good Samaritans” checking on elderly people at Christmas because of Church of England policy.

Organisers of the NHS “Winter friends” campaign, under which people sign a pledge to help isolated elderly people in practical ways, have recruited a series of well-known figures including Joanna Lumley, the actress, and Stephen Fry, the broadcaster, to support them.

But their hopes of signing the Most Rev Justin Welby up as a key supporter were dashed because of a policy which prevents the Archbishop joining campaigns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 5, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 76-year-old woman who was knocked to the ground by a stranger yesterday is thought to be the latest victim in a dangerous 'knock out' game in New York.

Yvonne Small was walking through Brooklyn at about 11.30am when an unidentified person punched her in the back of the head.

Ms Small, who was knocked to the ground in the unprovoked attack, is believed to the the tenth victim in a sick craze.

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, a lot is meant to happen before you are 35. It used to be that parents were a few years into their duties at least. No longer. Family formation is being delayed – sadly, often for too long. High housing costs and weak wages mean young people may not feel able to have the family lives that they would want.

Second, a world of ever-escalating house prices will embed inequality....

These problems are too serious for (usually older) people to wave away. Nor are they easy to solve at a stroke. Part of the problem is that global competition and automation have removed a lot of decent starting jobs. But there are ways to help. We could subsidise employment and education for the young a bit more. Tax and planning law could be reformed to create incentives to build new housing. None of the obvious pro-young ideas is simple, but none is even on the agenda. Politics tends to pander to the old.

Read it all (if necessary, another link may be found there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pension age could be pushed back to 70, and older Australians forced to use growing equity in their homes to help pay for government services under proposals designed to help Australia cope with an ageing population.

In a paper titled ''An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future'', the Productivity Commission projects Australia's population will grow from about 23 million in 2012 to about 38 million by 2060, with a substantial increase in the number of retirees as people live longer.

That will mean lower overall participation in the workforce, and more pressures on governments to pay for higher health, aged care and pension costs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePensionsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a time of national debate over health care costs and insurance, a Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions finds most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die. At the same time, however, a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.

When asked about end-of-life decisions for other people, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say there are at least some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, while nearly a third (31%) say that medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life. Over the last quarter-century, the balance of opinion has moved modestly away from the majority position on this issue. While still a minority, the share of the public that says doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save a patient’s life has gone up 9 percentage points since 2005 and 16 points since 1990.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyAlcohol/DrinkingHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Billy Graham has been taken to a hospital in Asheville, N.C., with respiratory problems, a family spokesman said Wednesday.

"Mr. Graham is in the hospital with a respiratory congestion issue, similar to what he had a few weeks ago," Mark DeMoss said. "As was the case then, we expect he will be able to return home in a day or two."

Graham, who celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this month with a party in Asheville, was taken to Mission Hospital.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The last time I saw Billy Graham in person was in 2005, when he addressed a crowd of 60,000 at Flushing Meadows in Queens, N.Y. It would be, he declared, his final Crusade for Christ. Everyone who watched and heard him understood why. Billy approached the pulpit leaning on a walker and his voice as well as his body wavered as he spoke. He was 86 years old at the time and suffering from Parkinson's disease, among other ailments.

And yet, for the past three weeks, the face of Dr. Graham, white-haired but ruddy with seeming good health, has gazed down from a billboard overlooking the glitter of New York's Times Square. The billboard seems to say: "He's back!"

As it turned out, the billboard was promoting "My Hope America with Billy Graham, " an outreach video campaign produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The half-hour program and three "bonus" videos feature segments of Billy preaching when he was still in vigorous and magnetic middle age, plus testimonies from others on how they found Jesus—presumably because of that preaching.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted November 8, 2013 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Billy] Graham and his sermons can be found online in dozens of YouTube videos, but before there was YouTube, there was the boob tube and the Crusades.

Dr. Ann Blue Wills is a Davidson College professor and is co-editing a book on Billy Graham.

"These meetings were designed as a kind of civic event and the roots of them went way down, or way up or way over to all different aspects of life," explained Wills of the Crusades.

According to Wills, the events pulled in all different kinds of people.

Read it all (and consider the video as well).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 98, Hal Lasko is an unlikely master of computer art. Born before the invention of broadcast radio, Lasko spent his career as a commercial graphic designer, working with his hands to create typography and design. But as age caught up with Lasko the brush strokes became more difficult. “When I lost my eyesight, I thought my painting days were over,” says Lasko. Instead, around 15 years ago, Lasko’s grandchildren bought him a computer and introduced the artist to Microsoft Paint. The program allows Lasko to magnify the area large enough to draw pixel by pixel. “If it takes me two years to do that [create a painting], I can do it. I got a lot of patience,” says Lasko.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyArtScience & Technology

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Insurers say the early buyers of health coverage on the nation's troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces.

If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around. "We need a broad range of people to make this work, and we're not seeing that right now," said Heather Thiltgen of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the state's largest insurer by individual customers. "We're seeing the population skewing older."

The early numbers, described to The Wall Street Journal by insurance executives, agents, state officials and actuaries, are still small—partly a consequence of the continuing technical problems plaguing the federally run exchanges, experts say. HealthCare.gov, the federally run marketplace serving 36 states, is suffering serious technical problems that have prevented many people from signing up.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBlogging & the InternetHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 5, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No one wants to be against Grandma, who — as portrayed in the media — is kindly, often suffering from some condition, usually financially precarious and somehow needy. But projecting this sympathetic portrait onto the entire 65-plus population is an exercise in make-believe and, frequently, political propaganda. The St. Louis Fed study refutes the stereotype. Examining different age groups, it found that since the financial crisis, incomes have risen for the elderly while they’ve dropped for the young and middle-aged.

The numbers are instructive. From 2007, the year before the financial crisis, to 2010, median income for the families under 40 dropped 12.4 percent to $39,644. For the middle-aged from 40 to 61, the comparable decline was 11.9 percent to $56,924. Meanwhile, those aged 62 to 69 gained 12.3 percent to $50,825. For Americans 70-plus, the increase was 15.6 percent to $31,512. (All figures adjust for inflation and are in 2010 “constant” dollars. The “median income” is the midpoint of incomes and is often considered “typical.”)

There has been a historic shift in favor of today’s elderly. To put this in perspective, recall that many family expenses drop with age. Mortgages are paid off; work costs vanish; children leave. Recall also that incomes typically follow a “life cycle”: They start low in workers’ 20s, peak in their 50s, and then decline in retirement, as wages give way to government transfers and savings. Against these realities, the long-term gains of the elderly and losses of the young are astonishing. From 1989 to 2010, median income increased 60 percent for those aged 62 to 69 while falling 6 percent for those under 40 and 2 percent for those 40 to 61.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General

0 Comments
Posted November 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Clearly this payout trend is unsustainable, but what politician dare touch it?

Social Security is not that difficult a problem in theory (at least in comparison to Medicare), except for the politics of it all. Numerous things could be done to put the system in the green.

Possible Ways to Make Social Security Actuarially Sound

Raise retirement age
Raise or eliminate the cap on payroll taxes
Cut benefits
Collect Social Security on personal income
Implement a Tiered Cap structure
Means Testing

Democrats would oppose 1 and 3. Republicans might oppose all but 3. So, how does this mess end if politicians won't touch it?

Read it all and make sure to take a careful look at the charts.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentSocial Security

0 Comments
Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stan Druckenmiller makes an unlikely class warrior. He's a member of the 1%—make that the 0.001%—one of the most successful money managers of all time, and 60 years old to boot. But lately he has been touring college campuses promoting a message of income redistribution you don't hear out of Washington. It's how federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are letting Mr. Druckenmiller's generation rip off all those doting Barack Obama voters in Generation X, Y and Z.

"I have been shocked at the reception. I had planned to only visit Bowdoin, " his alma mater in Maine, he says. But he has since been invited to multiple campuses, and even the kids at Stanford and Berkeley have welcomed his theme of generational theft. Harlem Children's Zone President Geoffrey Canada and former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh have joined him at stops along the tour.

Mr. Druckenmiller describes the reaction of students: "The biggest question I got was, 'How do we start a movement?' And my answer was 'I'm a 60-year-old washed-up money manager. I don't know how to start a movement. That's your job. But we did it in Vietnam without Twitter and without Facebook and without any social media. That's your job.' But the enthusiasm—they get it."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standard & Poor’s is only raising half a cheer at the deal:

“We believe that to date, the shutdown has shaved at least 0.6 per cent off of annualised fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth, or taken $24bn out of the economy.

“The short turnround for politicians to negotiate some sort of lasting deal will probably weigh on consumer confidence, especially among government workers that were furloughed. If people are afraid that the government policy brinkmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they’ll remain afraid to open up their cheque books. That points to another Humbug holiday season.”

Read it all (if necessary another link is there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitThe United States Currency (Dollar etc)Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

1 Comments
Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...it is still foolish to ignore the leverage that the individual mandate gives opponents of Obamacare. America's healthcare system for the elderly (Medicare, plus Medicaid for nursing-home care) is already edging the country toward generational war because Washington will sooner or later be forced to choose between drastic limitations on coverage in those programs or drastic increases in taxes on the decreasing portion of working Americans. Now we're adding a parallel obligation on younger workers to subsidize healthcare for fiftysomethings.

What to do? The path of least political resistance is to tough it out, hoping younger households will be unable to figure out what's happening, or simply unwilling to throw in their lot with opponents of gay marriage, marijuana reform and the like. Alternatively, we could start paying attention to the building crisis as younger households scramble ever harder for a middle-class living standard.

And none too soon, because the signs of generational conflict are already appearing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareThe National DeficitPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....the Federal Disability Insurance Program...serves nearly 12 million people -- up 20 percent in the last six years -- and has a budget of $135 billion. That's more than the government spent last year on the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department combined. It's been called a "secret welfare system" with it's own "disability industrial complex," a system ravaged by waste and fraud. A lot of people want to know what's going on. Especially Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Tom Coburn: Go read the statute. If there's any job in the economy you can perform, you are not eligible for disability. That's pretty clear. So, where'd all those disabled people come from?

The Social Security Administration, which runs the disability program says the explosive surge is due to aging baby boomers and the lingering effects of a bad economy. But Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations -- who's also a physician -- says it's more complicated than that. Last year, his staff randomly selected hundreds of disability files and found that 25 percent of them should never have been approved -- another 20 percent, he said, were highly questionable.

Read it all or better still watch the video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National Deficit* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There's plenty of fodder for deficit hawks in a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In short, the future looks grim....

First, the good news: The CBO projects the deficit will shrink to $378 billion in 2015, or 2.1 percent of the size of the overall U.S. economy. Compared with just a few years ago when the budget gap ballooned as a result of the recession, this marks a nearly unprecedented improvement in the deficit picture. It's a rapid decline in budget shortfalls not seen since the end of World War II. The national debt will bottom out in 2018, at 68 percent of GDP.

The bad news: From there, the picture gets decidedly less rosy. Budget deficits gradually rise, "mainly because of increasing interest costs and growing spending for Social Security and the government's major health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and subsidies to be provided through the health insurance exchanges)," says the report. By 2038, the national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP....

Read it all and follow the link to the actual report.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans for Life is pleased to announce the publication of their new 8-week Adult Education Curriculum Embrace the Journey. This one-of-a-kind educational series is designed to help churches educate and equip parishioners to care for elderly family and church members.

According to Georgette Forney, author of Embrace the Journey and President of Anglicans for Life, “The church and our culture are aging. There are more than 40 million people in the United States age 65 and over, and 5.5 million of them are 85 or older. We as the church need to be prepared to minister to these people and help family members care for them.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 22, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 36 years with three school districts, Bull counts his sick days on one hand -- five -- and tallies just as many in 13 years as a carrier, first as a substitute in 2000 and then as a full-timer in 2007. The temperatures he works in can swing 120 degrees Fahrenheit, from 115 (46 Celsius) in the summer to below zero in the winter’s wind.

Five years ago, the snow and ice were so deep on the road that his power steering gave out. He zigged and zagged and tore through an electric fence, leaving a hole for 50 head of cattle to roam free. He pushed on the gas, nudging the truck out of trouble and on to the nearest farm for help.

“You just never know what might happen,” Bull says over rib-eye and potato salad at his favorite steakhouse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* General InterestWeather* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With falling birthrates and rising life expectancies, the U.S. population is rapidly aging. By 2050, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, one-in-five Americans will be 65 or older, and at least 400,000 will be 100 or older.1 Some futurists think even more radical changes are coming, including medical treatments that could slow, stop or reverse the aging process and allow humans to remain healthy and productive to the age of 120 or more. The possibility that extraordinary life spans could become ordinary life spans no longer seems far-fetched. A recent issue of National Geographic magazine, for example, carried a picture of a baby on its cover with the headline: “This Baby Will Live To Be 120.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of over-sixties divorcing their partners has hit a 40-year high as men seek a new life of adventure after years of marriage, according to figures published yesterday.

“Silver splitter” divorces are continuing to rise at a time when the overall number of marriage failures is in decline. Unlike other age groups where women are more likely to file for divorce, among the over-sixties men are as likely as women to want to end a marriage.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rising healthcare costs for needed items such as shower chairs and grab bars gave parishioners at Immanuel Episcopal Church in Bay Minette the impetus to begin a new outreach ministry.

Offered as an idea at a church retreat held this past spring, the plan has developed into an active ministry with shower chairs, grab bars and commode chairs delivered and more shower chairs, commode chairs and grab bars purchased and ready for delivery.

“After a lifetime spent working hard, raising a family and contributing to their community, many of these people now face multiple health problems and mounting healthcare costs,” said Ryan Gillikin, Immanuel vestry member and coordinator of this ministry. “While Medicare and insurance cover many of these costs, there are certain things like shower chairs and grab bars that are no longer covered. These items can increase a person’s independence, improve quality of life and decrease fall risk.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O’Connell: Could you start by telling us why you think the suburbs are in decline?

Gallagher: The suburbs were a great idea that worked really well for a long time, but they overshot their mandate. We supersized everything in a way that led many people to live far away from where they needed to be and far away from their neighbors, and that has far-reaching implications, no pun intended. People have turned away from that kind of living. Add in the demographic forces that are reshaping our whole population, and the result is a significant shift. Census data shows that outward growth is slowing and inward growth is speeding up.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBooksChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilySociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...one theme emerged that I hadn't expected: women in the middle of their lives who felt invisible and ignored by the church, the same way they feel invisible or ignored in our culture.

These are women of my mother's generation, maybe 10 or even 20 years on either side. I heard their hurt, sorrow, and stoicism about life within the church. In a sea of artful hipsters and energetic young people with self-promotion apparently engrained into their DNA, they feel invisible and overlooked.

One woman told me about how she had led worship at her church for years. But when a new young pastor was hired, he wanted a cooler band to get more young people in the door. First thing to go? Older women. "No one wanted to see middle-aged women on stage," she wrote candidly, and so she was replaced with young women in their late teens and early twenties.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyWomen

9 Comments
Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those over 50 and unemployed, the statistics are grim. While unemployment rates for Americans nearing retirement are lower than for young people who are recently out of school, once out of a job, older workers have a much harder time finding work. Over the last year, according to the Labor Department, the average duration of unemployment for older people was 53 weeks, compared with 19 weeks for teenagers.

There are numerous reasons — older workers have been hit both by the recession and globalization. They’re more likely to have been laid off from industries that are downsizing, and since their salaries tend to be higher than those of younger workers, they’re attractive targets if layoffs are needed.

Even as they do all the things they’re told to do — network, improve those computer skills, find a new passion and turn it into a job — many struggle with the question of whether their working life as they once knew it is essentially over.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of America’s chief fiscal burdens is the mounting cost of entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) – an obligation that will only grow larger as baby boomers age. In tackling this problem, the United States should look to what many might see as an unlikely model – the European welfare state, Sweden.

“Usually, U.S. policymakers look to Europe to determine what not to do when it comes to social-welfare policy,” James C. Capretta, former associate director of the US Office of Management and Budget, wrote a few years ago.

But, he continued: “When you are in a hole, the prudent first step is to stop digging, and the United States can indeed gain insight into how to ‘stop digging’ the entitlement hole” by studying the reforms that some European countries have implemented. Most notably, he suggested, we should study what Sweden and Germany did to cut their long-term government pension commitments.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeSweden* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American hospice movement is thriving. Forty-two percent of all Americans who died in 2010 were in hospice care—up from 22 percent in 2000. The number of organizations providing hospice care has grown steadily, up 13 percent from 2006—from 4,500 to over 5,000—as has the length of time that patients spend in hospice care. More people are spending their dying days experiencing the holistic medicine and dignified care that hospice seeks to provide.

But the growth in the hospice movement has tended to neglect African Americans. African Americans constitute 13 percent of the U.S. population, but only 8 percent of hospice patients are African American—even though blacks have the highest cancer rates of all ethnicities and are more likely to die from cancer than whites.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsPastoral Care* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineRace/Race Relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You might have heard about peak oil, but what about peak child? When I was born in 1965, about one in three of the world's people were children. That will fall to one in five in my lifetime - assuming I make it to the ripe old age of 85.

It might not sound dramatic but the repercussions of that shift are Earth-changing. The number of babies being born around the world is unlikely to ever be higher than now, and that means the domination of the world's population by those in lower age brackets is ending.

Over the past 50 years, the population aged under 15 ballooned from 1 billion to nearly 2 billion. But revised 100-year population forecasts, released by the United Nations last week, show the number of children will flatten out over the next 15 to 20 years and then fall back to 1.9 billion by 2050.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeSociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fact that economics tell us to discount -- as in make less of -- each dollar owed or received in the distant future, however, doesn't mean a government can ignore those obligations and receipts, especially if there are loads of future obligations relative to receipts.

Take the just-released 2013 Trustees Report on Social Security's long-run finances. Table IVB6 shows an infinite horizon fiscal gap of $23.1 trillion separating the Social Security system's projected costs and taxes after taking into account the several trillion in the Social Security trust fund. To give you a sense of how massive this shortfall is -- and it grew by fully 8 percent last year alone -- it is 50 percent larger than U.S. GDP and almost twice the size of total federal debt held by the public.

Table IVB6 also reports Social Security's fiscal gap over the next 75 years. It's much smaller -- only $9.6 trillion, and that's the number people tend to use in discussion. But that number is only 41 percent of the actual economic gap: $23.1 trillion. Thus, the 75-year fiscal gap hides three fifths of the system's true long-term shortfall.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers are a “fortunate generation” who have enjoyed dramatic improvements in living standards but are now “absorbing” more than their fair share of taxpayers’ money, one of the Church of England’s most senior clerics has suggested.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, who is 65, said there were “severe questions” about the share of government spending that goes on his own generation.
He said the world was in the midst of a transformation that had left many believing that our best days could be “behind us”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgeReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The purpose of Social Security is to help families. It reinforces the intergenerational sharing that families already — though imperfectly — provide. It helps retirees by stabilizing their income, and it helps their grown children, who are relieved of any excessive burden of supporting them. This purpose strongly suggests that the Social Security benefits should be indexed to some measure of the available, aggregate economic pie. That means a formula that looks completely different from the ones being discussed today.

Clearly, something needs to be done: if nothing changes, and the trust fund runs out in 2033, the system would be able to pay only about 75 percent of promised benefits.

The issues are complex, as economic theorists like Henning Bohn at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have shown. But now that an index change is on the table, we should take this opportunity to get it right.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General

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Posted June 10, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, will present a bill to the House of Lords next week which would introduce a system similar to that in place in the US state of Oregon.

It would allow doctors to provide a fatal dose of drugs to patients judged to have less than six months to live....The bill, which will be tabled on May 15, is based on the conclusions of Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying, a group of peers and academics which held hearings in the style of a royal commission.

The Commission was dismissed by critics, including the Church of England, as a “self appointed” group of euthanasia supporters.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologySuicideReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s “happiness” indicates that almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit feeling lonely.

Among people over 80, the proportion rises to almost half, including a large minority who admit they feel lonely much of the time.

But campaign groups warned that the study suggests that the generation now approaching retirement will prove to be a “loneliness time bomb”.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 7, 2013 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the fight to preserve life is often centered on abortion and capital punishment, the future Pope Francis also warned against a more subtle form of disregard for human dignity: what he called "covert euthanasia."

"In this consumerist, hedonist and narcissistic society, we are accustomed to the idea that there are people that are disposable," among them, the elderly, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio said in a recently published book.

Citing examples of intentional neglect, the future pope said: "I believe that today there is covert euthanasia: Our social security pays up until a certain amount of treatment and then says 'May God help you.'"

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBooksHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 7, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To retirees, the offers can sound like the answer to every money worry: convert tomorrow’s pension checks into today’s hard cash.

But these offers, known as pension advances, are having devastating financial consequences for a growing number of older Americans, threatening their retirement savings and plunging them further into debt. The advances, federal and state authorities say, are not advances at all, but carefully disguised loans that require borrowers to sign over all or part of their monthly pension checks. They carry interest rates that are often many times higher than those on credit cards.

In lean economic times, people with public pensions — military veterans, teachers, firefighters, police officers and others — are being courted particularly aggressively by pension-advance companies, which operate largely outside of state and federal banking regulations, but are now drawing scrutiny from Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sunday mornings at Wayman AME Church in Minneapolis brings a faithful crowd. But it’s quite likely no one there has said as many prayers as Noah Smith. It’s not just because he’s a preacher, it’s because he’s had more time to worship – over a century in fact.

At 105, Smith is still hard at work, preaching at Wayman.

“My life is so busy with church and things now. I don’t even get to read the paper sometimes,” said Smith.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

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Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is a great graphic here and some comment there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMiddle AgeTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 16, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all (a little over 13 1/2 minutes) or if you need to (second best) read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionTheatre/Drama/PlaysWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One month after the Coalition’s ‘mid-term review’ sidestepped a pledge to cap social care funding, it appears the Government are finally willing to show their hand.
Today's announcement will impose a limit of £75,000 on the amount that individuals will have to pay towards their own care – after which point, the state will cover further costs.
Demos analysis shows a cap set at that level is miserly, helping only 16% of older people.
However, there remains another significant problem - one that risks further alienating the kind of middle class families already reeling from having their child benefit cut and marriage tax break postponed. The scheme contains a hidden penalty for couples, and for their children.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 12, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 70 years later, Chaney is among the dwindling number of South Carolinians who fought in World War II. And at 87, he may be among the oldest to receive post-traumatic stress disorder benefits for it.

After decades of nightmares and sessions with doctors, Chaney last year was approved based on his World War II experiences that, according to some of the paperwork involved, included much more than spanning Europe’s rivers and streams.

“My unit was involved in the release of prisoners of war at the Buchenwald concentration camp,” he said in one account his family provided to the Department of Veterans Affairs. “The prisoners looked like walking skeletons and some died while I was there. We used big earth moving machines to dig massive graves.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The CBO forecast finds a persistent mismatch between tax revenue and spending over the coming decade. As the economy improves, tax revenue should rise to 19 percent of GDP for the period from 2015 through 2023, up from 15.8 percent in 2012, the report said. But federal spending, after an early-decade dip, will start rising persistently faster than revenues.

"After 2017, if current laws remain in place, outlays will start growing again as a percentage of GDP," the CBO said. "The aging of the population, increasing health care costs, and a significant expansion of eligibility for federal subsidies for health insurance will substantially boost spending for Social Security and for major health care programs relative to the size of the economy."

The CBO's current-law "baseline" calls for spending to reach about 23 percent of GDP in 2023 and, more worrisome, to be "on an upward trajectory."

Read it all.

Update: An IBD article is also available on this, entitled "CBO Report Shows We're Still Headed Toward A Fiscal Cliff" and it may be found there.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

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Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.

These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.

Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial Security* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 5, 2013 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The finances of the US’s multi-employer pension schemes have deteriorated so quickly over the past year that the body that insures them will almost certainly run out of cash in 20 years, according to a new report.

The chances of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation – the publicly created but privately funded body that insures the nation’s occupational pension schemes – going bust went from 1 in 3 at the end of 2011 to more than 9 in 10 by the end of 2012, a report prepared for the PBGC and released on Tuesday said.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 1, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Single and retired, with no family nearby, 64-year-old Lorna Grenadier knows she'll need a better support system if she wants to grow old in her apartment in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where she has lived for 40 years. So she's added community organizing to her list of interests and is helping create a service network she hopes will enable her and others like her to remain in their own homes as they age.

For the past 18 months, Grenadier has been working with other volunteers to research and launch the Foggy Bottom West End Village network. The group aims to provide paying members ($600 a year for singles; $900 for households) a range of services, including transportation and connections to vetted local businesses, as well as serve as a contact point for emergencies. Some of the annual fee will also cover social activities for members.

"It’s also about providing peace of mind," says Grenadier -- a sort of insurance policy should someone need help. In a survey of potential members in the her area, 75 percent said they were interested in the concept, though just 50 percent said they would need the services today.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal Finance

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Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I looked it up and found that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, learning problems, attention-deficit disorders, autism and related disorders, and developmental delays increased about 17 percent between 1997 and 2008. One in six American children was reported as having a developmental disability between 2006 and 2008. That’s about 1.8 million more children than a decade earlier.

Soon, I learned that medical researchers, sociologists, and demographers were more worried about the proliferation of older parents than my friends and I were. They talked to me at length about a vicious cycle of declining fertility, especially in the industrialized world, and also about the damage caused by assisted-reproductive technologies (ART) that are commonly used on people past their peak childbearing years. This past May, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 8.3 percent of children born with the help of ART had defects, whereas, of those born without it, only 5.8 percent had defects.

A phrase I heard repeatedly during these conversations was “natural experiment.” As in, we’re conducting a vast empirical study upon an unthinkably large population...

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenScience & TechnologyWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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