SENIORCENTRIC WEEK ENDING July 3, 2021

Scanning the globe for news by, for and about Senior Citizens

Quotables:

If we are to age better, society needs to value us at all ages


Susanna Williams, anti-ageing campaigner
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‘I’m just an ordinary old chap who wanted to fly’

The Yankees’ 70-year-old bat girl

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Power outage hits Edmonton seniors’ residence as temperature soars

More than 20 residents at Canterbury Foundation opted to relocate overnight

More than 20 residents at a retirement residence in the west Edmonton neighbourhood of Laurier Heights opted to relocate Tuesday evening after going without power and air conditioning the whole day in sweltering temperatures. 

On a day the temperature soared to 36 C, an electrical short-circuit cut power at the Canterbury Foundation, home to 217 seniors, around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

After being assessed by experts, staff hoped to see power quickly restored but by late afternoon they were instead working on a relocation plan as staff closely monitored residents.

“Our nursing team is constantly monitoring, making sure people are hydrated and getting the care that they require,” Wendy King, executive director, told CBC News.

“We have communications going out regularly to our families. And, of course, they are calling in as well. And so we are doing the best we can with what’s available to us on this very hot,

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New report gives immigrant health-care aides platform to speak out on COVID working conditions

25 Calgary workers spoke in confidence about working in care homes during the pandemic

A new report is using the stories of immigrant women working as health-care aides in Calgary’s long-term care homes to shed light on the extreme pressures of the job and areas that could be improved in the future.

The report, titled ‘More Than Just a Health Care Aide: Immigrant Women Speak About the COVID-19 Crisis in Long-Term Care’, is a collaboration between University of Calgary sociology professor Naomi Lightman and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, in conjunction with the Parkland Institute.

It hears stories of dirty, demanding, high-risk jobs with workers facing huge financial and mental health pressures, working on the front lines of COVID-19, usually for poor pay and working conditions.

“This is one the first reports that really tries to centre on the voices of the workers that are really doing the essential work in long-term care. They were really struggling in terms of their physical and mental health,” said Naomi Lightman, a sociology professor with the University of Calgary.

The women all spoke in confidence with no risk of being identified.

The women say they struggled financially, working under rules that restricted them to a single workplace to limit cross-contamination of  COVID-19, severely impacting their pay with some workers struggling to cover their rent and car payments and stopping payments that many send home to family in other countries.

“As long as they were struggling financially they said any rhetoric around gratitude was not terribly meaningful,” said Lightman.

Health-care aides are usually underpaid compared to hospital workers and many struggle financially, often working multiple part-time jobs with no benefits.

Another theme was the increasing mental and physical demands of the job during COVID, along with the stress of becoming infected themselves or worrying about that happening.

“Also many of them were working at a time when many residents died in fast succession and that was difficult. They’ve had feelings of loss and helplessness that have stayed with them,” said Lightman.

Lightman says some also reported being blamed by residents and families for bringing the virus into care homes with some facing racism.

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How long can a person live? The 21st century may see a record-breaker

A new study calculates the probability of living past age 110, which, though rare, likely will increase this century.

The number of people who live past the age of 100 has been on the rise for decades, up to nearly half a million people worldwide.

There are, however, far fewer “supercentenarians,” people who live to age 110 or even longer. The oldest living person, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997; currently, the world’s oldest person is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.

Such extreme longevity, according to new research by the University of Washington, likely will continue to rise slowly by the end of this century, and estimates show that a lifespan of 125 years, or even 130 years, is possible.

“People are fascinated by the extremes of humanity, whether it’s going to the moon, how fast someone can run in the Olympics, or even how long someone can live,” said lead author Michael Pearce, a UW doctoral student in statistics. “With this work, we quantify how likely we believe it is that some individual will reach various extreme ages this century.”

Longevity has ramifications for government and economic policies, as well as individuals’ own health care and lifestyle decisions, rendering what’s probable, or even possible, relevant at all levels of society.

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