Aging & Caregiving in the News

Information, updates and interesting tidbits from across the country and around the world.

In this issue:

  • The CDC endorses mall walking.
  • Is it time to replace your smoke alarm?
  • How do we talk about Alzheimer's disease?

Mall Walking Gets a Nod from the CDC

Senior women strolling at the mall

During these cold winter months, many seniors are tempted to skip their exercise routine. It's so chilly, the sidewalks are icy, and oh no, another giant slushy puddle! But offer these excuses to your friends and they might be quick to counter: "Then go mall walking!" Mall walking has almost become synonymous with senior fitness—so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently partnered with the University of Washington School of Public Health to create a resource guide to promote the benefits of this indoor fitness activity. The University of Washington team says certain features make mall walking a perfect fit for a senior workout: a climate-controlled indoor environment, the presence of mall security staff and other shoppers and walkers, level surfaces, social support from fellow walkers, and easy access to restrooms and water. Check out the guidebook here. So lace up your walking shoes, bring along a few extra bucks for a post-workout latté—and maybe hit the post-holiday sales while you're at it.

Is It Time to Replace Your Smoke Alarm?

When did you last replace the smoke alarms in your home? If your answer is, "Am I supposed to?" you're not alone. Most of us know to test our smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries twice a year. But according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), many Americans are unaware that just like batteries, smoke alarms have an expiration date. This year, the NFPA sponsored the "Don't Wait—Check the Date" campaign to raise awareness that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. The NFPA found that many of us have smoke alarms older than that; we may have no clue how old they are. Says NFPA's Lorraine Carli, "A smoke alarm's age can be determined by looking on the back or side of the smoke alarm, where the date of manufacture can be found. Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation). In addition, smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced when they begin to chirp, signaling that they're running low."

Rethinking the Way We Talk About Alzheimer's Disease

Here's a thought-provoking observation from Penn State College of Medicine professor Daniel R. George. George says we often use aggressive metaphors when talking about Alzheimer's disease—phrases such as "the war on Alzheimer's," "attacking" the disease, and the goal of "victory over Alzheimer's." George and his team said, "Scholars have argued that metaphors and narratives that treat disease as something to be attacked can be socially damaging to those affected. The value of such metaphors may be clearer for infectious diseases caused by single pathogens. It becomes more problematic when discussing diverse, age-associated syndromes like Alzheimer's that may not be fully curable." George added, "There's a widely accepted myth that people who have Alzheimer's are sort of non-people, akin to zombies. There are ways to construct meaning around memory loss that show greater compassion and solidarity toward people with cognitive frailty rather than seeing them as passive victims in our biological war against the disease." His team encourages the use of language like "slowing" or "postponing" the disease. Says George, "Even if you have a diagnosis of 'probable Alzheimer's' you can still have a life with deep purpose, social contribution and meaningful relationships." Read more about the study here.

Source: Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) in association with IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2017 IlluminAge