Category Archives: elder research

Having a “good death” in America webinar Sept 29

Being Mortal book by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal book by Atul Gawande

Recently attended a 14-week course based on the book Being Mortal. In it we examined in detail all aspects of end-of-life scenarios, including the right to choose the timing of one’s own death.. It was a sobering look at how our health care system conspires to wrest from us the right to make independent choices for ourselves. In the U.S. we commit tremendous resources to extending life but pay comparatively little attention  to  planning and care that honors patients’ end-of-life wishes. As a result, too many people suffer unnecessary treatments and end up spending their final moments in hospitals instead of at home. A rising chorus of experts and authors say this needs to change.

The Center for Health Journalism will host a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET that will give an overview of the problem, discuss how changes to our health care system could help, and offer insights on how journalists might spur more conversations on how we approach death in America.
The panel will feature Prof. Leonard Schaeffer, the Judge Robert Maclay Widney chair and professor at the University of Southern California. Previously, Schaeffer served as the founding chairman and CEO of WellPoint (now Anthem), one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. He’ll be joined by Ann Neumann, author of “The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America” (2016) and a visiting scholar at The Center for Religion and Media at New York University.
For more information and to register, click here.

Reducing falls in elders via treadmill training plus virtual reality

Omnidirectional treadmill immersive simulator

Omnidirectional treadmill immersive simulator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over a period of two-plus years researchers tested two groups of older people (60-90 years) who’d experienced at least two falls prior to the start of the study, according to a recent Lancet article. One group received treadmill training only, three times each week. The other group received the same treadmill training but with an added component of virtual reality (VR) – audio/visual presentation of winding pathways, obstacles and other challenges that required the participant to pay careful attention.

Results showed dramatic improvement in the rate of falls in the months after the experimental training among those in the treadmill-plus-VR as opposed to a virtually unchanged rate of falls among those who had treadmill-only training.

So, it appears that having to navigate trails and overcome obstacles makes the mind-body unit more responsive to its surroundings – thus providing greater stability and protection for future ventures.