Popeye, it seems, has been right all along. If you want to stay “strong to the finish,” you have to eat your spinach. Or at least some other types of protein-rich foods.
As we age, lean muscle mass begins to decline, but this trend can be significantly slowed with regular exercise and a generous amount of protein heavy meals. A recent study by Dr. Kelsey Mangano of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research has shown that older adults with considerably high protein intakes have more muscle mass and greater functional strength than those who consume less protein on average.
My grandfather lived to be 96-years-old, surviving mostly on red wine and M&Ms. He started smoking a pipe before World War II, and probably never saw the inside of a gym. He outlived two wives and one girlfriend, and died peacefully in his bed—without ever succumbing to an injury, illness or disability.
Many of us have a relative like this—a legendary figure who defies all odds in the race against time. And on the flip side, almost all of us have firsthand knowledge of someone on the opposite end of the spectrum – who ate all the right foods, never smoked, and exercised daily— only to die young, sometimes seemingly out of the blue.
For thirty years, the incidence of hip fractures in older adults had been in decline. That is, until recently. Since 2012, that number has hit a plateau, which is very concerning to Dr. Douglas P. Kiel, Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research. According to Dr. Kiel, “By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women compared to rates in 1990.”
These days we rely on hand held devices to manage almost every aspect of our daily lives. Alarm clocks? Forget it. We wake up to the beeping of our phones. Maps? Gone. Siri can direct us anywhere we need to go. Whether we’re communicating with our loved ones, reading the daily news, or updating slides for our next meeting, we’re often doing it with the help of a mobile device.
Caring for our elders shouldn’t be any different. For this reason, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife teamed up with affiliates from Harvard Medical School and several other organizations to create a senior care coordination app called InfoSAGE.
Earlier this year Hebrew SeniorLife Communities sponsored the “Senior Living Communities of the Future Forum” at NewBridge on the Charles as an opportunity for our residents’ adult children to hear from experts in their fields on the future of senior living communities.
We sought insights to some of their most significant concerns as they relate to aging as well as important questions about their vision of the life they want to lead in later years.
The numbers are sobering: According to the American Geriatrics Society, there are 7,500 geriatricians in the U.S. – but 17,000 are needed now to care for our aging population. And with the growing numbers of Baby Boomers entering their senior years, this shortage is only getting worse.
That’s the bad news, but here’s the good news: Accomplished, ambitious, and energetic young doctors like Dr. Randi Rothbaum are looking to be part of the next generation of geriatricians who conduct research, teach others and care for medically complex older patients.
When Josephine Pina of Boston spotted an ad in the Metro newspaper seeking individuals who had difficulty with thinking and who moved slower than usual, she immediately contacted the staff at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew Senior Life. They were investigating the link between brain function, balance and falls in older adults. “I wanted to be part of the study and to see what the brain does at 67 years old,” she said.