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. Concerns such as:
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.
Recently, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) published an article in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation giving evidence that sub-sensory vibrations delivered to the foot soles of seniors can improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.
Delirium is a state of confusion that develops suddenly, often following an acute medical illness, a surgical procedure or a hospitalization. Although delirium is estimated to complicate hospital stays for more than 2.5 million older adult patients in the U.S. each year, this common condition often goes undetected. The end result can be serious complications with sometimes devastating consequences for vulnerable hospitalized elders.
Rabbi Jim Morgan is rabbi and chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Center Communities of Brookline. He ran the Vermont City Marathon on May 29 to raise money for HSL’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, in which he recently completed his third unit of training. The CPE program trains rabbis, rabbinical and seminary students, leaders of many faiths, and qualified health care professionals to become chaplains.
Nursing students begin their careers with the understanding that caring for ill and frail people will include having a large population of seniors as their patients. And while caring for them in times of greatest need is vitally important, they often never have the opportunity to get to know patients as people and relate to their more specific medical needs associated with aging.