Gray Matters: Senior guide now available

Just like the Olympic Committee, Area 1 Agency on Aging pulls off a spectacular biennial event of our own. The 2018-2019 edition of the Senior Information Guide is available now at our Eureka office at 434 Seventh St. and at the Del Norte Senior Center, 1765 Northcrest Drive in Crescent City. Seniors, family members and businesses and medical offices serving seniors are welcome to come by and pick up one or more copies.

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Why Getting Lost is Good For You

(This article appeared previously on Rewire.org) If you have a good sense of direction, life is a lot easier. You know where you are and where you’re headed — and if you’re turned around for a second, you can generally get your bearings and find what you seek. At least that’s the way I see it…

The post Why Getting Lost is Good For You appeared first on Next Avenue.

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Originally posted 2017-05-24 08:12:19.

Is Massage Therapy the Solution to Your Chronic Back Pain?

If you still see massage as a mere indulgence, it’s time to update your image of rubdowns. A growing number of scientific studies suggest that massage therapy can provide meaningful relief for chronic lower back pain, which afflicts more than 26 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. And adults over 50 are…

The post Is Massage Therapy the Solution to Your Chronic Back Pain? appeared first on Next Avenue.

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Originally posted 2017-05-23 08:12:40.

Doulas Who Cradle the Dying

(This article appeared previously on Kaiser Health News.) As Ellen Gutenstein lay in her bed at home, dying from lung cancer that had metastasized in her brain, a heart-wrenching Mother’s Day card arrived from her granddaughter. Neither Ellen’s daughter — nor her husband — felt they could read it to her without breaking down. Fortunately,…

The post Doulas Who Cradle the Dying appeared first on Next Avenue.

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Originally posted 2017-05-23 08:12:31.

The Second Half: A life well lived

Over the last 25 years I’ve had the pleasure, the fun, of performing in a number of different musicals. It’s an activity that nourishes me on many different levels.

It also exhausts me. So, having wrapped up our Boomer Troupe’s performance of “The Music in Our Live” last weekend, I am all about taking it easy this week.

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The Second Half: A life well lived

Over the last 25 years I’ve had the pleasure, the fun, of performing in a number of different musicals. It’s an activity that nourishes me on many different levels.

It also exhausts me. So, having wrapped up our Boomer Troupe’s performance of “The Music in Our Live” last weekend, I am all about taking it easy this week.

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Comfortably numb – why some older people turn to cannabis for pain relief

'Don't mind me dear, I've got joint problems.' Shutterstock

When most people think of cannabis users, they probably think mainly of the younger generations. But it’s actually the 45 to 64 age group who show the highest proportion of household spending on cannabis.

Recent figures on cannabis use in Canada found nearly 5m people aged between 15 and 64 spent an estimated 5.7 billion dollars on cannabis during 2017. That’s one in five people in this age group. Most of this was spent on the drug for recreational rather than medical, which is currently illegal in Canada.

No surprise then that the cannabis industry in Canada is now bigger than the beer and tobacco industry.

Well, that’s just Canada, you might think, but you would be wrong. In Australia, lifetime cannabis use more than doubled between 2004 and 2013 in the over 50s. The UK has seen similar trends, with lifetime use of cannabis in the 65 to 74 age group rising more than sevenfold between 2000 and 2014. In the US, the rate of self-reported cannabis use over the previous 12 months in people aged 65 and above also jumped massively between 2003 and 2014.

The need for weed

This age group have grown up in the decades that witnessed the rising popularity of recreational cannabis use. So they are familiar with the drug and maybe less inhibited about using it as they develop age-related health problems.

It may not be totally surprising then that recent research has highlighted how older people are turning to cannabis for pain relief as they develop age-related health problems – and for end-of-life care. In the UK, lower back and neck pain is the most common cause of disability, particularly in Baby Boomers.

With the growing potential for the misuse of painkillers such as opioids and gabapentinoids, it is quite possible that cannabis use in older people will grow. This is because easing the everyday wear and tear of the neck, hips and knees of a population that is expected to double in size across developed countries, will be challenging.

High time for change?

Barely a month goes by without a country or state announcing plans to change their policy on cannabis. Some 30 US states now permit access to cannabis in one way or another. But the array of regulatory models shows it is not simply a case of just “legalising” cannabis – as some jurisdictions will only allow access to cannabis for medicinal reasons.

There are also restrictions on the types of health problems that are approved or who can prescribe and dispense medical cannabis. At present, drugs that contain cannabis are only licensed for a limited number of health problems. One of these is pain from nerve damage, but only in multiple scelorosis.

But the evidence for the treatment of such pain across a range of painful medical disorders remains weak. Then there is also the issue of additional health risks that come with the use of cannabis – which can make it a risky choice as a painkiller – particularly in older people.

No comfort in cannabis

Cannabis is associated with a range of both mental and physical health problems from intoxication, withdrawal and long-term use. Older people are also more likely to be taking a range of medications – how these interact with cannabis is still unknown. Likewise, the risk of developing cardiovascular problems may be increased by using cannabis.

Combined with a number of other long-term conditions in older people, the risks from using cannabis as a painkiller appear to outweigh the limited and currently weak evidence for any real benefits. What is needed then is credible evidence based information on the benefits as well as risks of using cannabis for older people. Because until then, how it’s going to affect someone can simply be a matter of pot luck.

The Conversation

Ian Hamilton is affiliated with Alcohol Research UK.

Tony Rao does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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4 Essential Tax Tips for Second-Act Entrepreneurs

In 2017, thousands of boomer employees will transition to self-employed work, finally pursuing their creative, backburner passions full-time. Trouble is, they’re often not versed in how to handle their finances as entrepreneurs. Many don’t know about the tax deductions and credits they’re now entitled to claim as self-employed people — ones they couldn’t take as…

The post 4 Essential Tax Tips for Second-Act Entrepreneurs appeared first on Next Avenue.

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Originally posted 2017-05-23 08:12:22.

The Second Half: Try something new, something different

I am loving this semi-retired phase of life. My husband and I just had breakfast with two good friends, who also happen to be cast members for “Music of Our Lives,” the HLOC Boomer Troupe’s production that’s coming up this weekend, Feb. 17 and 18. The original script, based on the experiences of our 25-member cast, is a “living history” that weaves songs and stories together for lively and memory rich theatrical experience.

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Why the IBM Policy Against Working From Home Is a Mistake

(This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.com.) It’s hard to believe more than four years have passed since the Marissa Mayer working-from-home debacle, when the Yahoo CEO told her 14,500 remote employees they needed to work in the company’s offices or they could be fired. Video conferencing and unified communication vendors were some of the first…

The post Why the IBM Policy Against Working From Home Is a Mistake appeared first on Next Avenue.

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Originally posted 2017-05-23 08:12:13.