The special issue on "Aging Well" was full of interesting and informative articles ["How to Live to 100," February 2010]. Indeed, a special issue. But, what really caught my attention was "America's Best Nursing Homes." I have worked in the nursing home field for more than 30 years, and it was so refreshing to read a favorable article and see a listing of America's Best Nursing Homes. Nursing homes have had unfavorable press for years, and it is wonderful to see that your readers have a chance to read all the good happenings that are occurring in facilities throughout the nation. Culture change and individualized care are new buzz words, but most homes have been using many of the approaches for years. Nursing homes are rehabilitating residents during short-term stays and returning them to their former living arrangements. Nursing homes are not just a place to come and die. They are full of life and enrichment provided by employees who care. As I near retirement, it is heartwarming to see the words "nursing home" are finally becoming thought of less negatively.
John F. Walz
White Lake, Mich.
I concur 100 percent with your evaluation of Jeanne Jugan Residence. My mother spent the last three years of her life engaged in the activities at Jeanne Jugan. Moreover, the staff and Little Sisters of the Poor are devoted to the residents. Their respect and love toward the residents is not tangible or "quantifiable" but of paramount importance for a nursing home.
What an interesting issue: "How to Live to 100." I am a 78-year-old, Japan-born, U.S.-educated physician who still sees patients five to six days per week, with several hours on Sunday reading medical journals. Advances in science and medicine do not come cheaply. Cost-containment is a stupid, yet politically correct term. Real cost saving lies in prevention! Quotes pointed out throughout the issue with salient personal examples, that the keys to long, satisfying, fruitful aging are to stay active and engaged with your passion, work, hobby, serving needs of others, and to remain connected to humanity! I have been disappointed at several meetings on dementia and Alzheimer's disease where drug therapy is emphasized. You know why? These affairs are sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Ward off Alzheimer's disease and dementia not only by not smoking and avoiding too much alcohol, but by continuing to use your eyes, mouths, and fingers. Group quilting would be an ideal endeavor; making something beautiful while gossiping with others on whatever, which will keep your brain stimulated and actively engaged.
Yasuo Ishida, M.D.
I am a registered nurse with 40 years experience in services and care for older adults with an emphasis on programs that help them to remain at home—the preferred choice of the majority. The article on "Nursing Homes' New Face" [February 2010] was informative for older adults and their families. However, in my opinion, it would have been better to broaden the subject to "The New Face of Long Term Care." I wish you had devoted at least equal or more attention to services that are available in communities for adults who wish to remain at home. While nursing homes have their place in the continuum of care, there are many alternatives. These include: the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE); adult day health and social day care; respite care funded under the National Family Caregiver Support program; and home-based services provided, such as in Massachusetts through a statewide system of Aging Services Access Points, funded by the Older Americans Act. Too often, adults and/or their caregivers are unaware of these options. You would do your readers a service by featuring such programs in your publication.
I have a doctorate in computer science. "Get Ready for the Age Wave" [February 2010] refers to various initiatives to train those over 50. I'm 58, and working on another doctorate in computer information systems. I've been asked on more than a few occasions why I'm doing it. Well, there are two key reasons: It demonstrates that "old dogs can learn new tricks" and helps keep me employed, and it keeps my mind active and helps me keep abreast of what's new and what works within my chosen field. Retire at 62? Not a chance. Retire at 70? Hopefully not. I like my job, and with many years of experience, I consider myself a valuable asset.
With the unemployment rate where it is, why in the world would seniors hang onto their jobs indefinitely? Let someone younger who really needs a job take over. There are plenty of volunteer activities for senior retirees to keep their minds and bodies active. I'm in my late 80s, have raised a family, and have had a good life. So no, I do not want to live to be 100. I am not afraid to die. Actually, I'm curious to know what's next—life after death?
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