Elderly

Pimthida via flickr Creative Commons

From the Trojan war to the current war in Afghanistan, soldiers have been penning farewell letters for centuries. On today’s show, a look into the deeply private “death letter” tradition throughout history.

Then, we’ll kick off our new series, “Good Gig”, with a rare bookseller who found his dream job among the binders on a dusty shelf.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Chris Jensen, NHPR

The Hand-in-Hand program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities connects youth volunteers in the North Country with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners who need help with home maintenance. The youth volunteers spend a week in the summer pruning, painting, swinging hammers. 

Judy O’Leary, along with her husband Bob, coordinates a team of youth volunteers. She describes it as a a win-win situation. “It keeps our youth busy, and it helps our elderly who are really in need of help as they get older.”

 

The CareGivers  is dedicated to helping elders stay in their homes, and provides services that help them do so. Elsie relies on the CareGivers for help grocery shopping and getting to appointments. And each month, she welcomes a volunteer from the CareGivers Caring Cupboard food pantry.

About 90 percent of Americans who need long term care get it from unpaid family members. That puts a strain on a lot of relatives who have neither enough time nor the training to care for loved ones with brain disorders such as dementia.

So Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., gives classes to family caregivers, and recruits actors to play the patients.

Heart Industry / Flickr Creative Commons

We continue our series with a look at older workers. Some found themselves suddenly out of a job due to recession. Now, half a decade later, we’re seeing how they’ve adjusted - and the many paths they’ve taken, by choice or necessity.

GUESTS:

  • Kelly Clark – state director of AARP-New Hampshire
  • Dennis Delay – economist for the NH Center for Public Policy Studies; also New Hampshire forecast manager for the New England Economic Partnership

CALLOUTS:

mollybob via Flickr Creative Commons

People living with dementia can appear to live in their own world, a complicated, non-linear inner world not so easily communicated to, or understood by others. The London-based writer Susanna Howard is attempting to give people with dementia a voice by visiting with them and recording their words as poetry. 

Susanna is artistic director of Living Words, an arts and literature program helping people with dementia feel understood and heard even when communication seems lost. 

Check out the Living Words website here.

SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s often a hidden problem: The aged living alone or isolate from the community, where they fall prey to mistreatment by caregivers or family members. The abuse can be physical, emotional or involve financial exploitation. Now, senior advocates are pushing to raise awareness about these problems and emphasize the responsibility to report them.

Guests:

There are many ways to ease the pangs of loneliness, illness, and old age –among them, spending time with a friendly animal companion. More than ten thousand animals are currently registered as care workers in the United States - only fourteen of them however, are llamas. I recently spoke with llama trainer Niki Kuklenski of J.N.K. Llamas about how this unusual animal is playing a role in human therapy.

Check out a video from Colors Magazine that shows Niki's llamas in action.

Sex And The Elderly

Apr 4, 2013
S Lymath via flickr Creative Commons

According to a 2010 AARP survey, 85% of men and 61% of women over fifty said sex is important to their quality of life. This number, coupled with increasing rates of sexually transmitted diseases among adults over fifty, clashes with our societal taboo surrounding the elderly libido. Jessica Gentile wrote about that conflict, and the value of embracing sexuality at all ages for an Atlantic piece called “The 87 Year Old Virgin.”

(Phot by honestjohn2008 via Flickr Creative Commons)

Produced with Emma Ruddock

It turns out Americans facing death want something they also want in life: choice.

At 75, many people imagine they'll be retired and spending their time playing cards or on a golf course. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of working seniors is actually on the rise. In fact, it's more than doubled since 1990.

Ella Washington decided to go back to work at 83. Today, she's a receptionist in training at a senior living home outside Washington, D.C. She's hoping it will be a stepping stone to a real job, which she's been looking for since 2005.