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Showing posts from September, 2019

The Life of Individuals with Moderate Dementia: A Podcast with Krista Harrison

On this weeks podcast, we talk with Krista Harrison about the life of individuals living with moderate dementia, as well as what we know about their caregivers.  Krista is is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF, a social scientist, and something that we learned in this podcast, someone who knows a thing or two about singing opera.

Krista recently published a JAGS paper titled "Care Settings and Clinical Characteristics of Older Adults with Moderately Severe Dementia."   In this paper, which we discuss in the podcast, she gives us a snapshot of older adults in the United States who have experienced the onset of moderately severe dementia within the past year.  We learn that 2/3'rds of these individuals are living in the community.  Interestingly, older adults living at home were 2 to 5 times more likely to be members of disadvantaged populations and had more medical needs.  In the podcast we discuss some potential reasons why this may be the cas…

Aid in Dying: A Podcast with Lewis Cohen

In this week's podcast we talk with Lew Cohen, MD, about his new book "A Dignified Ending: Taking Control Over How We Die."

Eric and I approached reading this book with trepidation.  We feared it would be a polemic defending physician aid in dying.  It is not.  Dr. Cohen does not hide his beliefs and opinions.  He also does not shy away from the complexity of the issue - he interviews leading disability rights activists and challenges leaders of the aid in dying movement.  His book is filled with stories of the people and family, doctors and activist who have defined this movement.

As Eric says, he takes the controversy meter up to 11 with notions of approving aid in dying and euthanasia for progressive neurological conditions such as dementia (with thoughtful safeguards).

We challenge Lew, somewhat forcefully at times.  Personally, I disagree with many of his stances (as you will hear/read), but I can respect how thoughtfully he's gone about putting together his st…

Caring, and the Family Caregivers We Don’t See

Over lunch at a restaurant in Manhattan, my father and I talked about long-term care insurance and the emergence of senior centers and nursing homes across the U.S. that offer a variety of ethnic cuisines and cultural events, catering not only to a growing population of adults over 65, but also, to an increasingly diverse population of adults who call the U.S. their home. This conversation was different from many similar ones before it – we weren’t talking about my research; we were talking about our own lives.
My parents immigrated to the U.S. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, following their parents’ advice on professional opportunities that seemed unimaginable in India at the time. Although they considered moving back soon after to care for their aging parents and to raise children, they ultimately decided to stay in the U.S. As I chronicled earlier, my paternal grandparents lived with us until I completed middle school, at which point they returned to India and lived with my mater…