Catholic Sisters Show How to Face Death
In this article in the New York Times, Catholic nuns near Rochester, New York, reveal their method of dealing with the ends of their own lives, namely "with discernment." The Sisters have been modeling the factors that studies have shown can influence "successful aging and a gentle death": a network of caring relationships, intellectual stimulation, interest and purpose in life, and engagement in spiritual belief. Also, the Sisters and their doctor have learned that it's easier to make individual decisions about end-of-life issues at home in the convent than in the bustle of the hospital, that choosing aggressive medical treatments in the hospital usually isn't the best way to end one's life. The doctor concludes that these Sisters have the best deaths of any people he has seen.
Certain Drugs Can Increase Chance of Falls
According to a Reuters article, a recent 4-year study in France of over 6,000 community-living elderly people determined that use of certain drugs increased these people's risk of falling. The study participants' average age was "nearly 74." Long-acting benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drug), increased the risk, compared with short- and intermediate-acting benzodiazepines. Similar risks were reported among this age group for regular use of antispasmodics and muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and a particular type of antihistamine (anticholinergics, which block nerve response).
Why No Sex in Nursing Homes?
Behavior and Ills in Mid-Life Predict Later Dementia
According to a study done over 12 to 14 years in the U.S. and summarized in a BBC article, smoking in mid-life increases one's chances of developing dementia. High blood pressure and diabetes also significantly increases one's chances of developing dementia. Similarly, another study done in the U.S. and summarized in a Reuters article determined that high cholesterol in study participants at ages 40 to 45 greatly increased those people's chances of developing Alzheimer's Disease or vascular dementia within 30 years. Researchers pointed out that changing behaviors and addressing risk factors, to help keep a healthy heart, seem to be important for people's brain health through their lives.