A gentle reminder: COVID isn’t over.
Paula Span does it again in today’s New Old Age column, pointedly telling us that it’s our age group who are dying from COVID at the highest rates now. Bafflingly, fewer than half of us have received the bivalent booster, nearly 6 months since it became available.
We recently took a trip to Tucson, AZ, involving 3 flights in each direction, a lot of airport time, and opportunities to see how people in another part of the country are behaving. We can report that most people – whether on planes, in airports, or in shops – are acting like it’s 2019. Few masks are ever in evidence.
So, a plea: Show that you care about all of us. Please get bivalent-boosted if you haven’t. Please wear a mask whenever feasible in public spaces.
Did you know that elders are often the target of scams of all kinds, especially financial ones?
Here’s an illuminating story from today’s Washington Post. Don’t let this stuff happen to you!
A couple of links on health issues
These came to our attention today: One on hearing aids, and one on polypharmacy.
Polypharmacy can radically affect quality of life as we age. It’s never a bad idea for you, whether you are the patient or the person who helps someone with their health care needs, to ask the health care provider if you/they still need every medication currently prescribed. Doctors don’t always think in that direction, but sometimes less is more.
Same goes with specialists and tests. For most women*, Pap smears are no longer recommended after age 65. If you have had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) that included the cervix, you definitely do NOT need Pap smears at all, ever.
Many people over 85 or so, depending on other health factors, can choose whether to continue cancer screening tests like mammograms or PSA (prostate-specific antigen). The fundamental rule is, if the test showed a cancer, would you do anything about it? If so, then consider continuing to test.
*after discussion w/ your health care provider to rule out risk factors for cervical cancer that persist.
Can’t leave without noting that we seniors are woefully under-boosted for COVID. The bivalent vaccine that became available in late summer 2022 is our best defense against serious COVID illness. The stats show that once again, as in the early stages, the mortality rate among seniors tops every other age group. So please, get your booster.
Holiday gift ideas for seniors
Do you already have ‘too much stuff’? We know the feeling. Yet every now and then it occurs to us that a ___________ would be useful. If you have kids who want to give you a holiday gift and you can’t think of anything you want or need, here are some ideas. If you REALLY don’t need or want anything, ask them to make a donation in your name to a worthwhile cause, like Cville Village.