Dr. Nigel Rusted, 103, an early graduate of Memorial University College, during a ceremony in 2009. Rusted retired from surgery when he was 75 and from clinical practice five years later. (CBC)

CBC News, May 10, 2011

A future where baby boomer doctors all retire together and leave Canadians with a big hole in the supply of physicians may not happen as predicted.

A study, released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, found that a third of physicians 65 and older are still working full time. Also, older doctors who were no longer classified as working full time still carried, on average, 40 per cent of a full workload.

“This is the first time for this kind of study,” said Geoff Ballinger, CIHI’s manager of health human resources. “Staying

In 2009, there were nearly 68,100 physicians working in Canada, one-10th of whom were 65 and older.

in the profession for a longer period of time helps dispel the perception of a shortage.”

Five years ago, nine per cent of Canadian doctors were over 65; today that figure is 12 per cent.

Doctors also feel that medicine is a calling and that you don’t stop being a doctor at a certain age, he said. And, Ballinger noted, it takes so long to train to be a doctor that they start much later in their professions and so work later to have the same length of career as other professionals.

Thursday’s study found that family doctors in particular are more likely to reduce their working hours than fully retire.

Historically, there is little information available on the retiring practices of doctors. Now that CIHI has gathered this data, it will help workforce planners to understand how many doctors will be needed. “Now we know how many are easing out,” Ballinger said. “Our urgency to replace them is not so great.”

CBC’s White Coat Black Art recently did a radio program on aging doctors. The host, Dr. Brian Goldman, explored the question, “when is it too old to practice medicine?” One doctor, Paul Friedman, said ways to stay on top of the many changes include to teach residents and to work in group practices so as to be exposed to new ideas, medicines and technologies.

While the study, Putting Away the Stethoscope for Good? Toward a New Perspective on Physician Retirement, didn’t ask doctors why they are staying on, Ballinger speculated that because family physicians are in private practice and self-employed, they are responsible for funding their own retirement. He noted that the equity and fixed-income markets took a dive a couple of years ago.

While more doctors staying in the workforce after the standard retirement age helps with an ongoing doctor shortage, there are concerns about some of these doctors remaining competent and up-to-date with their skills. The study identified several doctors who are working into their 80s.

The various provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons do regular random assessments of all doctors. Ontario, for example, has a program of mandatory peer evaluations of all physicians over the age of 70.

CIHI analyzed data from the 2007 National Physician Survey, the Scott’s Medical Database, the National Physician Database and the Canadian Medical Association Master File.

Enjoy an Encore Career After Retirement

A ‘dream job’ can be a fulfilling finale to working years

by: Vanessa Ho | from: AARP Bulletin | May 10, 2011

 

 

Wendy Townsend, a former Seattle bank vice president, found the joys of an encore career when she became a yoga instructor. AARP has long extolled the value of second careers after retirement. — José Mandojana

After a 40-year career in public relations, Wendy Townsend was ready to retire. But she wasn’t ready to stop working.

Instead, she parlayed her love of yoga into a blossoming career as a yoga instructor. Now 68, she teaches six gentle yoga classes a week, in which she earns a fraction of her old pay as a marketing vice president of a local bank.

But she reaps the benefits of staying active, doing what she loves and connecting with others.

“A woman at church suggested teaching yoga might be my ministry,” said Townsend, of Seattle. “And I think now she is right. I love teaching yoga and making a contribution to each individual’s sense of well-being.”

In developing a new career, Townsend is part of a growing trend of retirees finding “encore careers.” As more people live longer, seek out meaningful work and still need a paycheck, many workers are finishing one career only to start another later in life.

A report by the nonpartisan Families and Work Institute and Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging & Work recently found that 75 percent of workers age 50 and over expect to have a retirement job in the future. And the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the number of workers age 55 and over will increase by a third from 2006 to 2016.

“I think people are really looking for intellectual stimulation and making a difference, and things that are socially gratifying,” said Cheryl Weber, community outreach director for AARP Washington. She said popular fields for encore careers include education, health care and social work.

“People are doing things they love and using their skills and experience,” she said.

For 62-year-old Bruce McDowell, a former adult-education teacher, retirement allowed him time to pursue something fun and different: helping people with disabilities ski. He’s helped a woman with multiple sclerosis and a paralyzed teenage snowboarder.

“I feel like I am just getting into the rhythm of this new part of life,” said McDowell, of Tacoma. “And there are lots of possibilities I have yet to explore.”

For other people, a new career is a consequence of the economy, in which learning new skills is essential.

“Professional networking is the single biggest thing people need to learn how to do,” said Paul Valenti, a job counselor in the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens in Seattle, which has seen increasing numbers of laid-off older workers, who are generally out of work about 10 weeks longer than those under 55.

“They have to believe the single greatest asset they have is their age and experience,” Valenti said.

 

When It Comes to Work, How Old Is Too Old?

 

In addition to teaching classes at the Y on Town Lake, Ed Myers, 80 years old,  spends three days a week making sales calls.

 

 

 

 

WebMD.com, May 10, 2011, by L. Casey Chosewood, MD

 

My 92-year-old grandfather cuts hay atop a 5-ton tractor each summer, baling winter feed for more than 800 head of cattle. The rest of the year he herds, corrals, immunizes, and cares for the cattle.

A senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported to work each day well into his 80s, contributing greatly to our understanding of biomarkers, and helping advance laboratory safety measures. An annual laboratory safety award is now given each year in his honor.

Aging and Work

How old is too old when it comes to work? No simple answer will suffice. Not many of your patients will bale hay in their 90s or create new science well into the ninth decade of life, but some will choose to, or must, work long after they originally planned to retire. Some must stand for long periods on the job. Others must bend, reach, and lift. Some clinicians will see patients well after the “traditional” retirement age has passed. It is a near certainty that healthcare professionals will see many older workers and should do all they can to support and enhance the ability of these individuals to continue to work.

Many workers benefit significantly from continuing to work into old age. Work is “medicine” — even better than medicine for many. In addition to providing economic security and often wider access to healthcare options, work enhances well-being, promotes social interaction, increases the variety and quality of life, and provides many people with a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Although some older individuals work out of necessity, many report that they continue to work to contribute, or to “make a difference.” Almost all jobs help older people sustain and extend their physical activity level and support increased social engagement and larger support networks. Work provides accountability for many; an absence from work may serve as the first sign to warn distant family that something is wrong with a loved one. Emerging evidence also suggests that work may improve brain health, sustain healthy cognition, and protect memory.[1]

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to continue to work as they age. People with physically demanding jobs, where they must work at or near full physical capacity, are often forced to leave employment or change to related but less taxing work. Some physically arduous jobs can lead to, or serve as a cofactor in, the development of long-term disability. Increasingly, the burden of chronic disease in younger and younger workers will shorten their careers. Obesity, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition give way to early hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea, and joint decline. Given the importance of work in terms of economic security, life options, and health, early identification of disease precursors and optimal management of chronic disease with an emphasis on sustained functional ability is paramount.

Keeping Aging Workers on the Job

How can you help older workers continue to work if they must or choose to do so?

Remind yourself that chronological age matters little. One 75-year-old can differ markedly from another. When it comes to work, what matters is functional ability, not the number of candles on a birthday cake.

Ask your patients about work at each encounter. Don’t assume that all your patients who are eligible for Social Security and Medicare are retired or sedentary. Ask about full-time, part-time, paid, or volunteer work. Discuss with your patients the potential benefits of work and encourage them to continue to work, if appropriate. Ask about the risk for hazardous exposures, unsafe working conditions, and workplace stressors and demands, and whether and how the employer is addressing these issues with their employees. When assessing risk, consider the cognitive demands of the job and whether the work environment is an appropriate fit for each individual patient.

Consider asking these general questions:

  • Do you have any concerns about your ability to do your job?
  • Are you worried about any workplace exposures or risks on the job?
  • How stressful is your work?
  • Do you believe your job affects your health in any way? and
  • Are there things I can do or that I can suggest to your employer that would make your job easier for you?

Help older workers prevent work-related injury and illness. Older workers are injured less often than their younger colleagues, but when they do get hurt, they heal more slowly and experience greater disability. Advise older workers about balance, stretching, and core-muscle strengthening. Help them manage arthritis and large joint issues as necessary. Print and provide useful arthritis self-management and physical activity resources to your older patients. If older workers are injured, aggressively manage the problem, and try to limit the extent of the injury by pursuing rehabilitation quickly. Consider earlier referrals to occupational health and other specialists than you might with younger workers. You might also wish to advocate for older workers. Many large employers have on-site occupational health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, and other safety specialists who welcome input from primary care clinicians in preventing injury, addressing nagging symptoms before injury occurs, and transitioning injured workers back to the job.

Provide routine and preventive care for the patient with work in mind. For your older workers, pay attention to limitations (such as impaired hearing or vision) or medications (such as sedatives, pain medication, or neuroleptics) that can impair driving, balance and mobility, and cognition. Optimize all preventive screenings, including vision and hearing, and make early referrals for any concerns. Update immunizations for influenza, tetanus, and pneumococcal infection as needed. Keep work schedules and constraints in mind when planning dosing schedules, daily medical maintenance therapies, and appointments.

Optimize the management of your patient’s chronic diseases with an eye toward work. Many of your patients in their 60s and 70s may realistically plan on working another decade or more. With the patient, carefully consider the optimal balance between work and health, especially when making decisions about life-altering interventions, such as joint replacements and other therapeutics targeted at maintaining functional capacity.

Benefits of the Aging Workforce for Employers

Employers increasingly see the value that older workers bring to the job. Older workers have greater institutional knowledge and usually more experience. They often possess more productive work habits than their younger counterparts. They report lower levels of stress on the job, and in general, they get along better with their coworkers. Finally, they tend to be more cautious on the job and more likely to follow safety rules and regulations.

Workplaces, often out of necessity, have adapted to older workers. Both the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit workplace discrimination based on age or disability, respectively, and support the retention of qualified workers despite limitations that may come from age or disability. However, some employers are more proactive than others, realizing that a well-designed, employee-centered approach to the physical nature and organization of work benefits all workers regardless of their age. Workplace design, the flexibility of the work schedule, and certain ergonomic interventions increasingly focus on the needs of older employees. Many workplace accommodations are easy to make and are inexpensive. Modern orthotics, appropriate flooring and seating, optimal lighting, and new information technology hardware and software can smooth the way to continued work for older individuals. New emphasis on job sharing, flexible work schedules, and work from home can support added years in the job market for many. For a patient who may benefit from such an accommodation, a simple note from you on your prescription pad can facilitate this request.

Although work may not be beneficial for all older persons, for many it is an important avenue to economic security, enhanced social interaction, and improved quality of life. Primary care clinicians can play a vital role in encouraging work when appropriate and by supporting positive health behaviors and interventions that allow work to continue. We can also take steps to manage chronic conditions to support safe, productive work and advocate for our older workers who need special accommodations.

 

 

 

 

Health Secrets of a 114-Year Old Man

 

Research on the bone health of one of the oldest persons in the world raises the question of which has the most effect on the human lifespan: genetics or a healthy lifestyle, or some combination of the two?

 

Research reveals that there were no genetic modifications which could have contributed to the longevity of a 114-year old Spaniard. The research team, directed by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona professor Adolfo Díez Pérez, pointed out a healthy lifestyle, a Mediterranean diet, a temperate climate and daily cycling until the age of 102 as the reasons for his excellent health.

The research team studied the bone mass and analysed the genetics of a man with enviable health who at the time of the study was 113 years old. The research was carried out with four other members of his family: a 101-year-old brother, two daughters aged 81 and 77, and a nephew aged 85, all of them born and still living in a small town of the island of Menorca. The research findings reported that the man’s bones were in excellent conditions: his bone mass was normal, there were no anomalous curvatures and he had never sustained a fracture.

With regard to the genetical analysis, researchers were unsuccessful in finding any mutations in the KLOTHO gene, which is generally related to a good level of mineral density and therefore healthy bones. Neither did they find any mutations in the LRP5 gene, which is associated with longevity. None of the members of the family who participated in the study presented any mutations in this gene.

The results of the research do not rule out the possibility that other genetic mutations could positively influence longevity. However, researchers do point out the fact that the excellent health of this family, and of the 113-year-old man in particular, is probably due to a Mediterranean diet, the temperate climate of the island, a lack of stress and regular physical activity. The article underlines the fact that until the age of 102, the man cycled every day and looked after the family orchard.

The human life-span and the nature vs nurture question raises the question of why do animals age so differently? Why is it that a tortoise, for example, can live well over a hundred years, while another similarly sized animal would be lucky to live just 10? What’s the big difference?

Scientists say that the secret lies in genetic expression. A new genetic database could help reveal how and why animals age so differently. The process of mapping out this molecular maze will likely unlock some of the hidden secrets of increased longevity in humans along the way.

In some instances, even very closely related animals have drastically different life spans, a fact that has puzzled scientists for years. Mice for example live for about two years while their rodent cousins, the Southern flying squirrel, can live for two decades or so. Chimps and humans are 99 percent genetically identical, so why do humans live twice as long? New databases are helping to identify the genetic expressions that accounts for these vastly varying life spans.

In a study of mice, researchers at Stanford University and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), have now generated a database that catalogues how gene expression, the measure for how active a gene is, changes in various parts of the body as the animal ages. Their findings indicate that different tissues age quite differently over time.

Previous studies have examined how gene expression changes with age in specific parts of the body, such as the brain or the hearts of both mice and humans. But the new study, commissioned by the NIA, simultaneously analyzed the activity of thousands of genes in 16 different tissues at different points during the animals’ lives. This has allowed researchers to compare age-related patterns of gene expression between different organs.

The results, published earlier this week in the journal PLoS Genetics, established that the two main culprits previously believed to be primary contributors to the aging process—increased inflammation and slowed metabolism—are indeed guilty parties. But the researchers did find large disparities depending on the different tissues of the body. For example, expression profiles in the liver, brain, and muscle changed little with age, whereas the lungs, eyes, and thymus (an immune organ) experienced more radical transformations.

The researchers compared their results with other previous studies analyzing gene-expression. They analyzed the aging brain, muscle, and kidney tissue in humans, flies, and worms. The researchers found one central theme to gene expression and aging in all four species. They all developed a slowing of the cells’ energy factories. In each species, expression of genes related to energy production dropped twofold by the time the species reached the end of its life span—2 years for mice and around 80 for humans.

“This is the only common property of growing old between the four different animals,” says Stanford biologist, Stuart Kim. “Maybe that should alert us to say there is something unavoidable to getting old.”

However, the researchers said there were not a lot of universal similarities, which raises the question of how well lab animals can really serve as models for humans as we attempt to unravel the longevity mystery. For example, studies have found that in humans, and some other animals, that the length of repetitive strips of DNA at the end of each chromosome, also known as telomeres, is linked to aging. However, the researchers didn’t find changes in the expression of telomere-related genes in aging mice.

“I wouldn’t say that this means that model organisms can’t be used to study aging in humans,” says Promislow. “It does suggest there is a lot more going on.”

This analysis will likely be the first of many to come that will take advantage of this new database, know as AGEMAP. Scientists are still working on figuring out the precise functions of the intertwining genetic networks implicated in aging. AGEMAP serves as a way to decipher differences in genetic expression and better map out the ageing process, especially as it relates to humans.

“The scale of this study is phenomenal,” says Promislow. “In some ways, this shows us where things are likely to be headed in coming years in terms of the kinds of experiments people will do to understand the genetic basis of complex traits.”

 

 

Working After Retirement Can Offer Fulfillment and Financial Security

 

Anna Gatti, 88 years old,  said the benefits of working part time for 20 hours a week include staying mentally and physically active

TheStatesman.com  —  Anna Gatti is one local woman who proves new careers don’t come with age limits. The 88-year-old is in charge of administrative work for AGE’s SeniorNet program, a computer curriculum created and implemented by tech-savvy seniors to help older job seekers enhance their computer skills. The program aims to make seniors more marketable in today’s workforce by familiarizing them with everything from Excel spreadsheets to blogging.

Gatti began her career at 70 after living overseas in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Dominican Republic with her late husband, a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service until he retired in Austin.

“My husband didn’t believe me — he said, ‘Where are you going to get a job at your age?'” she said.

But after nearly two decades, Gatti said the benefits of part-time work far outweigh the quality of life she would have if she stayed at home full time. She intends to keep working 20 hours per week as long as she is “ambulatory and lucid.”

“I love being around people, being mentally active, and I also get my exercise,” said Gatti, who rides the bus and walks a mile to and from work every day. “I get paid, but I am not in it for the money. It makes a difference when you don’t have to work and you work because you want to — it makes me feel alive.”

Ed Myers will turn 81 in November but the Central Austin resident refuses to let age slow him down.

Though Myers began receiving retirement benefits at age 62, he has never stopped working. Instead, he supplements his income with three part-time jobs: he works three days a week in a sales position with local computer service company Gravity Systems and he’s a swim instructor and lifeguard at the YMCA’s Town Lake branch and a professional model for television commercials and print advertisements.

“I have always worked — I enjoy working,” said Myers, who also volunteers for the YMCA’s Friday Senior Retreat Program, a social and fitness program for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. “I like to stay busy, but I also do this to supplement our income with the economy the way it is right now.”

Myers and his wife sold their two outdoor recreation stores in Beaufort, N.C., and Jackson, Tenn., prior to moving to Austin nearly a decade ago. For seven years, he worked as a full-time marketing manager at a local architectural lighting design studio until it ran into financial trouble in 2009.

“Things have gotten more expensive, and the extra money helps us to do the things we wouldn’t be able to afford to do ordinarily, like traveling,” he said. “But I would go crazy if I didn’t work. I never really retired — you stay younger and healthier if you keep on going.”

Myers said he enjoys the flexibility that accompanies working at this stage of his life and he is now more interested in using his experience to grow a company than he is in the number written on his paycheck.

While his high energy level may be unique, Myers’ situation is not uncommon, according to Allison Jenkins, cofounder and president of Senior Work Solutions, an Austin-area staffing agency for people 50 and older. The agency placed Myers with Gravity Systems.

“Retired individuals are going back to work because they need to supplement their income — a lot have lost money in their stocks or they only have half of their 401(k),” Jenkins said. “And I think companies are really missing the boat by not hiring these experienced, qualified individuals.”

A large percentage of today’s retirees are not looking to return to the same field or to make the same high salaries, she said.

“They might have been the CFO for 20-something years and they don’t want that stress anymore,” she said. “They don’t have to have that six-figure salary they had before — they just need to be socially, mentally and physically active.”

But while Jenkins’ database is filled with nearly 1,000 people looking for work, she said the majority are currently unemployed because of layoffs rather than retirement — a trend occurring across the nation.

“Now there are more people who are coming to us, and perhaps the desperation is more intense — there is a supply and demand mismatch,” said Patrick Rafter, vice president of communications for retirementjobs.com. “Not only are companies not hiring workers over 50 but they are not hiring anyone, so there are very severe impacts on the 50-plus worker.”

Rafter, whose business matches older workers with companies that best suit their lifestyles and offers services to make them more marketable, said today’s job market bears little resemblance to what it was decades ago. Basic computer capabilities and social networking are more important than ever for the 50-plus job seeker competing in a workforce that now includes four generations, he said.

“It is harder when you are an older adult looking for employment,” said Sara Peralta, outreach coordinator for Austin Groups for the Elderly (AGE), which offers programs that help older adults become more employable. “Technology moves so fast nowadays, and if people don’t keep up, they will be left further and further behind.”

Although full Social Security retirement benefits kick in at age 66, many who saw retirement on the horizon are now being forced to postpone it, according to Rafael Ayuso, director of communication for AARP Texas. Older Americans are having difficulty finding employment in the 10 years before scheduled retirement.

“In increasing numbers, they are not able to retire and they are overwhelmed by money concerns,” Ayuso said. “We have the issue of jobs, the economy, the stock market, financial portfolios that have reduced substantially — all of these factors are combining to form a perfect storm that prevents many Americans from fulfilling their dreams of retiring on schedule.”

While money is still important to many retirees, Ayuso said a job’s flexibility and ability to challenge and provide new learning opportunities are other reasons people choose to work after 65.

 

The world’s last remaining mechanical typewriter factory will shut its doors. (iStock photo)

 

CBCNews.com, May 10, 2011, by Adrian Ma and Kim Fox, (CANADA)  —  The worlds last remaining mechanical typewriter factory – Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd, in Mumbai, India – have shut the plant’s doors because of declining orders.

Mechanical typewriters – that operate solely by human power – are prized in India for their ease, efficiency and durability. As many as 400 million Indians lack reliable electricity, so the devices were widely used in the courts and government bureaucracy.

In the 1990s, the company made 50,000 machines a year, out of a total Indian output of 150,000 annually.

But after stopping production, Godrej & Boyce has only about 500 of its Prima brand units left in its inventory, general manager Milind Dukle told India’s Business Standard newspaper.

“We are not getting many orders now. This might be the last chance for typewriter lovers,” said Dukle.

 

Disruptive innovation strikes again in Mumbai, where the last known typewriter factory has turned off the lights and locked the doors forever. It’s kind of sad, like saying goodbye to an old friend. But we must remember that in times like ours, progress will continue to eradicate design and application progressively as we celebrate innovation and the miracles of change, and welcome new ideas to infuse into our increasingly digital lives.

You may proceed in giving an introspective moment of silence, and then return to your iPads.

posted by Ian Jukes