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More 20-30 Somethings Are Taking Care Of Elderly

Every week, Kaiser Health News reporter Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.

ABC News: Early Burdens: Eldercare Falls on Young Shoulders
At 30, Suzette Armijo cares for her widowed 86-year-old grandmother, a retired National Park Service ranger in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, while holding down a fulltime job, a part-time job and raising a 4-year-old son. “This was nothing that I had planned for,” says Armijo, who moved her grandmother Elizabeth Armijo into a nearby six-bed assisted living home because veterans’ benefits “wouldn’t pay for her to live with me.” … Armijo is among a generation of young adult caregivers, the majority of whom are women, navigating tough turf without a roadmap. … As they try to tap into resources to help an ailing grandmother, Mom or Dad, these 20-somethings and 30-somethings are often on a lonely road (Jane E. Allen, 5/4).

The Atlantic: Can a Sense of Purpose Slow Alzheimer’s?
Medical professionals have also found correlations between a person’s sense of purpose and their physical health and survival. As far back as 1946, the Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl, who spent several years in concentration camps during WWII and lost his entire family in the Holocaust, found that the people who survived the concentration camps best were those who believed they had a reason, mission, or purpose that required their survival … [But now] it appears that a sense that your life has purpose, and that what you do matters, may actually protect your brain from the clinical effects of Alzheimer’s disease (Lane Wallace, 5/9).

Newsweek: Why The Campaign To Stop America’s Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing
Most of my favorite factoids about obesity are historical ones, and they don’t make it into the new, four-part HBO documentary on the subject, The Weight of the Nation. … the government efforts to curb obesity and diabetes avoid the all-too-apparent fact, as Hilde Bruch pointed out more than half a century ago, that exhorting obese people to eat less and exercise more doesn’t work, and that this shouldn’t be an indictment of their character but of the value of the advice (Gary Taubes, 5/7).

The Root: On Blacks And Fat: Will Allen
Obesity is more common in African Americans than in other ethnic groups. But when it comes to black people and weight, that’s where the agreement seems to end. Is food the culprit? Is exercise the solution? Is there even a real problem to begin with, or should we be focusing on health — or even self-acceptance — rather than the number on the scale? Against the backdrop of the first lady’s mission to slim down the nation’s kids, black celebs getting endorsements after shedding inches and a booming weight-loss industry, The Root will publish a series of interviews with medical professionals, activists and fitness enthusiasts that reveal the complexity of this issue and the range of approaches to it. For the fifth in the series, The Root talked to Will Allen, author of the Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities (Jenée Desmond-Harris, 5/9).

Charlotte Observer: Nonprofit Hospitals Thrive On Profits (5 part series/major investigation)
Hospitals in the Charlotte region have margins among the highest in the U.S. They also have billions in investments and real estate. Experts say they could do more to lower patients’ costs. …To understand what’s happening nationally, one need look no farther than Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood, where North Carolina’s largest hospital system got its start. Carolinas HealthCare System began in 1943 with a 325-bed hospital called Charlotte Memorial, which struggled financially for decades. Its leaders decided they needed to grow to survive. They built a system that could attract paying patients while continuing to care for the uninsured. It worked. Over the past 30 years, they have transformed it into a juggernaut (Ames Alexander, Karen Garloch and Joseph Neff, 4/21).

Medscape: New AMA Head on Membership, the ACA, and Medicine’s Future
Dr. [James] Madara: We support coverage for the uninsured; health insurance reforms, which include allowing children to remain their parents’ plans until age 26; and eliminating the lifetime cap on insurance policies. But, like any complex law, the Affordable Care Act is not perfect. For example, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a nonelected board that could set Medicare pricing independently without accountability, is something we would not encourage (interviewed by Dr. John Reed, 5/9).