- Working out delays aging: UBC study
- Baby boomers working to pay for kids, parents, Business journal
- Broomfield man`s plight shines light on scams of elderly
By Sarah Douziech, The Province, June 27, 2011
Zoomers — boomers aged 45 and up — should be packing local gyms if they want to stay healthy, disease-free and independent as long as possible, new UBC research shows.
While disability, illness and disease can be an inevitable part of aging, they aren’t actually the reason why seniors eventually become frail and lose their independence, according to researcher Gareth Jones with The Healthy Exercise and Aging Lab (HEAL) Group at UBC’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.
Jones said instead, it’s a lack or loss of physical fitness that causes seniors to decline more rapidly.
“Exercise helps seniors delay aging while mitigating disease,” Jones said.“If you’re physically fit, you’ll have a greater capacity to age more slowly.”
The study used devices that measured electrical activity in people’s muscles as they performed their daily tasks.
“Fit older adults are able to maintain normal muscle activity,” Jones said, while more sedentary people aren’t.
Researchers found they could tell when muscles where declining from non-frail to pre-frail to frail stages, based on electrical activity, and if those changes are caught, Jones said exercise interventions could help prevent or at least slow it.
“Unused muscles will become more like frail muscles.”
While muscle decline is a normal part of aging, Jones said how quickly it happens depends on how diseased a person gets and how they’re able to cope with those diseases later in life.
“Exercise is probably the best or equivalent to all medications that are out there for all chronic disease,” he said. “Take up exercise.”
That means starting with 30 minutes of brisk activity per day and progressing to 60 to 90 minutes per day, he said.
“We live in a toxic society in terms of inactivity,” Jones said. “People sit in cars and in front of computers for most of their day.”
He said given the aging population in B.C. and Canada, this could represent significant strains on health care systems if something doesn’t change.
Already B.C.’s health ministry reports over $3.8 billion in care costs could be avoided annually if everyone had a healthy weight, was physically active and didn’t smoke.
By 2031, almost a quarter of B.C.’s population will be over 65. In Canada, by 2036, the number of seniors is expected to double to between 9.9 to 10.9 million, according to Statistics Canada.
Gareth said there is also a need for more specialized personal training to help older adults stay fit as well as community programs.
His group will be studying the impact of exercise on neurological disorders next.
Published Friday June 24th, 2011
OTTAWA - A new study suggests that many baby boomers may find themselves working past retirement because they're still supporting growing children and aging parents. According to the 2011 TD Waterhouse Canadians and Retirement Report, 41 per cent of retired Canadians age 55 to 70 have at least one living parent and 30 per cent say they are challenged with balancing the needs of their parents and in-laws. Twenty-two per cent are still supporting their kids.
By Joe Rubino Enterprise Staff Writer
Posted: 06/19/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT
A grandfather receives a phone call from a blocked number. On the other end is someone claiming to be his grandson. The grandson says he was visiting Canada for a friend`s funeral, when he accepted a ride from the wrong group of people and, long story short, he`s been arrested for drug possession. He is in desperate need of bail money, but doesn`t want to tell his parents. He asks his grandfather to wire him money, and not tell his parents about the situation until he gets home.
The grandfather, of course, wants to help, and wires the money without talking to the boy`s parents about the situation. Later, the grandfather receives another phone call, this time from someone claiming to be a police sergeant. The sergeant tells him the co-defendants in his grandson`s drug case hired a high-powered attorney and he should wire money to do the same, or his grandson might take the wrap. Again the he wires the money, this time to a lawyer`s bank account in the Cayman Islands.
The calls with new situations requiring more money continue for four days, until the now-suspicious grandfather heads over to his grandson`s house, where he finds his grandson, who had never left the country at all. He had been working long hours and had not paid his cell phone bill, which is why his grandfather couldn`t reach him when he called. The grandfather calls back the supposed Canadian police to find the phone is disconnected and his is money long gone.
It`s not a tale to be checked on Snopes.com, but rather the actual account of a phone scam perpetrated on a Broomfield resident between May 31 and June 3. The 80-year-old man has asked only to be identified as Gene, because of the embarrassment of the situation.
Gene said when the scam was all said and done, the scam artists took him for an estimated $19,500. While the amount is staggering, he said it didn`t financially cripple him. And since he has taken his case to the Broomfield police, he has heard of other seniors who were taken by the same scam and were not so lucky.
He said he hopes that if other seniors hear his story, they will be warier of these "grandparent/grandchild" scams, which are becoming more prevalent around the world.
"I`m no dummy and I`m not senile," Gene said. "I know about all these financial frauds against seniors. I just did not see this thing coming. It`s such a little place to get right into your heart and hook you."
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 12 percent of the U.S population is age 65 or older, and 7 percent of the Broomfield population is 65 or older. AARP reports that people age 50 and older make up roughly half of those victimized by Internet or telemarketing scams in the United States every year.
Broomfield Detective Julie Ostrander investigates property crimes. She said this scam has becoming increasingly common locally over the past two years, with phony grandkids calling in, typically from Canada or Jamaica, to ask for bail money.
"What we recommend is that if the elderly person receives a phone call such as this, one, to slow down and not wire money anywhere," Ostrander said. "Verify that the person they are claiming to talk to is in fact their loved one. If they do ... believe that the person is their loved one, at least come to the police and we will try to verify the information before the money is sent."
Ostrander said such cases can be extremely hard to prosecute and once money has been transferred out of the country, it likely won`t be seen again. She said the No. 1 rule is never transfer money out of the country, unless you`re positive the source is legitimate.
Ostrander said many "grandparent/grandchild" and similar phone scams perpetrated go unreported every year, because people feel ashamed or embarrassed. The best way to confront the issues is to come out and talk about it and raise public awareness, so other seniors will be educated on how these scams happen, she said.
"Obviously, what we want is more public awareness. We don`t want more victims," Ostrander said.
Broomfield police are not alone in their efforts to combat phone and Internet fraud against seniors. The Denver Regional Council of Governments serves as the Denver-metro area`s agency on aging. DRCOG spokeswoman Kitty Clemens said the agency has an on-call ombudsman to help seniors deal with a wide variety of issues, including fraud and scams.
Never talk to strangers on the telephone. They are calling to invade your privacy.
Use a caller ID voicemail or answering machine to screen calls.
Place your number on the Colorado No-Call list.
Never, under any circumstances, give any portion of your credit card, bank account, or Social Security numbers to a caller.
Do your research, if someone calls identifying themselves as a family member or friend in need of immediate financial assistance. Verify with another family member or friend or try to reach the person. Ask where they are and how they can be contacted. Do not give them any financial information until this can be verified.
-- Source: 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office
ElderWatch is an organization created in partnership between the Colorado Attorney General`s Office and the AARP Foundation dedicated to protecting seniors from financial exploitation. The agency provides community outreach and informational presentations, offers over-the-phone technical assistance and has as Web site with extensive links and resources, said Bob Mager, a program specialist with ElderWatch. Mager said ElderWatch has been receiving reports of the scam that befell Gene for several years, and knows the importance of getting the word out.
According to ElderWatch statistics, 92,000 Coloradans received information about frauds and scams from ElderWatch last year. Mager said that`s is the first step in ending this sort of exploitation.
"Seventy to 80 percent of the folks we talk to are less likely to be victims of things like this," Mager said.
The 17th Judicial District Attorney`s Office is a partner agency with ElderWatch, and district spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said she provides free presentations to senior groups, churches, business and other groups on how to avoid these scams. She encourages groups to call her office and schedule an appointment.