Aging | St. Louis Public Radio

Aging

This interview will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Tuesday; this story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

The month of May is designated as Older Americans Month, and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh will discuss a number of issues related to aging.

Joining the conversation will be Paul Weiss, president of Oasis Institute; Marylen Mann, founder of Oasis; and Rodrick Burton, pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church.

Gerrie Gibson, left, has worked for Christian Care Home for 19 years.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio.

Workers for a Ferguson nursing home are three weeks into a strike over claims of unfair labor practices. Now, they’re receiving letters from the administrator of the Christian Care Home, telling them they’re being replaced.

In a Dec. 19 letter, administrator Donna Cooper told workers they would have preferential hiring status when there are vacancies if they choose to return. That shocked union nurse Ruby  Crymes, who sits on the bargaining committee. 

“We feel like they’re playing games with our lives,” Crymes said. “We even offered to go back with no raise now, with something on the back end six months later and they didn’t even accept that.”

This week marks National Healtcare Decisions week. On Tuesday, Virginia Rice and Brian Carpented joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss how to make end-of-life decisions easier.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, health-care professionals and families are making a point to talk about a subject that can be very difficult for some: end-of-life decisions. This week marks National Healthcare Decisions week.

Curious Louis: Who is the oldest person in St. Louis?

Feb 17, 2017
Longtime St. Louis resident Lucy Hamm celebrates her 109th birthday with her retirement community in Chesterfield. Hamm was born on Jan. 30, 1908.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

It might be harder than you think to find the oldest person in town.

Local governments don’t formally track the data, and voting records are often manually entered, and can contain errors. So when a listener named Sally asked our Curious Louis project to find the oldest person in St. Louis, we started looking.

After calls to county election boards and senior service nonprofits came up short, employees in the office of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay introduced us to someone who might just be the winner: 109-year-old Lucy Hamm.

Elizabeth Herring, who turned 90 on Oct. 26, practives for her trapeze show in this photo taken in October of 2016.
Provided | Elizabeth Herring

As a teenager, Elizabeth Herring of Ladue escaped a life luxury by joining the circus. Tonight, she’ll be back in the ring, celebrating her 90th birthday at a party benefiting St. Louis’ Circus Harmony.

WashU biomedical scientist G.S.M Sundaram, PhD., holds a model of the molecule fluselenamyl, which may improve PET scans for patients with Alzheimer's disease. Senior author Vijay Sharma, PhD, sits to his right.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Think of the night sky when you look up through the smog of the city. Then, think of that same sky on a clear night in a rural area.

That’s the difference between two images of a 90-year-old man’s brain, after he passed away and donated his body to Alzheimer’s disease research. Both scans are dark blue, with points of light showing plaques consistent with the disease. But the sharper image uses a new compound developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Van Tyler checks a list of names and addresses while delivering meals in Jennings for the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging in June, 2016.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging saw its funding slashed by about $2 million during the recession, the agency has had to piece together grants for major projects.

“We’ve had to close senior centers over the years because we can’t support the number that were originally being utilized. And yet at the same time the population is growing,” Director Mary Schaefer said.

That could soon change. On Nov. 8, voters in St. Charles County, St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis will see a box for “Proposition S” on the ballot. The initiative would increase property taxes to pay for programs for seniors, to help them continue living at home.

Dr. John Morley is a SLUCare geriatrician and director of geriatrics at the SLU School of Medicine
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this summer, the Pew Research Center released a report that found nearly 19 percent of Americans over the age of 65, nearly 9 million people, were working full- or part-time. That percentage has steadily increased since 2000.

The Witherspoon family

Most of us, at some point, will know someone who is struggling with a life-threatening illness. More than one in three U.S. residents are diagnosed with a form of cancer in their lifetime, and one in nine adults over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

But when a close friend or loved one shares that they have a serious health issue, we’re often left not knowing what to do or what to say.

Randy Miller, right, participates in a group therapy session at Fontbonne University's Aphasia Boot Camp.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

74-year-old John Rush is trying to find the word for a type of fruit pictured on a card in front of him. He can’t see it, but other participants in this group therapy session are giving him hints: they’re small, round, you can put them in pies…

It’s on the tip of his tongue.

“Gosh, I have some at home,” he laughs, to a roomful of encouraging smiles.

A co-worker calls Matt Brock's service dog, Lynn, out from under Matt's desk at his Paraquad cubicle.
FIle Photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Update June 9 with signature: Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation on Thursday that could expand Medicaid eligibility for Missourians who are elderly or living with a disability.

For decades, Missourians who were elderly, blind or disabled could only have $1,000 or less in savings. The bill Nixon signed would gradually raise that asset limit to $5,000 for an unmarried person and $10,000 for a married couple.

Van Tyler checks a list of names and addresses while delivering meals in Jennings for the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging in June, 2016.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 200 senior citizens in north St. Louis County could soon receive daily hot meals from the local Meals on Wheels program, thanks to a cafeteria planned for the Ferguson Community Center.

The Mid-East Area Agency on Aging has been delivering frozen meals to seniors for three years because it lacks a place to heat them.

That could change soon, now that the agency has submitted plans to remodel center’s cafeteria at 1050 Smith Avenue. It also plans to open a new senior center location there as soon as August.

Lori Fiegel, Mary Rocchi and Geneva Powell shed some light on the state of seniors in the St. Louis region.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

By 2045, one in four people in the St. Louis metro area will be older than 65. That means there will be more than 290,000 people in that age group — a 75 percent increase, compared to today.

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services’ Foster Grandparents program connects seniors with low-income children with special needs.
Cardinal Ritter Senior Services

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Aarya Locker, the director of Cardinal Ritter Senior Services’ Foster Grandparents program joined host Don Marsh to discuss how seniors can serve as foster grandparents/mentors to low income children with special needs.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Scientists have identified a chemical that could one day be used in eye drops to treat cataracts — potentially eliminating the need for expensive surgery, the only treatment option currently available.

The research team was led by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor but included researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington University in St. Louis. The group found that eye drops made with a type of steroid could partially reverse cataracts in mice.

AFSCME members and supporters demonstrate outside of Paraquad, calling for higher wages for home health workers. The Missouri Home Care Union is affiliated with AFSCME.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the Missouri Home Care Union are asking providers of in-home services for the elderly and disabled to raise the wages of the attendants they employ. A few union members and about a hundred supporters demonstrated outside of Paraquad in St. Louis Friday to ask the nonprofit to honor a deal struck by the union and the state’s Quality Home Care Council.  

One union member, Elinor Simmons, has worked as a home health care attendant for about 30 years. She said she makes $8.50 an hour, but when she asked her employer for a raise, she was denied.

Office of Sen. McCaskill

Almost half of working-aged Americans are at risk of having a lower standard of living in retirement than they now enjoy, according to a new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

“This retirement security crisis is very real,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the ranking member on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. “In Missouri, only 45 percent of private sector workers are participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and that is not an anomaly.”

Long-time St. Louis Resident Turns 107

Jan 30, 2015
At 107, Lucy Hamm is one of St. Louis's oldest residents. She lives in her own apartment at Tower Grove Manor retirement community.
Camille Phillips | St.Louis Public Radio

Lucy Hamm, one of St. Louis’ oldest residents, turned 107 Friday. She's just nine years younger than the oldest known person living in the world, Misao Okawa of Japan.

Hamm was born in Cairo, Ill., on Jan. 30, 1908.  She moved to St. Louis in her 20s and has lived in the Tower Grove Manor retirement community in south St. Louis for 14 years.

Jess Dugan, left, and Vanessa Fabbre
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

When the TV show “Transparent” won two Golden Globe Awards a week ago Sunday, many transgender people felt validated, and a little less invisible.

Doctor: Geriatric Needs Not Being Met In Missouri

Jan 6, 2015
Rosmary via Flickr

Missourians are getting older, but their access to health care is not keeping up.

In October, a Missouri Foundation for Health report found a need for more geriatric specialists in the state. In 2011, Missouri had 139 geriatric doctors. The report predicted that the state would need 558 by 2030.

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