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Boomerang Grandparents

Dr. David J. Demko, gerontologist They're baaaaaaack. The grandkids that is. According to the U.S. Census, in just two short years the number of grandchildren being raised in the homes of their grandparents has increased by 44 percent. That's 200,000 more grandkids in the custody of grandparents.

Here's another shocker. Twenty-five percent of those custodial grandparents live below the poverty level. Now there's more bad news. According to a recent study by North Texas State University professor Bert Hayslip, giving grandparents sole custody of their grandchildren may have a substantially negative impact on the lifestyle of the custodial grandparents. For example, some children harbor emotional problems created as a result of abuse or neglect by drug or alcohol-dependent parents.

Other custodial grandparents are concerned about their own rusty parenting skills. Feelings of anger and resentment resulting from these unplanned grandkids may led to marital problems and depression among the custodial grandparents. Finally, grandparents feel torn between being a traditional parent to one set of grandchildren and a custodial parent to another set of grandchildren. "Custodial grandparents", says Dr. Hayslip, "find it difficult to separate the two roles. As a result, their relationships with their non-custodial grandchildren suffered."

Alternative Medicine Alert

As alternative medicine sweeps across the country, chronic pain may drive many of the 40 million people with arthritis to experiment with therapies, practices, and products that may be ineffective or harmful, says the Arthritis Foundation. So they're offering a few consumer tips to consider about alternative medicine.
  • "Natural" products can be just as toxic as any other chemical.
  • Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so buyer beware.
  • Unlicensed service providers carry no guarantee of competence.
  • Ineffective treatment can waste value time that ill patients don't have.
  • Chronic pain can cloud the judgement of a desperate patient.
  • All these tips indicate that you should check with your doctor first.
For free information about arthritis, call the Arthritis Foundation's toll-free answer line: 1-800-283-7800.

Affordable Retirement Locations

Ten retirement locations with low-cost rentals and a composite cost of living index near the national average are reported in this month's issue of "New Choices" magazine. Based on data from the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association, the ten locations are also reported to have accessible medical care, plentiful leisure activities, and an attractive environment. The following list includes the ten cities and the average monthly cost for a two-bedroom rental.
  • Bloomington, IN (rent=$655) Residents enjoy Indiana University courses and Big Ten football and concerts sponsored by one of the top ten music departments in the nation.
  • Carson City, NV (rent=$619) Residents enjoy State-capitol city views of the Sierra Nevada and moderate weather.
  • Charleston, SC (rent=$607) Water recreation, historic homes, annual art festival.
  • Colorado Springs, CO (rent=$687) University of Colorado, Air Force Academy, and views of Pike's Peak.
  • Las Cruces, NM (rent=$493) New Mexico State University, year-round sunshine, Indian-Spanish cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • Mobile, AL (rent=$445) This Gulf of Mexico port city offers year-round water sports and golf. University of Southern Alabama Med Center offers good health care.
  • Prescott, AZ (rent=$557) National forests and a mild four-season climate.
  • Sarasota, FL (rent=$769) White sand beaches and cultural events such as jazz and classical concerts, ballet and opera, and art galleries.
  • St. George, UT (rent=$507) Rapidly growing community offers warm dry weather and total tranquility.
  • Tucson, AZ (rent=$590) University of Arizona cultural and sports events, and 30 golf courses.

Trends in Geriatric Medicine

Two promising frontiers of medical research deserve your attention. The first is from Bagsvaerd, Denmark which features progress on a new treatment for menopause. Novo Nordisk is entering phase three clinical trials on a new class of drugs known as partial estrogen receptor agonists. Let's skip the biology lesson and get to the point. The agonists are believed to mimic the beneficial effects of estrogen in some parts of the body while avoiding estrogen-related side-effects.

This is important news because estrogens's side-effects include the promotion of breast and uterine cancer. On the other hand, the beneficial effects of estrogen include the prevention of osteoporosis. Such a medical breakthrough (prevention of osteoporosis with reduced cancer-risk) is anxiously anticipated by mature women worldwide.

The second notable progress in geriatric medicine comes from the Bayer Corporation (West Haven, CT) which filed a new drug application with the USFDA for a drug called metrifonate, a cholinesterase inhibitor, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate dementia of Alzheimer's. The new drug increases levels of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the brain.

In plain English, it helps the brain cells talk to one another by transmitting messages from one brain cell (neuron) to another. As many gerontologists know, Alzheimer's disease has been linked to a depletion of acetylcholine, resulting in some of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
AgeVenture News will keep its readers posted on these and other important breakthroughs as they develop.