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Alzheimer's setback as promising drug shows no benefit in clinical trials

The quest to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease has experienced a new setback, with a promising medication failing to show benefits in the latest series of clinical trials in the UK.

The Guardian website has reported earlier trials had suggested that the drug idalopirdine, from the Danish international pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, might improve cognition in those with Alzheimer’s disease when taken alongside existing drugs – known as cholinesterase inhibitors – acting to improve symptoms rather than stopping the disease from developing.

Bupa calls for pensioners to pay more for care

A shock increase in aged care costs could be included in this year’s Federal Budget if Treasury heeds a call to force pensioners to pay more for nursing home services, according to a report this week on retirement website YourLifeChoices.

The proposal by insurance company Bupa recommends that the capped value of people’s homes be increased from the current $162,087.20, so those with valuable homes are asked to pay more for care.

More people misusing prescription or over-the-counter drugs

A new report shows Australians misuse more prescription or over-the-counter drugs than all illegal drugs, except cannabis.

Of particular concern was the number of people taking opioid painkillers when they were not needed for health reasons, according to the report Non–medical use of pharmaceuticals: trends, harms and treatment: 2006–07 to 2015–16 from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Australians intend to work longer

Australians are retiring later, in keeping with the continuing trend to stay in the workforce for longer, new data shows.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that on average in 2016-17, around 13 per cent of people aged 45 years and over were intending to continue in the workforce until they were 65, up from a decade ago when nine per cent of Australians said they would retire at 63.

“This is consistent with the continuing trend of people staying in the workforce for longer,” the ABS’s Bruce Hockman said.

Help shape the future of aged care

Aged care is a big topic at the moment and National Seniors is keen to have your input for our own research. Or you may want to take part in a government workshop and help shape the future of aged care. The details are on how to do either, or both, are below.

Tell us about your aged care experiences

National Seniors’ research team wants to hear your stories about your experiences with aged care services:

We would like you to indicate:

Gym workouts could help head off dementia

Early results from a new Australian study shows people in their 60s and early 70s could lower their risk of dementia if they went to the gym to retain muscle mass.

Australian National University’s Dr Marnie Shaw said about one in 10 Australians aged 65 years and older will get dementia.

“As our population ages, the number of people with dementia will increase, but an active lifestyle offers real opportunities for reducing dementia risk,” Dr Shaw said.

Is your dentist away?

Whether it’s a broken tooth or a nagging ache that won’t go away, dental problems often crop up when the local dentist is on leave.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) wants to reassure people if they have any dental emergencies over the Christmas-New Year period and their local dentist is not available, there will be other dentists ready to address any problems.

Services will be limited to relief of pain or trauma and the provision of antibiotics where required, the ADA said.

Aircon habit costs up to $1.3 billion

One in five Australians leave their air conditioning running when they are not at home – a habit expected to waste an estimated $1.3 billion this summer.

A new survey by comparison website finder.com.au revealed that 23 per cent of Australians or 2.3 million households wasted an average of 4.1 hours in energy per day at a cost of $578 per household each quarter. 

This works out to a cost of up to $1.3 billion in wasted energy expenditure over summer while these homes are sitting empty or an added $578 per household quarterly electricity bill.

The new digital divide is among older Australians

Most older Australians won’t be shopping online or receiving e-Cards this Christmas because they are on the wrong side of a ‘digital divide’, National Seniors Australia says.

The consumer group for over 50s this year surveyed its members and found many are online, tech-savvy, or else keen to learn.

But others said that the digital world was a strange and unfriendly place they didn’t want to visit.

Christmas doesn't have to be the season to feel lonely

A new survey has found that a quarter of Australians are lonely some or most of the time, with men over the age of 55 one of the groups most likely to feel the impact of loneliness.

The Australian Red Cross survey also showed that the main reason for older men feeling lonely was divorce or separation.

Women aged over 55 were much more likely to chat to a friend or family member to help counteract loneliness.

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