The aging of Marin

Documentary warns of Marin’s ‘silver tsunami’ By Richard Halstead 28 Mar 2015, 03:57 PM Subjects from the documentary film “Silver Tsunami” are seen in this screen grab photo. By Richard Halstead A Mill Valley-based TV producer and writer has created a documentary highlighting the rapid aging of the world’s population and the likelihood that societies will be devastated by the task of caring for this burgeoning population unless scientists can find effective treatments for age-related diseases. Cynthia Harrison, a former actor who has written and produced television documentaries for the History Channel, said she was looking for a new project she could feel passionate about when a stunning complex of buildings in the foothills of Mount Burdell in Novato caught her eye. “I heard it was the Buck Institute for Research on Aging so I thought maybe it’s beauty treatments, maybe I can get a sample,” Harrison said. Harrison contacted the institute and was introduced to some of the scientists there. “I started realizing the crisis that we’re facing of the baby boomers and the silver tsunami,” she said, “and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is the documentary.” The 23-minute film, titled “Silver Tsunami,” draws a comparison between the huge number of people about to enter old age worldwide and a giant tidal wave about to crash on shore. It uses stock footage of monster waves and raging seas to heighten the drama between interviews with Buck Institute scientists. Scary numbers Perhaps most frightening, however, are the statistics cited in the documentary. The baby boomers, the largest generation ever born, is now entering old age ­- one member of the baby boom generation turns 65 every eight seconds — 10,000 per day, or 4 million per year. By 2030, there will be 70 million seniors in the United State alone. Soon for the first time in history there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 5. Since a whole host of diseases, such as cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are associated with aging, the cost of caring for these seniors will be enormous. The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease over the age of 85 could be as high as 50 percent. In 2013, there were 30 million Alzheimer’s cases globally. By 2050, it is predicted there will be 160 million Alzheimer’s cases. It is estimated that by 2050 the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. alone will amount to $1 trillion per year. Caregivers struggle Harrison uses two Marin County families to illustrate the toll that caring for aging loved ones can take. Brenda Derin of San Rafael talks about quitting her job to help care for her 85-year-old mother, who was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 20 years ago. Derin recalls the pain she felt when she realized that her mother no longer remembered the date of her daughter’s birth. “I think it is very helpful to have as many people as possible hear this conversation,” Derin said. ” It hasn’t been shouted out as much as it needs to. It’s creeping up on us ­– this wave of age.” Also featured in the film is Larry Sholin of San Rafael, who struggled to help care for his aging parents while dealing with his own Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2000 at the age of 44. Sholin’s mother died in 2006 from Alzheimer’s complications while his father lived another four years despite multiple medical problems. Caring for his father was a challenge since Sholin can’t take his Parkinson’s medication at night. “Sometimes I would have to literally crawl to the bathroom to get him water or change his urinal,” Sholin said. Possible way out Harrison, however, does offer a ray of hope. Buck Institute scientists talk about new research indicating that age-related illnesses may have a common cause. Given adequate funding the scientists say these debilitating diseases may be ameliorated — allowing seniors to continue living independently. Gordon Lithgow, director of the Buck Institute’s Interdisciplinary Research on Geroscience and one of the scientists interviewed in the documentary, said the dilemma posed by the silver tsunami has been common knowledge for years. Lithgow said what is new is a growing consensus among scientists that humans can do something about it. “Basically aging is the largest risk factor for human chronic disease,” Lithgow said. “The feeling is that if we understood aging properly we could rationally develop preventions and maybe therapies for some of these terrible diseases. What we’re actually talking about is the prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, the works.” Lithgow said while that may sound farfetched, something very similar happened when scientists discovered a hundred years ago that antibiotics and vaccines were effective treatments for a host of infectious diseases. Lithgow said if a tiny fraction of the results the Buck Institute has produced in animal models could be replicated in humans, “It would have a massive social and economic impact.” Funding not there Unfortunately, government funding for research is decreasing not increasing. “This current funding period is one of the worse funding periods in the history of the National Institutes of Health. It’s a dramatically difficult time to obtain research funding,” Buck Institute scientist Simon Melov says in the documentary. Lithgow said due to the lack of financial support brilliant young scientists can’t find positions in universities. “They’re leaving science,” Lithgow said. Harrison said, “I just want to sound the alarm and make it a wake-up call for people. This is something that needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed now.” by TaboolaSponsored Links From The Web 17 Disney Moments That Will Mess Up Your Childhood RIPBird 7 Internet Millionaires Under 25 TheSqeez 45 Extremely Rare Photos From The Past ViralNova 23 Unbelievable Photos That Are Hard To Believe Really Exist boreddaddy.com David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 www.tamrealty.com Serving all of Marin County

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