Joann Mar/KALW

The average life span has nearly doubled during the last century.  But while people are living longer, they're now facing health challenges that were less prevalent before—severe chronic illness, cancer, lung disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's—debilitating conditions that often cause great pain and suffering. 

For many people nearing the end of their lives, palliative care—relief from pain and suffering—is not readily available.  

This story was produced by KALW

For Seniors, Teeth Need Care — But Insurance Coverage Is Rare

Oct 25, 2016
Heidi de Marco/KHN

Aging can take a toll on teeth, and for many seniors paying for dental services is a serious concern because they can’t rely on their Medicare coverage.

Karen Shakerdge

Dennis Rodgers flips over a bright pink piece of paper and rattles off his choices:  “Attempt resuscitation or do not attempt resuscitation... to do limited intervention or to take no medical intervention… whether to intubate or not to intubate.”

The Health Toll Of Loneliness

Sep 21, 2016
FlyingDJI/via Flickr

Loneliness is often overlooked or stigmatized in our society.  Wisconsin Public Radio speaks with Dr. Carla Perissinotto, a geriatrician in San Francisco, who studies loneliness about the health risks of loneliness and why she says we should start taking it seriously. Click below to listen to the conversation:

Grandma On Facebook? It Could Be Good For Her Health

Aug 31, 2016
Eduardo Woo/via Flickr

Professor Bill Chopik is here to make you feel really bad about all the times you wanted to run, screaming, from the room after trying to teach your grandparents how to download a photo attachment from an email.

We think of aging as something we do alone, the changes unfolding according to each person's own traits and experiences. But researchers are learning that as we age in relationships, we change biologically to become more like our partners than we were in the beginning.

Just Turned 40? An Architect Says It's Time To Design For Aging

Apr 6, 2016

When Architect Matthias Hollwich was approaching 40, he wondered what the next 40 years of his life might look like. He looked into the architecture that serves older adults, places like retirement communities and assisted living facilities, and didn't like what he saw. But what if we changed our habits earlier in life so we could stay in the communities we already live in?

For Family Caregivers, Basic Skills Training Becomes Part Of The Game

Mar 31, 2016
Angela Bobo kisses her mother on the forehead.
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Dementia has been slowly stealing Ruth Perez's memory and thinking ability for 20 years.

"She would put food together that didn't belong together--hamburger and fish in a pot--mom never cooked like that," said Angela Bobo, Perez's daughter. 

The mother and daughter live together in Chester, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. 

Perez is the center of the family, and spends much of her day tucked under a fleece blanket—on a barcalounger in the middle of the living room. The 86 year old doesn't seem to notice as her daughter and grown grandchildren come and go, but they keep up a steady one-sided conversation with her anyway.