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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Often Hidden, Research Casts Light on Kinless Adults with Dementia

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Thursday, August 31, 2023   

Washington state researchers are spotlighting an often overlooked population: kinless adults with dementia.

The population is often difficult to study for a variety of reasons. Marlaine Figueroa-Gray is a medical anthropologist with Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute who has been involved in this research.

She said when people with dementia don't have a spouse or children, there often isn't someone who acts as a point of contact for studies. Figueroa-Gray noted that there other consequences, too.

"When people also end up living as a kinless person with dementia," said Figueroa-Gray, "they don't have that family support to bring them even in to get their medical care."

Figueroa-Gray said researchers wanted to figure out what happens to these folks when they don't have caregiver support. So they took a unique approach, and looked through administrative records to find kinless adults with dementia.

In another study, Figueroa-Gray said researchers found this population struggling with daily activities - and needing assistance bathing, dressing and managing medication.

"They had challenges driving, and they experienced changes to affordability of daily life - often being unable to keep up with rising rents in their neighborhood," said Figueroa-Gray. "And all of these needs are obviously more challenging to manage without close support."

Figueroa-Gray noted that a network of neighbors can sometimes provide care for dementia patients, but these relationships can be fragile.

She said many people can find themselves in this situation, so it's important for everyone to understand it.

"Really thinking about the system and policy level," said Figueroa-Gray, "what can we do to support people as they age and might, kind of, age out of their family relationships by just surviving other deaths that happen?"



Disclosure: Kaiser Health Plan of Washington Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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