An Interview with Hugh Downs
Hugh Downs is one of
America’s most respected and honored television personalities. He
began his extraordinary TV career in 1956 as an announcer on Sid
Caesar’s Hour. After stints on The Tonight Show and The Today Show,
he spent 21 years as co-host of the popular ABC news magazine 20/20
(1978-1999). The winner of six Emmy awards, Downs has been
interested in aging since he produced his first television news
story on the subject in 1951. In the 1970s he co-hosted Over Easy, a
PBS program on aging. An avid sportsman, Downs is a pilot who holds
a current medical rating, as well as several ratings from
multi-engine to hot air balloon. Mr. Downs serves on the advisory
committee of The Caregiving Project for Older Americans, a
partnership between The International Longevity Center-USA (ILC) and
the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education (SCSHE). The
Caregiver Project for Older Americans will bring greater awareness
of the caregiving crisis to the American public, and work toward
solutions, including the development of a national systematic
approach to recruiting, training and retaining paid professional
caregivers; and by doing so, securing a well-prepared and dedicated
generation of caregivers. Gary Barg caught up with Mr. Downs for a
conversation on topics ranging from music composition to great
grandchildren to Daniel Boone.
Gary Barg: You are a member of
the new advisory committee for
the caregiving project of the ILC (International Longevity Center).
Could you tell me the goals of the project?
Hugh Downs: The
goal of the ILC is to change the thinking of humans, particularly a
lot of the Western society which is riddled with that “Pepsi
generation” mentality with the accent on youth, which really
neglects and goes against older people just because they are older
people; and this is still true to a large extent. I admire the ILC
because it’s on top of all these goals and trends and is trying to
lead the world toward enlightenment; not merely for humanitarian
reasons and fairness, but for the sake of civilization. There’ve
been cultures that have been wise enough to capture the wisdom of
their elders, particularly in places such as Nepal where my son was
for many years. When I went to visit him in there, the Nepalese have
a custom that I thought was very interesting...continued
Dementia and Incontinence Treatment
By Sandra Ray, Staff
Dementia is a devastating disease that affects
approximately 24 million people worldwide; its
most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, affects
more than 4.5 million people in the U.S.
according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The
disease slowly robs individuals of their memory,
cognitive functioning, and eventually renders
the person almost completely dependent upon
others for their daily care...continued
What to do About Mom or Dad -
Find the Expertise You Need in a
Professional Geriatric Care Manager
By Cheryl Smith, MA
You are managing your time pretty well—things are
tight and there are activities you would like to add to
your schedule, like a yoga class or a new hobby, but you
just can’t juggle one more thing.
But then something happens that is about to add a
huge responsibility to your already overloaded
schedule – there is a crisis with your elderly
parent or relative...continued
Tips for Managing Incontinence
with Frontotemporal Dementia
By Geri Hall, PhD, ARNP, GCNS-BC, FAAN
Always make sure the doctor does an evaluation to
rule out infections, tumors, etc. for both urinary or
If the patient is still early in the disease, there are
two frontotemporal dementia-specific issues:...continued
My mother, who is 83 years of age, suffers from dementia.
She loves to chew on her gums when her teeth are not in her
mouth. How can I redirect her from doing that? Or do I just
live with it?
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