Epidemic of high blood pressure, depression and anxiety among the elderly

by CynthiaYockey on February 3, 2011

Today I took my father, who is 94, to a routine appointment with his geriatrician, which always begins with the physician assistant, Debbie, taking a history and his vital signs. She pronounced my father’s blood pressure “perfect” at 106/60. Then she said she was especially glad to see this because over the last six months they’ve seen a big jump in the number of their elderly patients with hypertension. Debbie’s career includes Carter’s presidency and I asked her if people are more frightened now than they were then. She said, yes, by a long shot, and added that so many of their patients also are suffering from depression and anxiety that they have added the services of a psychiatrist who specializes in the elderly to come in twice a week to see patients. Debbie said this is a phenomenon she’s never seen before in over 35 years as a physician assistant.

Now, what with this being a conservative blog, you would expect that I would follow this news with a denunciation of the debt bombs — aka stimulus spending — that Obama has been using to destroy America’s economy. So, OK, yes: Obama’s debt bombs are toppling this great nation. They are his fire in the Reichstag.

But it looks to me like the epidemic of illnesses caused by fear and hopelessness began when the 2010 election season kicked into high gear. And since gaining control of the House of Representatives — and thus, the purse strings — rather than fighting the fake stimulus of Keynes with the real stimulus of Hayek, instead Republicans have harped on the the virtues of pain and sacrifice on the part the most vulnerable citizens of our nation: the elderly and the disabled, who are served by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Basically, we have targeted people who do NOT have the ability to WORK to improve their lot even though they DO have the ability to VOTE to that end. So — what could go wrong?

In his column on Obama’s state of the union address, Charles Krauthammer explains (boldfacing mine):

The November election sent a clear message to Washington: less government, less debt, less spending. President Obama certainly heard it, but judging from his State of the Union address, he doesn’t believe a word of it. The people say they want cuts? Sure they do — in the abstract. But any party that actually dares carry them out will be punished severely. On that, Obama stakes his reelection.

What astonishes me is that fiscal conservatism has the tools to fix America’s economy and restore prosperity without attacking entitlements, but fiscal conservatives seldom use them — and we certainly aren’t using them now. So, what we should be doing is filling people with confidence in the future by getting rid of everything that is strangling economic recovery in its cradle — taxes, regulations, debt, boondoggles — and securing our energy independence and our borders and making America a profitable place to manufacture goods once more. The more we talk about how necessary it is to require sacrifices by people who aren’t us, the more we validate the mirror image of this policy, which is the redistribution of wealth — sacrifices by people who aren’t them. Either way, it isn’t sacrifice that is going to save us — it will be American resourcefulness and ambition unleashed.

H/T Instapundit.

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  • Liz

    I think it’s a combination of forces from both sides. Look at what Obamanomics has done to the older workers, who aren’t completely against the prospect of retiring later (not that they should be forced into that) but can’t find jobs, and can’t get enough government support as it is, let alone with prospective cuts:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-older-workers-jobless-20110123,0,3357484,full.story

    (^That^ made me cry.)

    You’re right; fiscal conservatives are fighting this on the leftists’ terms. Being too scared to talk about secure borders, for instance, is cultural and economic suicide. I honestly don’t know why they’re not talking more about tax and regulation cuts – the people who claim they’re meeeannn will think so anyway, and cutting services won’t help that.

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  • When the talk of privatizing retirement entitlements (ie Social Security) for the under 50 or 55 group arises, the progressives immediately gin up the elderly and scare the crap out of them–ie Bernie Sanders of VT. It’s shameless how they lie to these people, telling them they will lose their benefits. Our Congressional delegation trots out that dog and pony show like clock-work! And they do it because it works every time. I live in a progressive state, have an elderly parent, am over 55, and wish to God someone, anyone, had the balls to honestly address this dire situation like an adult.

    When I read articles that say 57% of the 20-somethings still need their parents’ support, it sends MY blood pressure up. Simple math tells me they cannot support the retiring Boomers, even if they were all working and had cut the apron strings. I never expected to retire and never considered living off SS when I was younger. I don’t have enough saved even now. But believe me, I will take care of myself because this lot coming behind us cannot even take care of themselves!

    Though I have never suffered ill health mentally or physically, my outlook has grown quite dim since the moment Obama was announced winner of the election of 2008. John McCain would have been a lousy president, too. I despair for my country if these candidates (and others) are the best we can do…

    Blame the Republicans all you like, Cynthia, because there’s plenty to go around. But I don’t think we will get anywhere without make sacrifices, all of us. You can bet, though, it won’t be done by the political elite who no longer care about our elderly. The ones who will suffer most will be the poor and the elderly because “necessarily skyrocketing” energy costs are just the start…

    I wish your father continued good health, and commend you for caring for him!

  • Anonymous

    Well, I’m one of those old farts fighting to retain what little health and less sanity I have left as things go on. Gas and groceries keep skyrocketing, our property taxes climb as the value of our homes go down. Meanwhile our pensions are flat or declining and each year there is a bigger bite out of social security to pay our share of the Medicare bill. Which, admittedly does not cover what it costs the taxpayers.Meanwhile we see the country we grew up in disappear into fever swamps of PC madness.We, the children of the Marines who made that long walk through the lagoon at Tarawa see our grandchildren punished for pointing a finger and going “kapow!”. We see our adult children losing their jobs.

    Meanwhile, the serious conservatives who have the ideas that might just put us back on the right track are still too few to change things. Between the Donks and the Rinos we are two, maybe three election cycles to really gather the momentum to change things and we wonder, do we have that much time?

    And this does not count what is happening ‘cross the water.

    Gee, I wonder why folks are worried?

  • I would postulate there is a two-word explanation for this fear epidemic of the elderly: death panels. The philosophy behind these words is that, after awhile, you’re not worth the trouble anymore. You stop being an asset to society and become a liability. You become disposable. Would anyone in his right mind think this is acceptable? Democrats do, they deny the existance of death panels, but try to re-introduce them in the legislation when no one is watching.

    BTW, I really liked the Hillbuzz post of the other day when they denounced that the MSM-republican-candidate-picking-machine is starting already, selling the same old story: if republicans want to win the presidency, they must choose a likable, moderate candidate to win independents. McCain became a candidate this way, and even Bush, too. Just because he looked “dumb”, so that Gore should have won.

  • We could save $25 billion a year Federally and make illegal drugs harder for kids to get by legalizing*. That is 1/4 of the proposed cuts in Federal spending without touching any of the life support programs.

    In fact it would save the lives of 2,000 innocents a year.

    * It is easier for kids to get an illegal drug than a legal beer.

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