The Peace Corps is famously all about young men and woman venturing to distant locales, bringing with them the promise of social, economic and technical assistance, leavened with a bit of good old-fashioned American can-do spirit.
There's now a move afoot to create a similar program for seniors closer to home. The Department of Health and Human Services has taken the first steps to create a National Volunteer Care Corps, which envisions healthy retirees and young adults taking needy seniors to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, shoveling snowy sidewalks, helping out around the house or just stopping by for visits.
Younger volunteers might get community college class credits or a small stipend. Older volunteers would get the satisfaction of helping less-fortunate peers.
The need for such a program is indisputable: By 2040, it's estimated the number of Americans age 85 and older with multiple chronic illnesses will rise to 14.6 million, up from the current 6 million.
Interestingly, France already has a similar program. The key difference: The folks checking in on isolated seniors are postal carriers, who regularly check on older folks along their routes to make sure all is well.
Body of Knowledge
When you rub your eyes, sneeze or stand up too fast, you might see bright flashes or squiggly lines. These are not figments of your imagination but actual sparks of light inside your eyeballs called biophotons. All cells within the human body let off light or bioluminescence. You don't see them, of course, except inside your eyes, where the brain is usually able to ignore them.
When you apply pressure to your eyes, more biophotons are created than the brain can process, and the result is visible flashes.
Get Me That, Stat!
The National Osteoporosis Foundation says more than 2 million Americans covered by Medicare suffered bone fractures due to osteoporosis in 2015 -- more hospitalizations than there were for heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined. Total health care cost: $6 billion.