Able Data provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment. Their database includes 40,000 assistive technology products classified in 20 areas — from assistance with daily living tools to workplace support devices.
Some websites offer introductions to and advance directives.
Rebecca Sudore, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco; staff physician, San Francisco VA Medical Center discusses several problems with advance care planning and what she calls a "new paradigm" of advance care planning.
All Together Now: Integrating Health and Community Supports for Older Adults Brief from American Institutes for Research’s Center on Aging. First in a two-part series about policies and programs that provide resources and services for aging in place shows current programs are vastly underfunded and fragmented, and how policy needs to evolve to meet the needs of the aging population.
Growing Expectations April 2016 report on older adults and technology use shows greater tech awareness among adults 59 to 85; cautions tech companies to pay attention to service, support, design for this growing demographic
National Creative Aging Network A directory of creative aging programs in America serving older people. It includes intergenerational activities in urban, suburban and rural communities in a variety of settings. The initiative is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, MetLife Foundation, and The Michelson Foundation.
Aging Initiative The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing a National Agenda for the Environment and the Aging aimed at protecting the health of older people. This site provides information on the initiative, as well as research on aging, smart-growth issues and environmental hazards.
“Aging in Place: A State Survey of Liveability Policies and Practices,” December 2011, by AARP.
“The Maturing of America: Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population,” published by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and several other partners in June 2011.
The National Academy for State Health Policy reviewed new state options for funding home and community based services under health reform in this report. Families USA summarized these provisions in a fact sheet. And Health Affairs examined at the issue in a March 2011 article
Here is a list of local and state agencies on aging.
There are several new, emerging models of aging across the country.
So-called “villages” – seniors in a community who join together, purchase some services cooperatively, and agree on self-help – are a relatively recent example. This village movement began in Boston with Beacon Hill Village, founded in 2001. Check the Village to Village network for more examples.
Another example are “naturally occurring retirement communities.” For more information about this model, which originated in New York City, see the NORC website.
A Platform for Aging in Place: The Increasing Potential of High-speed Internet Connectivity: Information and communication services, delivered over a high-speed Internet connection, increase the potential for older adults to live independently, safely, and comfortably in their own homes. And yet, few older adults have a fast Internet connection at home. Some of the most promising Internet-based services and applications involve virtual visits with clinicians and family caregivers, automation of routine home activities, and in-home monitoring for older adults with limitations in activities of daily living. This July 2013 report, from AARP's Public Policy Institute, presents an overview of these services. It also offers recommendations urging policymakers to ensure that affordable high-speed connectivity is available to all citizens and promoted as an aging-in-place solution.
Alzheimer's disease & dementia
A February 2014 report from Alzheimer's Disease International and The Compass Group, Nutrition and Dementia, investigates whether the right nutrition might help the millions worldwide with this disease. Researchers found that malnutrition – or what they call under-nutrition -- was a major problem; 20-45 percent of those with dementia experience "significant" weight loss over a year. The report also looks at dietary factors across the lifespan that may affect onset of dementia later in life. For more information on how to cover nutrition and aging, check out Melinda Hemmelgarn's tip sheet.
A November 2013 data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics compares residential care communities with and without special dementia care units in 2010. About 4 in 10 residents (42 percent) living in residential care communities had Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Some states have specific requirements for residential care for these patients such as locked doors, and specially trained staff.
Among the major findings:
17 percent of residential care communities in the U.S. Had special dementia care units in 2010
Beds in these special units accounted for 13 percent of all residential care beds
Facilities with special dementia care units were more likely to be chain-affiliated and built specifically as a residential care community, and less likely to be certified or to participate in Medicaid.
At least 7 out of 10 residential care communities with dementia special care units had features such as specially trained staff (88 percent), an enclosed courtyard (82 percent), doors with keypads or electronic keys (79 percent), and locked exit doors (76 percent).
More residential communities with dementia care units were located in the Northeast or a metropolitan statistical area and less likely to be situated in the western U.S.
There are some helpful charts to put the data in visual perspective. Reporters may want to see how local residential facilities compare to the national data, or use these figures in combination with a story like this one from KSWB-San Diego – on how a daughter decided her parents needed to move to a care facility.
In January 2012, the Dept. of Health and Human Services released its draft framework for a national plan to address ADRDs.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that in 2010 nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $202 billion. Costs for government programs and private insurers will soar in the years ahead as the Alzheimer’s Association predicts.
Santiago Toledo (M.D., medical director, Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) talked about the trends & challenges in rehabilitation medicine in a presentation.
Anthony Atala (M.D., director, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine; chairman, department of urology, Wake Forest School of Medicine) explained the history and specifics of regenerative medicine and tissue regeneration, helping the assembled journalists better understand this growing field.
The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine: Focuses on topics such as anti-aging foods , fitness, lifestyle and environmental impact, along with news of more traditional clinical research and treatment. AAAM also publishes Longevity Magazine, a free e-journal. Reporters may wish to monitor discussion forums for consumer-focused article ideas.
Biology and genetics
Here are a couple of presentations from AHCJ annual conferences.
George M. Martin (M.D., professor emeritus, Department of Pathology, University of Washington; adjunct professor of genome sciences (retired) and director emeritus of University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center) presented an "Introduction to the biology of aging" discussed the genetic basis for aging and potential related research.
Matt Kaeberlein (Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Pathology, University of Washington) explained the evolutionary and physiological basis for aging in the presentation "Programmed aging." He also explained possible methods to slow aging or delay aging-associated diseases.
Peter Rabinovitch (M.D., Ph.D., director, University of Washington Nathan Shock Center for Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging) delivered a presentation titled "'Wear and tear' with aging: The free radical theory of aging." Rabinovitch's presentation laid out both sides of the discussion surrounding the free radical theory of aging, one of the oldest, most popular and most contentious fields in the study of aging.
At Health Journalism 2009, Carl Eisdorfer (M.D., Ph.D., Knight professor and director, University of Miami Center on Aging) shared his "Observations on aging" as part of the "Biology of aging" panel. Eisdorfer's presentation covered a wide range of topics, from the reasons for the aging of the American population to general life lessons.
Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action: Forgetfulness at older ages is often equated with a decline in cognition, or cognitive aging — a public health issue that goes beyond memory lapses and one that can have significant impacts on independent living and healthy aging. This IOM study examines this decline. It assesses public health dimensions of cognitive aging with an emphasis on definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education.
Communicating with older adults
Communicating with Older Adults: Recognizing Hidden Traps in Health Care Decision Making — An introduction to common heuristics (mental shortcuts) and biases (predictable systematic errors in reasoning) that could affect health care decisions made by older adults, health care providers, and caregivers. intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, and other health care practitioners who seek to have the best possible interactions with older patients.Understanding the various heuristics and biases that affect our thinking can lead to more informed and productive decisions. Important read for journalists too — as our own biases can affect how we approach coverage of aging.
ICAA's Guidelines for effective communication with older adults (PDF, 223 KB) — The International Council on Active Aging White Paper. The ICAA wants to change the way older adults are perceived, by changing the language we use and the messages we send about them. This white paper aggregates consensus opinion of stakeholders and organizations about attitudes, words and images, and offers specific recommendations and guidelines for messaging, print and in-person communication.
Caring Across Generations Preparing for the Elder Boom — white paper on solutions for long term services and supports: how do we better provide long-term services and supports (LTSS) for our aging population and people with disabilities? This white paper outlines the gaps in coverage and lack of sufficient care resources for older Americans, people with disabilities, the family members that support them, and the care workforce necessary to create family-centered caregiving system built for the 21st century.
Family Caregiver Council Resources: The Family Caregiver Council, a coalition of 13 national family caregiver organizations and other experts launched a new set of resources designed to help the estimated 44 million family caregivers in the U.S. learn more about issues ranging from housing and transportation to hiring outside help. The goal is to provide a one-stop website that can help caregivers learn more about specific family caregiving issues they may be experiencing, how to better take care of themselves as well as their loved ones.
Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update: This AARP Public Policy Institute report on the price of unpaid family caregiving finds that in 2013, about 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $470 billion in 2013, up from an estimated $450 billion in 2009.
"Family Caregivers are Wired for Health," Pew Internet & American Life Project (June 2013) Nearly 4 in 10 (39 percent) of U.S. adults are caring for someone with a significant health condition, including caring for many older adults with multiple chronic conditions. As this study found, the Internet plays an increasingly important role in helping family caregivers manage care, get information, and find support.
CDC Interative Atlas for Heart Disease and Stroke County-level maps of heart disease and stroke, along with maps of social environmental conditions and health services for the entire United States or for a chosen state or territory. Congressional boundaries and health care facilities can be added with an overlay.
Global Cardiovascular Infobase Profiles of Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases in the World is a collaborative effort headed by the World Health Organization. It provides cardiovascular data on demographics, mortality, morbidity, risk factors and related health care are linked to country maps.
Thomas Bashore, M.D., Duke University Medical Center; specialist Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Structural Heart Disease; 919-684-2407 (office); Duke Media Relations: Sarah Avery; 919-660-1306; firstname.lastname@example.org
Nieca Goldberg, M.D., NYU Langone Medical Center; specializes in cardiovascular disease in women. Media contact: Jim Mandler, senior director for media relations, health, clinical, and research; 212-404-3525; Jim.Mandler@nyumc.org
Steven Nissen, M.D., chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, past president, American College of Cardiology. 216-444-6697 (office); media relations: 216-444-0141
James Weiss, M.D., chief, Department of Medicine, Cardiology, UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, Los Angeles; 310-825-8811 (office).
This is a position paper from the National Bone Health Alliance Working Group, a public-private partnership of 56 partners from the government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors collectively promoting bone health and disease prevention, improved diagnosis, treatment and enhanced research. They recommend that postmenopausal women and men aged 50 years should be diagnosed with osteoporosis if they have a demonstrable elevated risk for future fractures based on specific bone density measurements, called T-scores, or have already sustained specific types of fractures. This conflicts with the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recommends screening for women at age 65, or younger if there are known risk factors.
CMS Fast Facts
CMS has released a new quick-reference statistical summary on annual CMS program and financial data. The November fact sheet includes updates on Medicare and Medicaid populations; Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and premiums for 2015; Medicare FFS persons served and payments by type of service (calendar year 2013); Medicare Part D utilization and expenditures (calendar year 2013); Medicare prepaid contracts (October 2014); Medicaid beneficiaries and payments by selected type of service (fiscal year 2011); and preliminary CMS financial data (fiscal year 2014).
Administration for Community Living (ACL: Population estimates of those 60 by state). The breakouts include on race/gender/institutionalization, among other estimates. Search reports and information from 2006-2014. This is a good resource to help spot trends.
NCHS Data Brief: Diabetes: Nearly 10 percent of Americans and 21 percent of adults 65 and over have diabetes. The National Center for Health Statistics has issued a data brief detailing the use of health services by age group. Not surprisingly, the use of health services, medication, and complications increases with age.
Older Americans With a Disability: 2008–12: Nearly 16 million older adults have at least one disability. Data was collected from the American Community Survey (ACS) on six types of disability: hearing, vision, cognition, walking, self-care, and independent living. People who reported any one of the six disability types are considered to have a disability. Data was compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report was commissioned and funded by the National Institute on Aging of the NIH. It is the first Census report on disabilities among older people and looks at disability status by age, gender, marital status, education and poverty status.
National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report - 2016 chartbook from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). includes a summary, charts and graphs focusing on quality and disparities across measures of effective treatment. A PowerPoint slide presentation is also available.
DrugWatch: A continually updated resource and database of recalled medical devices, new information about research breakthroughs, clinical trials, recalls, and warnings from the FDA. Patient advocates and and assistance with filing legal paperwork are available to consumers who may have been harmed by a device or drug.
A new Wiki from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press now available in beta. As this article in Columbia Journalism Review explains, it’s a collaborative effort to make understanding and filing FOIAs a little easier and more bearable by pooling everyone’s shared wisdom. there’s also a page for just about every federal agency, including contact info, response time, fees and agency involved cases. a forum provides opportunity to discuss current efforts and get advice from other reporters.
You Only Pray that Somebody Would Step In: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Elder Abuse in America, a report from the Frameworks Institute. This report is part of a broader effort from the Frameworks Institute to reframe public understanding of elder abuse. The report analyzes qualitative data to examine patterns of public thinking and understanding of the issue with those of experts on elder abuse.
End-of-life discussions: Perspective from a nurse who is a patient: Amy Berman – a nurse, a nationally recognized expert in care of the aged and senior program officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation – has a fatal form of breast cancer. She recently wrote eloquently for The Washington Post about why she feels the advanced-care planning conversations she has had with her health-care team have been so important. CMS will soon decide whether or not to pay doctors and other health care providers for these kinds of conversations about end-of-life planning. Berman's perspective is interesting as reporters prepare to cover the decision.
The Stanford School of Medicine provides learning modules for the thirteen major ethnic groups in the U.S., from Alaskan Natives to Vietnamese-Americans. Each module covers demographics, culturally appropriate care, access and utilization. While this site is skewed towards health professionals, journalists can quickly get up to speed on current education about ethnic-oriented aging.
There are a couple of studies focusing on super-aging problems:
Emily Rogalski, Ph.D., assistant research professor, Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University explains the background and construction of one major study of super-agers in this presentation.
Michael Province, professor and director, Division of Statistical Genomics, Washington University School of Medicine explores the role of genetics in aging, and efforts to track to the responsible genes, assuming they exist in this presentation.
The Grey Literature Report from the New York Academy of Medicine: According to NYAM, "Grey literature" is the term for non-commercially published documents, such as reports, technical documents, clinical proceedings, market research, etc. that are not easily accessible by the public. The site offers many links to association, NGO, government healthy aging and prevention documents as well as resource links to policy centers and databases.
A new multi-collaborator report looks at the shift in demographics and burden of disease from 1990-2013. While outbreaks of acute diseases like MERS and SARS make headlines, the real issue among the aging global population is chronic, debilitating disease — which requires more attention and effort from health systems around the world. Full article available for AHCJ members from Science Direct.
February 2013 One key issue addressed at the recent World Economic Forum was the rapidly increasing global aging population; and how to prepare for its profound impact on global health, as well as the direct economic, social and political implications.
Global experts from the WEF Global Agenda Council on Ageing led this discussion in Davos and presented a new report outlining key challenges/opportunities associated with global aging, including how to improve healthy aging through the innovation of global health systems and investment in long-term health options; as well as specific initiatives to seize the social and economic opportunity created by the aging population.
This webcast featured leaders from the WEF Council on Ageing discussing these topics and sharing specific outcomes from their discussion in Davos.
"Fostering Engagement and Independence: Opportunities and Challenges for an Aging Society" is a special supplement to the Society of Public Health Education journal Health Education & Behavior. The goal is to examine innovative ways of influencing the health and well-being of the growing senior population.
The State of Aging and Health is an interactive map based on the 2004 and 2007 CDC State of Aging and Health reports – map is viewable by region, state, city and MMSA. It examines 15 key indicators of health status, behaviors, preventive care, and injuries of adults 65 in the US. This data provides an excellent baseline for follow-up reporting on any of these measures.
The Healthy Brain Initiative2013-2018
This report from the Alzheimer's Association and the CDC provides the Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013–2018, outlines how state and local public health agencies and their partners can promote cognitive functioning, address cognitive impairment for individuals living in the community, and help meet the needs of care partners.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 5 million Americans suffering from the disease in 2013. By 2050, that number could triple, according to a joint report from the Alzheimer's Association and CDC. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the Alzheimer’s-specific segment of CDC’s Healthy Aging Program, referred to as The Healthy Brain Initiative. Several organizations, including the Alzheimer's Association, National Institute on Aging, Administration on Aging, AARP and others, partnered with the CDC to create a road map to guide a coordinated public health response across agencies and organizations.The overall intent of the Healthy Brain Initiative is to better understand the public health burden of cognitive impairment through surveillance; build a strong evidence base for policy, communication, and programmatic interventions for improving cognitive health; and translate that foundation into effective public health practice in states and communities.
Much has happened since the first The Healthy Brain Initiative report was published in 2007. The Alzheimer’s Association and CDC revisited the Road Map with a specific focus on the role and contribution of state and local public health agencies. While federal agencies play a critical role in leading and funding efforts to address Alzheimer’s disease, state and local agencies organize and provide public health services on the ground level.
What Alzheimer's initiatives are available in your community?
Are there partnerships or programs to report on? What programs are underway by state, county, or city public health departments, local Alzheimer's Associations or other health organizations?
Are there local families/caregivers you can profile?
What's being done to educate providers and caregivers to spot early warning signs? Can initiatives be integrated into patient centered medical homes?
Has the economy forced cuts to senior programs or caregiver support services?
What does the public need to know about caring for someone with cognitive decline or promoting good cognitive behavior?
Are there any clinical trials or studies underway at local medical/academic institutions?
What about emergency/preparedness planning? What plans are in place in your community/city?
What are some of the costs of care – unpaid/paid caregiving, lost days of work by care providers, medication, counseling, hospitalizations, cost of programs
Healthcare Equality Index (HEI)
The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is the national LGBT benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors and employees. The HEI 2014 evaluates a total of 1,504 healthcare facilities nationwide. Download the 2014 report here.
Avalere Health released a study, Home Health For America, which analyzes Medicare home health care users. They are generally older than age 75, and three-quarters suffer from four or more chronic conditions. They need more help with ADLs, are generally lower-income, and are more likely to be minorities. Some charts and graphs in the report can be coupled with the Home Health Compare database to provide an interesting snapshot of home care users in your community.
Medicare’s page on home health care. The agency notes that patients have to meet various requirements to qualify for coverage.
Leading Age: Represents home health, senior housing, and various long-term care providers.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Medical Device Home Use Initiative. As the population ages, more complex medical devices such as ventilators or infusion pumps are being used in home settings. The FDA launched this initiative in April 2010.
The presentation from Kathleen Kelly, M.P.A., executive director, Family Caregiver Alliance explains the key players in hospital to home, the transitional care model.
Hospice and palliative care
Health Literacy and Palliative Care workshop summary The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) Roundtable on Health Literacy convened a one-day public workshop to explore the relationship between palliative care and health literacy and the importance of health literate communication in providing high-quality delivery of palliative care. This report summarizes the discussions that occurred throughout the workshop and highlights the key lessons presented, practical strategies, and the needs and opportunities for improving health literacy in the United States.
This hospice consumer guide from The Washington Post offers information on costs, services, profits, and various other comparison tools. CMS won’t have “hospice compare” data ready for several more years, so The Washington Post stepped in and created their own Consumer Guide to Hospice. The database is searchable by state, county and hospice name. It provides consumers with basic information such as accreditation, per-patient spending on care, years of operation, crisis care, and live discharges.
A study, "A Controlled Trial to Improve Care for Seriously III Hospitalized Patients" found many people nearing the end of life are not informed of their treatment options and their doctors are unaware of their preferences for treatment, which contributes to a lower quality of life at the end of life.
According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, in 2009:
1.1 million people received hospice services
Medicare spent $12 billion on hospice services
3,500 hospice providers received Medicare reimbursement, a 50 percent increase from 2000; most of the growth has been among for-profit hospice providers
Palliative care is a relatively new addition to the continuum of medical care. Palliative medicine was recognized as a new specialty in 2006 by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine maintains a national directory of physicians who are board certified in palliative medicine.
The Office of the Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice crack down on hospices that aren’t following Medicare rules.
Bloomberg News published an investigation of hospices that enrolled people who were not terminally ill, a violation of Medicare eligibility requirements.
Kaiser Health News reported on a whistleblower complaint that was joined by the federal government against a for-profit hospice that allegedly submitted false Medicare claims for non-terminally ill people. The whistleblowers allege their employer offered incentives to employees (massage chairs, trips to exotic locations, etc.) to encourage them to meet aggressive enrollment targets. See the U.S. Department of Justice press release.
These reports are in addition to earlier actions by the Justice Department against hospices for abusing the benefit.
An annual overview from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), with facts and figures, of important trends in the growth, delivery and quality of hospice care across the country.
CMS Data Brief: Sharp Reductions in Avoidable Hospitalizations Among LTC Facility Residents — Between 2010 and 2015, the hospitalization rate for six potentially avoidable conditions — bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections, congestive heart failure, dehydration, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma, and skin ulcers decreased by 31 percent for Medicare and Medicaid dually-eligible beneficiaries living in long-term care facilities. That resulted in 133,000 fewer hospitalizations over the last 5 years.
In July 2015, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released Fast Stats, a new online tool from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project that provides access to the latest HCUP statistics from 41 states on numbers of hospital discharges by payer group (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, uninsured) and by condition category (surgical, mental health, injury, medical). Reporters can conduct state-by-state comparisons and analyze the effects of Medicaid expansion on hospital utilization levels and payment sources.
ICD-10 Conversion Tool
On Oct. 1, 2015, the United States began using Clinical Modification ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and Procedure Coding System ICD-10-PCS for inpatient hospital procedure coding. This tool offers free conversions of codes from the earlier ICD-9 system.
Hospitalizations: Age 85 and older
According to a new brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the number of adults age 85 and older rose 31% between 2000 and 2010 - from 4.2 million people to 5.5 million. In 2010, they represented 14% of the population age 65 and older. This brief breaks down hospital care for the 85-and-up demographic, examining days of care and number of discharges in comparison to the general population, as well most common causes of hospitalization and the likelihood of hospitalization compared to other age groups.
Homeadvisor.com hosted an aging in place forum to discuss remodeling and design ideas and released the results of this survey which looked at how homeowners are planning to age in place. Grab bars, wider doorways and entrance ramps are by far the most popular remodeling ideas. It’s less-than-scientific, but does offer some insight into what’s important to those planning to remodel.
The National Shared Housing Resource Center is a national clearinghouse of information and resources for homeowners and potential house mates. There’s a list of shared housing resources by state, including local match-up programs. It does not list all programs, however; only those which are members of NSHRC. Read more about home sharing.
The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income Income disparities affect people at every stage of life — including how long they live and how well of they are in retirement. People who are better-educated and earn higher incomes live longer, on average, than those with less education and lower incomes. The gap between high and low earners is widening, according to a September 2015 report from the The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The report found that high earners have disproportionately received larger lifetime benefits from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare, primarily because of a longer life span. “The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income”, offers the first comprehensive estimates of how lifetime benefits are affected by the changing distribution of life expectancy and how the growing gap in longevity affects traditional policy analyses of reforms to the nation’s leading entitlement programs. Skim the contents here or download a complete PDF version here.
AHCJ conference presentation about Washington State’s Death with Dignity Act
National Senior Citizens Law Center: A nonprofit organization focused on protecting the rights of low-income older Americans. The organization uses advocacy and litigation to ensure economic security, health care, rights under federal and state law are maintained – including access to affordable care, expansion of SSI and other income support programs, and ensuring seniors' civil rights are not violated. Several interesting case studies and articles are available on the site, which may provide impetus for local angles or investigation of similar issue.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT)
Meeting the Unique Legal Needs of LGBT Seniors, a June 2016 report from Justice in Aging. Aging LGBT adults face unique systemic challenges including greater risk of aging in poverty, ensuring access to partner benefits, discrimination within the health system, and legal or not, trampling on many of the same rights heterosexual seniors take for granted.
Eight policy recommendations for improving the health & wellness of older adults with HIV: The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has provided the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults: expanding medicaid coverage better provider training, and more emphasis on socio-economics and disparities are some of the issues covered.
Long Term and supportive care - September 2016 report from McKinsey on how the government, private payers, providers, and technology companies are innovating to address individuals with complex medical and supportive care needs.
Summaries of, and links to, key reports and news articles
Contact information for leading experts (current as of June 2015)
Raising Expectations, 2014: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers: In June 2014, AARP, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation released their second long term care scorecard, a state-by-state breakdown of performance of long-term services and supports that help older adults, adults with disabilities and their family caregivers. The rankings looked at 26 performance indicators within five dimensions of care for each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and classifies them against each other.
With the Balancing Incentive Program, the Affordable Care Act provides states with program funding intended to remove barriers to home-and community-based LTSS. This page explains the program and provides links to proposals from states requesting funding — with detailed program and financials. It provides information on what individual states hope to enact around community-based long-term care services.
LongTermCare.com allows you to look up the cost of various long-term care services by state. While it’s industry sponsored, the data is useful. Also included here is information about various state long-term care insurance partnerships.
A survey compares how states do when it comes to providing long-term services and support to vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities.
The National Care Planning Council has a website that offers information about finding long-term care services and planning for long-term care.
CompleteLongtermCare.com allows you to look up the cost of various long-term care services by state. While it’s industry sponsored, the data is useful. Also included here is information about various state long-term care insurance partnerships.
A guide to long-term care insurance from America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry source.
At the Crossroads: Providing Long-Term Services and Supports at a Time of High Demand and Fiscal Constraint -- new report from AARP Public policy Institute analyzes challenges facing states as the demand for long term care services and support (LTSS) increases. While some Medicaid-funded services expand under the Affordable Care Act, many other LTSS program budgets are being slashed – like those for transportation, home delivered meals, and senior centers.
Impact of Changing ACA Age Rating Structure a Miliman Research Report, conducted for AARP Public Policy Institute shows that changing the 3:1 limit on age rating to 5:1 would significantly raise premiums for older adults relative to younger adults, minimally impact overall enrollment, and increase federal spending.
State Health Care Spending, a May 2016 report from Pew Charitable Trusts. The report examines spending and trends for various programs, from Medicaid to Children’s Health Insurance. It looks at the impact of the Affordable Care Act on spending and roadblocks to comprehensive evaluation. Many elderly are “dual eligibles” – low-income seniors who receive benefits under both Medicare and Medicaid. How states choose to spend Medicaid dollars can directly affect their health and quality of life.
Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2014 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center’s National Helpline In 2014, the Medicare Rights Center’s (Medicare Rights) staff and helpline volunteers fielded more than 17,000 questions and issues through the organization’s national consumer helpline. Callers included over 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers across the country. As in previous years, callers were geographically and socioeconomically diverse, and needed help with a wide array of complex Medicare issues.
CMS has released a new Medicare Part D Prescriber Look-up Tool. Data from the 2013 Medicare Part D Prescriber Public Use File can now be easily searched to find information on drugs prescribed by physicians and other practitioners for Medicare beneficiaries. Information available include drug name, number of prescriptions dispensed (including original prescriptions and refills) and drug cost.
On July 28, 2015, CMS released updated Medicare state-by-state enrollment numbers, which show that more than 55 million Americans are covered by Medicare. In comparison, approximately 19.1 million Americans were covered by Medicare in 1966. In 2012, there were nearly 52 million beneficiaries covered by Medicare. The jump in enrollment over the past three years is attributable to the first wave of Baby Boomers retiring. CMS also released state-by-state Medicaid enrollments on a monthly basis. As of May 2015, over 71.6 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with 12.8 million more gaining coverage since 2013. More information is available on Medicaid.gov. This chart provides stats on enrollment as of May 2015 in the various types of plans.
CMS has released Home Health Compare, which allows consumers to assess quality of patient care star ratings on an agency’s relative performance for 9 of the 29 quality measures. Ratings are calculated using information from patient assessments performed by the HHA and from Medicare claims submitted by the HHA.
The nation’s population of older adults is growing, and a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare,” predicts a continuation of this upward trend. By 2050, the number of people 65 and over “..will nearly double, the population ages 80 and older will nearly triple, and the number of nonagenarians and centenarians—people in their 90s and 100s—will quadruple.” The KFF report evaluates the implications of this trend for Medicare and the federal budget, and examines how providers will meet the needs of an older population. A Health Affairs companion article provides some analysis for certain findings in the report.
CMS consumer guide to observational status An easy-to-understand two-page explanation of what it means to be an in-patient or under observation, and what Medicare will and will not pay for. Although the language is pretty basic, it's a helpful overview of exactly what the price of admission (or no admission) may cost.
The 2014 OIG work plan sets up how the Inspector General's office will scrutinize claims that CMS pays to hospitals, nursing homes, and home care agencies, as well as for prescription drugs, medical equipment and other care services. Among them: Part A (inpatient claims, such as the two-midnight rule for hospital admissions, high level-therapy at SNFs, interrupted long-term facility stays, new oversight of hospital pharmaceutical compounding, and questionable Part B claims. There is a wealth of potential story ideas within the report, particularly when coupled with available data from Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare and Home Health Compare.
Medicare Fact Sheet (Primer) from Kaiser Family Foundation: How much do you know about Medicare? This super-detailed and easy to understand "Medicare at a Glance" primer is almost guaranteed to make you more knowledgeable. Well thought out graphs and charts add to understanding of necessarily dry facts & figures. Go learn something new.
The Innovation Center chose 73 individuals out of 920 applicants to help spur delivery system reform in their communities and provide expertise in health care finance, health system analysis and other specialties. Their names and affiliations are available online.
Diversity Style Guide From the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University; this guide includes hundreds of terms related to race/ethnicity, disability, immigration, sexuality and gender identity, drugs and alcohol, and geography. amalgamates information from more than 20 different style guides, journalism organizations and resources.
Federal laws and regulations are codified in Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and guidances issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services. See this excellent summary from attorneys at the National Senior Citizens Law Center.
To review 14 standards laid out in federal National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), see this write-up from Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services For a consumer perspective on CLAS, look at this publication from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
GSA communication director Todd Kluss can provide a PDF of this 38-page booklet and contacts for listed speakers at GSA's 64th annual meeting in Boston. He’ll also search GSA’s journals on any subject and provide relevant journalists pieces at no charge.
Stanford Internet-based Successful Aging (iSAGE): A completely online educational program for health care providers, social workers, allied professionals and others caring for older adults. Modules target targeted specific older ethnic and minority populations. This self-paced training program is designed to provide deeper understanding of the science behind healthy aging and end of life care. Many videos available; good for quick topic overviews.
Six resource centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMARs) funded by the National Institutes in Aging, are key sources on this topic.
National Hispanic Council on Aging: Hispanic seniors represent 7 percent of the U.S. older adult population and, by 2050, they will make up 20 percent of the nation’s older adults. The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) is a national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families and their caregivers. NHCOA has developed a Hispanic Aging Network of community-based organizations across the continental U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that reaches millions of Latinos each year. NHCOA also works to ensure the Hispanic community is better understood and fairly represented in U.S. policies.
National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA): This group’s primary focus is on low-income African-Americans, quality of life, aging with dignity. They offer a health and wellness program which addresses social justice issues in health care – access, barriers, cost. They also provide educational programs on aging-related health issues specific to minority populations.
AARP fact sheet
This fact sheet from AARP provides some basic stats about hunger among the 50 population. It’s a bigger concern than many people realize. Included is a state-by-state ranking and proportion of the older population at risk. Some good story ideas in here based on the data.
SNAP and the state of senior hunger in America
Millions of older Americans go hungry or have food insecurities each year. SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program that helps seniors afford nutritious meals on a budget. This fact sheet provides stats and data on senior hunger. This report offers more insight and detail into the problem, policies, and programs to address hunger and its effect on older adults.
AHRQ’s Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture: 2014 Comparative Database Report is available for download. The report compares patient safety culture in 263 U.S. nursing homes and 18,968 staff. The report also presents results by various nursing home characteristics (size and ownership) and respondent characteristics (job titles, work areas, direct patient contact, shift worked and tenure in nursing home). The report presents statistics, including averages, standard deviations, minimum and maximum scores and percentiles, on the patient safety culture composites and items from the survey.
Consumer Reports has long offered useful information on nursing homes. Its report, "Why the Fed's Web Site Falls Short," September 2006, is available here. CR also created a "Nursing Home Quality Monitor," which is available online as a clickable state map.
AARP offers a host of information, including this guide to state sources of nursing home performance data.
The National Academy on Aging offers a summary of this legislation, which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act of 1965, a federal law with longstanding bipartisan support. The law provides for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to older Americans and their caregivers.
This bill reauthorizes programs through 2018 and includes provisions that aim to protect vulnerable elders by strengthening the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and existing elder abuse screening and prevention efforts. The bill also promotes the delivery of evidence-based programs, such as falls prevention and chronic disease self-management programs. The reauthorization streamlines federal level administration of programs,vpromotes the efficient and effective use of transportation services, and improves coordination between programs at the federal, state, and local levels.
Physical Activity Snapshots of 131 Countries: The Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA!), a council of physical activity researchers has released baseline data cards for 131 countries across the world. These cards offer a detailed look at physical activity research, policy and surveillance worldwide. GoPA! was launched in 2012 after publication of the landmark Lancet Physical Activity Series which described a worldwide physical inactivity pandemic. It is a global organization consisting of physical activity researchers, epidemiologists, public health policy makers and practitioners. The group produces and analyzes reliable, high quality and current global data, information and knowledge on the topic of physical activity and health
This June 2014 report highlights several trends among America’s older population. There are more than 40 million people over age 65. That figure is expected to more than double by mid-century, to 83.7 million people and one-fifth of the U.S. population by 2050. The report presents population trends among older adults, as well as data on life expectancy, how well they age, their financial and educational status, medical, long-term care and housing costs, where they live and with whom, and other factors important for aging and health.
One of the first steps in undertaking a major organizational change is the evaluation of the preparedness of the organization for that implementation. A readiness assessment addresses the organizational, structural, and human factors that impact change implementation. It analyzes an organization’s infrastructure, culture, leadership styles, performance, processes and resources. Readiness assessments identify organizational needs and help administrators develop a plan – whether upgrading IT or introducing QI goals to staff. It also looks at the people within the organization and how adaptable they are to change.
A fact sheet on reverse mortgages from the Federal Trade Commission. Another fact sheet on reverse mortgages from the National Council on Aging.
A Q&A on reverse mortgages from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Disease drivers of aging e-briefing — comprehensive summary report on the The 2016 Advances in Geroscience Summit, from the New York Academy of Sciences in April (see my story here. Individual panelist presentations (slides & audio), and speakers list with contact information is available. Definitely a must-add resource for anyone reporting on the science of aging.
These resources provide information about sleep conditions and improving sleep.
Social Security Spotlight is a report and interactive data project from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security Foundation details Social Security’s economic impact in states and counties nationwide. It includes data on beneficiaries by state, county, Congressional district, race/ethnicity, age and gender.
This free white paper from Tableau will help you understand and decide which chart is best for the type of data you're analyzing and the questions you want to answer. The paper is free to read online but downloading the PDF requires registration (name/email/phone).
Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald makes the case for women's health rehabilitation in this presentation.
Eldercare Workforce Alliance’s Journalist Toolkit
May is Older Americans month and, in recognition, the Eldercare Workforce Alliance has released the Older Americans Month Toolkit for journalists and other stakeholders. It is designed to help easily identify resources that focus on the health and safety of older Americans. Of particular interest are links to personal stories by professionals, caregivers and older adults that can serve as a starting point for story ideas or sources. Links to professional training and guides, as well as Eldercare Workforce-specific programs are also included.