We baby boomers were lucky to grow up when we did. We came of age during an era of progress. The Beatles … and Woodstock. Civil rights … and women’s rights. We saw men land on the moon and journalism unmask a president’s illegal actions.
Boomers also experienced a time of tremendous advances in science and medicine. We benefited from new vaccines to ward off measles and polio. Learned about the dangers of cholesterol, trans fats and smoking. Vowed to eat right and exercise. Continue reading
The Older Americans Act – signed into law on July 14, 1965 – mandated a national conference on aging every 10 years. I’ve attended the past two White House Conferences on Aging (1995, 2005), and this decade’s event is far different from the previous ones.
This conference was preceded by five, one-day, invitation-only “forums;” prior conferences featured hundreds of federally sanctioned local events. At the one-day forums, mornings were spent listening to national and local experts, then attendees separated into special interest groups for the afternoon to discuss – and then report back on – one of four designated topics. Here is how one attendee assessed the forum in Boston. Continue reading
Maria Torroella Carney
Are you familiar with the term “elder orphan?” That’s how one researcher describes a coming wave of childless and unmarried baby boomers and seniors who are aging alone and unsupported, with no known family member or designated surrogate to act on their behalf.
Nearly one-quarter of Americans over age 65 are already part of or are at risk to join this vulnerable group. With no family member available to check up on them, elder orphans require more awareness and advocacy to ensure their needs are met, said Maria Torroella Carney, M.D., chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York. She presented results of a case study and literature review on the topic on May 15 during the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in suburban District of Columbia. Continue reading
There is some good news coming out of the latest report from the Medicare Trustees. They predict that the trust fund that finances Medicare’s hospital insurance coverage will remain solvent until 2030, four years beyond last year’s projections. Per capita spending is expected to grow more slowly than the overall economy for the next few years, partially due to costs controls under the Affordable Care Act.
However, the report concludes, “notwithstanding recent favorable developments, both the projected baseline and current law projections indicate that Medicare still faces a substantial financial shortfall that will need to be addressed with further legislation.”
“Medicare Part A is moving in the right direction but the day of reckoning has merely been postponed to 2030,” said Rosemary Gibson, senior adviser at The Hastings Center and author of “Medicare Meltdown.” Unless something changes, by 2030 it will lack enough money to pay boomers’ hospital bills. “We’re not out of the woods.” Continue reading
“Have we matched our healthspan to our life span?”
AgeWave.com founder and author Ken Dychtwald asked that question yesterday of a standing-room-only audience at the American Society on Aging Conference in San Diego. “Are we doing the right version of aging?”
Dychtwald moderated a panel discussion on the social, health, financial and cultural implications of our aging population which included Joseph Coughlin of the MIT Age Lab; Fenando Torres-Gil, director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging, UCLA School of Public Affairs; and Jo Ann Jenkens, chief operating officer of AARP. The speakers joined Dychtwald to offer some predictions on a very different looking future of aging than previous generations lived through.
“The new challenge of an aging society is not just living longer,” said Coughlin, “but how we will live better.” After getting some appreciative laughter when showing a slide of aging hippies, and commenting “These are the people your parents warned you about,” he turned serious and asked, “Do you think these folks are going to age as politely and nicely as their grandparents and great-grandparents did?” Continue reading