The care needs of 3 million older adults in the U.S. that require help with three or more activities of daily living are not being met and may lead to adverse consequences, according to a new report in the Millbank Quarterly. A detailed analysis finds that a disproportionate share of older people who require substantial assistance are poor, minorities or widowed. Additionally, nearly half of older adults, or about 18 million people, need help with or had trouble carrying out at least one ADL in the month prior to analysis.
Researchers examined a representative sample from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). Of those requiring assistance in non-nursing home settings, one in five — about 6.6 million seniors — received help with the most basic self-care or mobility activities. This includes a wide range of assistance from family or paid caregivers such as bathing, dressing, eating, getting rides to medical appointments, or help with walking.
Prevalence of chronic disease is on the rise, and the ability to afford nursing home care is declining among older adults, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau commissioned by the National Institutes of Health.
The report, 65+ in the United States: 2010, 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.
According to the NIA, a key aspect of the report is the effect that the aging of the baby boom generation will have on the U.S. population and on society in general. Baby boomers began to reach age 65 in 2011; between 2010 and 2020, the older generation is projected to grow more rapidly than in any other decade since 1900.
The report points out some critical health-related issues: Continue reading
Image by Ed Yourdon via flickr.
The Alzheimer’s Association just released its latest report, “2014 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures.” This special supplement in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia paints a stark picture about what lies ahead for many older adults. More than 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s and related dementia; 200,000 are suffering from early onset (under age 65). However, the vast majority are senior citizens. One in nine people aged 65 years and older has Alzheimer’s, about 11 percent of the population. By 2050, it’s estimated there will be nearly one million new cases diagnosed annually.
Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 68 percent. This is two to three times greater than deaths from heart disease (16 percent) or stroke (23 percent) during the same period. Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death among adults over age 65. The report projects that in 2014, nearly three-quarters of a million older adults (700,000) will die with the disease or from its complications. It’s also an expensive disease – total payments this year for health, long term, and hospice care are estimated to hit $214 billion.
Other highlights of the report include:
- Almost two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s are women — 3.2 million females compared with 1.8 million males. Among those aged 71 years and older, 16 percent of women have Alzheimer’s and other dementias compared with 11 percent of men. This is primarily because women generally live longer than men, and older age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. A breakdown of prevalence by ethnic group is also included in the report. Continue reading
Image by Tammy Strobel via flickr.
A new report from the The United Hospital Fund and AARP Public Policy Institute finds that spouses who act as the primary family caregiver routinely perform complex medical and nursing tasks without adequate in-home support from health care professionals, especially when compared with non-spousal family caregivers.
Eighty-four percent of spousal care recipients received no professional health care on site, compared to 65 percent of non-spousal care recipients. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of spouses who are caregivers perform many of the tasks that health care professionals do – such as medication management, wound care, using meters and monitors, compared to 42 percent of nonspousal caregivers.
Compounding the challenge, spouses were also less likely to receive help from family or friends or home care aides: 58 percent of the spouses reported no additional help from others, compared to 20 percent of nonspouses. Continue reading
2014 promises to be a big year in health and aging – with plenty of stories on the horizon for health journalists:
Medicare payments, Alzheimer’s breakthroughs, long-term care financing, caregiving issues, the science of longevity, senior-friendly neighborhoods and technology are just some of the issues journalists will likely report on on during this coming year.
Medicare will see several important changes – the 2014 handbook is a handy reference to have nearby. The standard premium of $104.90 and $147 deductible for Part B–provider coverage, remains the same for most people; however, some higher-earning seniors may see their Medicare or Medicare Advantage premiums rise slightly or be affected by some taxes like the capital gains tax. Continue reading