Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Hepatitis C is a serious virus infection that over time can cause liver damage and even liver cancer. Early treatment can prevent this damage. Too many people with hepatitis C do not know they are infected, so they don’t get the medical care they need.
Once infected with the hepatitis C virus, nearly 8 in 10 people remain infected for life. A simple blood test, called a hepatitis C antibody test, can tell if you have ever been infected, but cannot tell whether you are still infected. Only a different follow-up blood test can determine if you are still infected. CDC data show only half of people with a positive hepatitis C antibody test had the follow-up test reported to the health department. The other half did not have a follow-up test reported, although some of them may have been tested. Without the follow-up test, a person will not know if they still have hepatitis C and cannot get the medical care they need.
Sequestering Meals on Wheels Could Cost the Nation $489 Million per Year
Source: Center for Effective Government
Sequestering Meals on Wheels funds could cost taxpayers far more than it saves. While across-the-board spending cuts that began March 1, called sequestration, are expected to reduce spending on Meals on Wheels programs this year by an estimated $10 million, these savings will be dwarfed by at least $489 million per year in increased spending on Medicaid, both this year and in each subsequent year that sequestration remains in place.
Outside of Washington, waiting lists for Meals on Wheels enrollees have received media attention, but the expected savings have remained largely unquestioned. In reality, cutting Meals on Wheels will very likely increase the federal deficit by increasing the overall cost burden and shifting it to Medicaid, local charities, and other programs.
Overall, Meals on Wheels saves the federal taxpayers money by helping participants live at home instead of living in comparatively expensive nursing homes. The average cost to Medicaid of nursing home care per patient is approximately $57,878 annually.
By contrast, the cost to Medicaid of home care is much lower, approximately $15,371 annually, or $42,507 less than nursing home care. Nationally, according to a survey by the Administration on Aging, as many as "92% [of enrollees] say Meals on Wheels means they can continue to live in their own home."
Based on these estimates, our analysis suggests that sequestering Meals on Wheels funds will actually cost the U.S. taxpayer $479 million dollars over the seven months it will be implemented during this federal fiscal year, which ends September 30 (see the appendix for details of this estimate). Moreover, because sequestration-related cuts are expected to increase in FY 2014 and beyond, if sequestration is not reversed, Medicaid-related costs will increase even more in those years.
Ameriprise Survey Shows Retirement Savings Derailed by More Than Just the Recession; Financial Impacts are Measurable
Countless studies have shown that many Baby Boomers don’t believe they have enough savings to live comfortably in retirement, but why are so many financially unprepared? Data from the Retirement DerailersSM survey, released today by Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), helps answer the questions many have about the retirement crisis in America.
The Retirement DerailersSM survey found that the vast majority (90%) of Americans ages 50-70 with $100,000 or more in investable and retirement assets have experienced at least one “derailer” – an economic or life event that has made an impact on their retirement savings goals. The average respondent experienced four of these events, which range from derailers that are beyond their control such as the effects of the recession, to family and lifestyle choices that have lasting financial consequences. In the end, these events set respondents back $117,000 on average. In fact, nearly two in five of the respondents (37%) experienced five or more unanticipated events costing them approximately $144,000.
Unexpected expenses come in all shapes and sizes both before and during retirement, but there are a few that rose to the top. The top three most cited derailers are, not surprisingly, related to the recession. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents say low interest rates impacted the growth of their investments. More than half (55%) say their savings were significantly lowered due to market declines and one-third (33%) admit their home equity is now not going to help fund retirement as much as they expected.
Still, many respondents experienced life events that derailed their retirement. One in four (23%) are supporting a grown child or grandchild and just as many (23%) say their pension plan is not worth as much as they’d thought or has been discontinued. What’s more, one in five respondents’ retirement goals have been thrown off track due to making bad investments (22%), taking social security before retirement age (19%) and/or experiencing a job loss (18%).
While it appears that Boomers have found a way to “make it work” in the short-term as they weather these unexpected derailers, they may not have the ability to be as resilient after they leave the workforce. Only 33 percent of respondents say they are extremely or very confident they would be able to afford an unexpected expense such as large home repairs in retirement.
GAO — Federal Government Has Taken Some Steps but Could Do More to Combat Elder Financial Exploitation
Source: Government Accountability Office
Older adults are being financially exploited by strangers who inundate them with mail, telephone, or Internet scams; unscrupulous financial services professionals; and untrustworthy in-home caregivers. Local law enforcement authorities in the four states GAO visited indicated that investigating and prosecuting the growing number of cases involving interstate and international mass marketing fraud–such as "grandparent scams," which persuade victims to wire money to bail "grandchildren" out of jail or pay their expenses–is particularly difficult. In addition, older adults, like other consumers, may lack the information needed to make sound decisions when choosing a financial services provider. As a result, they can unknowingly risk financial exploitation by those who use questionable tactics to market unsuitable or illegal financial products. Local officials also noted that it is difficult to prevent exploitation by in-home caregivers, such as home health or personal care aides, individuals older adults must rely on.
GAO identified several ways the federal government is, or could be, supporting state and local efforts to combat elder financial exploitation.
- With regard to mass marketing scams, GAO has recommended that the Department of Justice reach out to law enforcement authorities in states to clarify how they can obtain the federal assistance needed to handle interstate or international mass marketing fraud.
- To help prevent exploitation by financial services professionals, the Securities and Exchange Commission links to a public website where the qualifications of individual financial services providers can be found, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued guidance on how best to convey this information to older adults.
- To prevent exploitation by in-home caregivers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides grants that fund background checks for employees of agencies that provide these services.
Other federal efforts are broader in scope and help combat all types of elder financial exploitation. For example, each of the seven federal agencies GAO reviewed has independently undertaken activities to increase public awareness of this exploitation; however, GAO has recommended that the federal government develop a more strategic approach to these efforts. Further, recognizing the importance of collaboration among those interacting with older adults, GAO has recommended measures to educate bank staff on how to identify potential exploitation and improve collaboration among social service and law enforcement agencies, among others, as they respond to reports of exploitation. GAO has also noted the need for more data on the extent and nature of elder financial exploitation, some of which can be collected from consumer complaints filed with federal agencies. Finally, preventing and responding to elder financial exploitation calls for a more cohesive and deliberate national strategy. To this end, GAO has recommended that the Elder Justice Coordinating Council–a group of federal agency heads charged with setting priorities and coordinating federal efforts to combat elder abuse nationwide–develop a written national strategy for combating elder financial exploitation.
Genworth 2013 Annual Cost of Care Survey: Nursing Home Costs Up, At Home Care Prices Remain Relatively Flat
In its 10th year, the Genworth 2013 Cost of Care Survey shows a continued upward trajectory when it comes to the cost of obtaining long term care services. The cost of receiving care in a setting such as an assisted living facility or nursing home is dramatically increasing, while the cost to receive care at home through homemaker services or a home health aide is rising at a much more gradual pace.
"There are many factors that go into rising care costs, from the number of available skilled professionals to real estate prices," said Pat Foley, president of distribution and marketing for Genworth. "If you look at national private nursing home costs over the past 10 years that we’ve done this study, the median annual costs have gone up from $65,200 to $83,950, increasing at more than four percent a year. The better news is that costs for homemaker services and home health aides have remained relatively flat. Since 70% of Genworth’s first time long term care claimants choose in-home care, these costs have remained more manageable."
Nationally, the 2013 median hourly cost of homemaker services and home health aide services is $18 and $19 respectively. Homemaker costs have risen just 1.4 percent since 2012 and 0.8 annually over the past five years. Home health aide services have risen 2.3 percent since 2012 and 1.0 percent annually over the past five years.
The costs to receive care in an assisted living facility are rising much faster. The median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $41,400. This represents an increase of 4.6 percent since 2012 and a 4.3 percent annual increase over the past five years. The comparable cost for a private nursing home room rose 3.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, to $83,950, or 4.5 percent annualized over the past five years.
Self-Reported Increased Confusion or Memory Loss and Associated Functional Difficulties Among Adults Aged ≥60 Years — 21 States, 2011
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
Declines in cognitive function vary among persons and can include changes in attention, memory, learning, executive function, and language capabilities that negatively affect quality of life, personal relationships, and the capacity for making informed decisions about health care and other matters (1). Memory problems typically are one of the first warning signs of cognitive decline, and mild cognitive impairment might be present when memory problems are greater than normal for a person’s age but not as severe as problems experienced with Alzheimer’s disease (2,3). Some, but not all, persons with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer’s disease; others can recover from mild cognitive impairment if certain causes (e.g., medication side effects or depression) are detected and treated (3). In 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, calling for expanding data collection and surveillance efforts to track the prevalence and impact of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia (4). To estimate the prevalence of self-reported increased confusion or memory loss and associated functional difficulties among adults aged ≥60 years, CDC analyzed data from 21 states that administered an optional module in the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The results indicated that 12.7% of respondents reported increased confusion or memory loss in the preceding 12 months. Among those reporting increased confusion or memory loss, 35.2% reported experiencing functional difficulties. These results provide baseline information about the number of noninstitutionalized older adults with increased confusion or memory loss that is causing functional difficulties and might require services and supports now or in the future.
Source: FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network)
The SAR Activity Review – Trends, Tips & Issues is a product of continual dialogue and collaboration among the nation’s financial institutions, law enforcement officials and regulatory agencies to provide meaningful information about the preparation, use and value of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and other FinCEN reports filed by financial institutions.
The Trends & Analysis section of this issue opens with an article on SAR filing patterns related to elder financial exploitation before and after the publication of FinCEN Advisory FIN-2011-A003 (Advisory to Financial Institutions on Filing Suspicious Activity Reports Regarding Elder Financial Exploitation) in February 2011. In this section we also report on trends related to SAR filings involving accountants and involving insider abuse within depository institutions. We close this section with an article from FinCEN’s Office of Special Programs Development on how financial institutions have made use of, and benefited from, information sharing under Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act.
The Law Enforcement Cases section includes interesting and informative summaries of cases that demonstrate the importance and value of BSA data to the law enforcement community. Cases in this section highlight how BSA data, and the detection and analysis of suspicious transactions by financial institutions, proved to be of value to law enforcement and prosecutors.
The month of May is Older Americans Month, and in the Issues & Guidance section we include a message from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on efforts by CFPB, FinCEN and others to raise awareness of elder financial exploitation. In this section, we include an additional article with information beneficial to filers of the new FinCEN SAR: SAR Narrative Key Terms: Updated Guidance on the Use of SAR Check Box Items.
See also: SAR Activity Review – By the Numbers – May 2013 (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor
We use data on international chess tournaments to study the relationship between age and mental productivity in a brain-intensive profession. We show that less talented players tend to leave the game in the earliest phases of their career. When the effects of age on productivity vary with unobserved ability, commonly used fixed effects estimators applied to raw data do not guarantee consistent estimates of age-productivity profiles. In our data, this method strongly over-estimates the productivity of older players. We apply fixed effects to first-differenced data and show that productivity peaks in the early forties and smoothly declines thereafter. Because of this, players aged 60 are 11 percent less productive than players in their early forties.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Providing accommodations to aging workers with disabilities, chronic health problems or reduced work capacity can help employers retain experienced staff who might otherwise leave the workforce prematurely, according to two briefs issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The briefs provide recommendations for state and federal policymakers, employers and health care industry leaders on retaining critical talent. One identifies successful strategies, including supportive policies, for retaining aging health care professionals without sacrificing patient care. The other recommends that employers and policymakers adopt early interventions to prevent disability-related job loss by providing workers with assistive technology and other workplace accommodations.
The briefs summarize assessments and recommendations from two conferences sponsored by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that gathered experts on aging, disability and employment to discuss the impact of aging on the national workforce and health care systems. The U.S Census Bureau projects that, by 2020, many of the 25 million baby boomers that make up more than 40 percent of the current U.S. labor force will exit, leaving many jobs unfilled and taking decades of accumulated knowledge with them. In addition, as the population ages, the demand for health care services will increase just as many health care workers are facing retirement.
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
After languishing for several years, the U.S. remodeling industry appears to be pulling out of its downturn, and a renewal of the nation’s housing stock is underway. The U.S. Housing Stock: Ready for Renewal is the latest report in the Improving America’s Housing series, published by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. Foreclosed properties are being rehabilitated, sustainable home improvements are gaining popularity, older homeowners are retrofitting their homes to accommodate their evolving needs, and the future market potential is immense, as the emerging echo boom generation is projected to be the largest in our nation’s history.
Source: PLoS ONE
Age is a primary social dimension. We behave differently toward people as a function of how old we perceive them to be. Age perception relies on cues that are correlated with age, such as wrinkles. Here we report that aspects of facial contrast–the contrast between facial features and the surrounding skin–decreased with age in a large sample of adult Caucasian females. These same aspects of facial contrast were also significantly correlated with the perceived age of the faces. Individual faces were perceived as younger when these aspects of facial contrast were artificially increased, but older when these aspects of facial contrast were artificially decreased. These findings show that facial contrast plays a role in age perception, and that faces with greater facial contrast look younger. Because facial contrast is increased by typical cosmetics use, we infer that cosmetics function in part by making the face appear younger.
Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies
The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®, as part of its 13th Annual Retirement Survey, has uncovered the staggering truth that nearly half of women (48 percent) do not have any retirement strategy at all, despite the fact that 56 percent of women expect to self fund their retirement through 401(k)s, retirement accounts, or other savings and investments. The Center’s latest study, “Juggling Current Priorities and Long-Term Security: Every Woman Needs Her Own Retirement Strategy,” sheds light on women’s attitudes and behaviors related to saving and planning for retirement, and offers details about how they compare to their male counterparts.
The study found that women’s retirement dreams include traveling, spending more time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies; however, the majority of women (53 percent) plan to retire after age 65 or do not plan to retire. And the majority (53 percent) plan to continue working after they retire, including 45 percent of women who plan to work part-time and eight percent who plan to work full-time. Most of these women will do so for reasons related to income or health benefits.
Women’s expectations of delaying retirement and/or working in retirement illustrate a serious crisis of retirement confidence. More than half of women (54 percent) are “not too confident” or “not at all confident,” compared to only 44 percent of men who share that sentiment. Only seven percent of women are “very confident” in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.
Part of what may be fueling this lack of retirement confidence is a lifelong concern about taking care of family. Women most frequently cite their single greatest retirement fear (26 percent) as not being able to meet the financial needs of their family. More than one in four women (28 percent) expect to take time or have already taken time out of the workforce to act as caregiver for a child or aging parent. Of these caregivers, 73 percent believe that this time out will impact their ability to save for retirement. Further, many reported that their retirement may involve financial caregiving; one in three women (31 percent) expects that when they are retired, they will need to provide financial support for a family member other than their spouse.
Source: Journal of Eating Disorders
Research indicates that body dissatisfaction is correlated with and often predictive of both physical and mental health problems. “Fat talk,” a well-studied form of body image talk in adolescents and university-aged women, has been implicated as contributing to body dissatisfaction and mediating the relationship between body dissatisfaction and other mental health problems. Limited research, however, has investigated fat talk across the female lifespan. Further, consistent with most body image research, fat talk research solely focuses on the thin dimension of idealized female attractiveness, even though other dimensions may contribute to body dissatisfaction in women.
The current study investigated whether or not “old talk,” a hereto un-described form of body image talk, appears to be a parallel, but distinct, form of body image talk that taps into the young dimension of the thin-young-ideal standard of female beauty. An international, internet sample of women (aged 18–87, N = 914) completed questionnaires aimed at assessing fat talk, old talk, body image disturbance, and eating disorder pathology.
Results indicated that both fat talk and old talk were reported by women across the lifespan, although they evidenced different trajectories of frequency. Like fat talk, old talk was significantly correlated with body image disturbance and eating disorder pathology, albeit at a lower rate than fat talk in the total sample. Old talk was more highly correlated with ageing appearance anxiety than fat talk, and the correlation between old talk and body image disturbance and ED pathology increased with women’s ages.
Results suggest that old talk is a form of body image talk that is related to but distinct from fat talk. Old talk appears to be similarly problematic to fat talk for women whose age increases their deviation from the thin-young-ideal. Further research into the phenomenon of old talk is warranted as is increased attention to fat talk across the full lifespan of women.
Has the time come for an older driver vehicle?
Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
The population of the world is growing older. As people grow older they are more likely to experience declines that can make operating a personal automobile more difficult. Once driving abilities begin to decline, older adults are often faced with decreased mobility. Due to the preference for and pervasiveness of the personal automobile for satisfying mobility needs, there is a global necessity to keep older adults driving for as long as they can safely do so. In this report we explore the question: Has the time come for an older driver vehicle? Great gains in safe mobility could be made by designing automobiles that take into account, and help overcome, some of the deficits in abilities common in older people. The report begins by providing a background and rationale for an older driver vehicle, including discussions of relevant trends, age-related declines in functional abilities, and the adverse consequences of decreased mobility. The next section discusses research and issues related to vehicle design and advanced technology with respect to older drivers. The next section explores crashworthiness issues and the unique requirements for older adults. The following section discusses the many issues related to marketing a vehicle that has been designed for older drivers. The report concludes that there is a clear global opportunity to improve the safety, mobility, and quality of life of older adults by designing vehicles and vehicle technologies that help overcome common age-related deficits. The marketing of these vehicles to older consumers, however, will be challenging and will likely require further market research. The development of vehicle design features, new automotive technologies, and crashworthiness systems in the future should be guided by both knowledge of the effects of frailty/fragility of the elderly on crash outcomes, as well as knowledge of common drivingrelated declines in psychomotor, visual, and cognitive abilities. Design strategies that allow for some degree of customization may be particularly beneficial. It is clear that training and education efforts for using new vehicle features will need to be improved.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute
Quick Health Facts 2012: Selected State Data on Older Americans provides a snapshot of each state’s health care landscape by providing comparable state-level and national data for over 70 indicators. This report, which is part of a biannual series on state-level data, is designed to reflect current health care priorities, with a particular focus on data that is relevant to the provisions of the recently upheld health care reform legislation. For example:
- The Demographics section presents data on the 50- to 64-year-old population that shows what percentage of the population could be eligible for health insurance premium and cost-sharing assistance starting in 2014.
- In the Medicare section, the number of Medicare Part B beneficiaries who paid an income-related premium in 2008 is an indicator of how many Medicare Part D enrollees could pay an income-related premium.
- The Coverage and Capacity section includes data on private employers that currently offer health care coverage; many employers will be required to offer health insurance starting in 2014.
In some cases, indicators have been broken down into age subsets to highlight the variation among different age groups.