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In the Shadow of the Great Recession: Experiences and Perspectives of Young Workers

December 19, 2014 Comments off

In the Shadow of the Great Recession: Experiences and Perspectives of Young Workers (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

Young adults in the United States have experienced higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of labor force participation than the general population for at least two decades. The Great Recession exacerbated this phenomenon. Despite a substantial labor market recovery from 2009 through 2014, vulnerable populations—including the nation’s young adults—continue to experience higher rates of unemployment.

Meanwhile, changes in labor market conditions, including globalization and automation, have reduced the availability of well-paid, secure jobs for less-educated persons, particularly those jobs that provide opportunity for advancement. Furthermore, data suggest that young workers entering the labor market are affected by a long-running increase in the use of “contingent” work arrangements, characterized by contracted, part-time, temporary, and seasonal work.

In light of these trends, in 2013, the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs began exploring the experiences and expectations of young Americans entering the labor market. Staff reviewed existing research and engaged external research and policy experts to identify the potential economic implications of these labor market trends on young workers.

This initial exploration raised several questions about the experiences of young workers that were not fully explained by existing data. In response, the Federal Reserve conducted a survey, the Survey of Young Workers, in December 2013 to develop a deeper understanding of the forces at play.

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Reforms to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Reforms to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services
Source: Center for American Progress

Long-term care is a growing challenge in many countries, but this issue brief focuses specifically on Germany and the United States.

About 12 million elderly or disabled Americans rely on long-term care to help them with tasks ranging from eating and bathing to housekeeping and cooking.

The need for long-term care can arise at any age—about 40 percent of people who need this care are under age 65—but the doubling of the elderly population over the coming decades means a substantial increase in the number of people who will need long-term care. The first of the Baby Boom generation reached the traditional retirement age of 65 three years ago, and each day for the next 18 years, about 8,000 more Americans will reach that milestone. As dramatic as these numbers may seem, the U.S. population is aging at a slower pace than other industrialized nations: By 2050, 1 in 5 American residents will be ages 65 and older, as opposed to fewer than 1 in 7 today. Germany, on the other hand, is a particularly fast-aging society: Today, 1 in 5 German residents are already ages 65 and older, and almost 1 in 3 will be those ages by 2050. At the same time, the German workforce is shrinking, and its overall population is projected to decline by 13 percent by 2050.

And thanks to public health improvements and medical breakthroughs, millions of seniors in industrialized nations—including in the United States and Germany—are, on average, living longer and are healthier and more active during their retirement years. But the increased longevity of the senior population also means that millions more people are likely to need long-term care, especially as more seniors age into their 80s and beyond, when the rates of dementia and other cognitive and physical conditions increase. In addition, these conditions require more comprehensive, costly care. For instance, the rate of dementia is less than 1 percent for people under 65 years old, but it rapidly increases to more than 40 percent for those over 85 years old. By 2050, the annual number of new cases of Alzheimer’s is projected to more than double.

Together, these demographic changes have placed enormous pressure on the United States’ inadequate mechanisms for financing long-term supports and services. Policymakers should consider comprehensive changes that will enhance how we pay for these services, balancing public and private insurance with family and friend caregiving. Germany—with its even greater demographic challenges—has taken precisely this approach and therefore provides an illustrative example for the United States.

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use.

Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. Use of a number of illicit drugs also show declines this year.

These findings come from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.

See also: E-cigarettes surpass tobacco cigarettes among teens (PDF)

State Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors and Indoor Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems — United States, November 2014

December 16, 2014 Comments off

State Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors and Indoor Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems — United States, November 2014
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other devices such as electronic hookahs, electronic cigars, and vape pens, are battery-powered devices capable of delivering aerosolized nicotine and additives to the user. Experimentation with and current use of e-cigarettes has risen sharply among youths and adults in the United States (1,2). Youth access to and use of ENDS is of particular concern given the potential adverse effects of nicotine on adolescent brain development (3). Additionally, ENDS use in public indoor areas might passively expose bystanders (e.g., children, pregnant women, and other nontobacco users) to nicotine and other potentially harmful constituents (4,5). ENDS use could have the potential to renormalize tobacco use and complicate enforcement of smoke-free policies (1). State governments can regulate the sales of ENDS and their use in indoor areas where nonusers might be involuntarily exposed to secondhand aerosol (4,5). To learn the current status of state laws regulating the sales and use of ENDS, CDC assessed state laws that prohibit ENDS sales to minors and laws that include ENDS use in conventional smoking prohibitions in indoor areas of private worksites, restaurants, and bars. Findings indicate that as of November 30, 2014, 40 states prohibited ENDS sales to minors, but only three states prohibited ENDS use in private worksites, restaurants, and bars. Of the 40 states that prohibited ENDS sales to minors, 21 did not prohibit ENDS use or conventional smoking in private worksites, restaurants, and bars. Three states had no statewide laws prohibiting ENDS sales to minors and no statewide laws prohibiting ENDS use or conventional smoking in private worksites, restaurants, and bars. According to the Surgeon General, ENDS have the potential for public health harm or public health benefit (1). The possibility of public health benefit from ENDS could arise only if 1) current smokers use these devices to switch completely from combustible tobacco products and 2) the availability and use of combustible tobacco products are rapidly reduced (1). Therefore, when addressing potential public health harms associated with ENDS, it is important to simultaneously uphold and accelerate strategies found by the Surgeon General to prevent and reduce combustible tobacco use, including tobacco price increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, high-impact media campaigns, barrier-free cessation treatment and services, and comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs.

Top health industry issues of 2015

December 15, 2014 Comments off

Top health industry issues of 2015
Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Issue 1: Do-it-yourself healthcare

Issue 2: Leap from mobile app to medical device

Issue 3: Balancing privacy and convenience

Issue 4: High-cost patients spark innovations

Issue 5: Putting a price on positive outcomes

Issue 6: Open everything to everyone

Issue 7: Getting to know the newly insured

Issue 8: Scope of practice expands

Issue 9: Redefining well-being for millennials

Issue 10: Partner to win

Driver Assistance Systems and the Transition to Automated Vehicles: A Path to Increase Older Adult Safety and Mobility?

December 12, 2014 Comments off

Driver Assistance Systems and the Transition to Automated Vehicles: A Path to Increase Older Adult Safety and Mobility?
Source: Public Policy & Aging Report

Transitions in driving roles occur throughout one’s life-time. As medical conditions accrue, they can sporadically or permanently limit driving (Owsley, 2004). Women frequently cease driving earlier than men, and often while still fit to drive (Alsnih & Hensher, 2003; Siren, Hakamies-Blomqvist, & Lindeman, 2004). Widowhood can increase older women’s need to drive (Braitman & Williams, 2011) at a time when this is particularly challenging. On the other hand, even as adults age, they are becoming increasingly economically able to purchase new vehicles (Coughlin, 2009). As a consequence of both the increased numbers and economic independence of older adults, innovations in personal mobility that mitigate the burdens of age will grow in value over the coming decades. A move toward new urbanism, including improved public transit systems and walkable streets and sidewalks, is an admirable vision that would help meet the growing needs of many older adults. However, it will require, at considerable cost, rebuilding or retrofitting the existing infrastructure at a rate that is not likely to meet the needs of today’s aging boomers.

Fully automated or driverless cars, by contrast, represent a path that promises to enhance the mobility options of older adults within the existing infrastructure. However, many consumers do not clearly understand that while the basic building blocks of these systems are available today in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), fully automated or driverless vehicles are still on the distant horizon. For the foreseeable future, automated vehicle technologies, including ADAS, will continue to rely on a “responsible” driver to oversee the technology, capable of resuming control and having the foresight to make many (yet to be defined) strategic operational decisions. But because of their transformative promise and heavy news coverage, the prospect of automated cars has become a source of great hope for many. Some believe that fully automated cars, capable of navigating the roadways while the “operator” reads a paper or takes a nap, will be available within a few years. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Instead, there is work to be done to increase the awareness and education necessary to spur the purchasing of ADAS available today, which will support many older drivers’ mobility and safety needs.

Rape And Sexual Assault Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Rape And Sexual Assault Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
From press release:

Among college-age females (ages 18 to 24), the rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for nonstudents than students for the period 1995–2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today. Nonstudents (65,700) accounted for more than double the average annual number of rape and sexual assault victimizations compared to students (31,300). For 2013, no differences in the rates of rape and sexual assault were found between the two groups.

Rape and sexual assault victimizations were more likely to go unreported to police among victims who were college students (80 percent) than nonstudents (67 percent). About a quarter of student (26 percent) and nonstudent (23 percent) victims who did not report to police believed the incident was a personal matter, and 1 in 5 (20 percent each) stated a fear of reprisal. Student victims (12 percent) were more likely than nonstudent victims (5 percent) to state that the incident was not important enough to report.

While college students experienced lower rates of rape and sexual assault than nonstudents in 1995–2013, their average annual rate was still consistently higher than females in other age brackets (ages 12 to 17 and 25 or older). A third (33 percent) of rape and sexual assault victimizations against female college students involved completed rape, compared to 40 percent of victimizations against nonstudents. The majority of student (56 percent) and nonstudent (52 percent) victims experienced attempted rape or other sexual assault.

This report uses data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to describe the nature of rape and sexual assault against college-age females ages 18 to 24. The NCVS is the only national source of data that compares rape and sexual assault victimization among college students (those enrolled in a college, university, trade school or vocational school) and nonstudents.

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