Sunday, September 30, 2012

Acknowledge the Abilities of Older Adults

Photo by Susan NYC
If you go to the grocery store between 9 am and 11 am, you might encounter a demographically disproportionate number of older adults. You might be tempted to view them of clones, each inhabiting the same archetype of "old person." However, if you sat down with each of them, you would discover a wide range of personalities, skills, perceptions and interests   From experience, have you found this to be true of individual people who constitute a crowd of teenagers at the food court in the mall?   It's very easy to stereotype, but it ultimately hinders relationships and limits the contribution of some groups within the larger culture. 

Unfortunately, like many other people who share one defining feature, older adults are subject to stereotypes and myths, some of which I have addressed in previous blog posts. (See posts on Elderspeak, PC Terms for starters.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Buy Jewelry that Will Age Well

Photo by Stacie Stacie Stacie
For two years, I have been volunteering at Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that is home for almost 200 seniors.  This gives me an opportunity to socialize and support people with a wide range of challenges and opportunities.

One of my observations includes the change required in selecting jewelry.  As we age, many people find it difficult to manipulate the small clasps.  Vision changes and fine motor skill changes make it difficult if not impossible to open and close most kinds of clasps on necklaces, bracelets and brooches.

Photo of lobster clasp by Mauro Cateb
Photo by Revere.Academy
There are several types of clasps available.

Most are too hard for aging hands and eyes to manage.

The magnetic clasp is fairly simple to manipulate, and you can retro-fit magnetic clasps on favorite pieces of jewelry.  These are available online.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Older Americans 2012 Federal Report

Photo by Wolfgang.
Thanks to the rigors of my graduate program, I have been compelled to read materials that are outside my comfort zone as a retired English teacher.

Update: See a summary of the 2016 Report

I read the quantitative research of economists, policy analysts and actuaries--all of whom compile and evaluate statistics. Surprisingly, I've developed an interest in these materials.

While you might recoil at reading data-heavy documents, I invite you read at least some of this report generated by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.

The report (just click the title of the report in the text above) is actually relatively accessible because the authors primarily use images coupled with bullet points of data.

Established in 1986, this forum brought together the resources of several federal agencies in order to better focus on the experiences and needs of our nation's older adults. Every two years since 2000, they have published this detailed, yet far-ranging report. 

This report contains data and analysis for 37 Indicators of Well Being are listed within on of these main areas:
  • Population
  • Economics
  • Health Statistics
  • Health Risks and Behaviors
  • Health Care
  • Special Features
If you only read one page of the report, read the page labeled "Highlights," which presents a handful of trends supported with statistics in the body of the report. For example, here is a highlight from the Economics section:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Donut Hole Is Closing by 2020

Photo by Sun Brockie
Medicare Part D is a government-sponsored insurance program that subsidizes beneficiaries' prescriptions.  If you don't understand the basics, please take some time to view the Medicare Part D website.  

This program does not cover 100% of prescription costs. Beneficiaries are responsible for these expenses:
  1. Monthly premium 
  2. Deductible
  3. Co-pays 
  4. Full costs of over-the-counter drugs 
  5. Full costs for drugs not covered in your plan's formulary. 
  6. And if beneficiaries delay signing up for Part D, they have another cost: a permanent penalty for late enrollment, which is 1% of the premium for every month the beneficiary delays signing up for coverage when eligible. 
Of all these expenses, the co-pays give beneficiaries the most trouble. The bottom line: Medicare beneficiaries enrolled now may have to pay $4,700 out-of-pocket annually just in prescription costs, maybe a bit more if they reach catastrophic coverage.