Category Archives: Aging
A new blog post from the Network for Public Health Law presents the dual public health challenges of seniors driving past the time they should be and the hardships posed when seniors need to get around without their cars. The concern is significant. Studies show that seniors are involved in more fatal car accidents than any other driving age group, and many of the accidents are the results of age-related impairments such as declines in vision and cognition abilities, and increased use of medications.
Because state laws vary, the Network offers legislative proposals for states to consider—as well as the pros and cons for each—such as physician reporting on a senior’s eligibility to drive and restricting driving based solely on age.
The Network’s post offers a link to a helpful AARP article with suggestions for transportation alternatives for seniors who may not be able to drive a car of their own. Here are some others from Peter Notarstefano, director of home and community-based services at Leading Age, formerly the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
- Most states have a dial-in service, usually through the area's Agency on Aging or Department of Social Services; most states also have a dial-in service to connect senior Medicaid recipients with a ride to a Medicaid appointment. There may be limitations on times and days.
- Social Service Block grants and Older Americans Act funding through the local area Agency on Aging will provide transportation to grocery shopping and medical appointments for seniors for free or at a low cost.
- Local municipalities at times have transportation programs for older adults. Check here to find out a source of transportation for seniors in your area.
>>Read the post from the Network for Public Health Law.
Weigh In: Does your community have an effective system to help seniors get around without driving their own cars?
Earlier this week, NewPublicHealth reported on the skyrocketing numbers of older adults in the U.S., and with extended healthy years come greater opportunity. Many adults are exploring an “encore career”—a new stage of life and work that combines necessary continued income with new meaning and a chance to create social change.
Today, 200 of the nation’s leading activists in the encore movement from education, business, philanthropy, government, nonprofits and media will come together at the Encore 2011 conference to move this concept forward. NewPublicHealth spoke with Marc Freedman, MBA, CEO and Founder of Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank that created Encore.org, about the encore movement.
NewPublicHealth: What is an encore career? What’s happening with encore careers, and why now?
Marc Freedman: We’re hearing more and more about people working longer, and for many people it’s an opportunity to consider a whole new chapter. A significant segment of the population, about 9 million people, have decided to launch a chapter that’s at the intersection of continued income, new meaning and social impact—a kind of practical idealism that we’ve been calling an “encore career.” We’re particularly interested in the decision by so many to focus on trying to help solve the problems of the world, in areas like health, the environment and education.
NPH: Who’s coming to this conference and what’s on tap?
In 1980, there were 720,000 people aged 90 and older in the United States. In 2010, that number climbed to 1.9 million people. But by 2050, the ranks of people 90 and older may reach 9 million, according to a new report, “90+ in the United States: 2006–2008.” The report, from the U.S. Census Bureau, was commissioned by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and details the demographic, health and economic status of America's oldest adults.
"With the aging boom it is critical to develop demographic data providing as detailed a picture as possible of our oldest population," says NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, MD. "The information on a variety of factors—income, health status, disabilities and living arrangements—will be particularly useful to researchers, planners and policymakers."
Key findings from the report include:
- A majority of the 90-plus population are widowed white women who live alone or in a nursing home.
- Social Security provides almost half of this group's personal income.
- Almost all have health insurance coverage through Medicare and/or Medicaid.
- Most say they have one or more types of disability.
- Women aged 90 years and older outnumber men nearly three to one; 74.1 percent of the total population aged 90 and older in 2006 to 2008 were women.
- Whites represent 88.1 percent of the total 90-and-older population. Blacks make up 7.6 percent, Hispanics 4 percent and Asians 2.2 percent.
NewPublicHealth spoke with Marie Bernard, MD, a noted geriatrician and deputy director of the NIA about how the report can inform current efforts aimed at healthier aging.
NewPublicHealth: What do we know about the health of current seniors?
Dr. Bernard: Their health is better than prior cohorts, but it is a segment of the population who over the course of time can develop health problems. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, increases in prevalence as do other diseases. But those who make it to 100 really seem to be survivors, and you don’t see much in the way of new health issues then.
NPH: What should people do now to increase the chances of a healthy oldest age?