Medicaid Expansion Helps Cut Rate of Older, Uninsured Adults From 12% to 8%

The health law’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes over the poverty line was key to reducing the uninsured rate among 50- to 64-year-olds from nearly 12 percent to 8 percent in 2014, according to a new analysis. “Clearly most of the gains in coverage were in Medicaid or non-group coverage,” says study coauthor Jane Sung, a senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute, which conducted the study with the Urban Institute. Under the health …

The Painkiller Sending Adults 55+ to the ER

Tramadol, a prescription painkiller thought to be less risky than other narcotic pain meds, has caused a sharp spike in emergency room visits, especially among patients 55 or older, two new government reports have found. Tramadol is typically used for the management of moderate to severe pain, such as for after surgery and for ongoing pain from arthritis. It is the active ingredient in such brand name medications as Ultram, Ultracet, ConZip, Ryzolt and Rybix ODT. When it was approved …

Love Theater But Can’t Hear It? Four Showstopping Solutions

Do you love the theater but rarely go because you can’t understand the dialogue or lyrics? Fortunately there are several solutions to this problem beyond the familiar infrared headphones that many theaters offer. And those with hearing loss can even get discount tickets to many shows. First, about infrared. Theaters that seat more than 50 people are required, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide hearing assistance. Most offer infrared systems. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss …

‘Caring for Mom and Dad’: A Movie With Answers

As 75 million boomers march steadily toward old age, a health care problem of monumental proportions awaits. That’s the staggering issue attacked in Caring for Mom and Dad, a new PBS documentary featured at AARP’s Movies for Grownups Film Festival in Miami this week. Sponsored by AARP and Pfizer, the film — now available for viewing online — introduces us to  people who are trying to balance their own lives and careers with caring for aging parents. While the stories are both sobering and inspiring, …

A Delicious Diet That Protects Your Memory

Want a diet that gives an extra boost to your brain? Try a few almonds for a midmorning snack, extra-virgin olive oil on your salad at lunch, and walnuts on your fish dinner. Adding additional helpings of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts to the already brain-healthy Mediterranean diet can help protect your memory and thinking skills, at least according to one new Spanish study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research builds on previous studies finding that the Mediterranean diet — rich in …

Earplugs That Let In the Good, Block the Bad

An interviewer asked me the other day what I was doing for Better Hearing Month (May). Every month is Better Hearing Month for me, I said. Still, when it comes to hearing health, we can’t talk too much about prevention. Most hearing loss is caused by noise, with age either equal or a close second. If your ears are ringing after a concert or football game, they may seem to recover but that ringing is an indication that you may …