Medicare Celebrates a Half Century

Give Medicare and Medicaid an AARP card — they’re turning 50 this year. At a special program on Wednesday commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary, experts spoke about how the two federal programs have transformed both the country’s health care system and the health of its older citizens. “Medicare has been a health care lifeline for millions of older Americans and must be strengthened for the future,” AARP President Jeannine English said at the conference, sponsored by the LBJ Presidential Library, …

Elder Chic Now Includes Hearing Aids

When I got my first pair of glasses at age 6, they were big, clunky things that covered a third of my face and were heavy in the bargain. As soon as I was old enough, I traded them in for contact lenses. Nowadays, eyeglasses are not just stylish, they’re downright chic. Sophia Loren started the trend with a fabulous array of specs. Meryl Streep, who is 65, often wears glasses, but so do younger stars like Alicia Keys, 34, Jennifer Aniston, 46, and …

Permanent Fix for Medicare Payments to Doctors Moves to Obama

Late on April 14, the U.S. Senate acted to repeal an 18-year-old law that would have slashed Medicare payments to doctors by 21 percent — a measure that has prompted many doctors to flee Medicare. The repeal provides a permanent solution to a problem that has plagued the Medicare system for years. Doctors never knew whether the payments they received for treating Medicare beneficiaries would suddenly drop, making it difficult for them to make long-term business plans and causing some …

Major Report Shows What Works, What Doesn’t, for Better Brain Health

The Institute of Medicine today released a groundbreaking new report that spells out what older Americans can do to keep their brains healthy into very old age, while offering insight into the lifestyle habits and medications that can lead to cognitive decline. The report, cosponsored by AARP and authored by some of the leading neuroscientists, psychiatrists and brain-health experts in the country, offers the first multidisciplinary look at how aging affects the brain. It creates a new term — “cognitive …

Short Men at Greater Risk for Heart Disease

Here’s one more thing to add to the list of ways to reduce your heart attack risk: Don’t be short. Yeah, we know. As if you could control your height. Still, a new study finds a surprising link between some of the genes responsible for height and the risk of heart disease. And the evidence appears much stronger for men than for women. Scientists have known for more than 60 years that there was a relationship between height and heart …

Me and My Smartphone: A Love-Hate Relationship

For someone with moderate to severe hearing loss, the smartphone is both savior and nemesis. I can’t imagine life without a smartphone, but I can imagine many ways that it could be better. First the savior aspect: I have at least two and sometimes three ways to communicate using text. The first is email. The second is texting. And the third, when it works, is captioning for telephone calls. I can also pay for my coffee, go to my gym, …