The Promise and Pitfalls of Wearable Technology

It’s been almost impossible to avoid the constant stream of media reports discussing the pending release of the Apple Watch. While pundits delve into details about technical specifications and pricing of the watch, it’s easy to overlook the growing trend toward wearable technology (wearables) and the role this technology may play in the lives of those using it. Some will view these devices as expensive gadgets for tech lovers. Others believe this technology can offer important benefits to consumers, particularly …

Health Reform 2.0: Improving Health Literacy of Older Americans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases access to health insurance coverage, establishes a minimum benefit package, makes coverage more affordable, and eliminates most cost sharing for recommended preventive services. Now it’s time to empower consumers to take advantage of these improvements. One way to achieve this goal is to increase basic health literacy. What is health literacy? Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions. Why …

New U.K. Annuity Reforms Are a Step Too Far

After nearly a decade where the United Kingdom has been the gold standard for retirement savings policy, it is about to take a step that it may regret. The U.K. has a retirement savings system that will enable virtually all of its workers to supplement their state-paid pension with retirement savings. When it is fully phased in, they will have access to a low-cost, diversified savings platform that uses automatic enrollment to encourage participation. However, starting in April, the requirement …

Can Streets Make Us Healthy? Open Streets Can

America’s public health crisis has been well documented. More than two-thirds of adults are overweight, and more than 1 in 10 children become obese as early as ages 2 to 5. Boomers have the highest obesity rates of any age group, topping 35 percent in 17 states. Obesity is related to dozens of serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease and vascular dementia. Traditional public health intervention efforts in the form of nutrition and exercise education and promotion have had …

The Thing About the Internet of Things

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Often, the discussion revolves around issues associated with data privacy and cybersecurity. So what is the IoT and what’s all the fuss about? IoT refers to the ever-expanding array of devices that can communicate to external networks. While we all realize our computers and smartphones are connecting to the outside world, more and more devices such as fitness trackers, cameras, cars and thermostats are doing so as well. …

No Silver Bullet: Lessons From International Programs for Financing Long-Term Services and Supports

Life spans are increasing around the world, but countries differ enormously in how they deal with increasing demands for long-term services and supports (LTSS). AARP International recently sponsored a policy symposium on the LTSS systems in Germany, France and the United Kingdom to inform important discussions about how to reform the U.S. system. As AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman noted in her opening remarks, the costs associated with LTSS represent the largest uninsured risk to the retirement security of …