What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

A Cellphone-Only World? Not So Fast

Is the landline “good as dead”? That’s what some media outlets would have you believe from their coverage earlier this year of a report on cellphone-only households. This sensational message makes for eye-catching headlines — but a closer look reveals a different story. Most Americans Still Live in Landline Households Many U.S. households have ditched their landlines and now rely solely on cellphones, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Indeed, the data show …

Paying for Home- and Community-Based Services: Lessons From Oregon

Many older adults need services to stay in their homes or in community-based settings. Getting help with shopping, meal preparation, transportation, medication management, bathing, dressing or mobility can extend community living. But Medicare and private health insurance do not pay for these types of services, and Medicaid (which does) is limited to people with low incomes and almost no savings. As a result, most people pay for these services out of their own pockets. The Symposium Even people who can …

Once More Unto the Security Breach

For the third time this year, I opened an unmarked envelope to find a new credit card glued to the insert. Actually, it wasn’t a new card. Just a replacement for my current card, now unusable because of a security breach somewhere. I’ll be amazed if this card makes it to the end of the year. Sound familiar? Security Breaches on a Massive Scale Huge data breaches affecting millions of American consumers seem to be happening with regularity these days. …

Older Adults and People With Disabilities Want Choice and Control

We all like to have choices. Being able to decide where we live and work, what we eat and how we spend our leisure time all enhance life satisfaction. Having a disability doesn’t diminish the desire for choice. But unfortunately, people with disabilities often lose control over how services are provided when they depend on Medicaid for home- and community-based services (HCBS), such as meal preparation or help with bathing and dressing. It doesn’t have to be this way. Participant-directed …

Helping Older Adults With Depression

The recent death of actor and comedian Robin Williams prompted much-needed public discussion about depression, which affects millions of older Americans — including many who face a number of common risk factors such as financial stress, decline in physical and cognitive health, and social isolation. Research has linked depression to poorer functioning, health status and quality of life among older adults. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify and treat depression in this population, a challenge that comes with a substantial …