Prescription Drug Costs Soar, Doubling in 7 Years

Thanks to drug manufacturer price hikes, the average cost for a year’s supply of a prescription drug has jumped to more than $11,000, or about 75 percent of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit and half the median income of someone on Medicare. This latest bad news for older patients’ pocketbooks come from a new AARP Public Policy Institute report, which shows retail prices for widely used medications increased at six times the rate of general inflation in 2013. …

Communities Benefit From Digital Inclusion

Today, almost everyone in the United States has the option of purchasing an Internet connection. Yet tens of millions of Americans do not share in many of the social and economic benefits that Internet use affords. An increasing number of communities are taking action to address this issue. Beyond the digital divide The term “digital divide” first appeared 20 years ago to describe the gap between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not. The goal …

Get Ready for the Future of Housing (and Two Contests)

Many, perhaps even most homes in the United States aren’t well suited for aging in place. A house with stairs at every entrance can be difficult if not impossible for a person with mobility problems to access. Bathrooms without grab bars to help prevent slips and falls can be hazardous for users of any age. CONTEST #1 The Re-Defining Home: Home Today, Home Tomorrow Design Challenge invites architects and designers to create new standards in housing design so people can stay …

Is the Era of Cheap Generic Drugs About to End?

En español | Prices for generic drugs most commonly used by older Americans fell by the smallest percentage since 2006, with 1 in 4 rising in price — some by more than 1,000 percent, according to a new report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI). The report looked at 2013 price trends for 280 generic prescription medications widely used by those age 50-plus. The majority of these generics saw price decreases, some of them substantial, but the overall decline slowed …

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 …

Moments That Keep Caregivers Strong

This week, like so many others, I was deeply touched by a precious moment — captured on video — between Georgia resident Kelly Gunderson and her 87-year-old mother, Daphne, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. As mother and daughter converse, lying side by side in what appears to be a hospital bed, Daphne recognizes her daughter — for the first time in a long while. Having been a family caregiver myself, I know moments like this keep us strong and help …