Regulatory Reform Options for Implantable Devices

In 2011, some widely used implantable heart defibrillators, designed to correct potentially fatal irregular heart rhythms, developed cracked insulation on their high-voltage electrical wires. The result was that in some cases they caused severe shocks, and even deaths. Consumers with the defective implants had to decide whether to undergo dangerous surgery to replace the device or simply monitor it. Until the defective device is replaced, consumers run the risk that it will deliver an unnecessary high-voltage jolt of electricity—described as …

New Nutrition Facts Label: What’s in It for Older Adults?

Since the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, Nutrition Facts labeling has been mandatory for most packaged foods. The majority of food items sold in grocery stores are processed and packaged. Nutrition Facts labels provide consumers with the amount of calories and nutrients in these food items, which can help them make healthier choices. Now more than ever, Americans, especially older adults, are using Nutrition Facts labels when they shop for food. In May, the FDA …

Diabetes Prevention Program Shows Investing in Prevention Pays

Diabetes among older adults is associated with significant health and cost burdens. Nearly a quarter of individuals age 65 and older have been diagnosed with diabetes, and one of every three Medicare dollars is spent on beneficiaries living with the condition. An estimated one-half of the Medicare population is prediabetic, meaning their blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. To address this growing public health concern, in 2011 the Centers for Medicare & …

Shingles Vaccine May Be out of Reach for Some Medicare Beneficiaries

Introduction to Shingles Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful skin rash. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chicken pox. Once people recover from chicken pox, the virus remains in their body in an inactive state. In some people, it stays dormant; in others, the virus reactivates and causes shingles. The condition is most common in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. The most common complication of shingles is …

Uniform Definitions and Data Elements for Collecting Information About Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is an important public health problem that has negative consequences on the health and well-being of older adults and contributes to avoidable health spending. Studies have found that elder abuse leads to increased use of emergency room and in-patient hospital care, and estimates are that annual costs associated with such abuse are over $5.3 billion. The U.S. Administration on Aging defines elder abuse as any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that …

Food Insecurity and Older Adults: What States Can Do to Help

En español | Food insecurity is a significant public health problem for older adults. In 2014, nearly 8 percent (3.47 million) of Americans age 65 and older were living in food insecure households, meaning they did not have balanced meals or enough to eat because they could not afford it. According to current estimates, the share of food-insecure older adults will increase 50 percent by 2025. Many low-income older adults who suffer from food insecurity are often forced to use …