Report Shows Americans Getting (a Little) Healthier

A new report shows Americans are getting better at smoking less, exercising more and reducing deaths from heart disease, but the past year has also brought an alarming rise in the rate of drug deaths, obesity and diabetes. The 26th annual America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation found a 4 percent jump in drug-related deaths, both from illegal and prescription drug abuse, and an obesity rate that has more than doubled in the past 15 years. Get discounts …

Soaring Prices Put Drugs out of Reach for Many Americans

Retail prices for more than 100 widely used specialty prescription drugs surged by nearly 11 percent in 2013, according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report issued today. The report found that the average annual cost of a specialty medication used to treat chronic diseases and conditions rose to more than $53,000 — greater than the U.S. median income and more than twice the $23,500 median income of people on Medicare. Specialty-prescription-drug prices are 18 times higher than …

Family Caregiving Worth $470 Billion a Year, AARP Finds

The economic value of the nation’s family caregivers’ unpaid work is an estimated $470 billion a year — an amount about equal to the annual sales of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest company. That’s the top finding from the AARP Public Policy Institute’s new report, “Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.” The survey found that an estimated 40 million U.S. caregivers devote about 37 billion hours to assisting adult relatives or close friends. Get the support you need to care — AARP Caregiving Resource Center » …

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 …

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 …

Debt for College Hits 70% of Graduates

Most graduates in the Class of 2013 left campus with more than a diploma. Nearly 7 out of 10 also had student loan debt. The average amount: $28,400, up 2 percent from the debt of those who graduated a year earlier. That’s according to a report by the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success, a California-based advocacy group that has been tracking these figures for nine years. >> Hidden College Expenses Education debt is a growing concern …