|Issue of the Day Archive for the ‘Seniors’ Category|
The elderly are the fastest growing segment of our society, and they are a large part of the country’s economy. So crime, especially financial crime, is a growing concern for the Department of Justice since seniors are targeted with alarming frequency and too often successful. Problems with data gathering on such crimes stems from legal definitions of “elderly”, the lack of a national repository of crime statistics like the FBI Uniform Crime Reports or the National Victimization survey specific to elder financial abuse, and the fact that fraud is under reported. A 1998 report conducted by the National Center for on Elder Abuse states that nearly one third of all elder abuse cases included financial exploitation. Also, a study by the US Senate Special Committee on Aging reported $40 billion in losses to telemarketing fraud.
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has invested $2 million nationwide to create a program called the Triad, which partners with law enforcement and senior citizens to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Currently the rate of all types of crime against the elderly is at 2.5 victims per 1,000 persons 65 years old or older. The two highest type of crimes are simple assault and personal theft.
The number of older adults in the United States who are moving in with their younger families is increasing the need for houses with “in-law’ suites across the entire country. This presents emotional difficulties for both seniors and caregivers. According to estimates, there are now 34 million American families who now live together in the United States. Social workers who specialize in caregivers of elderly parents suggest five main ideas to alleviate some of the pressure: talk about issues before events get stressful and communication more difficult, know where to get help, don’t do this by yourself (get help when needed), understand both your finances, and get plenty of sleep, exercise, and a regular diet.
According to the US Census Bureau, living arrangements for seniors has rapidly become a great concern in the last decade. The largest percentage of senior citizens 65 and older, 67.8%, lives in family households whether with spouses or other relatives. The next largest, 32%, are living in non-family settings such as assisted living, living alone or living with nonrelatives.
Seniors Fear Institutionalization as Result of CA Cuts
Published Friday, August 21st, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
More than 36,000 disabled Californian residents have filed a class action lawsuit to stop the state from applying budget cuts in adult day health care services. The State budget signed into law last month reduces the spending for community-based programs for low-income and disabled adults by $28.1 million. The suit seeks immediate court action to prevent the cuts and demands participants be individually assessed to determine what replacement services they are entitled to. Services for adult day health care include nurses, personal care and social services; case and medication management; physical, occupational and speech therapy; and transportation. The cuts would place as many as 8,000 recipients at immediate risk of institutionalization. Backing the suit is Disability Rights California, AARP and the National Senior Citizens Law Center.
According to the Census Bureau, the US population is aging and thus services like the above will become increasingly needed. The largest group of seniors with disabilities is those with sensory disabilities; the second is those who are homebound. Cutting the budget in one place may shift costs elsewhere in the health care or community service systems.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued a report stating that obesity is still growing since last year’s reports of 25.6% adult obesity. The report suggests we have grown to 26.1% adult obesity in 2008. Topping the scale is Mississippi, which registered at 32.8%; Colorado weighed in at 18.5% obese, the only state to remain under 20%. The CDC report comes as a study calls for senior citizens to participate in progressive resistance training. Beyond the obvious need for us all to be more active, senior citizens who exercise build up muscle mass that is typically lost as they age. The clinical review saw a moderate to large improvement in doing simple to complex daily activities, in addition to less pain and osteoarthritis symptoms that also plague the obese.
In the 16 years that the CDC has tracked the obesity levels there has been a steady increase of 47.7% to 67.1% in adolescents and adults. The level of activity vary as much as 10 percentage points between major race groups as 50% of White and Non-Hispanics exercising, 40% black, and 43% Hispanic. Likewise, age groups follow the same pattern as 60% of 18-29 year olds, 47% of 30-74 year olds and 40% of 75 and older workout.
Seniors Feeling Vulnerable with Projected COLA Results
Published Thursday, May 21st, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
In the last week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) is projected to not increase Social Security benefits in the coming years. There has been an increase in benefits every year for 30 years. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the E-CPI (Experimental-Consumer Price Index) weights medical care and shelter more heavily for those aged 62 and older. The regular CPI states that, in 25 years, inflation has risen 3%, yet the E-CPI has risen 3.3% for older Americans. According to the law, Social Security Benefits cannot outpace inflation except when prices fall. When deflation exists, the COLAs remain steady at zero and actually purchase power goes up. In 2008, the rise of energy prices resulted in a 5.8% COLA to compensate in 2009, yet the energy prices dropped and the CBO projects inflation will be below 2008 levels for some years. However, many older Americans believe that no COLA means they are left behind and will suffer.
Poverty for older adults as of 2007 has reduced from a decade ago, yet the disparity between males and females still exist as females are twice more likely to experience poverty than males. Yet, those houses with elderly present have begun to rely more on the food stamp program in recent years. Plus, the retirement rate has slowed and more elderly are reentering the workforce. This comes as Social Security Benefits have steadily risen, especially with the recent rise in energy prices. On the medical side, life expectancy has risen; the percentage of those who take prescriptions is up 13.7%; many more are enrolling in the Medicare program; and expenditures for nurses and retirement homes have risen to $138 billion.
The amount of Social Security benefits will have a Cost-of-Living Adjustment in 2009 with a 5.8% increase, the biggest adjustment in 25 years. The average retiree will see an increase of $68 to $1153. With benefits increasing so does the Annual Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amounts to $14,160 which amounts to $600 more a senior can earn after the Normal Retirement Age and still receive benefits before the Full Retirement Age (For baby boomers turning 62 in 2009, full retirement age is 66.)
The Office of Personnel Management states that the Retirement Rate of the population has increased from 3.5% in 2006 to 3.75% in 2008, the rolls of the beneficiaries of Social Security are surely increasing. Accordingly, one-third of all retirees live solely on their benefits from Social Security and the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 39% of retirees have stated that they will outlive their savings. With these increases, we are seeing the graying of the work force as more and more retirees are going back to work to make ends meet. The adjustment of the benefits, which those depending significantly on Social Security need, will increase the Social Security Taxes next year. Yet with five years till most of the baby boomers reach Full Retirement Age we must expect a steady increase in the Social Security Tax or at least up the taxable Income limit beyond the $106,800 set for 2009.
As reported by WebMD, for the sixth time in Medicare’s 40+ year history, the program will not increase its Part-B, out-of-pocket expenses for doctor visits and out-patient services; however, premiums and deductibles for hospitals will increase. The Medicare Part-B one time deductible amount totals $135. The AARP said that although retirees can “breathe a sigh of relief,” “the average 73-year-old in Medicare has seen his or her premium double since joining the program.”
By law, the Medicare Part-B accounts for one-third of the cost of the program. Thus, when doctor’s fees and equipment expenses go up, so goes the retiree’s fee. In 2009, physicians fees are to rise 1.2%, but the surplus in the Medicare program will probably allow for the fees to remain steady.
However, with Social Security not keeping up with inflation and seniors increasingly at risk of falling into poverty with recent cost of living increases, seniors will have trouble just paying the part-B of Medicare. Plus, as disbursements for Medicare for both doctor and hospital visits rise, there will have to be an adjustment in the overall system for it to maintain its original mandate of access to modern medicine and protection against the high costs of medical care.