An Age-Friendly Rural America

AS RURAL America ages and shrinks, officials should strategically plan to help older adults age in place and ensure their communities are accessible to young and old alike, aging experts said Tuesday.

Older adults across the country face a variety of challenges, including social isolation, food insecurity, a lack of transportation, strained finances and mobility issues, according to a recent AARP survey of local aging agencies across the U.S. But older adults living in rural areas are more likely than their urban counterparts to face several of these challenges at once, the survey shows, carrying serious implications for their health.

“Those with multiple unmet social needs may experience even greater risk of poor health,” Lori Parham, who directs AARP Maine, said during a panel at the Aging in America conference in New Orleans on Tuesday. “There’s really a vested interest in figuring out how to look at all of these issues and the whole person as we look at the number of people who are continuing to age.”

Full story at US News

No Kids? Who Will Care for You as You Age?

PREPARING FOR OUR golden years in middle age is usually focused on fattening a 401(k), keeping up with the hottest ranked retirement cities and thinking about how we might adapt a home for aging in place. But are you giving much thought to who’ll take care of you when your health, mobility and independence decline?

If you have kids, you may feel some security knowing there’s a ready-made shortlist of people who might look after you – although it’s not a guarantee they’ll be able to help. But a growing number of people are heading into old age without any children to put on the list of potential caregivers.

In 2016, nearly 15 percent of women ages 40-44 hadn’t given birth and were childless, up from 10 percent in 1976, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A 2013 report from AARP projects that by 2040, about 21 percent of the older, disabled population will be childless.

Full story at US News

How This New Law Will Help Grandparents Raising Grandkids

While Congress continues to duke it out on most issues, legislators have come together a remarkable number of times this year in support of grandparents and other relatives raising children — also known as grandfamilies.

On Monday, July 9, President Trump signed into law The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, first introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in May 2017. The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act has received support from 40 older adult and child advocacy groups including AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics and my group, Generations United, which aims to improve the lives of kids and older adults.

Helping Grandparents Raising Grandkids

What does the new law mean for the more than 2.5 million grandparents who’ve stepped up to raise children when their parents are unable to do so?

Full story at nextavenue.org

ACL’s Family and Caregiver Support Programs: Helping Family Caregivers Better Manage Their Around-the-Clock Responsibilities

Stop for a minute and think about what it means to be a family caregiver. What comes to mind? Is it calling to check on a friend or loved one several times a week? Driving mom or dad to doctors’ appointments? Negotiating with a school about the individual education plan for a child with a disability? Helping with personal and household tasks? Helping to coordinate care and service delivery from across the country? If you’re like most, family caregiving is probably a mix of one or more of these or similar tasks, plus a host of other responsibilities you must balance. While the experience of supporting loved ones who need assistance is unique to each of us, perhaps the one common element is the time such a commitment entails.

According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving , caregivers of adults spend approximately four years providing care, with nearly one-quarter doing so for five years or longer. On average, family caregivers provide 24.4 hours of care per week. Data collected by ACL in 2016 shows that caregivers served by the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) had been providing care for 5-10 years (29.9 percent) while 12 percent had been doing so for 11-20 years. These caregivers spend considerable portions of their day providing care, with fifty percent indicating that their loved ones needed 13-24 hours of help, daily. When asked about the biggest difficulty they faced as family caregivers, 21 percent said they did not have enough time for themselves or their families.

Full story at acl.gov

Millions of informal caregivers at risk for chronic pain, injury trying to help disabled family members

More than ten times a day, 67 year-old Margie helps her husband get up to use the bathroom, eat a meal or get in and out of bed, and struggles to push his wheelchair up the ramp that provides access to their home.

Margie is one of the estimated 42.1 million unpaid, informal caregivers who each year, provide support valued at more than $450 billion to adults, usually family members, with physical disabilities and other conditions that impose limitations on daily activities. And like many informal caregivers, she suffers from chronic back, shoulder and knee pain from the physically demanding work — pain that sometimes prevents her from caring for her husband.

According to a new study from researchers at The Ohio State University, Margie’s experience is common, particularly among the estimated 14 million “high burden” caregivers (defined by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP as people who spend more than 21 hours a week assisting care recipients with activities of daily living).

Full story of chronic pain risk for caregivers at Science Daily

How Obamacare may help families caring for elderly

Those who are taking care of children as well as elderly parents are facing a real strain when it comes to expenses.

However, Utah experts say health costs under Obamacare should be improving, and many are overlooking some benefits.

Far away from the assembly line, light years from the cubicle, they are some of the nation’s most tireless workers. They are loved ones who care for their aging parents.

Sheri Thompson has a mom with Alzheimer’s. It’s basically a second job on the weekends.

“I didn’t think it’d ever be like this,” she said.

Jeanie Williams is increasingly providing care for her parents.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if we have the resources then we’ll help.’ It’s a ‘we’re going to do it,'” she said.

Laura Polacheck with AARP Utah said “The huge burden with care-giving really is that it’s uncompensated care.”

Full story of Obamacare for the elderly at KSL.com

AARP seeks to close hunger gap for seniors

Erie County has a growing number of senior citizens who struggle with hunger, and while many are eligible for government aid, most are not getting that assistance, according to a report released by AARP New York.

More needs to be done to break down the barriers that keep eligible senior citizens from getting help, said Bruce Boissonnault, a member of the AARP Executive Council.

Among the available programs to help them is the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly known as food stamps.

“Currently, half of potentially eligible older adults in New York State are not receiving food assistance through the SNAP program, and AARP estimates that here, in Erie County, the gap is even greater, with an estimated 72 percent of likely eligible older adults not receiving the benefit,” Boissonnault said.

The report, “Hunger Among Older New Yorkers: Breaking Down Barriers,” is an outgrowth of a 2012 summit with stakeholders from around the state. It contains a number of recommendations on how to make it easier for income-eligible senior citizens to access the benefits.

Full story of AARP and senior hunger at City & Religion

Find Help Without Living in a Nursing Home

Find Help Without Living in a Nursing HomeYou can no longer live on your own without the help of a caregiver, but you aren’t yet ready to surrender your independence to a nursing home.

Join the club. A 2010 study by the AARP found that nearly three-quarters of adults ages 45 and older say they’d prefer to age at home as long as possible.

Suzanne Modigliani, a geriatric care manager in Boston, notes that seniors who choose to live a more independent lifestyle, especially those who live alone, should exercise greater vigilance when choosing service providers.

“People can be more vulnerable at home because there’s less oversight, so it’s important to monitor the quality of service,” says Modigliani. “Also, when they are on their own, no one may notice that they missed a medical exam or forgot to wear their Lifeline medical alert system and fell down.”

Full story of living without a nursing home at Fox Business

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