Who Should We Believe about Longevity & Other Claims?

Who should we believe about how long we can REALLY live?Who should we believe about how long we can REALLY live?

Controversy and catchy headlines help sell magazines and advertising, and that makes writing about outrageous claims profitable. The more outlandish, the better. The news media loves it, and so do the readers, whether it’s political controversy or in how long we can live.

The LA Times, in When, and why we must die, is just one of the many news outlets to pick up a story about two scientists who recently published study results concluding that humans can’t live beyond age 122. They’re entitled to their opinion, but I don’t buy it. Read More …

What to ask Clinton and Trump about Healthcare?

I responded to a Huffington Post article about proposed changes to Medicare and questions that should be asked of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but I went deeper into the serious healthcare issues, citing an article I posted yesterday about The Ideal Healthcare System. It referenced differences between public and private sector organizations but primarily spoke of the need to better align incentives to the nation’s health goals. Therefore, my questions to Presidential candidates relate to that larger view of health and healthcare.

What to ask Clinton and Trump about Healthcare?

What would YOU ask Clinton and Trump about Healthcare? (please comment below and share with others)

Read More …

Chipping Away at Healthcare Special Interests Yet?

Is it just “One Step Forward and Two Steps Back?” or is something bigger happening?

Last week I read an excellent article in Huffington Post by Charles Francis, and it inspired today’s post about public interests versus special interests. In this article I’ll reflect on the healthcare progress consumers are making despite politicians working against them. But first, more on the obstacles we face.

Special Interests Pull Puppet Strings

In How Mindfulness Meditation Can Transform Health Care, Charles examines the need to change consumer behavior toward healthier lifestyles, so I thought about the role of incentives and awareness education. I’ve written about that before, but today I’ll take a broader look at the many factors influencing the health and productivity of our nation’s workforce and why I remain guardedly optimistic that we’ll overcome political corruption. Included are links to many related articles and this list of over 130 past articles on healthcare policy. Read More …

Boomers and Digital Health

Baby Steps: Will Boomers Buy Into Mobile Health?Born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boomer generation represents a very large market opportunity for digital health stakeholders, including providers, payers, and developers of tech-enabled services and sensor-based gadgets such as mobile apps, activity trackers, wearable patches, and personal health devices.

Issue Brief: Will Boomers Buy Into Mobile Health? was written by Laurie Orlov for the California Healthcare Foundation to look at digital health market opportunities and challenges among this important demographic. The report’s optimism is driven by the immense opportunity to address rising healthcare costs but is guarded by disappointing adoption so far and the need for lifestyle changes among boomers themselves. It concludes:

Baby boomers are poised to bring on a wave of health costs, and inventors are eager to find ways to meet their needs, ultimately averting unneeded medical services and expense. The experts interviewed for this report acknowledged that the fitness wearable market is still in its infancy. It is too early to determine if providers are willing to accommodate data that can now be transmitted to them. Further, smartphone apps to monitor calories and tricorder technologies to measure vital signs produce data that will eventually need to augment established patient data. Electronic Health Records are not yet portable between physicians who are based in separate medical practices. And expansion of access, subsidized cost of insurance, or doctor availability may stymie care of lower income boomers, leaving the ER as their only ready access to care. … Further, there is uncertainty for innovators, providers, and consumers. … Experts acknowledged that part of the dilemma is sorting out useful from useless apps. From the consumer perspective, AARP notes that while health apps can help improve everything from balance to breathing, today’s mobile health world is at the “wild, wild west” stage.

While adoption of digital health technologies depends on function and design factors to meet real needs, it also depends largely on boomer lifestyles. Will they actually use the apps and gadgets consistently and pay attention to the results? Charlotte Yeh of AARP Services summarized the market adoption dilemma, saying “If you think about health outcomes, 20% is genetics, 20% is the health care delivery system [including digital health technologies], and 60% is lifestyle.” I can generally agree with that.

Other works by Laurie Orlov

Sleep Technology use by Seniors

Today’s guest post on Sleep Technology use by seniors is written by Barry Birkett and first appeared in Senior Care Corner.

A Good Night Sleep and Our Seniors:
Can Technology Help Them Meet?

Sleep is important to us at all ages, but to seniors it can be a matter of health and safety.

Yes, safety. Too many of our senior loved ones are injured, some with long-term impacts, by falls that might not have happened if they had been sleeping well.

Getting enough sleep is more than just a matter of not feeling tired.

We have discussed seniors and sleep in a number of articles here at Senior Care Corner®, helping family caregivers to understand and address this important aspect of daily life. If it matters to our senior loved ones, after all, it matters to us.

Technology and sleep is a topic we haven’t addressed, even though we talk often about what tech can mean to seniors and caregivers.

Thanks to a new report from the Consumer Electronics Association and National Sleep Foundation, we have some information to bridge that gap. Read More …

Senior Housing and Care Settings

Should Older Americans Live in Places Segregated From the Young?

by Stephen M Golant, Professor of Geography, University of Florida, republished here with permission

Residents play shuffleboard at Limetree Park in Bonita Springs, Florida. Steve Nesius/Reuters

Demographers frequently remind us that the United States is a rapidly aging country. From 2010 to 2040, we expect that the age-65-and-over population will more than double in size, from about 40 to 82 million. More than one in five residents will be in their later years. Reflecting our higher life expectancy, over 55% of this older group will be at least in their mid-70s.

While these numbers result in lively debates on issues such as social security or health care spending, they less often provoke discussion on where our aging population should live and why their residential choices matter. Read More …

Grandparents – the fastest growing demographic on Twitter

Senior Tweeter Sure, you can follow me on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Flipboard and Paper.li), but this video makes me feel like a social media newbie.

Grandparents were described as the fastest growing demographic on Twitter.

So far Modern Health Talk has posted nearly 6,000 tweets and has over 350 followers, but I seem to have much to learn as social media evolves. Please comment or email me to suggest ways to improve our reach and impact. Here’s what I’m looking for, but tell me what you think I should hear too.

  1. How do you prefer to follow me? (Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, etc.)
  2. When do you use Twitter or other social media ? (day of week and time)
  3. What gets your interest? (images, videos, articles, cartoons)
  4. Is there anything you’d like from Modern Health Talk that we’re NOT providing?

Read More …

Most Americans Eager to Use Digital Health Tools

Today's Wired Patient - INFOGRAPHIC

Today’s Wired Patient – This infographic from Makovsky Health survey shows that, from online search to wearables, technology is changing patient-focused healthcare every step of the way. [Scroll down for a larger version, or click the image for the full size.]

According to the Fifth Annual “Pulse of Online Health” Survey, 66% of Americans are eager to leverage digital tools to manage personal health.

Today’s Wired Patient – This infographic from Makovsky Health survey shows that, from online search to wearables, technology is changing patient-focused healthcare every step of the way. [Scroll down for a larger version, or click the image for the full size.]

This year’s survey reveals consumer readiness to leverage health apps and wearable devices to improve their personal health, and to disclose online personal health data as a path to improved treatment options, trust and quality of health information were cited as important factors in selecting online health sources.

“Smartphones and wearables are driving a major behavioral shift in consumer health and wellness,” said Gil Bashe, executive vice president, Makovsky Health.

Consumers eager to leverage technology for better health

Top interests when downloading and using mobile health apps reflect proactive desires for informative, functional and interactive programs:

  • Tracking diet/nutrition (47%),
  • Medication reminders (46%),
  • Tracking symptoms (45%), and
  • Tracking physical activity (44%).

Read More …

The Cost of Aging in America

 

Income levels for aging Americans are increasing,
but not as quickly as “The Cost of Aging in America.”

The infographic below was produced by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. It explores the serious financial burdens faced by aging Americans, their loved ones, and industry — as well as steps our health care system might take to counteract this trend. I gladly feature it today to complement other articles here about health reform, public policy, and the future of healthcare.

Some highlights:

  • The number of seniors 85 and older will triple by 2050, an important statistic because these are people who need the most expensive care.
  • The cost of healthcare in America is already over $3 trillion/year, and that doesn’t even include the roughly $450 billion provided by unpaid family members.
  • Paid caregivers earn just $18-20K per year, and while demand for their services will likely double by 2022, their wages likely won’t increase much.

Read More …

Snooze or Lose – TODAY Show series summary

Snooze or LoseOn November 9th, TODAY launches a weeklong “Snooze or Lose” series with a commissioned survey exploring why Americans can’t sleep. Highlights with the best statistics and videos are shown below, but more can be found at the link to today.com.

Sleep Statistics

Americans feel so sleep deprived that almost half of adults — 65% of women — prefer a good night’s sleep over sex.

  • 72% of adults see sleep as one of the great pleasures of life, but 46% say they don’t get enough. It’s even worse for women; 58% fall short of their ideal goal of just over eight hours a night.
  • 33% of young adults 18-34 believe to get ahead in their careers, they must survive on less sleep; while 19% of 35-54 year-olds and just 6% for seniors  think this.
  • 40% of young adults, 33% of older adults, and over 11% of seniors believe they must sacrifice sleep to care for their families.
  • 64% of young adults, 49% of older adults, and 35% of seniors agree that being able to survive on less sleep would be an advantage.
  • 32% of young adults say work makes them fret throughout the night.
  • 31% say their children cause sleepless nights.
  • When it comes to children, interrupted sleep seems unavoidable and 42% of people with a child under 18 report inadequate sleep.

Read More …

Life Begins After 70

 

Life Begins After 70Often life begins after 70, so we share this infographic to celebrate seven amazing people who achieved phenomenal things in their later years, including:

  1. Katsusuke Yanagisawa climbed Mt. Everest at age 71.
  2. John Glen went back into space on the space shuttle Discovery at age 77.
  3. Thomas Lackey performed a “loop the loop” on top of an aircraft at age 85.
  4. Leonid Hurwicz won the Nobel Price for Economics at age 90.
  5. Nola Ochs earned a Master’s Degree at age 98. She got her Bachelor’s at 95.
  6. Fauja Singh was 101 when he ran his last competitive marathon race at 8 hrs, 11 min.
  7. Edythe Kirchmaier opened her Facebook account on her 105th birthday. She’s now 106.

Read More …

Housing an Aging Population

U.S. Unprepared to Meet the Housing Needs
of Its Aging Population

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies & AARP Foundation Release New Report

Washington, D.C. & Cambridge, MA (9/2/2014) – America’s older population is in the midst of unprecedented growth, but the country is not prepared to meet the housing needs of this aging group, concludes a new report released today by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation. According to Housing America’s Older Adults—Meeting the Needs of An Aging Population, the number of adults in the U.S. aged 50 and over is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70 percent since 2000 (see interactive map). But housing that is affordable, physically accessible, well-located, and coordinated with supports and services is in too short supply.

Aging Brings Risks

Read More …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired my Modern Health Talk vision. (Click image to see book. Go to end to hear about the MiniTrends conference.)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

Read More …

When Robots Come for Grandma

Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for GrandmaWhen Robots Come for Grandma is a long and thought-provoking article by Zeynep Tufekci that builds a case against “caregiver robots,” arguing that they are both inhumane and economically destructive.

She got me thinking, and I hope this has the same effect on you. I would have liked to add my own perspectives with links to related articles here at Modern Health Talk. I’d start with Will Robots Take Over in Health Care? Unfortunately there was no space to add comments.

I hope you’ll share your own thoughts in the space I give below. Read More …

Poverty in America — living below The Line

The Line is an important documentary that covers the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. Across America, millions are struggling every day to make it above The Line.

As shown in the Stats below and the accompanying infographic, poverty is a drag on the economy that also affects the cost of healthcare, as I’ve written before in this blog. Read More …

How to Live Long and Healthy

90+

Helen Weil, 92, and Henry Tornell, 94 (CBS NEWS from 60 Minutes segment on “Living to 90 and Beyond”)

Until recently, very little was known about what it takes to live well into our 90s. That’s because there weren’t many people that old to study, and because records were sparse about their diet and lifestyle. But today men and women above the age of 90 have become the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and there’s new research that helps explain why. 

What can we do now to live long and healthy?

Finding out was the goal of a new research study known as “90+,” which was the subject of a 60 Minutes segment on Living to 90 and Beyond.   Read More …

Life Over 60 Infographic – Stats and Advice

Life over 60INFOGRAPHIC HIGHLIGHTS

These bullet points from the infographic (below) are for screen readers and search agents

More seniors – The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%. Life over 60 doesn’t mean that positive lifestyle and outlook changes can’t be made.

  • 400 million – By 2050, the world will have almost 400 million people aged 80 years or older.
  • 80% – By 2050, 80% of older peole will live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Help needed – The number of older people who are no longer able to look after themselves in developing countries is forecast to quadruple by 2050.
  • The main health burdens of older people are from non-communicable diseases.
  • WHO maintains that all health providers should be trained on ageing issues.
  • Creating “age-friendly” physical and social environments can have a big impact on improving the active participation and independence of older people.
  • The risk of premature death decreases by 50% if someone gives up smoking between 60 and 75 years of age.

Read More …

The Underestimated Caregiver Burden

The number of family caregivers is declining.By Henry Moss (original at American Society on Aging)

Caregiver burden is emotional and subjective. We try to measure it by looking at rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the caregiver population, and at the seriousness of these disorders. We know the highest rates of emotional burden and the deepest levels of depression are felt by caregivers who experience entrapment—a sense of powerlessness, aloneness and suffering associated with long periods of caregiving for the most difficult elders, especially those with dementia. We are aware of the many studies showing how excess stress and emotional burden can impact a caregiver’s health, finances and family life, creating even more anxiety and depression.

We already know that the 45- to 64-year-old population will grow only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, while the age 80 and older baby boomer population increases by 79 percent. As the age 80 and older baby boomer cohort grows, the number of family caregivers available to assist them drops dramatically, from 7.5 in 2010 to 2.9 in 2050, a more than 50 percent decline. Alarm bells have been going off and researchers and advocates have been busy estimating the impact on the long-term-care system. Read More …