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What’s Rising Even Faster than the Oceans? The Rents!
Plus: Frustrations of long-term care, jump-starting nursing home reform, and more
No. 22/ Jan. 4, 2023
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Rents are on the Rise
There’s bad news for the 30% of older Americans who rent: the median monthly rental nationwide has leaped 22% in the last three years. One consequence is that adults 65 and older are the fastest-growing group of homeless people, and their numbers could triple by 2030, according to the American Society on Aging, which predicts their numbers will triple by 2030. An Urban Institute study finds that more than half of older adult renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and nearly 25% of older renters pay more than half their income on rent. National, state, and local relief programs for burdened renters are “limited,” to put it mildly.
Congress Comes Down Hard on FDA and the Makers of Aduhelm
Do you remember Aduhelm, the much-ballyhooed Alzheimer’s treatment priced at $56,000 annually and never proven to make any difference in Alzheimer’s patients? The drug that was approved in a highly unusual process and single-handedly caused Medicare to jack up Part B premiums? An 18-month Congressional investigation, released in late December, blasted the FDA process as “rife with irregularities” that “raise serious concerns about FDA’s lapses in protocol.” Nor did the report spare Biogen, the drug’s manufacturer, for setting “an unjustifiably high price” as part of a massive marketing campaign to establish Aduhelm’s launch as a “blockbuster.” Aduhelm reduces beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, but scientists have cast doubt on whether attacking the plaque relieves symptoms or reverses the disease.
Searching for Long-Term Care Causes Anxiety and Frustration
One in four adults ages 50 and older needed long-term care for themselves or a loved one last year, and according to a survey by Nexus Insights, more than half found the selection process frustrating and anxiety-producing. The report adds: “The findings illustrate the widespread need for information and guidance about long-term care services…a need that experts say will grow exponentially in the future.”
New Coalition Takes On Overdue Nursing Home Reform
The Moving Forward Coalition, a group funded by a $1 million grant to LeadingAge from The John A. Hartford Foundation, has been given a two-year mandate to produce short- and long-term action plans for reforming nursing homes, where 71% of older adults are unwilling to live. The coalition’s formation is in response to the Biden Administration’s plan to set higher standards for nursing home care and to damning report on the industry from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Expect to see pilot projects in select nursing homes to test whether reform proposals are viable.
Ageism in New York Times Called Out
Stella Fosse, a recent guest on our podcast, has penned an open letter to the New York TImes that points out instances when the “newspaper of record” published headlines and articles filled with ageist caricatures and slurs. Among the headlines cited: “Joe Biden is Too Old To Be President Again,” “Why Are We Still Governed by Baby Boomers and the Remarkably Old?,” and “Is America Stuck in a Gerontocracy?” She identifies ageism as another form of bigotry and calls for the newspaper to reflect and do better.
A Smartphone You Can Read
Most smartphones and tablets have built-in features to make them easier on the eyes and the fingertips, but you have to know how to activate them. The AARP’s Senior Planet offers step-by-step instructions for enlarging text, display, and tiny icons.
What’s Your Legacy?
What will you leave your family – not materially, but in terms of character and moral values? Author, psychologist, and gerontologist Ken Dychtwald offers some questions to consider as you think about your ethical will.