6 things to know about retirement and old age in America


To keep abreast of the latest trends in retirement and aging in America, I like to attend Aging, the American society’s huge annual conference on aging. We are back from the 2023 edition. I wanted to share 8 things I learned that you would like to know.

Before that, let me set the stage. At On Aging 2023, gerontologists, social scientists, and hundreds of other experts will present research, insights, and analysis on everything from retirement to the economic exploitation of the elderly, long-term care, and Medicare in the Biden administration. bottom. change. A keynote speaker: CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on brain health.

In his “Sages of Aging” session, Ken Dychtwald, CEO of research and consulting firm AgeWave, added a sarcasm to the conference. When Dychtwald interviewed 12 of his pioneers in the field of aging for his book The Sages of Aging, they “felt it was time to move on to a more appropriate word than ‘aging’.” said he said. Because it lacks the connotation baggage of “aging.”

About 8 big things I heard:

Concerns about the 3 A’s: age segregation, ageism, ageism

At Dychtwald’s session, he and one of the book sages, Marc Freedman (founder of Encore.org and now co-CEO of the group, renamed and refocused on CoGenerate.org). ) lamented America’s age segregation. Too often, they say, older people congregate only with older people, and younger people congregate with people of their own age. Co-Generate is working to solve that problem.

This session addressed ageism and disabilityism (disabilityism) in America.

“Ageism and disability discrimination often reinforce each other,” said Michael Adams, CEO of Sage, the nation’s largest group improving the lives of LGBTQ+ seniors.

Anti-age and disability activist Ashton Applewhite, citing research from the Yale School of Public Health, estimates the cost of ageism in America at $63 billion. Covid said, “It didn’t make ageism worse. It shed light on it.

Tracey Gendron, chair of the Department of Gerontology at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of Ageism Unmasked, was happy to see more conversations about ageism than ever before.

Reducing ageism isn’t just good for society, said Applewhite of the World Health Organization.

Employers must do better to help workers transition into retirement

University of Houston professor Malaika Edwards, who calls herself a “HR practitioner,” stressed that HR departments need to deal with the imminent retirement of older employees.

“HR professionals need to play a careful role in the pre-retirement planning session, not just the financial side, but all aspects of retirement,” Edwards said.

She also believes more employers should offer older workers gradual retirement options so they can gradually reduce the number of days per week from full-time.

Elder Fraud is bigger than ever

According to numerous speakers at the conference, financial exploitation of older Americans, especially “romance scams,” has surged since the pandemic began. Reason: isolation and loneliness.

According to the 2022 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, the biggest type of elder fraud these days is identity theft. According to Rodnee Warr, senior customer initiative manager at Wells Fargo Advisors, other serious problems include scammers calling themselves the IRS, online purchase fraud, lottery sweepstakes fraud and cryptocurrency fraud.

Dan Lyon, Fraud/Fraud Program Manager at Lifespan of Greater Rochester, an information and guidance group for seniors, issued a startling warning: It warns me that my device for streaming entertainment is outdated and that important information needs to be updated, ”he says Lyon. “They ask for your credit card number.” Then the scammer installs malware on your TV to get your personal information.

Solo agers need support

Millions of older Americans do not have adult children, spouses, partners, or close relatives. You need to find someone who can help you financially and healthily.

“The only people who are morally obligated to care for you are your family.” is needed.”

Jackson Rayner, single senior widower and clinical psychologist, advises single seniors to seek out professionals such as financial advisors and health care advocates to get the support they need.

Long-term care has serious problems

Mary Lou Ciolfi, senior program manager at the University of Maine Center on Aging, revealed an interesting insight from her survey that asked Americans over the age of 60 about their thoughts on moving to a long-term care facility in 2021. . in such a place.

“We found that once we entered the long-term care community, our priorities changed,” Ciolfi says.

Older people not living in long-term care facilities were most concerned that staff would care about their health and that their living environment was safe and private, whereas residents of long-term care facilities were most concerned that staff would said that respectful and caring communication is their key role. Top priority.

“Some reactions [from nonresidents] It brought tears to my eyes,” said Ciolfi. “It’s like, ‘Hopefully I’m planning not to go into long-term care. I’m worried about being caught.”

At the conference, the issue of staffing shortages in nursing homes was repeatedly raised. The pandemic created this problem, but many staffing issues predate the pandemic, experts say.

David Lipshutz of the Center for Medicare Advocacy said the Biden administration will soon propose minimum staffing standards for nursing homes. “Nursing homes will fight vigorously,” he added.

To promote equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ+ older adults in continuing care retiree communities and advanced care facilities, the SAGE Advocacy Group for LGBTQ+ Older Adults and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced in May 2023 Announcing the Long Term Equality Index.

Here are the names of nearly 100 long-term care facilities that the group believes are welcoming to prospective and current LGBTQ+ residents. “Our goal is to ensure that LGBTQ seniors receive welcome and respectful care wherever they live,” says SAGE’s Adams. “Not now.”

Fall prevention and detection assistance are expanding

One in three people over the age of 65 falls each year, and the On Aging exhibit hall is packed with entrepreneurs selling apps and electronics that help prevent or detect such events at home. I was.

Example: A VRI where a fall detection device senses a fall and contacts a care center. His Seesaw with home sensors that predict and detect falls, and AltumView Systems’ Sentinare smart activity sensor that works with Alexa to send alerts when you fall.

There are even specialists who come to elderly people’s homes and perform childproofing equivalent to elderly people.

Companies like Senior Proof in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (founder Sidney Hughes spoke at the conference) look for potential problems that cause falls and offer advice on how to address them. there is According to Hughes, her company has prevented her 14,888 falls in Florida, renovated 1,200 homes, and worked with the Department of Aging.

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