Aging Experience Has Changed Greatly

Only everything has changed in the last 25 years or so.
According to the chief executive officer of the American Association for Retired Persons, that includes the way we approach growing older.

Senior woman lifting dumbbells

Senior woman lifting dumbbells

“The convergence of longer life expectancy and technological advances is opening new doors to exploration and discovery as well as new expectations and possibilities for how we live and age,” Jo Ann Jenkins wrote in a recent edition of the AARP Bulletin . “People today are challenging stereotypes and attitudes about getting older to create a new reality of aging in the 21st century.”
Not only are people living longer, but also they are also living better, she indicated.
“As we get older, we understand that our experience has value and look for ways to make the most of our added years,” she wrote. “We also understand the rigors of family caregiving and recognize that we may need help in providing care for a loved one. And we wonder who will provide care if and when we need it.
We love the idea of being up on the latest smartphone or tablet, even though we may need help figuring it out. We are aware that as we get older, we will become more of a target for a scam or for identity theft, and we want to know how to protect ourselves. We are realistic. We know our needs are changing, and although we may not like it, we face it head on. We don’t stop and withdraw from society because we become a certain age.”

Assessment of Affordable Care Act sees Room for Improvement

Healthcare application

Healthcare application

A recent assessment of the Affordable Care Act by the AARP found that what’s often called Obamacare has dramatically increased health insurance coverage for people 50 to 64 years old, but added “there is still work to be done.”
“The big news is that the uninsured rate among 50- to 64-year-olds dropped by a whopping 47 percent since early ACA implementation,” according to the article on the website of the American Association of Retired Persons. “Those with the highest uninsured rates in December 2013, those with low incomes, Hispanics, and those in fair or poor health, experienced the largest drops. Large gains occurred in Medicaid and private non-group coverage, while employer-sponsored coverage remained stable. This expansion of coverage is good news: Prior to the ACA, many 50- to 64-year-olds without access to health insurance through their employer had few affordable options for obtaining coverage and thus remained uninsured.”
Authors Jane Sung and Olivia Dean went on to say that people in this age group also reported better access to health care they can afford.
On the improvement side, however, the writers noted that “affordable” continues to be a moving target.
“As health care costs continue to rise, many older adults still struggle to afford care and face challenges accessing providers and clinicians. Despite large coverage gains, those who are lower-income, Hispanic, or in fair or poor health continue to lag behind in coverage, affordability and access measures. Among states that haven’t expanded their Medicaid programs, we see higher uninsured rates among 50- to 64-year-olds. Policymakers should continue efforts to improve health coverage, access and affordability for older adults and to further reduce disparities.”
Sung is a senior strategic policy adviser with AARP’s Public Policy Institute.
Dean is a policy analyst with the institute.

AARP Piece Warns Of Con Games Targeting Senior Citizens

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

In something of an ironic twist, the con man whose exploits were portrayed in the 2002 film “Catch Me If You Can” is now the Fraud Watch Network Ambassador for the American Association of Retired Persons.
The new role for Frank W. Abagnale, who became a consultant for the FBI after they finally could catch him, was revealed in a recent AARP Bulletin article about the top scams currently aimed at older people.
In the article, by Joe Kita, Abagnale said con artists find their marks though methods that are almost like playing roulette.
The AARP Bulletin story highlights a serious issue facing more and more senior citizens.
“According to a survey by True Link Financial, older Americans are criminally defrauded of $12.76 billion annually,” the article began. 
“This includes identity theft and all those crazy scams you hear about but smugly think will never work on you. Do you consider yourself friendly? Thrifty? Financially sophisticated? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then according to that same survey you are more likely to be defrauded because you may give strangers the benefit of the doubt, are more enticed by bargains and are comfortable moving larger amounts of money around.
“The next scam victim could be you.”
Among the biggest consumer scams AARP is warning people about is one in which a caller claims to be from Microsoft tech support. Those who fall for this wind having malware installed on their computers.
“Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls,” the story quoted Courtney Gregoire, senior attorney at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, as saying.
Another current con involves callers pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service.
“It’s our number one reported fraud right now,” according to Amy Nofziger with AARP Foundation and Fraud Watch Network, “and I think it’ll get more sophisticated.”

Growing Dilemma: Financial Advice For Those With Dementia

Senior woman with her caregiver

Senior woman with her caregiver

Both government regulators and financial advisors are facing a growing dilemma: what to do for and about people with memory loss.
Sometimes, according to a recent American Association of Retired Persons online article, it is a person at a financial firm who first notices signs of dementia in clients, but that doesn’t mean there are rules and procedures in place for dealing with such a situation.
“Regulators and financial firms are starting to tackle the issue of serving clients with diminished mental capacity, something not covered under federal regulations and addressed by only a few states,” according to the story . “Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, now affects 5.1 million Americans 65 and older, a number that’s expected to nearly triple by mid-century, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Already, financial advisers typically serve at least seven clients with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, according to a 2012 study by Cerulli Associates.
“Current regulations require advisers to protect a customer’s privacy and promptly execute orders, even if they’re imprudent. Advisers worry that by following the rules, they could later be sued by, say, the customer’s family, claiming the client didn’t have the capacity to make financial decisions.”
“The most important warning sign is a change in the person’s risk preferences and choices regarding how to invest money,” Daniel Marson, a neuropsychologist and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was quoted as saying. “They are interested in get-rich-quick schemes that they wouldn’t have paid attention to 10 or 15 years earlier.”
“The prospect that someone with a cognitive disorder might quickly deplete a nest egg or fall victim to a scam is why regulators, financial institutions and consumer advocates are trying to get ahead of the problem,” the story continues.
“The silver tsunami is upon us, and it will continue for the next 15 years, according to Lynne Egan, chairwoman of the senior issues and diminished capacity committee for the North American Securities Administrators Association. “We will see a large portion of our population turn 65.
“One-third of those people will have some diminished capacity, mostly related to general aging, but some will be as a result of dementia.”

AARP Seeks To Help More Than The Retired

Talking to employee

Talking to employee

The American Association of Retired Persons has launched a new service to help people with work issues, which may seem weird since “retired” kind of implies that’s all in the rearview mirror.
But for many people are approaching, have arrived at or are past retirement age, no longer working may not be an option, whether it’s for financial reasons or a need to continue to keep busy.
“Work matters,” according to http://www.aarp.org/work/. “Wherever you are in your work life – looking for a new job, negotiating a job offer, thinking about a second act, or wanting to learn a new skill – AARP Work & Jobs can be your ally. With AARP Work & Jobs, you’ll find a wealth of resources at your fingertips that can help you take control and plan a winning strategy for what comes next in your work life. The site has been especially created for experienced workers to help you navigate the workplace.”
One recent article, written by Kerry Hannon, was titled “8 Common Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make,” and it was highly informative.
“If you are job hunting in your 50s, and some of these ‘don’ts’ describe you, here’s what to do,” according to the story.

  • Keep busy. Employers look for self-starters. Remain active by consulting or blogging in your field, so you can raise your profile.
  • Using Dated Email Accounts
  • Missing a Digital Presence
  • Lacking Salary Flexibility
  • Overlooking Contacts
  • Overdoing Your Résumé. Limit yours to two pages. Recruiters will scan it in 20 or 30 seconds
  • Ruling Out Jobs. Don’t overthink the job description. Treat a job posting as an ideal.
  • Waiting for the Perfect Job. Don’t pass on a job because you don’t think it’s an ideal fit. It might be.