Weekly Round-Up for May 19, 2012

Housing

  • Banned from a restaurant for getting nursing home care: Frank Bilisoly, 90, and his wife, Indiana, 85, loved dining in the white-tablecloth River Terrace restaurant of the upscale Harbor’s Edge retirement community, where they live in Norfolk, Va. When Bilisoly’s health required him to switch to skilled nursing care at Harbor’s Edge, their restaurant meals together stopped. Why? Because the nursing home was worried about a state law governing where nursing home residents eat. Click to read more.
  • Are you still driving? Many seniors worry about how long they can safely drive. New research tells us that rather than put away the car keys for good, people often start and stop driving several times in old age. More than 70 percent of older drivers get behind the wheel daily. Read more here.
  • Is care a handout or a right? Do you have a right to publicly funded long-term care, no matter how high your net worth? Many people believe they do, but in an opinion piece a researcher of long-term care argues that nursing homes deserve the fees that would-be heirs often want. Click to read his full thoughts.

Health

  • Dire consequences for dialysis patients. A shift last year by the federal government in how it pays for drugs to treat dialysis patients may have had an unintended and potentially dire consequence, according to new research: a significant jump in blood transfusions for patients who now may not be getting enough of the medications. Read more here.
  • Not enough pills to go around. Drug shortages have quadrupled since 2005, and now some 250 medications are in short supply – including those used to treat cancer, provide anesthesia during surgery or feed people intravenously when they cannot eat. Click to read more.
  • New front in fight against Alzheimer’s. The Obama administration is moving forward with an ambitious, fast-moving agenda to improve the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and unlock a method to prevent it by 2025. The final draft of the plan also sets up a wide-ranging effort to improve the care that Alzheimer’s patients receive and support families. Read more here. The rollout of the national plan was accompanied by the launch of a new website, www.alzheimers.gov, which provides legal, financial and medical resources, along with strategies for dealing with daily challenges and other tools.
  • Comparing the candidates. At first glance, the GOP presidential candidates seem virtually identical in their health policy platforms. They are unanimously opposed to last year’s health law, favor reducing federal investment in Medicare and expanding state flexibility in managing Medicaid. But there are important distinctions in policy and tone, which Kaiser Health News summarizes here.
  • Changing cancer treatment options. Cancer treatment is changing: Increasingly, pills are the drug of choice rather than intravenous chemotherapy that drips into a patient’s vein. Because health plans have been slow to adjust to the change, states are increasingly requiring better coverage of oral cancer drugs. Read more here.
  • Fish can fight cancer. Not only is fish great for your brain, it could also lower your risk of rectal and colon cancers, doctors say. Click to read more.
  • Good news for coffee fans. Regular coffee drinkers are likely to live longer, according to a study that followed 400,000 AARP members for more than a decade. Read more here.
  • Shingles vaccine holds promise for seniors. Large clinical trials show that a vaccine can reduces the risk of developing shingles by roughly half. Shingles infects more than 1 million people every year, and older patients are especially likely to face complications. Read about the promising vaccine here.

Finance

  • Conservative group would cut benefits for wealthy. Multimillionaire seniors are getting too much in government subsidies for their Medicare coverage, according to a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation. Click to read more.
  • Share your frugal insights. Do you clip coupons, hold on to ancient attire, and re-use old objects long past when others would consider them “junk”? Then you may be interested in the winners of AARP’s Savings Challenge. Click here for their frugal insights.
  • Tough times for unemployed seniors. The number of long-term unemployed workers aged 55 and older has more than doubled since the recession began in late 2007. Getting back to work is increasingly difficult, according to a new government report being. For unemployed seniors, the chances of reentering the workforce are grim. Read more here.
  • New look at retirement options. One of the biggest flaws in most people’s retirement plan is that few amateur investors have the skill to pick fund allocations while young that will guarantee monthly income for life when they retire. But before long, many people’s 401(k) plans could start looking a lot more like old-fasioned pensions. Click here to read more.
  • Estate tax could climb. The Obama Administration recently released its 2013 budget proposal, which calls for a decrease in the estate tax exemption level and an increase in the top rate that beneficiaries must pay. Read more here.

Legal

  • Bad billings. Medicare paid $5.6 billion to 2,600 pharmacies with questionable billings, including a Kansas drugstore that submitted more than 1,000 prescriptions each for two patients in just one year, government investigators have found. Click to read more.
  • What happens if your beneficiary dies? It’s a bit of ancient history, but Jim Morrison’s will highlights a misunderstanding in estate planning that is still common today: What happens to the balance of a bequest when the beneficiary dies?  Click for an answer.
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