Weekly Round-Up

Rajiv Nagaich and his staff are continually monitoring the latest developments in the aging-oriented heath, housing, financial, legal and family sectors. Each week the most insightful and thought-provoking articles and news items from their research and reading are gathered here to keep you up to speed in this ever-changing socio-economic-political environment.

Weekly Round-up

From presidential candidates to the man on the street, healthcare costs are on everybody’s mind.  But other than knowing that the U.S. spends more money on healthcare services than any other country in the world or that the cost of medical spending is rising faster than inflation, no one seems to have a fix.  A Kaiser Health News article has broken down the problem to seven factors that we all contribute to one way or the other.  Find the list here.

The national economy is improving.  How do we know?  Medicaid spending this year slowed to 2 percent, the smallest since 2006, and state-federal health insurance programs for the poor also slowed according to a report out from the Kaiser Family Foundation.  At least that’s the findings in a Kaiser Health News article  by Phil Galewitz.   While there’s no real agreement on what the numbers actually mean in the long run, states are projecting the slowdown in enrollment to continue in 2013.  Spending, however, is expected to increase by 3.8.


Campaign ad features Medicaid’s middle class role

Under the 2010 health care law, Medicaid would expand to cover as many as 17 million more people starting in 2014.  Medicaid is often portrayed as a program for the poor but a recent Barack Obama ad changes the focus to the impact of Medicaid cuts to middle class families in covering nursing home care and supporting children with disabilities.  While Medicare has been the subject of both candidates’ ads, this is the first time this year that Medicaid has taken center stage in a presidential election ad.  See the ad here .


Weekly Round-Up 7/28/12

  • Problems with traditional approach to retirement was the topic in this this article on the New York Times. Do you really know how much you need to have saved up in order to retire? If you think your 401K will get you through, then think again.

Weekly Round-Up 7/7/12

  • Reverse mortgage report: There is an upside to a reverse mortgage, and then there is a down side. The upside it that it can be a godsend to those trying to tap their equity in retirement to make ends meet; the downside is that most people using the reverse mortgage are not doing so for the reasons why the mortgage was created in the first place. So, when should you consider a reverse mortgage? View this PDF to learn more.


Weekly Round-Up for 7/7/12

  • Here is a great video worth watching called The Big Idea In 4 Minutes. It discusses the changing environment we face when considering our Life Plan. It is very much in line with what we promote as well. Take a look and let us know what you think: http://www.theagingamericaproject.com/index.php


Weekly Round-Up for 6/30/12

Long Term Care Insurance.  Only 10 percent of the elderly have a private long-term care insurance plan, and because coverage under these plans is often limited, only 4 percent of long-term care expenditures are paid by private insurance, while fully one-third of expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.  Long-term care expenditures represent a significant financial risk for the elderly. A 65-year-old woman has a 44 percent chance of entering a nursing home during her lifetime and, upon entering, faces an average stay of two years. Long-term care is extremely expensive – the average rate for a semi-private room in a nursing home is about $90,000 per year in Washington state.   (see The Economic Bureau of Economic Research for more details).


Weekly Round-Up for June 23, 2012

  • Financial exploitation of elders.  51% of fraud that is commited against seniors is at the hands of strangers; 34% by family, friends and neighbors.  But, you can protect yourself.  Aginging ini secrecy is not a good thing.  It is true that many seniors want to keep their affairs private.  But those who are close to their family and discuss their finances openly with ALL family members, make arrangements so that all family members are aware of the role one may be playing to help a parent, keeps transparency and keeps exploitation at bay.  http://www.preventelderabuse.org/documents/mmi-elder-financial-abuse.pdf
  • 64 percent of those over 65 are more afraid of losing independence or living with pain or physical limitations than of dying (7 percent).  This is a fact that is raised often by AgingOptions advocates.  It should be no surprise that being shuffled to a nursing home is more scary a proposition than dying itself.  The sad part, though, is that most who harbor those fears also feel that there is nothing that can be done about it.  Which is simply not true.  There is much that one can do to better prepare for a time when incapacity might be reality, including moving to a progressive care living community or moving closer to children.  The biggest mistake is not doing something about it under the false premise that there is nothing that can be done to alleviate the issues one might face in future  due to incapacity.  http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Aging/2012/20120620-Older_Americans_Optimistic.htm
  • Living alone increases risks of cardiovascular disease, functional decline and mortality, Compared to many other parts of the world where joint family systems are the norm, we live in a society where nuclear families are the way we age.  One significant downside to this system is that when we face old age and lose our partner isolation will be a haunting reality for most.  And isolation manifests itself in the form of cardiovascular disease, functional decline and accerated mortality.  Perhaps, isolation leads to one giving up on life.  What can you do?  Be aware about it.  Be socially active and mentally engaged.  Move to a progressive care living community, move closer to children and become part of their lives.  Don’t throw away the one life we get on earth by not planning for a time when you might be alone later in life.   http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Alzheimers/2012/20180618-Living_Alone.htm http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Alzheimers/2012/20120618-Older_People.htm
Is the memory loss normal aging or something more?  Testing can tell you whether you are dealing with normal aging or something more sinister like Alzheimer’s.  We all start go forget as we grow old, but it is not always bad. Not knowing if it is a disease could mean that you miss out on being able to arrest the problem when intervention could help slow down the process or cure  it altogether.  http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Aging/2012/20120615-The_Answer.htm


Traditional financial planning advice about annuities that misses the mark!

Like so many others, this link takes you to an AARP article that touts the benefits of annuities as a way to smooth out future retirement income.  And once again, just like most traditional planning solution, it misses the mark.

Annuities are a way to reduce your assets and increase your income.  Say you had $500,000 in assets and a $1500 per month income.  And say the income is proving to be inadequate and you have to raid the  assets on a regular basis and are concerned that you might outlive your money.  The annuity solution is  presented as the solution – you will be asked to take a certain amount of your $500,000 and give it to an  insurance company who will in turn then guarantee you a monthly income for the rest of your life, no matter what the market conditions.  This way you will not outlive your money.


What will not be around in the next several years?

Besides you or I, lots of things.  Knowing what will not be around could help you plan on making more wise buying decisions.  Life is evolving quickly.  Just like rotary phones and pony express are a romantic memory now – so will a lot of gadgets we use today.  The change is already afoot.  It also is a good way to know what not to spend money on, for surely sooner or later these ‘things’ will not be part of our life and will have to be carted to the “unwanted things grave” by you or someone else.  Likely someone else if you are like most people and want to hang on to things that you paid good money for.


Weekly Round-Up for June 9, 2012



Elderly people and their families have long wished to avoid nursing homes. Now the chronically ill and others who need medical care can avoid hospitals under a program in New Mexico. What if we had this option in Washington? http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2012/May/30/Graham-Hospital-At-Home.aspx The new fix on how to care for seniors who have just faced hospitalization – and the wrong answer. http://seniorhousingnews.com/2012/05/30/assisted-living-an-obvious-solution-to-prevent-rehospitalizations-but-needs-a-model/ Get measuring: If your belly measures half of your height or more, you’re at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Don’t worry so much about overall weight; belly fat may be a better indicator of health – or lack thereof — than weight might be. http://blog.aarp.org/2012/06/07/forget-the-scale-measure-your-waist-to-predict-health-risk/ Cutting calories can also help your heart even if you eat a healthy diet. A new study shows that the more your heart rate varies, the easier it adapts to changes. http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Aging/2012/20120606-Cutting_Calories.htm