Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Medicare Part D "unwise" ...

That is according to R. Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers in the Wall Street Journal online, as quoted in the Health Business Blog. He was talking about the need for overall reform in entitlements. You'll need online access to WSJ to read whole thing, which came in an online exchange/debate with Robert Reich. But you can read the blog entry here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Anyone have a Bob Butler rookie card?

For the agebeater on your holiday cards that feature the top researchers in aging. The most popular? Aubrey de Grey of the University of Cambridge. I'm not sure if it is because of his accomplishments or his great beard. The fine folks at the Alliance for Aging Research are behind it. Check out the cards here.

And who should I see but Joe Volz...

While checking my Medicare page on Google News this morning, who should be staring back at me but a photo of Copley News Service columnist Joe Volz. Google News works on some automatic code I don't understand to aggregate its news. It changes constantly, so I'm not sure the link to his Aging Lifestyle column will still be there, but check it out here. If Joe is gone, that column, on Medicare, lives on here.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another reason I'm glad I don't smoke

USA Today is publishing an article tomorrow (Monday) that says up to half of smokers keep puffing away even after they are diagnosed with cancer. This is according to an article to be released Monday in the online version of the journal Cancer. As one person says, it's like putting a gun in your mouth. Bang.

What everyone is saying about Medicare

One way I track Medicare news is by creating a custom news section on Google News with the word "Medicare." It's an interesting way to get an overview of what newspapers big and small are saying about Part D. A lot of recent coverage is focusing on the confusion and frustration some seniors are expressing over the plan. Most of that is anecdotal, much of it from various informational gatherings, some from congressional representatives home for the holiday. You can check yourself here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Family photos and aging in DC

My brother and parts of our families took a tradition family portrait Thursday, after Thanksgiving dinner -- just two generations (all we have now) but with adults and children ranging in age from 6 to 54. Many changes over the years, not all visible to the camera. I thought of this after seeing this AP story about an exhibit of 31 annual photos of the Brown sisters, now in their 50s and 60s, at the National Gallery of Art in DC. Certainly worth a visit if you are nearby or in town for the upcoming White House Conference on Aging.

Latest Age Beat Online

Here is intro to latest Age Beat Online. Click here for full report.

AGE BEAT ONLINE: Newsletter of the Journalists Exchange on Aging (JEoA)
Nov. 22, 2005 –Volume 5, Number 37
IN THIS ISSUE: A toast to the birds that never flew.
1. ON THE CALENDAR: Beyond Schiavo Seminar at Poynter Institute;
Civic Ventures “Purpose Prize” teleconference, Dec. 1; White House Conference on Aging Update
2. “AGE BEATLES NEWS: Conservatorship Series in L.A. Times; AARP Pubs on Medicare Part D; NOW on PBS Expose on Retirement Health Benefits Nominated for Business Emmy; Pat Samples Get Buzz on Her New Book
4. “LARKIN’S LINKS”: More on Getting Physical

Friday, November 18, 2005

Going dark for holidays

Hi all. I'll be off the blog until after Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day to all.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The good and bad news about Medicare

For an interesting side-by-side, read Republican Tom DeLay's column in the Houston Chronicle about the "good news" and Medicare, and this AP story about Democrat Charles Schumer's desire to scrap the whole thing.

Resources for end-of-life reporting

My guess is everyone reads Romenesko, but you might have missed this on Poynter's web site. Kelly McBride, the institute's ethics group leader, recently posted column of tips and resources for end-of-life reporting. Find it here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Social Security debate making people save?

A survey from Transamerica released today says "the ongoing national dialogue surrounding Social Security may be making a strong impact on Americans'
attitudes and behaviors towards retirement savings, resulting in workers
saving more and employers placing higher value on retirement plans." I do know more young people who are saving in 401(k) plans, something I never considered until my 30s...which is why I expect to be working until 75. (That and being a "rapidly aproaching 50" father of a 6-year-old.)

Thinking more about 401(k) than IVF?

A trend story I've never seen before, adding another twist to the aging of the baby boomer -- a drop in in vitro fertilization even as the number of infertile couples grows, the Boston Globe reports: "But the growth rates of IVF (in vitro fertilization) are falling in part, specialists say, because of the aging of baby boomers: The youngest members of that great demographic wave are now in their 40s and starting to think more about their 401(k) than IVF."

When Boomers Lose Control of the Media

This was sent by pal on the age beat:  Jack Shafer, Slate’s media critic, has an interesting piece dissecting how we’ll know when Baby Boomers have lost control of the media.  It’s an interesting read, focusing mainly on the changing of the guard in pop-culture references slipped into stories and headlines.  Fits well into recent discussions. It contains this prescient piece of wisdom: “When the shocker appears in a New York Times headline, we'll know the boomers have been vanquished.”



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Latest Age Beat Online is available

The latest issue of Age Beat Online, the newsletter of the Journalists Exchange on Aging is available. Here is the intro:
IN THIS ISSUE: Medicare, as simple as A, B, C, #$%^%**& D

1. THE CALENDAR: Confusion--and Confondido--over Medicare Part D
2. "AGE BEATLES NEWS": Gen Y in the Newsroom; A Sad Farewell to Myrna Lewis; A Correction and Comment
4. "LARKIN'S LINKS": Getting Exercised About "Strengths-Based" Models
Click here to read the rest.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Previewing Medicare signup start

It seems, from my non-scientific review of coverage on the eve of the Medicare Part D signup, that many papers took the Q/A route -- explaining some ins and outs to readers. Others when the ways of the Sunday NY Times, talking with people who see doom on the horizon. Guess we'll see.

One way to track what colleagues are doing is to search Medicare in Google News. You can customize the page so the top Medicare stories come up when you go to the site. One advantage to Google News than, say, over is Google lets you sort by relevance -- bringing up grouping of stories on similar topic within Medicare, or by date, which brings up-to-the-minute list of things. (For those with lexis-nexis access, you can do something similar there as well.)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Guardianships for profit series in LA

LA Times begins a four-part series Sunday (Nov. 13) on the use and abuse of guardianships/conservatorship for the elderly. It's posted today on on LA's web site. with some amazing photos. Here's the nut: "Conservatorship began as a way to help families protect enfeebled relatives from predators and self-neglect. As a final recourse, courts take basic freedoms from grown men and women and give conservators sweeping power over their property, their money and the smallest details of their lives. But lawmakers and judges did not foresee that professionals would turn what had been a family matter into a business." Great topic.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ABO/The Blog on a break

In a boomer rite of passage, I am off visiting a college with my
18-year-old daughter. I'll be back blogging by Monday.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Congrats, you're a grandma, now move...

The Christian Science Monitor's Marilyn Gardner has excellent piece today on "trend" of grandparents moving to be closer to their grandchildren. Stats are hard to come by, but intuitively/anecdotally, you can see it. Marilyn even ties it into the retirement communities we are seeing more and more in the "frost belt." It's a good twist on the grandparents helping grandkids story.

Latest Age Beat Online available

Here's what's in the latest edition of Age Beat Online, the newsletter of the Journalists Exchange on Aging:
IN THIS ISSUE: No deductibles or copayments.
1. "AGE BEATLES NEWS": Philly Inquirer Series on Aging in the Burbs; Jaffe's Plain D Plan D Guide; Kaiser Media Program's Duckham Honored by SPJ's Northern California Chapter; Two New Books
2. "THE CALENDAR": Free Seminars on Medicare Part D at Six California Newspapers
3. "ON THE ABO BLOG": Actuarial Clues to Living to 100, and more
Click here to read full newsletter.

What's word in blogosphere about Medicare?

There are several ways to search blogs for content. So if you are wondering what people are saying about Medicare, take a look at Google Blog search. Want another? This one comes from Technorati. Add more words to narrow the search. (This blog pops up in some search engines but not all, which has something to do with ping, which, I understand, means stop in Mandarin but go for blogsearches. UPDATE: Jonathan Dube has good article on searching blogs on

Is it really from the government?

Those with long memories on the agebeat will remember some of the controversy in the late 1980s and 1990s over advocacy groups for seniors that sometimes sounded more official than they were. Today's Washington Post talks about a potential Supreme Court case over some laws that grew out of that time that banned the use of certain words like "Social Security" on envelops. Certainly good issue to take up before ruling.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Medicare and the mid-term elections

Interesting article today by Michael Cannon of the libertarian Cato Institute on the politics of Medicare and the coming backlash against GOP supporters. As he wrote in Detroit Free Press and online here: "Already, GOP candidates are putting distance between themselves and President George W. Bush. Worse, the drug program could foment an anti-Republican backlash. Many seniors will enter the voting booth angry over having lost their prior drug coverage. The Heritage Foundation estimates that by next November, 4 million seniors will be stuck in the program's infamous "doughnut hole" without any coverage." Anyone remember catastrophic health care?

Just saw my first Medicare commerical

Not sure if these are running in other markets but I just saw my first Medicare TV commercial, with a bunch of way-too-enthusiastic "seniors" greeting the mail carrier when he brings their "Medicare & You 2006." If everyone is that happy to get the book, I guess things we'll be OK. (The spot ran on the 5 p.m. news, which is probably good spot, since viewership of TV news is higher among older age groups. But wedged between sweeps-heavy news reports heavy on sex and crime, it was a little startling to see all those happy people.)

More more more on Medicare

Kaiser Family Foundation has couple of Medicare-related things this week. One is webcast at 12:15 p.m. TODAY on "Making Sense of Medicare's Drug Benefit: Information and Resources to Help Beneficiaries" ... On Thursday Kaiser will be releasing a new survey on what seniors thing of the Medicare drug benefit.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Living to 100 ... In Florida?

Just found this online. Sounds interesting, and Florida is a great place in January! "Source: Society of Actuaries Living to 100 and Beyond Monograph
From Forward (PDF) "This collection of papers is intended to add to the body of knowledge on subjects related to current survival rates, future improvement in survival and the impact of increasing numbers of survivors to retirement and beyond. It is hoped that the work described in these papers will encourage wider dissemination of current knowledge and further study leading to the production of more reliable data and advances in ideas and theories." From the Living to 100 and Beyond Symposium; January 12-14, 2005; The Hilton Hotel; Walt Disney World Resort; Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

"Is good sleep a new vital sign?"

It's a good question, and just one raised in a new survey on heathly aging and sleep released today by the International Longevity Center, where you find the venerable and media friendly Dr. Robert N. Butler. Make sure you look at sleep concerns among caregivers, which might make the story even more appealing to readers. Find it at

Ok, so I have an ego

Google, which sooner or later will own everything in the media, started its controversial Google Print service today, allowing you to search the full text of many books. So what did I do ... search for my name. There were more references to Wesley Snipes character of the same name in the movie Passenger 57 than to me, but I did show up in a journalism book pontificating on the age beat. The Journalists Exchange on Aging makes a respectable showing here and there, as does our own Paul Kleyman. Set aside your copyright concerns for a few minues and try it at ... (From a practical standpoint, it could be a way to check on what some source wrote or said in print.)