Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Age Beat Online for Jan. 31


Newsletter of the Journalists Exchange on Aging (JEoA)

Jan. 31, 2006 -Volume 6, Number 4

NOTE: Let ABO Editor Paul Kleyman know if you have technical problems receiving issues of ABO or if you'd like to be removed from the list. Phone: (415) 974-9619; e-mail: paul@asaging.org. Thanks for help on this issue go to John Cutter, Marilynn Larkin and Mary Johnson. The most recent four issues of ABO are posted online at www.asaging.org/agebeat.

Send news about substantial articles or series on aging, special sections, your book, awards or other developments to paul@asaging.org. And check out ABO the Blog at http://agebeat.blogspot.com.

IN THIS ISSUE: Reporter-driven healthcare. (Vroom, chug, chug).

1. "AGE BEATLES NEWS": "Ethnic Pulitzers"; "Elder Rage" Author Jacqueline Marcell on Today Show Feb. 1; and more

2. SOURCES: Medicare on NPR's "Fresh Air"; Cornell Wisdom Launch National Project

3. MONTANA EXPOSURE: Hi-De-Ho from KXLO and KLCM Radio

4. "LARKIN'S LINKS" on Film Depicting Drug Company Practices

You can read the rest here.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Good Medicare Q/A on NPR

NPR posted a Q/A on Medicare, its initial problems, recent signs of improvements, and advice on where to turn for help. You can find it at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5174771

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Study on drugs and dual eligibles

Not sure if this is new from today, but it is from this month:

Medicare and Medicaid--Drug Formularies
Source: Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dual Eligibles' Transition: Part D Formularies' Inclusion of Commonly Used Drugs (PDF; 1.14 MB)
"This study determined the extent to which Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) formularies include the drugs that the dual eligible population (i.e., beneficiaries of both Medicare and Medicaid) commonly used under Medicaid. On January 1, 2006, outpatient prescription drug coverage for dual eligibles was transferred from Medicaid to Medicare. Differences in coverage of commonly used drugs may present challenges during this transition. We identified 200 drugs highly utilized by the dual eligible population in 2005. Of these, 178 drugs are eligible for Part D coverage, and 22 fall into categories that are statutorily excluded from Part D, but which States may opt to cover through their Medicaid programs."     

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Firms cutting off some drugs

In tomorrow's (Friday's) Washington Post: "Several of the nation's largest drug manufacturers say they will no longer provide free or discounted medications to low-income elderly and disabled patients because they should be covered by the new Medicare drug benefit."

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Study on drugs and dual eligibles

Not sure if this is new from today, but it is from this month:

Medicare and Medicaid--Drug Formularies
Source: Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dual Eligibles' Transition: Part D Formularies' Inclusion of Commonly Used Drugs (PDF; 1.14 MB)
"This study determined the extent to which Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) formularies include the drugs that the dual eligible population (i.e., beneficiaries of both Medicare and Medicaid) commonly used under Medicaid. On January 1, 2006, outpatient prescription drug coverage for dual eligibles was transferred from Medicaid to Medicare. Differences in coverage of commonly used drugs may present challenges during this transition. We identified 200 drugs highly utilized by the dual eligible population in 2005. Of these, 178 drugs are eligible for Part D coverage, and 22 fall into categories that are statutorily excluded from Part D, but which States may opt to cover through their Medicaid programs."     

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Aging Consumer

Another tip from ResourceShelf Docuticker
Older Consumers
Source: Deloitte Development LLC
Getting Ready for the Aging Consumer: What You Need to Know
"In 2008, the dominant customers in the U.S. and the world will be consumers age 50 and older. Regardless of your industry or sector, you could prosper by focusing on these aging consumers and understanding their evolving needs. New research, a podcast and articles from Deloitte & Touche USA LLP can help you understand these older consumers-what they want, how their needs will change over the years and how your business can serve them best."  

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Age Beat Online for Jan. 24

AGE BEAT ONLINE: Newsletter of the Journalists Exchange on Aging (JEoA)

Jan. 24, 2006 -Volume 6, Number 3

        NOTE: Let ABO Editor Paul Kleyman know if you have technical problems receiving issues of ABO or if you'd like to be removed from the list. Phone: (415) 974-9619; e-mail: paul@asaging.org. Thanks for help on this issue go to John Cutter, Marilynn Larkin, Nancy Aldrich and Mary Johnson. The most recent four issues of ABO are posted online at www.asaging.org/agebeat.

        Send news about substantial articles or series on aging, special sections, your book, awards or other developments to paul@asaging.org. And check out ABO the Blog at http://agebeat.blogspot.com.

        IN THIS ISSUE: 0g transfat.

        1. RESOURCES: CDC Knight Boot Camp; Commonwealth Fund E-News for Journalists
        2. "AGE BEATLES NEWS": New Public TV Series on Boomers; WSJ Crosses "Color Lines" for Retired African American Cops; Blast From the Past--George McGovern on Tour for New Book Defending  Social Security

        3.  "THE OOPS! FILES" (How We Erred)
        4. "LARKIN'S LINKS": Books for Boomers--Those Sexy Thangs
        5. SPECIAL PRIMER: What's the Older Americans Act and Why Should We Care Whether Congress Reauthorizes It?
        6. WHY AGE DOESN'T DICTATE WISDOM: Parade's Ugliest Top 10


        1. RESOURCES
        CDC KNIGHT BOOT CAMP: Journalists interested in public health can get an immersion experience in the subject by attending the six-day CDC Knight Public Health Journalism Boot Camp at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, June 25 - June 30. The annual program, sponsored by the Knight Journalism Foundation, offers a crash course in the basics of public health science and biostatistics. This year's boot camp promises to educate reporters about the potential for epidemics after a natural catastrophe, such as the recent hurricanes, or the rise of a deadly new virus such as avian influenza. The Knight CDC release says that participants will learn how to read clinical studies and ask the right probing questions of scientists and public-health policy makers. The program is open to journalists in all media, from print to online. For information, visit the website: http://www.cdcfoundation.org/pages.html?page=297.

        "HEALTH COVERAGE FOR AGING BABY BOOMERS: Findings from The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Older Adults" is a new study released last Friday (January 20) at the National Academy of Social Insurance's 18th annual conference in Washington. According to the report's online abstract, "The combination of rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs and sluggish wage growth threatens workers' ability to save for retirement." The study's authors found that at a time when employers are responding to rising health insurance premiums by shifting more of their costs to employees, "older adults have high rates of chronic health conditions; many have unstable insurance coverage; those who have low income, individual coverage, or no insurance spend a substantial share of their income on coverage and healthcare and have reduced access to care." The report is available in the New York-based organization's monthly tip sheet for journalists. To read the tip sheet or subscribe, visit the website: www.cmwf.org. For more information on these reports, areas the fund is working on, or to speak with one of their experts or grantees, contact Mary Mahon at (212) 606-3853 or mm@cmwf.org.

       The Commonwealth Fund has also signed on as a sponsor of this year's Journalists on Aging Reception and Dinner to be held March 17 (some green for St. Patrick's Day) during the Joint Conference of the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) and American Society on Aging at the Anaheim Hilton near Disneyland. Earlier that day, grantees of the Commonwealth Fund will present findings and new information at a special press luncheon. Other sponsors of this year's dinner and press operation include AARP, NCOA, the Merck Publishing Group (nonprofit publishers of the Merck Manuals) and BOB BLANCATO, president of Matz, Blancato and Associates in Washington, D.C., chair of the Elder Justice Coalition, and all-around mensch. Thanks to all of them for their support.  

        2. "AGE BEATLES NEWS"
        "BOOMERS! REDEFINING LIFE AFTER 50" is a new 13-part video magazine beginning to air on public television stations around the United States. Hosted and produced by boomer couple MARK MILLS and NANCY FERNANDEZ MILLS, the series covers topics like finance, wellness, spirituality, family roles, friendships, housing, travel and careers. Nancy is a former NBC correspondent and winner of a national Emmy, to name one. Mark, who has added a DuPont-Columbia journalism award among others to the clutter on the family mantle, was executive producer of "Chronicle," the nightly news magazine on Boston's WCVB-TV for many years. He is also a certified financial planner. (The series is underwritten by Fidelity Investments and Del Webb Corporation.)Like many independent producers, the Bean Town pair are distributing their series through American Public Television. That means that age beat writers should watch their websites to find out where and when the programs will ride the airwaves in local  markets. The press kit for the series is online:

http://www.boomerstv.com/about_news_sample.php?nid=25. The home page is www.boomerstv.com.  It contains a link so that folks can find out when the shows will air in their area. Nancy can be reached at Boomer Media Properties, (617) 902-5050; e-mail: nfernandezmills@yahoo.com.

        COLOR LINES IN ATLANTA is the subject of the story that Wall Street Journal age-beat reporter KELLY GREENE calls  "my favorite thing I've ever written." The piece, "Retired Black Cops Pressure Georgia For Pension Equity," ran on the birthday of MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (Jan. 16). It tells the story of African American members of the Atlanta police force, who are fighting for pension equity. In the 1950s and '60s they were barred from signing up for a pension program. Although they were allowed start contributing to the plan in the 1970s, the lost years severely cut into the pension they could receive. The plan, which is supplemented by contributions from parking tickets and fines -- many resulting from the patrol work of the African American officers -- did allow them to make lump-sum payments into the plan to catch up, but many could not afford to dip into family savings to do that. Today, some retired black officers are trying to get by on $700 a month less than they would be receiving if they could have signed up for the pension program in the early days, according to Greene. Access to archived WSJ stories by nonsubscribers is restricted, but journalists receiving ABO can request it by e-mailing kelly.greene@wsj.com.

        "SOCIAL SECURITY IN THE GOLDEN AGE: An Essay on the New American Demographic" is the new book from former Senator GEORGE McGOVERN, age 83. The South Dakotan's anti-Viet Nam War candidacy for president in 1972 scared Richard Nixon into authorizing his plumbers to raid the Democratic National Committee's files at the Watergate office complex, and the rest, as McGovern, who holds a Ph.D. in the subject, might authoritatively say, is history. A release from the publisher, Fulcrum, based in Golden, Colo., says that McGovern's new book "challenges the conventional wisdom that Social Security is facing a funding crisis, and allays fears that boomers will bankrupt the system." McGovern also offers steps for maintaining the system. Today (Jan. 24), McGovern is speaking at Coliseum Books in New York City, 6:30 p.m. On Feb. 6, he'll appear with former senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Then McGovern's book tour heads west to the San Francisco area, Tempe, Ariz., Denver and possibly other locations. ABO readers interested in connecting with McGovern or obtaining a review copy of the book can contact Jessica Dyer, Fulcrum Publishing, (800) 992-2908 ext. 235; jessica@fulcrum-books.com. Also, Dole will be speaking at the 2006 ASA-NCOA Joint Conference in Anaheim, on March 16.

        3. THE OOPS! FILES

        ARRGH! ABO ERRED in our January 9, item on TRUDY LIEBERMAN's article, "Mismanaged Care," in "The Nation" (Dec. 12, 2005). Our report, unlike Lieberman's article, misidentified Tennessee governor PHIL BREDESEN as a Republican. Actually, he's a Democrat. The piece remains well worth reading by any journalist concerned with state curtailments of Medicaid: Download it at www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20051212&s=lieberman.) Thanks to LESTER GINGOLD, editor of "The Best Times" in Memphis, Tenn., for keeping us accurate.

        ALSO, MEMORY AND FACT-CHECKING FAILED this editor in reporting on GENE D. COHEN's essay "The Myth of the Midlife Crisis" in the Jan. 16 issue of Newsweek (: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10753221/site/newsweek/). The article is an excerpt from his new book, "The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain" (New York City: Basic Books, 2006). Cohen was not, as stated in our January 16 issue, acting director of the National Institutes of Health for four years; he was Acting Director of the National Institute on Aging for 3 years-1991 to 1993.

       4. "LARKIN'S LINKS"


        By MARILYNN LARKIN     

       For something completely different, JOAN PRICE wrote to tell us about her new book, "Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty" (Emeryville, Calif.: Seal Press, 2006). In an excerpt from this upbeat and informative tome, Joan declares, "We're offended by outdated stereotypes of asexual older women, and we're not going to hide behind them at this time of our lives. Specifically, we're not going to roll over and play dead when our private parts are concerned" (www.joanprice.com/betterexcerpt.htm). Learn more about Price, who lives in Sebastopol, Calif., north of San Francisco, at www.joanprice.com.

        Price's book is one of several we've seen in recent months on this subject. The others are: "Seniors in Love: A Second Chance for Single, Divorced and Widowed Seniors," by ROBERT WOLLEY, published with large type (Greentop, Mo.: Hatala Geroproducts, 2005); "One Last Dance: It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love," a novel by MARDO WILLIAMS (New York City: Calliope Press, 2005), contact EILEEN WYMAN, information@caliopepress.com for a review copy; "Better Than Ever: Love and Sex at Midlife," by BERNIE ZILBERGELD, PhD, with GEORGE ZILBERGELD, PhD., (Norwalk, Conn.: Crown House Publishing, 2004), contact NANCY SAYLES, nsayles@socal.rr.com; "Sex and Love for Grownups: A No-Nonsense Guide to a Life of Passion," by Sally Foley (New York City: Sterling Publishing/AARP, 2005), contact Jared Wadley, University of Michigan media office, jwadley@umich.edu. The original title on this subject, Love and Sex After 60," was first published in 1976 by Robert N. Butler and his future wife, Myrna I. Lewis. In 2002, Lewis, who died recently, and Butler issued the fourth revised edition, "The New Love and Sex After 60" (New York City: Ballentine Books).


        [Editor's note: The following short tutorial on the Older Americans Act is contributed by Nancy Aldrich, former editor and current contributor to Older Americans Report. She is a freelancer writer and editor of Aging Opportunities News Online. Everybody has heard of senior centers and meals on wheels, but too few reporters and members of the public know that they constitute our tax dollars at work. Nancy knows more about the ins and outs of the OAA than just about any other journalist in Washington, so we were delighted when she offered to work up this short overview for ABO. Following, with our thanks to Nancy, is her piece,  Web links and all.]

       Age-beat journalists should keep an eye on the Older Americans Act  (OAA) reauthorization this year. Although most people, including many age-beat writers,  know little about the federal statute, it is something many older adults are aware of, especially if they frequent senior centers, congregate meal programs or any of a number of programs stemming from the act. First passed in 1965, the same years Medicare and Medicaid were enacted, OAA funds the U.S. Administration on Aging (within the Department of Health and Human Service) and its programs. The law also funds training and job placement for older Americans through the Department of Labor. The recent White House Conference on Aging recommendations gave impetus to reauthorizing the act--voting it the number-1 resolution adopted by conference delegates!

       Reauthorization is a common legislative practice compelling Congress to revisit important programs every few years. Unless legislation like OAA is renewed--often with changes in funding or structure--the programs within it would disappear. (Sometimes Congress has postponed action on multi-year reauthorization because of a pending debate. In those cases it can pass a continuing resolution to keep the programs for one year.) OAA has been reauthorized14 times since 1965. The current reauthorization expired in 2005, but the programs always seem to keep on ticking. This is the law that set in place the "aging network" of state and local area agencies on aging, and senior centers. It authorizes a grants program to states, which funnel the money on to local area agencies on aging (AAAs), not to be confused with the automobile association, to be used for community planning and services. These services include congregate and home-delivered meals (better known as meals on wheels), transportation services, in-home services, legal assistance, home repair and many others.

       OAA also has provisions for training and placing low-income older adults in community service and private-sector employment. There is a special section for assuring services to American Indian tribal organizations and Native Alaskans and Hawaiians, and one on elder rights, which covers long-term care ombudsman, elder abuse prevention, etc. A relatively new addition to the act offers support services for family caregivers.

       With an annual budget of just over $1 billion--less than the cost of a single B-2 bomber--and only modest or no funding increases for many years, OAA services are targeted to those in the greatest economic and social need, primarily low-income and ethnic/racial minority elders age 60 or older. The act has been a low visibility, scandal-free, great bang-for-the-buck program, as the aging network leverages dollars through many coalitions with state and local governments, institutions, and private-sector partnerships.

       With the first boomers just turning 60, this year's reauthorization is expected to focus on creating coalitions so that local entities can better work together to prepare for the age boom. There will be a move to amend the National Family Caregiver Support Program to make the Alzheimer's disease demonstration projects permanent and tie them to caregiver support. Also, there may be changes to older-worker provisions. The legislation will go through the Senate HELP Committee and the House Education Committee. For a quick summary of the act's sections, go to: http://www.seniorserviceamerica.org/events/40thanniversary.html

       A good highlight of the OAA's reauthorization history can be found at: http://www.n4a.org/pdf/OAA_Toolkit_Key_Mile_Markers.pdf#search='THE%20OLDER%20AMERICANS%20ACT%20FROM%201965%20TO%20THE%20PRESENT'

       AoA links on the OAA: http://www.aoa.gov/about/legbudg/oaa/legbudg_oaa.asp
       OAA regulations: http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title42/chapter35_.html
       ABO readers wishing to keep track of what is going on with OAA programs should talk to local aging network folks, as well as the National Association of State Units on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and National Council on the Aging. Lots of information is on their websites.

       In addition, I'll also be posting stories on my website, http://www.agingopportunities.com/breakingnews.html.
       6. WHY AGE DOESN'T DICTATE WISDOM:  Parade Magazine, the Sunday supplement run in many newspapers, ran its annual review of the world's most destructive leaders on Sunday (Jan. 21). "Who Is the World's Worst Dictator?" by DAVID WALLECHINSKY lists this year's Top 10, based on reports from Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and other groups. Number 1, again this year: Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, age 62. The oldest: King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia, 82. Average age of the Top 10: 68.4 years.  Details about these plus 10 additional members of Parade's procession of moral pariahs, visit www.parade.com. _______________________________________________________________

        The Journalists Exchange on Aging (JEoA) publishes AGE BEAT ONLINE with the assistance of the American Society on Aging (ASA). JEoA provides information and networking opportunities for journalists covering issues in aging but not those representing services, products or organizational agendas. ASA is a nonpartisan, nonlobbying organization of professionals in aging that is based in San Francisco. Its mandate is to serve as a forum for all points of view. Opinions expressed in ABO do not represent those of ASA. The most recent four issues of ABO are posted online at www.asaging.org/agebeat.

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Report on trends in family caregiving

The Urban Institute's Health Policy Center sent this out today: "Brenda Spillman and Kirsten Black, in a report for the AARP Policy Institute, review and update trends in family caregiving to disabled elders. Unpaid, informal caregivers provide most long-term care in the United States, and family caregivers-specifically spouses and children-most commonly provide it. The report finds that the number of family caregivers remained stable between 1994 and 1999, a period when formal, paid care fell, in part owing to reductions in Medicare home health care following the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. As a result of the decline in formal care, elders receiving disability help in 1999 were more likely to be relying solely on informal care. Declines in formal care were larger for persons who had only a spouse available to provide care and for persons at higher levels of disability. The implications of these shifts in caregiving patterns are unclear as of this writing, but clearly important to carefully monitor.

Entire Report
Entire Brief

Medicare compromise saves billions for biz

Article on front of today's Washington Post and many other places discusses Senate and House meetings last month that ended up removing a provision of the budget bill that saved health care companies $22 billion. It's a CBO report.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Improper payments in Medicare transport program

Just came upon this tonight on ResourceShelf Docuticker. You can find a PDF link there.

Medicare--Ambulance Payments
Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
Medicare Payments for Ambulance Transports (PDF; 836 KB)
"Twenty-five percent of ambulance transports did not meet Medicare’s program requirements, resulting in an estimated $402 million of improper payments."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bush officials fighting back on Medicare

In tomorrow's (Wednesday's) Washington Post, an article says federal health officials will be heading out across the country to tout the successes of Medicare Part D, which they say includes enrolling millions more for drug coverage now than in the past. It's an offensive meant to challenge reports of discontent across the nation.

Court upholds assisted suicide

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law this morning, with the 6 to 3 vote. You can find Oregon's state site on physician-assisted suicide here.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Schorr: A nightmare for seniors

NPR analyst Daniel Schorr tonight on All Things Considered said Medicare is a nightmare for seniors. You can listen to his commentary here.

"Blogging is just writing"

This is on Romenesko today, for those wondering about blogs:
Dumenco realizes there's really no such thing as blogging
from AdAge.com
"Blogging is just writing -- writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology," writes Simon Dumenco. "Even though I tend to first use Microsoft Word on the way to being published, I am not, say, a Worder or Wordder. Its just software, people! The underlying creative/media function remains exactly the same. ...In the very near future, there are only going to be two types of media people: those who can reliably work and publish (or broadcast) incredibly fast, and those ... who can't."

What's on blogs about Medicare Part D

If you are wondering what people are saying on blogs about Medicare Part D, here is a search on Technorati. You also will see a chart that shows a steady increase in posts in recent weeks that peaked around Jan. 1, but remains higher than last month. Some of these posts are from groups and others who use blogs to get their message across, but some are from regular folks. It's one snapshot of the situation. (By the way, there are other places to search blogs. I like Technorati because you can create a Watchlist of a search and keep it open as a mini-window on your computer. It's a good way to keep track of chatter about breaking news.)

Bush orders Medicare changes

I'm guessing everyone saw this NY Times article today, about President Bush ordering insurors to keep up a supply of drugs for 30 days, if people were getting it. It's apparently in response to recent state actions we've mentioned in other posts.

Friday, January 13, 2006

14 states now intervening in Medicare

According to a New York Times article this morning, 14 states are now involved in trying to help people who are being caught short in the transition to Medicare Part D. Penn., Calif. and Illinois signed up yesterday. Meanwhile, if you want to read the full text, and see all the organizations, that sent a letter yesterday to the feds asking them to delay the plan because of the dual eligible issue, You can read it hear on the National Senior Citizen Law Center's site.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Calif. joins states helping on Medicare

Just posted on LA Times web site:

"SACRAMENTO -- California officials ordered emergency action today to cover drug costs for hundreds of thousands of elderly Californians who have been caught in a maddening cycle of bureaucratic glitches in the new federal prescription drug program.

"The action by California capped a day in which the new Medicare prescription drug program -- one of President Bush's signature domestic policy initiatives -- came under withering criticism across the country from governors and members of Congress of both political parties. Critics said the program, which Bush had touted as the most significant advance in Medicare in 40 years, was fast becoming a public health emergency."

As I mentioned in a post this morning, this is obviously coming to dominate Medicare news in many places. Anyone predict a repeat of the catastrophic health care repeal from 1980s? Older people chasing congressmen down the street?

Sex, NY Times, and woman over 50

Ah, should have guessed: The NYTimes article tomorrow about sex and the older woman is prompted, in part, by Gail Sheehy upcoming book. The article is online tonight. Here's one excerpt from the article:

"But attitudes have been shifting. The generation of women liberated by feminism and the Pill in the 1960's aren't slipping quietly into postmenopausal celibacy; and books and movies are reflecting the change.

"There is a raft of new books with the message that women over 50 can be sexually attractive and can have great sex, including Gail Sheehy's "Sex and the Seasoned Woman," an anecdote-filled compendium of women living what Ms. Sheehy calls "fully and passionately," coming out this month from Random House."

Interesting angle, mentioned in the article, is how adult children react to their parents sexuality.

Sex and the "how old is she?" woman

I am enjoying the luxury of a day off, which means I can read ALL of the New York Times, even those promotional ads for what we will see in tomorrow's paper. The NYT says Friday we can expect an article on "sex and the older woman" about "a flurry of new films and books" that "may be signalling a big shift in attitudes toward older woman's sexuality." I will be interested to see how the article defines "old" -- are we talking more parts for 40-somethings or 60-somethings? Sometimes the Times posts lifestyle/entertainment articles late in day before publication. If I see it, I'll post link.

Roundup of state action on Medicare

Kaisernetwork.org has an excellent roundup of various state actions recently on Medicare -- mostly to help the dual eligibles. You can find it under its health policy report. (You can receive Kaisernetwork's reports by email, which is handy.) Meanwhile, judging from the headlines and stories on my GoogleNews Medicare section, the theme for Medicare continues to be about glitches, problems, and confusion.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

IRE has resource list on cold, flu

IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc.) has good page of resources for the cold and flu season in its Janaury/February issue of The IRE Journal. You need to be a member (or know one) to see it, but I recommend tracking it down because it is a comprehensive, helpful resource.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

GAO has new report on VA long-term care

GAO has new report on VA long-term care trends and challenges. You can read the summary here, which has a link to the full report.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Latest Age Beat Online

The latest e-mail edition of Age Beat Online is now available. You can read the whole thing here. The topics this week are:
IN THIS ISSUE: Coming out of our medically induced coma (2005).
3. “AGE BEATLES NEWS”: “The Number” author Lee Eisenberg on CBS This Week; Wall Street Journal Team gets Book Deal; Trudy Lieberman on Medicaid “Mismanaged Care” in The Nation; “Make Room for Boomers” Series on Community Involvement via Nonprofits
4. “PART D REPORT”: Low-Income Seniors Denied Prescriptions
5. “LARKIN’S LINKS” on a Fitness Kit and Surgery Options
6. “ON THE ABO BLOG”: What an RSS Feed Is; Pew Survey on End of Life; The Pioneer Movement and Nursing Homes in Illinois.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Millions left behind, Families USA says

From Families USA today:
The new Medicare prescription drug program, which began on January 1 of this year, is leaving at least 4.7 million low-income seniors without the benefits they are entitled to. According to the Social Security Administration, only 1 million low-income seniors out of a pool of 5.7 to 6.6 million have been approved to receive low-income drug subsidies.

Find the news release here.

Pew report on Medicaid

Now out from another arm of the folks at Pew, this time the Pew Center on the States: A report on Medicaid called "Bridging the Gap Between Cost and Care." Link here for the news release and link here for the report page.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I resolve to ... tell you about this column

Please have a look at this Poynter column by Thomas Huang of Dallas Morning News, about one editor's resolutions for the New Year. Even if it didn't mention the baby boom, the sandwich generation, and his grandmother, I'd recommend it to any age beater.

Pew finds strong support for right to die

New from Pew Research Center today:

An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment. And fully 70% say there are circumstances when patients should be allowed to die, while just 22% believe that doctors and nurses should always do everything possible to save a patient.

Public attitudes on these and many other end-of-life issues are unchanged from 1990, despite advances in lifesaving technology, the aging of the population, and the controversy associated with the Terri Schiavo case. Most Americans believe it should be up to individuals ­ not the government or medical professionals ­ to ultimately determine their end-of-life medical decisions.

The "big lump" generation turning 60

Found this editorial on an English-language news site in Japan:
When these people were born, some rubble from the devastating wartime air raids still remained. Japan's people were hungry, but peace was returning to the land. Then, in the three years from 1947-49, some 8 million babies were born in this war-ravaged country, creating Japan's first and biggest postwar baby boom.

This generation later came to be known as the dankai no sedai ("big lump" generation). Starting in 2007, these baby boomers will start entering retirement in huge numbers.

The dankai generation has brought many drastic changes and frictions to society as they have progressed through each stage of life.

The rest goes on to talk, in terms familiar to any age beater in America, about the impact of this "big lumpers," even mentioning a new magazine for them, named, sadly, after a flightless bird (not the dodo).

Monday, January 02, 2006

Oh, and the boomers turned 60....

If you are interested in seeing the numerous ways the media are covering the boomers turning 60 story, you can click on this link to see a Google News search.

Watch those e-mail interviews

Something for every journalist to read: Article in today's NY Times about how individuals, organizations and businesses are fighting back with blogs and web sites, sometimes posting e-mail exchanges with reporters. Find it here.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year! now go to bed!

Not sure it was a sign of the passing of an era, but I found myself watching Carson Daly ring in the New Year on NBC because it was too sad and painful to hear the post-stroke Dick Clark, no longer America's Eternal Teenager. And then, after feeling a little old with the passing of another year, especially since I knew NONE of the musical acts, on comes an ad -- at 12:06 -- noting that the baby boomers are turning 60! There is a man -- if he was someone famous, it was lost on me -- playing guitar, rocking out. The implication -- hey, this is what 60 looks like! The advertiser -- a financial services firm. If there ever was a death knell for the 60s, it was there -- they play John Lennon's Imagine on the run up to midnight, then Carson Daly counts it down for the MTV generation, then they try to sell us boomers on financial planning with some aging rock star persona. Remember -- 2006 is only 5 years from the year the first boomer turns 65!