Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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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