In the News

More Companies Offering Benefits to Caregivers to Combat Productivity Loss

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that companies are increasingly offering benefits to their working caregivers. A survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the MetLife Foundation estimates that there are 15.9 million caregivers working full time in the United States, costing U.S. businesses up to $34 billion each year in lost productivity, replacement costs, and absenteeism.

While many companies currently offer inexpensive limited benefits, such as referrals for eldercare and legal services, the increasing number of caregivers means that more businesses are more willing to open up the company coffers for emergency care programs for caregivers. Rather than incur the high costs of case-by-case emergency care, companies enrolled in such programs pay an annual fee based on employee use, with the employees sometimes contributing a small co-payment.

The business world is finally realizing what caregivers have known all along—that eldercare benefits are just as important as childcare benefits. Read More

Study Finds Link Between Alzheimer's and Diabetes

While age is still the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease, researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have recently discovered another link. Using data from a large, ongoing aging study, these researchers used statistical analysis to determine that older men and women with diabetes had a significant (65 percent) increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

The reason is not immediately clear. Some experts have speculated that it may be related to the reduced glucose delivery to brain cells that is characteristic of diabetes. Diabetics did exhibit other cognitive deficits, such as a difficulty processing long lists of numbers. What is clear is that a healthy diet and regular exercise are more important than ever. Read More

Baby Boomers a Fraud Target

Baby boomers and those for whom they care should be wary of financial fraud, according to a new report from the Investor Education Foundation of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). What's more, the study showed that contrary to common stereotypes, victims scored higher than non-victims on financial literacy tests, and victims were more likely to be male and college-educated.

In one common scheme, fraudsters offer monthly annuity payments in exchange for a lump sum payment (often a person's entire savings) to a fake charitable organization. Many would assume such get-rich-quick or tax-evasion schemes would fail to tempt the financially literate, but as Anthony Pratkanis, UC Santa Cruz professor and one of the authors of the report, puts it, "That little bit of knowledge, that feeling of control, becomes dangerous in this situation." And as Chris Hansen, executive officer at AARP, has implied, maybe that means we need to change our understanding of financial literacy. Read More

Older Drivers Fight to Stay on the Road

There are about 20 million motorists age 70 or older nationwide, and those 85 or older now surpass 16-year-olds in frequency of fatalities per mile driven. As a result, states are beginning to crack down on older drivers who may pose a threat. But powerful seniors' groups have stymied efforts of legislators and community groups to impose increased restrictions or testing requirements for seniors in many states.

California still has some of the toughest licensing laws for seniors, barring those older than 70 from renewing by mail and giving DMV personnel authority to judge fitness for driving, as well as requiring doctors to report dementia patients. For some seniors, a car may be the last symbol of independence. And many seniors are fighting to keep their licenses by hiring attorneys, practicing DMV tests, and shopping around for the most lenient testing centers.

Twenty-three states still have no age-specific requirements for driving, but as the number of drivers over 70 approaches 30 million over the next decade, every community will be forced to deal with the issues of public safety and seniors' rights. Read More

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