Aging and Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Health & Wellness, Legal & Financial, Financial

Information, updates and interesting tidbits about healthy aging, senior care and family caregiving from across the country and around the world. In this issue:

  • Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for their long-term care.
  • Were you born between 1945 and 1965? The CDC recommends that you receive a Hepatitis C test.
  • One in five seniors over the age of 65 has been the victim of financial exploitation.

Paying for Long-Term Care

"Long-term care" means the health and support services that we may need as we age or have a disability. Long-term care may include care provided in a person's home, such as home health care, in-home companion care and household tasks. Long-term care may also be provided in a residential facility, such as a nursing home, assisted living or adult family home.

Many people believe that Medicare will cover the cost of nursing home care or home care. But it is important to know that Medicare and most private health insurance cover only limited, medically necessary care. Medicare does not cover personal care—assistance with bathing, dressing, supervision for patients with Alzheimer's disease and so forth.

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information now offers information to help consumers plan ahead for future needs, select the right level of care, and locate resources. Information includes:

Planning ahead for long-term care includes understanding the financial resources that can help.

The CDC Recommends That Baby Boomers Be Tested for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a disease of young people, right? Think again! According to new guidelines from the CDC, a full 75% of people who are infected with the Hepatitis C virus fall in the baby boom age demographic, born between 1945 and 1965. And few of these baby boomers know they are infected.

Experts aren't entirely sure why the boomers have the highest rate of infection. They believe most boomers were infected during the 1970s and 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were the highest. They may have become infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of blood began in 1992. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if they only did so a single time. Still other cases are from an unknown exposure. Since chronic Hepatitis C can go unnoticed for decades, baby boomers could be living with an infection that occurred many years ago.

Untreated, Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems. A simple blood test can determine if a person has ever been infected with the Hepatitis C virus. People with the disease often have no symptoms; diagnosis allows them to receive lifesaving medications and treatment. To learn more, speak with your healthcare provider, and visit the CDC's boomer-focused "Know More Hepatitis" web page.

Financial Elder Exploitation is a Growing Problem

The nonprofit Investor Protection Trust (IPT) recently surveyed 762 securities regulators, adult protective services workers, medical professionals, law-enforcement officials and others on the "front lines," and discovered these alarming statistics:

  • 58 percent of the respondents said they deal with elderly victims of investment fraud and financial exploitation "quite often" or "somewhat often."
  • 96 percent of the experts say the problem of financial swindles that target the elderly is "very serious" or "somewhat serious."

An earlier IPT survey found that over seven million older Americans have already been victimized by a financial swindle—that's one in five people over age 65! IPS president Don Blandin says, "The message from those on the front lines of investor protection is clear: swindles targeting older Americans are a bigger problem today than ever before."

The IPT has sponsored the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention program, which educates doctors and other medical professionals to be alert for signs that a senior patient is being victimized, or might be at risk of investment fraud due to cognitive impairment or other reason. IPS chairman Robert Lam says, "We need to recognize that there is a medical component to elderly investment fraud that cannot be addressed solely by regulators. As state agencies, we need to combine our efforts with the unique front-line perspective of doctors, adult protective services and other professionals to get help to victims, and those most at risk of becoming victims, at the earliest possible point. Together, we can do an even better job of protecting our seniors and their money."

To learn more about preventing financial elder abuse, view the "Elder Investment Fraud: a National Epidemic" video on the IPT website.