Aging and Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Getting Enough Exercise, Financial Planning, Financial, Senior Lifestyles

Information, updates and interesting tidbits about healthy aging, senior care and family caregiving from across the country and around the world

In this issue:

  • Star college athletes are at greater risk of disability when they neglect later-life fitness.
  • Two new resources for spotting and reporting fraud.
  • Does the Social Security delayed retirement credit mean 70 is the real retirement age today?

Do Star Athletes Stay Healthy?

It's almost a cliché: a former college athlete with a shelf of dusty trophies and a beer belly. Do elite college athletes retain their tip-top physical condition later in life? A new study from the Indiana University School of Public Health cautions today's football, basketball, volleyball and baseball stars that when their college careers end, their attention to fitness should not.

Surveying hundreds of former Division I male and female college athletes aged 40–65, the research team found that rather than being the picture of health in later years, these former athletes were twice as likely to be living with physical limitations that interfered with the activities of daily living. They had higher rates of depression and sleep disturbances. They were also almost twice as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis. The researchers say that the injuries often sustained by athletes contribute to the problem—and the fact that these athletes are more likely to continue playing with an injury rather than allowing it to heal. Said study author Janet Simon, "Division I athletes may sacrifice their future health-related quality of life for their brief athletic career in college."

Another factor is that these athletes train hard, with expert help, while they are in college—and then find themselves on their own once they graduate. How can they experience better health as they leave their college glory behind? Says Simon, "Many of the Division I sports are not lifelong sports, so it is important for the athletes to find sports and activities that can keep them active as they age. The most important thing is to stay active. You may have been a former athlete, but unless you stay active your whole life, you may be decreasing your quality of life." This is good advice for all of us, even if we only sat in the stands during our earlier years!

Experts Call 70 the "Real Retirement Age"

A recent briefing from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says that, in effect, 70 has become Social Security's new retirement age, due to increases in the Delayed Retirement Credit that mean the highest monthly benefits are available for those claiming benefits beginning at that age. The researchers say that the shift to 70 should be feasible for many workers, given our increase in lifespan, health and education. But they caution that vulnerable workers who are forced to claim early will have low benefits and will be particularly harmed by any further cuts. They say that policymakers should inform those who can work that 70 is the new retirement age, while devising ways to protect those who cannot work (such as directly changing the benefit formula). The authors also note that most people do not understand how the age when they begin claiming benefits affects the amount they will receive.

Learn more about the history of Social Security's retirement age, and find out at what age people really are retiring in the full Social Security's Real Retirement Age is 70 briefing report.

Report Fraud That Targets Seniors

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam or fraud aimed at seniors, here are two new places you can report it:

Get Expert Help from the Senate Committee Hotline. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging has set up a special toll-free hotline. Anyone with information about suspected fraud can call 1-855-303-9470 or contact the committee through its website, located at The hotline is staffed weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., EST, by a team of experts who have experience with investment scams, identify theft, bogus sweepstakes, Medicare and Social Security fraud and a variety of other senior exploitation issues. Says Florida Senator Bill Nelson, "If you're concerned about an offer that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. This new hotline will give seniors a resource to turn to for assistance if they think they have been victimized or have questions about fraudulent activities."

Sweepstakes Fraud. More companies are using sweepstakes promotions to draw attention to their products and services—and con artists aren't far behind, creating phony contests to bilk millions out of their victims, many of whom are seniors. These scammers use deceptive tactics and sometimes threaten seniors with harm if they don't pay up. The new website was created by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Post Office to provide information on the legal requirements legitimate companies must follow; a consumer checklist you can use to judge the validity of an offer; and numbers you can call if you think you or a loved one has been victimized by a scam.

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2014 IlluminAge