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December 2011 Newsletter


Health and the Aging
December 2011
Issue #2
In This Issue
Feature Article: Senior Population Growing Fast
HRSA Updates
Cultural Awareness Corner
Understanding Medicare
Advocacy and Policy
Transportation for Elders in Indian Country
Seniors Find Benefits to Improve their Lives
Upcoming Events
December 1st was…

World AIDS Day

The HIV Epidemic is Aging

Current estimates show by 2015, over 50% of people with the virus in the US will be in the 50s and above age group.  The UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2011 and the new data on the reduction of AIDS related deaths also provides a clear indication that prevalence among older people will continue to rise as more people are living longer with HIV.




December 4-10 was…

  National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)

What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older:


It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults. It’s estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older. This is because human immune defenses become weaker with age. So influenza can be a very serious disease for people 65 and older.


Actions to take this flu season:


– Get your flu shot

– Take everyday preventive actions: Cover coughs, wash hands often, and avoid people who are sick.

– Seek medical advice quickly.

January is…

Cervical Health Awareness Month

 Cervical cancer affects approximately 10,000 women in the United States each year. Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide, but because it develops over time, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Age of Diagnosis


Signs and Symptoms of  Â Cervical Cancer


Detecting Cervical Cancer


Aging and Vision Loss Fact Sheet




Today, 6.5 million Americans over age 65 have a severe visual impairment, according to the Longitudinal Prevalence of Major Eye Diseases 2003 study. Experts predict that by 2030, rates of severe vision loss will double along with the country’s aging population (Prevent Blindness America’s Vision Problems in the U.S., 2002).

The first wave of the 78 million baby boom generation turns 65 in 2011, jumpstarting a two-decade period of growth in America’s 65 and older population (Administration on Aging). By 2030, the number of people over the age of 65 will double to 71.5 million, or 20 percent of the population.

The risk of low vision and blindness increases significantly with age, particularly in those over age 65 (2004 National Eye Institute study).  To read more, click here.
National Institute on Aging at NIH: Go4Life Campaign




Endurance. Strength. Balance. Flexibility.

Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, is designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Motivating older adults to become physically active for the first time, return to exercise after a break in their routines, or build more exercise and physical activity into weekly routines are the essential elements of Go4Life. Go4Life offers exercises, motivational tips, and free resources to help you get ready, start exercising, and keep going. The Go4Life campaign includes an evidence-based exercise guide in both English and Spanish, an exercise video, an interactive website, and a national outreach campaign.
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The Health and The Aging (HATA), a project of North American Management, is supported in part by a cooperative agreement grant awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). HATA provides training and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of federally-funded health centers to increase access to health care, eliminate health disparities, and enhance health care delivery for the 39 billion or 13 percent of the residents of the United States were 65 years of age and older.

Are you a Federally Qualified Health Center? We would love to hear about your success! Send us your success story to info@healthandtheaging.org 

2010 Census Shows 65 and Older Population Growing Faster Than Total U.S. Population

Percentage Higher than in any Previous Census   


The U.S. population 65 and older is now the largest in terms of size and percent of the population, compared with any previous census, according to a new Census brief released today from the U.S. Census Bureau on the nation’s older population. The group grew at a faster rate than the total population between 2000 and 2010.


According to the 2010 Census, there were 40.3 million people 65 and older on April 1, 2010, increasing by 5.3 million since the 2000 Census when this population numbered 35.0 million. The percentage of the population 65 and older also increased during the previous decade. In 2010, the older population represented 13.0 percent of the total population, an increase from 12.4 percent in 2000.


(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)




Women’s Health USA 2011: Alzheimer’s Disease 


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.1 Early signs include difficulty remembering names and completing familiar tasks, with later disease progression leading to disorientation, personality changes, and difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. Although the risk for Alzheimer’s disease increases with age, it is not a normal part of aging. Risk factors include a family history, head trauma or traumatic brain injury, and cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and physical inactivity.

In 2011, 5.2 million or 13 percent of U.S. adults aged 65 and older are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease and another 200,000 below age 65 are thought to have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Due to the aging of the population, the number of adults aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple by 2050.1 Women constitute 3.4 million or nearly two-thirds of adults aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s.  To read more, click here.

(Source: HRSA, Maternal & Child Health)


Workplace Partnership for Life campaign gets major support from hospitals   


Public/Private effort encourages organizations to promote organ and tissue donation


Eight organizations, including the American Hospital Association (AHA), have committed to sharing information and encouraging hospitals and health systems nationwide to promote organ and tissue donation by joining with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as national partners in the Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign.


While hospitals have worked with HRSA for years to increase the number of organs transplanted in their facilities, this new effort focuses on educating and encouraging patients, visitors, members of the community and their own staff and caregivers about the importance of joining organ and tissue donor registries to save lives. 


(Source: HRSA.gov)

Funding Opportunities 

National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) Grant Opportunity:


Enhancing Older Adult Mobility Through Person-Centered Mobility Management

Deadline: December 23, 2011   

The National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) is soliciting proposals for senior transportation projects that demonstrate innovative and effective solutions to enhance the mobility of older adults. Funding may be used to create comprehensive mobility management systems, increase mobility in urban and rural areas, and improve public transit access for older persons.  For more information, click here.

(Source: National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST))


Cultural Awareness Corner

Diversity Trends Among Seniors 

Recent Census data revealed that there are more than 56 million people aged 60+ in the United States. These seniors are an increasingly diverse group, as evidenced by the following:


American Community Survey data shows that 5.5 million older adults (14%) have a primary language other than English. Spanish is the most common language spoken by this group, but nearly 55% of seniors for whom English is not their primary tongue speak languages that range from fairly common to lesser known languages, including:  Chinese, Russian,Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog (the language of the Philippines), Native American languages-e.g., Navajo, Apache.

Nearly 4 in 10 of older adults who speak another primary language speak English “not well” or “not at all.”

Over half of LEP seniors have incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).


Nearly 4.6 million older adults were born outside of the United States; almost half a million came here within the last decade. For many of these seniors, the benefits, programs, and services offered in their communities and under Medicare may be wholly unfamiliar to them. Yet because 38% of foreign-born seniors live below 200% FPL, many are eligible for assistance that can improve their health and economic well-being.


Today, 15% of older adults identify with religions other than the three most common groups (i.e., Catholicism, Mainline, and Evangelical Christianity). Moreover, religious affiliation and activity tends to be higher among seniors, particularly those with lower incomes.

What does this mean?

Professionals who serve this diverse senior population must possess the skills to be culturally responsive to their needs. There are also plenty of opportunities to collaborate with other cultural and religious communities that may have access to older adults who remain hard to reach. Fortunately, there is a systematic approach to delivering culturally competent services that organizations and individuals can adopt.

For more information, click here.

(Source: National Council on Aging)


Understanding Medicare  

Medicare Expanding Competitive Bidding Program to Save Billions

Program Expanded by Affordable Care Act

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last month announced operational details for the next stage in a program that sets new, lower payment rates for certain medical equipment and supplies – such as oxygen equipment, walkers, and some types of power wheelchairs – while maintaining patient access to them. CMS today also launched a comprehensive education program to help guide suppliers through the competitive bidding process.

The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) was expanded by the Affordable Care Act and is estimated to save Medicare, seniors, and taxpayers more than $28 billion over 10 years.  Already in 2011, the first phase of the program has saved Medicare 35 percent compared to the fee schedule and resulted in lower cost for Medicare patients.

Medicare covers screening and counseling for obesity

Decision adds a new preventive service for Medicare beneficiaries 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that Medicare is adding coverage for preventive services to reduce obesity.   This adds to Medicare’s existing portfolio of preventive services that are now available without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act.  It complements the Million Hearts initiative led jointly by CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with other HHS agencies, communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, and private sector partners across the country to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the next 5 years.

(Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)


Advocacy and Policy

Affordable Care Act Helping Consumers Get Better Value for Their Health Care Dollars.


New proposal makes rebates to consumers tax free, increases transparency

On Friday December 2, 2011 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final regulation that will ensure health insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of consumers’ health insurance premiums on medical care, not income, overhead and marketing. Insurance companies that fail to meet the new standard are required to provide a rebate to consumers. Known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), this rule provides unprecedented transparency and accountability of health insurance companies for customers.   Created by the Affordable Care Act, the MLR requirements provide protection and value to approximately 74.8 million insured Americans.  Estimates from last year indicate that, starting in 2012, up to nine million Americans could receive rebates worth from $0.6 to $1.4 billion.  However, early reports suggest insurers lowered premium growth rather than face the prospect of providing rebates – a win-win for consumers.


(Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))



Transportation for Elders in Indian Country 

American Indian elders living on reservations and other Indian lands often have to travel long distances over rough terrain to reach essential services. American Indian Tribal histories comprise a proud tradition of transportation innovation and the centrality of travel to everyday life, yet staff in Tribal aging and transportation organizations consistently report a lack of resources in Indian Country. Through discussions with Title VI Aging and Tribal Transit Programs convened by the National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) and the  National Rural Transit Assistance Program (National RTAP), information on funding sources and grant opportunities emerged overwhelmingly as a leading request.

(Source: National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST))



Newly Re-launched Website Allows Seniors to Find Benefits to Improve Their Lives 

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its free, online screening service BenefitsCheckUp®, which has identified more than $10 billion in benefits for over 3 million vulnerable older adults since 2001.

Developed and maintained by the NCOA, BenefitsCheckUp® is the nation’s most comprehensive web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes almost 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

(Source: National Council on Aging)




Caregiving Costs: Declining Health in the Alzheimer’s Caregiver as Dementia Increases in the Care Recipient

National Alliance for Caregiving and Richard Schulz, Ph.D. and Thomas Cook, Ph.D., M.P.H. University Center for Social and Urban Research Department of Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh. November 2011.

(Source: Caregiving.org)


Case Study: IT Upgrades Benefit Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center Patients

New equipment speeds communication, saves time, and sets stage for Electronic Health Record implementation. Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center.

(Source: hillhealthcenter.com)  


Health and the Aging
North American Management Health and Family Services
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