Category Archives: Money

“Rich American seniors are getting healthier, leaving the poor behind” – The Conversation


“The U.S. has seen substantial improvements in life expectancy over the past century, particularly for those who are better-educated and more affluent.

“Our study, out September 18, looks at the health of older Americans in recent years, using data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on more than 50,000 seniors age 65 and older. Seniors in 2014 were 14 percent more likely to report that they were in very good or excellent health, compared to seniors in 2000.

“However, a closer look tells a worrisome story: The health divide is widening across socioeconomic groups. Gains in good health primarily went to more advantaged groups.

“Our work reveals a health disparity echoed in reports by others. In 1980, a wealthy 50-year-old man could expect to live an additional 5.1 years longer than a poor man of the same age. Thirty years later, the life expectancy of two similar men differs by more than a dozen years.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.

“Under ‘Observation,’ Some Hospital Patients Face Big Bills” – The New York Times

observationPhoto: David Plunkert

by Paula Spahn

“In April, Nancy Niemi entered Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C., with cardiac problems. She stayed four nights, at one point receiving a coronary stent.

“Then she went home, but felt faint and took several falls. Five days later, her primary care doctor sent her back to the hospital. This time, her stay lasted 39 days while physicians tried various medications to regulate her blood pressure.

“Though they eventually succeeded, Mrs. Niemi, 84, a retired insurance agent, had grown so weak that she could no longer walk.

“They said, ‘She really needs to go to a skilled nursing facility for physical therapy,’ recalled her son Tom Krpata, 63, who’d come from his home in Holliston, Mass., to be with her.

“He agreed, but soon learned one of the brutal truths of Medicare policy:”

Click here to read this New York Times article in its entirety. And be sure to read the comments following the article.

It’s not only in this state | “Many of state’s elderly residents struggle to pay their bills” – The Boston Globe

by Katie Johnson

“Judi Gorsuch has a degree in literature from Michigan State University. She worked as a flight attendant for 19 years, earning up to $40,000 a year, and spent a decade at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, making $12 an hour before her part-time position was cut.

“Now Gorsuch, 74, lives in public housing near the Prudential Center and relies on her monthly $1,460 Social Security check and $400-a-month pension. Between rent and groceries and medical costs, Gorsuch says she’s lucky if she has any money left at the end of the month. When a new prescription for a bladder condition upped her expenses by $55 a month, she stopped filling it.

“‘I just decided to use Depends,’ she said.”

“Gorsuch, who never married and has no children, is among nearly 300,000 Massachusetts residents age 65 and above whose incomes aren’t enough to cover basic necessities, according to the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index developed at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

living below the line

“New estimates from the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index™ suggest that half of older adults living alone, and one out of four older adults living in two-elder households, lack the financial resources required to pay for basic needs.”

elder economic security standard

Click here to read The Boston Globe article in its entirety.


“One Woman’s Slide From Middle Class to Medicaid” – The New York Times

medicare slide“Mike and Marcia Perna at their home in Dedham, Mass. Ms. Perna’s mother, Rita Sherman, died last year at age 94 after a diagnosis of dementia and five and a half years in a nursing home. Credit Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

by Ron Lieber

DEDHAM, Mass. — “A dozen or so years into retirement, Rita Sherman had plenty going for her financially.

“Recently widowed, she had a net worth of roughly $600,000 as of 1998. Her health was excellent, and she dutifully purchased a long-term care insurance policy that would cover three years of nursing home costs should she ever need help. Watching over it all was her daughter, a medical social worker, and her son-in-law, a financial planner.

“By the time she died at the age of 94 last year, however, all of the money was gone after a diagnosis of dementia and five and a half years in a nursing home. Like so many people who never see it coming, she’d gone from being financially comfortable to qualifying for Medicaid.

“This is the same Medicaid that our representatives in Washington are aiming to cut right now.”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at The New York Times.

Wolf Administration Extends Pennsylvania Home Heating Assistance Program Deadline

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvanians struggling to pay home heating bills will now have until April 7 to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The federally funded program was slated to end March 31, 2017, but the Wolf Administration decided that given the unpredictable weather this winter, Pennsylvania would extend the program, giving people extra time to apply for funding.

“Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable were able to heat their homes this winter because of LIHEAP,” said Governor Wolf. “By keeping the program open longer, we hope to provide additional assistance to those who are struggling to keep their family warm.”

LIHEAP offers assistance in the form of a cash grant sent directly to the utility company or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Some households are eligible for both types of assistance. Cash grants are based on household income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel used.

“Everyone deserves a safe, warm home. I encourage Pennsylvanians to apply today to ensure they have the necessary resources to stay warm as the climate continues to be unpredictable,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas.

Individuals can apply for a LIHEAP grant online at or in person at their local county assistance office. They may also call the statewide toll-free hotline at 1-866-857-7095 with questions about the program.

For more information about LIHEAP, visit

SOURCE: news release

Supplemental Social Security (SSI) | a federal safety net program for most-vulnerable populations

ssi factsheet

Click here or on the graphic above to download the three-page report.

“Pressed Into Caregiving Sooner Than Expected” – The New York Times

caregivingGina Rinehart, left, poses for a portrait with her father at his home near Hoodsport, Wash., on March 3, 2017. Bub Hall has lung cancer and Ms. Rinehart has been helping take care of him for four years. Credit David Ryder for The New York Times

“It was August, and Gina Rinehart was preparing for another school year as a special-education teacher in Hemet, Calif., when she got the call: Her father, Floyd Hall, was facing surgery to remove a tumor in his lung.

“She flew to rural Lake Cushman, Wash., to be with her parents, expecting to spend two weeks helping her dad recover. Her father, known as Bub and an active retiree at 68, spent his days woodworking, volunteering at the local food bank and helping his own 95-year-old mother.

“But the report from the surgical team was grim: Stage 4 lung cancer, a terminal diagnosis. ‘Have you ever heard news and felt like you wanted to throw up?’ said Ms. Rinehart, who recalls breaking into a cold sweat. ‘I was seriously shocked.'”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

This AARP site, Caregiving in the United States 2015, has more information about caregiving and identifies the typical caregiver this way.

The typical caregiver is a 49-year-old female, currently caring for a 69-year-old female  relative who needs care because of a long-term physical condition.


She has been providing care for 4 years on average, spending 24.4 hours a week (68 percent help 20 hours or less; 32 percent help 21 hours or more). These caregivers typically help with 1.7 activities of daily living (ADLs; such as help with bathing and dressing)2 and 4.2 instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs; such as running errands or managing finances), and usually conduct medical or nursing tasks (such as wound care, giving injections, or managing medications) for their loved one. She is the primary, unpaid care provider and provides care without the assistance of paid help.

She is typically employed and working full time (an average of 34.7 hours per week). This caregiver is likely married or living with a partner, and in very good or good health. She is a high school graduate or has taken some college courses, but does not have a degree. Her average household income is $54,700.

This caregiver usually cares for only one adult. That adult, the care recipient, likely lives either with the caregiver or very close by (within 20 minutes of the caregiver’s home). The care recipient typically has been hospitalized at least once in the past year.

“A Playbook For Managing Problems In The Last Chapter Of Your Life” – California Healthline

Close up of senior woman's hands holding walking stickCommon reasons seniors move out of their homes include developing dementia, having a spouse fall ill or die, and not being able to keep up their homes. (iStock)

CHICAGO — “At least once a day, Dr. Lee Ann Lindquist gets an urgent phone call.

“‘Mom fell and is in the hospital,’ a concerned middle-aged son might report.

“‘Dad got lost with the car, and we need to stop him from driving,’ a distraught middle-aged daughter may explain.

“‘We don’t know what to do.’

“Lindquist, chief of geriatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, wondered if people could become better prepared for such emergencies, and so she designed a research project to find out.

“The result is a unique website,, which helps older adults plan for predictable problems during what Lindquist calls the ‘last quarter of life’ — roughly, from age 75 on.”

Click here to continue reading this California Healthline article in its entirety.

visit website

Click here (or on the graphic above) to visit the PLANYOURLIFESPAN.ORG WEBSITE.

“Sen. Sanders has a plan to lower drug prices” – Social Security


An email from, states:

“Prescription drug companies are getting away with murder. The company who makes Xtandi, a prostate cancer medication developed with US tax dollars, costs $129,000 per year to Americans, yet only $30,000 to Canadians. This isn’t an isolated case. Americans pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs―over 40% more than Canada and often three times that of many European countries.

“Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill that would stop this madness by allowing individuals and pharmacies to import safe, FDA-approved drugs directly from Canada.”

Social Security Works exhorts you to “Tell Congress: Pass Bernie’s Bill to Lower Drug Prices.”

“How do you break through to people who want to be isolated?”| “Two sisters, one house, and a mystery” – The Boston Globe

A call to elder protective services cases began to unravel the mystery. “Such cases are typically opened when someone complains — and there is a basis to believe — an older person may be at risk for harm due to abuse or neglect.”

mass-house“The home on Clinton Road in Brookline where two elderly sisters, Lynda and Sheryl Waldman, lived. The house, in one of the town’s most prosperous neighborhoods, is now condemned.” – Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

by Patricia Wen | The Boston Globe

“BROOKLINE — Sheryl Hope Waldman grew up in a big and bustling house here in the 1950s, an attractive, cheerful girl with many friends. After attending Brookline High School and the University of Wisconsin, she returned to her childhood home to live with her older sister Lynda.

“Then, over the years, Sheryl Waldman faded from view until she vanished. And no one seemed to notice.”

Click here to read this Boston Globe article in its entirety.