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Items of Interest

News and Stories Related to Aging

Presented here are a variety of news items of current national and global interest to the aging community. Subjects range from the results of medical research and scientific breakthroughs to public policy and general quality of life issues. Please keep in mind that the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability is neither responsible for the content on the linked sites, nor does the inclusion of a linked item imply an endorsement of the content. These links are provided for informational purposes only, and it is up to the individual reader to determine the merit and reliability of each news item.

You can also get useful news and information from AARP Tennessee.


Davidson County Property Taxes

Nashville's WKRN advises seniors and low-income homeowners that there are ways to help offset climbing home values and related taxes. 

"Homeowners 65 or older with a joint income less than $41,600 for 2015 can apply annually to have their property taxes frozen at their current amount. Homeowners who are 65 or older, disabled, or disabled veterans with a joint income less than $29,180 for 2015 can have their property taxes rebated by the state."

Read the full story for more details, including application deadlines.

Added February 21, 2016


Are Statins a Key to Preventing Alzheimer's Disease?

CNN reports on a study suggesting that statins could, in addition to being good for the heart and circulatory system, help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

Added February 17, 2016


Free Legal Clinics in Tennessee Beginning Mid-March 2017

WSMV Channel 4 advises that the Tennessee Supreme Court "has announced free legal clinics held around the state" for advice on non-criminal matters. The program will begin in mid-March. The full story contains a link for more information.

Added February 16, 2017


Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Blood Sugar, Body Fat, Studies Say

CNN reports on a Japanese study that concluded apple cider vinegar, when added to a daily diet in certain ways over an extended period, appeared to have the following result: "People with pre-diabetes improved their blood glucose levels . . . by nearly half, while people with diabetes cut their blood glucose concentrations by 25%." The study says that less than an ounce of apple cider vinegar with a high-carb meal was enough to make the difference. The story also suggests a few ways to prepare or dilute the vinegar, as pure vinegar can be hard on teeth over time.

Added December 23, 2016


Tennessee Housing and Health: Need for Affordable and Supportive Housing

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency's Chief Strategy Officer, Lorrie Shearon, and TCAD Executive Director Jim Shulman have written for the American Society on Aging a piece on affordable, supportive housing and independent living. As we live longer, and as a larger portion of our state (and our country) transitions to an older adult population, appropriate housing solutions are becoming a critical problem. "In Tennessee, the gap between the number of very-low-income seniors and available affordable housing units is likely to grow as the senior population grows and federal funding for older adult housing remains stagnant or declines," despite a Congressional study that began reviewing the problem in 1999. Read the call to action.

Added December 5, 2016


Added September 23, 2016


Best Time to Get Your Flu Shot?

Kaiser Health News does an excellent job of explaining the flu shot, who should get it and when. 

Added September 16, 2016


Long-Term Care Insurance May Not Pay Off

CBS MoneyWatch warns that insurers are steadily pulling out of long-term care insurance coverage, raising rates for those who have policies or cutting benefits. Insurers apparently bet on a different outcome, not realizing what they were getting into when they began offering the policies decades ago. Now that people are placing claims on those policies, the insurance companies want out (or want more money from the policy holders).

The story encourages people to get financial advice before purchasing long-term care insurance now and in the future. For some, it may make more sense to save the money they would spend on the policy, a policy that may become worthless or unaffordable by the time they need to use it.

Added September 1, 2016


Two College Students Calling Assisted Living "Home"

McKnight's Senior Living shares a story of a Connecticut program, one in which college students pursuing studies related to aging are immersed in an assisted living setting by becoming residents.

Added September 1, 2016


New Alzheimer's Drug Could be a "Game Changer"

CNN reports that human trials of a new drug have shown that it can successfully remove brain plaques believed to contribute to Alzheimer's Disease. Another study with a larger group of participants is needed, but the results of this one are exciting.

Added September 1, 2016


Ten Medications Older Adults Should Avoid or Use with Caution

The Health in Aging Foundation has put together a list of medications and describes the potential side effects they may present for older adults. As many older adults take multiple medications on a regular basis, there is also a risk of drug interaction. This list may help some people avoid serious complications.

Added June 30, 2016


Can Memory Loss in Older Alzheimer's Patients Be Reversed?

CBS News reports that a "36-point individualized regimen of diet, exercise, brain stimulation, sleep improvements, medication and vitamins and other specific protocols for five to 24 months" may have resulted in some study participants regaining brain function they had lost. It's not conclusive, and opinion appears to be that the demands of the program can be difficult to follow, but it may be worth watching and investigating.

Added June 24, 2016


Retirement Planning Tips for an Older Divorcee

CBS MoneyWatch has packed quite a bit into this report, including some very detailed clarifications about Social Security benefits.

Added May 26, 2016


Traveling with Dementia

"If a person has Alzheimer's or other dementia, it doesn't mean he or she can no longer participate in meaningful activities such as travel; but it does require planning to ensure safety and enjoyment for everyone." That's the Alzheimer's Association's introduction to tips on preparing for the best trip possible with your dementia-diagnosed friend or loved one. Learn more at alz.org.

Added May 17, 2016


The Cheapest Alzheimer's Aid, and Regrettably Overlooked

McKnight's shares a solid argument for learning a second language., and there are opportunities throughout Tennessee to learn. Some colleges even reduce, or all but eliminate, fees for people 60 years or older. Check out Middle Tennessee State University for an example. 

Don't think you have to go to college to learn another language, though. Chances are, there's a church, a non-profit, or a private tutor (or maybe all three) in your area that can get you started. Take that step! Who knows where it might lead?

Added April 29, 2016


Yellow Dot Car Marker Program Still Going Strong, Expanding

Tennessee's Yellow Dot program is expanding beyond seniors. This program provides a sticker to mark the back of a vehicle. The sticker alerts first responders to existing medical issues during an emergency. Read the full update on WKRN News 2's website. 

You can also head straight to the State's Yellow DOT program information page.

Added March 23, 2016


Living to 100: An Action Plan

Think you'll make it that long? Hope you'll make it that long? Planning to make it that long? CBS Money Watch suggests some ways to make it happen, as well as some behaviors that will likely prevent you from making it to the century mark.

Added February 12, 2016


Fines Going Up This Year For Anyone Without Health Insurance

Regardless of how you feel about it, the Affordable Care Act is law. Just like other laws, you can expect to be fined for not following it. You are required to have health insurance.

If you're going to pay one way or the other, doesn't it make sense to at least consider getting something for your money? According to Nashville's News 2, "In 2016, the minimum penalty is $695 or 2.5 percent of your taxable income." For most people, throwing that amount away and having nothing to show for it is painful. 

Open enrollment ended ahead of this post, but it's not too soon to start thinking about the future, starting with HealthCare.gov or 1-800-318-2596 (TTY 1-855-889-4325).

Added February 8, 2016


Warning for Retired baby Boomers Looking for Work

CBS News has an interesting perspective (following a published study) on finding work during our retirement years. According to the article, "The rate of transition from middle-skill jobs into both high-skill and low-skill jobs had been increasing until the Great Recession, but afterwards such transitions became more difficult." In other words, if you plan to work longer, plan to either pick up additional skills or be willing to possibly take lower-skilled, lower-paying work. Either way, the key point is plan to make yourself employable, don't just assume the job you want will be there waiting for you. You either need to make yourself a competitive candidate, or you need to be willing to downsize your lifestyle and expenses.

Added December 18, 2015


Applying for Veterans Benefits: Tips for Caregivers and Spouses

Information from AgingCare.com that helps clarify some of the most confusing aspects of applying for veterans benefits.

Added November 19, 2015


Medicare to Pay For End-of-Life Counseling For Terminally Ill

From CBS News: "In a major change of policy, Medicare will now pay for end-of-life counseling for terminally-ill patients." Read the full article, then come back to us to learn more about planning for your own future, including your end-of-life needs.

Added November 13, 2015


Brain Games Team Puts Ashland City on the Map

Congratulations to the Ashland City Acers, second place in the 2015 Tennessee Senior Brain Games Statewide Championship! They were first year participants

The Tennessean writes: "The Senior Center at Ashland City will be featured on Nashville Public Television’s “Aging Matters” show on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. There will be a viewing party at the center, located at 104 Ruth Drive. Center director Melissa Womack said the segment will feature the Ashland City Acers’ run through the Tennessee Senior Brain Games. “We were the highlight senior center throughout the games,” she said. The television crew also filmed the team in action at the state competition in Morristown."

Added October 30, 2015


New App Helps You Make End-of-Life Choices

Boston.com writes: "Cake, an app collaborating with Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s innovation hub, attempts to simplify end-of-life planning by asking questions about anything from financial planning to whether or not you want the plug pulled on your Facebook once you’re not around to update your status. Suelin Chen, one of Cake’s founders, wants the app to get people talking about a tough topic and help them record their wishes and share them with the necessary people.

"Basically, she wants to make the whole process a piece of Cake."

The app is still in the testing phase as of this post, but that doesn't mean you can't begin the conversation with your family, your friends, or your lawyer today, the old-fashioned way. Grab a piece of paper, a pen, and just talk. Remember, by the time your choices are honored you're gone. This is something you do for your loved ones, one of your final gifts to them. Don't wait.

Added October 27, 2015


Congratulations to Dr. Ruth Garrett​ and Senator Rusty Crowe!
Portrait of Dr. Ruth Garrett.

Dr. Ruth Garrett is the recipient of the 2015 Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A) Jane Kennedy Excellence of Aging Award! The award recognizes an individual who has made a positive impact on the quality of life of older adults. It is one of the highest honors given by the SE4A Board.

Separately, Senator Crowe is the recipient of the 2015 SE4A Aging Impact  (Regional) Award. As is true of Dr. Garrett's award, Senator Crowe's reflects his positive impact on the quality of life of older adults. 

Added September 21, 2015


Seattle Preschool in a Nursing Home 'Transforms' Elderly Residents

The Intergenerational Learning Centern is a preschool housed within a senior center in Seattle, Washington. This arrangement has led to new ways of thinking about aging, as well as a feature film, a documentary called Present Perfect. The film is in the final stages of development. Learn more about the story behind the film while you wait for its release.

Added June 18, 2015


Good News For Older Workers Seeking New Careers

Read what CBS News has to report about the benefits of delaying retirement while still making a career change: According to a recent American Institute for Economic Research (AIER)​ survey, "82 percent of older workers who wanted to change careers were able to make the move, and of these workers, an overwhelming majority (90 percent) report that it was successful."

Added May 21, 2015


Relief Funds to Aid Seniors Struggling With Reverse Mortgages

From the Los Angeles Times: "A federal relief effort that set aside nearly $2 billion in housing aid for troubled Californians is being expanded to help older homeowners avert foreclosures on their reverse mortgages."

"The program, in a pilot stage, will provide up to $25,000 to low- and moderate-income borrowers who have fallen behind on property tax or insurance payments because of financial shocks, the California Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday."

*Yes, this story is about California home owners, but it offers good cautionary advice for anyone, in any state (including Tennessee), considering a reverse mortgage.

Added February 23, 2015


Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic Planned For UT Medical Center

From the Associated Press, posted by WBIR.com: "The University of Tennessee Medical Center and Pat Summitt Foundation are forming a partnership to establish the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic."

"UT Medical Center already handles Alzheimer's treatment within its Cole Neuroscience Center, but the new clinic will be dedicated solely to the effort. Officials plan to recruit a full-time medical director."

Added January 16, 2015


Five Signs Your Aging Parent Isn't Getting Enough Food

The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger has posted a short list of warning signs to help you spot when the seniors in your life may not be getting enough to eat.

Added January 6, 2015