Archive for the 'Aging' Category

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Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes between England and the United States

Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes between England and the United States
By: James Banks, Zoe Oldfield, James P. Smith
Source: RAND Corporation


In this paper the authors examine the link between retrospectively reported measures of childhood health and the prevalence of various major and minor diseases at older ages. Their analysis is based on comparable retrospective questionnaires placed in the Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing — nationally representative surveys of the age 50 plus population in America and England respectively. They show that the origins of poorer adult health among older Americans compared to the English trace right back into the childhood years — the American middle and old-age population report higher rates of specific childhood health conditions than their English counterparts. The transmission into poor health in mid life and older ages of these higher rates of childhood illnesses also appears to be higher in America compared to England. Both factors contribute to higher rates of adult illness in the United States compared to England although even in combination they do not explain the full extent of the country difference in late-life health outcomes.

Full text (PDF)

How U.S. Older Adults Provide Care for Their Aging Parents, Adult Children, and Friends

Source: Population Reference Bureau
By: Suzanne Bianchi

From press release:

Most research on the gender gap in unpaid caregiving in the United States has focused on young families. During the childrearing years, women provide the bulk of child care, although the time men spend caring for their children has increased in recent years.

As part of PRB’s 2010-2011 Policy Seminar series, Suzanne Bianchi, a University of California Los Angeles sociology professor, examined new research on caregiving in later life—a time when men and women may spend their time in similar ways as they enter their retirement years. The study, conducted with Joan Kahn and Brittany McGill of the University of Maryland, explored whether retirement and marital status made a difference in how men and women helped others. Specifically, they set out to learn whether men replaced paid work with time spent helping others after retirement and whether divorced people spent less time caring for kin, reflecting weakened family ties.

View webcast, “Gender and Intergenerational Transfer of Time Later in Life,” Suzanne Bianchi (Time: 45 min)

Working away at the cost of ageing

Working away at the cost of ageing: the labour market adjusted dependency ratio
By: Benedetta Guerzoni and Fabian Zuleeg
Source: European Policy Centre

From website:

Population ageing and its implications on public finances (especially pensions and care) is one of the greatest challenges that EU economies and societies will be facing over the next couple of decades. In this Issue Paper, Fabian Zuleeg and Benedetta Guerzoni argue that pension system reforms will not be sufficient to guarantee the sustainability of the EU welfare systems, if they are not coupled with increased participation to the labour market. In order to assess the EU Member States’ performance, this paper proposes an indicator – the Labour Market Adjusted Dependency Ratio – which combines the demographic trend with the labour market dimension. The analysis shows that slightly less than half of the EU population is not working due to unemployment, retirement or other reasons, with this figure notably growing up by 2050. The authors suggest that policy-makers can play a significant role in tackling the demographic challenge, by boosting labour market participation and reshaping the structure of European labour force.

Full text (PDF)

Health and Well-Being in the Home

Health and Well-Being in the Home: A Global Analysis of Needs, Expectations, and Priorities for Home Health Care Technology
By: Soeren Mattke, Lisa Klautzer, Tewodaj Mengistu, Jeffrey Garnett, Jianhui Hu, Helen Wu
Source: RAND Corporation


In both industrialized and transitioning countries, population aging and better survivability have led to a rapid increase of the prevalence of chronic disease and disability. As a result, there is growing concern about the financial sustainability of health care systems, which is compounded by capacity constraints and workforce shortages. Advanced home health care solutions promise to mitigate these pressures by shifting care from costly institutional settings to patients’ homes and allowing patients to self-manage their conditions. A global study of the needs, priorities, and expectations of key stakeholders regarding home health care in six countries (China, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States) revealed that, despite their potential, such technologies face a number of barriers to adoption. Restrictive coverage and existing incentives for in-person home care create obstacles, as does limited patient readiness because of insufficient health literacy. Concerns about audience-appropriate product design and support and limited data on effectiveness and efficiency also impede uptake. Realizing the promise of telecare requires a concerted stakeholder effort, including creation of a conducive policy environment, design of convincing products, and development and dissemination of persuasive evidence.

Summary (PDF)
Full document (PDF)

Older Americans 2010 — Key Indicators of Well-Being

Older Americans 2010 — Key Indicators of Well-Being
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics

Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being is one in a series of periodic reports to the Nation on the condition of older adults in the United States. The indicators assembled in this chartbook show the results of decades of progress. Older Americans are living longer and enjoying greater prosperity than any previous generation. Despite these advances, inequalities between the sexes and among income groups and racial and ethnic groups continue to exist. As the baby boomers continue to age and America’s older population grows larger and more diverse, community leaders, policymakers, and researchers will have an even greater need to monitor the health and economic well-being of older Americans. In this report, 37 indicators depict the well-being of older Americans in the areas of demographic characteristics, economic circumstances, overall health status, health risks and behaviors, and cost and use of health care services.

Full report (PDF)
Powerpoint Slides of Charts

Demographics of the Oldest People in the World

Scientists Seek to Tabulate Mysteries of the Aged
Carl Bialik | Wall Street Journal
July 24, 2010

The World’s Best Agers
Carl Bialik | Wall Street Journal
July 23, 2010

This Exclusive Club Has One Requirement: 110 Birthday Candles
[link to full text]
JEFFREY ZASLOW | Wall Street Journal
February 25, 2005

Gerontology Sleuths Search For ‘Supercentenarians’; Disproving False Claims

Data Sharing: Leads to advances in science

Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s
Gina Kolata | New York Times
August 12, 2010

The key to a collaborative Alzheimer’s project was an ambitious agreement to share all the data, making every single finding public immediately.

Oldest Old: How good are the data (Japan)

Japan, Checking on Its Oldest, Finds Many Gone
August 14, 2010
Revelations of missing centenarians have hit an aging population already grappling with caring for the elderly.

The Age of Reason

What is the Age of Reason
By: Sumit Agarwal, John C. Driscoll, Xavier Gabaix, and David Laibson
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

From the introduction:

Most U.S. households have accumulated significant assets by retirement, but these assets are often accompanied by significant liabilities. Including net home equity, households with a head age 65-74 had a median net worth of $239,400 in 2007, according to the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). At the same time, the SCF reports that 48 percent had debt secured by a residential property, 26 percent had installment loans, and 37 percent carried credit card balances from month to month. Overall, about two-thirds of these households had at least one form of debt. This brief raises the question of whether older households have the ability to manage their increasingly large and complex balance sheets.

Full text of the brief (PDF)

How do employers cope with an ageing workforce?

How do employers cope with an ageing workforce? Views from employers and employees
By: Hendrik P. Van Dalen, Kène Henkens, and Joop Schippers
Source: Demographic Research

How age-conscious are human resource policies? Using a survey of Dutch employers, we examine how employers deal with the prospect of an ageing work force. We supplement our analysis with an additional survey of Dutch employees to compare human resource policies to practices. Results show that a small minority of employers are taking measures to enhance productivity (training programmes) or bring productivity in line with pay (demotion). Personnel policies tend to ‘spare’ older workers: giving them extra leave, early retirement, or generous employment protection: older workers who perform poorly are allowed to stay, whereas younger workers under similar conditions are dismissed.