Thursday, October 12, 2017
The next meeting of the Aging, Law & Society Collaborative Research Network is set for June 7-10, 2018 in Toronto as part of the Law & Society Annual meeting. Here's the info from the announcement:
The Aging, Law, and Society Collaborative Research Network (CRN) invites scholars to participate in a multi-event workshop sponsored by the CRN as part of the Law and Society Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting. The Aging, Law & Society CRN brings together scholars from across disciplines to share research and ideas about the relationship between law and aging, including how the law responds the needs of persons as they age and how law shapes the aging experience. This year’s workshop will feature themed panels, roundtable discussions, and rapid fire presentations in which participants can share new ideas and research projects.
The CRN encourages paper proposals on a broad range of issues related to law and aging. However, we especially encourage proposals on the following topics:
• Creative, inter-disciplinary and empirical methodologies for studying law and aging;
• Intergenerational relationships, ageism, and intergenerational justice;
• Theoretical frameworks for understanding the law as it relates to older adults;
• Legal responses to dementia;
• Long-term care;
• Elder abuse and neglect;
• Human rights of older adults; and
• Identity and intersectionality in older age.
In addition to paper proposals, we also welcome:
• Volunteers to serve as panel discussants and as commentators on works-in-progress.
• Ideas and proposals for themed panels, round-tables, or a session around a new book.
Proposals are due October 16 (get busy writing). The form for submission is available here http://www.lawandsociety.org/Toronto2018/2018-guidelines.html). and should be sent by email to Professor Nina Kohn firstname.lastname@example.org & Dr. Issi Doron, email@example.com along with a 1000 word abstract and your contact info.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The New York Times recently ran an interesting article discussing women's concerns about their appearances as they age. Working to Disarm Women’s Anti-Aging Demon opens with an essay of sorts about women dying their hair to cover the gray. What's the scope of the situation? According to the author, "[a]ging is harder for women. We bear the brunt of the equation of beauty with youth and youth with power — the double-whammy of ageism and sexism. How do we cope? We splurge on anti-aging products. We fudge or lie about our age. We diet, we exercise, we get plumped and lifted and tucked." The author goes on to offer that "[t]hese behaviors are rooted in shame over something that shouldn’t be shameful. And they give a pass to the underlying discrimination that makes them necessary." The author posits the downsides of focusing on appearance and appearance of age not only disempowers women, it "reinforce[s] ageism, sexism, lookism and patriarchy."
So what is the solution? The author gives these tips "[t]ap into what we know: Getting older enriches us... [l]earn to look more generously at one another and ourselves.... [r]eject old-versus-young ways of thinking ... and [c]ome together at all ages and talk about this stuff." The author suggests it's time to get "off the hamster wheel of age denial, share power, and think and act in pro-aging ways." The author concludes her article with this
We have a choice: we can keep digging the hole deeper, or we can throw away the damn shovel. We can move, if we have the will and the desire and the vision, from competing to collaborating. We can turn it from a conversation about scarcity and loss to one about empowerment and equity. And we can take that change out into the world. The women’s movement taught us to claim our power; a pro-aging movement will teach us to hold onto it.
Thanks to Professor Naomi Cahn for sending us this article.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Recently Experience, the magazine for the American Bar Association's Senior Lawyers Division, ran a cover story on opiod use and elders. The Hidden Epidemic: Opioid Addiction Among Older Adults (subscription required) opens with sobering statistics
Currently the leading cause of injury-related deaths among adults, the opioid crisis has engulfed rural America, spread across our cities, and inundated suburban communities. Despite national alarm, the tidal wave of drug-related deaths continues.
Recent estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that roughly 52,000 drug-related overdoses occurred in 2015, and more than 60 percent of these were related to prescription opioids or illicit opioid drugs. More telling perhaps is the impact of this carnage on life expectancy, with the United States experiencing its first decline in life expectancy since 1993—the height of the AIDS epidemic.
Let's get more specific, looking at the data regarding elders:
Opioid-related patient visits among adults 65 and older more than doubled between 2006 and 2014, from 28.6 to 70.1 per 100,000, according to data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, which contain nearly one-fifth of all emergency department visits in the country. There’s been a 145 percent increase over the past 12 years.
In 2014, nearly 8 percent of all emergency department visits related to opioid dependence were made by adults aged 65 years and older, representing 36,776 patient visits nationwide, with nearly 70 percent of these visits resulting in hospital admission.
The article discusses risk factors and demographic breakdowns as well as challenges to identifying addiction. Even ageist attitudes may be at play here. The article also explains how the opioid crisis case me to be amongst elders. The explanations are interesting and illustrate how challenging it is to tackle this problem.
Epidemiologists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism last month reported a jarring trend: Problem drinking is rising fast among older Americans....
Their study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, compared data from a national survey taken in 2001 and 2002 and again in 2012 and 2013, each time with about 40,000 adults. Drinking had increased in every age group, the researchers found.
Those over 65 remained far less likely to drink than younger people — about 55 percent of older participants told interviewers they’d imbibed in the past year. Still, that was a 22 percent increase over the two periods, the greatest rise in any age group.
It's not just the numbers that matter, the article explains. The type of drinking also matters. "[T]he proportion of older adults engaged in “high-risk drinking” jumped 65 percent, to 3.8 percent. The researchers’ definition: for a man, downing five or more standard drinks in a day (each containing 14 grams of alcohol) at least weekly during the past year; for a woman, four such drinks in a day." Why is this happening? Some suggested today's elders are healthier so they keep up their drinking ways and they are more comfortable both with drinking and recreational drug use. One thing those folks may not realize--as we age we metabolize alcohol: "With each drink, an older person’s blood alcohol levels will rise higher than a younger drinker’s ... [and] older people have less muscle mass, and the liver metabolizes alcohol more slowly. Aging brains grow more sensitive to its sedative properties, too." And don't forget medication and alcohol interactions. The article stresses the importance of diagnosis and treatment.
We are looking at a public health crisis on these issues. How do we best respond?
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
This is not an elder law specific topic so if that doesn't interest you, stop reading now (we have plenty of elder law specific posts in the archives). It seems like every week (if not more often) we read about a data breach. The one gathering all the headlines right now is the Equifax breach, which I'm sure you all have heard about (unless you are one of the ones without power Post-Irma). Having been a victim of ID theft and the Equifax breach, I'm a little wound up about these issues so forgive me if I get a little too "enthused" discussing this. Within 11 minutes today I got two agency emails warning me about ID theft. Social Security sent out a note about Protecting Your Social Security. Here are some suggestions from SSA:
- Open your personal my Social Security account....
- If you already have a my Social Security account, but haven’t signed in lately, take a moment to login to easily take advantage of our second method to identify you each time you log in. This is in addition to our first layer of security, a username and password....
- If you know your Social Security information has been compromised, and if you don’t want to do business with Social Security online, you can use our Block Electronic Access You can block any automated telephone and electronic access to your Social Security record...
The second email I got was a consumer alert from NAIC. Identity Theft: Protect Yourself in wake of breaches, hacks and cyber stalkers explains
Big data is big business. But it can also lead to bigger headaches when large-scale breaches expose personal information. Large companies including insurers and credit bureaus have been the victims of cyber thieves who accessed private customer information. Most recently, the Equifax breach of could affect 143 million Americans.
Identity theft occurs when a person uses your personal information to commit fraud or unlawful activity. Using your social security number or date of birth, someone may open new credit card or bank account in your name, and even take out a loan using your personal information. Affected consumers can help protect themselves with identity theft insurance—or by using safeguards provided by the impacted company. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers these consumer protection tips.
The tips include what not to carry in your wallet, what to do if your identity has been stolen, not to proactively protect yourself against identity theft and the pros and cons of purchasing identity theft insurance.
I'm just saying now... this isn't going to be the last time I write you about this. Hopefully none of you will be in my boat. Safe travels through cyber space.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Do you consider yourself to be old? Well, if you are over 37, statistically you are old, according to an article in the New York Times, Feeling Older? Here’s How to Embrace It. However, "S[s]udies show that people start feeling old in their 60s, and a Pew Research Center survey found that nearly 3,000 respondents said 68 was the average age at which old age begins." The article offers tips to embrace your aging, including having perspective about aging, be friends with various generations (helps with loneliness), and make decisions about "good" aging (for example, "[c]hoices about lifestyles and behaviors can influence the effects of so-called secondary aging.") Aging is organic, but don't just let it happen-plan for it and make appropriate decisions! The article also offers these tip:s welcome the positives (identify activities that are enriching for you) and reject ageist notions. Age is a great equalizer-everyone ages, even without realization. For example, say it took you two minutes to read this post. You are now two minutes older.
Various milestones — birthdays, changes in careers and the deaths of siblings and peers — are reminders of the passage of time, but you should not lose focus on finding meaning and quality in life, Mr. Kaplan ["assistant professor of social work at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y."] wrote.
“For many people, old age creeps up slowly and sometimes without fanfare or acknowledgment,” he wrote. “While most people enjoy relative continuity over the decades, being able to adapt to the changing context of our lives is the key to success throughout life.”
Monday, September 18, 2017
Consumer Reports published an article that focuses on the terms of an ALF admissions contract. Putting the Assisted Living Facility Contract Under a Microscope starts with recommending that an elder law attorney review the contract before the client signs it. The article lists 4 key areas to examine, including responsible party provisions, costs of care, mandatory arbitration clauses and grounds for discharge. The article offers advice and things to look for within each of these areas. Among others, the article quotes Hy Darling, current president of NAELA and Shirley Whitenack, former NAELA president.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
With Irma in Florida's rear view mirror (and not a moment too soon), many are focused on what, if anything, should be done differently next time.
For us as attorneys, we should be sure to tell our clients about the importance of having a disaster plan. For clients living elsewhere, whether a long-term care facility or housing specifically for elders, they should be advised to ask a lot of questions. Does the facility have a disaster plan? Get a copy of it. What services does the facility provide to help residents evacuate? In what evacuation zone is the facility located? Does the facility have a back-up generator in the event of a power outage? How does the facility balance having adequate staff on site before, during and after the disaster while simultaneously allowing staff to prepare for the disaster? Does the facility's insurance policy cover property of residents? What services does the facility provide to help residents return after the disaster? What happens if the facility is now uninhabitable? Does the admissions contract provide for any return of the resident's money (this may be more applicable to a CCRC than a SNF or apartment). Will the facility help residents find other suitable housing? What other items would you add to the list?
As part of the news coverage surrounding Irma, the Washington Post ran a story about the risks of evacuating elders. Moving Florida’s many seniors out of Irma’s path has unique risks discusses the research that has been done on the stress of evacuations on elders, noting that some evacuees will die from the stress of evacuation. Whether to go or stay is akin to rolling the dice. On the one hand, those in the path have plenty of advance notice of the approaching storm, but as seen with Irma, the track can (and does) change, so no one knows where it will hit.
If you stay you have risks. If you go, you have risks. As one person quoted in the Washington Post article noted, "[t]his is one of those classic cases of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s a very difficult decision: When you evacuate, there is an inherent body count for frail, older adults...” Because these folks are frail, they need to be evacuated earlier than others might, and based on lessons learned from Andrew and Katrina, there may be more pressure from officials for facilities to evacuate their residents rather than to stay put to weather the storm. Speaking from personal experience, the wait is stressful. It seems to take a long time for the storm to pass over once the go-no go time has passed. Then afterwards, there's the issue of utilities, clean up, services and supplies.
The media aren't the only ones focused on the issues of elders in the path of disasters. The Senate Committee on Aging has scheduled a hearing for September 20, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. on "Disaster Preparedness and Response: The Special Needs of Older Americans"
Monday, September 11, 2017
Sitting at home watching the storm tracker, and being right in the path of Irma, I wondered what efforts are being taken to protect Florida's elders, so we don't see a picture similar to that we saw from Harvey. I'm not the only one wondering about this. The New York Times ran an article the day before Irma made landfall on the continental US. Long a Refuge for the Elderly, Florida is Now a Place of Danger describes the demographics, 20% of South Florida's residents are over 65 and in some counties, a significant number are over 75. The numbers, as well as the variations in health, makes evacuation and care for this part of Florida's population especially challenging when a hurricane arrives. Add to that the fact that many elders who retire to Florida don't have support of friends or family in Florida. Not every elder will evacuate and don't forget that the caregivers need to take care of their own homes and families at some point. As well, first responders notice everyone that once winds reach a certain speed, they will not respond to calls for help. Then once the storm passes, getting services and utilities restored becomes another challenge. For some, delays in having power can be life-threatening. Stay tuned and wish all of us down here well.
Monday, September 4, 2017
The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging has announced the opening of the RFP period for academics to apply for academic research grants. The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging Requests Proposals for 2018 Academic Research Grants explains that the foundation "awards up to 4 grants of $20,000 each year. This Request for Proposals is open to all interested and qualified legal, health sciences, social sciences, and gerontology scholars and professionals. Organizations per se, whether profit or non-profit are not eligible to apply, although they may administer the grant."
The grants support "research and scholarship about new or improved public policies, laws, and/or programs that will enhance the quality of life for the elderly, including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability, or other barriers." For more information about the grants, click here. The deadline for submission is October 16, 2017.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
USA Today ran a story, Can this eye scan detect Alzheimer's years in advance? This short article explains that according to scientists "early indicators of Alzheimer's disease exist within our eyes, meaning a non-invasive eye scan could tip us off to Alzheimer's years before symptoms occur... It turns out the disease affects the retina — the back of the eye — similarly to how it affects the brain, notes neuroscience investigators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California. Through a high-definition eye scan, the researchers found they could see buildup of toxic proteins, which are indicative of Alzheimer's." The study on which this article is based was published in the Journal of Clinic Investigation. Retinal amyloid pathology and proof-of-concept imaging trial in Alzheimer’s disease is downloadable as a pdf by clicking here. The 19 page article offers this intriguing statement. "Such retinal amyloid imaging technology, capable of detecting discrete deposits at high resolution in the CNS, may present a sensitive yet inexpensive tool for screening populations at risk for AD, assessing disease progression, and monitoring response to therapy." (Warning-there are a lot of detailed photos of eyes in this article).
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
There was a lot of sad news this past week, especially the news about the damage that Hurricane Harvey has brought to Texas. I read a story about SNF residents in waist-high water awaiting evacuation. This brought back memories of Katrina and stranded residents then. The New York Times article, Behind the Photo of the Older Women in Waist-High Water in Texas, notes that there was some back and forth regarding the authenticity of the photo as the photo went viral. Ultimately, the residents were evacuated, as the article explains
On Sunday afternoon ... An evacuation was underway and the residents — more than a dozen — were being relocated... [A] Galveston County commissioner, confirmed on Sunday that the residents had been rescued, though he could not say for sure how many... He said the furor over the photo was not what brought emergency responders to the scene...“We knew about it before it hit social media,” he said. “We were working on a solution for the nursing home, and it was in progress, so social media can sometimes leave one with the wrong impression.”
A follow-up article in the Times, Houston’s Hospitals Treat Storm Victims and Become Victims Themselves discusses the impact on the "medically vulnerable" and what lessons were learned from Katrina. A number of improvements were made, as the article notes, but "[w]hile some vulnerable hospitals and nursing homes opted to move their patients out of the region in the hours before the storm, ... others “did not know to necessarily expect this level of chaos.” A large coalition of medical providers had drilled and planned regularly for catastrophes ... 'but honestly, not at this epic level.'" The article notes a change in the federal rule after Katrina has helped; it "requires a wide range of health providers to establish emergency plans —[which has] ... led to significantly better preparedness among nursing homes."
Federal health officials also analyzed Medicare claims to provide Texas officials with the likely addresses of homebound people who rely on power-dependent ventilators, oxygen concentrators and electric wheelchairs, among other needs. Responders also used the state’s voluntary registry to locate them and offer assistance.
So this is a good time to remind everyone about having an disaster plan. There are a number of resources on the web providing guidance on how to create a plan and to have an evacuation "go box" ready. It also is good to know what the SNF's plan is and under what circumstances do they evacuate residents or shelter in place. The stakes are too high not to ask about the plan.
I suspect that we will be posting more entries about the aftermath of Harvey for a while. Stay tuned.
Friday, August 18, 2017
I'm sure all of us have seen ads about fighting aging, or a product that is promoted as "anti-aging." I always am puzzled; it seems that we are in a battle against aging. So an article in Huffington Post caught my eye. Allure Just Banned The Term ‘Anti-Aging’ And Everyone Else Should, Too explains the company "will no longer use the term “anti-aging,” acknowledging that growing older is something that should be embraced and appreciated rather than resisted or talked about as if it’s a condition that drains away beauty." The article explains that the "anti" label reinforces a negative message about aging being something that is to be fought. The magazine's statement, "Allure Magazine Will No Longer Use the Term 'Anti-Aging'" is available here.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Here are some excerpts from the story about the study:
new measures of aging with probabilistic projections from the United Nations to scientifically illustrate that one’s actual age is not necessarily the best measure of human aging itself, but rather aging should be based on the number of years people are likely to live in a given country in the 21st Century.
The study also predicts an end to population aging in the U.S. and other countries before the end of the century. Population aging – when the median age rises in a country because of increasing life expectancy and lower fertility rates – is a concern for countries because of the perception that population aging leads to declining numbers of working age people and additional social burdens.
You'll recall the three cohorts of "old" 65-74, the "young old", 75-84, the old, and 85+ the old-old. According to this study, "[t]raditional population projections categorize “old age” as a simple cutoff at age 65. But as life expectancies have increased, so too have the years that people remain healthy, active, and productive. In the last decade, IIASA researchers have published a large body of research showing that the very boundary of “old age” should shift with changes in life expectancy, and have introduced new measures of aging that are based on population characteristics, giving a more comprehensive view of population aging."
The study focuses on the US, China, Iran and Germany. The study is available here.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Kiplinger ran a story for elders about staying cyber-safe online. Beware Fraudsters When You Go Online discusses cybersecurity safety. The tips include a strong password (I know we've heard this before, but it's so important) ,using tw0-factor authentication and even fingerprint ID to log on. Do this for every one of your online interfaces: for your email, your financial accounts and your social media. Keep your software and anti-virus updated (include your smart phone-update those apps!). Backup critical data (even a hard copy), don't share your passwords, don't use the same password for everything, keep a hard copy of your passwords, don't click on links in emails and remember your bank, Social Security and the IRS will not email you. You didn't really win a foreign country's lottery. Don't open attachments. Be mindful when on your computer. Think before you click!
Thursday, June 29, 2017
So if someone who has lived a long time offers you tips to living longer, would you follow those tips? There have been a number of interviews with centenarians asking them to what they attribute their long lives. I suspect if you research it, you will find different explanations from them, such as those in a Forbes article. (just Google, for example, "why centenarians live so long").
A recent story from Dr. John Day covers his visit to the "Longevity Village" in China where 1 of every 100 residents (out of a total of 550) is a centenarian. In this article, Tips for a Long, Healthy Life From ‘Longevity Village’, the centenarians offer several tips for living longer: smile more, rethink what is stressful, and enjoy your accomplishments at the end of the day. Oh and don't be afraid of aging.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
You are reading this blog either on your computer, your smart phone, your tablet, or some other device that I didn't mention. You are not likely reading this in hard copy. What about your daily dose of news in the morning? Do you read a physical copy of a paper? Is a morning news show (television or radio) part of your routine? If you are in the group of folks 50 and over, more and more you are likely reading your news on a mobile device, according to a report released by Pew Research Center. A fact tank report, Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults tells us the uptick is strong: "[m]ore than eight-in-ten U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device (85%), compared with 72% just a year ago and slightly more than half in 2013 (54%). And the recent surge has come from older people: Roughly two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device (67%), a 24-percentage-point increase over the past year and about three times the share of four years ago, when less than a quarter of those 65 and older got news on mobile (22%)." Those in the 50-64 age group also show a strong adoption of news on mobile devices with "79% now get news on mobile, nearly double the share in 2013. The growth rate was much less steep – or nonexistent – for those younger than 50."
Why this increase you wonder? Wonder no more. The report explains the growth is partially due to the fact that fewer of elders had been using mobile devices for their news, so there was opportunity for greater adoption than younger age groups who were already strong adopters. So even though more elders are using mobile devices for their news, it doesn't mean they are liking it! The report explains that those 65 and older aren't particularly keen on doing so with "[o]nly 44% prefer mobile ... [and] those 50 to 64 ... prefer to get their news on mobile (54%), up from about four-in-ten (41%) a year ago."
Monday, June 12, 2017
Parts of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule is finally in effect, but whether the rule with stay or be repealed remains to be seen. Investments News ran a recent article, DOL fiduciary rule takes effect, but more uncertainty lies ahead. The article explains that "[t]wo provisions of the measure, which requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts, become applicable [June 9th]. One expands the definition of who is a fiduciary, and the other establishes impartial conduct standards." According to the article, the entire rule is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018, but that may be delayed since the agency is undertaking regulatory reviews as part of the mandate from the administration. As far as the 2 regs in effect, the article explains that those "will govern adviser interactions with clients in retirement accounts. Under those provisions, advisers must give advice that is in the best interests of their clients, charge reasonable compensation and avoid "misleading statements" about investment transactions and what they're being paid." There is a grace period until July 1, 2018 regarding advice being given to clients, as long as the "fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the fiduciary duty rule."
The article also mentions that the SEC has asked for comments regarding fiduciary duty.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Kaiser Health News ran a story about the impact of loneliness in elders. Like Hunger Or Thirst, Loneliness In Seniors Can Be Eased explains that loneliness is "fixable".
[L]oneliness is the exception rather than the rule in later life. And when it occurs, it can be alleviated: It’s a mutable psychological state... Only 30 percent of older adults feel lonely fairly frequently, according to data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, the most definitive study of seniors’ social circumstances and their health in the U.S....The remaining 70 percent have enough fulfilling interactions with other people to meet their fundamental social and emotional needs.
There are significant physical and psychological manifestations of loneliness but the good news is that it can be resolved. The article discusses a study on loneliness, with one result worth mentioning here, "[w]hat helped older adults who had been lonely recover? Two factors: spending time with other people and eliminating discord and disturbances in family relationships." The study also examined loneliness prevention factors; the "study also looked at protective factors that kept seniors from becoming lonely. What made a difference? Lots of support from family members and fewer physical problems that interfere with an individual’s independence and ability to get out and about."
The article distinguishes between loneliness and isolation, an important point. The article discusses a couple of ways to alleviate loneliness: altering perceptions and investing in relationships. The article also mentions a project from The Netherlands, "a six-week “friendship enrichment program” [with the] goal is to help people become aware of their social needs, reflect on their expectations, analyze and improve the quality of existing relationships and develop new friendships."
Monday, May 22, 2017
The Pew Research Center released a new report on tech use and older adults. Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults explains the rise in "wired" elders: "[a]round four-in-ten (42%) adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013. Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home." That seems like good news, but what about those who aren't connected? "One-third of adults ages 65 and older say they never use the internet, and roughly half (49%) say they do not have home broadband services. Meanwhile, even with their recent gains, the proportion of seniors who say they own smartphones is 42 percentage points lower than those ages 18 to 64."
The report shows a correlation between use and age, income and education. The report discusses tech adoption by type of tech, obstacles to adoption and use, levels of engagement and perceptions of the value of tech on society. A pdf of the 23 page report is available here.
Monday, May 1, 2017
I blogged a few days ago about an upcoming hearing for the Senate Committee on Aging. That hearing, on April 27, 2017, concerned the Mental and Physical Effects of Social Isolation and Loneliness. Testimonies from the hearing can be accessed here.
The April 27, 2017 hearing was the first of two parts looking into the issue. As noted in the first hearing
The risks of social isolation and loneliness compare with smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed those associated with physical inactivity and obesity. According to researchers, prolonged isolation is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Isolation and loneliness are associated with higher rates of heart disease; weakened immune system; depression and anxiety; dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease; and nursing home admissions.
The next hearing is set for May 10, 2017 and will focus on Aging With Community: Building Connections that Last a Lifetime.