Senior News Briefs

July 6, 2024 at 1:35 p.m.


Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Statement on FDA’s Approval of New Alzheimer’s Medication

“We are encouraged by the FDA’s approval of donanemab and are optimistic that it will make a positive difference in the lives of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregivers. As with any medication, patient access and affordability to all those in need is vitally important, and we hope the FDA’s actions will facilitate both.

“This is another positive sign of further progress, but we must keep moving forward until we reach the finish line—a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Federal policymakers must continue increasing investments in Alzheimer’s disease research and support services for caregivers to provide help and hope to the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s.”

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Medicare Rights Center Fact Sheet

The Medicare Rights Center's new fact sheet series is designed to help people understand important health care policy ideas during this election season. The series, called "What's at Stake," explores various policy ideas and their potential impacts on major health care programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Understanding how these reforms might affect coverage, care, and outcomes for older adults and people with disabilities is essential, as they may influence voting behavior, donations to causes, and interactions with elected officials. While some ideas may appear partisan, many enjoy broad support and are sensitive to shifting political dynamics.  

The main topics covered in the series include:  

  • Medicare Reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act
  • Medicare Private Contracting 
  • Medicare Means Testing 
  • Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age 
  • Medicare Premium Support 
  • Affordable Care Act Coverage Expansions and Consumer Protections
  • Medicaid Financing 
  • Medicaid Waivers 
  • Medicaid Work Requirements

The following link takes you to the Medicare Rights Center Fact sheets: Medicare Rights Policy Series

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Defending Against Scammers Who Target Your Social Security Benefits

...this article is courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Scammers are always finding new ways to steal your money and personal information. The best way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams and to ignore suspicious calls and emails.


One common tactic scammers use is posing as federal agents or other law enforcement officials. They may claim your Social Security number (SSN) is linked to a crime. They may even threaten to arrest you if you do not follow their instructions. Here are three things you should do:

  1. Hang up right away or do not reply to the email.
  2. Never give personal information or payment of any kind.
  3. Report the scam at oig.ssa.gov to immediately notify the law enforcement team in the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General.


You should continue to remain vigilant if you receive a phone call from someone who claims there's a problem with your SSN or your benefits. If you owe money to the Social Security Administration, they will mail you a letter explaining your rights, payment options, and information about appealing. When trying to identify if a call or email is a scam, remember that the Social Security Administration will never: 

  • Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Require a payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card.
  • Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem.
  • Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.


For more information on scams, visit www.ssa.gov/scam. And please share this information with anyone who may need it.


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Protest Against Identity Theft


Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information to impersonate you or steal from you. It is important that you stay safe online. Please review these privacy and identity protection resources from the Social Security Administration:

1. A great online resource is www.ssa.gov/myaccount. You can visit this page to open a secure my Social Security account, keep track of your earnings record, and identify any suspicious activity.

2. Social Security Administration's (SSA) blog post, Protect Yourself from Identity Thieves, helps you understand how to spot, prevent, and report identity theft. You can check out this blog at blog.ssa.gov/protect-yourself-from-identity-thieves

3. In the blog post, Protect Your Online Identity with Strong Passwords, SSA encourages better password habits to keep online data and accounts safe and secure. You can check out the following blog for tips to help make sure passwords are strong at blog.ssa.gov/protect-your-online-identity-with-strong-passwords.

4. The blog post, Protecting Yourself from QR Code Fraud, provides details to help safeguard you from using Quick Response (QR) codes that may compromise your personal information. You can read this blog at blog.ssa.gov/protecting-yourself-from-qr-code-fraud.

5. Fraudsters use Social Security scams to mislead victims into making cash, gift card, or wire transfer payments to fix alleged Social Security number problems. Learn how to spot scams, check out our blog post Social Security's Top 5 Scam Awareness Articles at blog.ssa.gov/social-securitys-top-5-scam-awareness-articles.

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EARLIER NEWS BRIEFS:

Washington Ranks 7th in 2024 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report
By UnitedHealthcare
Washington is the 7th healthiest state for U.S. adults aged 65 and older according to the 2024 American's Health Rankings Senior Report from The United Health Foundation. The ranking is a one-point increase from Washington's previous position of 8th.
 
This change can be attributed to positive health factors in Washington, including a low prevalence of food insecurity, a low prevalence of multiple chronic conditions and a 50% increase in home healthcare workers between 2021-2022.
 
Despite these improvements, the report revealed some areas needing improvement, especially socioeconomic factors. The housing cost burden for households with adults aged 65 and older increased by 35.3% since 2021. Washington also ranked 47th in community support expenditures, providing $24 per adult aged 60+ compared to a national average of $62.
 
Other notable Washington findings from the report include:
  • Between 2017-2019 and 2020-2022, senior drug deaths increased by 60%, from 8.6 to 13.8 deaths per 100,000 adults aged 65 and older between 2017-2019 and 2020-2022).
  • Held the second-lowest rate of physical inactivity at 22.9%, compared to a national average of 30.9%.
  • High-speed internet access increased by 12% in households with one or more adults aged 65 and older between 2016 and 2022.

Country-wide, America's Health Rankings Senior Report found that older adults made progress in measures of social connectedness and access to clinical care but struggle with socioeconomic barriers. The report examines 52 measures of health from 24 distinct data sources to present a comprehensive overview of the health and well-being of the nation’s older adults.
 
For more information and the full report, click here.

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PSE to Resume Shutting Off Power for Residents Behind on Payments, Including Households with Vulnerable Seniors


Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington’s largest utility, announced a new plan for disconnecting customers who are behind on their utility bills. This plan will increase the number of customer disconnections for non-payment to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Tens of thousands of vulnerable and low-income households, previously protected from utility disconnections during and after the pandemic, are now at risk of losing access to power and heat.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the request, allowing PSE to resume sending disconnection notices to customers who have high past-due balances of 90 days or more and gradually moving to customers owing as little as $250.

Washington State Community Action Partnership (WSCAP), Front and Centered, NW Energy Coalition, and the Sierra Club advised the Commission to keep disconnection protection in place for customers enrolled in bill discount or bill assistance programs, customers in highly impacted or overburdened communities, and customers who declare a situation where disconnection would put their health or housing at risk. Such customers include homebound and medically fragile seniors and families with small children.

"Research highlights the extreme consequences disconnections have on vulnerable and low-income customers, including not being able to afford other basic necessities like food and medicine or even being evicted from rental properties,” said Yochi Zakai, an attorney representing WSCAP. The Commission granted PSE’s request to break its disconnection protection agreement despite being presented with this research.

“Instead of resorting to punishing customers struggling to afford their bills, we need utilities to implement models that increase communications with residential customers behind on payments to help them take advantage of available financial assistance programs or get them into payment and budget plans," said Shaylee Stokes, director of The Energy Project, a program of WSCAP. 


EARLIER SENIOR NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Assisted Living Workers at WA Facility Call for Higher Wages. Workers for an assisted living facility are calling for higher wages in their union contract negotiations. Aegis Living, a Seattle-based company, has been in negotiations with Service Employees International Union - Local 775 - since March 2023. Workers say higher pay would help with retention. SEIU 775 says Aegis Living has increased fees for residents, but that money has not made its way to workers. Chetty said some of his colleagues are leaving for minimum wage jobs because the pay is similar, and the work is less stressful. --Washington News Service




  • AARP Seeks Nominees for Washington State Exceptional Volunteer Award: The award honors people ages 50+ who are sharing their time, talent, experience and skills to enrich the lives of community members. --read full story at the following link: AARP Seeks Nominees for Exceptional Volunteer Award

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