Posts Tagged ‘retirement’

Baby Boomers Worry About Their Health, Memory Loss

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Baby boomers are more concerned with the ways that aging impacts their physical and mental health than the role it plays in their appearance.  Fully 65 percent of baby boomers – who are currently between the ages of 47 and 65 — expressed concern with their health, with 26 percent focused on retaining their mental faculties.  Just eight percent mentioned appearance as their biggest aging concern.

Boomers also are slightly less active than the previous generation.  Just 57 percent started a regular exercise program in 2010.  Of those who exercise regularly, 35 percent are walkers.  Nearly 4.3 million adults 50 or older used illicit drugs in the last year, according to a report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  According to the agency, substance abuse in this age group could create public health challenges over the next decade.

Boomers are in less agreement about whether their longer lives will be better than the previous generation: 49 percent expect a better life than their parents, while another 25 percent believe it will be about the same.  Another 26 percent expect that the quality of their lives will be worse than their parents.

Although younger adults believe that 60 is the start of old age, Baby Boomers strongly disagree.  The median age they cite is 70.  Twenty-five percent of Boomers insist you’re not old until you’re 80.  “In my 20s, I would have thought the 60s were bad, but they’re not so bad at all,” said Lynn Brown, 64, a retired legal assistant and grandmother of 11 living near Phoenix.  Boomers – 77 million strong — are celebrating their 47th through 65th birthdays in 2011.  In general, they are more optimistic about their futures than past generations.  Americans born in the population boom that followed World War II are more likely to be energized about the positive aspects of aging, such as retirement, than worried about the negatives, such as poor health.

The findings that midlifers who are worried about aging are focused more on their health over physical looks may seem surprising to some — but then when you see stunning boomer role models like Susan Sarandon and Helen Mirren, it all makes sense,” said Cindy Pearlman, entertainment writer for the Chicago Sun Times and best-selling author of “The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets” series, and regular contributor to LifeGoesStrong.com’s Style channel.  “Even in a town like Hollywood, where you’d expect nips and tucks everywhere you turn, many celebrities are saying that the secret to looking great at any age is accepting the inevitable changes that the years bring, while staying in shape and embracing your own sense of style.”

Many baby boomers have no problem working till they’re 65 or 70 as long as they’re not doing heavy lifting. A majority are enthusiastic about aging and have less concerns about physical ailments than their parents’ generation.  Tom Beumont understands that the current status of Social Security will require him to work longer, but he is fine with that.  “We kind of learned from our parents…we have a more diverse background and we also exercise more so that’s more important to us”, Beumont said.

Cindy Black, a nurse, said a lot of the people she sees at a clinic work too much. “I think we are burning the candle at both ends. They went to bed earlier back then and drank more water,” Black said.  Black said that while baby boomers exercise more than their parents and drink and smoke less, their fast paced lifestyle has a price.  According to Black, Boomers might end up working themselves to death, literally.  “They laugh when I tell them this but they need to go to bed by 10 o’clock.”

Baby Boomers are also concerned about their independence. Boomers primarily worry about losing their independence because of illness, while 44 percent are concerned about experiencing memory loss.  Approximately 41 percent have concerns about remaining financially self-sufficient.  The hedonistic Boomer generation forever changed the social scene with the dawning age of the flower child, and the explosion of the sexual revolution during the 1960s and 1970s.

Just 18 percent of Boomers worry about dying, while another 22 percent are moderately concerned about it.  More than two-thirds expect to live to at least age 76, and one in six expects to live into their 90s.

I Just Graduated in Nursing. Where’s My Job?

Monday, May 9th, 2011

This spring’s class of nursing school graduates are running into an unexpected roadblock.  The dream jobs that they thought would be waiting for them are hard to find.  According to Rhys Gibson, “I mean I thought I was the cat’s meow and everything, because I’m an African-American guy coming out of here – I was waiting for the red carpet, I had the grades, had the experience, to an extent but not the practical experience as a nurse working on the floor.  There isn’t a whole lot of money, even on my unit, I was lucky enough to make it in when I did because there hasn’t been another RN1 since and that was December ’09 when I got that job offer.”  Gibson has applied for hundreds of jobs and finally founded a job as a nurse on a geriatric psychiatry ward at Rush University Medical Center.  He is just one of thousands of people who entered nursing schools in Illinois in recent years, many in response to a drumbeat of news about a looming nurse shortage.

According to Cathy Grossi of the Illinois Hospital Association, “There’s been a concerted effort led by the Illinois Center for Nursing to expand the capacity of the educational programming across Illinois to accommodate student interest for nursing education. So we’ve increased capacity around the state about 25 percent.  That’s since 2006. But then the recession hit in 2007.  And while it’s officially been over since 2009, the effects have been deep and long-lasting, even in healthcare – one of the brighter growth areas of the economy.  We are now experiencing an increase in the number of graduates coupled with the time temporarily where there’s probably not as much opportunity as there was in the past.”  According to Grossi, nurse vacancies at Illinois hospitals fell by more than half from 2008 to 2010.

Although the nursing shortage has eased slightly for the time being, it is not going away. The recession brought a temporary reprieve because nurses who were close to retirement have seen their 401(k) portfolios decline.  As a result, they are postponing retirement a few more years until the economy — and their portfolios — recover.  Other nurses have seen their spouses or partners laid off and so have increased their hours to make ends.  Some who left the profession to care for children or for other reasons have started working again to pay the bills.  Additionally, many hospitals are not hiring.  The recession brought hiring freezes to healthcare facilities, and many are still in effect.  Help wanted ads for healthcare professionals dropped by 18,400 listings in July of 2010, even as the overall economy saw a modest increase of 139,200 in online job listings.

Even so, healthcare remains one of the economy’s healthiest industries. On April 1, 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the healthcare sector is growing, despite significant job losses in recent months in nearly all major industries.  Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other ambulatory care settings added 37,000 new jobs in March 2011, the largest monthly increase recorded by any sector.  As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, registered nurses will be recruited to fill many of these new positions.  The BLS confirms that 283,000 jobs have been added in the healthcare sector in the last 12 months.

The nursing shortage will regain momentum because of the impending baby boom retirement crisis.  When you consider that the majority of registered nurses are over the age of 55, and that they will soon be retiring as well, the terms ‘crisis’ and ‘nursing shortage’ will become even more significant in coming few years.  The nursing shortage is expected to also be influenced by the fact that nursing jobs will grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the BLS.  Add in the fact that the nursing work force is aging and nursing schools aren’t graduating nearly enough nurses to fill the healthcare industry’s requirements, and the growing nursing shortage can be described as a “perfect storm”.

“Moving into the future, we see a very large shortage of nurses, about 300,000,” said Peter Buerhaus, a nurse and health-care economist and a professor at Vanderbilt University.  “That number does not account for the demand created by reform. That’s a knockout number. It knocks the system down.  It stops it.  I think the big story is…the future of nursing is dominated by aging baby-boomer nurses who are going to retire, and we are looking at massive shortages,” Buerhaus said.

Early Retirement Can Challenge Memory

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Study finds that early retirement can damage cognitive abilities. Retiring early may actually harm a person’s memory, according to a study by two economists called “Mental Retirement”. Research conducted in the United States, England and 11 European nations suggest that people who retire early experience memory loss faster than those who work longer.  The study suggests that people who want to preserve their memories should stay active.

“It’s incredibly interesting and exciting,” said Laura L. Carstensen, director of the Center on Longevity at Stanford University.  “It suggests that work actually provides an important component of the environment that keeps people functioning optimally.”  Although the new analysis – which was published recently in The Journal of Economic Perspectiveshas its critics, many researchers find the theory is widely believed but difficult to prove. Researchers have found that retired people tend to perform at lower levels on cognitive tests than people who are still working.  That could be due to the fact that individuals whose memories and ability to think are declining are more likely to retire than those with sharp cognitive skills.

Robert Willis, an economics professor at the University of Michigan and one of the study’s authors, says the National Institution on Aging started a major study in the United States nearly two decades ago.  The Health and Retirement Study tested 22,000 Americans aged 50 and over on memory every two years.  European nations then decided to conduct similar surveys, using comparable questions.  “This is a new approach that is only possible because of the development of comparable data sets around the world,” Willis said.  “There is evidence that social skills and personality skills – getting up in the morning, dealing with people, knowing the value of being prompt and trustworthy – are also important.  They go hand-in-hand with the work environment.”

States Suing to Overturn Healthcare Reform Are Collecting Subsidies for Their Retirees

Monday, September 20th, 2010

States playing it both ways - trying to overturn healthcare reform while collecting subsidies.  Seven states that have filed lawsuits to overturn the healthcare reform law are nonetheless collecting subsidies authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to cover their retired government employees. The list of seven states – Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Nevada – are trying to have the reform law overturned as an unconstitutional power grab by the Obama administration.  So far, 16 states have been approved to receive the subsidies.

The seven are among 20 states that have challenged the law’s requirement that Americans buy health insurance or face IRS fines.  According to these states, it is unconstitutional to require that Americans be forced to purchase insurance.  The Obama administration’s response is that the mandate falls within the broad powers Congress has to regulate interstate commerce.  Nearly 2,000 employers – primarily private businesses — have been approved to receive extra help to provide coverage to early retirees.  In addition to the states, companies seeking subsidies include 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies, local governments, educational institutions, unions and non-profit organizations.

“In these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing healthcare costs for employees and retirees,” according to Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services secretary.  The subsidies “will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.”  The retiree assistance is a temporary program that will phase out when the healthcare law takes full effect in 2014.  At that point, competitive insurance markets will be in place and eligible Americans can apply for government tax credits to help pay their premiums.”

Recession Forces Physicians to Rethink Retirement

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The recession and its impact on investment portfolios, as well as declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, are making physicians rethink their retirement dates.

Some physicians have seen their stock markets portfolios fall by as much as 50 percent.  In today’s economy, selling practices might not bring the anticipated profit, according to William Jessee, M.D., president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association.  “I look at my 401(k) and think ‘Okay, I just turned 62, and 70 is starting to look like a better retirement field,'” Dr. Jessee said.20071003_nest_egg_18

A 2007 survey of 1,200 physicians found that 48 percent aged 50 to 65 were planning to retire, find non-clinical jobs, work part-time, close their practices to new patients and/or substantially reduce their patient load.  Since the survey was conducted, Americans’ retirement funds have lost as much as $2 trillion.

“It has not been entertaining watching all my hard-earned money disappear,” according to Jeffrey Sankoff, 41, a Denver physician.  “But I’ve got about 10 to 15 years before I need to worry because my 401(k) will just sit there and eventually recover and grow.  Those physicians closer to retirement age – hopefully their portfolio is balanced in such as way that this catastrophe won’t have as big of an impact as it’s had on me.”

The silver lining in these deferred retirements is that they could prevent a physician shortage, a result of medical schools capping their enrollments at 16,000 students per year because they believed that managed care would create a glut.  It is estimated the shortage could be as much as 250,000 physicians in the next 10 years.

The Healthcare Village: Making Good Health More Convenient

Friday, April 17th, 2009

With 78 million baby boomers marching towards retirement, the U.S. population is older and less healthy as cases of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases increase, says Donna F. Jarmusz, Alter+Care Senior Vice President, in a recent interview for the Inspire blog.  These same consumers dislike inconvenient, institutional healthcare delivery systems, are demanding and have high expectations.  We have a drive-through mindset and enjoy everyday consumer experiences– buying a cup of coffee, drive-up banking, picking up dry cleaning.  We hardly think about them because they’re all convenient and accessible.
Consumers are looking for a similar consumer focus in their healthcare services.  They are also looking to healthcare providers for preventative health resources to achieve healthier lifestyles.

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