Tag Archives: aging

Driver’s license vision tests proposed for older Tennesseans

Tennesseans over the age 76 would be required to get a vision test prior to renewal of their driver’s licenses under legislation proposed by state Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon.

Vison testing for older citizens seeking a license renewal has been proposed periodically in various forms during past legislative sessions, but was always defeated. Pody’s HB1423, recently pre-filed for consideration in the 2016 session that begins in January, sets a higher age standard that prior bills – most starting the vision test requirement at age 65.

Since renewals are required only every five years, setting the age at 76 means the proposed new law will not impact most citizens until they are aged 80 or older, Pody said. The bill was filed in response to constituents concerned that an older friend or relative was really not capable of driving competently, but reluctant to start an argument over the issue, he said.

“It’s a difficult subject to bring up in a family,” he said. “It’s hard to tell parents, or an aunt or uncle, that maybe it isn’t as safe for them to drive are it used to be.”

With passage of the bill, Pody said, the state would be saying “let’s make sure your eyes are still working” and that would “let them down as easy as we can” in facing the reality of the impacts of aging.

The bill allows an individual to submit a written statement from an ophthalmologist or optometrist on the renewal applicant’s vision capabilities, as corrected with eyeglasses or otherwise, in lieu of going through a Department of Safety test. It would take effect on July 1, 2016, and would not apply to persons applying for renewal prior to that date.

Legislators look at abuse of the elderly

About 90 of those who abuse the elderly are family members of the victim, either children or grandchildren, followed by caregivers and professional con artists who have targeted older adults, according to statics presented to a joint House-Senate Committee on abuse of senior citizens that met last week.

From WTVT-TV’s report:

“I call it early inheritance syndrome that we deal with with these abusers,” Attorney David Callahan told the task force. “They just cannot wait to get their money out of their inheritance, and so they take steps to intervene with the natural order of things and obtain their inheritance early.”

Callahan has been an estate planner who explained how he sees the fallout from the financial abuse of the elderly almost daily now.

And while two thirds of the victims have been women, 60% of the abusers were men between the ages of 30 and 59.

…”Elder abuse is more closely associated to child abuse than any other thing else. It has some additional challenges that aren’t faced in child abuse cases that make them even harder to detect and harder to rectify,” Callahan described.

He told the committee the problem was that the elderly all too often, rarely leave their homes and have little contact with the outside world where someone might be able to help them.

And Beverly Patnaik with the Council on Aging told the task force that especially when family members have been the abusers, there are many reasons, victims don’t report it.

“They’re ashamed that their family members are behaving that way towards them. They’re in denial. They blame themselves. Their fear of the abuser. Retaliation. Being forced to leave their home. Fear of losing their independence. ‘Mom, if you don’t give me your social security check, I’m going to put you in a nursing home.’ We hear that so many times,” she shared.

Governor’s task force on aging recommends conducting a review on aging!

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – In recognition of National Senior Citizens Day, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today unveiled a report by the Governor’s Task Force on Aging aimed at serving the state’s senior citizens more efficiently and effectively.

Among the initial steps the task force has recommended are to conduct a review of aging services in state government and to promote healthy living in partnership with the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, as well as encourage local leaders to assess their communities for their livability for the aging.

“We know that while more than 14 percent of Tennesseans are over the age of 65 today, that number is expected to be more than 22 percent by 2020, and we need to be prepared for that as a state,” Haslam said. “I am grateful to the task force for its work and recommendations.”

Haslam formed the Governor’s Task Force on Aging in August of 2013. He charged the group with creating a plan to improve the lives and care of older Tennesseans and their families through a collaboration of public, private and non-profit leaders.

The task force has presented three areas of focus: promoting healthy aging; creating livable communities; and supporting family caregivers.

The vision of the group is to ensure that older Tennesseans have access to programs, services and opportunities in their local communities that enhance their physical, mental, financial, social and spiritual well-being.

One goal is to grow the number of livable communities in Tennessee by providing affordable, appropriate housing, adequate mobility options and supportive services to enhance personal independence and the engagement of older Tennesseans in civic and social life.

Another goal is to increase the capacity of caregivers to make informed choices in decision-making, through public education and targeted investments that lead to sustainable caregiver respite services, as well as increased awareness of the importance of employer collaboration in supporting caregivers.

The 11-member task force met twice a month for six months and hosted three public meetings in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis. An online survey was also conducted to receive suggestions from citizens unable to attend a meeting.

Research by the task force showed that Tennessee ranks in the bottom 10 states on almost all health and well-being measures. Ninety percent of individuals want to age in place, but not all Tennessee communities are prepared for the increased community requirements.

The panel found that family caregivers feel ill-prepared for the role and that employers are not educated about the impacts on productivity when employees are family caregivers.

The complete report can be found online at https://news.tn.gov/sites/default/files/Aging-Task-Force-Final.pdf.

Latest Haslam Task Force to look at aging

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the formation of the Task Force on Aging, a group charged with creating a plan to improve the lives and care of older Tennesseans and their families through a collaboration of public, private and nonprofit leaders.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 14 percent of Tennesseans are 65 years of age or older, and the national average is 13.7 percent. Tennessee’s number is expected to grow to more than 22 percent by 2020.

Haslam has asked the task force to focus on three areas: promoting healthy aging; creating livable communities; and supporting family caregivers.

“I want to thank the task force and all those involved for dedicating their time and effort to improving the lives of others,” Haslam said. “The Task Force on Aging will develop a strategic plan, drawing on the public, private and non-profit sectors to better meet the needs of older Tennesseans and their families, now and into the future.”

Lipscomb University’s Charla Long, Dean of the College of Professional Studies and The School of TransformAging, will chair the 11-member task force. The remaining members are:
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Corker: ‘My Dad Had Alzheimer’s, so I Understand’

News release from Sen. Bob Corker (posted belatedly):
WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), the committee’s ranking member, released an official committee report that offers a comparison of international approaches to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care.
The report examined five countries–Australia, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States–and their approaches to diagnosis, treatment and long-term care options for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members. The other countries were chosen because they have similar economies to the U.S. and highlight different aspects of the Alzheimer’s challenge for policy makers.
“Alzheimer’s disease is a growing national concern and we must commit to addressing it in the most comprehensive way possible. There are enormous costs, both personal and financial to this disease,” said Chairman Kohl. “We urgently need to prepare for the increasing number of Alzheimer’s diagnoses, and how to curb this mounting epidemic.”
“My father had Alzheimer’s, so I understand the emotional and financial difficulties facing families dealing with this devastating illness. I hope this report will help inform the debate in our country over how to provide the best care possible given the significant budgetary and health care challenges presented by increasing cases of Alzheimer’s,” said ranking member Corker.
This report highlights the global efforts to coordinate research and early detection interventions. It also underscores an increasing trend to keep Alzheimer’s patients in their homes for as long as possible, while developing more specialized environments for those who need intensive around-the-clock care.
The Alzheimer’s Association (AA) estimates that in the next 40 years, the cost of Alzheimer’s disease to all payers, including governments, insurance companies and individuals, will total $20 trillion. AA also estimates that 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, valued at $210 billion. In 2012 alone, Alzheimer’s patients and families spent an estimated $33 billion in out-of-pocket costs. Furthermore, in the last year, Alzheimer’s disease cost $104.5 billion to Medicare and $33.5 billion to Medicaid. These expenses are expected to rise 500 percent over the next four decades.
Since its inception, the Senate Special Committee on Aging has focused on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as critical public health problems. The committee has held a series of hearings on the disease and has heard testimony from prominent voices, such as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, on the importance of continued research, vigilance and appropriate care.

Note: The full report is HERE.