GBO NEWS: Long-Term Care on PBS; Caregiving for Vets; More


E-News of the Journalists Network on Generations

Feb. 7, 2013 — Volume 13, Number 4

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the new, improved, lemon-freshened GBO, marking the 20th year of the Journalists Network on Generations. Great new format, same old content. Henceforth, you will receive this mercifully short table of contents list via e-mail and be able to click through to the full “GBO News” – its new name — now set up as a WordPress blog. The new format is “scalable” to read by computer, e-pad or mobile device, and you can post comments now directly. And past issues are now archived in a more accessible way. Let us know what you think of the new format. We welcome your suggestions.

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IN THIS ISSUE: The State of Your Union, Aging Valentines.

1. GEN BEATLES NEWS: PBS’ Need to Know Get CJR “Laurel” on Long-Term Care

2. FAMILY CAREGIVING FOR VETERANS: ***Caregiving for Vets Focus of Family Caregiver Magazine; ***Suicides Rise for 50-Plus Vets; *** Hard Economy Brutal If You’re Older

3. SPRING CALENDAR: ***What’s Next Boomer Business Summit, Chicago, March 12; ***The Sixth Annual International Positive Aging Conference

4. GBO’S BELIEVE IT, OF NOT: Article links — ***Japan’s New Minister of Finance Says Let Elderly People “Hurry Up and Die”; Americans Willing to Pay More for Social Security; ***Former Treasury Official Alicia Munnell Puts Lie to NYT Op-Ed Claiming Social Security “Worse Than You Think”

5. MEMORIES OF JANE GLENN HAAS: Carolyn Sharkey, Maureen West, Mary Furlong, Helen Dennis, Eileen Beal, Bob Rosenblatt and Abigail Trafford



 *** Americans’ Struggle with Long-Term Care was the focus of three segments on Need to Know (NTK, Jan. 4)  the PBS weekly news magazine. The episode is part of NTK’s ongoing “Prescription America” series. The program earned a “Laurel” from Trudy Lieberman of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR).

The main piece (11 minutes) in the long-term care (LTC) program is “The Long View,” reported by Karla Murthy, profiles 94-year old Alzheimer’s patient Mary Feldman of Los Angeles and her caregivers, her son Lynn and his partner Ned. Mary is among the more than 10 million people in the United States needing long-term health care, a number that will rapidly grow as baby boomers and their parents live longer. The NTK website stressed, “But many of them will require extraordinarily expensive full-time care. And with budgets tight across the nation, the questions are: who is going to provide that care? And who is going to pay for it?”

Following that piece is and interview (5 mins.) with LTC policy expert Robyn I. Stone,, by NTK host Scott Simon (also of NPR’s Weekend edition).

Stone served in the Clinton White House as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy and is now Executive Director of the Leading Age Center for Applied Research, the research arm of the association for nonprofit LTC providers.

Wrapping up the program is a profile of Rhode Island’s innovative Right at Home program, which pays a limited number of family member or friends to provide eldercare at half the $185-a-day cost of a nursing home, enabling a chronically-ill or disabled person to remain out of an institution for as long as possible. The story, by NTK’s Hannah Yi, profiles Sylvia Myrow, 91, and her son Louis. (The caregivers are monitored and supported by a team of nurses and social workers.)

CJR’s Lieberman wrote of this NTK episode:

It was one of the most compelling and informative long-term care pieces I’ve seen… It demonstrated the human and financial cost of providing long-term care, a looming problem the nation has yet to acknowledge.  The piece is a timely contribution that comes at a moment when the prevailing narrative about the elderly is a narrow one, which the press can help expand.



***Caregiving for Veterans is the Focus of Family Caregiver Magazine: For its first issue of 2013, Family Caregiver Magazine is devoted to the care of American veterans and their special challenges they and their family caregivers have in dealing with such physical and psychological traumas as loss of sight or limbs, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the issue introduction by magazines editor, Rebecca Martinez, “Returning to civilian life, many veterans are unable to obtain and retain jobs, and as a result find themselves in financial distress and unable to satisfy basic needs such as food and shelter. Even though the number of homeless vets declined in 2012, it has still been estimated that over 60,000 vets were homeless on any given day throughout the year.” Veteran care recipients “tend to be much younger than caregivers nationally, with 41 percent of caregivers saying the veteran is between the ages of 18 and 54, the magazine reports. Among the article contributors are two nationally respected caregiving experts, Carol Levine, of the United Hospital Fund of New York, and Moira Fordyce, MD, of Stanford University.

The issue especially focuses on the Partnership for American Veterans Employment and Educational Solutions (PAVES), a veterans’ advocacy organization aiming to integrate and connect corporate and military resources to help veterans and their families.

One article looks at the 2010 report, “Caregivers of Veterans—Serving on the Homefront,” from the National Alliance of Caregiving and the United Health Foundation. Among the key findings were that almost all family members providing care to vets are women (96 percent), compared to 65 percent overall; that twice as many veterans’ caregivers (30 percent) have provided care for at least 10 years, versus 15 percent in general; and 68 percent of these caregivers said their situations are highly stressful, compared to 31 percent of other caregivers.

***Midlife Crisis with Military Issue? The high percentage of suicides among veterans has declined, according to a new report by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But that’s hardly a reason to celebrate—because their rate of ending their lives has actually risen slightly—just at a slower rate than the rest of the United States, according to the report. Overall, veterans’ suicide rate is higher than it is in the general U.S. population. The New York Times report by James Dao noted (Feb. 2) that the report confirms a 2008 study viewed with skepticism by experts that 18 vets kill themselves a day. But although the suicide level for vets under age 30 is below that of their nonveteran peers, guess who’s keeping those gruesome stats up. Dao reported that vets who commit suicide tend to be older “with the largest number of veterans suicides occurring among men between 50 and 59.” (The Times piece says the VA’s mental health director for suicide prevention said “the department intended to increase outreach to that group.”)

***In kind of related news, the Times’ Catherine Rampell, posted a page-one piece (Feb 3) [], “In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better … It’s Brutal.” Is anyone connecting the dots between those presumably armed military males and the struggles of 50-plus Americans to find a job and, as Rampell’s article notes, being able to afford health care in the private market for those too young for Medicare? (If you are or know of other coverage of vets in this regard, GBO would like to know and maybe pass along the information.)

And check out Kerry Hannon’s blog, “Why Older Workers Can’t Be Ignored.”  She wrote, “The day is coming when employers are going to embrace the value of older workers. They don’t have a choice.” The blog includes some sobering stats and facts of use to any reporter on the economics of aging.



***What’s Next Boomer Business Summit, Chicago, March 12: You’re not a business reporter, you say? But are you following trends and developments in eldercare, social media, intergenerational relationships, housing, travel or any other area of aging that involved new products, services or age-friendly design, you should consider checking out the program for What’s Next.

The annual conference brings together entrepreneurs, brand managers, corporate strategists, analysts, nonprofit executives, authors and bloggers interested in the marketplace for boomers and seniors.

This is a very media-friendly conference. Some of the speakers this year will be author Gail Sheehy; CEO Andy Cohen; AARP Editorial Director Myrna Blyth;  Reuters columnist Mark Miller; and silver-market research maven Laurie Orlov, whose blog at her website Aging in Place Technology Watch [] is loaded with streaming revelations and insights about what’s new and where its headed.

The What’s Next website says the meeting will address:

  • Who profits from the global boomer and senior market?
  • What are the emerging trends in emerging markets?
  • How does mobile and wireless growth lead to monetization of boomers and their children and grandchildren?
  • What tools will boomers use for social impact?
  • What are the distribution models for reaching and engaging the boomer, senior, caregiver, and grandparent?

For instance, one session will be “Grandparenting—a $20 Billion Market.”

Journalists can apply for a complimentary press registration online: Go to the What’s Next website and at the registration page input the code wn13media (all lower case) where it asks them to enter the promo code.

Also, What’s Next is a separate entity within the American Society on Aging’s (ASA) Aging in America meeting in Chicago, March 12-16. ASA does issue press registrations to reporters, although that is not evident on the conference website. ASA’s management has been somewhat arbitrary in approving press applications, and interested reporters may need to persist in contacting them. But those who attend may find the contacts and sessions useful.

*** Sixth Annual International Positive Aging Conference is set for Los Angeles, Feb. 10-12. If you’re in the L.A. area and are interested in developments in the so-called conscious aging movement (the busy intersection of spirituality-psychology-philosophy-sociology, and other –ologies of the mind), you couldn’t hear and maybe interview a better group. Among the main speakers will be author Wendy Lustbader, nonagenarian pioneer in gerontology James Birren, LGBT-aging authority Brian de Vries, and Be Here Now author and sage Ram Dass will be there via Skype. Workshops will examine creativity and aging, wellness, community and life transitions, “with a special focus on vulnerable seniors and international perspectives on positive aging.

For more information about the conference go to their website. For conference information contact Dr. Mary McCall, e-mail: To apply for a complimentary press registration, contact Rick Moody,



 Here are some links to ponder:

***Japan—Land of the Terminal Sunstroke: Let elderly people ‘hurry up and die’, says Japan’s new Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, 72. Aso (pronounced as creatively as you can) declared he would refuse end-of-life care and would ‘feel bad’ knowing treatment was paid for by government. See, Taro Aso, Japanese Finance Minister, Says Country Should Let Old People ‘Hurry Up and Die,.”                          —The Huffington Post

***Land of the Rising Debt: “Americans are willing to pay more for Social Security,” by Mark Miller (Reuters, January 31, 2013).
***No-o-o, It is Really Better Than You Think: Blogging in MarketWatch (Jan. 31), Alicia Munnell, who directs Boston University’s Center for Retirement Research, says she was “shocked” by the recent New York Times op-ed “Social Security: It’s Worse than You Think,” by Gary King of Harvard and Samir S. Soneji of Dartmouth, who “argue that the Social Security actuaries significantly underestimate how long Americans will live and, thus, understate the costs to the program.”

In her blog, “Social Security actuaries aren’t the problem,” Munnell nails the pair for being “simply incorrect about the Office of the Actuary ignoring the impact of progress on smoking and cardiovascular disease,” one of their several claims. She ought to know. In 1990 she was on one of the independent, expert advisory panels appointed to counsel the actuaries on multiple factors affecting longevity. And, she wrote, “As Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for economic policy in 1994, I was the Treasury’s contact with the Office of the Actuary regarding their projections. Of course, they take these well-known factors into account. The Office of the Actuary looks at five well-defined groups of causes of death; these groups include cancer and respiratory disease, which are affected by smoking, and cardiovascular disease.”

As to their assertion of political influence, Munnell, as a Clinton Treasury official called with pointed questions learned first hand: “The actuaries were happy to answer any question and to show the data underlying their assessment.  But it was clear that they were not cowed by questioning from a political appointee . . . . “



GBO’s last issue included news of the passing of Jane Glenn Haas, a charter member of the GBO family, who died at age 75 on Jan. 23. Jane, who covered issues in aging for the Orange County Register for years and wrote a syndicated column for the paper one growing older is also remembered for founding the organization WomanSage. GBO asked some Gen Beatles who had long and close friendships with Jane to reminisce about her. Here is what some of them sent in:

***Jane’s friend, journalist and communications consultant Carolyn L. Charkey, shared in an e-mail: “This past year was a difficult one for Jane. She had several falls, ending with one on Christmas day where she laid on the floor for 10 hours before a friend came to take her to dinner and could call the parameds to take her to the hospital. Her arm was badly broken, so after I came out on December 30, I was able to care for her through her subsequent surgery to repair her arm, then was with her in her home when she had a stroke on January 14. Unfortunately, she did not survive that event and passed away on January 23. Her pain is over. She would not have been able to live in a body that did not work, but she will be greatly missed by her friends, her fellow journalists and her readers.”

***Maureen West, Director of Communications and Evaluation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, and former age-beat reporter at the Arizona Republic: I would call Jane to talk for a few minutes about a story and they’d talk an hour. Jane helped other writers, too. She was generous with her time and her sources. She wanted us to get the story right, and to break new ground. But she was more than a teacher, or adviser to other writers. Jane’s real impact came from her own writing. Millions of American women have been able to deal with aging with greater wisdom and grace because Jane wrote so candidly about her own experiences. She was the wise older sister for whom no topic was off limits: facelifts, depression, losing a loved one, falling in love again. Her brave writing about her own life were brilliant roadmaps for her readers and were ammunition against all the stereotypes of aging.

***Mary “Kiddo” Furlong, author, Turning Silver Into Gold: How to Profit in the New Boomer Market; President and CEO, Mary Furlong & Associates; Director, What’s Next Boomer Summit: One of my favorite memories of Jane Glenn Haas was meeting for lunch before the What’s Next conference. I would steal her away from the conference hotel and find a place for us to get our hair done. In D.C. that would be Piaf, followed by lunch at the Mayflower Hotel Tea Room. In Chicago we would go to Nobu, where we would gaze down at out at the Windy City’s famous water tower. We would talk about the business state of WomenSage, the organization she founded, and share information and insights about the needs of older women as caregivers.

 Once we thought through whether her suggested title for a program, “Loose Women,” was too spicy for the brand of WomenSage. She went ahead with it, and It turned out the Loose Women special interest group was so popular, married women wanted to join. They went to dinners and conferences and always had an exciting adventure near at hand. 

I thought she would be our guide for the next 20 years. I expected her to have the bonus round and run that Betty White is having. Ours was a friendship and mentoring relationship that lasted 25 plus years. When I was at SeniorNet, the senior computer nonprofit I started, she hosted me on her TV show. In recent years, Jane would speak at my conferences and in my Women in Leadership class at Santa Clara University. She would always inspire with her stores about her journey and always bring the integrity of a reporter. Sometimes we would talk about her book or her column, and we would often brainstorm, trying to figure out the most important needs of older women and the resources to help them. 

Jane called me Kiddo, and for some funny reason I have a tear in my eye whenever I think of that. I am not sure anyone else I know would use that word, especially now that I am 64–what is it about those special nicknames that go when our friends or family go. I guess a part of us goes as well. 

 ***Helen Dennis, Columnist, Torrance Daily Breeze, author, retirement consultant: Jane was a talented force that moved agendas and made you pay attention to a message worth listening to.  Her voice, words and humor will be missed.

***Eileen Beal, Writer and Editorial Consultant on Healthcare and Aging Issues: I only met Jane once — we were both fellows at the Aging Boot Camp sponsored by the International Longevity Center in New York City in 2006. [The group gave her its Hugh Downs Award for career achievement in journalism some years ago.) But she made a deep and lasting impression.

We sat next to each other for the weeklong immersion in all things aging. She didn’t talk much, but you could tell from the way she was constantly jotting things down–a line, a word, a name — in her notebook and watching everyone that she was soaking up info and “reading” the room. When she did speak, she always brought something up or into the discussion that clarified things, or she channeled the discussion in a different (and not always woman-focused) direction. She was a broad and deep thinker, and a fierce (she kind of scared me, actually) advocate for older women’s issues.

I’m trained as a social historian, and it was listening to Jane that I first realized that it’s not the meek who will inherit the earth, it’s surviving spouses of the female gender.

***Bob Rosenblatt, Blogger, PBS Next Avenue, former reporter, Los Angeles Times:Jane was a fine reporter and a good drinking buddy at all sorts of conventions and meetings on aging.

***Abigail Trafford, author of My Time and other books, former Washington Post columnist: I am shocked to hear of Jane’s death. Of course, we bonded on the longevity trail. I spoke at several of her WomanSage annual meetings that galvanized women to renew their lives. We laughed and compared notes. I admired her talent, her drive, her generous spirit. I am very saddened by her death.

The Journalists Network on Generations (JNG), founded in 1993, publishes Generations Beat Online with in-kind support from New America Media (NAM). JNG provides information and networking opportunities for journalists covering generational issues, but not those representing services, products or lobbying agendas. NAM is an online, nonprofit news service reaching 3,000 ethnic media outlets in the United States. GBO readers are invited to visit the NAM website, and click on the Ethnic Elders section logo on the right side. Opinions expressed in GBO do not represent those of NAM. Copyright 2013, JNG. For more information contact GBO Editor Paul Kleyman.

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