GBO NEWS: Ex-Presidential Hopeful O’Malley New Soc. Sec. Head; FL Alzheimer’s Costs; WI Memory Cafes; Hmong Elders; LGBTQ Housing; Nursing Home Staffing; Active Green Aging; Medicare’s Advantage Plan Trap; Aging Angry Book; & MORE


E-News of the Journalists Network on Generations.  

January 12, 2024 — Volume 31, Number 1

EDITOR’S NOTEGBONews, e-news of the Journalists Network on Generations (JNG), publishes alerts for journalists, producers and authors covering generational issues. If you have difficulty getting to the full issue of GBONews with the links provided below, simply go to to read the latest or past editions. Send your news of important stories or books (by you and others), fellowships, awards or pertinent kvetches to GBO News Editor Paul Kleyman. []. To subscribe to at no charge, simply sending a request to Paul with your name, address, phone number and editorial affiliation or note that you freelance. For each issue, you’ll receive the table of contents in an e-mail, so just click through to the full issue at GBONews does not provide its list to other entities. NOTE ALSO: Some news links below hit paywalls and are inaccessible without subscriptions, although a number of those do allow free access to the first few stories.

In This IssueIf defending oneself in court means you have a fool for a client, is it OK not to pay your lawyer?

Editor’s Note: As 2024 gets unnervingly underway, even what’s laughable isn’t so funny (“Mr. President – don’t shoot!”): Wars going ever more terribly wrong, Mother Earth’s violent reactions to humans’ criminal negligence, investor ownership short-changing safe care at any age, millions and their leaders blinded to their would-be Emperor’s new clothes. Meanwhile, as our refrain goes, Nobody is getting any younger. 

So starts its 31st year by digesting some old news – stories with fresh publications dates but baked from long-fermenting sourdough starter — Mounting Alzheimer’s disease cost continue burdening families; immigrant elders in the United States struggling to navigate health and social systems while coping with generational family conflicts; nursing homes still providing inadequate nursing levels. 

Yet, news of solutions also persist: Community models are spreading for the care and comfort of those with memory loss; graying Americans are acting on climate change through a growing number of organizations; efforts keep emerging to help seniors in ethnic, LTBTQ and other minority groups to age with dignity. 

Following are summaries and links to recent stories on the generations beat. Some were produced by reporters with support from the Journalists in Aging Fellows Program- now in its 14th year–the collaboration of GBONews publisher, the Journalists Network on Generations, and the Gerontological Society of America. This issue also cites a few other selected stories. Many include ideas for story angles and sources that reporters may tap for their own pieces. 

— Paul Kleyman, Editor,

1. NEW SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER: Former Presidential Contender and  Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley

2. THE STORYBOARD: Journalists in Aging Fellowship Stories on Dementia Costs and Solutions, Hmong Elders in the US, Gray Activists for a Greener World and more.

3. MORE STORYBOARD: *** Medicare’s Advantage Plan Trap; *** Better Sleep for Brain Health; *** Challenges for Immigrant Seniors to Age in Place; *** Hospital Complications Rise Under Private Equity

4. THE BOOKMOBILE: *** “Insidious Ageism: Why Are Old People Disappearing?” by Aging Angry author Amanda Smith Barusch, PhD, Medium blog


*** “O’Malley Confirmed as Social Security Commissioner,” by Paul M. Krawzak, Roll Call (Dec. 18, 2023): The Dek: “New agency chief is a former Maryland governor, Baltimore mayor; ran for president in 2016.”

FYI: “The Senate confirmed former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley as Social Security Commissioner . . . The agency has not had a confirmed head since more than two years ago, when Biden fired the Donald Trump-approved commissioner Andrew Saul.” (According to an administration release, O’Malley will serve out the current six-year term for the position, set to expire Jan. 19, 2025.)

Bipartisan?: The Roll Call story continues, “During the committee vote last month, three Republicans crossed over to vote for O’Malley. One of them, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said he believed O’Malley would be effective in advising lawmakers as they face Social Security’s financial shortfall that will result in the program not being able to pay full benefits in about a decade. The  other 10 Republicans, including ranking member Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, voted against the one-time Democratic presidential contender.”

The Plan: “O’Malley has stressed his plan to improve . . . deteriorating service at the agency, which some say is the result of budget cuts and reductions in service.”

Some Debate: “In a September reportKathleen Romig, director of Social Security and Disability Policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, blamed the problems on what she said is a 17 percent decrease in the customer service budget since 2011 after adjusting for inflation. . . . In a post on the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute website, senior fellow Mark J. Warshawsky said, “Clearly something deeper is wrong at SSA than the budget, and we need leaders there who are honest about cleaning up the mess quickly,” Warshawsky wrote


Journalists in Aging Fellowship Stories Nationwide

*** “Planning ahead for Alzheimer’s costs in Florida is key,” by Verónica Zaragovia, WLRN Miami Public Radio (Jan. 5, 2024): 

The Lede: “Rosalva Reyes sees her children in South Florida many times a week, but sometimes she struggles to recognize them. ‘What are the names of your mother and father? Who are they?’ the 83-year-old asked her daughter, Vanessa, on one recent visit to her home in Palmetto Bay. ‘My mom and my dad? My mom is Rosalva, my dad is Juan,’ Vanessa Reyes said patiently. ‘Now do you remember that you’re my mom?’”

A Quote: Rosalva had worked as a federal immigration officer and receives a pension alongside Social Security, which is enough to cover her expenses. “But her son, Richard Cheney, who manages Rosalva’s finances, is very aware that even that would not be even close to enough to cover the costs of an eventual move to a specialized care home. ‘If she’s gonna go to a memory care place, that’s going to wipe all of it out,’ he said.” 

Big Bucks: “Long-term memory care in Florida could cost more than $100,000 a year. On average, receiving residential Alzheimer’s care averages about $8,349 per month in this state. Because of these prices, Rosalva’s children are considering facilities in Peru, where she grew up . . .  ‘It’s a lot cheaper, it’s like half the price, and the places are very nice,’ Richard said. ‘Top of the line in Peru.’ The problem is, the siblings know they wouldn’t see her as much so the decision won’t come easily.”

Solutions: “The Alzheimer’s Association in Florida also wants the Legislature to set dollars aside for a statewide awareness campaign. About 585,000 Floridians, aged 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer’s, with communities of color disproportionately impacted.”

And: “People who don’t have a pension . . . or other money coming in regularly should plan ahead, said Cindy Hounsell, the president of the Women’s Institute for Secure Retirement. . . . She urges people — especially women — to talk to their mothers and grandmothers and find out what savings they have. And make sure they are not putting themselves in danger by, for example, giving their credit card information to scammers.”

*** Wisconsin is the top state for ‘memory cafes.’ Can the model expand nationwide? by Cleo KrejciMilwaukee Journal Sentinel (Jan. 2, 2024): In a Nutshell: “Wisconsin is home to at least 130 memory cafes: free social events designed for people living with memory loss and their caregivers. That’s the most of any U.S. state, according to one national tracker. . . . For many advocates, the challenge ahead is getting more people living with dementia and their caregivers connected to social opportunities.

Where: Susan McFadden, co-founder of the [nonprofit Fox Valley Memory Project (FVMP), and a professor emerita of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, wants to see those efforts expand beyond Wisconsin. Success requires not just local programs and volunteers, but for dementia-inclusive activities to become part of the health care system. Think: a doctor hands someone a prescription for a pill, and also to attend a memory cafe.” 

Who: “McFadden also wants to make sure that, as dementia-friendly spaces expand, they reach people across cultural and linguistic identities [in] urban, rural and suburban areas. Some memory cafes in Wisconsin are held primarily in Spanish, for example.”

Coast-to-Coast: “Greendale is among a handful of Wisconsin communities listed as dementia and age friendly through Dementia Friendly America and the AARP.”

* Companion Story: Cleo Krejci’s Jan. 2, story package also included Where to find memory cafes, choirs, and other dementia-friendly events in Wisconsin.” (One or both stories may hit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s paywall, however.)

***  Earlier, Cleo Krejci postedMilwaukee chorus looks to reduce stigma about memory loss through music,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Dec. 7, 2023): The Lede: “On a Saturday morning in Milwaukee, 87-year-old Grace Pearson walked through the doors of Marshall High School’s music room. Inside she found a tight-knit group of people with memory loss and dementia, plus their caregivers, all unified as members of the Amazing Grace Chorus.” 

A Quote: “‘It really is so important that people understand the importance of quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers,’ said Stephanie Houston, who oversees the program for the Alzheimer’s Institute. “[In Wisconsin], there are an estimated 120,000 people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s and 191,000 unpaid caregivers. Research from 2020 found nearly 40% of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses can be prevented or delayed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” 

*** “Changing the Narratives of Growing Old in the Hmong Culture,” by Macy YangHmong Daily News (Dec. 26, 2023): The Lede: “Pa Moua seldom talks about herself when asked about her life in Laos. She doesn’t know her actual age because her birth date was never recorded. She details her father telling her that she was born during the Japanese War. In fact, older Hmong adults remember life events relative to other significant or historical life experiences.”

The Culture:  “The Hmong boasts a long, rich oral history as there was no formal written Hmong language until the 1950s when missionaries created the Hmong script using the Romanized Popular Alphabet. . . . Today, at 84, Moua is a widow. She survived two wars and outlived many family members and friends of the same generation.

“Hmong culture embraces strong family values and respect for older people. There is a cultural saying: ‘Those who have eaten more spoonfuls of rice is the most  revered.’ Regarded as the pillars of the family, older Hmong people are perceived as wise and experienced, and claim a respected and privileged status in a traditional Hmong community.”

The Change: “The migration of the Hmong refugee into the U.S. began in the mid-1970s, after the U.S. withdrew its forces out of Laos. The Hmong were recruited and fought alongside the U.S. CIA in a war parallel to the Vietnam War between 1961 to 1975 in what became known as the “secret war.” The secret war took place deep in the northern regions of Laos. There is an estimated 327,000 Hmong living in the U.S. currently, with the population continuously growing. Those born in the U.S. now make up 66% of the current Hmong population—and a significant variable in changing the cultural narratives of the older Hmong population. 

Generations: “Passing down cultural beliefs and adapting to the changing needs of the Hmong diaspora can often come into conflict with each other … There are variables that contribute to today’s changing attitudes and values and how older adults are now seen in the Hmong community. Inevitably, older Hmong people face unique challenges besides aging, including language and health inequities, along with social, economic, and cultural barriers that often lead to a loss of status.” 

Language: “Despite wanting to help his grandmother, [Dylan Yang, 16,]  said, ‘It is hard to communicate with my grandma because I speak very little Hmong. . .’ [According to Cha Va, 63,] “The way young people treat older people is very different now. In America, all the kids now speak better English, and they think they know more. When the elders say anything, they are told ‘you don’t know’ and ‘you don’t need to say anything, we know more.’ The elders feel bad and helpless, so they feel that their status as elders have changed in meaning and value.” 

Nursing Homes: “A nontraditional choice for aging parents is to move into nursing homes because of their children’s inability to care for them, lack of resources to provide care or lack of desire by their children.”

*** “Capitol Hill housing for older LGBTQ+ adults provides support, safety,” by Michelle BaruchmanSeattle Times (Dec. 13, 2023): The Lede: “At Christina Lloyd’s new home, she knows that ‘if I’m not seen for a few days, everyone wants to see how Chris is doing. I’m epileptic, and I now have really cool people checking in on me and making sure I’m OK.’ 

Where: “It’s peace of mind for Lloyd, 59, knowing that she has a community of people surrounding her and keeping her mentally and physically healthy. She has found that welcoming space at Pride Place, a new and first-of-its-kind affordable housing project for older LGBTQ+ adults in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The $54.4 million, 118-unit complex opened in September, in the former site of Eldridge Tire Company on Broadway, as a means to support older adults, particularly those in the LGBTQ+ community. . . Through these connections, residents can protect themselves against social isolation and loneliness.”

Who: “GenPride, founded by Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, a professor at the University of Washington, was born out of her landmark research. She began studying the mental and physical health of 2,450 midlife and older adults from across the country, including Seattle.

“Her research has found that older LGBTQ+ adults have higher rates of social isolation, depression and other mental health concerns, as compared to heterosexual people of a similar age. The primary contributor to those higher rates is experiences of violence and discrimination, she said, which tend to be higher in the LGBTQ+ community. . .  In Fredriksen-Goldsen’s research, she also found high rates of poverty among older LGBTQ+ adults.” 

*** Maine nursing homes lead nation in meeting the Biden administration’s proposed staffing standards, but challenges loom,” by Rose LundyThe Maine Monitor (Dec. 10, 2023): The Dek: “Although Maine is close to meeting the federal staffing standards, concerns persist over nursing home workforce shortages and potential closures.” 

In a Nutshell: This story, part of Lundy’s ongoing project, “Falling Short: Rebuilding elderly care in rural America,” explains:Rural nursing homes across the country, already understaffed, face significant new federal staffing requirements. With on-the-ground reporting from the Institute for Nonprofit News’ Rural News Network and data analysis assistance from USA TODAY and Big Local News at Stanford University, eight newsrooms, including The Maine Monitor, explore what the rule change would look like for residents in communities across America. Support from The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation made this project possible.” 

Action: “The Biden administration in September proposed federal standards that would require nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty at all times, and establish minimum care hours per resident from registered nurses and nurse aides. During the second quarter of 2023 — from April to June — Maine nursing homes met the proposed minimum care hours from both registered nurses and nurse aides an average of 59 out of 91 days in the quarter. . . However, only 8% of Maine nursing homes met both standards on all 91 days of the quarter. This still places Maine third in the country behind Alaska and Hawaii. (The national average was 1%.)”

A Quote: “ ‘Honestly, why is it taking the country so long to do the right thing, both by residents and staff?’ she said. ‘We can’t expect people to want to do this work without sufficient resources and when there isn’t sufficient staffing.’ Studies have tied staffing to quality of care and called for the establishment of a federal minimum staffing standard.”

*** The December GBONews included links to John Wasik’s new three-part series in Forbes on increasing climate-change action among older Americans. Here’s a bit more about the stories. Forbes’ paywall does allow non-subscribers four freebies.

*Part 1 — “Want To Live Longer? Refine Retirement With “Active Green Aging” , by John Wasik, Forbes (Dec. 8, 2023): The Lede: “Although most of the news on climate these days is gloomy, there’s a growing movement to engage our older population in environmental action, which I refer to as “active green aging.”

The Nutshell: “Far away from the global climate conference COP28, a mostly unseen and unheralded corps of retired Americans are volunteering to replenish America’s green spaces while becoming more politically active on climate action. They are also reaping substantial health benefits. Older green activists are not only planting trees and preserving ecosystems, they are becoming politically active to address a global emergency. Yet it’s more of a whisper of a movement compared to the street-borne shouts of the 1960s and recent years. Those who are engaged often have been quietly involved for decades; they are spreading the word about the personal satisfaction and myriad benefits conferred.”

 A Quote: “Harry ‘Rick’ Moody, a highly respected gerontologist . . . , is publishing Climate Change in an Aging Society (Routledge, 2024). [He said,] ‘Two big stories—population aging and climate change—both are happening at the same time in history.’”

“Moody observes, ‘We all know climate change is not a happy subject. Neither is aging. It’s not surprising that we often try to avoid both. Both climate change and aging involve facing up to limits… it is not the American way.’ A keystone to understanding elder involvement in environmental action is that ageism also needs to be directly addressed.”

And: “According to Dr. Karl Pillemer, a professor in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, we need to get beyond the foreboding, perennial headlines of older people being passive, helpless victimsof climate change. A more compelling story is that elders are increasingly becoming involved in global warming action campaigns . . . ‘Viewing older individuals only as passive victims of environmental threats is an overly narrow and limiting perspective,’ Pillemer states.”

*PART 2 – “How ‘Green’ Active Aging Makes For A Longer And Healthier Retirement,” (Dec. 9, 2023): The Nutshell: “There’s a well-documented upside to environmental action and getting outside in general. . . . Environmental activity is a grand slam for people of any age, especially those over 50. A study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that older adults engaged in caring for a green space reported a higher “level of physical activity, subjective life satisfaction, and positive feelings.”

And: “More importantly, the holistic benefits of engaging with nature are wide ranging. In a study published by the Aging and Climate Change Clearinghouse at Cornell University, ‘Research demonstrates that environmental activism specifically supports health and wellness later in life, even more so than other types of volunteer work.’”

PART 3 – “Is Gray The New Green? How Retirees Are Taking Environmental Action,” (Dec. 10, 2023): 

A Stat: New research from the Environmental Voter Project suggests this burgeoning new direction: “Voters aged 65 and older are second only to those between the ages of 18 and 34 in naming climate and the environment their highest political priorities.”


* “Danielle Arigoni, author of “Climate Resilience for an Aging Nation,” tells me ‘the desire to leave a legacy is a powerful motivator for older adults to become engaged in climate change action and to serve as environmental volunteers.’ 

* Third Act: “Bill McKibben, a long-time environmental activist, is organizing around the idea that a wave of retired Americans is going green in a meaningful way. They may not be as enraged as draft protestors of their youth, but this ‘Rocking Chair Rebellion’ is taking to the streets in the thousands to protest fossil fuel investment and demand institutional change. Founding the environmental action group “Third Act” in 2022, McKibben is tapping the energy, experience and wisdom of elders to tackle climate change. 

One notable intergenerational climate action group is Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), which employs a non-partisan approach to “empower everyday people on climate policy. The CCL has more than 220,000 members spread across more than 380 U.S. and 150 international chapters. Spokesperson Flannery Winchester said ‘about 22% of our supporters are in the 41-65 range, and another 22% are over 65.’”

This year’s nonprofit funders for helping us bring Journalists in Aging Fellowship stories to so many audiences are the Silver Century FoundationJohn A. Hartford FoundationArchstone Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund and the NIHCM Foundation, plus a generous contribution from John Migliaccio


*** Older Americans Say They Feel Trapped in Medicare Advantage Plans,” by Sarah Jane TribbleKaiser Health News (Jan. 5, 2024, plus Spanish translation): 

The Lede: “In 2016, Richard Timmins went to a free informational seminar to learn more about Medicare coverage. ‘I listened to the insurance agent and, basically, he really promoted Medicare Advantage,’ Timmins said. . . For Timmins, who is now 76, it made economic sense then to sign up. And his decision was great, for a while. Then, three years ago, he noticed a lesion on his right earlobe. ‘I have a family history of melanoma.’” 

Oh-oh!: Timmins “discovered that his enrollment in a Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage plan would mean a limited network of doctors and the potential need for preapproval, or prior authorization, from the insurer . . . [making] getting care more difficult, and now he wants to switch back to traditional, government-administered Medicare. But he can’t. And he’s not alone. . . Enrollees, like Timmins, who sign on when they are healthy can find themselves trapped as they grow older and sicker.” 

A Quote: “ ‘It’s one of those things that people might like on the front end because of their low to zero premiums and if they are getting a couple of these extra benefits — the vision, dental, that kind of thing,’ said Christine Huberty, a lead benefit specialist supervising attorney for the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources. ‘But it’s when they actually need to use it for these bigger issues,” Huberty said, ‘that’s when people realize, Oh no, this isn’t going to help me at all.’”

In Fact: “David Meyers. . . , at the Brown University School of Public Health, analyzed a decade of Medicare Advantage enrollment and found that about 50% of beneficiaries — rural and urban — left their contract by the end of five years. . . . Meyers and his co-authors muse that switching plans could be a positive sign of a free marketplace but that it could also signal “unmeasured discontent” with Medicare Advantage.

“‘The problem is that once you get into Medicare Advantage, if you have a couple of chronic conditions and you want to leave Medicare Advantage, even if Medicare Advantage isn’t meeting your needs, you might not have any ability to switch back to traditional Medicare,’ Meyers said.”

Cost and Denial: “To limit what they spend out-of-pocket, traditional Medicare enrollees typically sign up for supplemental insurance, such as employer coverage or a private Medigap policy. If they are low-income, Medicaid may provide that supplemental coverage.

“But, Meyers said, there’s a catch: While beneficiaries who enrolled first in traditional Medicare are guaranteed to qualify for a Medigap policy without pricing based on their medical history, Medigap insurers can deny coverage to beneficiaries transferring from Medicare Advantage plans or base their prices on medical underwriting. Only four states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York — prohibit insurers from denying a Medigap policy if the enrollee has preexisting conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.”

Federal Changes: “Nearly half of Medicare Advantage plan directories contained inaccurate information on what providers were available, according to the most recent federal review. Beginning in 2024, new or expanding Medicare Advantage plans must demonstrate compliance with federal network expectations or their applications could be denied. . . Traditional Medicare allows beneficiaries to go to nearly any doctor or hospital in the U.S., and in most cases enrollees do not need approval to get services.” 

*** “Getting good quality sleep as you age is key for a healthy brain. These 4 strategies can help,” by Liz Seegert, Fortune Well (Jan. 3, 2024): 

The Lede: Seegert, also Journalists in Aging Fellows Program Co-Director, writes, “Many of us believe poor sleep is inevitable as we get older. Chronic pain, medication side effects, and more frequent middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom affect the quantity and quality of our rest. That has implications not only for physical health, but for cognitive health as well, according to research presented at the Gerontological Society of America conference in November 2023.”

In Fact: “While we don’t need as much sleep as we did as teenagers, most older people still need about seven hours of good-quality sleep each night, according to Katie Stone, an epidemiologist and sleep researcher at California Pacific Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.”

Hot News Flash: Only a few months after Medium launched its blog, “Menopause Matters: Empowering Women’s Health,” Liz Seegert resigned as its editor in December. She posted to colleagues that the contract terms offered were “unacceptable.” She added, “However, I’ll keep writing about this topic because it’s so important and necessary.” As GBONews goes to press, Medium is yet to post “Menopause Matters” content beyond mid-December. 

*** “To Age in Place,” by Meera Kymal and Anjana Nagarajan-ButaneyPalabra (Sept. 16, 2023): The DekWith an aging population that needs culturally competent care, families face a caregiver crunch.”

The Lede: “In 2005, Tahera Khalil suffered a heart attack while she and her husband Sabbar were visiting their daughter, Nishrin, in California. Worried that she could not care for her aging parents if they returned to India, Nishrin urged them to remain in San Jose, where she lives. 

“Tahera and Sabbar stayed, but they did not anticipate the consequences of growing old in a country without universal healthcare. Today, 18 years later, the Kahlils live in a senior community less than three miles from Nishrin’s home. Sabbar, now 95, suffers from macular degeneration (an eye disease that causes blurred vision) and the side effects of radiation after a bout with cancer.”

In a Nutshell: “In many immigrant families, aging in place in a multigenerational setting is the cultural norm. Nishrin’s abiding commitment to helping her parents is typical of her South Asian roots. But as aging takes its toll on the elderly, family members are left to perform complicated caregiving tasks without support or training, thus placing their own health, finances and well-being at risk. This trend reflects a nationwide exigency. As more people in the U.S. live longer, a higher prevalence of chronic diseases — ranging from arthritis and chronic pain to hypertension, diabetes and dementia — will fuel the demand for support services.”

Some Facts: “Seniors 85 and older — the group most often needing help with basic personal care — will more than double between 2020 and 2040, says an Urban Institute study. Projections show that Latinos age 65 and older (about 4.6 million in 2019) will grow to just under 20 million by 2060, an increase from 9% to 21% of the older U.S. population. As the ethnically diverse, aging population grows, so will the demand for culturally competent services to address their growing healthcare needs.”

What’s More: “This family dynamic is the norm in many U.S. immigrant households. Nearly 60 million residents live with multiple generations under the same roof. A 2021 Pew Research Center study reported a growing trend in which a higher share of foreign-born Americans (24% of Asians and 26% of Hispanic immigrants) were more likely than white Americans to live in a home that includes grandparents.”

The Challenge: “Like many regions across the country, Santa Clara County [including San Jose, Calif., where the Khalili’s live] faces widening gaps in home-based services for its increasingly diverse and rapidly aging population. Almost 40% of its residents are foreign-born. Two of its largest ethnic groups are Asians at 37.4% and Hispanics at 25.1%. Eligibility limits, high costs and a shortage of trained caregivers woefully undermine the effectiveness of services the county delivers to seniors, causing a caregiver crunch that curbs independent living.”

The Dilemma: “Medicare and commercial insurance plans do not cover long-term care. The exorbitant costs of long-term care insurance mean that almost 90% of Americans don’t have any, reports Stateline (previously with the Pew Trust), because people worry that fluctuating premiums could wipe out their savings.

A Quote: “’From my personal point of view,’ says Working Partnership’s Bob Brownstein, ‘it’s crazy to tell people they have to impoverish themselves before society will help them deal with long-term care, which is increasingly a problem that impacts very, very large numbers of people.’” 

Solutions: “What could change, says Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA District 16), is how we rethink the system. Eshoo moved her own parents from Fresno into her home in Menlo Park. She recommends creating a cadre of public health care counselors who are trained to answer the most common questions for family caregivers. ‘You don’t need 500 social workers to be answering some of the most basic questions,’ she says. . .  . Health agencies across the country have to build capacity, improve access and reduce the burden on family caregivers. Advocates need to mobilize and lobby lawmakers to make caregiving more affordable and culturally competent for older adults.”

*** “Complications spiked 25% in hospitals bought by private equity,” By Tara BannowStat News (Dec. 26. 2023): The Lede: “There’s ample evidence that private equity buyouts in health care drive up costs. A new study shows quality declines, too.”

The Stats: “Hospitals acquired by private equity saw a 25% uptick in adverse events compared with controls, according to a new study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings add to an accumulating body of literature underscoring the harm that occurs when financial investors take over health care providers — not only hospitals, but nursing homeshospice care, and physician practices.”


*** “Insidious Ageism: Why Are Old People Disappearing?” by Amanda Smith BaruschMedium (Dec. 11, 2023): In a Nutshell: “We’re all familiar with overt expressions of ageism, like denial of care or outright discrimination. But ageism also has subtle forms that are insidious and pervasive and that, like linchi, [the ancient Chinese “death by a thousand cuts] can ultimately be lethal. I didn’t take ageism seriously until I started to disappear.”

Barusch, author of the just-published volume, Aging Angry: Making Peace with Rage (Oxford University Press, 2024), posted a Facebook note on the big response to her “Insidious Ageism” blog: “I’m blown away by the response to my Medium essay on Insidious Ageism. It’s the first in a series based on insights from Aging Angry. Over 3,000 readers and a far-ranging and at-times-mind-boggling conversation has ensued.”

In Aging Angry, for which this editor was pleased to provide an advance blurb, Barusch challenges the image of the old as being typically embittered. People in later life, she contends, damage themselves by suppressing their honest feelings. Instead, they should embrace than their anger in ways that can neutralizing them and the harm the can do if left to fester. She explains, through deep interviews with men and women and numerous sources, people can “harness its energy and wisdom for personal and social change.” 

Journalists can request review copies by submitting Oxford’s form at this link. (An editor there explained, “The form says ‘Academic Journal Review Copy Requests,’ but our review team uses this form for all types of publications.”) GBONews readers will see that the new hardcover edition is priced for institutions at $90. Given the provocative subject, though, media audiences may respond as strongly as they did to Barusch’s Medium blog, to articles and interviews on ageist stereotypes. And for interviews with Amanda Barusch, contact her at

The Journalists Network on Generations (JNG), founded in 1993, publishes Generations Beat Online News ( JNG provides information and networking opportunities for journalists covering generational issues, but not those representing services, products or lobbying agendas. Copyright 2024 Paul Kleyman. For more information contact GBO Editor Paul Kleyman. 

To subscribe for free or unsubscribe, or if you have technical problems receiving issues of GBO or if you’d like to be removed from the list, e-mail me at, or or phone me at 415-821-2801