Age-Friendly News Clips from Around RI & the Nation

AFRI regularly culls news articles and pertinent postings that highlight national, state and local efforts to support age friendly communities. Check out a few of the news clippings shared below to stay apprised of the movement in Rhode Island and lessons learned from recent research in this space:


Investing to empower Rhode Islanders to age well

A recent study by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts found that half of older, single Rhode Islanders are economically insecure. They live above the federal poverty line, at $12,490, yet do not have enough income to pay the estimated $25,610 needed for basic living expenses. The study also found one in five older Rhode Island couples is economically insecure. Older women, in particular, face a significant economic hardship, as they tend to live alone and have lower incomes than their male peers. For these Rhode Islanders, in-home and adult-day-health services are out of reach, without financial assistance. The result: they will likely move out of their homes and into care facilities prematurely – quickly spending down their assets and ending up on state Medicaid rolls, at a huge cost to taxpayers.



AARP Urges Congress to Strengthen Age Discrimination Laws

Congress should pass a bill that would improve protections for older adults in the workplace, an AARP official testified at a hearing Tuesday on the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). The measure would reverse a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it more difficult for people to win litigation after facing discrimination because of their age. “Age discrimination in the workplace remains disturbingly pervasive,” said Laurie McCann, senior attorney for AARP Foundation, at the House Committee on Education and Labor hearing. “Three in five older workers report that they have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. ”



Museum of Work & Culture to host memory loss programs

A new monthly series at the Museum of Work & Culture is designed for people with memory loss and their caretakers. The Living Memories Monday series of memory loss programs takes place on the last Monday of each month at the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket.



McNamara Introduces Bill Exempting Wheelchairs, Walkers and Other Health Items from Sales Tax

State Representative Joseph McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) introduced legislation that would exempt certain home healthcare products such as wheelchairs from sales tax.

Last session, McNamara introduced a bill that was included in the state budget to provide funding for the Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Grant Act. That  grant allows eligible homeowners and renters to retrofit their residence to nationally recognized accessibility standards and receive 50 percent of the total sum spent, up to $5,000, to retrofit their existing residence.



Age Discrimination Starts When An Employer Becomes Aware Of An Older Worker’s Age

New research finds that job applicants aged 40 and above begin to experience age discrimination at the point where their age becomes apparent to the employer. David Neumark, an economist at the University of California, Irvine, writes that workers who apply on site for positions are “substantially” less likely to be invited for an interview compared to workers who apply on the Internet



Prescription drug overload: Critics fighting to curb an epidemic of medication side effects

Forty-two percent of adults over 65 take five or more prescription drugs, and nearly 20 percent take 10 or more, according to the Lown Institute, a health care think tank in Brookline. The institute warns of a growing epidemic of over medication that’s sent millions of seniors to hospitals and emergency rooms in the past decade with often serious side effects.



Older People Need Geriatricians. Where Will They Come From?

The medical profession has been troubled for years by a persistent shortage of doctors who treat the oldest and sickest patients. As the nation’s older population surges, the gap between need and supply has steadily widened, and a persistent shortage of geriatricians has troubled the medical profession for years. Geriatrics became a board-certified medical specialty only in 1988. An analysis published in 2018 showed that over 16 years, through academic year 2017-18, the number of graduate fellowship programs that train geriatricians, underwritten by Medicare, increased to 210 from 182. That represents virtually no growth when adjusted for the rising United States population.