Monday, December 24, 2012

More Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better

Regular physical activity while you are awake can result in better sleep. According to a just reported study, individuals who participated and met national exercise guidelines reported less daytime fatigue and better sleep patterns than those who didn’t exercise.

While researchers note that the research doesn’t confirm that exercise directly leads to improved rest, the findings are mostly consistent with previous research, according to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance which tracks health related issues pertinent to longevity matters.

Inadequate sleep has been linked to depression, cardiovascular disease and other health problems notes Slome. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease puts aging Americans at greater risk of needing benefits from their long-term care insurance Slome explains.

The researchers noted that hoping that a daily walk or jog will clear up sleep problems might be a bit too optimistic. More than one-third of U.S. adults have trouble falling asleep at night or staying alert during the day, according to background information in the study.

 The new study by researchers at Oregon State University examined data from a U.S. health survey conducted from 2005 to 2006. The researchers focused on over 2,500 men and women between ages 18 to 85. They measured their activity levels and answered questions about sleep.

All study participants wore accelerometers, devices that measure physical activity for a one-week period.

The researchers adjusted their statistics so they wouldn’t be thrown off by unusually high or low numbers of people of certain ages, weight, health condition, smoking history or other factors. Participants met or exceeded national exercise guidelines by getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise or a combination of both.

Those who met the guidelines were 65 percent less likely to report often feeling sleepy during the day compared to those who got less exercise. They were also 68 percent less likely to report sometimes having leg cramps and 45 percent less likely to report having trouble concentrating while tired.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Less Risk Of Alzheimer’s Found Among Fish Eaters

Adults who eat baked or broiled fish as little as once a week may lower their risk for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to research findings, eating non-fried fish that includes baked and broiled fish helps to preserve gray matter neurons. The scientists note that this strengthens the areas of the brain deemed critical to cognition and memory.

“Scientists report that people with larger brain volume the risk for Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment went down with eating fish as little as one to four times a week. “We’re talking about just a half serving a day,” notes Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance. ”We would encourage millions of aging Americans to make a very small lifestyle change that can affect their risk of this terrible disease.”

The number of U.S. adults aged 65 years and older is projected to nearly double over the next two decades, Slome, head of the national long term care insurance trade organization explains. “As a result, the incidence of cognitive issues especially Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is also expected to rise as will the need for costly long term care,” he adds. Alzheimer’s disease is the number one reason individuals with long term care insurance file claims.

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease the age-related disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking. Older adults with mild cognitive impairment have less severe memory loss than those with Alzheimer’s but often go on to develop the disease.

The scientists found that those who ate baked or broiled fish had larger mass in the hippocampus, and orbital frontal cortex regions of their brains. This was regardless of age, gender, physical activity routines, and/or educational achievement, race or weight. No benefit was evident with respect to consumption of fried fish.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Long Term Care Insurance And America’s “Oldest Old”

The increases in life expectancy at older ages has significantly changed over the past century. Today a person who reaches age 90 is expected to live on average another 4.6 years and those who pass the century mark are projected to live another 2.3 years.

“Americans are living long lives but few are prepared for the consequences that will significantly impact their spouses, family and loved ones,” declares Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group. “Today there are almost two million Americans ages 90 and over and the number is projected to quadruple over the next few decades.”

Much of the growth will come from aging baby boomers. “Between 2020- and 2030, the growth of the population between ages 65 and 89 is projected to increase by 32 percent,” Slome explains. “America’s oldest old will place a great strain on the nation’s families and resources because many of them will require lengthy and very costly care.”

Three states already have over 100,000 residents age 90 or older according to the nation’s long term care insurance expert. “California has nearly 190,000, followed by Florida with 142,000 and New York with over 130,000,” Slome reports. Women age 90-plus outnumber men by nearly three to one.

“Older women can expect to live longer than men and have experienced more rapid improvements in life expectancy,” Slome notes. Over 80 percent of the 90-plus women are widowed, while more than 40 percent of the 90-plus men are still married.

Government data shows that the annual median personal income for people age 980 and over was $14,760 (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars). “The poverty rate for the 90-plus population is higher than that for those age 65 to 80,” Slome adds. “When older people need long term care which is common simply as a result of aging or age-related health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, they are either going to turn to family members for support or to whatever government programs exist at the time.”

“For baby boomers who are in their 50s and 60s today, it is important to understand the likelihood and risks associated with living a long life,” Slome notes. “If you don’t want to depend on family or be forced to depend on Medicaid, one had better start thinking about this prior to retirement age when you have the most planning options available. Long term care insurance is going to be vital for America’s oldest old.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Long Term Care Insurance Rate Increases Explained

Long term care insurance is one of the only products where prices are designed to remain the same for as much as 30 years. That’s not always possible according to a leading industry expert.

 “I’d love to be paying the same for gasoline as I did 10 or 15 years ago but things change and the same is true with long term care insurance,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an organization focused on creating heightened consumer understanding of the importance of planning. “No one likes to pay more for anything but when an insurer needs a rate increase they typically have to get state approval and, more important, it’s not a take it or leave it option for policyholders.”

Speaking to consumers, the long term care insurance industry expert explained that rates on policies priced 10 years ago are often facing rate increases. “Not every policy but most often those that include a five percent annual growth of benefits option,” Slome notes. “An insurer can not raise the payout five percent in today’s historically low interest rate environment so they offer consumers the opportunity to continue paying the same but have future benefits grow at say three percent.”

The biggest misperception when it comes to rate increases for long term care insurance is the belief that consumers have no option except to pay more. “That just is not the case, insurers voluntarily have decided to offer options to policyholders,” Slome acknowledges. “There is no law or government ruling that mandates it. It’s the right thing to do and while many can be skeptical, they are looking to do the right thing for those who bough policies.”

Citing data from the only study of policyholder action following a rate increase Slome points out that when faced with a 25 percent premium increase as part of the Federal long term care insurance program some 46.1 percent of policyholders made no change to their policy benefits and agreed to pay the higher amount. “Less that two percent dropped their coverage,” Slome admits, “and some took the opportunity to redesign their plan and ended up paying less than they were before.”