Current Issues in Aging



Latest News & Research Highlights
The latest research and news in aging.

Check out the GSWI YouTube Channel for videos related to social work and aging.

The Affordable Care Act Provides New Opportunities for Social Workers
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides social workers with better opportunities to contribute their expertise in collaborative groups in order to better help older adults.  Nora OBrien-Suric, Senior Program Officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation, gave a presentation titled “On the Road: Preparing Social Workers for an Interprofessional Environment” at California Social Work Education Center’s 2014 Aging Summit, which addressed the changes brought about by the ACA, and how social workers fit into the big picture. To learn more about the presentation read Nora’s blog post, which can be found on the John A. Hartford Foundation’s website.

If Steve Jobs Had Been A Social Worker
Steve Jobs is a prolific figure of the late 20th and early 21st century, he brought innovation, passion, and tenacity to the technology field. But what if Steve Jobs had been a social worker? How would he have approached the field of social work? This article attempts to explain. 

Access to Social Workers Could Keep Veterans Out Of Criminal Justice System
Approximately one in six veterans struggles with substance abuse, and 20 percent show signs of mental health issues or cognitive impairments. According to a report by the Center for Mental Health Services, these risk factors, combined with a lack of resources, could be contributing to an increase of veterans entering the criminal justice system. University of Missouri researchers have investigated ways social workers can address veterans' needs to decrease the possibility of incarceration, to learn more click here.


Deadline to Sign Up for “Obamacare” Draws Near
The March 31st deadline to sign up for Obamacare may appear to be long off, but it will be here sooner than you know it. While it seems that enrollee demographics currently skew older, which carries its own policy consequences, that does not mean that older adults are not experiencing issues signing up. For assistance call 1-800-318-2596, a 24/7 hotline provided by the federal government to aid those attempting to sign up and pay for insurance through the insurance exchanges.

The President’s FY15 Budget Proposal & What it Means for Older Adults
The President’s 2015 Fiscal Year (FY15) budget was released earlier this month is a “mixed bag” according to the National Council on Aging. The administration calls for increased Alzheimer’s, elder justice, and senior housing funding, it is also advocating for a shift of costs onto Medicare beneficiaries. To get a more detailed overview, click here, and to see the actual budgetary allocations, click here.

The following links contain statistical and demography information on aging populations.

Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being.
The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics was established in 1986 to improve the quality and utility of federal data on aging. "Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being" was prepared by 15 federal agencies, including the U.S. EPA, will be released this week. You may access the chartbook electronically at:

2012 Poverty Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the 2012 Poverty Guidelines, which affect financial eligibility for federal and state programs such as the Medicare Part D Extra Help/Low-Income Subsidy, Medicare Savings Programs, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and more. For an individual in the 48 contiguous states and DC in 2012, the poverty level is $11,170 ($13,970 in Alaska, $12,860 in Hawaii); for couples, it is $15,130 ($18,920 in Alaska, $17,410 in Hawaii).

National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging
The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research has released the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging. With funding from the National Institute on Aging, the ICPSR has the largest library of searchable electronic data in the United States addressing issues relating to aging.

2011 SPR Data Is Now Available on AGID
The 2011 State Program Report (SPR) data is now available on AGID. The Administration on Aging (AoA) AGing Integrated Database (AGID) is an on-line query system based on AoA-related data files and surveys, and includes population characteristics from the U.S. Census Bureau for comparison purposes.  The system allows users to produce descriptive information in graphical or tabular form, at the level of detail most suited for their needs.  The four options or paths through AGID provide different levels of focus and aggregation of the data – from individual data elements within Data-at-a-Glance to full database access within Data Files.

2011 Profile of Older Americans Released
The Web-based publication Profile of Older Americans: 2011 is now available online. This annual summary of the latest statistics on the older population covers 15 topical areas including population, income and poverty, living arrangements, education and health. The profile has proven to be a very useful statistical summary in a user-friendly format.

NHTSA Administration Releases New Fact Sheet with 2009 Data on Older Adult Population
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new fact sheet about the older adult population, containing 2009 data. Did you know that in 2009, 5,288 persons 65 and older were killed and 187,000 were injured in traffic crashes? Older drivers made up 15 percent of all licensed drivers in 2008, compared with 14 percent in 1999. Older adults represented 16 percent of all traffic fatalities and 8 percent of all persons injured in traffic crashes. For older adults, 64 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in 2009 occurred at non-intersection locations compared to 78 percent of fatalities for other ages. Click here to read more.

Survey reveals demographics of 90+ in the United States: 2006-2008
The United States Census has performed a comprehensive survey of adults over the age of 90. The data provides a clearer picture of the 90+ population, which may help to better prepare for future healthcare needs. The findings of the census included the discovery that most of the 90+ population are high school graduates or beyond, Social Security represents almost half of total personal income, and the poverty rate for those 90+ is higher than that of the 65-89 population.

Additional Resources
The following newsletters and reports feature the latest information on issues in aging:

The Civic Engagement E-Newsletter is a bimonthly e-newsletter that informs readers about efforts to advance research, programs, and policy that support older adults as a civic resource. Click here for more information. The Gerontological Society of America ’s public policy branch, the National Academy on an Aging Society, has two Twitter feeds. For the latest updates, research, and resources on aging policy, follow @Aging_Society. For the most up-to-date news, trends, and reports on business and aging, follow @AgingMeansBiz.

CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:

Lifelong is a print newsletter produced by the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) that provides a forum for information sharing between physicians and patients, serves as a credible source for synthesized physician-friendly analysis of current aging research, and helps improve the translation of this research into patient care applications. To subscribe to Lifelong and for more information, Click Here.

This webpage was last updated on March 24, 2014


Sponsored by The John A. Hartford Foundation