Reuters blog archive

from Photographers' Blog:

Republic of the elderly

By Kim Kyung-hoon

There are several key descriptive phrases to keep in mind when talking about Japan; one obvious to everyone is “Rapidly Aging Society”.

The rise of the elderly population and falling birth rate are no longer surprising news. One in four people in Japan is now over 65 years.

If you have the chance to walk around Tokyo’s downtown area, you’ll probably nod your head in recognition of the truth of this phrase. When you stop at a crosswalk to cross the street, you will find yourself surrounded by people who have silver hair and are stooped with age. When you watch TV you will see commercials for adult diapers and denture washers, common during prime time. Because the elderly are a big consumer group in Japan, Japanese enterprises never forget to satisfy the elderly and they gladly provide elderly consumers with their state-of-the-art technologies such as a care robot or a walk-assist robot.

The predominance of elderly people is not rare even in underground culture. If you go to an adult video shop, you can easily find a 78-year-old porno star who has starred in several hundred movies. His movies stimulate his peers to enjoy an active life with their partners as long as they are able.

from Photographers' Blog:

Trailer park worth $30 million

By Lucy Nicholson

Too often in America, being old means being lonely, isolated and depressed.

At Village Trailer Park, a leafy oasis surrounded by busy commercial streets about two miles from Santa Monica’s famous beach, elderly residents are fighting to preserve a different way of life.


Owner Marc Luzzatto wants to relocate around 50 residents from the quirky trailer park to make way for nearly 500 residences, office space, stores, cafes and yoga studios, close to where a light rail line is being built to connect downtown Los Angeles to the ocean.

from MacroScope:

More Americans find aging is a gateway to poverty

Over the last several years, more Americans have found that aging has left them in the clutch of poverty. Between 2005 and 2009, the rate of poverty among American seniors rose as they aged, as did the number of people entering poverty, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Poverty rates fell in the first half of the last decade for almost all age groups of older Americans (defined as age 50 or older) but increased since 2005 for every age group. Says Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the report:

from India Insight:

India must prepare for surge in elderly population: WHO

India must spend more money and improve public services to prepare for a surge in its elderly population in the coming decades, the country head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

Here are excerpts from a Reuters interview with Nata Menabde:

What is the state of India's elderly population?
"The percentage of elderly is growing very very fast, especially in India and in Southeast Asia also. The projections are that we will have between 12-13 percent of elderly as part of entire population by the year 2025, and that we're going to reach some 17 percent of the population being elderly by 2050. Now that is every fifth Indian being elderly, which is going to be a very different society as a whole which needs to be seriously taken into consideration."
"There's no surprise for any one that generally healthcare provision in India requires a major improvement and that is very much related to differences of healthcare provision in urban and rural areas."

from MacroScope:

The plight of minority elderly Americans

It’s something many people know intuitively but that makes the reality no less harsh when it is framed by concrete figures: the sluggish U.S. economy is squeezing black and Latino seniors even harder than their white counterparts.

The deep recession of 2008-2009 took a heavy toll on the retirement prospects of aging Americans. With so many retirement savings plans linked to employer-based stock market investments, the downturn took a steep toll on the holdings of those who were lucky enough to have savings.

from Photographers' Blog:

Robot Paro comforts the elderly in Fukushima

By Kim Kyung-hoon

When I covered Fukushima’s nuclear crisis in March, the first radiation evacuees who I encountered were elderly people who had fled a nursing home which was located near the tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant which was leaking nuclear radiation.

On that night, most of the elderly who could not move well due to old age spent a cold night on a temporary shelter’s hard floor.

from Reuters Money:

Alzheimer’s: Early planning critical to financial health

Jean Dorrell knew something was wrong when the birthday card her father usually sends two weeks ahead of schedule didn't arrive in the mail.

"This past year he forgot my birthday and he forgot my brothers' birthdays, so we realized he was slipping pretty fast," says Dorrell, a certified financial planner and founder of Senior Financial Security in Summerfield, Florida.

from FaithWorld:

Who wants to live forever? Scientist sees aging “cured” by stem cells

(An elderly couple stroll through Tiergarten central park on a sunny autumn day in Berlin October 29, 2010./Fabrizio Bensch)

If Aubrey de Grey's predictions are right, the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger. A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to "cure" aging -- banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.

from Reuters Money:

Shock of Gray: How aging drives globalization and immigration

Norma Rita Berry,71, sits before the start of a rally for US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in St. Clairsville, Ohio, February 27, 2008.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton   The graying of America prompts debate about nuts-and-bolts issues such as inadequate retirement savings, and the future of Social Security and Medicare. But Ted Fishman is a big picture thinker with a deep understanding of global trends. In his new book, Shock of Gray, he explains how the aging of the world’s population will drive globalization and immigration patterns in the years ahead, and determine the economic destiny of nations – and the news isn't all bad.

Shock of Gray grew out of themes Fishman -- a veteran journalist and former Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader -- explored in his first book, New York Times bestseller China Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges the World.

from Reuters Money:

Health costs fuel rise in bankruptcy among elderly

A good friend plans to throw herself a Medicare party when she turns 65 a few years from now. She lost her employer-sponsored health coverage a few years ago, and has struggled ever since with limited insurance and high out-of-pocket costs; she thinks Medicare will solve all her health insurance problems.

Medicare is fairly comprehensive, but it doesn’t cover everything — and the basic coverage doesn’t cap out-of-pocket expense if you become seriously ill or need nursing care. In fact, healthcare expenses can wreck retirement security – a fact underscored by a recent study that found medical expenses are a major contributor to bankruptcy among older Americans.