Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit www.jtgfoundation.org/resources/covid-19 or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

CDC finds dementia-related deaths up 20% during summer 2020

October 14, 2020 – Seniors

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that dementia-related deaths were about 20 percent higher this past summer as compared to previous summers before the pandemic. Although researchers are still working to pinpoint the exact causes, four contributing factors that have been identified are increased social isolation, caregiver burnout, limited access to medical care, and needing to stay at home. Experts emphasize the importance of phone call check-ins for people with dementia. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

New ‘dark store’ retail model could support food access and businesses

September 11, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Whole Foods recently opened its first purposely online-only store in Brooklyn. This ‘dark store’ will not be open for shoppers, but instead will operate as a hub for packing online orders for delivery or pickup. Other retailers are converting existing stores into dark stores to keep up with increasing demand for online shopping and as a lifeline for stores that have been struggling. Although demand for online shopping options has been growing, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Expanded online shopping and delivery gives consumers not only convenience but critical food access, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, and anyone who cannot shop in person during the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

New health research finds formal and informal home care for seniors with disabilities has increased

August 20, 2020 – Seniors

A recent academic article published in Health Affairs examined the types of home care that community-dwelling seniors with disabilities received over a multi-year period (2004-2016). Using data from a longitudinal nationally representative survey of adults ages 65 or older, authors estimated rates of informal, formal, and combinations of in-home care use. The vast majority of seniors with disabilities reported receiving some home care, and this share increased from 2004 to 2016. In 2004, only 16.9 percent of seniors with disabilities reported receiving no home care, down to 12.9 percent in 2016. A larger share of seniors with disabilities reported receiving only informal home care (48.3 percent in 2004 and 50.8 percent in 2016) compared to only formal home care (7.9 percent in 2004 and 9.2 percent in 2016).

The availability of home-based care for Medicare beneficiaries should be expanded

August 20, 2020 – Seniors

Research published in Health Affairs explores the receipt of home-based medical care among community-dwelling, fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older. The authors analyzed survey data from the 2011-2017 National Health and Aging Trends Study, finding that only 11 percent of homebound fee for-service Medicare beneficiaries received home-based medical care. Homebased medical care receipt was more common among those living in metropolitan areas or in assisted living facilities. Given the health and cost benefits of aging in place, along with current unmet needs, authors argue that the availability of home-based care for Medicare beneficiaries should be expanded.

Federal agencies point state and community workers toward resources for supporting rural community-dwelling seniors and people with disabilities

August 19, 2020 – Seniors, Families

A new informational bulletin from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture shares details on the kinds of federal resources and programs aimed at improving health and housing outcomes in rural places. With the goal of supporting state agencies’ uptake of these resources, the bulletin focuses explicitly on identifying federal funding streams and programs that support home safety and accessibility for rural older adults and people with disabilities. #rural

During COVID-19 food insecurity among older adults increases by almost 60 percent

July 31, 2020 – Seniors

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reports on an analysis from Northwestern University that compares food insecurity rates among older adults during the pandemic to rates in 2018. In 2018, 8.5 percent of older adults experienced food insecurity. Analysis of data from April 23 to June 16 shows the food insecurity rate among older adults was 13.5 percent, a 58.8 percent increase from the 2018 rate. Pre-existing racial and ethnic disparities in food insecurity rates were also exacerbated during the pandemic. The food insecurity rate for Black older adults during the pandemic was 23.0 percent and the rate was 24.3 percent for Latinx older adults of any race. The food insecurity rate for white older adults during the pandemic was less than half that, at 10.6 percent. Authors recommend boosting SNAP maximum and minimum benefits to leverage this existing program effective in supporting food security and stimulating the economy. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #racialequity

Addressing social isolation in seniors through transportation

July 20, 2020 – Seniors

A new paper commissioned by the National Center for Mobility Management explores the role of public transportation for reducing social isolation and loneliness among older adults. The paper summarizes existing literature and notes a lack of transportation is associated with loneliness, and that rural residents are more likely than urban residents to continue driving when older, likely reflecting the dearth of available alternatives. Public transportation can be a useful alternative, but its limited availability, inflexibility in routes and schedules, and challenges for those with mobility issues mean it is not uniformly utilized. The report also shows that demographic and geographic factors stratify use of public transportation: non-Hispanic white older adults are more likely to drive than are older adults of color, and higher-income older adults are more likely to drive than their lower-income counterparts. The report concludes by recommending more research specific to transportation and social needs and identifies the importance of community input and collaborations between public health and transportation sectors at the community level. #rural #mentalhealth

Lack of economic gender equality continues to affect women in retirement

July 20, 2020 – Seniors

Many studies on economic gender equality focus on the working-age population, but fewer consider the economic status of women in retirement. Brookings experts explore the resources available to women in retirement, given that on average women both live longer and earn less in their lifetime than men. On top of receiving unequal pay for similar work, women are also more likely to see reduced earnings due to time out of the formal labor force while caring for children and/or for aging parents. Lower earnings over a lifetime have implications for retirement savings, but also for calculating Social Security benefits (on average, women receive just 80 percent of the Social Security benefits that men do). Citing that the current retirement system was “not designed to accommodate women’s experiences,” authors suggest policies and practices to address these inequalities including: an improved federal paid family and medical leave program, subsidizing childcare, creating a Social Security caregiver credit as part of benefit calculations, divorce law reform, a nationwide and automatic IRA program so that all workers can access a retirement program through their employer, and bolstering Supplemental Security Income benefits. #workforce #childcare

Research on seniors’ finances before and after Great Recession yields grim predictions for current recession

July 20, 2020 – Seniors

New research from the National Council on Aging assessed the potential effects of the COVID-19 recession on seniors by utilizing data on the economic situation of U.S. adults ages 60+ both before and after the Great Recession. The research found that low-income older adults experienced more financial losses than higher-income counterparts, as did older adults of color compared with non-Hispanic white older adults. Poverty rates for adults over 60 increased from 5% before the recession to 7.3% after the recession. Post-recession poverty levels were even higher for Black older adults (16.4%) and Hispanic older adults (20.1%). Researchers estimate that a COVID-19 recession, if results are similar to that of 2008-09, could push 1.8 million seniors into poverty—and seniors of color are the most vulnerable to financial losses. #covid-19

More than one-quarter of older adults experienced at least one fall in the past year

July 10, 2020 – Seniors

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report describes the prevalence of falls and fall-related injuries among older adults in the United States. Authors analyzed data from the annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), finding that in 2018, 27.5 percent adults aged 65 years or older reported having fallen at least once in the past year. Also concerning, 10.2 percent reported that they had experienced a fall-related injury in the past year. Falls are known as the leading cause of injury among seniors but are also very preventable. Authors recommend that health care providers emphasize reducing the risk of falls through interventions such as physical therapy and medication management.

Social isolation has its own negative health impacts for older adults

July 6, 2020 – Seniors

Staying home and practicing social distancing are important ways for older adults to reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure. However, following these guidelines means many older adults are now more isolated and inactive, creating new health risks. Experiencing loneliness and feeling isolated were challenges for nearly a quarter of older adults even before the pandemic and are associated with higher rates of chronic diseases and psychiatric disorders. Texas A&M researchers outline strategies that older adults can employ to stay connected and active, including continuing physical activity, reaching out to others via phone, accepting help from individuals and organizations, and planning out their days to provide structure. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

Rural Pennsylvania hospital pivots to respond to the pandemic

July 1, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Butler Memorial Hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania is home to the Regional Alliance Chronic Disease Coordination and Management (RACDCM) Program. The program supports patients age 45 and older who have at least two chronic diseases by providing chronic disease management resources. At the beginning of the pandemic, the RACDCM Program switched to a telehealth model. This transition was eased by previous telehealth experience. In order to reach patients in rural areas without internet access, they are adding dial-in options so patients may join sessions by phone. The RACDCM Program team has focused on supporting patients at home to avoid hospital visits for chronic condition care; the hospital reports overall lower hospital visits, including from those with chronic conditions. #covid-19 #rural