Latest OWL Observer

Latest OWL Observer

Read about women being short on time and trust when it comes to health, the upcoming White House Conference on Aging, a new OWL board member, a proposed improvement to Medicare and more in this month's newsletter. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!

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What makes OWL unique is our sharp focus. We are the only organization that works solely on the economic security and quality-of-life issues impacting women over 40, who account for almost one-quarter of the U.S. population.

Join us in speaking up for this estimated 78-million-member demographic whose voice on the policy stage has yet to match its size.

 


Latest from OWL

Have you had ‘the talk’ yet?

The talk with your health care professionals. The one
about weight—and the devastating consequences
extra pounds can have on women’s health. 

OWL’s latest article on Huffington Post examines the impacts of obesity on women.

Study after study confirms it: America is facing a serious adult obesity epidemic. The latest report from JAMA Internal Medicine found that 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women are now overweight or obese—a sharp increase from 20 years ago when 63 percent of men and 55 percent of women fell into those categories. (A person is overweight if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9. Those with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese.)

Women were more likely to be obese than overweight, with 37 percent of women in the former category and 30 percent in the latter. Altogether, two out of every three women in the U.S. were above a normal weight. This—no pun intended—is a very big deal. Carrying too much weight raises the risk of serious, life-threatening diseases including Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Being obese affects certain recovery outcomes, as well: Obese women diagnosed with breast cancer are 35 percent more likely than normal-weight women to die of their cancer. Obesity is also a significant predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), particularly among women, and CVD is the leading killer of women in the U.S.

Read the full article here.

Posted by Deborah Akel on 07/14 at 04:22 PM
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Medicare Should Cover Hearing Aids

This year, as Medicare turns 50, it’s a good time to look back on its half-century of success in providing access to health care for hundreds of millions of older Americans. It’s also a good time to look forward at ways we can strengthen this essential program for generations to come.

One critical way is to allow Medicare to cover hearing aids. Surprisingly, America’s original safety net for seniors doesn’t cover hearing aids or routine hearing exams.

If you have a loved one who suffers from hearing loss, you know how important a hearing aid can be to quality of life. And chances are, you do: hearing loss is one of the most common chronic conditions in the U.S., affecting nearly 20 million Americans over the age of 45. Left untreated, it can have serious social and emotional consequences: a National Council on Aging study found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression and less likely to participate in social activities than those who wear hearing aids.

Yet, because of the lack of Medicare coverage, many seniors who need them go without. The average price of a pair of hearing aids is around $4,500—a heavy burden or entirely out of reach for many older Americans.

Congress is currently considering legislation that would remove the barriers in the Social Security Act that prevent Medicare from covering hearing aids. H.R. 1653—the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, is an important step toward bringing Medicare into the 21st century and improving access to hearing aids and exams.

Read the full blog here.

Posted by Bobbie Brinegar on 06/29 at 05:23 PM
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Why Talk About Death

By Donna L. Wagner, Ph.D.
Interim Dean, College of Health and Social Services, New Mexico State University

Talking about death and end of life issues is probably the last thing most people are interested in doing. Many believe that it’s sad, morbid and unpleasant. Perhaps that’s why we have developed so many euphemisms for death: “He passed,” “She is no longer with us,” “he ate the banana,” “kicked the bucket” or “crossed over.” No matter what your preferred term may be, it is likely seen as more palatable and acceptable than using the “d” word.

At the recent health symposium on the topic of death convened by the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University, Gail Rubin, who organized the death café during our lunch, reminded the audience of this important fact: “Talking about sex won’t make you pregnant and talking about death won’t make you dead.”

The conference was organized to give the community of Las Cruces, New Mexico, both residents and health professionals the opportunity to spend the day talking about the very personal topic of death; more than 400 people showed up.

“A Beautiful Death: What will you choose?” opened with a presentation by Peggy Battin, a bioethicist from the University of Utah who has been studying end of life issues her entire professional career. She challenged the audience with important ethical dilemmas that are timely today as the circumstances around the end of life have changed and are changing due to health technology and medical advancements that can keep us alive. These changes raise the bar for us all as we watch our parents and grandparents face a complicated set of decisions that no one had to make in the past.

Read more here.

Posted by Pat Lewis on 06/11 at 09:38 AM
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