Follow-Up Exam: Are You A Rock Star On Aging?

As Americans get older, it helps to tickle the ol’ noggin with trivia. Take this pop quiz to see what you have learned as a regular reader of KHN’s coverage of aging issues. (Click on the blue button, below.)

KHN’s coverage related to aging & improving care of older adults is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation.

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1

More than half of Americans take vitamins, including 68 percent of seniors. Quality studies have found that vitamin E supplements can:

— Many claims surrounding the benefits of vitamin dosing are scientifically unfounded, but reputable studies link high-dose vitamin E to a higher risk of heart failure, prostate cancer and death from any cause.

2

True or False: Vitamin use increases with education level.

— Sixty-five percent of people with a postgraduate education take a vitamin, compared with 43 percent of those with just a high school education.

3

One rich source of dietary folic acid is:

— No baloney: For decades, pastas, rice and cold cereals have been fortified with B9 and other essential daily nutritional requirements.

4

After hitting age 75, who’s most at risk for hearing loss?

— But in the Mars vs. Venus communication contest, a Harvard 2015 study found that women were more likely than men to admit to some hearing loss or discuss it.

5

Which vaccine is least likely to be covered by Medicare with no copayment?

— Even though about 1 in 3 Americans will get shingles in their lifetimes, persuading adults to get vaccinated can be an uphill battle. The cost can be a big deterrent.

6

To help stay relevant in the labor market, older adults should avoid an utterance like:

— Showing interest in the pop culture and apps of the day can help bridge the generation gap and raise your stock at work. Avoid topics that reinforce ageist stereotypes or highlight your age.

7

Geriatric psychiatrist Marc Agronin coined the term “geropause” to refer to:

— After recognizing they’re stuck, Agronin advises older adults to reflect on life and take stock of interests, abilities and experiences, with input from people who know them.

8

With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, experts are sounding the alarm that new immigration policies could:

— With the Trump administration ending Temporary Protected Status for some foreign workers, an existing shortage of paid caregivers could only get worse because 1 million immigrants nationwide work in that industry.

9

Nearly 1 in 3 Medicare patients undergo an operation in their final year of life. What tactic has successfully reduced what some view as needless end-of-life surgeries?

— Easy-to-understand explainers help older patients make more informed medical decisions, giving them time to develop more realistic expectations.

10

True or False: Medicare does not require that older adults demonstrate improvement in order to receive ongoing physical, occupational or speech therapy.

— The February congressional budget deal eased long-standing concerns by lifting a threat that some types of therapy might be restricted.

11

Bonus Question: Which "rock star" of aging — all of whom still have concert dates this year — is the oldest?

— Oldest to youngest: Smokey Robinson is 78; Joan Baez, 77; Bob Dylan is four months younger but also 77, as of Thursday (Happy Belated Birthday, Bob!); Mick Jagger is a spring chicken at 74.

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Follow-Up Exam: Are You A Rock Star On Aging?

You Answered out of 11 Questions Correctly.

Question

Correct Response

1

More than half of Americans take vitamins, including 68 percent of seniors. Quality studies have found that vitamin E supplements can:

— Many claims surrounding the benefits of vitamin dosing are scientifically unfounded, but reputable studies link high-dose vitamin E to a higher risk of heart failure, prostate cancer and death from any cause.

Rigorous clinical trials have found that neither vitamin E nor folic acid supplements do anything to protect the heart. And though it is hailed as a skin moisturizer, claims that it can eliminate scarring have not been proven. As for the notion it revs up libido, scientists point to the possibility of increased sperm motility — which may or may not affect sex drive.

2

True or False: Vitamin use increases with education level.

— Sixty-five percent of people with a postgraduate education take a vitamin, compared with 43 percent of those with just a high school education.

Sixty-five percent of people with a postgraduate education take at least one type of vitamin supplement, compared with 43 percent of those who attained only a high school education. Read more here.

3

One rich source of dietary folic acid is:

— No baloney: For decades, pastas, rice and cold cereals have been fortified with B9 and other essential daily nutritional requirements.

Although the Western diet has a lot of problems — too much sodium, sugar, saturated fat and calories, in general — it’s not short on vitamins, says Alice Lichtenstein, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

4

After hitting age 75, who’s most at risk for hearing loss?

— But in the Mars vs. Venus communication contest, a Harvard 2015 study found that women were more likely than men to admit to some hearing loss or discuss it.

Roughly half of men age 75 and older experience some sort of hearing impairment, compared with about 40 percent of women, according to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

5

Which vaccine is least likely to be covered by Medicare with no copayment?

— Even though about 1 in 3 Americans will get shingles in their lifetimes, persuading adults to get vaccinated can be an uphill battle. The cost can be a big deterrent.

Vaccines to prevent influenza and pneumonia are covered without a copayment under Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care. Other vaccines, including the new shingles vaccine approved by the FDA last fall, are typically covered under Part D drug plans, which may leave some beneficiaries on the hook for all or part of the cost of the two-shot series. The hep B shot might be covered at no cost for those at medium to high risk for the disease.

6

To help stay relevant in the labor market, older adults should avoid an utterance like:

— Showing interest in the pop culture and apps of the day can help bridge the generation gap and raise your stock at work. Avoid topics that reinforce ageist stereotypes or highlight your age.

Job search strategist Toby Haberkorn advises older job seekers to update their appearance and “show flexibility and adaptability rather than regurgitating the past. … Familiarize yourself with what young employees have an interest in — the music, whatever current events, the apps — and be able to have a reasonable discussion.”

7

Geriatric psychiatrist Marc Agronin coined the term “geropause” to refer to:

— After recognizing they’re stuck, Agronin advises older adults to reflect on life and take stock of interests, abilities and experiences, with input from people who know them.

To truly grow with age, Agronin recommends that older adults develop a concrete plan to stay involved and engaged and that they “create new rituals that make them feel good about themselves.”

8

With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, experts are sounding the alarm that new immigration policies could:

— With the Trump administration ending Temporary Protected Status for some foreign workers, an existing shortage of paid caregivers could only get worse because 1 million immigrants nationwide work in that industry.

Nationwide, immigrants account for 1 in 4 direct care workers — certified nursing assistants, personal care attendants or home health aides. Turnover is high because the work is difficult and wages are low. The country already faces a severe shortage in home health aides, and ending Temporary Protected Status for some foreign workers could only make it worse.

9

Nearly 1 in 3 Medicare patients undergo an operation in their final year of life. What tactic has successfully reduced what some view as needless end-of-life surgeries?

— Easy-to-understand explainers help older patients make more informed medical decisions, giving them time to develop more realistic expectations.

After one insurer in Washington state introduced “decision aids” relating to joint replacement, the number of patients choosing to have hip replacement surgery fell 26 percent, while knee replacements declined 38 percent. Learn more here.

10

True or False: Medicare does not require that older adults demonstrate improvement in order to receive ongoing physical, occupational or speech therapy.

— The February congressional budget deal eased long-standing concerns by lifting a threat that some types of therapy might be restricted.

All therapy covered by Medicare must be deemed “reasonable and necessary to treat the individual’s illness or injury,” require the services of skilled professionals and be subject to medical oversight. And, for the most part, Medicare does not set a cap on the amount of medically necessary therapy covered.

11

Bonus Question: Which "rock star" of aging — all of whom still have concert dates this year — is the oldest?

— Oldest to youngest: Smokey Robinson is 78; Joan Baez, 77; Bob Dylan is four months younger but also 77, as of Thursday (Happy Belated Birthday, Bob!); Mick Jagger is a spring chicken at 74.

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