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Aging, Agency and the Attribution of Responsibility: Shifting Public Discourse About Older Adults

April 15, 2016

This report analyzes and compares media and advocacy organizations' narratives about aging and older adults. The goal of the report is to suggest communications strategies that advocates can use to push media discourse in more productive directions, and ultimately increase public support for the policies and programs necessary to promote the well-being of older adults, and ensure their full participation in American society

Guaging Aging: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Aging in America

April 30, 2015

This report lays the groundwork for a larger effort to develop a new, evidence-based narrative around the process of aging in our country and the needs and contributions of older adults. By comparing experts' views to those of the general public, the report details a set of communications challenges to elevating public support for policies and programs that promote the well-being of older adults. Key among these issues is the public's view of aging as a decidedly negative and deterministic process, as well as its overall fatalism about our collective ability to find solutions to the challenges of an aging population.

Improving Economic Security Later in Life: Meeting the Credit and Financial Services Needs of Older Persons

October 22, 2009

This report examines financial products that take advantage of the economic vulnerability of older persons and highlights key features of some alternatives. The report is based on extensive conversations with leading members of the policy and advocacy community, financial services industry, and bank regulatory agencies. The report concludes with recommendations for both bank regulatory and financial institution policy to advance financial products that protect the economic security of older persons.

Homeless Over 50: The Graying of Chicago's Homeless Population

June 26, 2008

In the winter of 2006, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness teamed with Loyola University's Center for Urban Research and Learning to undertake a nine-month study of people in Chicago who were homeless and aged 50 to 64.This study, funded by the Retirement Research Foundation, was undertaken in response to reports from homeless service agencies that this cohort of people was growing. Starting in 2005, agencies including Matthew House, Featherfist and Deborah's Place reported a fast-growing number of people aged 50-64 using homeless services, and that they seemed to both share issues with the rest of the homeless population and face circumstances unique to their age and stage of life.The goal of this study, then, was threefold:1. To obtain a demographic profile of people who are homeless in Chicago and are between the ages of 50 and 64;2. To understand how the various systems designed to serve this population do and do not meet their needs; and3. To begin to suggest a range of policy and programmatic responses to the needs of this population.

Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce

May 19, 2008

In 2007, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) charged the ad hoc Committee on the Future Health Care Workforce for Older Americans to determine the health care needs of Americans over 65 years of age and to assess those needs through an analysis of the forces that shape the health care workforce.  This report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, served as a call for fundamental reform in the way the workforce is trained and used to care for older adults. The committee proposed a concurrent three-prong approach:  Enhance the geriatric competence of the entire workforceIncrease the recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists and caregiversImprove the way care is delivered

The Housing Needs of Chicago's Aging LGBT Population

April 1, 2007

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors face challenges common to all aging adults such as health problems, dwindling finances, ageism, and loneliness. However, LGBT seniors frequently find that these challenges are compounded due to discrimination based on their sexual orientation/gender identity and other unique social obstacles, economic and service barriers, and health issues. One of the greatest challenges facing Chicago seniors is the ability to find affordable housing. Due to different types of discrimination, many LGBT seniors find it particularly difficult to locate safe housing at a price they can afford. Additionally, as LGBT adults age they often find it necessary to hide their sexual orientation/gender identity in order to access the services they need. Based on the projected growth of the LGBT senior population in Chicago, attention must be given to how the city can provide for their service and housing needs. This brief outlines these needs and explores the idea of an affordable, inclusive housing facility in Chicago that validates and supports LGBT seniors through culturally appropriate services.

Celebrating Pork: The Dubious Success of the Medicare Drug Benefit

March 1, 2007

Projected costs for Medicare Part D have been revised downward, causing some analysts to claim that the program has proven itself a success. This report explores the factors behind the lower cost projections and reaches far different conclusions. It finds two main reasons: 1) a slowdown in the rate of growth in drug prices that preceded the introduction of the benefit; and 2) fewer people are expected to enroll in the program. The report recommends changes to the program that could save $30 billion a year.

The Science of Aging Gracefully: Scientists and the Public Talk About Aging Research

December 1, 2005

Explores the views of scientists who study aging, and their perceptions of the broader public's understanding of aging related issues. Identifies major factors that drive progress, and perceptions of obstacles to advancement, in the aging research field.

Targeted LGBT Senior Housing: A Study of the Needs and Perceptions of LGBT Seniors in Chicago

June 28, 2005

Although lesbian gay bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) seniors face issues similar to their heterosexual counterparts such as declining health, dwindling finances, depression, social isolation, and ageism, they also face unique issues such as discrimination based on sexual orientation, and are at an even greater risk for health problems such as depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. Therefore LGBT seniors require support services specifically designed to meet their unique needs. The housing needs of LGBT seniors are one such area that must be addressed as more LGBT persons enter their advanced years.

Medicare Reform: Widespread Confusion, Uncertain Benefits

February 1, 2005

This report presents the data from CIR's 2004 survey of 600 Medicare recipients about their health care options, ability to access services, and choices about health care spending in the wake of Medicare reform. The findings of this report will assist policy makers and community-based organizations to advocate for programs that will best serve the needs of Medicare recipients.

Accessible Faith: A Technical Guide for Accessibility in Houses of Worship

August 1, 2003

From 2003 to 2015, RRF Foundation for Aging (The Retirement Research Foundation) initiated the Accessible Faith Program to help Chicago-area congregations make physical improvements that enable greater participation by older adults. After awarding over $2,559,000 to support hundreds of accessibility improvements for houses of worship, the Foundation has closed the Accessible Faith Grant Program.Click "Download" to access this resource.RRF published this national guide to help congregations plan and implement accessibility projects.Note: Referenced accessibility standards are those that were in effect at the time, the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). ADAAG was superseded by the 2010 Standards, which went into effect on March 15, 2012. A brief comment about this was added to the electronic version of the national guide to alert readers to consult the new standards.

Facing Homelessness: A Study of Homelessness in Chicago and the Suburbs

December 16, 2002

The Regional Roundtable on Homelessness (Regional Roundtable) is a forum that works toimprove strategies for understanding and addressing homelessness throughout northeastern Illinois. Within this forum, local governmental administrators and funders share the challenges of assessing and planning for the needs of people who are homeless within their communities, and of understanding and addressing homelessness. Specifically, the Regional Roundtable discusses best practices, funding opportunities, strategies, and undertakes projects to improve the Continuum of Care process within each jurisdiction and across the region.