Biden fires head of Social Security Administration

President Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from the Trump administration, after Saul refused a request to resign from his position.

Biden fires head of Social Security Administration — https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/562342-biden-fires-head-of-social-security-administration

There will be more changes coming to social security.

Higher taxes, no doubt. But also improved benefits for those in need if I’m reading the Tarot cards correctly.

It’s Time to Revisit Social Security’s Early and Delayed Claiming Formulas

A study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that the delayed credit is still about right, with the exception of the highest earners, who tend to outlive actuarial averages and reap the highest extra benefit. Conversely, the group hurt the most are low-income filers, who tend to claim earlier and effectively are overcharged for doing so. Moreover, the increase in FRA from 65 to 67, enacted in the reforms of 1983, effectively increased the penalty for earlier files. Claimers with an FRA of 67 will receive five years of early filing reductions rather than three.

It’s Time to Revisit Social Security’s Early and Delayed Claiming Formulas — https://www.morningstar.com/articles/1029357/its-time-to-revisit-social-securitys-early-and-delayed-claiming-formulas

The first sentence from the above paragraph caught my eye. So I went on to the BC website.

People can claim Social Security from 62 to 70, with adjustments to keep lifetime benefits the same, on average, regardless of claiming age. The question is whether the adjustments, set decades ago, are still correct, given the decline in interest rates and increase in life expectancy. For the average worker, the analysis shows that the reduction for claiming early is currently too large while the increase for claiming late is about right.

Higher earners – who live longer and claim later – get a really good deal under the current system.

Are Social Security’s Actuarial Adjustments Still Correct? — https://crr.bc.edu/briefs/are-social-securitys-actuarial-adjustments-still-correct/

People with more money tend to live longer. People who defer claiming social security benefits until beyond FRA (full retirement age) are generally healthier, expect to live longer, and are financially secure enough to delay claiming. If the SSA decides to enhance benefits for early retirees it would be a good thing for a lot of people, especially those who have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Wait Till 70 for Social Security? Nope

Schroders surveyed pre- and post-retirees 45 and older and found that only 10% planned to wait until 70 to claim benefits.

Wait Till 70 for Social Security? No Way, Say Most Americans: Survey — https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/06/24/wait-till-70-for-social-security-no-way-say-most-americans-survey/

It is painfully obvious to me that the majority of Americans are claiming benefits at both early and full retirement ages because they need the money and can’t afford to wait until age 70. Only healthy elders on financially sound footings will be deferring social security payments until their later years.

Yikes!

How the Lives of Older Citizens Changed in 2020

We all know that Baby Boomers and seniors have had an incredibly challenging time during this pandemic. Older generations have shown particular resilience through this time, with many not being able to see friends and family for months. All in the name of rightly protecting their health. With Government and media messaging telling seniors they are the most vulnerable group, their determination to power through this challenge has been apparent across the world.

A representative group of 1,409 Baby Boomers and seniors from the USA and Canada were polled on behalf of Amica Senior Lifestyles, using Amazon’s online survey platform, Mechanical Turk. Survey responses were fielded in September and October 2020. They were asked a variety of questions relating to their lifestyle changes during and after the global pandemic. The age breakdown of our survey sample was as follows: 
55-64 (24.6%)
65-74 (70.8%)
75-84 (3.8%)
85+ (0.9%)
https://www.amica.ca/conversations/baby-boomers-seniors-coronavirus-statistics#lockdown

The source article is fairly long so I’ve provided the Table of Contents clickable links. I hope they work. Technology adaptation is tougher for the older ones. Did you know my smartphone has a CAMERA?

COVID-19 in the Elderly (case study and literature review)

Summary

Age is a risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 infections.

Elderly men have increased mortality compared to elderly women.

Elderly patients can present differently. Delirium can be the primary symptom of COVID-19 infection, as can persistent hypoxia.

Consider COVID-19 in the setting of altered mental status and geriatric falls.

Elderly patients in the ED who live in nursing homes should undergo COVID-19 testing.

Elderly individuals with COVID-19 tend to have increased lesions and lobar involvement on chest CT.

Laboratory diagnostics may differ based on age, and the geriatric population may have lymphopenia, higher CRP values, and increased D-dimer on testing.

COVID-19 in the Elderly — http://www.emdocs.net/covid-19-in-the-elderly/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=covid-19-in-the-elderly

The full article takes some time to read but it’s well worth it if you are into the clinical stuff.

Older Adults Living with Younger People Face Increased Risk for COVID-19 Mortality (if you’re Swedish)

Older adults who live with younger people, including those of working age, are at increased risk for COVID-19 mortality, according to a study in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

Using Swedish population and death registries, researchers studied nearly 275,000 adults aged 70 or older in Stockholm. Roughly 3400 died between March and May 2020, 38% from COVID-19.

Those who lived with at least one person younger than 66 years had a 60% increased risk for COVID-19 death relative to those living with older people. In addition, those living in the most densely populated neighborhoods had a 70% higher risk than those in the least densely populated areas, and those living in care homes had over four times the risk of those in independent housing.

NEJM Journal Watch — https://www.jwatch.org/fw117174/2020/10/27/older-adults-living-with-younger-people-face-increased

Check out the recent Time article for an excellent overview of the Swedish Covid-19 response:

The Swedish way has yielded little but death and misery. And, this situation has not been honestly portrayed to the Swedish people or to the rest of the world.

The Swedish COVID-19 Response Is a Disaster. — https://time.com/5899432/sweden-coronovirus-disaster/

Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults

Of these 1,567 participants, 400 were assigned to two weekly sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT), 387 were assigned to moderate intensity continuous training (MICT), and 780 to follow the Norwegian guidelines for physical activity (control group), all for five years.

After five years, the overall mortality rate was 4.6% (72 participants).

The researchers found no difference in all cause mortality between the control group (4.7%, 37 participants) and combined HIIT and MICT group (4.5%, 35 participants).

They also found no differences in cardiovascular disease or cancer between the control group and the combined HIIT and MICT group.

BMJ. “Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults, finds trial.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007193656.htm (accessed October 8, 2020). — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007193656.htm

Finally some scientific justification for my lack of exercise.

Today’s Old are “Younger” (if you are a Finlander)

Hundreds of Finlanders aged 75-80 were given a battery of physical and cognitive tests 30 years ago. The same tests were recently repeated, in 2017-2018, with Finlanders aged 75-80. The modern group showed substantial differences:

walking speeds .2-.4 meters per second faster

grip strengths 5%-25% stronger

knee extension strengths 20%-47% higher

better verbal fluency, reasoning, and working memory

This means that the modern group moves and thinks “younger.” “Performance measurements reflect one’s functional age,” says lead author Taina Rantanen, professor of gerontology and public health at the University of Jyväskylä.

Today’s Older People Really are Younger — https://www.fastcompany.com/90554646/todays-older-people-really-are-younger-than-in-previous-generations

You can access the study abstract here: https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/gerona/glaa224/5901594?redirectedFrom=fulltext

And if you’re Covid obsessed like I am here you go:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:COVID-19_pandemic_data/Finland_medical_cases_chart

I would not extrapolate the older age study findings to the general population. Clearly there are cultural, societal, dietary, climate and other differences in Finland that do not exist elsewhere. But at my age I’ll take good news about getting older anywhere I can find it.

Finland is different. They developed a real interesting rapid Covid-19 test.

Four Covid-19 sniffer dogs have begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hope will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus.

‘Close to 100% accuracy’: Helsinki airport uses sniffer dogs to detect Covid — https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/24/close-to-100-accuracy-airport-enlists-sniffer-dogs-to-test-for-covid-19

Seniors With Covid-19 May Show Unusual Symptoms

“With a lot of conditions, older adults don’t present in a typical way, and we’re seeing that with COVID-19 as well,” said Dr. Camille Vaughan, section chief of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory University.

Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.

  Seniors With COVID-19 Show Unusual Symptoms, Doctors Say

Yikes.