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The vulnerable seniors and their concerns

By Chris Quilpa

Senior citizen is a term that generally refers to someone who is at least 60 or 65 years of age.

For business purposes, those 55 years old are already considered senior citizens because of discounts some business establishments offer to them. For AARP members especially, senior discounts can kick in as young as age 50. Of course, these “seniors” love to take advantage of these “perks” when they shop in stores, dine at restaurants, and travel.

To be called elderly means that you have already advanced to the stage of life well past middle age. It can be a boon or a bane, or both, depending on whom you ask.

Like any industrialized country, with advancement in science and technology, people in the United States are living longer. Undoubtedly, there are more senior citizens trying to enjoy their retirement.

Because of this, we recognize the fact that there will be more health care personnel needed to address our senior citizens’ needs and concerns.

Deterioration of health is one of the challenges facing our seniors. Another is aging, which is inevitable. However, due to improvement of science and technology, seniors are benefiting from laws and research studies affecting them.

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to many challenges affecting their health and well-being. They have concerns such as their physical and mental health, diseases (like this ongoing COVID-19, the coronavirus disease outbreak that has become a pandemic); Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, elderly abuse, depression, isolation, boredom, financial security, scams and age discrimination — especially when they’re still working.

Below are the latest information to consider to help keep everyone, especially the seniors, healthy:

4Older adults or people with underlying heart conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease, are at a higher risk for severe illness or death caused by coronavirus. A top health official said at the AARP’s Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Hall March 10, that starting at age 60, there’s an increased risk of death from COVID-19, and the risk increases with age.

4Nursing homes are being advised to suspend all medically unnecessary visits.

4People at high risk of COVID-19 should avoid crowds as much as possible, stock up on necessary supplies and medications, and avoid sick people.

4Older Americans and people with underlying health conditions should avoid non-essential travel.

On the topic of robocalls, the News of AARP Bulletin, a new federal law designed to help protect Americans from an avalanche of nuisance and illegal automatic calls is now on the books.

The measure imposes a fine of as much as $10,000 per call on robocallers who intentionally violate Federal Communications Commission rules against the abusive calls, and it empowers the FCC to develop even more stringent regulations to limit the calls. It also encourages the telecommunication industry to develop better technologies to block unwanted calls.

According to an industry estimate, in January alone, there were almost five billion robocalls in the U.S. — or more than 153 million a day. “Con artists frequently use illegal robocalls to deceive victims into paying money under false pretense,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer.

Not all robocalls are illegal. There are certain robocalls that are legal, such as school closures and those from legitimate charities. Calls related to political campaigns vary depending on how they are delivered. According to FCC, they may not be directed to mobile phones without a recipient’s prior consent.

Meanwhile, a bill known as Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) to fight age discrimination has passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. It would restore protections against bias lost in a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held older workers needed to prove that their age was the decisive factor in an employer’s decision to discipline or fire them.

The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that there will be more older adults than kids by 2035. The reality is America is graying. We have to address issues that concern them.

Seniors matter because they are an integral part of our population. They have contributed to the development of our nation. They have done many things significant to what America is today.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.