Life expectancy has reached an all-time high, and with that comes an increased risk of chronic diseases and other health conditions. Chronic diseases account for nearly three-fourths of the more than $2 trillion the U.S. annually spends on health care. If those numbers sound daunting, consider that costs will skyrocket in January 2011 when 78 million Americans begin to enroll in Medicare. The new president may choose to revamp health care when he takes office, but without breakthroughs in research, costs will continue to rise as our nation ages.
For the 47 million Americans without health insurance, each day is a struggle to find a way to pay for prescription drugs. Older adults, who are often prescribed several medications at a time, can find it even more difficult to pay medical bills. Despite the start of Medicare Part D in 2006, the elderly still spend thousands of dollars a year on prescription drug costs. What many people don’t know is that they may be eligible to receive their medications for free.
The 2008 presidential election is upon us and health care reform is at the top of both candidates’ agendas. Democratic Nominee Senator Barack Obama and Republican Nominee Senator John McCain have both offered detailed plans to fix our ailing health care system.
Jack Schnepp doesn’t know what he’d do if he didn’t sing. “It’s just a natural thing now,” he says. The 78-year-old inherited a love for music from his parents—his mother was once involved in vaudeville and his ukulele-playing father performed in amateur productions. Jack began singing lessons when he was a young teenager, following his sister’s lead. He performed in musicals in high school and at the University of Pennsylvania, but his singing career truly began in 1999 when he joined the Young @ Heart chorus.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about a “red wine” drug that could be a fountain of youth—combating the effects of aging and age-related disease. The drug, along with other promising breakthroughs, is being developed by Sirtris Pharmaceuticals—a company recently purchased by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline. The drug is based on resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine that activates important sirtuin genes and has extended healthy life in animal studies.