Integra, EHDOC obtain construction financing for Mosaico apartments in Miami Allapattah – South Florida

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By   – Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal

An affordable apartment complex will soon be developed in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami thanks to a $45.5 million construction loan.

Allapattah Residential, a joint venture between nonprofit Elderly Housing Development Operations Corp. (EHDOC) and Miami-based Integra, obtained the tax-exempt bond through the Housing Finance Authority of Miami-Dade County. It covers the 1.07-acre site at 1362, 1370, 1392, 1396 N.W. 36th St., plus 1373 and 1385 N.W. 35th St.

Mosaico would total 284,805 square feet in 13 stories with 267 apartments. Amenities on the first floor would include a computer room, a community room, an event room, a library, and a fitness room. There would be a laundry room on the second floor. The project would have a community garden as well.

The developer would provide 172 spaces in the parking garage. The parking requirement was reduced because the units will be affordable housing and it’s near the Allapattah Metrorail Station.

Mosaico was designed by C.C. Hodgson Architectural.

There’s recently been a move of development in Allapattah, with both affordable and market-rate apartments. The neighborhood is between the major employment centers of downtown Miami and the Health District.

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EHDOC Secures $30 Million Construction Loan for Redevelopment of Council Towers Senior Apartment Homes in Miami Beach, FL.

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SEPTEMBER 02, 2020


Council Towers comprises two, 12-story buildings located on Collins Avenue (at 5th and 10th Streets) in Miami Beach, with a total of 250 one-bedroom units with rental subsidy provided by HUD under a Project-Based Section 8 contract. The substantial rehabilitation of the property, which was originally constructed under HUD’s Section 202 program 40 years ago, will upgrade, preserve and continue to provide quality affordable housing for low-income seniors (below 60% AMI) over age 62.

Sources of funding for this transformative project include the $30 million HUD-insured 221(d)4 loan from Greystone as well as Low-Income Tax Credit Equity, a Sellers’ Note, and Reserve Transfer. The non-recourse HUD-insured loan carries a 40-year term at a fixed, low interest rate.

“Preserving and providing high-quality affordable housing for seniors in Miami Beach is a priority for us, and orchestrating a Section 202 rehabilitation into a stunning community with unparalleled ocean views will deliver a needed respite for our residents,” said Steve Protulis, President and CEO, Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation (EHDOC). “We are grateful for all of our partners who made this transaction possible, including Stratford Capital for critical tax credit equity. We hope that the 4% LIHTC program continues to be a viable platform for preserving and creating affordable housing.”

The re-development team will be led by Roland J. Broussard, Vice President of Development for EHDOC, and Jason B. Duguay, Vice President of Stratford Capital Group Development (SCG), along with Larry Hecky, Chief Architect of The Hecky Group.  The planned timeline for tenant-in-place renovation is projected to take up to 20 months. In addition to exterior façade and common area renovations, individual units will have new kitchens installed with energy-efficient appliances, new bathrooms, decorative lighting, new flooring, new windows and sliders, new roof, complete elevator modernizations, and paint, resulting in a complete refresh for the existing 250  homes.

“Frankly, transformations such as this are hard to come by, but working with a team like Stratford Capital and Greystone having expertise in affordable housing, tax credits, and HUD-insured financing created an opportunity to provide incredible residences for a community that truly deserves it,” added Mr. Broussard.

“Working with sponsors such as EHDOC is such a pleasure because their mission to deliver affordable housing is what drives them,” added Mr. Morales. “This transaction was highly complex, but the end result will be such a treasure to the community, and we are thrilled to have played a part in it. Greystone would also like to congratulate Melanie A. Ribeiro, the Interim President / CEO of EHDOC, who assumes her new role in September 2020. We look forward to working with her and her team on future affordable housing development opportunities”    

About Greystone: Greystone is a private national commercial real estate finance company with an established reputation as a leader in multifamily and healthcare finance, having ranked as a top FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac lender in these sectors. Our range of services includes commercial lending across a variety of platforms such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, CMBS, FHA, USDA, bridge and proprietary loan products. Loans are offered through Greystone Servicing Company LLC, Greystone Funding Company LLC and/or other Greystone affiliates.

For more information, visit

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by Steve Protulis, EHDOC President and CEO

Harsh Impact of Coronavirus Exposes the Critical Shortage of Safe and Affordable Housing and Services for the Elderly

Steve Protulis, EHDOC President and CEO
Steve Protulis, EHDOC President and CEO

These past few months have been particularly hard with the high rate of infections amongst seniors. Please read the article, “Living Safely in the Age of Coronavirus” (Pg. 9) and stay safe. COVID-19 has also crippled our economy, spiked homelessness, and exposed the critical shortage of safe and affordable housing. While Congress passed in March the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), its funds are rapidly running out. As our Chairman Christopher Shelton urges in his accompanying article, we need to educate Congress to expand the supply of affordable senior housing. So, what is the Administration proposing in its FY2021 budget to develop affordable senior housing?

When the Administration released its proposed FY2021 budget in early February, I had very mixed feelings. While I was pleasantly surprised that the Administration had requested, for the first time in many years, a slight increase in funding for the construction of Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, I was also very disappointed and concerned that simultaneously the Administration was proposing very harsh cuts for other affordable housing, health care, and services for the elderly.

This is good news and a step in the right direction since it is the first time since FY2013 that any funds have been requested by the Administration for the Section 202 Capital Advance construction program that EHDOC and other non-profit organizations have long relied upon to develop affordable senior housing. However, despite the increase, it is also woefully inadequate compared to the $825 million that had been funded for Section 202 affordable senior housing in FY2010, including $582 million for new construction.

During recent years when zero funds were neither requested nor funded, the elderly population has significantly increased by several millions (AARP documents that 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day); as a result the costs for housing has skyrocketed; and the number of homeless has tragically increased throughout America (over a half million homeless people nightly).

It is difficult to understand and accept these funding cuts when the Administration clearly recognizes the critical shortage of affordable senior housing as documented in their Congressional justification statement that accompanied their FY2021 budget request. Key points cited in the Administration’s proposed FY2021 budget justification for HUD included:

  • The Section 202 program is the only federally funded program that expressly addresses the need for affordable elderly housing (and) its impact is amplified through the leverage of other housing.
  • The average annual household income for Section 202 PRAC (accompanying Project Rental Assistance Contract) households is approximately $12,000.
  • HUD is only able to provide assisted housing to one in three seniors who qualify. The demand for such programs is likely to increase as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age into retirement.
  • In addition to demand outpacing investments in elderly housing, there is a growing increase in the number of older Americans with worst-case housing needs. HUD’s Worst-Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress found that 1.85 million households headed by an elderly person had worst-case housing needs in 2015.
  • The proportion of elderly, very low-income renters with worst-case needs was 39.8 percent in 2015, representing a 2.6 percentage point increase since 2013. Low-income elderly households that rely on fixed incomes may be less likely than households with wage income to benefit from positive economic trends, but elderly households are affected by rising market rents, nonetheless.
  • The Section 202 program helps to reduce the number of vulnerable seniors experiencing worst-case housing needs or homelessness.
  • With the assistance of service coordinators, many of these residents can access community-based services that are designed to help them stay longer in their housing, age in the community, and avoid more expensive institutional settings.

Unfortunately, despite slight increases in the Section 202 elderly housing program, the overall proposed FY2021 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would be drastically cut by 15% to $47.9 billion compared to $56.5 billion in FY2020. This harsh cut of $8.6 billion for HUD is much higher than the average 5 to 6 percent proposed cuts for other federal nondefense programs (although proposed increase of over $800 million for defense budget).

As stated in EHDOC Board Chairman Chris Shelton’s article, “What is the commitment for Affordable Senior Housing in communities nationwide?” (see Summer , 2019 Housing with a Heart), with recent year funding cut s for the Section 202 program, EHDOC and others have needed to seek alternative funding for the development of affordable senior housing , including HOME , the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other funding through state and local governments.

Unfortunately, the Administration’s proposed FY2021 budget would eliminate funding for many of these federal programs that have been used to develop affordable housing that assists low-income older persons.

Compounding the proposed funding cuts for affordable housing, the Administration is also seeking harsh cuts to other health and services that assist EHDOC residents and other older persons, including Older Americans Act programs, food stamps (now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-SNAP); fuel assistance, caregiver programs, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, etc. with indications that additional cuts could be forthcoming (most likely after the election).

Overall, the Administration seeks $4.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, including $2 trillion in non- defense discretionary programs (Congressional annual appropriations, including HUD) and $2 trillion from mandatory programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid). The Administration imposes a cap of $590 billion for non-defense programs despite the bi-partisan budget agreement last year of $626.5 billion for FY2021.

Once again, it is vital that each of us who support affordable senior housing must educate our members of Congress; candidates for elected offices at federal, state, and local offices; as well as other key Administration officials, on the critical need and benefits (to older persons, communities and taxpayers) of the cost-effectiveness of the Section 202 and other affordable housing programs that assist low income seniors. Our earlier efforts with letter writing, meetings, media, rallies, and other communications have been helpful, but we have a long and tough fight ahead. See EHDOC Board Chairman Christopher Shelton’s accompanying article on effective communication needed for affordable senior housing.




From our Chairman of the Board: Summer 2020

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These Difficult Times Require Effective Communication to Support Safe and Affordable Senior Housing

by Christopher M. Shelton, EHDOC Board Chairman


Chris M. Shelton - EHDOC Chairman
Chris M. Shelton – EHDOC Chairman

While some older persons are very fortunate to live in safe and affordable senior housing, it has been revealed during these difficult times with coronavirus that a high unemployment rate and homelessness has had a dire impact on the elderly and their families, causing more of a critical shortage of affordable senior housing. It is vital that we effectively communicate with our elected officials and candidates to educate them on the cost-effective health and housing benefits of senior housing; and the critical need to promptly expand the supply, particularly more funding for the Section 202 elderly housing program.

What is effective communication and how do we achieve it? Some of you may recall that last year the Administration had also proposed to cut federal funding for affordable housing, including zero funds for construction under the Section 202 program. Yet, through active participation with others, EHDOC residents, their families, our Board members, partners and others took a number of decisive actions, including letter writing, meetings, social networking, and rallies, that resulted in Congress funding these vital programs, including $90 million for Section 202 construction of affordable senior housing.

As EHDOC Chair and as President of the Communication Workers of America (CWA), I have a keen interest in how EHDOC effectively communicates our mission and public policy priorities to assist our senior residents and others seeking affordable senior housing and services.

While there are some variations, many of us are familiar with the basic “5 W’s” of effective communication and journalism: who, what, where, why and when; as well as the often accompanying how. In Politics, these 5 W’s were modified and popularized by Harold Lasswell’s book: “Politics: Who Gets What, When, How.” Therefore, how do we apply these basic aspects of effective communication for the Administration’s proposed FY2021 federal budget for affordable senior housing?

What’s our message? What do we want: to increase federal funding for affordable senior housing, particularly Section 202 Supportive Elderly Housing construction funds. While we are pleased that the Administration is seeking $100 million for Section 202 construction funds, this vital program should be funded at a minimum of $600 million, as it was a decade ago ($582 million in FY2010) and preceding years.

Why do we want this increased funding? Steve’s article in this issue (and preceding issues) of Housing with a Heart provides background on the critical need for increased funding including: critical shortage of affordable housing, multi-year waiting lists for EHDOC residences; increased homelessness and vulnerability to become homeless; as well as taxpayers benefits with this cost-effective program’s impact on health and long-term care costs.

Who do we want to communicate/educate on the need to increase funding? We want to educate our current Congressional members especially where EHDOC has facilities (their constituents), particularly a member of Congressional leadership, including key committees or subcommittees, such as Housing Appropriations (Transportation and Housing and Urban Development). In addition, we want to communicate/educate candidates seeking national (White House, Congress), state (Governor, state legislators), and local offices (Mayors and city council).

When do we want to communicate our concerns to increase the supply of affordable senior housing? ASAP. The proposed budget was introduced in early February. The key Congressional commit tees have already begun hearings and other actions to gather background information prior to voting this Spring. The fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget is supposed to begin October 1st, 2020. It is anticipated that Congressional action will be accelerated this year because of the elections.

Where is the most effective place to communicate with our elected officials (and candidates)? Every opportunity that you have to be with an elected official or candidates, as well as their key staff members who are responsible for affordable housing, services and health care for the elderly. While their national office is an important place to meet with Congressional members (and key staff), it may be easier to meet at their district or state office. However, the most effective place to communicate with elected officials or candidates is to invite them to EHDOC communities so they can learn first-hand about our residents (their constituents) and how an investment of federal funds (including the Section 202 program) benefits older persons, the state and local community, and taxpayers.

How is the remaining question. EHDOC, our residents, and others have many options and can use their best judgement on how to effectively communicate these “who, what, where, when and how” actions. As cited earlier, residents and others supporting affordable senior housing can write letters (text, emails and other written communications), make calls, meet with elected and key public officials, candidates, and their staff; attend or conduct rallies and public forums; write articles, conduct interviews, testify, make videos as well as the use of other media to increase public awareness; run for office, volunteer and contribute to candidates and so forth.

Each of you reading this article can be an effective advocate for EHDOC’s mission and with collective actions to increase federal funding (particularly the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program). In closing, I’d like to reference two motivational speakers regarding effective communications: Jim Rohn – “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” and Zig Ziglar – “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life”….particularly a vulnerable older person seeking affordable housing with services.

Online Safety Tips For Seniors

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More and more seniors have grown comfortable being online and having a presence on social media. This is a great way for them to stay connected to friends and family and aware of what’s going on in the world. If they do not know how to safely navigate online, this could lead to several avoidable mishaps. Here are a few online safety tips for older adults.

Use a Password Generator

Depending on the browser, there could be a free password generator available that creates a unique, strong password. Even better is that the software memorizes the password, giving older users one less thing to worry about. This tip is great for anyone and everyone who’s online, not just the elderly. This is because so many people use the same password for all their online accounts. This creates a vulnerability if hackers should get hold of a single password. They then gain access to several different accounts.

Maintain Antivirus Software

Keeping up-to-date on the latest online threats can be rather exhausting. That’s where antivirus software comes in handy. They should have a reliable antivirus program installed on their computer. They then don’t have to worry as much about unknown vulnerabilities hackers can take advantage of. Such software should be downloaded on a tablet, computer and smartphone, just to ensure all bases are covered. Also, senior citizens should be sure the software is set up so it periodically searches for updates. These are then downloaded as they become available.

Learn How To Google

For their health, seniors should turn to a medical expert like Dr. Rohit Varma for questions about glaucoma and cataracts, since these are common in the elderly community. In a similar way, senior citizens need to get into the habit of googling websites and email solicitations they aren’t familiar with. Specifically, it’s best to type in the website or solicitation in the browser followed by “+ scam.” That way, Google will search for connections related to whether the email or site is malicious.

Use Two-Step Authentication When the Option Presents Itself

There’s no such thing as going too far when it comes to online security. Hackers have become more sophisticated than ever. This makes it paramount that users take every precaution to lock down their information and keep themselves safe. Two-step authentication adds an extra layer of protection to passwords. This makes it that much harder for online criminals to access them. The main goal of this level of authentication is so websites, apps, and other services know the right person is accessing an account and all the information in it. Two-step authentication adds another layer of peace of mind for seniors and their loved ones.

Second Guess Urgent Emails

Scammers rely on fear to get their victims to click on malware links and give up sensitive information. Any emails seniors receive that require immediate action or have a lot of exclamation points require scrutiny. This is where a bit of googling and calling the company personally can get to the bottom of what’s going on. Usually, it’s best to reach out to companies that send emails like this first rather than take a call from them at face value.

Senior citizens should do what they can to keep from becoming online victims. These tips, and a bit of vigilance go a long way.

This article appeared originally at:

Senior living needs ‘substantial and immediate financial relief’ from COVID-19, leaders tell federal government

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Senior living operators require “substantial and immediate financial relief” from expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders of four major associations representing operators of independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities tell President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), with other House and Senate leaders copied, in new letters.

Congress and the administration should “prioritize the needs of the senior living industry, residents and front-line staff in the next federal legislative response package,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda, LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan, National Center for Assisted Living Executive Director Scott Tittle, and American Seniors Housing Association President David Schless wrote in letters dated Thursday and Friday and shared with the media on Monday.

“Senior living operators are proud to be playing a critical role in helping to ‘flatten the curve’ and avoid further burdening our nation’s hospitals during this crisis,” they said. “However, these extraordinary efforts are leading to significant financial stress, largely due to enhanced infection control measures, acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies, COVID-19 testing, additional staffing and incentives, and loss of revenue associated with halting new residents moving into the communities.”

Members of Congress returned to work Monday with a goal of working on another coronavirus-related aid package. Other than some funds to eligible state Medicaid providers, which would include a small percentage of assisted living operators, announced in June, assisted living hasn’t been allocated any federal funding to fight COVID-19.

The senior living leaders had six requests:

  1. Increased funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Provider Relief Fund). The financial impact on the industry is expected to be $45 billion to $57 billion over 12 months, Balda, Schless, Sloan and Tittle said.
  2. Priority access to PPE, such as masks, gowns and gloves, for senior living communities. “Many parts of the country have not had full access to meet all of their PPE needs,” they wrote. “The impending second wave will bring an even greater shortage, placing residents and staff at risk.”
  3. Access to and reimbursement for diagnostic and non-diagnostic testing of employees and residents. “While diagnostic testing costs may be covered by Medicare for residents and private insurance for employees, recurring non diagnostic testing conducted to screen employees and residents is not covered,” the leaders said. “These costs are simply unsustainable, especially when testing residents and staff with any meaningful frequency are required under federal guidelines.”
  4. Priority access to the vaccine, when one is ready.
  5. Small business loans through Paycheck Protection Program expansion. “The program is currently limited to businesses that employ less than 500 employees, with exceptions that allow that limit to be applied on a per-location basis for businesses that are assigned a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72,” they wrote. “We urge similar treatment for senior living by authorizing a waiver of the affiliation rules for NAIC codes beginning with 62, Health Care and Social Assistance. This exemption should also include coverage of senior independent living communities, classified under codes beginning with 52, specifically 531110 and 531311.”
  6. Inclusion of all senior living employees in “hero pay” proposals that would provide an additional $13 per hour wage increase and recruitment incentives to attract insecure the workforce. 

“[O]ur communities and the millions of seniors under our care must be prioritized to ensure that senior living remains a viable option for the foreseeable future,” Balda, Scless, Sloan and Tittle said, calling COVID-19-related costs “unsustainable.”

AHCA / NCAL makes additional requests

In separate action on Monday, the American Health Care Association / NCAL shared the results of public opinion research the organizations conducted among 600 women voters aged 35 to 64 to better understand their views about government support for long-term care facilities.

The research, AHCA / NCAL said, found that:

  • 62% said they believed that the government did not make long-term care facilities a top priority and, as a result, did not help protect the health and lives of older adults.
  • 71% said that long term care facilities need more support from the government so they can save lives and take care of loved ones.

Echoing some of the priorities enumerated in the letters to the federal government, AHCA / NCAL also made several requests of Congress for the next round of stimulus funding, among them:

  • Create a $5 billion fund to which assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities and labs can apply to cover the cost of any testing ordered by a government entity,
  • Ensure that assisted living and skilled nursing facility residents and staff members are “the first and  highest priority for vaccine distribution since they are the most vulnerable and at risk” for COVID-19.
  • Provide access to funding for small, independent special needs plans (I-SNPs) focused on assisted living and nursing home residents to offset losses associated with COVID-19.
  • Protect Medicaid.
  • Offer limited immunity from liability for COVID-related activities. “This is an unprecedented public health crisis, and caregivers are doing everything they can with limited resources and information,” AHCA / NCAL said. “Providers or individual staff members who are following government guidance should not be held responsible for their good faith efforts during this once-in-a-generation pandemic.”

“Long term care facilities cannot fight COVID-19 alone. We urge Congress to make long term care a priority for funding, critical resources, and protections that will enable us to keep residents and staff safe,” the organizations said.

Article originally appeared on McKnight’s Senior Living here.

by: Lois A. Bowers  Lois A. Bowers

NCOA: Senate GOP COVID-19 Relief Proposal Fails Older Americans

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Urgent Need for Food, Home Care, Employment, and Digital Health Supports are Ignored

Arlington, VA (July 28, 2020) – The National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, released a statement regarding the Republican Senate COVID-19 proposal put forth this week:

“NCOA is deeply disappointed by the Senate Republican’s most recent attempt to address the grave and ever-growing COVID-19 pandemic affecting our country because it fails to support and protect older Americans,” said NCOA Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Howard Bedlin. “Older adults are among the most vulnerable Americans in this pandemic because they are facing not just potentially deadly health complications but also catastrophic financial insecurity.”

NCOA urges Senators to include the following important priorities in the bill:

  • Increased federal assistance is needed to improve access to home care services so that frail seniors can get help to remain with their families and out of nursing homes and other institutions, and states can to meet increasing Medicaid demands arising from high unemployment rates.
  • Low-income older workers are facing unique employment barriers and additional investments in job training and placement are urgently needed.
  • The vast majority of older adults have one or more chronic conditions that put them at particular risk, and resources must be increased to support access to digital health promotion and disease prevention programs that help manage existing chronic illness, prevent the occurrence of new conditions, and mitigate social isolation and loneliness.
  • Access to food continues to be a serious problem for millions of older adults and more must be done to keep them from going hungry.  

Many of these concerns are addressed in the House Heroes Act. “NCOA, on behalf of millions of older adults, urges Senators to reflect upon the unique challenges this population is facing during this pandemic, and take steps to better respond to the serious threats impacting our nation’s aging population,” added Bedlin.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at and @NCOAging.



Armando Trull, Media Relations Manager


Want Added Years? Try Volunteering

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SATURDAY, June 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — If you’re older and you want to prolong your life, try volunteering, new research suggests.

“Humans are social creatures by nature. Perhaps this is why our minds and bodies are rewarded when we give to others,” said lead investigator Eric Kim. He is from the department of social and behavioral sciences and the Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.

For the study, Kim’s team looked at nearly 13,000 people older than 50 who took part in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study and were tracked for four years between 2010 and 2016.

Compared to those who didn’t volunteer, those who volunteered at least 100 hours a year (about two hours per week) had a substantially reduced risk of death and of developing physical limitations during the study period, and higher levels of physical activity and improved sense of well-being.

The study was published online June 11 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Our results show that volunteerism among older adults doesn’t just strengthen communities, but enriches our own lives by strengthening our bonds to others, helping us feel a sense of purpose and well-being, and protecting us from feelings of loneliness, depression and hopelessness,” Kim said in a journal news release.

“Regular altruistic activity reduces our risk of death, even though our study didn’t show any direct impact on a wide array of chronic conditions,” Kim added.

The study didn’t find connections between volunteering and improvements in chronic conditions such as diabeteshigh blood pressurestrokecancerheart disease, lung disease, arthritisobesity, mental impairment or chronic pain.

The study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting need for social distancing, the researchers noted.

However, “now might be a particular moment in history when society needs your service the most. If you are able to do so while abiding by health guidelines, you not only can help to heal and repair the world, but you can help yourself as well,” Kim said.

“When the COVID-19 crisis finally subsides, we have a chance to create policies and civic structures that enable more giving in society,” he said. “Some cities were already pioneering this idea before the pandemic and quarantine, and I hope we have the willingness and resolve to do so in a post-COVID-19 society as well.”

— Robert Preidt

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NCOA Study: 3 Million Low-Income Older Adults Face Systemic Obstacles to Programs that Help Pay for Health Care

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Policy solutions would make access to benefits easier for low-income individuals

Arlington, VA, June 22, 2020 — Today, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, issued a study analyzing the systemic obstacles that keep nearly 3 million eligible older adults and people with disabilities from accessing programs designed to help pay for their health care and medicine. The issue brief also offers policy solutions to ensure that all eligible low-income individuals receive this critical assistance.

Millions of financially vulnerable older adults and people with disabilities who have trouble affording prescription drugs and health care qualify for Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), which help pay for Medicare premiums and cost sharing, and the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) (also known as Extra Help), which helps pay for prescription drugs. However, almost 3 million of these eligible individuals are not enrolled in the programs.

The issue brief estimates eligibility, enrollment, and take-up rates in MSPs and LIS among the age 65 and older non-institutionalized population for even years between 2008 and 2014.

“About two-thirds of people eligible for MSPs are enrolled, but another 2.5 million Medicare beneficiaries are missing out on the benefits of this program,” said Dr. Susan Silberman, NCOA Senior Director, Research and Evaluation. “While some of these individuals may be making an informed decision to not apply, many are unaware that they are eligible or have found the enrollment process too intimidating to attempt or too difficult to complete.”

NCOA recommends a range of policy solutions that would improve access to these important Medicare low-income assistance programs. They include:

  • Loosening eligibility standards, which can have the dual effect of making more people eligible and making enrollment easier
  • Aligning eligibility standards more closely across programs, particularly between MSP and Part D LIS
  • Simplifying the enrollment process to make signing up as automatic as possible
  • Allocating more resources for benefits outreach and enrollment to find and assist eligible individuals in applying for the programs

The complete issue brief, Take-Up Rates in Medicare Savings Programs and the Part D Low-Income Subsidy Among Community-Dwelling Medicare Beneficiaries Age 65 and Older, is available online.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at and @NCOAging.

Article appeared origianlly on:

Staying Safe As Your City Reopens: Friends And Neighbors May Be Resuming Their Regular Activities—Should You?

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Cities and counties across the country are beginning to ease or even end the regulations that closed stores, restaurants, businesses, services, and schools back in March 2020. But adults 65 years and older and those with chronic health conditions are still at high risk for contracting COVID-19 and facing its most serious complications, including death.

If you have underlying medical conditions, particularly if they are not well controlled, the CDC suggests that it’s wise to continue to maintain the highest level of vigilance about going out and resuming your regular activities. Some of the specific underlying health conditions noted by the CDC include:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Being “immunocompromised”
    • People who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases.  Many things can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
  • Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease

You can’t reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19 to zero. But if you understand the risks and use proven prevention measures, you may be able to help reduce the spread of the virus.

KEEP IN MIND: If you have COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you must stay home and away from other people. Talk to your healthcare provider about your specific precautions. When you can leave home and see others depends on different factors for different situations. Follow the CDC’s recommendations for your circumstances.

Here is the CDC’s science-based guidance for the best way to protect yourself as you begin to resume daily activities:

Before you venture out, ask yourself: Will my activity put me in close contact with others?

  • Practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others). COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close physical contact with others.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Use online services when available.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when running errands.
  • Use hand sanitizer after leaving stores.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.

Protect yourself while shopping.

  • Order food and other items online for home delivery or curbside pickup (if possible).
  • Only go to the grocery store, or other stores selling household essentials, in person when you absolutely need to. This will limit your potential exposure to others and the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others while shopping and in lines.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public.
  • When you do have to shop in person, go during the early morning or later at night when fewer people will be there.
  • If you are at higher risk for severe illness, find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If they do, try to shop during those hours. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
  • Disinfect the shopping cart. Use disinfecting wipes if available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If possible, use touchless payment (pay without touching money, a card, or a keypad). If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer right after paying.

Use hand sanitizer.

After leaving a store or completing an activity or task outside, use hand sanitizer.

Exercise caution when using public bathrooms

Bathrooms have a lot of high touch surfaces, including door handles, faucets, and stall doors. Viral transfer risk in this environment can be high. A recent report in the New York Times suggested that the virus can be transferred when the toilet is flushed. If possible, close the lid before flushing a public toilet. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible. Avoid using automatic hand dryers. Keep your cloth face covering on when in the restroom.

Wash hands at home

When you get home from being outside or around others, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Be smart about deliveries & takeout.

  • Use delivery services when possible and limit in-person contact if possible.
  • If possible, pay online or on the phone when you order.
  • Accept deliveries without in-person contact whenever possible. Ask for deliveries to be left in a safe spot outside your house (such as your front porch or lobby), with no person-to-person interaction. Otherwise, stay at least 6 feet away from the delivery person.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after accepting deliveries or collecting mail.

  • After receiving deliveries or bringing home takeout food, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • After collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Adjust how you do your banking.

  • Ask about telephone or virtual options for banking services.
  • Bank online whenever possible.
  • Use drive-thru banking services, automated teller machines (ATMs), or mobile banking apps for routine transactions that do not require face-to-face assistance as much as possible.
  • Look for any extra prevention practices being implemented by the bank, such as plexiglass barriers for tellers or bankers, staff wearing cloth face coverings, or physical distancing signs in the lobby.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when making any in-person transactions where you are unable to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people. Make sure that bank employees and other people inside the bank are also wearing cloth face coverings.
  • Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol after any deposit, withdrawal, exchange, drive-thru visit, or use of an ATM.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly when you return.

Play it safe when getting gas.

  • If available, use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons before you touch them.
  • After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you are able to access soap and water.

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