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Assume You'll Live a Long, Long Time 


The Social Security Commission estimates that one in four people will live past the age of 90, and one in 10 might live past age 95. If these numbers appear more ambitious than the ones you usually hear, such as the average life expectancy of a 65-year-old male is 82, that's because no one is average.1 

"Average" is just a mathematical calculation that combines the highs and lows -- it doesn't express the fact that those high and low numbers represent actual ages. For the sake of discussion, an average life expectancy generally means that roughly half of the population lives less than average and approximately half lives longer than average. 

Obviously, the entire senior population will not die at age 82. And with life expectancies increasingly on the rise, the size of the senior population is expected to grow. According to a study by Mercer consultants, the number of people reaching age 85 is expected to triple, from 4 million today to 14 million.2 

Who is likely to live longer? Mortality research has identified the following characteristics of people who typically live longer than others:3

  • Their mother was younger than 25 when they were born
  • Females typically live longer than males
  • People who live in rural or low-income areas tend to have shorter life expectancies
  • Wealthy
  • Not overweight
  • Highly educated
  • Married
  • States with the largest populations, such as California, New York, Florida and Texas generally have the most centenarians

Researchers theorize that people who live in larger cities are exposed to much more mental stimulation, cultural resources like the symphony, better doctors and hospitals, better transportation and more social networks.4 These life-enriching components contribute to a longer life. 

Indeed, greater wealth enables people to counter the four behaviors responsible for much of the illness and death related to chronic diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These behaviors are (1) the lack of physical activity, (2) poor nutrition, (3) tobacco use and (4) excessive alcohol consumption. Not surprisingly, a 2014 CDC report found that people can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors -- not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and limiting alcohol consumption. Among these behaviors, not smoking is the most effective, as it offers the greatest protection from an early death due to all causes.5 

Obviously, living longer means planning for more funds to pay for the potential for greater medical and long-term care expenses -- including deteriorating cognitive functions. The more healthy behaviors you engage in, the more important it is to work with your financial professional to develop a retirement income plan for the optimal scenario: a longer-than-anticipated life

1 WealthManagement.com, Sept. 16, 2014, "Sizing Up a Client's Lifespan," http://wealthmanagement.com/insurance/sizing-client-s-lifespan, accessed Oct. 6, 2014.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adultsPosted: 12 Sep 2016 07:20 AM PDTHearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurancetelecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products(PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a 'Wearable,' does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding?  But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:ReSound. The firm "introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world's only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs." Learn more at Resound.Oticon. 

"Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus." Learn more at Oticon.
Eargo. 

Silicon Valley based startup that "offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists." Learn more at HearingTracker.com.

Cochlear.
 "Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device  that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor." Learn more at Cochlear.

iHearMedical.
 "iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017." Learn more at iHearMedical.