Aging & Caregiving in the News

Information, updates and interesting tidbits

In this issue:

  • Farmers market food safety
  • Impostor scammers rip off seniors’ cash
  • Employers benefit greatly by consider family caregiver needs

Senior couple at farmers market

Locally Grown—But Is It Safe?

Today there's increasing emphasis on eating fresh, healthy, locally produced foods, and farmers markets are flourishing. There are more than 8,500 farmers markets in the U.S., where consumers can purchase fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, meats, seafood and prepared food.

But Penn State University food scientists offered a word of caution to consumers. They studied the food handling practices of vendors and found that many do not take the recommended precautions, such as wearing disposable gloves when handling food. Seniors and others who are at higher risk of foodborne illness ("food poisoning") may want to talk to their doctor before eating prepared foods at farmers markets. And remember, even "natural," organically grown produce can be contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria. So be sure to wash fruits and veggies thoroughly before consuming them. If you purchase perishable food, refrigerate it promptly, and cook to the recommended temperature. Read more about the study here

"Grandparent Scam" Con Artists Now Asking for Cash

If you're a regular reader of this publication, you've probably read warnings about "the grandparent scam." A con artist calls a senior pretending to be a beloved grandchild who is in a jam, and asks for money. These crooks are experts at impersonation; they might even get information from the family's Facebook pages. When a senior falls for the ruse, the scammer most often asks the victim to wire money, or to purchase gift cards and provide the number (so the scammer can redeem them). But these days, the Federal Trade Commission warns, more of these crooks are asking victims to mail cash. The FTC says that though seniors aren't likely to hand over cash to other con artists, when it comes to their "grandchildren," they will—losing an average of $9,000!

Awareness is the best way to fight these crooks. Spread the word about this scam to the seniors in your life. Visit the FTC website to learn more.

Harvard Business School Expert to Employers: Increase Your Profits by Investing in Caregiver Employees

"U.S. firms are facing a caregiving crisis and refuse to acknowledge it. They are oblivious to the growing costs of the care economy and that is hurting them and their employees," reports Harvard Business School professor Joseph Fuller. Fuller has just released a major new report titled "The Caring Company: How Employers Can Cut Costs and Boost Productivity by Helping Employees Manage Caregiving Needs."

Among the findings: one-third of all employees have left a job due to caregiving needs. Many left to care for children, but 32% of them left because of the needs of an elder family member. These employees are often from the top level of a company—those who are older, with more seniority. Losing them means losing all the knowledge and experience that they brought to the company. And with the aging of our population, more and more employees will be affected—and so will their employers. Find the HSB recommendations for companies and read the full report here.

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2019 IlluminAge