seniors

David Nash, M.D., a member of Humana’s Board of Directors, recently addressed the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). He discussed a project he’s been working on with Humana to apply population health concepts to real people in communities around the United States.

Watch the video here.

Dr. Nash is the founding dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health in Philadelphia and has worked in health policy and population health sciences for nearly three decades. Dr. Nash still provides clinical patient care as an internist.

Read more about Dr. Nash here.

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Humana’s President and CEO Bruce Broussard will discuss health care transformation and innovation at AHIP’s Medicare Conference in Washington, D.C., next week.

He’ll talk about the role health plans play in helping Medicare Advantage (MA) members achieve their best health, as well as offer his thoughts on the future of health care and the importance of integrated care.

He shared some of his thoughts ahead of the event, and you can read that Q&A here.

 

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The most highly rated TV programs feature frequent ageist language and under-representation of seniors and could have impacts on health, according to research from an ongoing partnership between Humana and the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Led by Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., USC’s study analyzed 1,609 speaking characters in the most popular Nielsen-rated television shows that aired between June 1, 2016, and May 31, 2017, to determine how characters aged 60 and over are portrayed. In tandem, Humana conducted a quantitative survey of people aged 60 and over to explore their thoughts on aging, specifically to understand which attributes are directly linked to better health.

Both studies examined ageism, and the results indicate that it potentially has a negative impact not only on optimism, self-esteem and confidence, but also the physical and mental health of aging Americans.

The research also finds that among seniors who experience frequent ageism, optimists have far fewer unhealthy days, regardless of the amount of ageism they experience. This suggests one way to combat the negative impact of ageism is to be more optimistic.

A deeper analysis of the findings revealed:

Even in the highest-rated television programs, aging characters are underrepresented and stereotypically portrayed.

  • Only 9.4 percent of all speaking characters were 60 years of age or over – despite seniors representing 19.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2015 U.S. Census.
  • Stereotypical, ageist language is prevalent in the shows. Some choice quotes include: “Things just sound creepier when you’re old,” and “You like the color? It’s called ‘ancient ivory,’ like you.”
  • Of shows featuring a main senior character, 41 percent contained one or more ageist comments. Of those series with ageist comments, 62.5 percent had remarks that came from characters speaking to a senior, while 68.8 percent contained self-deprecating dialogue delivered by seniors to themselves.
  • Shows without a writer or showrunner age 60 or over were more likely to feature ageism than shows with a writer or showrunner age 60 or over.

There are inherent consequences to these stereotyped portrayals of aging Americans – including a potentially negative impact on seniors’ sense of self-esteem, confidence and optimism, as well as their health.

  • Seniors who experience ageism once a week or more report having 4.6 more physically unhealthy days and 5.4 more mentally unhealthy days per month than respondents who rarely or never report experiencing ageism.
  • Seniors who experience ageism once a week or more reported that it had a moderately negative impact on their sense of self-esteem, confidence and optimism, scoring the impact of ageism on their self-esteem at nearly 6 on a 10-point scale.

Aging Americans who describe themselves as optimists feel better about their overall health and well-being, underscoring the importance of an optimistic mindset for healthy aging.

  • Among seniors who report experiencing frequent ageism (once a week or more), optimists have, on average, 4 fewer physical and 3 fewer mental unhealthy days each month.
  • And, of all survey respondents, those who rate themselves as most optimistic feel on average 12.5 years younger than their actual age.

“We’ve studied this in film, but the lack of senior representation and prevalence of ageism on the small screen counters the idea that TV is better than film,” said Stacy L. Smith, director of the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. “There’s obviously more work to be done in the entertainment industry—seniors are often left out of the conversation on inclusion. This study speaks to the need for increasing older storytellers behind the camera who can create more authentic senior characters on-screen.”

Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, vice president and chief medical officer of care delivery at Humana, added: “Understanding the social determinants of health is a key priority for Humana. That’s why we’re committed to advancing societal perceptions and promoting aging with optimism. Our survey and continued partnership with the University of Southern California demonstrate the power of an optimistic mindset for combating ageism and embracing healthy aging.”

Both Stacy L. Smith and Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez will provide more insight on each respective study as panelists at The Atlantic Live! New Old Age conference in New York City, slated for October 2017.

Read the full news release here.

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Humana is making progress toward its corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals tied to the company’s three CSR pillars: Healthy People, Healthy Planet and Healthy Performance, according to the company’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Progress Report.

Since the start of 2016, Humana and its associates have moved ahead in each of the focus areas. For instance, the company’s pursuit of its Bold Goal – to improve the health of the communities Humana serves 20 percent by 2020 – has resulted in more “Healthy Days” in all but one of several Bold Goal communities.

Humana’s new CSR Progress Report features many examples of how Humana is committed to living its values, particularly ‘Inspire Health.’ From the health metrics Humana tracks to make sure its members’ health is continually improving … to Humana Foundation commitments across the country to invest in community health, the report summarizes progress on the Healthy People front.

For example, Humana’s Pharmacy team in Phoenix served diabetes patients beyond Humana’s membership earlier this year by donating more than 4,500 pounds of diabetic supplies, including insulin syringes, pen needles and test strips, to Insulin for Life USA. In partnership with this organization, Humana delivered insulin and disease-management supplies free of charge to diabetes patients in developing countries, who otherwise would likely go without these life-saving provisions.

Regarding Humana’s overall environmental sustainability focus (Healthy Planet), the report details environmental goals established in 2014, progress to date toward achieving the goals, and how the company and its associates are as dedicated as they have ever been to limit the company’s environmental footprint.

On Humana’s Healthy Performance objectives – which address the company’s ethics and compliance, governance, and diversity and inclusion focus – the report includes a number of examples of Humana’s progress since the start of 2016, including the creation of a Physician Executive Immersion Program to create a cohort of leaders focused on improving how the company partners with physicians.

The report also summarizes the recognition Humana has received from multiple outside organizations as a leader not only among health insurers but in all of health care for its corporate citizenship efforts.

Read the full report here.

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Humana and the Silver Dollar City theme park honored fallen American heroes in Branson, Missouri, on Sunday.

News station KY3 reported on the event, saying, “During The Gold Star Family Remembrance Ceremony, names of fallen military members were read, taps and a special song were played, and special guests spoke. It was all to help family members of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice know they’re not alone and to show them that their loved ones service is appreciated.”

About 300 Gold Star family members, representing 59 fallen heroes, took part in the event.

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