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‘Courageous’ Simone Biles eases stigma for all, say local mental health experts



In stepping away from Olympics competition this week, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles joined a generational tide of younger people showing a pandemic-weary world that mental well-being must be a priority for everyone, local counselors said.

“What she has done is one of the more courageous acts anyone can do,” said Chris Tuell, clinical director of addiction services at the Lindner Center for Hope in Mason. “It’s such an awesome example for other people, kids, people of color, women, and everyday people.”

“The biggest lesson from this is that it’s OK to say enough is enough. It’s OK to prioritize your own emotional health and mental well-being over other things,” said Dr. Courtney Cinko, a psychiatrist for children and teenagers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Heralded at 24 as “the greatest of all time” in gymnastics, Biles already holds five Olympic medals and brought great promise into the Tokyo games. Only weeks ago, she performed moves unheard of in her sport. A goat emoji was created in her honor (Greatest of All Time).

The Summer Games, delayed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, are underway without crowds in the stands and limited team support in venues. Last week, Biles struggled to qualify, and this week, she under rotated on a vault, then withdrew from the team contest and Thursday’s meet for the all-around medal. She is day to day for the four apparatus competitions.

She told reporters her body is not hurt, but her mind resisted her efforts to grasp the critical focus for her gravity-defying performances, where misjudgment can mean career-ending, possibly crippling injury.

Other young well-knowns have spoken this year about the psychological hazards of life powered by high expectations. Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, tennis star Naomi Osaka and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have publicly described the harm from the crushing pressure to perform.

But backlash, mostly from older men, has been fierce, calling Biles a quitter for declining to risk her life for a sporting event. But Cinko read the taunting as a sign of changing times.

“The millennial generation and our Gen Z, they can talk about mental health and are way more comfortable with it than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. It’s just how they grew up,” she said. “It’s a positive thing. The more we talk about it, the better we are all going to feel. It’s kind of the older generation who are so critical, so likely to punch at this.”

Tuell said revelations from celebrities can bust stigma over mental health. Biles “knows she has little girls watching her, all these people across the world watching her. She has said she has felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. So for her to come out and take care of herself, and how important it is to do that, is remarkable.”

Mental health monitors have found that the isolation and restriction of the coronavirus pandemic have triggered more depression, anxiety and anger. Tuell pointed out that 1 of 4 people in the United States this year will get a mental-health diagnosis.

Cinko said children have especially struggled through the pandemic. Biles could be a bridge for families, she said. If children want to talk about her, “Parents can encourage the conversation. They can ask, ‘you’re not feeling well? Well, what’s going on? Tell me more about that.’ Just be there. That’s the most important thing that parents can do.”

But it’s often hard for loved ones to know when something’s wrong, according to a study this week by Myriad Genetics, the Utah company that owns the Mason firm once known as Assurex Health. The research found nearly half of respondents said they are very confident that they would recognize signs of depression in a loved one. But when shown a list of possible symptoms, only 1 in 7 could identify them all.

Depression appears not only in changes of mental state but can have physical expression with headaches or head pain, digestion issues, sleep disturbances or changes in weight or appetite.

But the experts said a key tool is perspective. Tuell said that in a television interview this week, U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel said after a gold-medal performance that “he doesn’t want to be compared to anyone, because swimming is something he enjoys, and the medal doesn’t matter,” Tuell said. “That’s really cool.”

If you are experiencing a mental health challenge, reach out to:

  • Mental Health Access Point, 513-558-8888.
  • NAMI of Southwest Ohio, 513-351-3500.
  • NAMI of Northern Kentucky, 800-273-8255.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255.

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Millennials More Likely to Question Return to Office: Survey

  • Younger workers are more likely to resist calls to return to in-person work.
  • Like in-person work, remote work also comes with tradeoffs.
  • Some companies are becoming more flexible with in-person work to retain employees.

As companies increasingly call for employees to go back to in-person work, younger people are becoming some of the biggest opponents to in-office work, with millennials leading the charge, The New York Times reports.

According to a Conference Board survey, millenials questioned the wisdom of returning to the office more than older generations, with 55% of millennials expressing concern about working in-person compared to 45% of Gen X participants and 36% of baby boomers. 

Working remotely or in person comes with tradeoffs, and as more companies begin to formalize their longterm plans, many managers and employees alike are watching to see any trends that emerge.

Although younger workers may have embraced working from home, people working remotely in the formative months and years of their careers can lose out on networking opportunities in and out of the office that can set them up for more opportunities and career advancement down the road.

Young people working from home may also have a harder time establishing relationships and connections with colleagues than people who were working in-person before the pandemic began.

In an emerging generation gap, older managers who see in-office work as the norm are extolling the benefits of a strong work culture, better brainstorming sessions, and team cohesion that come with working in office, The New York Times reported.

However, younger workers told The New York Times that they prefer working from home due to the sense of increased productivity and the time saved by cutting out commutes to the office.

A study by Owl Labs also showed that remote workers report being happier, less stressed, and more focused than non-remote workers. Remote workers were also 13% more likely to stay at their current job than their non-remote counterparts. 

While industries such as finance and banking are more aggressive in corralling employees back into the office, industries such as tech and media are more friendly to hybrid and remote arrangements, The New York Times reported. 

Jonathan Singer, a real-estate lawyer in Portland, Ore., told the Times that he decided to allow one of his employees work remotely one day a week rather than lose a worker amid a tight labor market.

“It’s just not possible to say no to some remote work,” Singer told The New York Times. “It’s simply not worth risking losing a good employee because of a doctrinaire view that folks need to be in the office.”

Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters


David Gross, an executive at a New York-based advertising agency, convened the troops over Zoom this month to deliver a message he and his fellow partners were eager to share: It was time to think about coming back to the office.

Mr. Gross, 40, wasn’t sure how employees, many in their 20s and early 30s, would take it. The initial response — dead silence — wasn’t encouraging. Then one young man signaled he had a question. “Is the policy mandatory?” he wanted to know.

Yes, it is mandatory, for three days a week, he was told.

Thus began a tricky conversation at Anchor Worldwide, Mr. Gross’s firm, that is being replicated this summer at businesses big and small across the country. While workers of all ages have become accustomed to dialing in and skipping the wearying commute, younger ones have grown especially attached to the new way of doing business.

And in many cases, the decision to return pits older managers who view working in the office as the natural order of things against younger employees who’ve come to see operating remotely as completely normal in the 16 months since the pandemic hit. Some new hires have never gone into their employers’ workplace at all.

“Frankly, they don’t know what they’re missing, because we have a strong culture,” Mr. Gross said. “Creative development and production requires face-to-face collaboration. It’s hard to have a brainstorm on a Zoom call.”

Some industries, like banking and finance, are taking a harder line and insisting workers young and old return. The chief executives of Wall Street giants like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have signaled they expect employees to go back to their cubicles and offices in the months ahead.

Other companies, most notably those in technology and media, are being more flexible. As much as Mr. Gross wants people back at his ad agency, he is worried about retaining young talent at a time when churn is increasing, so he has been making clear there is room for accommodation.

“We’re in a really progressive industry, and some companies have gone fully remote,” he explained. “You have to frame it in terms of flexibility.”

In a recent survey by the Conference Board, 55 percent of millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, questioned the wisdom of returning to the office. Among members of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, 45 percent had doubts about going back, while only 36 percent of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, felt that way.

And if anything, the rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in recent days may fuel resistance among reluctant officegoers of all ages.

“Among the generations, millennials are the most concerned about their health and psychological well-being,” said Rebecca L. Ray, executive vice president for human capital at the Conference Board. “Companies would be well served to be as flexible as possible.”

Matthew Yeager, 33, quit his job as a web developer at an insurance company in May after it told him he needed to return to the office as vaccination rates in his city, Columbus, Ohio, were rising. He limited his job hunting to opportunities that offered fully remote work and, in June, started at a hiring and human resources company based in New York.

“It was tough because I really liked my job and the people I worked with, but I didn’t want to lose that flexibility of being able to work remotely,” Mr. Yeager said. “The office has all these distractions that are removed when you’re working from home.”

Mr. Yeager said he would also like the option to work remotely in any positions he considered in the future. “More companies should give the opportunity for people to work and be productive in the best way that they can,” he said.

Even as the age split has managers looking for ways to persuade younger hires to venture back, there are other divides. Many parents and other caregivers are concerned about leaving home when school plans are still up in the air, a consideration that has disproportionately affected women during the pandemic.

At the same time, more than a few older workers welcome the flexibility of working from home after years in a cubicle, even as some in their 20s yearn for the camaraderie of the office or the dynamism of an urban setting.

Still, that so many young people are working from home is a reversal of longstanding habits, said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter, the online employment marketplace.

“The norm for so long is that remote work in office jobs has been reserved for the oldest and most senior and most trusted,” she said. “It’s interesting how quickly young workers have embraced this.”

When they work apart, younger employees lose chances to network, develop mentors and gain valuable experience by watching colleagues close-up, veteran managers say.

In some cases, older millennials like Jonathan Singer, 37, a real estate lawyer in Portland, Ore., find themselves making the case for returning to the office to skeptical younger colleagues who have grown accustomed to working from home.

“As a manager, it’s really hard to get cohesion and collegiality without being together on a regular basis, and it’s difficult to mentor without being in the same place,” Mr. Singer said. But persuading younger workers to see things his way has not been easy.

“With the leverage that employees have, and the proof that they can work from home, it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube,” he said.

Fearful of losing one more junior employee in what has become a tight job market, Mr. Singer has allowed a young colleague to work from home one day a week with an understanding that they would revisit the issue in the future.

“It’s just not possible to say no to some remote work,” Mr. Singer explained. “It’s simply not worth risking losing a good employee because of a doctrinaire view that folks need to be in the office.”

Amanda Diaz, 28, feels relieved she doesn’t have to go back to the office, at least for now. She works for the health insurance company Humana in San Juan, P.R., but has been getting the job done in her home in Trujillo Alto, which is about a 40-minute drive from the office.

Humana offers its employees the option to work from the office or their home, and Ms. Diaz said she would continue to work remotely as long as she had the option.

“Think about all the time you spend getting ready and commuting to work,” she said. “Instead I’m using those two or so hours to prepare a healthy lunch, exercising or rest.”

Alexander Fleiss, 38, chief executive of the investment management firm Rebellion Research, said some employees had resisted going back into the office. He hopes peer pressure and the fear of missing out on a promotion for lack of face-to-face interactions entices people back.

“Those people might lose their jobs because of natural selection,” Mr. Fleiss said. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if workers began suing companies because they felt they had been laid off for refusing to go back to the office.

Mr. Fleiss also tries to persuade his staff members who are working on projects to come back by focusing on the benefits of face-to-face collaborations, but many employees would still rather stick to Zoom calls.

“If that’s what they want, that’s what they want,” he said. “You can’t force anyone to do anything these days. You can only urge.”

$3.5 trillion reconciliation package could spike deficits and inflation


The $3.5 trillion reconciliation measure recently launched by Congressional Democrats would likely raise federal deficits — despite their assurances to the contrary. At a time of rising inflation and near record federal red ink, more deficit spending poses many risks we cannot afford.

For the first nine months of fiscal year 2021, the federal government’s deficits totaled $2.2 trillion, which is actually down from the same period of the last year of the Trump administration. The Congressional Budget Office recently projected a 2021 deficit of $3 trillion, also slightly below last year’s record $3.1 trillion deficit. Under its current 10-year projection, CBO sees deficits declining through 2025 before rising later in the decade as the last Baby Boomers reach retirement age and access more federal benefits, including Social Security and Medicare. Annual federal budget deficits never fall below 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product during the forecast period.

Because CBO forecasts are based on current law, they do not reflect the impacts of the bipartisan infrastructure package or the reconciliation budget measure under consideration. Although President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change Biden on hecklers: ‘This is not a Trump rally. Let ’em holler’ MORE’s American Recovery Plan and American Families Plan contained “pay-fors,” which Democratic leadership intends to include in its reconciliation package, there is no assurance that the new revenue will offset the new spending. One way to get such assurance is to ask the Congressional Budget Office to thoroughly score the final package before final votes are taken. But given political pressures, packages are often rushed through before all their provisions are fully evaluated.

Senate Democrats will need all 50 members of their caucus to vote for the reconciliation package. Lobbyists seeking to shield clients from portions of any tax hikes included in the final bill will be shopping legislative language to any Senator willing to listen. Cumulatively, such loopholes can drain hundreds of billions of revenues from tax hikes in the package. Meanwhile, House Democrats representing areas with high state and local income taxes want to repeal the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions, which would further reduce the bill’s revenues.

On the spending side, Democrats are cramming numerous programs that would cumulatively cost more than $350 billion annually (or $3.5 trillion over the 10-year budget window) into the reconciliation bill. To make it all fit, lawmakers may phase in programs, thereby reducing their incremental costs in the near term.

In other cases, Congress can cut the long-term price tag by claiming it will terminate programs in later years while expecting a future Congress to extend them. This tactic was famously used by President George W. Bush’s administration, which phased out its tax cuts late in the 10-year budget window. Income tax rate reductions for all but the highest brackets later became permanent. Similarly, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains individual income tax cuts set to expire between 2025 and 2027. Since many of these tax cuts also benefit middle-class Americans, they have good prospects of being extended.

If the reconciliation package does increase the deficit, the consequences could be quite negative. As fiscal hawks have been warning for years, the federal government is headed for a long-term fiscal crisis due to the rapid growth of entitlement spending. CBO has been projecting for years that the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio would reach record territory in the 2030s and 2040s. The COVID-19 pandemic, recession and massive government spending in response have accelerated the rising debt trajectory. The reconciliation bill would further exacerbate the debt.  

While many correctly note that deficit hawks’ dire predictions haven’t come about — yet — the fact is that no one knows what level of federal debt is sustainable. Evidence from Japan suggests a modern, first-world economy can support much higher debt burdens than the United States has accumulated. On the other hand, Japan may be able to sustain more government debt than the U.S. because its consumers and businesses save a higher proportion of national income than we do.

Because U.S. Treasury securities offer negative real returns, there is a limit to the amount that can be sold to private players. Unless debt issuance is controlled, the Federal Reserve will eventually be obliged to purchase more Treasury securities with newly printed money, which risks higher inflation.

We do not know whether the country’s currently rising inflation figures represent a transient spike or the beginnings of a long-term trend toward more rapid consumer price escalation. Those arguing that the impact is transient rightly highlight that recent price increases have been concentrated in a few sectors, such as used cars and rental cars that are facing specific issues.

But if consumers have limited money to spend, supply driven price shocks in one sector should reduce demand for other goods and services, placing downward pressure on their prices. Right now, however, there appears to be so much money in the system that price spikes in specific sectors can be absorbed without reducing demand and pushing down prices elsewhere. And with the Fed adding money by making $120 billion in new bond purchases each month, there is reason to believe that price hikes could rotate around the economy later in 2021 and 2022.

Although 1970s-vintage double-digit inflation may not be in our immediate future, persistent annual price increases of 4 percent or 5 percent can seriously erode savings and impoverish those relying on fixed incomes in just a few short years. Similarly worrying, as the U.S. saw in 1968, inflation at this level combined with other factors such as intergenerational tensions, can, in some circumstances, also contribute to larger economic and social instability.

Rather than take these risks, Democrats should reduce their spending plans to align with the tax revenue they can confidently expect to raise. And both major political parties should start to grapple with the debt and deficits they’ve been laying on the shoulders of future taxpayers.

Marc Joffe is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, former senior director at Moody’s Analytics, and author of the study “Unfinished Business: Despite Dodd-Frank, Credit Rating Agencies Remain the Financial System’s Weakest Link.”

Free Hepatitis Testing in Pinellas July 28

A photo of a hand with a purple latex glove holding two vials of blood with purple caps; more vials of blood in the background.
Image via Pixabay.

Wednesday, July 28 is World Hepatitis Day and the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is urging all adults to get tested or vaccinated to reduce the number of new cases of hepatitis A, B and C.

From 8:30 a.m. to noon on July 28, DOH-Pinellas offers free rapid hepatitis C testing at its St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park centers, no appointment needed. Get your results at the same visit.

Testing locations are at 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N. and 6350 76th Ave. N.

Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis, which can be deadly. Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are at higher risk of hepatitis C and should consider getting tested, according to DOH-Pinellas.

“There are safe, effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B, but no vaccine for hepatitis C,” said DOH-Pinellas Director Dr. Ulyee Choe, an infectious disease specialist. “The best defense is to get vaccinated with the ones that are available and to get tested if you’re at higher risk of viral hepatitis.”

The DOH-Pinellas hepatitis program offers education, screening, vaccinations, counseling and referrals for care. For more call 727-824-6932 or click here.


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Boomers & Gen X: Older shoppers rely on past experiences


KANSAS CITY – For Baby Boomers and Gen X shoppers, price, certainty, and pre-planning differentiate the two generations from their younger cohorts.

“They’re much more about switching chains based on price, and much more about pre-planning the trip and very much instore shoppers — traditionalist so to speak,” said Jonna Parker, principal of the Fresh Center of Excellence for Chicago-based IRI. “Whether it be how you pick what goes in your feature ad, how you leverage displays in the store, how you utilize price, promotion as a combination of feature and display are all strategies anchored around Baby Boomer and frankly, Gen X.”

Even during the pandemic. Tamera Barnett, vice president of Bellevue, Wash.-based The Hartman Group, noticed Gen X and Boomers relying more on past experiences. According to her, older consumers focus a lot more on taste and familiarity and are less focused on exploring new things. 

Unlike younger generations, Gen X and Boomers are less drawn to new flavors or impacted by environmental or ethical concerns. They’re even less likely to pay attention to some health attributes such as organic or clean label.

“There’s a certain amount of comfortability they have with the sort of products or brands that they’ve consumed for a while and so while they may be interested in some of the emerging types of brands that are coming out, when they are forced to make that trade between price and some of those other emerging ingredients or product attributes they’re leaning more on the price end of things,” Barnett said. “They’re a little bit more set in their ways where they’ve figured out what works for them and they feel less of the need to be pivoting.”

More than anything, simply offering high-quality fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables and meat can go a long way with Boomers and Gen X, added Steve Markenson, director of research and insights for Arlington, Va.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association.

“Clean and neat stores with great product selection and variety and accurate product information are also important,” Markenson said. “Older generations are more focused on the core offerings, while younger generations focus more on other issues – technology, online shopping, nutrition/health information, local products/produce, foodservice, private brands, etc.”

Gen X versus Baby Boomers

Overall, Gen X tends to serve as a bridge between millennials and baby boomers, Markenson noted. While younger generations are more likely to love or like grocery shopping (51% of Gen Z/Millennials) that percentage decreases in Gen X to 43% and drops to 30% for Boomers and older.

IRI’s Parker likes to call Gen X the “sandwich generation.” They grew up with and are accustomed to a traditional in-store grocery experience, but many members of this middle generation still have kids in the home and work full-time jobs.

“Gen X is a tough generation to define as they’ve always been because there’s going to be in this decade a lot of Gen Xers doing behaviors that we had previously thought were more about Baby Boomers,” said Parker. “We have to keep that in mind that there’s a generation that grew up with grocery stores and are not digital natives. Then you have some mimicking of millennial behaviors in that when things are easy and convenient to a chaotic lifestyle during your peak years.

Hartman Group’s Barnett noted that what indicates generational shopping patterns even more than confinements of specific generations themselves is life stages. Gen X is a generation straddling life stages. Some members of the generation which are as young as their early 40s have young kids in the home, while others are just now becoming empty nesters. 

For members of Gen X who have kids in the home, they are much more likely to exhibit the shopping habits of the younger generations. Their purchase decision are also more likely to be influenced by their kids, some of whom belong to Gen Z.

“We found that the age of 50 is a key tipping point culturally, physically and socially,” Barnett said. ”One challenge might be as you are thinking about these older cohorts, there might be the need to break up below the genetics and think about how some of their implications might be aligned. There are so many different implications depending on the age and life stage of consumers in this cohort.”

Using the perimeter to support health and wellness

While Gen X and Baby Boomers tend to be less motivated by product claims, many members of those two generations are still looking for foods that provide preventative health benefits, noted IRI’s Parker.

While claims like natural or organic don’t have as strong of an appeal to older shoppers as they do to younger shoppers, claims like heart-healthy or low sodium are health attributes older cohorts will be on the lookout for. 

“To some degree, if you think about it, they’re someone who’s eating because they have to eat a certain way,” Parker said. “I have to cut out salt. I can’t eat red meat because I had a heart attack — a medical necessity versus eating for better wellness. An older consumer is much more thinking about medical prevention.”

Hartman Group’s Barnett pointed out that 50% of all consumers reported trying a new dietary approach in the last year such as Whole 30, plant-based or keto, but diet experimentation was the lowest among older consumers.

Within those Gen X and Boomer shoppers who did opt to try a new diet, they put more emphasis on ensuring that new diets still allowed them to meet their expectations of taste and texture and highly valued reliability.

“They’re interested in improving their health, and they want to continue to have new experiences and new discovery but they’re less going to be the tip of the spear,” Barnett said. “I think that shows the reliance on attributes like price and quality and familiarity and for sales and those sorts of things.”

Since the fresh departments naturally include healthy products with reliable and familiar tastes, Barnett suggests that retailers help these shoppers find the perfect healthy pairing of items through intersecting produce, meat and seafood products that go together and enforce health and comfortable discovery.

COVID drives older shoppers to e-commerce

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how consumers have approached grocery shopping over the last year. For many Gen Xers and especially for many Baby Boomers, the pandemic was the first time they shopped for their groceries online.

“I think we’re going to see an openness we wouldn’t have seen otherwise to online as part of the mix for older shoppers and without the pandemic, I don’t think we would have seen that,” said Parker. “If you counted the Baby Boomer out as your audience for your e-commerce strategy, I think you’ve got to evaluate that.”

Retailers will have to approach older generations (who are very much still influenced by price) online differently than they do younger generations. While the millennial online shopping strategy might guide shoppers to discovery of new products, Boomers and older members of Gen X are going to be looking for the staples they’ve been buying for decades.

Parker predicts that older generations are going to be leerier of the possibility of another pandemic and another period of items missing from shelves.

“I think there’s going to be a surge of stock-up behavior of essentials,” Parker said. “Because Baby Boomers were so affected, and so many of them did go through so many health risks, I think we’re going to see a bit more stock-up than we might have before.”

Post-pandemic meal solutions

For shoppers of all ages, cooking at home increased substantially over the last year.

For younger consumers who had little experience cooking for themselves, solutions like meal kits and prepared meals were a big success. But for Gen X and Baby Boomers, that shift to cooking more meals in the home was less of an uphill climb, Barnett noted.

While all cohorts will likely increase restaurant sourcing in the upcoming months to overcorrect from pandemic cooking fatigue, Barnett thinks in the long term there will be a compelling opportunity for what she calls supported cooking. 

“For older cohorts, I don’t think there’s all of a sudden going to be an interest in cooking from scratch but once we get into the fall months and have been reenergized by foodservice, I think people are going to want to be cooking more, but they’re going to be looking for affordable and accessible solutions,” Barnett said. “I think new skills and techniques they learned from the pandemic have the potential to work their way back in.”

Rather than meal kits or fully prepared meals, Barnett thinks older generations of shoppers are going to be cooking for creative tools, tips and offerings that help them bring together certain components and allows them flexibility. 

Older shoppers are more likely to be inhibited by diet restrictions and want flexibility to be able to use ingredients that fit their lifestyle. Because of this meal kits and fully prepared meals can be restricting.

“I think it can be kits, but it might not literally be a packaged kit,” Barnett said. “It might be about how you bring together certain components and really allow them that flexibility and how consumers can bring together fresh cooking in ways that are really accessible that still can be done in 15 or 20 minutes or maybe even less.”

Financial stability and independence have taken a back seat for American boomers’ retirement plans


Over half of American boomers are worried they’ll never be able to retire due to the COVID-19 pandemic – according to new research.

A new survey of 2,567 boomers* (about 2,200 of whom are not retired) found 52% of those not currently retired are worried COVID-19 has made such an impact on their lives that they’ll never be able to fully do so. 

The poll analyzed boomers’ retirement plans as well as their non-negotiables for when the time comes.

Prior to COVID-19, 56% of all boomers polled said their top non-negotiable for retirement was maintaining their financial stability and independence – this has now dropped to just 35% with the impact of the pandemic, meaning this is now less of a priority.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of CNO Financial Group‘s Center for a Secure Retirement, the survey found saving money has taken a backseat to family. The new top priority for retirement after COVID-19 is spending lots of time with family and grandchildren (43%).

Next in line for non-negotiables included maintaining an active lifestyle (34%) and being able to travel (30%). A quarter of respondents also said living close to family and friends is another retirement must-have.

It’s no wonder over four in 10 respondents want to spend more time with their families and 25% want to live closer to them, as over half (53%) of boomers surveyed said the biggest impact the pandemic had on them was not being able to spend as much time with their loved ones. 

Despite not being able to see each other, 41% of those polled said they’ve had to financially support other members of their family – which has greatly impacted their retirement plans. For those financially supporting their family during COVID-19, 75% also said their own retirement savings have taken a hit in order to do this for their families.

For all those polled who aren’t retired (just over 2,200 respondents), 61% said the pandemic made them realize they will need more money to actually live a comfortable retirement.

“Determining what to prioritize financially as you prepare for and enter retirement can be challenging. And the strains retirees and pre-retirees have experienced as a result of the pandemic have shone a spotlight on this reality,” said Scott Goldberg, President, Consumer Division at CNO Financial Group. “Amid these newly defined retirement non-negotiables, boomers need to regain control to plan a secure retirement that they deserve. The Center for a Secure Retirement website offers a wealth of topical lifestyle, finances, and health advice, so boomers can confidently navigate their retirement decisions.”

Over half (53%) of non-retired boomers surveyed also said they’ve had to tap into their retirement savings to pay for daily expenses during the pandemic.

Fifty-three percent of respondents who aren’t retired said they’ve had to completely reevaluate their overall retirement plan – with the top concern being how much money they need to retire comfortably (63%).

Other reevaluations for these respondents included making changes to their lifestyle and improve their health – and even think about future caregiving needs (44%).

In terms of overall impact on their retirement, the survey shows that women have fared better financially than men amid the pandemic. In fact, 61% of women said they’ve been able to save more for retirement than expected as a result of COVID, while 26% of men said the same.

“The vision of what constitutes a happy retirement may have shifted for many following the experience of the pandemic. But this reassessment can be the first and most important step in progressing toward an understanding of what retirement plan to pursue, and setting achievable goals for a rewarding retirement,” said Goldberg. “Amid these changes in retirement expectations, it’s important to have real-world insights and guidance, which is why we’ve created the Center for a Secure Retirement.”

*All 2,567 American baby boomers (aged 57-75) surveyed were of middle income ($30,000-$100,000 annual household income) with less than $1 million in investable assets.

Many think kids will do worse financially than parents, survey finds


LWA/Dann Tardif | Stone | Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has made parents pessimistic about their children’s future, according to a survey by Pew Research.

More than two-thirds (68%) of U.S. respondents said they think today’s children will be financially worse off as adults than their parents, up from 60% in 2019. Only 32% think children will be better off.

The global survey was conducted between Feb. 1 and May 26 among 18,850 adults in 17 advanced economies. The U.S. ranked No. 6 in pessimism towards children’s financial futures, tied with Canada and behind Japan, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

When it comes to the current economic situation, 71% of Americans think it is bad, compared to 29% who believe it is good.

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Children of the pandemic faced a double whammy of virtual learning and an economic recession. When schools shut down, classrooms shifted online. As a result they suffered significant learning loss, which translates into a reduction in lifetime earnings, studies have shown.

The economic fallout from the crisis also hit households across the country, leaving millions of Americans unemployed. Though the recession only lasted two months — from February 2020 to April 2020, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recovery has been uneven.

Employment rates for high-wage workers are recovering whereas employment rates for low-wage workers are not, said David Grusky, a sociology professor at Stanford University.

“Although the pandemic safety net has addressed some of the resulting inequality, these divergent employment trends make it clear that there are still two Americas, a well-off America that’s thriving and a struggling America that’s poised to struggle yet more,” said Grusky, director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.

“This is a very troubling warning sign for the future.”

To be sure, even before the pandemic, children were falling behind their parents’ generation financially.

Over the past several decades, there has been a rapid deterioration of the “American Dream,” which has long been understood as a commitment that each generation should do better than the one that preceded it, Grusky said.

Several studies back that up. For instance, a report by the nonpartisan think tank New America found millennials earn 20% less than baby boomers did at the same stage in life.

“Young adults in America today are on a much lower trajectory in their wealth accumulation than their predecessors,” the paper stated. “Dramatically so.”

8 Things You Should Know About Hepatitis C


Electron micrograph of hepatitis C virus purified from cell culture. The scale bar is 50 nanometers. Credit: Rockefeller University Hepatitis C Research Center.

There are good reasons why hepatitis C is known as a “silent killer.”

An estimated 3.2 million Americans live with chronic illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. hepatitis C infection that is transmitted through infected body fluids such as blood and semen and causes inflammation of the liver. However, up to 75% of people with hepatitis C are unaware of hepatitis C.

Most people who live with the virus have only mild symptoms or are completely asymptomatic until they develop severe liver damage or another life-threatening liver disease. Unfortunately, that means undiagnosed and delayed treatment until after the onset of irreversible liver damage.

Here, hepatologist Nancy Reau, MD, Deputy Director of the Rush University Medical Center’s Solid Organ Transplant Program, describes people at risk for hepatitis C and provides advice on how to protect yourself. ..

1. The baby boomer generation is especially vulnerable.

“The hepatitis C virus had no name or screening test until 1989,” says Reau. “That is, people born between 1945 and 1965, a group called the” baby boomers, “have the highest risk of infection. They grew up before medical facilities began taking standard precautions, such as not sharing drug vials between patients and requiring staff to wear gloves. “

The CDC reports that baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults, accounting for 75% of people with the disease.

These are some other reasons you may be at risk:

  • IV Engaged in high-risk behaviors such as substance use (including needle sharing) and unprotected sex
  • Your real mother has / had hepatitis C
  • You are infected with HIV / AIDS
  • Received blood transfusion, organ transplant, or dialysis before 1989
  • You were or are currently imprisoned

2. Screening tests are effective, but not standard.

Today, there are several blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Unfortunately, the blood screening panels that primary care physicians order during their annual physical examination usually do not contain anything.

“If you have any of the above risk factors, talk to your doctor to ask for a test,” Reau advises.

3. From time to time, the infection disappears spontaneously.

Acute hepatitis is C, a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months of exposure to the virus.Like below Human papillomavirus (HPV), early acute hepatitis C, heals spontaneously without treatment. This happens with a probability of about 25%.

However, the virus is likely to remain in the body for more than 6 months, at which point it is considered a chronic hepatitis C infection.

“Young or female tends to be a factor in whether the virus is naturally cleared, and genetics can play a role,” Reau says. “But we can’t be sure who will clear the infection and who won’t.”

4. Prevention is the best medicine.

Hepatitis C rarely spreads in the home, but if you or your family have the disease, especially if someone in your home has a weakened immune system, or if you have cuts or openings that increase your risk. If you have pain, it is advisable to take precautions to prevent it from spreading. Of infectious diseases.

In general, use these common sense preventive tips.

  • Practice safe sex unless you have a long-term monogamous relationship.
  • Clean spilled or dry blood with a bleach-based cleaning solution and wear rubber gloves.
  • Don’t share your razor.
  • Do not share a toothbrush. “Hepatitis C is not transmitted through saliva, but toothbrushes can have blood in them,” Reau says.

5. Different from hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Each form of hepatitis has its own specific virus that spreads and is treated in different ways. “Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver, or the virus has an affinity for damaging the liver,” says Reau.

  • Hepatitis A is an acute short-term infection that often does not require treatment.
  • Hepatitis B is hidden deep inside the body and, like hepatitis C, is treated in a variety of ways. Antiviral drug For liver transplantation.

“The viruses are different, but they can lead to serious liver disease and death, so we have to take everything seriously,” she adds.

6. Highly curable

Direct-acting antivirals (administered over 12 weeks) may actually cure early Acute hepatitis C is over 90% of the time. These drugs include Harboni (the brand name for the combination of Ledipasvir and Sofosbuvir) and Biekirapak (a mixture of Ombitasvir, Paritaprevir, Ritonavir and Dasabuvir).

However, some of these treatments can be expensive, so work with your insurance company to determine coverage.

Two new drugs for chronic hepatitis C are expected to be approved by late 2017 and are in clinical trials for additional treatment. “Pretreatment before serious liver disease is the key to achieving the best long-term improvement in your health,” says Reau.

7. Even if you heal, it can have lifelong health consequences.

“Hepatitis C is more than just a liver disease,” says Reau. “It is associated with many medical conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease, and an increased risk of developing cancer.”

Treatment of hepatitis C significantly reduces the risk of serious complications such as liver failure, liver cancer, and the need for a transplant, but it completely eliminates the health risks associated with the disease. Not.

“Hepatitis C is associated with liver scarring or cirrhosis, and the more scar tissue that develops, the more likely it is to be a complication,” Reau said. “If you have a lot of scars, you need lifelong monitoring.”

Reau also leads a healthy lifestyle to prevent reinfection and even more liver Injury: Limit alcohol intake, control weight, avoid high-risk activities (IV drug use, unprotected sex, etc.) and manage diabetes, if any.

8. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice any symptoms.

Symptoms of hepatitis C are:

  • Jaundice — Yellowish tones on eyes and skin
  • Mild chronic right abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Malaise

Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you have been exposed to hepatitis C or if you notice any symptoms. If the virus tests positive, your doctor can refer you to a hepatologist to discuss your options.

“I highly recommend everything Baby boomers Some people are at high risk of being tested, even if they don’t look or feel bad. If you have hepatitis C, the earlier you detect it, the more you can prevent it from progressing. Causes more serious damage. ”

Monitoring of hepatitis B virus required after liver transplantation

Quote: Eight things you need to know about hepatitis C (July 20, 2021) were taken from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-hepatitis.html on July 20, 2021. It was.

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