Ina Jaffe

Ina Jaffe is a National desk correspondent based at NPR West, NPR's production center in Culver City, Calif.

Covering California and the West, Jaffe has reported on nearly all of the major news events, elections, and natural disasters in the region. Currently, she covers issues related to aging. She also reports on regional and national politics, contributing election coverage in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

In addition to captivating and informing listeners, Jaffe's reports have garnered critical acclaim. Her 2012 investigation into how the West Los Angeles VA made millions from renting property while ignoring plans to house homeless veterans won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. A few months after the story aired, the West Los Angeles VA broke ground on supportive housing for homeless vets.

Jaffe's 2011 series on rising violence in California State Psychiatric Hospitals was also honored with a Gracie Award as well as awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the American Bar Association. Her three-part series on California's Three Strikes sentencing law won the ABA's Silver Gavel Award in 2010, as well as the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Jaffe was the first editor of Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon which made its debut in 1985.

Born in Chicago, Jaffe attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and DePaul University receiving Bachelor's and Master's degrees in philosophy, respectively.

Pages

Shots - Health News
3:07 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 2:34 pm

It's a sunny autumn afternoon and a good time to make apple crisp at Pathstone Living, a memory care facility and nursing home in Mankato, Minn. Activities staffer Jessica Abbott gathers half a dozen older women at a counter in the dining area, where the soundtrack is mostly music they could have fox-trotted to back in the day.

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Shots - Health News
12:35 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 3:26 pm

Antipsychotic drugs have helped many people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But for older people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, they can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has given these drugs a black box warning, saying they can increase the risk of heart failure, infections and death. Yet almost 300,000 nursing home residents still get them.

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Shots - Health News
1:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes

Antipsychotic drugs aren't necessary in the vast majority of dementia cases, gerontologists say. The pills can be stupefying and greatly raise the risk of falls — and hip fracture.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 3:32 pm

It's one of the worst fears we have for our parents or for ourselves: that we, or they, will end up in a nursing home, drugged into a stupor. And that fear is not entirely unreasonable. Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress the anxiety or aggression that can go with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Love And Sex In The Time Of Viagra — 16 Years On

Mountains of "little blue pills" and their chemical kin have transformed the way many people think about sex and aging.
Raphael Gaillarde Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 2:37 pm

The lives of older men have changed in a significant way since 1998, or at least their sex lives have changed. That's the year Viagra was introduced. Cialis and Levitra followed a few years later.

The once taboo subject of erectile dysfunction is now inescapable for anyone who watches TV. Late-night comedians continually mine the topic. By 2002, Jay Leno had told 944 Viagra jokes, according to the Wall Street Journal. We couldn't independently verify that number. Actually, we didn't try.

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Shots - Health News
5:39 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Feds Hope Hitting Nursing Homes In The Wallet Will Cut Overmedication

Federal prosecutors allege two nursing homes in California have "persistently and severely overmedicated elderly and vulnerable residents." Antipsychotic drugs like risperidone, also known as Risperdal, can be dangerous for elderly people, but are frequently prescribed to nursing home patients.
JB Reed Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 6:27 am

A federal lawsuit against two Watsonville, Calif., nursing homes may offer a new approach to dealing with the persistent problem of such facilities overmedicating their residents.

The lawsuit details multiple cases when the government says these drugs were inappropriately administered to patients.

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Shots - Health News
8:08 am
Thu August 7, 2014

House Calls Keep People Out Of Nursing Homes And Save Money

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 11:58 am

When it comes to reining in medical costs, delivering more health care and bringing it right to the patient's home can, for a select group of patients, save money.

These particular patients are elders struggling with multiple chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes or dementia. They make up just 5 percent of the people on Medicare, but they account for about half of all Medicare spending.

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Shots - Health News
12:45 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Will This Tech Tool Help Manage Older People's Health? Ask Dad

Lively is a sensor that can be attached to a pill box, keys or doors. It lets people know whether aging parents are taking their medicines or sticking to their routines.
Courtesy of Lively

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 am

Aging 2.0 may not sound like the hippest start-up in San Francisco, but it's part of an industry worth $2 billion and growing fast — technology to help older adults.

Katy Fike, 35, is the company's co-founder. She's devoted to making sure that older adults who are supposed to use the products are involved in their development.

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Shots - Health News
9:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Older Adults Are Fatter Than Ever, Increasing Their Risk Of Illness

Most older adults are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of chronic health problems.
Claudio Arnese iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 11:08 am

Older people are working more, voting more and drinking and smoking less than they used to. That's the good news.

But nearly three-quarters of older men and about two-thirds of women over age 64 are overweight or obese, making them more likely to have to deal with diabetes, arthritis and impaired mobility.

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Shots - Health News
9:04 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

How Your State Rates In Terms Of Long-Term Care

Minnesota, Washington and Oregon topped the ranking, which looked at 26 variables, including affordability and whether patients could get good paid care at home. Alabama and Kentucky came in last.
Fred Froese/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 8:58 am

In just 12 years, the oldest members of the huge baby-boom generation will turn 80. Many will need some kind of long-term care. A new study from AARP says that care could vary dramatically in cost and quality depending on where they live.

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Shots - Health News
10:19 am
Mon June 9, 2014

In Oregon, End Of Life Orders Help People Avoid The ICU

Oregon's experiment with end-of-life care is intended to keep frail elderly people out of the hospital if they don't wish it.
aloha_17 iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 2:41 am

Do you know how or where you want to die? At home? In a hospital? What measures you want doctors to take to prolong your life? In Oregon and more than a dozen other states, adults who are old and frail have been answering these questions and doctors write them up as orders.

Those doctor-backed instructions help protect people from unwanted medical intervention, a study finds.

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Business
2:27 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Never Too Late: More Older Adults Sold On Entrepreneurship

More and more older adults are becoming entrepreneurs instead of retiring, like Paul Tasner of Pulpworks, who spoke at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition in California.
Courtesy of Kevin Warnock

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:57 am

If you've ever been driven to rage and despair trying to pry open one of those plastic blister packs, Paul Tasner says it doesn't have to be that way. According to the 68-year-old Tasner, all it would take is for more products to use the packaging he's developed for his company, Pulpworks.

As you might guess from the name, it specializes in packaging made from pulp — from paper, cardboard, even sugarcane fiber — that's molded to fit a product.

"I just loved the idea of turning [what is] basically garbage into packaging," Tasner says.

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All Tech Considered
2:22 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

ISO Romance: Dating Sites Help Older Singles

The fastest-growing part of the online dating market is people over 50, according the CEO of the Match Group.
Carmen Winant Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:01 pm

With nearly 40 percent of Americans over 50 single and many looking for love online, dating sites are catering to this fast-growing market.

Vicki Cherco, 58, of Libertyville, Ill., uses one called OurTime.com. Her most recent date went well. "He was good-looking and funny and nice and thoughtful and paid for everything and asked for my phone number and said he'd like to call me again," she says.

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Around the Nation
1:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Snowstorm Leave Parts Of Midwest, Northeast And Canada Powerless

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:23 am

Christmas is less than merry and far from bright for hundreds of thousands of families from the upper Midwest to the far northeast and into Canada, where ice storms have downed power lines, leaving many households in the cold and dark.

This is the worst holiday week in the 126-year history of Michigan's largest power company, Consumers Energy. The outages began over the weekend, affecting nearly 350,000 customers. Power has been restored to many, but more than 120,000 remain in the dark.

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Politics
4:04 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Will Seniors Leave Republicans Out To Dry In 2014?

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Some of the Republican Party's most reliable support has come from voters over the age of 65. But a recent survey suggests this could be changing.

NPR's Ina Jaffe went to the Palm Springs to look at a congressional race where we might be seeing this change play out.

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NPR Story
1:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Homeless Population Shrinks Again, But Unevenly

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:54 pm

The number of homeless people in the U.S. has declined for the third straight year. New numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show a large decrease in the number of homeless veterans. Though there are still large numbers of homeless, mainly concentrated in large cities, including New York City and Los Angeles.

Health
2:28 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Despite Early Stages, Alzheimer's Affects Couple's Big Picture

Pansy Greene, 73, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. She and her husband, Winston, have been married for 57 years. She says her secret to maintaining a normal life is to stay active and positive.
David P. Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 8:22 am

NPR has been following Pansy and Winston Greene, a California couple struggling with an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Three years ago, Pansy learned she had Alzheimer's disease, and over this past summer, the couple told NPR that their day-to-day lives haven't changed much. That's still true. But on this second visit, they each seem to be looking at the future a bit differently.

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Economy
12:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

When 'Fixed Income' Means Getting By On Social Security

Gilroy Hain's only source of income is the $1,500 a month he receives from Social Security.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 10:23 am

Social Security has long been thought of as just part of a retirement plan — along with pensions and savings — but it turns out a lot of people depend on it for most of their income.

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly a quarter of older married couples and almost half of single retirees count on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.

Gilroy Hain proves that's not an easy life.

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Around the Nation
1:22 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Arguments Over Social Security Pit Old Vs. Young

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:24 am

Congress has until Jan. 15 to come up with another spending plan. As they negotiate, one thing you'll hear a lot about is overhauling entitlement programs — particularly Social Security.

The program accounts for about 20 percent of federal spending. One argument in favor of cuts is that Social Security amounts to a huge transfer of wealth from the young to the old.

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Shots - Health News
4:02 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Delaying Aging May Have A Bigger Payoff Than Fighting Disease

Gaining a few more years of healthy life would be great for individuals, but expensive for Medicare, researchers say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:24 pm

Curing cancer and eliminating heart disease has been the holy grail of medical research. But there could be even greater benefits if aging itself could be delayed, a study finds.

This is not quite as farfetched as it sounds. While the anti-aging "cures" being marketed these days are largely snake oil, in the laboratory scientists have managed to extend the lives of laboratory animals. And they have a better understanding of the mechanisms of biological aging.

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Shots - Health News
12:43 am
Wed September 4, 2013

For Hospital Patients, Observation Status Can Prove Costly

The next bed could cost you a lot if the hospital says you're there on observation.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 6:25 am

If you're on Medicare and you're in the hospital for a few days, you may think you're an inpatient. The hospital may have other ideas. Increasingly, hospitals are placing older patients on "observation status." They may be there for days, but technically they're still outpatients.

This is a big deal for someone on Medicare because follow-up treatment in a nursing home isn't covered unless someone has been an inpatient for at least three days. That's leaving some seniors on the hook for thousands of dollars in nursing home bills.

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