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.

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On Aging
5:36 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Services Offer A Means To Foil Widespread 'Elder Fraud'

More than a quarter of the victims of financial fraud are over 60.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:50 pm

This is the season for generosity — and for con artists who take advantage of it.

Older adults are particularly vulnerable to scams; more than a quarter of the victims of financial fraud are over 60, according to the FTC. But now there are products on the market designed to protect seniors' nest eggs.

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Shots - Health News
5:15 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:34 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
3:35 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:26 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
4:57 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 24, 2014 7:17 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
6:18 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 5:37 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
8:39 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 9:27 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
11:08 am
Thu August 7, 2014

House Calls Keep People Out Of Nursing Homes And Save Money

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 2:58 pm

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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Law
5:19 am
Thu July 17, 2014

California's Death Penalty Declared Unconstitutional

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:38 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:45 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 11:39 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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On Aging
5:04 am
Tue July 8, 2014

NPR Survey Reveals Despised And Acceptable Terms For Aging

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's Ina Jaffe covers aging. And on a recent program, we discussed a program that she's encountered on her beat - what to call the peeper she covers. Now this led to us asking you all for some terms. We polled our listeners, but listen back to what she told us in that first conversation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: Maybe, once upon a time, elderly referred to a particular stage in life, but now people think of it as - means you're ailing and you're frail.

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Shots - Health News
12:25 pm
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 2:08 pm

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
12:04 am
Thu June 19, 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 11:58 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
1:19 pm
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 5:41 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
5:29 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Is Working Past Retirement Age An Antidote To Getting Old?

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 12:40 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The word retirement is losing its meaning. A new study finds that almost half the people who say they are retired are still working or have worked in the recent past. Nearly three quarters of baby boomers who are not yet retired say they plan to stay on the job past retirement age. NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: This is a dictionary definition of retirement.

KEN DYCHTWALD: It says, to disappear, to withdraw and go away.

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Theater
3:36 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Dancers Find A Second Act At Palm Springs Follies

With their matching blue wigs, the dancers in the Palm Springs Follies chorus (they're called the "long-legged lovelies") give a whole new meaning to the cliche "blue-haired old ladies."
Ina Jaffe NPR

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 11:45 pm

The Palm Springs Follies is an old-fashioned musical revue designed for an audience who remembers when this sort of entertainment wasn't old fashioned. But it's not only for older people — it's by older people. The dancers range in age from 55 to 84.

The show, an institution in Palm Springs, is getting ready to wrap up its 23rd and final season in May.

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Business
5:27 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 8:57 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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Shots - Health News
5:06 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Thinking Of Retiring? Consider Your Health

Manuel "Manny" Aguirre, 80, has been mixing cocktails at Musso and Frank Grill in Los Angeles for more than two decades. He works part time and could retire — but he doesn't want to.
Courtesy of Musso and Frank Grill

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:49 pm

The Musso and Frank Grill is a cherished time warp in Los Angeles. Once inside, you're in old Hollywood: The place is all dim lighting and curved booths, with a soundtrack featuring every song you ever heard in a black-and-white movie. It's a steak-and-martini kind of place.

And the guy who makes those famous martinis is Manuel "Manny" Aguirre. He's been mixing cocktails for 55 years, more than two decades of that behind the long bar here. He just turned 80 and could retire if he wanted to.

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Around the Nation
5:00 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

With Less Financial Security, Older Workers Stay On The Job

Man signing a contract in his attorney's office.
Lisa F. Young iStockPhoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:22 pm

The laboratories at The Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif., look more like a bunch of stuff from the hardware store than the set from Star Trek. But physicist John Hurrell gazes at a nondescript collection of tubes with admiration. It's a transmission electron microscope.

"This is one of the pieces of equipment which will enable us to get down pretty well to atomic-level sensitivity," he says.

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Research News
4:57 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Why Older Adults Have A Hard Time Letting Their Stuff Go

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:59 am

A study finds that people over 50 have difficulty getting rid of unneeded possessions. Some of this is for emotional reasons and some of it for physical ones.

All Tech Considered
5:28 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 8:01 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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