NPR: 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

4:29pm

Thu December 25, 2014
Business

How 'The Interview' May Change How Big Studios Do Business

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

5:36pm

Mon December 22, 2014
On Aging

Services Offer A Means To Foil Widespread 'Elder Fraud'

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

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

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.

Read more

5:16pm

Tue December 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

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.

Read more

3:35am

Tue December 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

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.

Read more

4:57am

Mon December 8, 2014
Shots - Health News

Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 7:17 pm

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

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.

Read more

6:18pm

Tue September 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 5:37 pm

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

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.

Read more

8:39pm

Fri September 5, 2014
Shots - Health News

Feds Hope Hitting Nursing Homes In The Wallet Will Cut Overmedication

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 9:27 am

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

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.

Read more

11:08am

Thu August 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

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.

Read more

3:45pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 11:39 am

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

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.

Read more

12:25pm

Tue July 1, 2014
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:08 pm

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

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.

Read more

12:04am

Thu June 19, 2014
Shots - Health News

How Your State Rates In Terms Of Long-Term Care

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:58 am

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

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.

Read more

1:19pm

Mon June 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 5:41 am

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

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.

Read more

5:40pm

Tue April 1, 2014
Business

Never Too Late: More Older Adults Sold On Entrepreneurship

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:57 am

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

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.

Read more

5:30pm

Tue February 25, 2014
All Tech Considered

ISO Romance: Dating Sites Help Older Singles

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

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

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.

Read more

4:47pm

Wed December 25, 2013
Around the Nation

Snowstorm Leave Parts Of Midwest, Northeast And Canada Powerless

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:23 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.

Read more

6:44am

Mon December 9, 2013
Politics

Will Seniors Leave Republicans Out To Dry In 2014?

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 8:18 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.

Read more

4:45pm

Thu November 21, 2013
NPR Story

Homeless Population Shrinks Again, But Unevenly

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:54 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.

5:28am

Sat November 16, 2013
Health

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

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 11:22 am

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

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.

Read more

6:34pm

Mon October 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

Delaying Aging May Have A Bigger Payoff Than Fighting Disease

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:24 pm

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

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.

Read more

3:43am

Wed September 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

For Hospital Patients, Observation Status Can Prove Costly

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:25 am

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

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.

Read more

3:33am

Wed July 31, 2013
Sports

Pickleball, Anyone? Senior Athletes Play New Games And Old

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 11:23 am

Hazel Trexler-Campbell throws spray-painted horseshoes during the Senior Games in Cleveland on July 23.
Benjamin Morris for NPR

A lot of what you'd see at the National Senior Games looks familiar if you've ever watched the Summer Olympics: There's track and field, basketball and swimming. At the Summer Olympics, however, you will not hear voices in the crowd cheering "Go, Grandma!"

Everyone at these games is over 50, and they play some sports that will likely never appear at the Olympics. Here's a sample:

Pickleball

Read more

3:16pm

Fri July 26, 2013
Sports

Age Hasn't Stopped This Man From Swimming — And Winning

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:01 pm

Graham Johnston, 82, poses for a portrait through an underwater window at the pool on Wednesday. Graham competed at the Senior Games in Cleveland, where more than 10,000 athletes older than 55 are competing in various sports.
Benjamin Morris for NPR

More than 10,000 athletes are meeting in Cleveland for The National Senior Games. Adults older than 55 — and some older than 90 — are running track, riding bikes, playing basketball and competing in many of the sports you might see at the Summer Olympics. In fact there are a few who were Olympians themselves back in the day who say they find that competition is just as satisfying in their later years.

One of those is 82-year-old swimmer Graham Johnston. When he's not racing or getting ready to race, he's in the stands, checking out the other swimmers with an expert eye.

Read more

2:06am

Fri July 5, 2013
On Aging

Seniors Flex Creative Muscles In Retirement Arts Colonies

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 4:51 am

Buster Sussman, 86, shown with his art instructor, Randall Williams, is a former real estate reporter who only recently started painting. His paintings were on display at the Burbank Senior Artists Colony.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Some famous writers, painters and musicians have done some of their best work in their later years — impressionist Claude Monet, for one. But at the North Hollywood Senior Arts Colony, older people are proving that you don't have to be famous — or even a professional artist — to live a creatively fulfilling life in old age.

With a fully equipped theater and painting and sculpture studios, there seems to be rehearsals or exhibitions of some sort going on here all the time.

Read more

3:09pm

Mon July 1, 2013
It's All Politics

How To Turn A Red State Blue: California Edition

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 6:11 pm

Republicans celebrated when California Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in 1994. But his divisive campaign led to a backlash, especially among the growing Latino population in the state.
Kevork Djansezian AP

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

Democrats who hope to turn Texas from red to blue are looking to California for inspiration.

Read more

5:17am

Sat June 29, 2013
Health

Despite Alzheimer's, Couple Holds Tight To Old Memories

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:44 pm

The Greenes say they take it a day at a time and relish the many long-term memories they've shared for nearly 60 years.
David Gilkey NPR

Right now, 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. One of them is 73-year-old Pansy Greene. She's in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and she and her husband, Winston, want people to know that so far, their daily lives have changed little despite the diagnosis.

Read more

4:54pm

Fri June 7, 2013
Around the Nation

Plug Pulled On California Nuclear Plant, For Good

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Southern California, a nuclear power plant that supplied energy to more than a million homes is shutting down for good. As NPR's Ina Jaffe reports, the San Onofre nuclear plant has been idle for repair since January of 2012.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The twin, white domes at the San Onofre nuclear power plant have been landmarks on the California coast for more than four decades.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS CHANTING)

Read more

3:21am

Wed May 1, 2013
Your Money

Automatic-Enrollment IRAs Get A Test Run In California

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 10:51 am

iStockphoto.com

With all of the controversy over entitlement reform, there's one thing both sides can agree on: Social Security alone does not provide enough money for a comfortable retirement. For these workers, the Obama administration is proposing automatically enrolling workers in IRAs through their employers.

California adopted a version of this last year. Democratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon sponsored the bill to automatically enroll workers in an individual retirement account. The inspiration, he says, was his Aunt Francisca, who's 74.

Read more

4:25pm

Wed April 10, 2013
Law

A Mother's Fight Against 3 Strikes Law 'A Way of Life'

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

Sue Reams campaigned to change California's three-strikes law and help set free her son, Shane.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Since the November election, 240 California prisoners facing potential life sentences have been set free. That's because voters changed California's tough three strikes sentencing law.

As NPR reported in 2009, that law sent thousands of people to prison for terms of 25 years to life for minor, nonviolent crimes. Now those prisoners can ask the court to have their sentences reduced.

One of those set free under the new law is Shane Reams. He owes his freedom in no small part to his mother Sue's 17-year campaign to change the law.

Read more

3:19am

Mon April 1, 2013
Arts & Life

'A Lovely Feeling': Celebrating Older Women With Fabulous Style

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 8:50 am

Ilona Royce Smithkin, 93, cut her red hair to make her eyelashes.
Courtesy of Ari Seth Cohen

The fashion industry is sometimes criticized for unrealistic portrayals of young women. But if you're a woman older than 60, there are almost no portrayals, realistic or otherwise. Fashion may be something you have to invent more than follow. A blog called Advanced Style focuses on women who've done just that.

Read more

3:55am

Thu March 14, 2013
Working Late: Older Americans On The Job

A Retired Chicago Cop's Second Act Is At A Barbershop

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 8:43 pm

Richard Piña, 69, with customer Augustin Bustos at Rich's Den barbershop in Calumet City, Ill. Piña, who retired from the Chicago police force 12 years ago, works at his shop four or five hours a day.
Beth Rooney for NPR

Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job. In Working Late, a series for Morning Edition, NPR profiles older adults who are still in the workforce.

Read more

Pages