Ina Jaffe

Republican lawmakers meeting in Philadelphia this week say they want their replacement of Obamacare to be done by spring. There is no consensus on a plan yet, but several Republicans in Congress have already circulated proposals that could reduce or eliminate features of the federal health law that have benefited older Americans.

Here are some examples:

Prescription drugs

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Some encouraging news in the battle against Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia: The rate at which older Americans are getting these conditions is declining. That's according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers say one reason for the improved outlook is an increase in education.

Loneliness can be a problem for older people, especially when they're in the hospital. Their children may have moved away. Spouses and friends may themselves be too frail to visit. So a California hospital is providing volunteer companions in the geriatric unit.

One of the volunteers at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica is 24-year-old Julia Torrano. She hopes to go to medical school. Meanwhile, her twice-weekly volunteer shifts give her a lot of practice working with patients.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Donald Trump has agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits that targeted his now-defunct Trump University real estate seminars. NPR's Ina Jaffe has been following the cases, and she is here in the studio with me now. Hi, Ina.

The market for products designed specifically for older adults could reach $30 billion by next year, and startups want in on the action. What they sometimes lack is feedback from the people they hope will use their product. So Brookdale, the country's largest owner of retirement communities, has been inviting a few select entrepreneurs just to move in for a few days, show off their products and hear what the residents have to say.

Here in Japan, the buckwheat noodles known as soba are a staple. Nowhere more so than in the mountains of the southern island of Shikoku. The soil there is poor.

In Japan, you sometimes hear the term "village on the edge." What it means is "village on the edge of extinction."

Japan's population is declining. And the signs of that are easiest to see in rural areas, like the mountainous interior of the southern island of Shikoku. For example, the village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30.

Hiromi Yamamuro is doing something that's relatively rare in Japan. At age 67, he's still working in the corporate world, where traditionally, the mandatory retirement age has been 60.

But Yamamuro keeps going, because he loves his job — which he's been doing for 18 years — selling environmentally friendly products at Tokyo-based Sato Holdings.

"We're developing new products every single day," he says. "Plus the purpose is to create an environmentally friendly world. And it's just so much fun!"

Early mornings are routine for 69-year-old Hiroyuko Yamamoto. He's typically at a busy intersection in the city of Matsudo, near Tokyo, where he volunteers as a school crossing guard. But one rainy morning a little over a year ago, an old woman caught his attention.

She was pushing a bicycle. She was kind of disheveled. Despite the rain, she didn't have an umbrella. When Yamamoto spoke to the woman, she said she was trying to get to the city of Kamisuwa. That's about four hours away by train.

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