Caitlin McDevitt

Stories by Caitlin McDevitt

  • Finding Good Work After You Retire

    A s retirement portfolios shrink, it's inevitable that some older Americans will consider going back to work. That's a good thing, says Marc Freedman, author of "Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life." He told NEWSWEEK's Caitlin McDevitt why retirees shouldn't polish their golf clubs just yet. ...
  • Seniors Can't Afford Move to Retirement Centers

    The market crush is hurting most Americans, but it's especially painful for senior citizens who are ready to move into retirement communities but can't sell their homes to get there. Seniors pay out of pocket for most of their long-term housing needs, and because entrance fees for retirement communities can cost as much as a house, making a move is often contingent upon a sale. "The idea is that a senior has built up equity in [a] house, and this assures that they can have care for the rest of their lives," says Larry Minix, of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. But not if they can't find a buyer. And with a glut of houses on the market, even reduced asking prices don't always lure prospective buyers. Ruth Scher, 85, put her condominium in Delray Beach, Fla., on the market last year and "nobody came," she says. The clogged market helps explain why vacancies in senior living facilities are on the rise—most dramatically in areas where the market is most...
  • Jump-Start That Heart

    Call it the "Russert Effect." The death of the 58-year-old newsman, of sudden cardiac arrest, has sparked a surge in defibrillator sales—in hopes that the device could save others from a similar fate. Big manufacturers such as Philips and Defibtech say their phones have been ringing nonstop since Russert's passing on June 13. It's too soon to tally sales, but Philips estimates a 30 percent increase in inquiries, and Defibtech CEO Glenn Laub, a cardiac surgeon, says he's being "deluged" by calls. "It's human nature to take stock of our own lives after someone we feel close to passes away," says Philips spokesman Ian Race.There's no telling whether a defibrillator could have saved Russert's life. There was one available at his NBC office, but it was used only after the arrival of the paramedics. Still, defibrillation is the most effective emergency treatment for cardiac arrest—the No. 1 killer in America—and can increase survival odds from 2 to 50 percent (higher if it's used within...
  • Honda to Detroit: Take That!

    How do you know your ride is hot? When it's not only the most popular car on the road, but also the favorite boost among thieves. That's the case with the Honda Civic. In 2007, Americans bought 331,000 of them, and stole 51,000—more than any other model. This year, Civic sales are up 16 percent, and in May, the 36-mpg car supplanted Ford's hulking F-series pickup truck as America's favorite ride. In this summer of Detroit's discontent, the Civic has become Honda's engine. With GM losing $15.5 billion in the second quarter and even Toyota slashing pickup and SUV production, Honda is in high gear, reporting record profits and sales up 3 percent this year, while overall U.S. auto sales are down by 11 percent.Fueling Honda's joyride is the same $4-a-gallon gas that's sent other major automakers skidding. Since its humble beginnings during the oil embargoes of the 1970s, Honda has been all about the mileage. Even during the SUV boom and the $1-a-gallon era of the 1990s, Honda stuck to...
  • Traffic Jam: Seniors on Scooters

    Madonna Ward, 92, uses a motorized scooter to get around her retirement home in Rochester, N.Y., but the facility's cramped quarters have led to some painful smacks into doorways and walls. So every morning, before she saddles up on her scooter, she straps on shin guards. Most senior-care facilities are not designed to handle motorized traffic, and the swift adoption of scooters has created a new set of headaches for administrators. Chicago-based Covenant Retirement Communities, for instance, settled a $500,000 lawsuit in August 2007 over a policy forbidding mobility aids in its dining rooms.Jeffery Anderzhon, a Washington, D.C., architect, says that his blueprints for new facilities now feature wider hallways, more durable wall materials and outlets for recharging batteries—adjustments that developers tend to resist. "Every time you add a square foot," he says, "it adds dollars." Dallas-based architect Carl Malcolm builds scooter storage rooms to hide clutter from prospective...
  • Inventions: An Easy-Access Peanut Butter Jar

    Each year, Americans buy 700 million pounds of peanut butter. But about 3.5 million pounds of it ends up unused, stuck at the bottom of the jar, according to Sherwood Forlee, a former Princeton University engineering student. So he's come up with a simple (and Kramer-esque) solution: his Easy PB&J jar has straight interior walls and twist-off lids at both ends. He spent eight years perfecting his invention and hopes to begin production later this year. "It's a really novel concept," says Lee Zalben, founder of Peanut Butter & Co., a Manhattan sandwich store. The peanut-butter industry, however, is hurting from an uncertain supply of peanuts and soaring fuel costs, and may be slow to embrace a packaging change. "It would seem much more expensive to manufacture," says Leslie Wagner of the Peanut Advisory Board. In that case, we'll just have to keep using our fingers.