By Dorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)
The media is helping Americans responding to the Coronavirus outbreak with important information to keep people healthy and safe. Thousands of editors nationwide are asking “Can you give us more stories about advising families what to do about the elders now that they are increasingly isolated due to the COVID 19 emergency response.” They need stories about pointers on how to keep seniors safe, healthy, productive and entertained. Those are in short supply and are in high demand. Now is the time to give advice to the public on how they can help their families survive and thrive at this unprecedented time.
Social media plays an increasing role, and is needed more than ever for families to stay connected in a faster, easier, more enjoyable way. Facebook, in particular, has skewed older than other social platforms. Just as seniors have always shared newspaper articles with family members, they have increasingly been enabled to share information on social media, presenting greater opportunities for marketers to get their messages to their target audiences, by encouraging elder members of the families to share virtually. They can do this easily by clicking on share buttons on news sites or clicking links to social sites, which are also spelled out in articles, for those who are reading in print.
To help our clients choose formats that are getting the best results, North American Precis Syndicate ranks the top feature news stories of the year by the highest number of placements in media outlets nationwide. We have compiled the results to show the top feature news stories of the decade, those that have performed brilliantly, way above and beyond what is typically expected.
The most successful stories included attractive color photos or infographics, helpful advice from experts, celebrity spokespeople, the latest statistics, results from surveys, trends, time-saving tips, money saving ideas and other helpful information. The stories targeted people across various demographic groups and related to safe, enjoyable and prosperous experiences, protecting the health, and assets, of the readers, their friends and family members.
We are passionate about working on the kinds of stories that help millions of people nationwide with the news that is potentially life saving or can improve the quality of their lives.
To name a few, here are examples of the health and finance stories for seniors, including those that are amplified with mentions of social sites in the call to action, from the best and brightest communications professionals for some of the most demanding management teams at leading organizations:
1- Astra Zeneca/Crestor: Health Awareness/ Are You Getting The Right Prescription At The Pharmacy Counter?
Results of a survey were revealed to address concerns about therapeutic substitutions. Readers are encouraged to take their doctor’s advice when taking prescription medications. Tips were offered to help assure that patients get the medication that they had been prescribed. Some important safety information about CRESTOR was included along with a branded company site, a toll free number and a government site of the FDA for more information.
2- Genentech/American Stroke Association: Health Alert/ Suspect Stroke? Call 911
This unbranded story for American Stroke Association linked back to a branded site for Genentech. Readers were alerted about symptoms for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death in the U. S., and they were encouraged to call 911 so loved ones could get the medical attention they needed. Educating people on the signs, symptoms and risk factors of stroke, and empowering others to do the same, can make all the difference for someone experiencing stroke, including the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment to speed recovery.
3- Medline/CURAD: Health Bulletin/ Face Up To A New Way To Fight The Flu
Staggering statistics from the CDC were offered, including that one in five people in the U. S. was affected, at that time, and that more than 200,000 people per year were being hospitalized each year, with flu complications. Three simple prevention steps to ward off flu were offered, including wearing a special kind of face mask.
4- Life Extension/Omega-3 Fish Oils: Top Health/ Top Health/ Research Shows Fish Oil Can Contribute To Health
Expert advice from a doctor, along with results of recent studies, were offered to explain the health benefits of omega-3 fish oils, which were under scrutiny by the media recently for effectiveness.
5- Quest Diagnostics: Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives, But Many People Don’t Get Tested
The results of a study by the Colon Cancer Alliance were revealed to help increase potentially life saving screenings, with help from the world’s leading diagnostic testing company, Quest Diagnostics. The two organizations had recently teamed up to uncover the barriers that prevent people from being tested. Quotes from medical experts at each organization were included and readers were informed about a new blood test that was available.
6- Philips/ Lifeline/HomeSafe: News Of Older Americans/ Four Tips About Medical Alert Devices
For daughters and sons nationwide who were searching for a gift for their parents, who live with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or COPD, or those that live alone and were at risk of falling, readers were informed about a medical alert device that could help to keep them safer and give caregivers peace of mind. Celebrity talk show host Leeza Gibbons, was pictured with her father, and her life saving experience about the device that detected his heart attack was made an example for all concerned. She offered four tips for caregivers.
7- SilverSneakers: News For Older Americans/ How Older Adults Can Combat Loneliness And Social Isolation Through Exercise
For the 11 million Americans age 65 or over, living alone or at risk of lonliness, readers were alerted about the benefits of exercise classes, including, not only physical health, but also to make new friends and gain a network of support.
8- CDC: It’s Flu Season: CDC Reminds Public That Antibiotics Do Not Treat Flu
To encourage people to get their annual flu vaccine, CDC helped to dispel common myths about medications, explained what causes sickness and when antibiotics are recommended.
Expert advice was given by CDC for prevention and treatment.
9- National Institute On Aging: Health Bulletin/ Brain Health Registry: Speeding Path To Alzheimer’s Cure
Readers were informed by TV Star Linda Gray, among the millions with friends or family members affected by Alzheimer’s disease, who made a PSA to encourage others to support and sign up for a clinical trial registry. States were included including that the prevalence of the condition was expected to triple by 2050, growing from 5.5 million at the time, when it was the sixth leading cause of death in the U. S. and the fifth leading cause for those aged 65 or older. For emphasis, also included was the annual cost of $226 billion, half borne by Medicare, and the expectation that could jump to $1.1 trillion by 2050.
10- FEMA: Don’t Wait. Communicate./ Make Your Family Emergency Plan Today. Ensure That Everyone In Your Household Downloads The Free FEMA App.
For disaster preparedness, readers were encouraged to download the app, and get their family members to do the same, from the iTunes App Store and Google Play.
11- AARP/LISA: Planning Your Retirement/ Five Tips for Financial Stability in Retirement Years
The results of a recent study were revealed, indicating the low percentage of older Americans that were “financially healthy”, just 17%, and that four in five moderate-income Americans over the age of 50 were struggling with at least one aspect of their financial lives. Readers were encouraged by news of ways to increase financial stability, including how to generate cash from a life settlement.
12- Transamerica Institute: Insurance Matters/ What To Do If You Lose Your Health Insurance
The results of an annual survey were revealed, including the encouraging news that one in three insured adults acquired new health insurance in the past 12 months and, unfortunately, that a strong majority of uninsured respondents (61 percent), said cost prevented them from getting health coverage. Readers were informed about a variety of helpful options recommended by the foundation, which has been focused on empowering consumers and employers to achieve the best value and protection from their health coverage, as well as the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness.
13- n4a/Eldercare Locator: News For Older Americans/ Connecting Caregivers To Local Resources And Support
To connect the 30 percent of Americans, serving in a caregiving role, to local resources, statistics were provided, including that the number of adults is expected to reach 73 million by 2030. In-home and community based services were described and offered, including a reference to more information in four popular publications, several sites, including social media, and an 800#.
14- LISA: Managing Your Money/ How To Make The Most Of A Hidden Asset
Life Insurance Settlement Association, is committed to making sure older Americans have the information they need to make an informed decision about what to do with a life insurance policy that they no longer need or can afford. They informed readers about how to access its value, how much they can receive, why to sell, who can help and where to learn more.
15- American Association For Home-care: “Competitive” Bidding May Hurt Seniors
Readers are alerted about the trend of more Americans calling Congress, including the phone number, about asking representatives what’s being done about Medicare’s bidding program for durable medical equipment and services, to help keep seniors and people with disabilities safe and independent at home. Results from a recent study were cited.
16- Insured Retirement Institute: Planning For Retirement/ Research Suggests More Planning Needed
For National Retirement Planning Week, IRI informed readers that about 10,000 baby boomers retire every day and that their research shows they are losing confidence in their ability to attain financial security during their retirement years. They indicate that the research shows several factors contribute to the growing concern, including longer life spans, uncertainty with Social Security and Medicare, and the rising cost of healthcare. Readers were directed to the site of the National Retirement Planning Coalition for help with the process, including information, tools and resources.
17- Federal Long Term Care Insurance: Enjoying The Holidays With Family/ Home For The Holidays
The benefits of modern technology to help staying in touch with loved ones around the world are indicated as an important, especially for older family members that whom we don’t see on a regular basis. Readers were alerted that the technological closeness provided from cell phones, video calls, social media, texting and e-mail can be a reliable way to observe behaviors that may go undetected by just talking over the phone, to make it possible to determine a possible need for long term care. Based on what people see, readers are asked to consider FLTCIP, if eligible, and tips are given to help with that determination.
18- Social Security Administration/ Social Security News And Notes/ Social Security’s Ticket To Work Program: Celebrating 20 Years Of Career Development And Support
For the 20th anniversary of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, readers were alerted about the program serving people with disabilities from ages18 to 64 who receive SSI or SSDI. The program was described in detail including opportunities to get career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, job development, placement and training from authorized providers.
19- Bankers Life: Planning Your Retirement/ Five Questions To Ask When Meeting With A Financial Advisor About Retirement Planning
Results of a study were revealed, indicating that only a third of baby boomers feel prepared for retirement. Readers are encouraged to contact a financial advisor for assistance, and tips were given for how to plan.
20- MetLife: Planning For Retirement/ The Road Ahead: Planning For Retirement/ Pointers And Programs To Help Make The Most Of The Golden Years
Compelling statistics are provided to readers and their loved ones who were in the 13 percent of Americans over 65, including that persons reaching age 65 had an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 percent, meaning retirement could last for decades. Six decisions to consider were offered, and helpful resources were included.
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