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.

Shots - Health News
2:45 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 10:39 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
4:04 am
Tue July 8, 2014

NPR Survey Reveals Despised And Acceptable Terms For Aging

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:51 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
11:25 am
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 1:08 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
11:04 pm
Wed June 18, 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 10:58 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
12:19 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 4:41 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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Shots - Health News
3:05 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

A Spoon That Shakes To Counteract Hand Tremors

The Liftware device, shown here as an early prototype (left) and the final design, starts up automatically when it's lifted from the table. There's no "on" switch to fumble with.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 10:43 am

Eating a bowl of cereal in the morning seems like such a simple thing, but it's close to impossible for some of the 1 million Americans who struggle with the tremors of Parkinson's disease.

There are also as many as 10 million Americans who have a disorder called essential tremor — sometimes mistaken for Parkinson's — which, when severe, also can make eating a struggle.

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Theater
2:36 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 10:45 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
4:40 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 7:57 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
4:22 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 6:49 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
4:00 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 4:22 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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Shots - Health News
7:42 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

A Third Of Nursing Home Patients Harmed By Their Treatment

Failures in ordinary care are causing widespread harm that's sometimes serious, inspectors say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 8:49 am

On the last day of his life, Charles Caldwell was surrounded by seven members of his family, but no one thought he was dying. He was in a Dallas-area nursing home, recuperating from surgery to insert a feeding tube. Caldwell had Parkinson's disease. He'd "lost his ability to swallow," explains Caldwell's son-in-law, Bill Putnam.

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All Tech Considered
4:30 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 7:01 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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Around the Nation
3:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Snowstorm Leave Parts Of Midwest, Northeast And Canada Powerless

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:23 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.

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Business
4:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Law Schools See Drop In First-Year Students

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 12:18 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Could we be facing a shortage of lawyers? It hardly seems possible. But according to the American Bar Association, law schools are seeing their lowest number of first-year students since the 1970's.

NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: This year, there were fewer than 40,000 first-year law students, which still seems like a lot. But it's an 11 percent drop from last year, and about a 24 percent drop from 2010, when new enrollments hit an all-time high.

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Politics
5:49 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Will Seniors Leave Republicans Out To Dry In 2014?

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:18 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.

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Health
4:28 am
Sat November 16, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 10:22 am

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.

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Economy
2:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

When 'Fixed Income' Means Getting By On Social Security

Gilroy Hain's only source of income is the $1,500 a month he receives from Social Security.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 12:23 pm

Social Security has long been thought of as just part of a retirement plan — along with pensions and savings — but it turns out a lot of people depend on it for most of their income.

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly a quarter of older married couples and almost half of single retirees count on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.

Gilroy Hain proves that's not an easy life.

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Around the Nation
3:28 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Arguments Over Social Security Pit Old Vs. Young

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:24 am

Congress has until Jan. 15 to come up with another spending plan. As they negotiate, one thing you'll hear a lot about is overhauling entitlement programs — particularly Social Security.

The program accounts for about 20 percent of federal spending. One argument in favor of cuts is that Social Security amounts to a huge transfer of wealth from the young to the old.

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Shots - Health News
5:34 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Delaying Aging May Have A Bigger Payoff Than Fighting Disease

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

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:24 pm

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.

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Shots - Health News
2:43 am
Wed September 4, 2013

For Hospital Patients, Observation Status Can Prove Costly

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

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 8:25 am

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.

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Sports
2:33 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Pickleball, Anyone? Senior Athletes Play New Games And Old

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

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 10:23 am

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

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Sports
2:16 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 11:01 am

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.

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On Aging
1:06 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Seniors Flex Creative Muscles In Retirement Arts Colonies

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

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:51 am

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.

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It's All Politics
2:15 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

How To Turn A Red State Blue: California Edition

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

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 5:11 pm

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.

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Health
4:17 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Despite Alzheimer's, Couple Holds Tight To Old Memories

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

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 2:44 pm

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.

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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Plug Pulled On California Nuclear Plant, For Good

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 7:29 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)

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Your Money
2:21 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Automatic-Enrollment IRAs Get A Test Run In California

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:51 am

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.

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Law
3:25 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 6:19 pm

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.

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