Ina Jaffe

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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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.

Art can enlighten, soothe, challenge and provoke. Sometimes it can transform a community.

Case in point: a 5.5-square-mile island called Naoshima in Japan's Seto Inland Sea.

Once upon a time, the biggest employer on Naoshima was a Mitsubishi metals processing plant. Actually, it's still the biggest employer, just not nearly as big as it once was.

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.

In Japanese cities, space is at a premium. So convenience stores that cram everything from Kleenex to rice balls into a few square yards are everywhere. You can't walk five minutes in most cities without running into one or two or even half a dozen.

But they're not just a place for Slurpees and snacks. Nearly 27 percent of Japan's population is now 65 or older, and convenience stores are changing to serve this growing market.