Author Archives: Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

End-of-life project brings insights – and healing – for broadcast reporter and her listeners

Photo: Vee via Flickr

Reporting on end of life can pose surprising challenges and opportunities.

If you haven’t yet listened to JoAnn Mar’s remarkable radio series on end-of-life issues, add it to your playlist right now. An AHCJ reporting fellowship allowed Mar to take a deeper dive into how people prepare for their last phase of life, and why good conversations with loved ones on the topic can be so important. The entire series, aired on KALW FM, San Francisco in January. Continue reading

Tip sheet looks at the health consequences of elder financial abuse

Photo: jridgewayphotography via Flickr

It is mind-boggling that there are people in this world who so easily take advantage of vulnerable older adults. Yet, elder abuse – psychological, physical, and financial – is an unfortunate reality. The CDC estimates it affects one in every 10 community-dwelling adults age 60 and older.

The problem is likely much greater. For every reported case of abuse, approximately 23 others are not reported. Financial exploitation of older adults is the most prevalent form, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. One study found that self-reported financial exploitation happens at a rate of 41 per every 1,000 older adults surveyed. That number may be higher because many older adults are reluctant to admit they were scammed. Continue reading

OIG report: CMS not doing enough for vulnerable nursing home residents

Photo: Matthew Paulson via FlickrDespite hurricane risks, Florida has been a popular retirement locale for senior citizens, who may eventually need to transition to skilled nursing facilities.

News on Wednesday that eight residents of a Hollywood, Fla. nursing home had died a few days after the facility lost power for its air conditioning unit during Hurricane Irma (see more coverage links below) has refocused attention on persistent weaknesses in nursing facility regulation and oversight.

A report released in late August (prior to the Harvey and Irma hurricanes) by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (OIG) highlights problems with how incidents of potential abuse or neglect are reported and investigated. Separately, there has been pushback in Congress on a Trump administration effort to weaken Obama-era restrictions on the use of arbitration agreements to settle nursing home claims. Continue reading

Air pollution within legal limits still can be deadly for older adults

Al Gore’s new movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel, Truth to Power,” delves into the most recent effects of climate change on humans and nature. (Watch the official trailer here.)

Among those most affected by a thinning ozone layer, rising temperatures and increased air pollution are older adults. Recent research finds that even air pollution within legal limits could mean an early death for older residents. Continue reading

How to report on Alzheimer’s drug trials without giving false hope

Photo: Esther Dyson via Flickr

The death of musician Glen Campbell on Aug. 8 after a very public struggle with Alzheimer’s disease has again focused attention on whether science will ever find a drug that truly halts this devastating condition.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s are increasing, according to the nonprofit advocacy group UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. The organization, which has the goal of stopping Alzheimer’s by 2020, lobbies legislators to increase research funding. Some 35 drugs are in various phases of clinical trials. But as this excellent Pacific Standard article reports, the goal of a cure by 2020, or 2025, is iffy at best. Continue reading