Category Archives: Aging

Reporter: Oral health has become gateway to other issues on the beat

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Paul Sisson

Paul Sisson

For low-income elders, dental care can be very hard to find. Medicare does not include routine dental benefits and seniors living on low or fixed incomes may lack the money to pay out of pocket for care.

Untreated tooth decay causes pain and contributes to tooth loss, poor nutrition, social isolation and declining overall health. Continue reading

Lack of advance care planning puts some populations at risk

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Sheila Sund via Flickr

Photo: Sheila Sund via Flickr

More than a quarter of older Medicare beneficiaries have yet to document their advance care planning (ACP) wishes, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Latinos, African-Americans, those with lower education levels and people with lower incomes were at greatest risk of not discussing or carrying out ACP.

That leaves many people subject to receiving end of life care that they may not want and may go against their values and wishes, according to Alexander Smith, M.D., senior study author and an associate professor of medicine, geriatrics and palliative care at UCSF. Continue reading

What may happen to services for seniors during Trump administration?

Howard Gleckman

About Howard Gleckman

Howard Gleckman writes about aging for Forbes, is author of the book "Caring for Our Parents (St. Martin's Press) and is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. Formerly a senior correspondent in the Washington bureau of Business Week, he writes and speaks on aging issues, as well as economic and fiscal policy.

Photo: Wayne MacPhail via Flickr

Photo: Wayne MacPhail via Flickr

Senior services will likely be under severe pressure in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. While it is impossible to know now which program budgets will be cut – or by how much – services funded through the Older Americans Act (OAA) such as Meals on Wheels, adult day care, and information assistance could all be targeted.

Significant changes to the Affordable Care Act could affect how care is delivered through Medicare and Medicaid. Those programs also could face even bigger changes, since Trump and House Republicans say they want to restructure both. The changes may increase out-of-pocket Medicare costs for seniors and limit the federal contribution to Medicaid. Continue reading

Experts weigh in on the landscape of aging in the age of Trump

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: IRISS Photo Collection via Flickr

Photo: IRISS Photo Collection via Flickr

What happens now? For those working in aging services, opinions range from cautiously optimistic to downright fearful.

Aging experts and service providers worry about the fate of innovative home- and community-based programs that allow older adults to age in place, about vital services funded under the Older Americans Act, and about the millions of older adults who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to get by. Continue reading

Colorado becomes sixth state to approve aid-in-dying law

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

dying-graphicstockWhile the dust may still be swirling around the presidential election, voters in Colorado were crystal clear about their support for Proposition 106, The Colorado End-of-Life Options Act. Nearly two-thirds of voters (64.6 percent) approved legalizing assisted death for patients with a terminal illness who desired it. A prognosis of death within six months would be required.

As The Denver Post reported, patients meeting this and other criteria would be allowed to self-administer aid-in-dying drugs to die voluntarily. Continue reading