Category Archives: Aging

A physician offers his view on the White House Conference on Aging

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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.

Bruce Chernof, M.D.

Bruce Chernof, M.D.

Bruce Chernof, M.D., is a geriatrician, president of The SCAN Foundation, based in Long Beach, Calif., and a former chairman of the Federal Commission on Long Term Care. He was in the audience for last week’s White House Conference on Aging, listening from multiple perspectives. Overall, he said in a phone interview, he was pleased with the outcomes.

Q: What were your overall impressions of the conference?

A: It’s important the President was there and spoke up as forcefully as he did. We needed the President to take part in this conversation. It was a very interesting and different conference but I liked the underlying theme: how do we discuss and transform aging? Everyone likes to talk about the scary stuff first – the diseases, the falls, the dementia. There’s not enough focus on the positive aspects of aging, and that limits our ability to focus on everything older adults can and do contribute. Continue reading

Get a jump on covering 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Bob Rosenblatt

Bob Rosenblatt

The 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid is July 30.

Over the years, these programs have evolved from basic safety nets to comprehensive care models designed to improve quality and offer affordable health care for millions. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 55 million Americans have Medicare this year and more than 70 million have Medicaid in any given month

Bob Rosenblatt, a veteran at reporting on issues around aging, has put together a tip sheet with background on the Medicare program and some things to consider as you plan coverage of the anniversary. It includes story ideas and useful links as well as contact information for sources.

Story ideas emerge between policy, spin at White House Conference on Aging

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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: White House Conference on Aging

Photo: White House Conference on Aging

It’s difficult to describe the experience of walking into the East Room of the White House as an invited member of the press for the once-a-decade White House Conference on Aging.

Several hundred invited VIPs – family caregivers, home care workers, advocates for seniors, corporate executives and members of Congress – filled the neat rows of chairs for the morning panels. Continue reading

Ms. Seegert goes to Washington 

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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.

When the confirmation email arrived in my inbox late Friday afternoon, I had all but given up on obtaining press credentials to cover the once-a-decade White House Conference on Aging on Monday, just three days away.

But there it was: “You have been confirmed …”

After dashing off a few quick emails to Pia and Len, searching for an affordable, decent hotel (not as easy as it sounds) and making Amtrak reservations, it hit me – “holy cow, I’m going to the White House on Monday! Continue reading

Older same-sex couples gain financial protection in SCOTUS decision

Bob Rosenblatt

About Bob Rosenblatt

Bob Rosenblatt has been a journalist in Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years, with much of his career focused on aging. At the Los Angeles Times, he started the paper’s first beat on aging and launched a popular advice column on Medicare and health insurance.

Photo: Matt Popovich via Flickr

Photo: Matt Popovich via Flickr

In the wake of last month’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage, same-sex married couples in all 50 states should now qualify for financial protection against impoverishment under Medicaid if one of them goes into a nursing home.

Before the high court’s decision, spousal financial protection rules were unavailable to same-sex couples if their state of residence did not recognize their marriage. With a semi-private room in a nursing home costing $80,000 a year, many couples can easily wipe out all their assets without such protection. Continue reading

Conference offers occasion, sources to report on key issues of aging

Eileen Beal

About Eileen Beal

Eileen Beal, M.A., has been covering health care and aging since the late 1990s. She's written several health-related books. including "Age Well!" with geriatrician Robert Palmer, and her work has appeared in Aging Today, Arthritis Today,WebMD and other publications. She leads AHCJ's Cleveland chapter.

The Older Americans Act – signed into law on July 14, 1965 – mandated a national conference on aging every 10 years. I’ve attended the past two White House Conferences on Aging (1995, 2005), and this decade’s event is far different from the previous ones.

This conference was preceded by five, one-day, invitation-only “forums;” prior conferences featured hundreds of federally sanctioned local events. At the one-day forums, mornings were spent listening to national and local experts, then attendees separated into special interest groups for the afternoon to discuss – and then report back on – one of four designated topics. Here is how one attendee assessed the forum in Boston. Continue reading

Can screenings be too much of a good thing?

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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.

Medicare reimburses for cancer and other screenings as part of routine care for older adults. Of course, the goal is to catch diseases in their earliest, most treatable stages. But can preventive care become too much of a good thing?

For years, evidence has grown about wasted Medicare dollars on needless screenings. The Center for Public Integrity found that 40 percent of Medicare spending on common cancer screenings are unnecessary – costing billions of taxpayer dollars. Continue reading

New report ranks best, worst states for older women’s health

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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 by pingnews via Flickr.

Photo by pingnews via Flickr.

Want to stay healthy as you age? Move to Minnesota. Or perhaps Hawaii. These states rank number one and two in a new report on the health status of women. Minnesota was tops in the nation with an “A-“ on a composite index of women’s health and well-being, according to research compiled by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The North Star State has the lowest female mortality rate from heart disease and ranks in or near the top ten almost all of the other nine component nine indicators covering chronic disease, sexual health, mental and physical health.

States in the South have the lowest composite scores on women’s health status. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia were rated most poorly, with grades of “F” or “D-.” Continue reading

Experts stress increased need for more long-term care initiatives, funding

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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.

caregiving-2In a run-up to the July 13 White House Conference on Aging, (WHCOA) policy experts are stressing the need for increased funding for long-term services and supports (LTSS).

G. Lawrence Atkins, Ph.D. executive director, Long-Term Quality Alliance and president, National Academy of Social Insurance, reviewed key lessons from the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care and aging services innovations to frame future care delivery.

Atkins is the former chair of the commission, which issued a comprehensive report in 2013 calling for more funding and services for care and caregivers of older adults. About 78 percent of adults over age 65 has some type of unmet care need, requiring help with independent household activities of daily living. More than a quarter of older adults rely on outside help; 75 percent turn to family members to help meet their needs. Continue reading

Initiatives look at what makes a city ‘age-friendly’

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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 by Royan Lee via Flickr.

Cities are great places to grow old, say aging and health policy experts, but most urban areas are not well-prepared for the surge in aging populations. Urban centers are already home to 54 percent of the general population and 56 percent of the 65-plus population in OECD nations. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Most of this increase is projected to occur in Asia and Africa. But many of those cities are not yet age-friendly.

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, New York City’s deputy mayor of health and human services, described efforts to make New York City a more age-friendly metropolis. There are currently 1.4 million New Yorkers over age 60; by 2030, that is expected to increase to about 1.8 million, or one-fifth of the city’s population.

“New York has always been a good place to age, and has become even more so over the past decade” she said. New York signed on to the World Health Organization’s Global Age-Friendly Cities Project in 2007 – a model that creates environments to improve healthy and active aging. Continue reading