Author Archives: 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.

Report, webinar look at public beliefs about aging vs. what experts know

I lucked out when I attended an American Society on Aging Conference in the late 1990s and met the person who has been (for lack of a better way of putting it) my aging mentor, Paul Kleyman. Back then, he was ASA’s publications guy: today he leads Ethnic Elders Newsbeat at New America Media.

As I niched myself into the geriverse – writing about diabetic retinopathy, what is and isn’t Alzheimer’s, end-of-life care, long-term care planning, senior fraud, family caregiving and more, I began to get a handle on how interconnected everything aging is.

And I realized that most people don’t know much about aging, including what “normal” aging is. Continue reading

Exploring risk factors, rates of suicide in seniors

Jules Rosen, M.D., a certified geriatric psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Mind Springs Health, the largest provider of psychiatric services in western Colorado, recently answered some important questions about senior suicide.

What are the most common risk factors for suicide in older adults?

The biggest one is major depression.

Major depression [in older adults] is difficult to recognize and diagnose, especially in the primary care setting where most diagnosis is going to be done. That’s because older people don’t come in with the classic symptoms [of major depression], related to things like schizophrenia or substance abuse disorder, which are fairly easy to recognize. They come in with somatic and functional complaints. They say: “I’m sick. I’m tired all the time. I’m not enjoying things I used to.”

So many times I hear people say “I feel this way because I’m old” and it’s not that they are old, it’s that they are depressed.

So, how do potentially suicidal seniors get the “right” diagnosis?

To get an appropriate diagnosis, patients need a medical work-up – to see how their thyroid is doing, how their electrolytes are, what their vitamin D level looks like, and so on – but they need a psychological work-up, too, to find out why they are “sick” or “tired” of “not enjoying things.” Continue reading

Cleveland-Akron chapter hears about using journalism skills for grant writing

Cleveland-area health care journalists and writers learned about grant writing as an option for freelancers to use their journalistic skills to make a living at a Feb. 27 AHCJ chapter meeting.

Ten journalists attended the Cleveland-Akron chapter’s first 2014 event, “Expanding freelance options I: Grant writing,” to hear about the pros and cons, ins and outs, and challenges and rewards of freelance grant writing.

Following a light dinner, University Hospitals/Case Medical Center development officer Sandra Erlanger discussed how she got into grant writing from journalism.

“It’s a learn-by-doing process,” she said. She also discussed the variety of writing she does – “everything from grant proposals to thank-you notes” – within the development department.

Continue reading