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.

Are older lives less worthy in a pandemic?

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

You may have heard the comments from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick earlier this week, when he said that the elderly should be willing to die to help the economy.  Fox personality Glenn Beck made similar statements, urging older people — basically anyone over 50 — to return to work even if it meant they might get sick and die. He included himself in this group too.

Outrageous? Of course. But it’s also a sign of the ageism that’s still pervasive in the U.S.

“Let’s be clear: prioritizing the economy over the ill, the old, and the disabled is a form of #eugenics,” tweeted journalist and author Ashton Applewhite. Continue reading

Older health care professionals at risk during COVID-19 outbreak

Photo: Medical Reserve CorpsA member of the Medical Reserve Corps of
Puerto Rico conducts a medical assessment in response to an earthquake.

Retired physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have been asked to volunteer for duty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, many of these retirees fall into the high-risk group for contracting COVID-19. They face a difficult choice: stay away and stay safer, or put aside the potential risk to help care for an increasingly sick population. Continue reading

Study: Older adults with obstructive sleep apnea have higher health costs

Photo: Rachel Tayse via Flickr

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and costly medical condition leading to a wide range of health risks such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and even premature death.  Medical costs are substantially higher among older adults who go untreated for the disorder, according to a recent study.

Health costs among older adults for untreated OSA – which occurs when the upper airway closes off during sleep, temporarily interrupting breathing—will continue to rise without more early detection and treatment, researchers cautioned. Continue reading

COVID-19 and older adults tip sheet offers story ideas, resources

Photo: Emil Kabanov via Flickr

There’s still a lot we don’t yet know about the novel coronavirus, but one thing is clear: older adults are among those at highest risk. A majority of deaths worldwide from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have occurred in the 60-plus population. U.S. health officials are advising anyone over 60, or those with serious chronic medical conditions, to stay home for the next month. Continue reading

How one reporter leveraged a conference opportunity to report dementia series

Photo: Eric Ward via Flickr

How do you wrap your arms around a topic as big as dementia to create a five-part series that’s cohesive, coherent, and focuses on what matters to your audience? That was the challenge for AHCJ member Katherine Foley, health and science reporter for Quartz.

In this new How I Did It piece, Foley explains how she developed ideas for a weekly series for the publication’s paid subscribers. She relied on her prior reporting about neurodegenerative diseases (a strong area of interest for her), to sketch out a concept. Since Quartz is a business publication, it wasn’t hard to determine that costs and data had to play an important role in the series. Continue reading

Remember – it’s still flu season

While there is rightfully much concern about the COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) becoming a pandemic (see Bara Vaida’s excellent tip sheet on covering the virus), let’s not forget we’re in the middle of flu season, another disease that is potentially fatal for older adults. While COVID-19 is deadlier, flu is much more prevalent.

Flu activity is high in the U.S. and expected to continue for weeks, according to CDC’s Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report for the week ending Feb. 15, 2020. You can see a breakout by age groups for Influenza A and B strains here. CDC estimates at least 29 million flu illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths from flu so far this season. Continue reading