Author Archives: Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in, 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.

Brief compares candidates’ positions on older Americans’ health

Trump and BidenA new explainer from The Commonwealth Fund examines how the two presidential candidates will or have approached health issues of prime importance to older adults — Medicare, long-term care and caregiver support.

While it’s a bit like comparing apples and bananas, since only one side can point to any results, this issue brief nevertheless provides a helpful overview of what the U.S. has accomplished under a Trump presidency and how a Biden administration might differ. Continue reading

New partnership seeks to boost nursing home safety

PPE for nursing homes

Photo: Scouse Smurf via Flickr

A new partnership will provide free training and mentorship to nursing homes across the country to improve evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices.

The National Nursing Home COVID Action Network is a collaboration by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute in Albuquerque and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston. The goal is to further protect residents and staff from the SARS-COV-2 virus. Continue reading

Study says older adults vastly underrepresented in COVID-19 trials

Elderly couple wearing masks

Photo: Babette Plana via Flickr

Approximately 80% of COVID-19 related deaths in the United States have been among people 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But a research letter published online in JAMA Internal Medicine on Sept. 28 reported that more than half of COVID-19 clinical trials were “at high risk for excluding older adults,” and none included seniors as part of vaccine trials early in the pandemic.

Despite a National Institute of Health policy mandating the inclusion of older adults in appropriate clinical trials, older adults were left out more often than not as scientists struggled to get a handle on the coronavirus. Researchers found that 53% of trials they reviewed did not include those older than 65 for a variety of reasons, including compliance concerns, co-morbid conditions or technology requirements. About one in four of the trials reviewed by the researchers included an age “cutoff” that would exclude adults age 65 to 80, as UPI reported. Continue reading

What are the risks for older adults as flu season approaches?

stock art for Flu Shot Risk

Photo: NIH Image Gallery via Flickr

Get your flu shot. Never, perhaps, has that advice been as important for older adults to act on as this year. As winter approaches, geriatricians and infectious disease experts are increasingly concerned about the effects of even a mild flu season on an already-vulnerable older adult population, especially those in long-term care facilities.

It’s been likened to “a perfect storm,” and sailing in “uncharted waters,” according to a recent editorial in Science magazine by Edward Bologna, director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Marshfield, Wisc., and Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Cliches aside, the reality is we have no idea what to expect when the pandemic and flu season converge, especially without a proven COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective in the older population. Continue reading

Nursing home commission recommends changes to combat COVID-19


Photo: IAPB/VISION 2020 via Flickr

A special commission looking into the large number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes says numerous changes are needed now, to mitigate further risk during this pandemic and avoid similar problems in the future. The commission’s final 186-page report, released Sept. 16, proposed 27 main recommendations grouped into 10 themes to improve infection prevention and control measures, safety procedures, and the quality of life of residents within nursing homes. Continue reading

New poll looks at the consequences of social isolation on older adults

isolation and loneliness in seniors

Photo: Andy Fisher via Flickr

Most older adults say they’re more lonely than ever and have little contact with friends or neighbors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll released Sept. 14 from the University of Michigan. The results further reinforce the concern for the long-term mental and physical health effects of the pandemic on older adults.

Some 56% of respondents over the age of 50 reported in June 2020 that they sometimes or often felt isolated from others ― more than twice the 27% who felt that way in a similar poll in 2018. Nearly half of those in the latest poll also said they felt more isolated than they had just before the pandemic arrived in the United States. A third said they felt they had less companionship than before. Continue reading