Author Archives: 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.

New York AG finds COVID-19 nursing home deaths vastly underreported

Photo: Zeev Barkan via Flickr

Deaths among nursing home residents in New York state have been underreported by as much as 50%, according to a new report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James. James has been investigating nursing homes’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March following allegations of patient neglect and other concerning conduct that may have jeopardized the health and safety of residents and facility employees throughout the state.

Among the report’s findings: many more nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than was reflected in data published by the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Continue reading

Study shows food insecurity still common among many older adults

Food being distributed by the National Guard

Photo: The National Guard via Flickr

Food insecurity — when people lack access to food or go hungry due to poverty or other challenges — remains a serious problem for many older adults. A new study finds that more than 25% of people with both Medicaid and Medicare, the dual eligibles, said they were food insecure. Among all older adults in the survey, food insecurity was most common (6.2%) in those 75 to 84; it was least common (4.8%) in adults 85 and older.

Social issues such as hunger, inadequate housing, social isolation and poverty are linked to poor health, especially as we age. Continue reading

Long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain could mean a wave of dementia cases

LongCOVID

Photo: Neil Moralee via Flickr

We don’t yet know the severity of COVID-19’s long-term effects on the brain, but a group of international researchers is aiming to find out.

The Alzheimer’s Association and scientists in 30 countries are forming an international consortium to track and assess COVID-19 patients. According to a paper announcing the study, scientists will look for any lasting effects on the central nervous system which may lead to late-life cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders. The World Health Organization is providing technical help. Continue reading

Does care suffer as private equity firms buy struggling nursing homes?

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Photo: Gilbert Mercier via Flickr

Private equity firms are in the business of making money. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that. However, a disturbing story in The Washington Post alleges that when private equity is involved in the buying and selling of nursing homes, things are often worse than they seem.

The story, by reporters Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason, looks at Portopiccolo Group, which has a history of buying one- and two-star rated facilities. Continue reading

As nursing home death and infection rates rise, how is isolation affecting seniors?

senior-walker

Photo: SalFalko via Flickr

As the U.S. enters what experts predict may be the most severe months yet of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of infections and deaths among residents and workers in nursing homes is rapidly rising.

Much of the nation is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and perhaps no situation is more concerning than that of nursing home residents and workers. A report released Dec. 10 by two senators ― Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member of the Finance Committee, and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging ― indicate an already-dire situation in nursing homes is worsening. Continue reading

Importance of home-based care programs for older adults grows during pandemic

home-based funding

Photo: stirwise via Flickr

We all know the toll that COVID-19 has taken on older adults in institutional settings. It’s prompted many aging advocates and policymakers to rethink how we deliver care to the frail elderly and whether the traditional nursing home model needs to change.

Many experts agree that more care should occur in community and home settings, but we lack enough clinicians to provide it and many states lack the resources to pay for it. However, home and community-based services (HCBS) can save money in the long term, studies have shown, and this care approach can work on many levels. Continue reading