Category Archives: Aging

Tip sheet offers story ideas when reporting on Medicare Advantage

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.

Photo: John Jacobi via Flickr

Medicare Advantage plans may not be all they’re cracked up to be and often mislead consumers, according to a new MedPage Today story by reporter Cheryl Clark, who also is AHCJ’s new patient safety core topic leader. As Clark puts it, “getting out is a lot harder than getting in.”

Anyone turning 65 has several months on either side of their birthday to choose to enroll in traditional Medicare, the government-run health insurance for older adults and certain people under 65 with disabilities. Medicare includes Parts A (hospitalization), B (physician services) and an optional Part D (prescription drug plan). As of November, Medicare covered nearly 39 million people. Continue reading

Financial abuse of elders can wipe out savings, take away independence

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.

Photo: jridgewayphotography via Flickr

Financial fraud is a business which is both pervasive and problematic. Older people can be at high risk for this form of elder abuse from many sides — trusted others, friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, or caregivers.

It can be a crime of opportunity, or a well-planned, targeted scheme, and often goes undetected for months or even years. We all need to do our part to educate potential victims and help inoculate them about this issue, according to one expert at the recent AHCJ Journalism Workshop on Aging & Health. Continue reading

Poor sleep quality linked to increased Alzheimer’s risk in Hispanics

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.

Sleep disturbances among Hispanics may increase their risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

Photo: Alex Proimos via Flickr

Sleep disturbances among Hispanics may increase their risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. Researchers found that insomnia and prolonged sleep duration appear to be linked to a decline in neurocognitive functioning that can precede the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

This finding is particularly important because Hispanics have a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared with non-Hispanic whites. Onset also occurs sooner, according to prior research from Duke University. Continue reading

Can agencies stop employees from talking to media? Brechner Center says no 

Madeline Laguaite

About Madeline Laguaite

Madeline Laguaite (@MLaguaite) is pursuing her master’s degree in health and medical journalism at the University of Georgia. Her area of interest is stories about LGBTQ health and mental health.

Public employees have the right to speak to the press without going through the boss, but workplace gag orders continue to violate their freedom of speech, says a report from The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a nonprofit educational center.

The findings could have particular implications for health care journalists, the center’s director says.

Federal, state or local agencies often impose policies that restrict an employee’s ability to speak with reporters. In a report released in October that examines employees’ First Amendment rights, the center urges news organizations to challenge those rules. Continue reading

New data updates the economic value of family caregiving

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.

Photo: Betty Tsang via Flickr

About 41 million unpaid family caregivers provided an estimated 34 billion hours of care — worth $470 billion — to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends in 2017, according to a new report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI). The report explores the growing scope and complexity of caregiving today, which includes an aging population, more family caregivers also in the paid workforce and an increasing amount of medical and nursing tasks now provided at home.

Ensuring better recognition of and support for family caregivers has become a health, economic, and social imperative, according to the report. Several co-authors discussed the analysis at a Nov. 14 press conference during the Gerontological Society of America annual meeting in Austin, Texas. Continue reading

AHCJ joins groups urging Congress to address communication between journalists and federal agencies

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has joined the Society of Professional Journalists and 25 other journalism and open government groups in urging every member of Congress to support unimpeded communication with journalists for all federal employees.

“It is essential to public welfare and democracy that this issue is addressed. Not allowing experts to speak freely to reporters is authoritarian and keeps sources from explaining a variety of things that are the public’s business,” the groups say in a letter sent to Congress members today.

“This ‘Censorship by PIO’ works in tandem with other assaults on free speech including restrictions on public records, threats and physical assaults on reporters, prosecution of whistleblowers and threats of prosecution against reporters.”

Many groups in the coalition of organizations have been working for several years to spark changes in the restrictions put on federal employees and the lack of freedom to speak to journalists. For more than a decade, AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee has pressed federal officials to improve journalists’ access to federal experts.

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