Category Archives: Aging

#AHCJ18 panelists urge earlier conversations about a palliative approach to end-of-life care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: George Bush Presidential Library via FlickrFormer First Lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday, announced two days earlier that she had ended curative treatment for life-threatening health issues in favor of what was described as “comfort care.”

Death may be the price we pay for life. But many physicians still regard death as a kind of failure. For families and patients, decisions about the management of serious illness and death can seem forbidding and difficult.

Even so, timely discussion of options such as palliative care and hospice care can offer deeply meaningful choices to people navigating life-threatening and terminal illnesses, according to experts on “The Increasing Demand for Palliative Care,” panel last week during Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix.

“The model I am trying to promote … is earlier conversation,” said Robert Shannon, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and palliative medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Fla. Continue reading

CMS initiatives may be good news for some beneficiaries

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: moodboard via Flickr

This post was co-written by Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist and AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

You may have seen the April 2 press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that highlighted the steps it is taking to, among other efforts, advance a more patient-centered approach, reinterpret standards for supplemental benefits under Medicare Advantage plans, lower prescription drug prices and address the opioid crisis. While that’s a lot to promise in a page and a half, more details are available in CMS’ 2019 Medicare Advantage and Part D Rate Announcement and Call Letter. Be forewarned, however, that many journalists may need experts to interpret the implications of what CMS calls its call letter. Continue reading

Researchers identify new genetic stroke risk factors

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.

Image: Geoff Hutchison via Flickr

One of the largest analyses of stroke factors ever conducted is providing scientists with new clues to identify stroke mechanisms and potential treatments. Researchers have identified 22 new genetic risk factors, tripling the number of gene regions known to affect stroke risk.

By mining an enormous trove of data, a team of international researchers obtained critical new insights into the specific genes, molecular pathways, and cell and tissue types through which the new genetic risk factors cause a stroke. Continue reading

New tip sheet offers insights into ‘hidden’ issue of incontinence

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.

Some may find it funny. Others struggle to discuss it. Still others shrug it off as a “normal” part of aging. No matter how you may look at it, bladder control issues are no joke for millions of older people in the U.S. Incontinence and over-active bladder (OAB) can wreak havoc on a person’s life.

It can lead to depression, social isolation or serious side effects from certain medications that treat the condition. Continue reading

Tip sheet examines health issues of hoarding among older adults

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: Wendy Berry via Flickr

Many of us hang on to a few special items – like that ticket stub from your first concert, a seashell from your honeymoon, or artwork from when your kids were in kindergarten. Hoarders, however, go beyond saving a few memories and have a hard time letting go of anything. Hoarding is a legitimate psychological disorder and, if left unchecked, can upend an older adults’ life.

Their difficulty in getting rid of things causes their living spaces to become so cluttered that they are nearly unusable. Continue reading