Category Archives: Aging

Poll points to dental insecurity among many middle-aged Americans

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: Kevin Harber via Flickr

One in three Americans aged 50 to 64 are ashamed about the state of their teeth, and an even larger percentage (38 percent) say dental conditions have caused pain, difficulties with eating, missed work or interfered with their lives in other ways within the past two years.

The findings are part of a new report from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, a project led by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and sponsored by the university’s health system and AARP. Continue reading

End-of-life project brings insights – and healing – for broadcast reporter and her listeners

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: Vee via Flickr

Reporting on end of life can pose surprising challenges and opportunities.

If you haven’t yet listened to JoAnn Mar’s remarkable radio series on end-of-life issues, add it to your playlist right now. An AHCJ reporting fellowship allowed Mar to take a deeper dive into how people prepare for their last phase of life, and why good conversations with loved ones on the topic can be so important. The entire series, aired on KALW FM, San Francisco in January. Continue reading

Tip sheet looks at the health consequences of elder financial abuse

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

It is mind-boggling that there are people in this world who so easily take advantage of vulnerable older adults. Yet, elder abuse – psychological, physical, and financial – is an unfortunate reality. The CDC estimates it affects one in every 10 community-dwelling adults age 60 and older.

The problem is likely much greater. For every reported case of abuse, approximately 23 others are not reported. Financial exploitation of older adults is the most prevalent form, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. One study found that self-reported financial exploitation happens at a rate of 41 per every 1,000 older adults surveyed. That number may be higher because many older adults are reluctant to admit they were scammed. Continue reading

OIG report: CMS not doing enough for vulnerable nursing home residents

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: Matthew Paulson via FlickrDespite hurricane risks, Florida has been a popular retirement locale for senior citizens, who may eventually need to transition to skilled nursing facilities.

News on Wednesday that eight residents of a Hollywood, Fla. nursing home had died a few days after the facility lost power for its air conditioning unit during Hurricane Irma (see more coverage links below) has refocused attention on persistent weaknesses in nursing facility regulation and oversight.

A report released in late August (prior to the Harvey and Irma hurricanes) by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (OIG) highlights problems with how incidents of potential abuse or neglect are reported and investigated. Separately, there has been pushback in Congress on a Trump administration effort to weaken Obama-era restrictions on the use of arbitration agreements to settle nursing home claims. Continue reading

How paying home health caregivers more could save health systems money

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: BournemouthBC via Flickr

Is it worth it to provide more skilled – and higher paying – home health care?

That is the question that New York Times’ economic columnist Eduardo Porter tackled in a recent piece examining whether staffing the nation’s long-term care system with better-trained and higher-paid aides could give them more responsibilities and better address health care gaps. Continue reading