Photo: Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food insecurity is a nicer way of saying people are going hungry. Many of those people are older adults—often poor, with limited means of obtaining enough to eat. They must decide whether to spend their meager budgets on food, medication, or housing; many do not even know where their next meal is coming from.
Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in seven adults between 50 and 80 had trouble getting enough food because of cost or other issues, according to a 2020 University of Michigan Healthy Aging poll. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse.
The pandemic has also exacerbated existing disparities among Black and Latino populations according to the USDA: Black and Latino adults are more than twice as likely as white adults to report that their households did not get enough to eat. We highlighted the issue of food insecurity back in June 2020 in this webinar. Has anything changed since March 2020? Continue reading
Alarm over the impact of COVID-19 misinformation has been growing, especially with increasing efforts by right-wing groups to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
The effort to end the pandemic through vaccination could stall if too many people refuse to take the vaccine because they don’t have the correct facts to make a decision. It can be a daily battle by journalists to correct false statements on social media — especially for those on the fact-checking beat.
“It is hard to stay on top of everything,” Daniel Funke, staff writer at PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact-checking website, said during a recent How I Did It interview for AHCJ. “We don’t have a great way to quantify misinformation and where it is coming from because we’d have to fact check everything on the internet.” Continue reading
A recent survey of family caregivers revealed some troubling information about the divide between rural and urban communities regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the poll, nearly one in three (31%) family caregivers who live in rural communities say they won’t take the older adult under their care to get the COVID-19 vaccine—nearly double the refusal rate of urban and suburban caregivers (16%). About the same number (36%) of rural caregivers say they won’t get vaccinated themselves.
Safety concerns primarily drive caregivers’ unwillingness to get the vaccine for their loved ones and themselves, according to survey respondents. Among the rural family caregivers surveyed, an overwhelming 81% have doubts that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and more than a quarter (28%) are “not at all confident” in the vaccine’s safety. In comparison, 9% of their urban and suburban peers are not at all confident. Taken together, experts say the findings show how difficult it will be to save lives in communities where access to healthcare is already limited. Continue reading
I’ve written before about the importance of finding not just any expert but one with detailed expertise in the specific area you need when covering a study. In that context, it was with COVID-19, but the same holds true with any research. If you’re covering a nutrition study, calling up any nutritionist to get an outside opinion does not ensure you are getting a fully informed opinion from someone familiar with the evidence. You need a nutrition researcher who is very familiar with the specific research in the paper. Continue reading
Strong evidence on dementia care interventions is lacking, and what exists does not reflect the experiences of diverse populations, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Most existing community-based programs don’t offer clear proof they work to address the care and services needed by those with the disease or their caregivers, the report found.
Members of the ad hoc NASEM committee assessed the current body of evidence on care interventions for those living with dementia and their caregivers to help guide decision-making about which interventions should be broadly disseminated and implemented and to model for future actions and research. A systematic review found only two programs had any evidence of benefit, and those were only supported by low-strength evidence: Collaborative Care models, which integrate medical and psychosocial care, and Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health (REACH) II, an intervention aimed at supporting family caregivers. Continue reading
Are you looking for new COVID-19 story angles and stories beyond the current pandemic? Pay attention to “superbugs,” the term for bacteria that have developed resistance to antimicrobial drugs.
Overprescribing of antibiotics in U.S. hospitals during the first months of the pandemic increased the likelihood that the threat of antibiotic resistance has grown over the past year, according to a recent study. Continue reading