What reporters should know about drug recalls, the FDA and drug manufacturing risks January 2019 Millions of Americans are taking prescription drugs made in China and don’t know it – and pharmaceutical companies are not eager to tell them. The pressure to lower costs has led some drug companies to look overseas where manufacturing standards are less strict and quality control can be iffy. This poses particular risks to older adults, who often take a half-dozen or more medications daily and who may be especially vulnerable to devastating side effects from tainted products.
Confronting self-perceptions of aging November 2017 A group of four studies led by University of Michigan researchers finds that beliefs about one's own aging are predictive of future health. Self-perception affects a person's physical and mental well-being – from timeliness of seeking care to feelings about themselves, their partners, and other older adults. Our guest will discuss how self-perceptions of aging affect health and the role the media plays in reinforcing those perceptions.
Is aging a disease, and should we treat it as such? February 2017 Writing in the newly released "Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine," medical ethicist Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., head of the ethics program in the Global Institute for Public Health at New York University, contends that there is nothing natural about aging and that it serves no purpose.
Medicare: What would it take to add a dental benefit? November 2016 This webcast featured Beth Truett, president and chief executive officer of Oral Health America, a national advocacy organization that is focused upon improving the oral health of older Americans. She talked about a growing push to add a dental benefit to Medicare and the findings of new research by her group on the oral health of multigenerational "grandfamilies."
Engaging Alzheimer's: Tips from a dementia coach July 2016 Dementia coaches help educate and train families, organizations and communities to view and treat people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias in best-practices dementia care. They do so in ways that maintain or improve the person’s lifestyle for as long as possible while maintaining his or her dignity.
The Healthspan Imperative: New frontiers in science of aging December 2015 Today, average life expectancy is almost 80 years. But, while we’ve added years to life we haven’t always made those extra years healthy and vigorous. Eighty percent of seniors have at least one major chronic condition, and half have two or more. A new frontier in science is revealing the “problem behind the problem” of chronic disease. “Geroscience” is the study of how the underlying processes of aging itself put us at risk to develop chronic disease. And it is on its way to modifying those processes through new medical strategies that could benefit millions. Liz Seegert, AHCJ's topic leader on aging, discusses this new frontier and efforts to improve the quality of those later years with Sue Peschin, M.H.S., the president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research.
Elder abuse and health: What you should know February 2015 Elder abuse affects an estimated one in 10 older adults in the U.S., according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. That does not include financial exploitation. Advocates say much more can and should be done – such as the recent $4 million Congressional appropriation for a portion of the Elder Justice Act as part of the FY2015 Omnibus spending bill. The many forms of physical and psychological abuse seriously affect older adults’ health and wellbeing. Liz Seegert, AHCJ’s core topic leader on aging, and Bob Blancato, national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, look at what is being done about it and how reporters can bring more of these issues to light in their own communities.
Frailty and its impact on health September 2014 Frailty is a real concern for older adults and the clinicians who treat them. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says 5 percent to 15 percent of adults aged 65-74 are frail; by the time they’re over 85, it’s 25 percent to 40 percent. This condition – a progressive decline in multiple body systems – is associated with greater mortality, increased burden of chronic disease, risk of infections, falls, and hospitalization.
Samuel Durso, M.D., director of geriatric medicine and gerontology at Johns Hopkins, and Liz Seegert, AHCJ ‘s topic leader on aging, discussed the implications of frailty on health, what and how reporters should cover in their communities.
Getting dental care to elders in nursing homes May 2014 Studies show that seniors in nursing homes often go without dental care. The lack of care can take a devastating toll on health and quality of life and impacts seniors who have their natural teeth as well as those who don't. Our panel of experts looked at the need for oral health services in nursing homes, some steps that are being taken to get this care to patients and shared stories and resources for reporters.
Medicare: Whose Entitlement Is It? December 2013 Medicare reform is a hot topic, withb oth political parties proposing raising the Medicare eligibility age and premiums on older adults, among other changes. In the midst of this debate, two policy experts help AHCJ members understand the underlying forces driving up Medicare spending and what does it mean for older adults, what is being done to combat waste, fraud and overtreatment, how Medicare became a big business and a darling of Wall Street and more. They are also generous with story ideas and tips for trends to watch.
Aging and end-of-life care Reporting on end-of-life issues can be touchy for everyone involved and journalists need to handle issues of death and dying with sensitivity and skill. Understanding the processes, both clinical and legal, the nuances, and methods to manage such emotional issues with patients, families, and care providers, will result in more effective and powerful stories.
In this webcast three members of the MacArthur Foundation Network discuss noteworthy trends and research in aging, including a recent study on troubling disparities in life expectancy that was featured on the front page of The New York Times.
What does the election mean for senior health? This AHCJ webcast examines one big piece of the puzzle: what this election’s outcome means for seniors on Medicare, older adults who receive long-term care services from Medicaid and other programs that serve our elderly population.
For some older adults, group homes are a good alternative to more traditional institutional care like nursing homes. But workers who care for these seniors may at risk for all kinds of exploitation — like earning less than $2 an hour, being on call 24/7, with no days off, and worse. This investigation from Reveal sheds light on what is apparently a common practice in smaller facilities, which are often under-regulated or infrequently inspected.
Most people dread the inevitable declines associated with aging. But to hear the residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale tell it, senescence gets a bad rap. In Jenny Schweitzer Bell’s short documentary The Blessings of Aging, dozens of elderly people describe how their lives have improved in their twilight years.
Tony Wyss-Coray, Professor of neurology at Stanford, and his team study immune and injury responses in aging and neurodegeneration. He theorized that that blood from young mice can rejuvenate brain tissue and improve cognitive performance in old mice. A small, early phase clinical trial in human subjects with Alzheimer’s has shown some promising results in the patients’ abilities to perform daily tasks, but had no effect on cognition or mood. This TEDTalk shares some of the research from his lab.
The Telomere Effect: How exercise, diet and sleep affect aging
Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the MIT AgeLab, spoke about technology and the future of aging at The New Jewish Home’s fourth annual Himan Brown Symposium on Advances in Senior Health. Video shared by The New Jewish Home, an elder care system in New York City.
Today’s heavy focus on health and wellness is only expected to increase in the future, leading to a type of “longevity bonus” that will see people living longer. But what will those later years look like? Baby boomers want their lives to mean something. Instead of stepping aside for younger generations, how will they give back to society? — talk from Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Age Wave.
Beating loneliness in old age
BBC Breakfast covers a potential answer to loneliness in older age Meet the inspirational women who are quite literally building themselves a future. This spring they'll move into the UK's first co-housing project designed by, and built for, older women. The video is on Facebook.
Director Ron Howard looks at researchers who believe the real breakthrough is extending our health span, the period of life spent free of disease.
The program provides good explanations about slowing the aging process and, in turn, delaying or avoiding onset of many chronic diseases. Many of the experts have either spoken at AHCJ events or have been useful sources for reporters.
A July 2015 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that mortality rates among Medicare patients fell 16 percent from 1999 to 2013. The same research found that, among fee-for-service patients, hospitalization rates fell 24 percent, with more than 3 million fewer hospitalizations in 2013 than 1999. Liz Szabo reported on the research for USA Today.
The world is aging: There will be 1.375 billion people over 60 by 2030, meaning that older people will constitute 16 percent of the global population. Older women make up the majority of those living over 60, and most live in developing countries. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action forever changed global policy by mainstreaming gender into human rights considerations. As we celebrate 20 years since the Beijing Conference on Women, we must acknowledge that the world has changed in important ways; older age needs to be mainstreamed into women’s rights discussions—particularly on the subject of violence against women. Violence against older women represents an ongoing confluence of human rights violations. Gaps in research and policy on this violence in later life is representative of a host of broader lack of inclusion of age into gender concerns and vice versa. Problematically, the predominant discourses of both gender-based violence and elder abuse rarely recognize violence against older women. This leaves older women and protections for their rights to fall through the cracks.
This discussion explores their absence from these mainstream conversations, seeking to identify structural barriers and their effects on the full realization of older women’s human rights.
Despite our advances in medicine, a new book calls for a radical transformation in how we approach the end of life. In "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End," the physician and best-selling author Dr. Atul Gawande argues that a rigid focus on prolonging life can often undermine what is best for a dying patient. "Medical science has rendered obsolete centuries of experience, tradition, and language about our mortality," Gawande writes. "Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm we inflict on people and denied them the basic comforts they most need." A surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Gawande is an acclaimed staff writer at The New Yorker and a professor at Harvard Medical School.