In Oxford and elsewhere around the country, National Public Health Week is scheduled for April 5 – April 11, and it will be a week focused on the theme of “Building Bridges to Better Health”. Seniors are particularly affected by this, since they typically have more health issues and require more care than do younger, healthier adults and children. There are currently more than 54 million Americans aged 65 or older, 6 million of whom are troubled by Alzheimer’s Disease, and 22 million who are bothered by chronic arthritis. Senior home care for these individuals is critical, so during this week of increased awareness about public health, you should take the time to make sure you’re taking full advantage of public health offerings for your senior loved one.
Senior health care costs
Given the fact that there is such a high percentage of seniors in the overall American population, it’s no surprise that healthcare costs have been soaring in recent years and that they will continue to do so. By the year 2060, it is expected that seniors will comprise around 25% of the total population in this country. There are a great many more diseases and afflictions which trouble older individuals, some of those being dementia, type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
These afflictions are the leading factors contributing to death, disability, illness, and healthcare costs. In the year 2019, the total cost of health care and long-term care associated with dementia approached $300 billion, making it an extraordinarily expensive proposition. For that reason, the Center for Disease Control has partnered with a number of organizations to help improve the health of senior citizens in a number of different ways. All of these are public offerings that any citizen can take advantage of to improve their daily health and stave off the effects of disease or other debilitating conditions.
Public health offerings available to seniors
One of the initiatives supported by the CDC is a drive to help seniors bothered by dementia to remain as active and independent as possible in their communities and to keep them involved so as not to be overwhelmed by the effects of the disease. Resources have been made available by the CDC to help caregivers deliver top-notch care to their charges, and to stay healthy themselves so they can continue to deliver this care.
The CDC has also sponsored clinics specializing in the early assessment and diagnosis of chronic diseases for people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. These clinics also provide techniques for risk reduction, prevention of disease, and management of chronic diseases. A number of other clinics have been established to provide preventive services like blood sugar testing, cancer screenings, and ordinary blood pressure checks.
Healthcare personnel has been made available at clinics like these so they can consult with seniors who are experiencing some kind of degradation of memory and outright memory loss. In order to reduce the risk of type II diabetes, the CDC has established centers that encourage lifestyle changes to Medicare beneficiaries through the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
One final way that the CDC has offered significant healthcare improvement facilities for seniors is to establish more centers that promote physical activity programs. These have been found very effective at reducing arthritis pain, the potential for slips and falls, and the risk of dementia.
The Healthy States Initiative
The Healthy States Initiative is a program that allows public health experts to share information and to develop innovative solutions to healthcare problems. Being comprised of state legislators, public health officials, and CDC officials, all the right people have been gathered together so as to develop and promote public health offerings to seniors and others.
The public health agencies which have been formed, as a result, offer a number of interventions related to public health which you should be aware of and which you should take advantage of for your senior loved one. Some of these initiatives include assisting victims of chronic conditions such as heart disease or cancer, while others seek to prevent such diseases and disabilities. One key area of intervention is the promotion of the health and well-being of individuals suffering from any kind of disability, and seniors are probably the largest group impacted.
Helping your senior loved one
You won’t be able to get all the health care and support you need for your senior loved one if you’re not aware of the programs being publicly offered. That means your first step should be to educate yourself and research exactly what kinds of programs are available in your area. Then you should determine the eligibility of your loved one so that you can begin to take advantage of all these offerings. If poor health can be prevented or staved off to a later date, your loved one will certainly enjoy a higher quality of life and a much more fulfilling existence in their golden years.