Ageism in Medicine: The Elderly Need Preventive Care Too

ageism elderly preventative carePreventive care is used to find and maintain a good personal health standard. During a preventive visit, your doctor will look at a number of factors to determine what vaccines, screenings, and lab work are necessary for you. These factors include age, gender, current level of health, health history, and any current symptoms you are experiencing.

Unfortunately, it’s common for the elderly to not receive proper preventive care, including important health screenings and vaccinations. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2003, nine of every 10 adults over the age of 65 did not receive the appropriate screenings.

Preventive care has many benefits. Preventing disease and illness reduces overall healthcare costs. Healthy, working adults are more productive and attend work more consistently. Most importantly, preventive care allows seniors to remain independent longer, promoting not only physical health, but also mental and emotional health.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lists five different screenings as part of their recommendations for older adults:

  • Breast cancer screening every other year for women aged 40 years or older
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults aged 50 to 75
  • Type 2 Diabetes screening for adults aged 40 to 70 who are also overweight
  • Lipid disorder screening for adults aged 40 to 75
  • Routine Osteoporosis screening for women aged 65 and older. Women who are found to have an increased risk of fracture should begin screening earlier.

In addition to receiving the proper screenings, the USPSTF also recommends that clinicians ask all adults about their tobacco use. Tobacco cessation counseling is covered under Medicare Part B for up to eight visits with a qualified doctor in a 12-month period.

On top of screenings, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everyone over the age of six months receive a yearly influenza vaccination. A Rand Corporation Study done in 2003 shows that getting the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations and deaths among the elderly as a result of the flu virus. They also recommend a pneumococcal vaccination for those aged 65 and older. This vaccine can prevent a serious bloodstream infection.

To develop these recommendations, the USPSTF and ACIP collected data from self-reported surveys. Despite the fact that this data is dependent on the ability of the adult to remember when they last received specific preventive care, these experts believe that there are gaps in the use of preventive services. These gaps vary by race, gender, insurance coverage, and education level.

In order to reduce the number of elderly Americans not receiving the proper preventive care, local, state, and national plans have been implemented. These include things like reducing out-of-pocket costs, promoting annual wellness visits, client reminders for screenings and other tests, distributing videos and brochures to raise awareness about available services, providing transportation to medical facilities for the elderly, and expanding healthcare to take place at the patient’s home, church, or other facility.

As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you’re interested in helping a loved one maintain their health and their independence, a home health care assistant may be able to provide the support you need. At David York Agency, our healthcare professionals can help to ensure that your loved one is receiving the proper preventive care.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

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Benefits of Aging in Place by: Max Gottlieb

aging in place
Aging In Place

As seniors age, they and their families are faced with the difficult question of how to provide the best care. The necessary level of care depends on the situation, but aging in place is becoming more feasible due to a combination of factors. There are constant medical advancements, people are living healthier lifestyles, and people are retiring later, leaving them financially able to make the choice. Sometimes all it takes to age in place is finding a caregiver or agency you can trust.  

Familiarity

The most obvious benefit of aging in place is familiarity with one’s surroundings. Familiarity may not seem like a big deal, but aging in a familiar place can alleviate depression and disorientation that sometimes occurs in aging facilities. Also, if you have the means for you or a loved one to age in place, you can avoid the dreaded argument that frequently occurs when parents are too stubborn to leave their home. It removes the tension that occurs when older people think moving them is a sign of pushing them away. 

Keeping a Routine

Studies show that people remain healthy, both physically and emotionally, by keeping with a routine. A routine can be anything from housekeeping to yard work, or seeing neighbors and cooking. These are all forms of physical and mental exercise that patients do not receive in institutional settings. Doing small things to keep active can help reduce what is known as aging atrophy, eventually leading to a complete dependence on others. This is not to say that it’s harmful to depend on others for certain activities of daily living. Oftentimes, a loved one or a professional caregiver can help someone maintain a healthy routine.  

Safety and Health

By aging in place, seniors can control their environments. They are not forced to acclimate to an environment controlled by others. The house can be as clean as they like and they are able to decide which visitors they want to see. At facilities, residents are forced to see health care professionals, other residents, and the families of other residents. Also, a major fear, when living in close quarters with other people, is the spreading of sickness or disease and this is alleviated by remaining independent.

What Kinds of Resource are Available?

As mentioned, sometimes people need caregivers in order to age in place. Caregivers are able to offer a variety of services, including homemaking, personal care, meal preparation, and medication management just to name a few. If bathing or maintaining personal hygiene becomes troublesome, a part-time caregiver can help. Or perhaps housework, laundry, or grocery shopping have become problem areas. Some grocery and drugstores offer delivery services, but if not, a caregiver can help with these things as well. Depending upon the type of services needed, there are different types of caregivers available with different job titles.

If a caregiver is needed, it is best to talk to an agency or a care manager. A care manager is someone who is trained to plan, organize, monitor, and deliver services to an elderly person. They can be immensely useful. Aging can be a time of navigating new terrain, but aging in place can hopefully eliminate some pressure.

 

Max Gottlieb is the content manager for ALTCS and Senior Planning. Both organizations work in tandem to provide free assistance to the elderly and their families when it comes to finding care options, benefits, or senior housing.

 

Aging In Place With Home Care by Anita Kamiel, R.N., M.P.S.

Aging in place is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” The value of aging in place is recognized more now than ever before. Aside from the psycho/social benefits of the elderly remaining home for as long as possible, with institutional care being extremely costly, a home health aide at the appropriate time is the ideal solution.

aging in place

Unfortunately, there comes a point in most senior’s lives where they cannot manage all their basic needs alone. It varies for everyone depending on their state of health, both mentally and physically. A senior’s compromised mobility may make them unable to shop for and prepare meals for themselves. They may need help with basic grooming, dressing and toileting or become forgetful to the degree that relatives are afraid to leave them on their own lest they forget something cooking on the stove or become disoriented and wander away. Whatever the case may be, outside care might become necessary, but how do you go about lining that up?

Sometimes families choose to find help on their own. This can be a viable option, but becomes burdensome as time wears on. Properly screening and vetting candidates is not an easy proposition. It is more efficient to turn to professionals to do that. Licensed home healthcare agencies are designed to take painstaking care in checking references and for a criminal background before sending someone to your home. They make sure all medical requirements for the aides are met and they themselves are monitored by the state. If you have long term care insurance, you will be required to use a licensed agency to be reimbursed for home care. You should be aware when choosing an agency to work with that some are fussier than others in their screening practices.

Depending on the agency, you can tap into the expertise of the home care specialists on staff, many of whom have years of experience in the field and are up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations as well as best practices. Make sure the person you deal with is professional, caring and knowledgeable as well as flexible about replacing an aide if she is not a good fit for your loved one, you or the situation – no matter how frequently. The agency must work with your schedule and the amount of hours of service you require. Fees are usually by the hour for live out care and by the day for live in.

In addition to aging with dignity and quality of life, factors such as moving during the frail senior years can prove to be fatally traumatic making it so important for seniors to stay in their homes, even through the difficulties that may bring. As important as it may be, it’s also tough to ensure that they have the care they need.

Caring for aging loved ones was never an easy prospect. However, when families lived in multi-generational households and closer together, they shared the burden of a sick or elderly loved one. Today, with families scattered, the responsibility for the details of care can be overwhelming. With so much to consider on a daily basis, it’s easy for important needs to get lost in the mix. That is where an agency can be of most benefit.

Establishing a relationship with a home healthcare agency opens up vistas to a host of services tailored to the elderly. You have access to a large pool of available aides when you need them all logistically arranged for by someone else. Several also have access to a network of professionals such as social workers, eldercare attorneys as well as elder proofing services for the home as you need them.

Anita Kamiel, R.N, M.P.S. is the founder and owner of David York Home Healthcare Agency and is fully acquainted with all factors related to eldercare services and the latest guidelines for seniors. Thirty years ago, she realized the need for affordable, quality home health aide services provided and supervised by caring individuals. You can contact her at 718.376.7755 or at www.davidyorkagency.com. David York Agency is also on Facebook, TwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn.