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A Growing Challenge for Society and How to Tackle It

Elderly Healthcare: A Growing Challenge for Society and How to Tackle It

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According to WHO reports, if the period from 2015 to 2050 is taken into consideration, the number of older adults has doubled. This reflects a 12 to 22 percent growth. Based on this, there is an assumption that the number of older people in the age of 60 years is increasing from 900 million to 2 billion by that time. The reason behind this is that healthcare is consistently progressing and as a result, life expectancy is also increasing with the coming of a large number of elderly populations globally.

Elderly Healthcare: A Growing Challenge for Society and How to Tackle It

So, elderly healthcare is a growing concern across the world, and the USA is no exception. This led to a demographic crisis that creates a challenge for society. The WHO treats a person as an elderly who have reached the age of 65 or above. Over and all the older population encounter various difficulties in day to day life, and they need constant medical support.

Challenges In Front of a Society Dominated By the Elderly

Improved healthcare results in increasing life expectancy, but it equally creates the need for innovations in the field of healthcare and medical assistance. Prevention of illnesses help to deal with the existing diseases, and the efforts should be to improve the scope of preventive healthcare.

In developed countries, a large number of deaths are reported from heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. These are progressive diseases and should be detected early. Timely medical checkups enable to identify the risk associated with the elderly people and take necessary measures on that. The elderly population is more susceptive to illnesses because the immune system goes for a toss in old age. Apart from this factor, neurological degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer are also becoming common among them. So geriatric care or elderly care is needed in a society with such a larger elderly population.

Challenges In Front of a Society Dominated By the Elderly

How to counter the challenges?

Daily assistance becomes necessary in this situation. As the number of health problems is numerous among the elderly, the effort is to find a multi-faceted approach to healthcare. Some essential measures which can be taken in this regard are –

•    The first and foremost is that of a preventive healthcare system in society. It should include medical routine checkups that help to detect anything in advance before they become chronic. This helps to maximize the treatment process.

•    Secondly, the elderly people themselves and their immediate families should know about the diseases that are imminent in the old age so that they can be identified in the early stage and start the required treatment.

•    Thirdly there is the need for proper insurance care designed for the elderly. This is because the expense involved in medical care is growing at an exorbitant rate. The cost of nursing and related medical care is increasing rapidly, and so a quality insurance program and other welfare measures should be the top priority of the country.   

•    The effort should be directed to ensure a healthy body and mind of the elderly people as it will make them less vulnerable to diseases. It is essential to ensure a regular exercise regime and help them to maintain a nutritious diet to retain their health. Mobility is restricted in old age, and this creates the need for a regular exercise to maintain their health and boost the immunity system.

Medical Records Play an Important Role in Ensuring Quality Care

While talking about the improvements in health care, medical records are one of them. It refers to as the repository of a patient’s medical history and the ongoing treatment procedures. Various relevant information provided by the patients and the care team is included in these records.

Medical record review is an essential part of the whole care management system. By reviewing them, the healthcare professionals know about any error and monitor the treatment process and then reach on a calculated decision on the condition of the patient. Apart from all these, medical records fulfill several requirements in the medical world.

Final Notes

Aging is a continuous process, and it creates a significant impact on the physical and mental capacities of an individual. Apart from treatment and the regular exercise they also need constant support from their families and the infrastructure. Since it is not possible for the families to involve in the process of care, they rely on healthcare consultants or agencies to disperse the service.  To assist elderly people to live independently will add to their dignity and will improve their quality of life.


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Challenges on the road to elderly Healthcare in the United States

Challenges on the road to elderly Healthcare in the United States

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Nobody can escape old age; it is a natural progression, an eternal truth in mankind. Aging comes with a lot of challenges, both mentally and physically as it causes the onset of multiple numbers of diseases. Though there is no anonymous opinion found in the exact elderly age, yet people over the age of 65 is generally considered under this category.

The older population in America born between 1946 and 1964, which are popularly called baby boomers covers 28 percent of the country’s population and hence elderly healthcare is a growing concern in the country. This is because age comes with several numbers of debilitating diseases like heart problem, Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes etc which interfere in their general ability to perform day to day tasks.

As healthcare services have improved in modern days, the life expectancy of people has also increased across the world resulting in a growing number of elderly populations in this earth. This subsequently creates the demand for a serious focus on how to cater to the need of the preventive health checkups and the medical necessities of the elderly people.

Presently there are around 12 million older Americans that need immediate help because they are completely relying on nursing homes or their family members to carry out the day to day activities like bathing, dressing, eating and paying monthly bills.

The issue with the aging population is that they are prone to develop chronic diseases, physical disabilities and the most difficult situation called co-morbidity which again makes the treatment very difficult.

Elderly Healthcare in the United States

The healthcare needs of the elderly population cannot be overlooked. It is a welcoming thing that the government of the United States spends double on healthcare compared to other developed nations. As statistics claim, about 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product is spent on the health care systems.

The percentage of the country’s economy is dedicated towards the health care of individuals aged 65 and above goes beyond 5 percent which is stated to be doubled by the year of 2030 and will triple by 2050.

Geriatrics Care that Dedicated Towards Elderly Healthcare

It is a branch of medicine that is dedicated for the unique health care requirements of the elderly and dedicated towards the prevention and treating of diseases and disabilities of the aging population.

This geriatrician is a trained medical professional who specializes in the treatment of elderly but in reality, it includes a broad spectrum of healthcare professionals including the nurses, social workers, physical therapists, nutritionist, and psychologist.

Elderly healthcare cost

In 2016, less than half of the US population was convinced that the elderly health care system is in the right place and dealing with the aging population. However, it was cleared from many reports that several such elderly people did not even take preventive measures to prepare themselves for age-related complications.

The cost of the treatment of the growing number of senior adults in America is not paid by the seniors but by the government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the veteran’s administration and sometimes the private insurers. These programs cover the doctor fee, hospitals stay, assisted living facilities pay, nursing homes, prescription fee etc.

As many as 40.3 million of USA senior adults are experiencing benefits out of this, which covers almost 13.4 percent of the population.

Growing Need of Healthcare Professionals

As statistics have shown, the country is experiencing fewer births and longer living adults. This necessitates the growing demand for elderly healthcare and nursing facilities in the country.

Around 60 percent of the elderly population in America is suffering from arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension etc. They need regular health checkups and require taking prescriptions and a healthy diet. 

They require a robust healthcare system to access medical care like hospitals, medical centers, physicians, nurses, therapists, dieticians, chiropractors, acupuncturists etc. This is the reason why healthcare in America is the fast growing.

Baby boomers prone to develop dementia, brittle bones and other musculoskeletal problems and it put them in a position where they cannot manage their day to day life on their own. Recovery takes longer due to their old age and thus they become a burden for their immediate families which makes them susceptible to abuse.

Shortage of Elderly Care Staff

There is already a shortage of staff for elderly healthcare in the country. Hospitals, aged care homes, and all other care facilities are trying to cater to the needs of the growing number of elderly in the country. According to reports, there is already a shortage of trained nurses for the elderly care in the country and the demand is growing by 10 percent.

As much as 80 million people in the country will be requiring greater healthcare and an acute shortage of the providers of such care services.

Initiative of the Government

Due to this reason, the federal government has been trying to divert the responsibility of elderly care to the local communities. They want the baby bombers to be looked after where they reside and work.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came in 2010 was a significant development in the wave of this growing healthcare needs of baby boomers. It was created with the aim to enable access to health insurance, protection of the interest of the patients from the coercive actions of the insurance companies and reduce the overall costs.

Reportedly, the Federal government has dedicated $11 billion for the development of the community health care centers as the number of elderly people using these centers is expecting to be doubled in the coming decade.

The Coming of the Special Care Centers

The coming of the special care centers is a wonderful development in this respect. They play a great role in managing the life of the elderly population in the USA and have helped to shift the burden from the immediate family members. These centers provide a lot of professionals and staff to take care of the elderly population and help them to manage their life better without depending on others.

The chronic disease management program is a part of this initiative which teaches elderly people to become self-sufficient in managing their routine works and thus lead a life with dignity.

The Demand is Growing for Care Professionals

Numerous efforts are being made to train and hire more and more nurses. Nursing is also going to be most sought after professions in the coming years in the country. Geriatric and aged-care nurses will bear the fruit. The nursing informatics is a system through which nurses can diagnose the patient and monitor them from a distance through their smartphones. The home care nurses are especially in demand that takes care of the elderly at home and helps them with their day to day medical necessities.

The memory care coordinator is another professional who helps elderly people diagnosed with dementia and other memory loss illnesses. They usually work in the residents of a special care facility helping patients to deal with various stages of memory loss and to manage their condition.

Health coaches or wellness coaches are type of professionals who are responsible for educating and supporting senior adults about how to achieve health goals by way of making changes in behavior and lifestyle.

The role of a Health Coach in managing the healthcare of the elderly

A health coach is a trained professional who after one year of training get certified to become work in a private setting or special care set up. He or she will focus not only on the diet of the elderly people but also on an improvement in their lifestyle.

Often doctors, nutritionist, and dieticians do not have that much of time to continuously take care of an elderly patient and this gap has been filled by a health coach.

A health coach does not prescribe you a specific diet or a specific way of eating. He or she will assist the elderly people in experimenting with different type of diet and eating habits that will suit them. They also try hard to alter the diet and lifestyle of the senior individuals so that they continue to make good progress.

No doubt health coaches are one of the most sought after professionals that are highly demanded the care of the elderly. At this present age when lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and depression, which are the major killers, health coaches provide the patients with the much-needed lifestyle and nutritional guidance and their role is of tremendously important.

Heath coaches are not medical professionals and they cannot diagnose health conditions or cannot prescribe medicines and suggest any higher or lower doses for the complications suffered by elderly people, yet they play a great role in the well being of the senior patients. They have changed the perception of old age by helping senior adults to treat and to see old age from a different perspective.

The country has done much more towards healthcare compared to other developed nations since there were complaints about elderly people not receiving proper medical facilities. Undoubtedly, the healthcare system in America is undergoing massive changes to prepare itself for meeting the demands of the baby boomers population. More is the number of older population; more will be the demand for medical care in the long run. Baby boomers will continue require nurses in the coming years which mean healthcare is one such profession which will continue to flourish in the coming years.


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Taking Too Many Medications Can Negatively Affect Your Health

Taking Too Many Medications Can Negatively Affect Your Health

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As the population ages the number of medications they are taking also increases. Polypharmacy is the simultaneous utilization of different meds.

While there are quite often well-meaning plans behind this—treating a few incessant conditions at the same time, for instance—it can cause reactions and even extra health concerns. Seniors, who are bound to take a wide range of prescriptions, are at the most astounding danger of adverse impacts from Polypharmacy.

While you should not stop taking medicine on account of this without your specialist’s confirmation, you can play a functioning job in guaranteeing that you diminish any conceivable dangers.

Impacts

While a medication might be prescribed to you on account of a particular intended purpose, drugs don’t act in separation in your body system.

Polypharmacy represents a few concerns:

•       Excessive known reactions, especially for the older, as sensitivities to prescription increment with age

•       Additive reactions when a few drugs prompt comparative physical reactions

•       Dangerous drug interactions, which may generate new reactions not commonly connected with either medicine

•       Diminished adequacy of one medicine because of the metabolic activity of another prescription

•       Confusion concerning prescription use, bringing about missed portions, additional dosages, or different blunders

Why It Occurs

Polypharmacy is common these days. Frequently, seniors or individuals with numerous medical issues need to take a few meds to control different ailments. While these prescriptions, exclusively, might be justified, there are times when the quantity of medications recommended for a given issue is more than is vital. There are an assortment of different reasons Polypharmacy can happen too, including:

•       Prescribing falls: If you have multiple health conditions, you may encounter what is depicted as an “prescribing  fall,” in which you are given a solution to balance reactions of another prescription or to check a communication between at least two other recommended drugs.

•       Disconnected medical care: This is bound to happen in the event that you or your cherished one is cared for several  specialists, including doctors or physicians who may just observe you for a short  timeframe, for example, during an urgent hospitalization. One specialist may give you a solution that mixes or balances the impact of a prescription you already take, especially if you are getting care at an alternate healthcare center than usual.

•       Pharmacy changes: If you fill your presciptions at various drug stores, none are probably going to have a total rundown of your prescription routine (except if you have visited different areas of a pharmacy store chain). Collaborations between drugs may go unnoticed when the blend would have raised a warning in the event that you were getting the majority of your solutions from a similar spot.

Prevention from Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy can be overseen as a team collaboration between healthcare specialists, patients, and families.

American pharmacist with senior woman in pharmacy

What best you can do:

•       Pick a point person: Be sure to choose an primary care professional or a geriatrician with whom you are comfortable and plan regular meetings with this practitioner. Normally, when you see a doctor, your primary care specialist gets a discussion note, alongside all new prescription recommendations, from your expert. When you see your primary care specialist, he should know the majority of your medicinal issues, which other specialists you see, and which other drugs you take. This specialist can perceive signs and side effects of polypharmacy and can stop excess or superfluous meds in the event that you are taking any.

•       Keep track of drugs: List out the majority of your meds and supplements, and survey it normally for vital updates. Convey this rundown to every one of your appointments and show it to your primary care specialist as well. Approach them to check the rundown for any possible complications and remember to talk and discuss about all of your medical symptoms, as some may be side effects of your prescriptions.

•       Talk to your drug specialist: Pharmacists are trained to search for any drug interactions and different issues, yet they can possibly do that on the off chance that they have all your data. Give them your medicine list and request that they look it over. This is particularly vital in the event that you get your prescriptions from more than one drug store.

•       Don’t stop taking medication without consulting from your doctor. Your doctor might prescribed more than one heart or diabetes prescription since one isn’t sufficient to control your condition. While Polypharmacy can be destructive, medication adherence is vital as well.

Anyone can become confused by the medical terminologies and instructions, especially when taking several medications for many health problems. If that’s the case for you, it’s advisable to consult a good patient navigator.

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