Healthcare 101: 5 Ways to Help the Elderly in the Aging Process and Pastoral Thanatology Certification
The Administration on Aging (AoA) reports the percentage of Americans 65 and older will reach nearly 20% by 2030 stretching this country’s resources dedicated to caring for the elderly. Whether you are a care provider, family member or just interested in making a difference; there are a number of ways to help the elderly in the aging process.
Navigating Health Care
Many of the elderly in this country are not equipped to manage their own health. Encouraging the elderly to establish a relationship with a primary care provider gives them an entry point into the health care system. A physician can help elderly patients understand care options, seek preventative care and remain connected to health services.
Health insurance under Medicare can be very complicated. Helping the elderly understand the different Medicare programs including Part A for hospital and hospice expenses, Part B for medical expenses, Part D for prescription drug costs, and Medigap enables them to contract for insurance and get the appropriate access to care.
Promoting Positive Lifestyle
Two major issues facing the elderly are falls and depression. The University of Nevada’s School of Medicine reports falls as the number one cause of injury related death for individuals age 75 and older. Appropriate exercise will not only help reduce the risk of falls, it will also help prevent depression. WebMD estimates that six million Americans age 65 and older are impacted by depression. The elderly need to socialize and remain physically active to minimize the risks of falls and depression.
Preparing for the Inevitable
Preparation of an advance directive and will can lead to peace of mind for many elderly. Conversations about advance directives and wills are easier when the individual is healthy. These activities are emotionally empowering when done pro-actively but emotionally draining when done re-actively.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports continued job growth in the area of gerontology. The US will need to expand its available resources in both government and private sectors to support the aging population. Individuals with a masters in gerontology will be equipped to help build out the infrastructure and services necessary to meet the needs of the elderly population in the future.
The elderly population is going to continue to grow. There are a number of ways to help the elderly during the aging process but those who choose to help need to understand the unique challenges and needs of this group.
About the Author:
My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.
Also, if you would like to have a more direct input into this topic and you if you are qualified, consider a Pastoral Thanatology Certification from AIHCP.