If we want more evidence-based practice, we need more practice-based evidence.*
Aging and Health of Older Populations
Table of Contents
OBJECTIVES AND PHILOSOPHY
Older people represent a growing proportion of the population of most communities as a result of reduced death rates at younger ages and increased longevity. with growing numbers and proportions, planning and a more important segment of the life span for community and population health planning and a more important political force demanding facilities, services and other health resources. Increasing proportions of the elderly also live in communities without disabling illness, so the planning for their health needs can be addressed more to the health promotion than in the past when most of the attention to the elderly had to be on medical care and nursing care. This chapter attempts to shift the student's focus from viewing old age as a pitiable state and an unhappy phase of life to viewing it as a period when specific community interventions and supports can achieve the prolongation of good health, independent functioning, and enhance quality of life.
This chapter concludes Part II of the text, Health Through the Life Span. It reflects the cumulative harvest of successes and failures from previous decades' community health programs for younger ages. The heavy smoking increases of the 1940s, for example, are reflected in the increased lung cancer rates found today in the elderly. The improved smoking, dietary, and blood pressure control statistics of the middle-age population in the 1970s are showing up as reduced cardiovascular disease and coronary death rates in the elderly. But a new epidemic of obesity is producing increased rates of diabetes and a leveling of the improvements in cardiovascular diseases.
These demographic and epidemiological trends combine with the social and economic forces of recent decades to set the stage for community health approaches for the elderly now. A particular emphasis of this chapter is on the involvement of the elderly in setting their own priorities and in designing their own programs for health promotion. Nowhere is the paternalistic tendency of government and voluntary agency programs more likely to undermine the very purpose of health promotion--to enable people to control the factors influencing their health--than with the elderly. They need to define their own quality-of-life concerns and the want to retain the dignity of caring for themselves as long as possible.
HEADLINES, TIMELINES, & MILESTONES (Since publication of 8th edition)
High-Dose Vitamin D Prevents Bone Breaks in Elderly.(Reuters Health, February 28, 2003) - According to a research team in the United Kingdom, high dose vitamin D supplements could reduce bone fractures in the elderly by 20%.
Poor Sleep Linked to Earlier Death in Older Adults. Feb. 3, 2003
Baby Boomer Demand for Long-Term Care Will Occur in 20-30 Years, Study
Elderly Dietary Supplement Users May Not Need Them. Jan. 14, 2003
Benefits of Exercise Lead to Further Activity in Elderly. July 23, 2002
WHO Launches Project to Support Africa's Elderly SENEGAL. (Panafrican News Agency - May 26, 1999) The team leader of WHO's program on "Aging and Health" (AHE), Dr. Alexandre Kalache, said the project will, among other things, involve the collection and analysis of relevant data from Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria.
Panel Stumped On Medicare Overhaul.WASHINGTON (AP, Mar. 10, 1999) Is restructuring Medicare enough, or will more money be needed to provide adequate health care for growing numbers of elderly Americans? A commission that is supposed to recommend Medicare changes has so far been unable to resolve that question and other serious differences delaying its report to Congress and President Clinton. "We are not in agreement yet and it remains quite doubtful that we will be," said commission member Stuart Altman, a health policy professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. Both Republican congressional leaders and the president have said they'd prefer not to resort to tax increases to bolster Medicare. But Clinton has suggested using federal budget surpluses that are expected in coming years.
No Alzheimer's Fillings Link Found LEXINGTON (AP, Feb. 8, 1999) There appears to be no link between Alzheimer's disease and mercury used in dental fillings, say University of Kentucky researchers. Such a link has been speculated on in the past, as scientists took closer looks at the effects of heavy metals on the brain. But the University of Kentucky study said there appears to be no harm from mercury fillings. "Although very small amounts of mercury are released from dental amalgam - generally when rubbed or abraded due to brushing or eating - it is not taken up by the brain," said Dr. Stanley Saxe, one of the authors of the study published in Monday's (Feb. 8, 1999) Journal of the American Dental Association.
Study Refutes Hypertension Research. CHICAGO (AP, Feb. 5, 1999) Contrary to previous research, a new study found no direct link between high blood pressure and a decline in thinking ability as people age. "I'd hoped to find a really compelling relationship here, but...we just have very little information about what people can do to protect (themselves) from loss of their cognitive function," said the lead researcher, Dr. Robert J. Glynn of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He emphasized that controlling blood pressure is still vital to prevent heart disease and strokes, and that hypertension is often under-treated in the elderly.
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WEB PAGES AND INFORMATION SOURCES
Aging Initiative of the Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) http://www.aarp.org
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
WHO/OMS Aging and Health web site http://www.who.int/hpr/ageing/index.htm
Administration on Aging http://www.aoa.gov
Seniors Participatory and Community Quality of Life Projects:
Living options for seniors
Social Security Administration - updates, information, services, research, questions, etc.http://www.ssa.gov
Information on building retirement income, managed health care, trends, etc. in Canada:http://www.benefitscanada.com
United Nations Program on Ageing, Division for Social Policy Development
Health Canada Division of Aging and Seniors
US Census Bureau Population Projections http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/popproj.html
Health for Seniors https://www.usa.gov/health
22 Senior Health Risk Calculators for Healthy Aging http://www.calculators.org/health/aging.php
Canine Caregivers for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients https://www.rover.com/canine-caregivers-dementia-alzheimers/
Pets for the Elderly Foundation http://www.petsfortheelderly.org/
Older Adults & Anxiety http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/older-adults
Seniors & Drugs - NCADD https://ncadd.org/learn-about-drugs/seniors-vets-and-women/241-older-adults
Ultimate Guide to Rehab & Medicare https://www.discoveryplace.info/rehab-medicare-ultimate-guide
Assisted Living Regulation and Laws http://www.alfa.org/alfa/ALFA_in_Your_State.asp
Aging in Place http://ageinplace.com/
Senior-Friendly Home Remodeling http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Senior-Friendly-Remodeling.8317.html
National Center on Elder Abuse http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/
Considerations for Older Travelers http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/older-traveler.html
Tips for Senior Travelers in Southeast Asia http://www.frommers.com/destinations/southeast-asia/640209
Tips for Senior Travelers to Morocco https://www.journeybeyondtravel.com/news/morocco-travel/tips-senior-travelers-morocco.html
REFERENCES (Since Publication of the 8th Edition)
[Click on highlighted titles for abstract or full text of articles]
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MMWR Series on Public Health and Aging. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 52 (6), February 14, 2003.
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Symptoms of Arthritis and Chronic Joint Systems in Adults, US, 2001. MMWR 51 (43), October 25, 2002.