In an article posted by BridgeMI.com US census data has revealed that 21 of Michigan’s 83 counties have a median age of 50 years and older, making Michigan the highest in the entire United States. This is great for people in the aging sector because it gives the opportunity for innovation. Older adults are staying in their homes, being active, and living longer than ever. Caregivers and professionals are in a unique position to care for older adults in ways never seen previously because they are quite different than the generations before.
87% of people aged 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Among people age 50 to 64, 71 percent of people want to age in place. Many seniors want to make their current home their retirement home, which increases the need for in-home services. Seniors benefit from in-home services such as chores, personal care and in-home skilled nursing in order to maintain health in their current dwellings. Also, just because seniors want to age in place, means they must stay in place. Fears of falling and driving sometimes leaves seniors confined to their homes. Seniors who live alone are more likely to be isolated, depressed and lonely. In order to keep seniors active, access to transportation plays a pivotal role in senior independence. More than 50 percent of nondrivers over age 65 do not leave home most days, partly because of a lack of transportation options. To combat this, we must figure out innovative ways to provide seniors with timely, and accessible door to door and curb to door transit options.
Technology is an important resource for everyone, but access to technology to an older adult can change their lives. Technology allows older adults to stay in contact with loved ones, do research and search for resources surrounding care. Assistive health technology can be used to monitor chronic disease, and even connect to counseling and online support groups. Technology gives older adults a sense of agency and self-control over their health seeing how it can be monitored on the go or in the privacy of their own home. Technology use is the biggest separator between older adults today and will continue to be a huge factor in aging decisions in the future.
The Need for specialized care
The price of healthcare is soaring due to many seniors facing diabetes, hypertension, and obesity alongside other chronic diseases. The sharing of health information amongst seniors is an emerging priority. Older adults need health education more than any other resource. Letting older adults educate themselves on how to prevent and control health conditions will allow them to be more proactive with their personal healthcare needs. Seminars, senior centers and online tools are a few ways seniors are gaining access to information. A focus on prevention instead of crisis intervention will completely change the way we look at aging in the US. And reduce the cost of healthcare dramatically.
The opportunity to be ahead of oncoming health and social issues seniors face is the primary focus of Ahead of the Curve. By using resource referral and community collaboration, we are working to protect Washtenaw’s most vulnerable seniors before facing a crisis.