Care for the seniors is best provided in a home setting. There are however conditions that require admission in hospitals. Provision of health care to the elderly should not be limited because of their age.
Medical Conditions of Seniors
The seniors’ health, both physical and mental is highly affected by psychological and social issues (Nabili). As humans age, there are certain changes that occur in their bodies complicating their health. Skin changes result in flexible, thinner and more fragile skin characterized by wrinkles and age spots. There is a decrease in natural skin oil production making it dry and itchy (Nabili). Bones, joints and muscle changes make the elderly prone to fractures. There is a general weakness resulting from a shrink in the muscle mass. The elderly also go through joint inflammation, pain and they become less flexible (Nabili).
Hormonal changes and changes in metabolism may result in diabetes. Alteration in fat metabolism, cholesterol (Nabili) can make the elderly more prone to stroke and heart disease. In most cases, age is accompanied by memory loss. This leads to forgetfulness but not necessarily dementia (Nabili). There are some however, who experience dementia and the Alzheimer’s disease as they age. Changes in immune system result in increased rate of infections among the elderly. Auditory functions can also be a problem for the aged. The vision also gets affected as people age. Age also, in some cases, come with uncontrolled bowel movement and bladder. Some seniors are unable to pass urine, which can be very distressing for them.
These changes on the seniors make them prone to several diseases including arthritis, diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases, renal diseases, cancers among other conditions. These conditions need to be diagnosed early so that they can be managed. Seniors require a lot of care as a result and some of these conditions can only be well managed in hospitals.
Overall Health Status of Seniors
America’s health rankings states that one out every seven Americans are aged 65 and above. This number is expected to rise in the next two decades. It is expected to double by 2050. Despite the rise in the aged population, the status of their health is encouraging at the national level. There is an improvement in preventable hospitalization and in the use of end of life care (America’s Health Rankings). There is however, a general need to improve community and environmental conditions since they impact on the health of the seniors. America’s Health Rankings states that collaborations will ensure older adults achieve the highest level of social, physical and mental wellbeing in their communities.
Apart from hospitals, there are several other institutions responsible for providing health care for the elderly. For instance, the Hudson valley is said to constitute 37 hospitals, 95 nursing homes, 174 home health care agencies, 10 federally qualified health centers, and seven hospice agencies, hundreds of behavioral health providers and over 7,000 licensed physicians (Drapkins 2014). In 2009, the estimated health care in New York State was 163 billion dollars, which accounted for 15.1 percent of Gross State Product (Drapkins, 2014).
A report from East Harlem of New York State indicated that 15 percent of adult population had diabetes. It further states that those aged 65 and above are five times more likely to be hospitalized for diabetic related amputations compared to other New York residents (Macualay)
The types of services offered to seniors include nutritional care. Because of their medical and physical conditions, some require to follow a specific diet (Home Business). They also require health care assistance so as to mange some of these medical and health conditions. Seniors are also in need of home care services such as cleaning among other necessary services.
The average length of stay in hospitals in 2012 for people aged 65 to 84 years was an average of 5.2 days at an average cost of 13,000 dollars. The same applied to those aged 85 years and above (Health Care Cost and Utilization Project).