A New Age of Health Care Access
As the population ages, health care among seniors is rapidly changing. Unfortunately, many of our seniors do not have the proper access, or the ability to receive the level of care necessary for their conditions. Many seniors do not have community or family support, further adding to the complications of ensuring they receive adequate care. Family members of the elderly should recognize these difficulties and assist in reducing as many of these obstacles as possible.
From more complicated medical conditions to transportation issues our seniors have many unique aspects of their lives and situations that can make it more difficult to receive necessary care. Some of these challenges include: the rising cost of health care, the ability to understand and remember medication dosages to manage conditions, and the access to transportation to fill medications and attend office visits.
As we age, our overall health declines. This creates a need for more specialized healthcare which can require extensive medication regimens. The complexity of these medical conditions can create a struggle for elderly individuals in managing their own health. Medication regimens requiring different dosages at different points of the day can be difficult for anyone to remember; an issue which grows increasingly complicated as we age. Elderly patients may have a difficult time managing their medication which can lead to inadequate dosing, skipped dosages, or potential over dosages. These risks can be reduced by having an additional caregiver to assist in dispensing medications.
Many health conditions that occur as we age such as, cardiac issues, high blood pressure, and respiratory difficulties, may require the care of a specialist, the need for specialized equipment, or the necessity of expensive medications. These costs may be difficult for the elderly to manage on a fixed income and can prohibit individuals from receiving the appropriate level of care. Having health insurance and/or Medicare is not enough to ensure these costs will be covered completely. Caregivers and family members can assist in making appointments with social services to find the necessary coverage or assistance to help manage these costs.
Transportation is a major obstacle for many elderly individuals still living independently. While Medicaid may assist in the cost of transportation to medical appointments, Medicare typically does not. This can make it difficult for those individuals not residing along a public transportation route to obtain transportation to and from appointments. Care should be taken to ensure family members have the necessary access to attend office visits and fill medications.
As our population ages, the elderly should not be left alone to manage these difficulties on their own. Family members should take the time to ensure their parents and grandparents have the necessary support systems in place to manage their care. Our communities can assist with those without family support by ensuring social services or religious congregations have services in place to assist with obtaining this very necessary care. Helping our seniors maintain the access to health care is a responsibility we all share.