Age & Healthcare
New Realities of an Older America, a report issued in 2010 by the Stanford Center on Longevity, begins with the startling statement that “in less than one century, life expectancy has increased an average of 30 years in developed regions of the world.”
Just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we have to get sick: our healthy behaviors can delay many problems. Most chronic diseases have remained stable, with two exceptions: high blood pressure and diabetes (Hayutin et al, 2010:48), each of which can often be managed if diagnosed early.
The more we know about the social context for a person, the better we can help that person practice good health behaviors. For example, Shelton et al (2011) identifies major stressors and challenges interfering with the ability to attain health among low-income populations. We are beginning to pay attention to health disparities: each of the fourteen Centers on the Demography of Aging, sponsored by the National Institutes of Aging (http://www.agingcenters.org), collects data which can be used by policy makers, researchers, and citizens. A new survey, the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) is recruiting people 65 and older to study how aging affects independence in self-care (http://www.nhats.org). In South Carolina, where the CCC is mounted, Hands On Health-SC is an online community resource promoting healthy lifestyles.
The Carolinas Conversations Collection brings a voice to the statistics, the studies, and perhaps, some of your own questions.
Hayutin A., Dietz M., Mitchell L. (2010). New realities of an older America: Challenges, changes and questions. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center on Longevity
Shelton R, Goldman R, Emmons K, Sorensen G, Allen J. (2011). An investigation into the social context of low-income, urban Black and Latina women: Implications for adherence to recommended health behaviors. Health Education & Behavior, 38, 471-481.