Community wellness is on the mind of many within the healthcare industry, driving increases in holistic health outreach programs and initiatives for older adults who are more vulnerable to health problems.
However, the greatest impact is driven by actions of the individual, and personalized programs that provide support and accountability. When someone is in the midst of a health crisis, it’s often not caused by just one disease or condition alone—but rather a tsunami of issues that compound into something catastrophic.
Who’s steering the ship?
It’s not unusual for a fairly sedentary older adult to leave a doctor’s office with a diabetes diagnosis. They’re told to lose weight and exercise, sent on their way with a set of guidelines to follow.
It’s also not uncommon for that same diabetic to have a second diagnosis of heart disease layered on top of the first… a direct result of the same sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits that triggered the diabetes.
These are two of the most common health issues for older adults, after all.
Here’s where complications enter the picture: each diagnosis comes with its own set of self-management, nutrition and physical activity guidelines the physician wants their patient to follow. For those with complicated health circumstances, five minutes with a physician simply isn’t enough time to get the support needed. Patients are left stranded in an ocean of generic advice. Each diagnoses can be complex alone, but when layered with other diagnoses, they become infinitely more complex; contradicting each other or virtually impossible to follow due to the sheer complexity of it all.
Already frustrated, a fall, injury, overwhelming medication regimens or additional diagnoses can be a catalyst, leading the patient to give up their efforts or end up in the hospital.
According to a recent article on Kaiser Health News, a trip to the emergency room is often a tipping point for elder health.
The solution? We must each become our own captain, charting the path and facilitating our own learning and communication. It’s up to us to have a complete understanding of our health conditions so that we can balance our own lifestyle, nutrition and activity with management of stress, medications and medical care.
This enables us to have the best quality of life possible.
Personalized care is more important than ever
How can we create our own self-monitoring and management when it comes to health and wellness? Creating our own system of personalized care makes a powerful difference.
Health care systems are trying to provide solutions that scale large populations, but email guidance on exercise to help with diabetes can’t help the older adult with an injured knee, or one that needs chair yoga rather than daily walks. The support is just too generic.
The real magic happens at the individual level. With the right support, a patient is able to blend physician recommendations, diagnoses and care options with a manageable plan tailored to the individual patient, and the guidance to make it happen.
Most communities offer an abundance of resources for personalized care that are easily discovered with a bit of research. Whether it’s pairing Weight Watchers group meetings and community education classes on diabetes with the services of a nutrition coach, or hiring a wellness coordinator to wrap action and advice into a plan, then oversee progress and accountability, a single point of contact to manage activity and coordinate action can be the ideal way to manage complex health situations.
Sun Health at Home is a program designed to coordinate and pay for personalized wellness and care, if needed, for older adults in the West Valley. Reserve your spot now at our free, no-obligation discovery seminar or call (623) 227- HOME (4663) to learn more.
Sun Health at Home is the first continuing care at home program in the southwestern United States, and the only one available in Arizona.
(Originally published Jan. 17, 2018; last updated Jan. 11, 2019.)