Although Texas’ overall population is among the youngest in the nation, the state also is home to one of the largest older adult populations in the U.S.
Almost 3.5 million Texans are age 65 and older, a number projected to reach 9.4 million by 2050, according to the Texas Demographic Center.
That population, and the role they play in their communities, is celebrated in May during Older Americans Month.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s (HHSC’s) Aging Texas Well initiative has been promoting opportunities for older adults for more than 20 years. The initiative offers a holistic view of issues affecting older adults. This helps the state and its communities prepare for all aspects of healthy aging.
Throughout Older Americans Month, Texas Medicine Today will share information from HHSC to help older Texans live and age well and live independently.
Are you concerned a patient’s social network is shrinking, they’re not getting enough exercise, or they’re at risk of falling? Keep reading these posts to see how you can help older Texans age well.
One common problem that can affect people as they age is social isolation. Loss of social networks can occur over time due to retirement, declining health, or the passing of loved ones.
A recent study found that Medicare spends more on socially isolated older adults than those with larger networks. The study found that spending was comparable to what the program spends on beneficiaries with certain chronic conditions. Isolated older adults were more likely to have multiple chronic illnesses, difficulty performing daily tasks, and a 50% higher mortality risk than non-isolated older adults.
If you’re concerned one of your older patients might be socially isolated, consider suggesting they attend a senior center or participate in Texercise, a group exercise initiative targeted to older adults.
Many older adults who need care receive it from their family members. Likewise, some older adults become caregivers themselves, providing care to a spouse, a child with a disability, or even grandchildren. Organizations like the Area Agencies on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and other community-based social services can provide valuable support services for older adults, their families, and caregivers.
The Age Well Live Well campaign provides people and communities with education on available resources, services, and supports. It also helps organizations begin aging initiatives and encourages communities to proactively plan for their aging population through policy and partnerships.
To learn more, or to educate your older patients about special issues and concerns through fact sheets or brochures, contact Age Well Live Well at (800) 889-8595 or via email.