Access to Healthcare, a Public Health Issue for Older Adults

Accessing affordable healthcare services is essential for older adults. Financial barriers, lack of transportation, and limited providers pose challenges.

Helpful Highlights

  • Access to healthcare is a critical public health issue for older adults due to several reasons.

  • Given these factors, addressing access to healthcare is a critical public health priority for promoting healthy aging, reducing health disparities, and improving health outcomes and quality of life for older adults.

  • Public health efforts aimed at addressing barriers to healthcare access, promoting health equity, and advocating for policies that support affordable, accessible, and high-quality healthcare services for older adults are essential for addressing this public health issue.

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Increased healthcare needs

As individuals age, they often experience a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension. Your loved one may require regular medical care, medications, preventive screenings, and management of multiple health conditions, making access to healthcare services essential for maintaining their health and well-being.

Healthcare utilization

Older adults tend to utilize healthcare services more frequently than younger age groups due to their healthcare needs and increased risk of acute and chronic health problems. Access to healthcare services, including primary care, specialty care, hospital care, and long-term care, is essential for managing your loved one's health conditions, preventing complications, and addressing emerging health concerns.

Barriers to access

Older adults may face various barriers to accessing healthcare services, including financial barriers, lack of health insurance coverage, transportation difficulties, mobility limitations, cognitive impairment, language barriers, and limited availability of healthcare providers in rural or underserved areas. These barriers can prevent your loved one from seeking timely medical care and accessing essential healthcare services.

Health disparities

Older adults from marginalized or underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, rural residents, LGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals with disabilities, may experience disparities in access to healthcare services. These disparities can result in inequitable health outcomes, poorer quality of care, and reduced access to preventive services and screenings for older adults from vulnerable populations.

Impact on health outcomes

Access to healthcare services plays a crucial role in determining health outcomes and quality of life for older adults. Timely access to preventive care, early detection of health problems, effective management of chronic conditions, and coordination of care across healthcare settings can improve health outcomes, reduce hospitalizations, prevent complications, and enhance the overall well-being of your loved one.

Policy implications

Ensuring access to healthcare for older adults requires comprehensive policy solutions at the local, state, and national levels. Policies aimed at expanding health insurance coverage, reducing out-of-pocket costs, improving transportation options, increasing healthcare workforce capacity, promoting telehealth services, and addressing social determinants of health are essential for improving access to healthcare services.

No content in this app, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Helpful is an app to make caregiving easier. We integrate your loved one’s insurance benefits, medical records and caregiving guides into an immediate, accessible and user-friendly experience. Helpful supports your care needs by eliminating administrative tasks and providing technology to support your caregiving experience.

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Elderly man is smiling at his relative caregiver