It Is Possible Some Older Adults In Your Church Need Help With Medical Costs Or Food But Are Not Saying It – Baptist News Global

The stress aging Americans experience With ever-increasing healthcare costs, development is accelerating at an alarming rate, new surveys show.

“More than a third of adults 65 and older (37%) are worried about not being able to pay for the health care they need in the next year,” according to the latest West Health-Gallup survey. “The situation is even worse for older Americans who are not yet eligible for Medicare, as nearly half (45%) of adults ages 50 to 64 express the same concern. This puts nearly 50 million adults 50 and older at risk of more serious illness and even death due to healthcare costs.”

But many seniors are reluctant to admit these struggles to their friends and church families, said Greg Smith, executive director of the Legacy Ministry for Older Adults at First Baptist Church in Dalton, Georgia.

“A lot of times they don’t talk about it because a lot of the elders are depression babies, so they just don’t complain,” he said. “They recognize financial hardship as a given in life.”

GregSmith

It is therefore up to the municipalities and government departments to ask questions about food insecurity or chronic health issues when they visit older people, Smith said. “The key is for churches to recognize the hidden financial woes of older adults and not assume the challenge is limited to the homeless.”

The West Health-Gallup survey found that such predicaments are mushrooming.

“The health problems that Americans begin to experience when they turn 50 are compounded when the high cost of health care prevents them from seeking treatment, taking their prescriptions, or leading an otherwise healthy lifestyle,” the authors note of the study.

At least two-thirds of older Americans find that medical expenses represent some level of financial difficulty.

At least that’s what the poll showed Two-thirds of older Americans find that medical expenses present some level of financial difficulty. “When it comes to being unable to pay for care, four in ten say they are concerned; smaller but notable percentages do not seek treatment, skip prescribed medications, or reduce basic needs such as food and utilities to pay for health care.”

The problems are particularly challenging for Americans ages 50 to 64 because they don’t qualify for Medicare, although older adults are also significantly affected, the report added.

“US Department of Health and Human Services data shows that healthcare spending for adults age 65 and older increased 41% from 2009 to 2019; Out-of-pocket expenses account for a larger portion of an individual’s expenses as people age, as demand for health care increases and Medicare does not cover all health care expenses. People age 65 and older spend almost twice as much of their total health care spending as the general population, even though 94% in this age group are covered by Medicare.”

The number of people affected According to US Census calculations, they are projected to increase as the aging population increases by about 10,000 people per day over the next decade. “This rapidly growing group of older Americans … is already saying that healthcare costs are a financial burden (24% of 50-64 year olds identify it as a major burden; 48% as a minor burden),” says the report.

To compensate, seniors reported cutting back on other expenses to meet their health needs.

“In the past year, about one in four adults aged 65 and over, about 13 million people in that age group, had at least one basic health care need reduced. This group includes 9% who have reduced their spending on groceries, 13% who have reduced their spending on over-the-counter drugs, 6% who have reduced their utility bills, and 19% on clothing.”

The study included comments from Survey respondents included New Mexico resident Arthur Falconer, 78, who said: “If I go to a doctor, it costs $20 (which doesn’t seem like much to everyone, but my wife and I are retired and this we have a total of $126 a month for gas, emergencies, and groceries. We end up having to buy food from the church food banks.”

“If I go to a doctor, it’s $20 (which doesn’t seem like much to anyone, but my wife and I are retired, and we have a total of $126 a month left over for gas, emergencies, and food.”

The worry that comes with it exacerbates the dilemma for older Americans, the study said. “These costs are also associated with stress, which can make health problems worse: more than four in 10 adults over the age of 65 (42%) say healthcare costs cause stress in their daily lives.”

Smith suggested several actions churches can take to alleviate this stress for seniors.

“Have a board or get involved in food co-ops,” he advised. “When healthy food is provided for many seniors and their supplies are provided, you support good health.”

Some churches have benefited from parish nursing, he added. “Such a service may have a single nurse or perhaps a team of nurses available to meet the basic health needs” of community and community members, including the elderly.

“Another approach is to offer a Ministry of Transport. Transportation can be a big problem for older adults. This can allow for trips to doctor’s appointments or going to the pharmacy to pick up someone’s prescription. Especially for the housebound people, part of their health problems may be simply being housebound and not being able to see a doctor regularly.”

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