California is home to more than 3.5 million adults 65 years of age or older – the largest and most ethnically diverse older adult population in the country. Currently the older adult population in Los Angeles County in an estimated 950,000. 45.4% is comprised of ethnic minorities.
By 2030, the older adult population in LA will be 2.3 million with 64% ethnic minorities. The primary health concern in this diverse, aging population is the high incidence of chronic disease. In Los Angeles, 45% of older adults have two or more risk factors for chronic disease and 32.5% report having poor to fair health.
Barriers to health include the low levels of physical activity, lack of access to timely medical care, unavailability of affordable healthy food and inadequate disease management education and support, including the absence of effective educational programs promoting healthy eating habits, exercise and health management.
Current research posits that a healthy lifestyle is more influential than genetic factors in helping older adults avoid the decline and deterioration traditionally associated with aging.
Those who pursue healthy behaviors including physical activity and a healthy diet reduce their risk of chronic disease. Effective strategies for reducing disease and disability are widely underused in California. Preventing disease, limiting disability and improving the quality of life for older adults through community-based programs have proven successful in a variety of settings. Older adults face specific risk factors that undermine healthy lifestyles and put them at-risk of developing serious chronic health conditions. It is critical for older adults to be provided with a framework, resources and skills in preventing decline and optimizing self care of common disorders
Partners in Care has developed programs proven to be optimally effective and cost-effective for the older adult population. Partners believes that simple lifestyle changes can dramatically improve individuals’ quality of life and overall medical condition. Partners is now a nationally recognized leader in promoting innovative community and home approaches focusing on ‘aging well.’
Below are some examples of how Partners develops and implements innovative ideas focusing on ‘aging well’:
The State of Aging and Health in America 2007 report is available onlinat www.cdc.gov/aging
The State of Aging and Health in America 2007 report is available online