The conditions and elements in which people are born, develop, live, work, and age
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The conditions and elements in which people are born, develop, live, work, and age and which may have an impact on their health and well-being are referred to as social determinants of health. The following social determinants of health can have a major negative influence on the general health and quality of life of older persons who live in poverty:
1. Healthcare Access: Older persons who live in poverty may experience difficulties getting routine checkups, preventive screenings, and medical care. Their capacity to pay for vital medications and treatments may be hampered by a lack of health insurance or low financial resources.
2. Nutrition and Food Insecurity: Older individuals may experience food insecurity due to poverty\’s impact on their ability to access nutrient-dense foods. A person\’s immune system can be weakened by inadequate diet, which increases their susceptibility to diseases and long-term problems.
3. Housing and Environment: Poverty-stricken older persons may reside in subpar housing or dangerous areas, which can have a detrimental influence on their physical health and raise the chance of mishaps and injuries. Respiratory and other health issues might also arise as a result of inadequate home conditions.
4. Social Isolation: An older adult\’s capacity to engage in social activities and community participation may be constrained by financial restrictions. Social exclusion can cause loneliness, despair, and mental health problems that can negatively impact their general well-being.
5. Limited access to social support systems, such as those of family, friends, and the community, may be a problem for elderly people living in poverty. Social support is crucial for emotional well-being and can serve as a stress reliever and barrier against problems with one\’s health.
6. Education and Literacy: Older persons may find it more difficult to comprehend health information, manage chronic diseases, and make wise health decisions if they have lower levels of education and literacy.
7. Transportation: Older persons\’ ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle may suffer if they are unable to access healthcare facilities, food stores, and community resources due to a lack of reliable transportation.
8. Stress and Mental Health: Because of ongoing financial stress and future uncertainty, living in poverty can cause chronic stress. Chronic stress can have a severe impact on one\’s bodily and emotional well-being, accelerating the onset of long-term diseases and mental health disorders.
An all-encompassing and multifaceted strategy is needed to address the socioeconomic determinants of health for elderly people living in poverty. A better access to healthcare, affordable housing, wholesome food, and social support must be developed by policymakers and public health professionals. The health and wellbeing of older persons living in poverty can be significantly improved by programs that offer financial support, accessible transportation, and inexpensive housing options. Community-based programs that encourage social participation and involvement can also assist fight social isolation and enhance mental health outcomes. Regardless of a person\’s socioeconomic level, we can strive toward achieving healthy aging by addressing these social variables.
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Ageing and health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health
Adler, N. E., & Newman, K. (2002). Socioeconomic disparities in health: Pathways and policies. Health Affairs, 21(2), 60-76. doi:10.xxxx/hlthaff.21.2.60
– Sunday, August 6, 2023, 11:52 AMNumber of replies: 1
Social determinants of health are defined as societal systems, their components, and the social resources that control and distribute, which can have consequences on a person\’s health (Perez, 2022). The conditions and resources people have based on factors such as socioeconomic, education, environment, and race/ethnicity play a crucial role in shaping health outcomes. In the United States, older adults facing poverty have many social determinants that worsen their overall health and well-being.
The United States healthcare system is complex, with many systems based on public and private healthcare providers, insurance companies, and government programs. At times, receiving medical services can have high costs with challenges to the population. Older adults in poverty have difficulty accessing quality healthcare services which have been linked as one of the downstream effects between poverty and health, along with poor nutrition and substandard housing (Beech, 2021). There are many reasons, such as a lack of health insurance, limited transportation, and inadequate financial fund. These factors cause a strain on an individual to receive proper medical care for early detection, preventative screening, and treatments. This also alludes to poorer people\’s dangerous working environment, which has risks for illness and disabilities (Murray S, 2006). Housing is a crucial determinant of health as older adults may have to reside in overcrowded and unsafe living conditions, leading to poorer health status and a higher likelihood of hospitalization (Boch, 2020). Common health problems include respiratory issues, injuries, and mental health concerns. In addition, older adults in poverty often face loneliness and lack social support.
Another social determinant of health for older adults facing poverty is working past retirement age due to financial need. The education level is typically low for impoverished older adults, meaning the available jobs are manual and demanding labor. This leads to older adults having an increased risk of injury and difficulty managing chronic conditions. Although social programs are already in place, it is often challenging for older adults to receive them. The patient\’s education level can hinder applying for the services because most programs require a lot of paperwork to be filled out. They can also struggle to understand treatment regimes and medication and even make decisions about their health.
Poverty leads to poor nourishment and hygiene, resulting in a higher chance of disease; disease often further impoverishes poor people through absenteeism and reduces productivity (Saab, 2006). As a healthcare worker tackling the problem of poverty seems impossible. However, healthcare workers, government officials, and community organizations must work together to advocate for policy changes nationally and internationally to reduce the burden of ill health from poverty (McCally, 1998). They must understand poverty and the inner social determinants that affect their health. Once we understand providing affordable housing, expanding access to healthcare, and promoting education can improve adults\’ well-being. Professionals can also volunteer their time to offer low-cost medical services to underserved communities, which can positively impact our society.
Perez, F. P., Perez, C. A., & Chumbiauca, M. N. (2022). Insights into the Social Determinants of Health in Older Adults. Journal of biomedical science and engineering, 15(11), 261–268. https://doi.org/10.4236/jbise.2022.1511023
Beech, B. M., Ford, C., Thorpe, R. J., Jr, Bruce, M. A., & Norris, K. C. (2021). Poverty, Racism, and the Public Health Crisis in America. Frontiers in public health, 9, 699049. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.699049
Murray S. (2006). Poverty and health. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l\’Association medicale canadienne, 174(7), 923. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.060235
Boch, S. J., Taylor, D. M., Danielson, M. L., Chisolm, D. J., & Kelleher, K. J. (2020). \’Home is where the health is\’: Housing quality and adult health outcomes in the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Preventive medicine, 132, 105990. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.105990
Saab, B., & Antoun, J. (2006). Poverty, health, and the role of doctors. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 332(7545), 860.
McCally, M., Haines, A., Fein, O., Addington, W., Lawrence, R. S., & Cassel, C. K. (1998). Poverty and ill health: physicians can, and should, make a difference. Annals of internal medicine, 129(9), 726–733. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-129-9-199811010-…
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