The 2017 Stanislaus County Senior Report makes for interesting, if alarming, reading. It provides a comprehensive study of the county’s seniors ages 60 and older, with the main point of interest being the health and wellbeing of this vulnerable demographic.
To get a clear picture, the report has studied several factors, including the physical and mental wellbeing of seniors, nutrition, emergency room visits, disability status, rates of falls amongst seniors, main causes of death, and elder abuse.
To complete the picture, the report looks at other related and contributing factors of senior wellbeing and health in Stanislaus County, such as financial situation, economics, family and household composition, employment, and housing.
Breaking Down the Statistics
The report begins by introducing the demographic of seniors 60 and older in the county, and its composition (such as whether they are veterans and their marital status). As 17% of the population, seniors over 60 make a very large segment of the population in Stanislaus County. This segment has been growing at a rate of over 1,700 a year since 2007, making the concerns over this increasingly aging and growing segment of the population all the more poignant.
Reaching a population of 90,265 seniors in 2014, the economic situation for this demographic is worrisome, to say the least. Nearly a quarter of seniors in Stanislaus County had an income at or lower than 150% of the poverty level. 11.8% of seniors in the county have an income below the poverty level as recognized in the US at $11,670 a year for an individual or $15,730 a year for a family of two.
One in 20 seniors in the county reported going without basic needs such as food, utilities, and transportation.
At 39%, Stanislaus seniors show an alarming rate of disability, surpassing California (31%) and the average for the entire country (32%).
Access to Senior Healthcare in Stanislaus County
Healthcare access was also a big concern in the report, especially the number of seniors 60 and older, that go without health coverage. The report looked at the stated reasons for this. 61% of respondents reported a lack of health insurance as an impediment while 73.8% said a lack of funds was the main reason to avoid being treated. 32.2% said the main obstacle for them was that senior care insurers wouldn’t cover them and the inability to find a medical provider that would accept the insurance plan either wholly or partially.
When it comes to mortality and causes of death in Stanislaus County, seniors mirror the rest of the country concerning the main causes of death. Heart disease and cancer account for half of the total deaths amongst seniors (it is also 50% for the entire population), followed by chronic respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and other causes.
Falls by Elderly Residents
There is an alarming rate of falls in the county. The report shows that serious non-fatal falls exceed the state average by 18-20%. Of course, this has led to increasing visits to the emergency room for the affected seniors when compared to the rest of California and a marked increase in follow-up hospitalizations as a result.
This worrisome statistic amongst Stanislaus seniors has caused many of the agencies responsible for seniors’ welfare to speak out. Margie Palomino, director of Aging and Veterans Services, said that the purpose of Stanislaus county’s Agency on Aging is to enhance the lives of seniors, caregivers, and those seniors with disabilities. She said that addressing concerns over falls that can result in lost independence or even death is the purpose of the Healthy Aging Association, one of its provider agencies.
The report concludes with a list of programs in place to help reduce falls in the county, such as: A Matter of Balance, Young at Heart Fall Prevention Classes, and the Fall Prevention Resource Guide.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
The report shows that Stanislaus County seniors are obviously at risk. Their situation is critical. This alarming report should be seen as a wakeup call for seniors, their families, and senior caregivers.
Whether or not they use the services of a professional care provider, the report shows that the best way to avoid pitfalls in the way of a serene retirement is to be prepared and to create a solid financial plan. These will help seniors enjoy retirement in good health and with the quality of life and well being they deserve.
For further information, don’t hesitate to contact us at Shelton Care Management. Our professional team of senior care consultants can answer any and all of your questions and provide advice for you or a loved one. We are looking forward to learning how we can help you and we are only a phone call away.