Recent posts by Signify Health Team
4 min read
Every day, Signify Health physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants engage with thousands of health plan members – wherever they call home – to get a true understanding of members’ health status – and for members to get connected to the right care for their unique needs. Here is Kurt's experience with his recent In-home Health Evaluation (IHE).
2 min read
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant care delays, which disproportionately impacted those with poor health or chronic conditions. In the first three months of 2020, 41% of U.S. adults delayed or avoided medical care. Multiple studies show regular visits with primary care reduce hospitalizations and costs. Yet many Americans lack a primary care provider (PCP).
4 min read
Americans are living longer than ever, thanks to advances in healthcare and improved public health initiatives. In fact, there are nearly 90 thousand people 100 years or older in the United States today, nearly double the number from 20 years ago. By 2030, all Baby Boomers will be 65 or older.
But it’s not just about aging – it’s about aging well. To stay healthy with each birthday celebration, we need to pay closer attention to our bodies and minds, and make sure our lifestyles and behaviors support healthy aging. It may not always be easy, but it is important. Savvy seniors are taking the right steps to live their best lives, and you can too.
The good news is, it’s never too late to take control of your health. Online resources and tools that encourage simple lifestyle changes to lead a longer, healthier, and more independent life are just a keystroke away.
In celebration of Healthy Aging Month, we’re sharing five tips from Signify Health providers, Elizabeth Dugan, MD and Elissa Greene, NP, to help you improve your health, and age with grace, joy, and dignity.
1. Get Moving
Build movement into every single day. Research tells us that sitting for too long is as bad for our health as smoking. Physical activity is critical to healthy aging. It’s essential to heart, lung, brain, and joint health. Cardiologists recommend walking for 30 minutes, five days a week to strengthen the heart and boost circulation, but even stretching for a few minutes every day can ensure the musculoskeletal system is getting the attention it needs to function better.
Balancing exercises and basic yoga practices (there’s even chair yoga for those who need it!) are other ways to move your body and reduce your risk of falling. Grab a friend and hold each other accountable to walk and stretch a few times every week.
2. Eat healthy, whole food
A healthy diet is key to living a healthier life. How we fuel our bodies affects more than our weight; it impacts immunity, strength, and energy. The foods, drinks, medications, and supplements we consume affect every function of our bodies and minds.
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to understand what you’re putting in your body. While fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and whole grains will always prevail when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, it can be difficult (and expensive) to shop and prepare for every meal.
Look for low-sodium foods. Many foods, even canned and frozen, may have a lot of sodium. It is important to look at nutritional labels and reduce your sodium intake.
Health-supporting supplements are popular, however, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before consuming any non-prescribed supplements. It’s important to know how that supplement will interact with prescription medications you may take. Many over-the-counter supplements, for example, can cause dizziness or thin the blood. If you have doubts, always ask a healthcare professional.
3. Be social and have fun!
The older we get, the more loss, grief, and isolation we tend to experience. For older adults who have trouble moving around, loneliness can be more acute – especially if family and friends don’t live nearby.
Social isolation and loneliness are health hazards, and not only to our minds. Yes, they put us at high risk of depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. But recent studies have found that social isolation also reinforces unhealthy habits that can have a harmful impact on our physical health.
We can live longer, more joyful lives by seeking and staying connected to others, whether it be by staying in touch with friends and family in person, digitally, or over the phone, by volunteering for a local organization, or by finding a community of people with shared interests and values.
As we age, social interaction should become a priority – even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Experts have even suggested scheduling time to develop strong social connections that help combat loneliness.
4. Your mind matters, too
For some people, the aging experience can be frightening. It is completely normal to be worried about ourselves and our families as we age, but those fears and anxieties can impact our health. We don’t get the restful sleep we need, we experience an unhealthy amount of stress throughout the day, and we can find ourselves adopting a more cynical or negative emotional state of mind.
These experiences put the cognitive health of older adults at risk, impacting memory, decision-making, and mood. These are completely natural feelings and behaviors, but that doesn’t mean we need to let our anxieties control us.
Mindfulness exercises and meditation may be effective in combating fear and anxiety. It may feel impossible sometimes to learn how to relax and find calm, but luckily there are more resources available now than ever before. Try downloading an app that walks you through breathing exercises when you’re feeling anxious, or leads you through a guided meditation when you’re having trouble sleeping.
5. Be an active participant in your own health
When it comes to healthy aging, proactivity is the name of the game. We want to be one step ahead of the needs of our bodies and minds, and that means staying engaged with our healthcare.
In-home health evaluations are one of the best prevention tools available to older adults. Beyond the screenings that tell us what’s going on with our physical health, these preventive services provide you with the opportunity to make use of the time you have with your care team to talk about any concerns you have about your health – whether that be your medications, your environment, or your mood. Think of preventive services such as the annual wellness visit and In-home Health Evaluation as an opportunity to take action – to provide your whole person with what you need to age healthily.
Get started now by making an appointment with your PCP for your annual wellness visit and see if your health plan covers an in-home assessment with Signify Health. Schedule your In-home Health Evaluation through Signify Health now!
Today’s aging experience is much different than generations of the past. People lead active and fulfilling lives well into their eighties and beyond. Take these steps to ensure you too will live your best life now and in the future.
2 min read
It may be hard to imagine, but one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2030. The reality is our nation is aging quickly, living longer, and developing needs that exceed our healthcare system’s capacity. As the average age of Americans steadily increases, so too does the country’s chronic disease burden. Consumer expectations for healthcare are changing. If we can shop, bank, and stream our favorite shows from the comfort of our living rooms, why can’t managing our health be just as convenient?
As a company focused on the health of older Americans, we welcome Healthy Aging Month as a time to explore what we can do to make care more responsive to the needs of those over age 65.
The Future of Healthy Aging, a report released by CVS Health, identifies strategies that can help the healthcare system perform at its very best. Among them is improving home-based care. With four out of five people 65 and older saying they are interested in receiving healthcare services at home, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll and CVS Health, it is easy to see why making more services available in the home makes sense.
At Signify Health, we see firsthand the value of being able to have diagnostic and preventive health screenings performed from the comfort and convenience of home. Beyond that, the home also offers a unique vantage point from which to learn more about a person’s true health – and the social determinants that influence it.
For example, we find that staying on track with medications can be challenging for those managing multiple chronic conditions. They are often prescribed medications by different providers, who may not know the full spectrum of medications and supplements someone is taking or the challenges someone is having complying with their regimen. When you consider that the average person over 50 is prescribed more than 13 medications, it is easy to see how being able to review someone’s medicines with them at their kitchen table can make an impact on their ability to manage their health.
As our nation continues to age, the need to reinvent care and rethink where – and how – care is delivered grows ever more important. From our experience performing health assessments in millions of homes each year, we believe that helping people do more in the home to manage their health is one important way we can help older Americans age well. We envision a new landscape for the delivery of care that includes the home as part of a continuum of touchpoints with those 65 and older. We look forward to hearing and learning from others who share their strategies to promote Healthy Aging this month and beyond as we continue to serve older Americans in new ways.
1 min read
The transition is happening. Across the nation, rural providers are successfully implementing value-based care models to improve patient care outcomes. By participating in Signify Health Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), providers who care for the underserved generate new revenue, earn shared savings, and expand on the primary care services they offer their communities. Below are five ways they are making it happen.