September is Healthy Aging month, and anyone with older friends or family members wants them to be able to live their healthiest life, in the place where they are most comfortable and around the people they care about the most.
For those with seniors who live a distance away, it can be difficult to know how they are really doing. Are they able to manage daily household activities? Is there anything in the home that could present a health or injury risk? Are they able to get to doctors’ appointments? These are real concerns and it’s important to know what signs to look for.
Assessing health risk and looking for social, mental and behavioral issues that can impact health is a big part of what we do at Signify Health. Looking at data from hundreds of thousands of health risk assessments we conducted in seniors’ homes during the past year, we can see patterns of “social comorbidities” that most frequently present along with medical issues.
Many of these issues are subtle and less obvious, but they can be identified by asking the right questions—and when the person asking them is someone they trust. We have been able to gather this level of insight from conducting health risk assessments sitting with seniors “knee-to-knee” in their homes.
What we’ve found is consistent with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP), which has done a lot of work looking at ways to spot the social and behavioral red flags that could indicate someone needs more support to take care of their health. AAFP’s EveryONE Project has a wealth of information for care teams and caregivers that can help bridge these gaps.
As we celebrate Healthy Aging Month, we also recognize the many social services agencies, advocacy groups and public health professionals who work tirelessly to provide a social care safety net for seniors and people of all ages in need. We are proud to work alongside them through our own social determinants of health networks in communities around the country.
This work is an important part of living our vision at Signify Health to build a healthier place to live and age in. This goal is something we share as professionals and as people with seniors in our lives who we care for. People like Signify Health’s Ariella Cohen, who recently sat down with her grandparents to get their thoughts and advice on how to live a healthy life. Enjoy!