According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, the proportion of the population 65 years and older is projected to increase from 12.4 percent in 2000 to 19.6 percent in 2030. The number of people ages 65 and older is expected to increase from approximately 35 million in 2000 to an estimated 71 million in 2030.
The CDC says “to address the challenges posed by an aging population, public health agencies and community organizations worldwide should continue expanding their traditional scope from infectious diseases and maternal/child health to include health promotion in older adults, prevention of disability, maintenance of capacity in those with frailties and disabilities, and enhancement of quality of life.”
We continue in Arkansas to enhance the quality of life of residents living in our nursing homes. On October 3, several nursing homes participated in a culture change exchange, or as we like to call it, a “communication connection.” These homes shared some of their ideas with people who were attending an AIPP seminar by Dr. Bryan Williams. These homes had displays, project boards and, more importantly, one-to-one interaction. This connection demonstrated the wide variety of life enhancement projects going on in our state. Even more importantly, it demonstrated our desire to share information with others.
Dr. Williams, during his lecture on Owning the Outcome of Your Actions, said, “To have knowledge and not share it with others is, in my opinion, immoral.” He was addressing the problems with health care and the service industry. We can all identify with poor communication between providers!
The communication connection is a way to share our culture change knowledge. We will be having more communication connections by telephone in the next few months. Keep a look out for nationally known change speakers, like Dr. Power, Dr. Taylor and Karen Schoeneman (recently retired deputy division director for the Nursing Homes Division at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). These calls or communication connections will be open to everyone in the state. Visit our calendar at http://events.afmc.org.
We all have a stake in owning the outcome of the future of health care. We all hope to have a good quality of life as we age. As I have explained to other health care professionals, culture change is not just about dining and pets. Sometimes it is about…fishing.