Name: Leydis Dominguez.
Class: Health Promotion: Prevention of Disease
Healthy aging is an integral issue in any particular society. We see that all communities strive to make sure that their old people age gracefully and are well treated at all times, with many societies coming up with insurance programs that cater to the old people in society. However, we see that despite all the major measures that have been put in place to try and ensure that aging people are not impacted by health problems. There are various determinants in everyday life that affect these groups of people especially if they are living in poverty.
Some of the major social determinants of health that end up affecting aging people who live in poverty are issues such as income and social protection (Hill-Briggs, et,al. 2021). We see that many of the aging population that happen to live in marginalized communities and thus be in poverty are greatly affected by the fact that they have a low income and lack a social protection structure that would cushion them from the adverse effects of poverty. For instance, when one gets sick, due to their low-income levels, they are not able to access quality healthcare services and medical checkups all of which end up being detrimental to their healthcare, as certain conditions such as cancer have to be treated early for the treatment to be effective.
Another social determinant that affects the aging in poverty-stricken areas is housing, basic amenities, and the environment (Burström & Tao, 2020). Here we see that, when people age in poverty-stricken environments, they lack good housing and proper basic commodities. Then chances are high that they will; be affected by opportunistic infections which are caused by being in dirty environments and lacking proper housing.
Another social determinant that affects aging is social inclusion and non-discrimination. When people age in marginalized communities that have been discriminated against for years. Then chances are high that they would not receive proper care and healthcare due to the lack of provision of these services in the areas they live. For example, many black neighborhoods in America have been discriminated against making them lack proper housing, healthcare amenities, and other social amenities such as recreational parks, all of which are imperative for proper health for the aging in the community.
Another social determinant that greatly curtails the health of the aging in the community, is food insecurity (Burström & Tao, 2020). Here we see that the lack of food will always affect the health of aging people, the reason being they are more susceptible to diseases, hence the lack of proper nutrition will always affect them negatively compared to other individuals in other demographics.
Last but not least we see that the lack of affordable healthcare and access to a decent quality of services greatly affects the aging who live in poverty. The reason is that the lack of access to proper health services accelerates the rate at which infections affect them. This coupled with the lack of secant services for qualified nurses and physicians makes them more susceptible to diseases compared to other aging individuals who live in more privileged neighborhoods
Social Health Determinants among the Elderly
It is commonly known that money and health are related. Researchers have discovered a link between poverty and ill health, and they suggest that eradicating poverty is a good way to reduce health disparities (Jeon et al., 2017). Additionally, studies show that having a steady job helps people live longer and in better health. This is probably because it gives people access to advantages like pensions, health insurance, and social security. On the other hand, little is known about the effects of employment on health. Like people with poor education levels, people who live in poverty have higher mortality rates. The mortality risk for people living in poverty decreases with age, which is especially true for people between the ages of 45 and 65 (Been et al., 2017). Those with lower earnings encounter health problems and chronic diseases earlier than people with greater incomes. Older persons with poor incomes also have greater rates of disability. Despite a drop in disability rates among older individuals with high incomes in the 1990s, older persons living in poverty have seen an increase in disability rates regardless of their age, gender, level of education, or race (Jeon et al., 2017).
Older persons who live in households with incomes that are less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are more likely to suffer from three or more chronic conditions, as well as asthma, diabetes, arthritis, heart problems or angina, and anxiety attacks (Been et al., 2017). According to research, a person’s income level influences health outcomes through interacting with race and gender. For instance, people of color and older women are more likely to be poor. People who are poorer than average are more likely to rank their health as poor or fair (Jeon et al., 2017). Additionally, a higher proportion of poor black and Latino people assessed their health as poor or fair.
Poverty is coupled with overcrowding which predisposes the elderly to health issues such as infectious diseases which may include Tuberculosis (Been et al., 2017). There is also a high incidence of inaccessibility to clean water which results in a high incidence of waterborne diseases such as cholera. According to Rendah (2017), this cohort of people also are unable to afford food and are thus prone to malnutrition which predisposes them to diseases.
Most elderly people living in poverty have a low level of education. Those with higher levels of education have longer lifespans and lower rates of illness and disability (Safavi et al., 2021). Mortality rates changed between 1990 and 2000, rising for older people with less education and falling for those with more education. Evidence suggests that low income has a greater impact on the onset of disability than low education levels (Safavi et al., 2021). On the other hand, it has been shown that low income has a greater impact than low education on the development of a disability. According to additional studies, those with low levels of education are less likely to report good habits including never smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, having a normal body mass index, and engaging in physical activity (Safavi et al., 2021). Additionally, the utilization of preventive care is less common among older persons with less education than a high school diploma. Higher education may improve access to nutritious foods, opportunities for physical activity, and awareness of healthy behaviors, according to researchers (Rendah, 2017). The main route to social and economic success is through one’s educational background because it increases access to greater incomes, Social Security benefits, health insurance, and wholesome environs (Been et al., 2017). Furthermore, education and a good income are linked to variables that lower the risk of disease and mortality, such as stronger social bonds, wider social networks, better psychological traits, and constructive endeavors.