discuss potential obstacles that each aging issue may face if it were put to a popular vote. Is there an issue that may be harder than others to gather support if left to popular opinion? Your reply posts should be 100 to 150 words, with a minimum of one supporting reference included .
Social isolation is a major health problem that’s receiving more attention especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The AARP Foundation (2016) has reported that social isolation is growing into a pandemic as over 8 million older adults are affected by this issue. Social isolation is associated with multiple health problems such as neglect of health practices, cognitive impairment and more (Lubben, 2018).
As individuals grow older changes in abilities, physical and social environments occur. Social isolation becomes part of the person’s life and affects them negatively. Some of the risk factors to social isolation include depression, hearing impairment, poor health, death of a spouse, friends or relatives. Individuals who are isolated are more likely to develop physical and mental health problems, dementia and suicidal risk; it also leads to increased risk for hospitalization (Hand, 2017).
All of these elements stated above are valuable findings that justify the reason why social isolation should be placed at the top of the list of social issues in aging. Social isolation is the catalyst for the development of many health problems and mental health issues in older adults. Second on the list should be addressing gaps in mental health services.
Researchers predict that the Coiv-19 pandemic will lead to a range of long-term mental health problems. They attest that the U.S is not fully ready to handle the wave of health problems caused by the global pandemic concurrently with the increased life expectancy. In order to face those challenges all health professions need to join forces and develop strategies to deliver appropriate care to individuals and empower global health community to care for the aging population (Vahia, 2020).
As a senator preparing for this year’s policy agenda, it is imperative to address current social aging concerns. The following concerns will be the main focus of this year’s agenda, and are listed from highest to lowest priority: social isolation, mental health service gaps, fall prevention programs, and HIV/AIDS interventions. With the current covid-19 pandemic, social isolation amongst the elderly is of biggest concern as it impacting both physical and mental health. In a study completed by Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020), results determined that physical and mental health have been negatively impacted amongst the elderly population due to the social restrictions associated with the pandemic. Reported effects include anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality, and lack of physical activity (Sepúlveda-Loyola et al., 2020). Is it imperative to develop policies that will increase social interactions amongst the elderly population without putting their health at risk. The next most important concern to be addressed is the gap of mental health services available to the elderly population. Anxiety and depression are common amongst older adults; yet mental health services are limited, and underused by older adults (Parkar, 2015). Policies must be put into place to increase access to mental health services while removing the stigma surrounding mental health problems.
Every year, one out of every four adults aged 65 and older experiences a fall, with one out of every five falls resulting in a serious injury (CDC, 2017). Every year, roughly 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for a hip fracture, with 95% of those fractures resulting from a fall (CDC, 2017). Fall prevention programs must be put into place in order to reduce the risk of an older adult experiencing a fall, as a fall can greatly limit an older adult’s ability to complete activities of daily living. Lastly, HIV/AIDS interventions is a social health concern that must be addressed. In 2018, 51% of individual with HIV were 50 years of age and older, and 1 in 6 newly diagnosed HIV cases were amongst people aged 50 and older (CDC, 2020). Policies must be put into place in order to prevent HIV and AIDS amongst older adults by increasing awareness, providing education on prevention, and providing resources for testing.