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Agencies Join in Effort to Increase Senior Citizen Use of Preventive Services

Magnifying self-reported data for senior citizens not receiving recommended preventive services, new guide underscores need for linking community and clinical strategies focusing on the underserved

Percent of Adults Aged 65 and Older Who Reported Not Receiving Influenza Vaccination within Past Year, by Race/ Ethnicity, 2009*

Asian/PI = Asian/Pacific Islander AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 50 states and the
District of Columbia
* An additional 0.4 percent of adults aged 65 and older reported only receiving Flu Mist vaccinations “sprayed in the nose.”

March 15, 2011 - Every day in America about 10,000 people turn 65. By the year 2030, roughly one out of every five Americans will be aged 65 years and older. Unfortunately, many senior citizens currently do not receive vaccinations, screenings, and other preventive services national experts recommend, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“These important services help detect many diseases, delay their onset, or identify them early in their most treatable stages to ensure healthier, longer, and more productive lives for older adults,” according to the CDC.  

By presenting and interpreting available state and national self-reported data, the report Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults: Closing the Gap aims to raise awareness of crucial gaps and increase interventions focused on those currently underserved. (See link below story.)

The report was produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Administration on Aging, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


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At the core of this report are eight indicators for monitoring the use of clinical preventive services among adults 65 and older:

   1. two vaccinations that protect against influenza and pneumococcal disease;
   2. five screenings for early detection of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, lipid disorders, and osteoporosis; and
   3. one counseling service for smoking cessation.

This provides a baseline of data through which to monitor progress in ensuring recommended services reach this key population.

Additionally, the report highlights seven other recommended services for older adults:
   1. alcohol misuse screening and counseling;
   2. aspirin use;
   3. blood pressure screening;
   4. cervical cancer screening;
   5. depression screening,
   6. obesity screening and counseling; and
   7. zoster vaccination.

“The challenges underlying the disparities in the use of clinical preventive services are complex and reach beyond the traditional heath care arena of patient-provider interactions,” according to the CDC.

Prevention /Wellness“Combining forces of the public health infrastructure, aging services network, community-based organizations, and linking to health systems affords a real opportunity to make a difference. This report offers examples of recent activities and interventions that have focused on increasing the use of clinical preventive services in diverse communities.

“Among the highlighted efforts are community actions designed to build awareness, create environments that offer convenient access to services, and adopt public policies to increase access and uptake of services.”

>>The report Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults: Closing the Gap  [PDF - 10MB]

>> More and Updates at the CDC

>> CDC on Healthy Aging


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