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What We Can All Learn From Oklahoma’s Healthy Aging Initiative

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenOctober 25, 2012
Oklahoma's Healthy Aging Initiative

Oklahoma offers more than a fascinating history and the largest stretch of Route 66; the state also offers a great destination for retirement. The Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative (OHAI) seeks to improve seniors’ health, allowing for better quality of life and increased access to geriatric care—both important ingredients for golden years’ enjoyment.

Like much of the United States, seniors are the fastest growing segment of Oklahoma’s population. The baby boomers are aging in record numbers, and Oklahoma is making sure they take care of their seniors through the work of the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative. This initiative that supports aging Oklahoman seniors with a three-prong approach:

  1. To increase senior and caregiver access to inter-professional geriatric care.
  2. To provide health education to not only consumers, but also providers.
  3. To optimize Oklahoma’s current health and aging policy.

To make these endeavors possible, Oklahoma is placing Centers of Healthy Aging in five regions across the state. These centers will be hubs that provide both clinical care and health education to the citizens in that region on both a walk-in and by-appointment basis, whether seniors are living at their family homes or in assisted living communities. And by working closely with hospitals and regional medical providers, OHAI is planning to build social capital and increase geriatric expertise across the statea fabulous way to bridge communications and educate both elders and their caregivers.

The Three Geriatric Health Initiatives

Providing Access to Geriatric Care
So when Oklahoma doesn’t seem like the obvious choice for retirement, think again. The state recognizes that seniors have unique medical needs, which requires specialized skills and providers. Through their initiative, Oklahoma is working with local hospitals and health organizations to create new geriatric primary care clinics to bring more expert medical and social services across all regions of the state. This way, Oklahoman elders are able to receive the specialized health care they need; and in a timely, more affordable manner.
Improving Health Education
Oklahoma is cognizant that health education is king. States across the nation have started to develop a geriatric health education to help prepare for the “Silver Tsunami” and Oklahoma is has identified four major audiences that require a unique education:

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      1. The seniors, themselves
      2. The home and family caregivers
      3. The current health care providers
      4. Health care students

By catering programs for all different health audiences and improving the geriatric education for budding health care providers, Oklahoma is making health management a priority.
Reviewing the Health and Aging Policy
Policy is crucial for making change take place. OHAI recognizes this and is working with medical professionals and the government to fine-tune Oklahoma’s health and aging policy. By educating decision makers and working with health advocates to promote healthy latter years for Oklahoman seniors, OHIA is a step-ahead in state retirement planning for the aging population.

Senior Housing and Assisted Living in Oklahoma

If you are planning the retirement for either yourself or a loved one, consider talking to a Senior Living Advisor in Oklahoma. Depending on your individual needs and resources, A Place for Mom can help you find appropriate care ranging from assisted living in Oklahoma to memory and Alzheimer’s care in Oklahoma.

Find assisted living in some of Oklahoma’s top cities:

According to U.S. News & World Report, for the next 20 years, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day. This is a scary number when we look at the government resources available to support this large of an elderly population. Let’s hope states across the U.S. are preparing for the “Silver Tsunami” as much as Oklahoma…

How is your state supporting the aging population? Do you feel enough is being done to support America’s geriatric future?

Dana Larsen
Author
Dana Larsen

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