About The Older Adult Population
The older adult population is not characterized by age alone. Different laws define this population in different ways, especially when people become eligible for services. Older adults are generally eligible for Medicare coverage at age 65, but they also become eligible for services such as meals, home health services, personal care, and transportation at age 60 under the Older Americans Act (OAA).
Community-dwelling older adults may pose more complex challenges for planning officials than those in long-term care settings because these facilities may already be governed by specific regulations. To remain in their homes, many community-dwelling adults rely on care from family members or caregivers or from services provided by area agencies on aging, community organizations, or home health agencies. Interruption of these services during an emergency can compromise the self-reliance and independence of community-dwelling older adults.
Older adults are diverse in their physical and mental health. During emergencies, they may be at increased risk of disease and death because of factors such as—
- A higher prevalence of chronic conditions, physical disability, cognitive impairment, and other functional limitations compared to younger age groups.
- Dependence on support systems for medical care, medication, food, and other essential needs.
- Potential limitations in their mobility, access to transportation, or other aspects of functional autonomy.
For more complete information, visit the Older Adult Health & Medical Concerns section of the Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Web Portal on the CDC Healthy Aging Program Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/aging/emergency/concerns.htm.
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