Working with senior centers in many different communities, the hospital’s senior health connection program focuses on what seniors need and gives them the attention those needs require.
“The senior population is a diverse, growing and unfortunately often under-served facet of our community. Our goal is to connect this wonderful group of people with the resources that are available, give them the tools and confidence to make informed decisions about their health and health care, and provide opportunities to socialize and network — thus promoting emotional health as well,” said Amy Drake, McKay-Dee Senior Connection coordinator.
The goals of McKay-Dee’s health connection for seniors are to help them navigate the health care system and include screenings and services that focus on success for seniors. Screenings range from basic intake to cholesterol to osteoporosis. The senior health connection provides those screenings yearly, along with other educational opportunities.
Information on advanced directives, nutrition, cancer, dental services and pharmacy programs are another part of the connection. Some activities are held quarterly to give the senior population an opportunity to learn what they need. It also encourages seniors to become active and socialize with others.
“We have initiated an exercise incentive program that encourages seniors to get or remain active and do monthly drawings for prizes,” said Drake.
The senior health connection also provides seniors with the chance to assess themselves. A senior-focused wellness and referral sheet can be filled out that asks basic questions about overall health. It lists red flags for various conditions, asks questions relating to diabetes, talks about nutrition and has a height and weight chart.
The sheet also gives seniors a test to see how well their response-system and memory operate. It then gives staff members the chance to get to know their seniors.
Drake also serves as a resource for seniors in allocating services that range from hospice care to bus schedules. She and others at the hospital have worked to provide resources for seniors through the health connection and in any other way possible.
“I believe that if these services are readily accessible, and if seniors are made more aware, then this population can be much better served,” said Drake.
For more information about McKay-Dee’s senior health connection program, visit the hospital or call 801-387-2800.