Community Assessment for the Aging Population in Minnesota

Community Assessment for the Aging Population in Minnesota
The Demographic Trends in the Minnesota’s Population
The population of Minnesota is by far way more than 5.3 million people. About 1.7 million people (32.3%) were 50 years of age, those over 60 years of age accounted for 18%, those aged over 70 years accounted for 9.7% and the proportion of the population that was aged over 80 accounted for 3.9%. The population of women among those aged more than 80 years stood at 63.6 percent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Projections in 2009, the population of the white Minnesotans above the age of 55 was at 94.9%, the blacks’ was at 1.9%, Asian at 1.7% and others at 1.5% (Minnesota Population Administration on Aging, 2012. Undeniably, there is a large proportion of the aging population among the white Minnesotans as compared with the sum of the aging population among the Blacks, Asians and others.
Besides, the number of the aging people in Minnesota is constantly on the increase. The proportion of the aging population in Minnesota is growing more rapidly than all other component of the population. The aging population is the population of both males and females at the age of 60 and above. According to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the people at 60 and above in Minnesota will likely surpass 23 percent of the population by the year 2030. If the aforementioned projections come to pass, it will be a representation of more than 33 percent increase from 2012. Those these projections may not exactly and precisely happen, it is still clean to anyone who bother to acknowledge it that the Minnesotans’ aging population is bulging.
The aged are resourceful because they are the experienced people in the job market. The economy can be affect greatly if the old people have a problem working effectively.

The Purpose of These Assessment
Drawing from the recommendations of the special committee convened by the Department of Health’s Rural Health Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on community health Services in Minnesota, an assessment for the aging population help go a long way in helping to develop health aging community by addressing the specific needs of the older Minnesotans and recommend various activities that when undertaken have the potential of sustaining a healthy aging population in Minnesota. The issues identified as pertinent to the personal and public health needs for the older Minnesotans were varied cross different dimensions. They included drug and substance abuse and misuse, average suicide rates among the older Minnesotans, access to basic needs and good health services and level of social engagement.
The definition a healthy aging population determined the deliberation of the members of these two committees. Deliberations led to the adoption of the definition of the aged population given by the West Virginia Rural Healthy Aging Network (Minnesota, 2006). The West Virginia Rural Healthy Aging Network recognizes that healthy aging is the development of sustainable optimal social, physical and mental well-being among the older people, achievable through promotion of health and well-being of people promoting community health care services and programs that encourage the minimization of disease in community.
Suicide Rates among the Aging Minnesotans
Older Minnesotans are less likely to commit suicide than people from the rest of age sets. Between 2005 and 2009, the suicide rate among Minnesotans aged 55 years and above was lower than that of the population of 20-54 age group. On comparing the suicide rates among different states, the Minnesota’s suicide rates were found to be less than for most of the states including Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Kentucky. It should be noted, however, that states largely vary in their suicide rate reporting practices in terms of tools, the population sizes among other factors, as affirmed in Minnesota Population Administration on Aging (2012). These suicide rates are no doubt affected by the aforementioned reporting practices.
A two-year average rate of suicide among 100000 people of Minnesota age 55 and above varied from a low of 10.2 percent to 12.8 percent between the years 2000 and 2008. As stated earlier, these rates were still much lower than the suicide rates among the proportion of Minnesotans’ population in the age group between 20 and 54 years for the same number of people. It is noteworthy to know that the number of the Minnesotans who committed suicide was very small and even the smaller differences in these numbers would cause wide variations (Minnesota Population Administration on Aging, 2012).
Substance and drug Abuse/Usage among the Aging Minnesotans
According to Minnesota Population Administration on Aging (2012), Duke Medicine News in 2009 singled out binge drinking among aging Minnesotans as alarming. Generally, men reported higher binge drinking rates in all the states. 20 percent of men aged 50 years and above in Minnesota reported binge drinking compared to only 12.3 percent of the Minnesotan women within the same age bracket who reported binge drinking. Further statistical analysis revealed that the national and the state confidence levels stagnated at ±0.2 and ±0.1 percent respectively.
Effects of Binge Drinking
According to Duke Medicine News in 2009, binge drinking has in store for its user serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, neurological damage, stroke, poor diabetes control and liver disease. Binge drinkers are more at risk to drive while drunk hence increase their chances of involvement in falls and accidents. Following the knowledge that older people have less tolerance for binge, the negative impacts of binge drinking are more pronounced among older people than other proportions of the Minnesotans. The effects of binge drinking among the older people is also more pronounced among older women than men.
Fortunately, binge drinking significantly decreased with age among the aging population of Minnesotans. Binge drinking among Minnesotans aged between 50 and 64 was at 20.5 percent whereas only 8.4 percent of the Minnesotans of age 65 and above reported the same behaviour. Again, further statistical analysis revealed that the national and the state confidence levels stagnated at ±0.2 and ±0.1 percent respectively.
The rate of illicit drug use among the people between the age 50 and 59 increased to more than its double nationally. Illicit drug use for the aforementioned age group rose from 3.4 to 7.2 percent whereas the same usage rose from 1.9 to 4.1 percent amongst the Americans aged between 55 and 59 years. Presently, no specific data about substance abuse among the aging Minnesotans are available but the SAMHSA periodically releases the results from the drug abuse warning networks.
A report by drug Abuse and Warning Networks published in 2010, estimated the number of emergency visits involving the abuse and misuse of pharmaceutical drugs among the people aged 50 and above to be 15,803 in 2004, representing an increase of 121.1 percent in such visits in 2008. Persons of aged 70 years and above accounted for 19.7 percent of Emergency Department visits involving pharmaceutical abuse. Pain relievers were type of pharmaceutical drugs most commonly abused representing 43.5 percent of the Emergency Department Visits, followed by pharmaceutical used for treatment of insomnia or anxiety representing 31.8 percent and antidepressants representing 8.6 percent of such visits. A portion representing 52.3 percent of the patients aged 50 and older were treated and released for complications related to pharmaceutical misuse and abuse whereas 37.7 percent were admitted to hospital on the same grounds.
The Roles of Transportation in Healthy Aging
Most people in Minnesota agree that transportation must be numbered amongst the greatest challenges thwarting the efforts advanced to ensure that the older people live a life of a better quality. Access and morbidity amongst the older Minnesotans is increasingly becoming a critical need because isolation increasingly grows as people age. Rural areas have the poorest public transportation forcing most people to rely on system that are purely uncoordinated for transport. Except for the limitation of being underutilized because of service limitation and most people who are unaware of the transportation options, the people in urban and suburban have access to more transportation options, as explained by Minnesota (2006). Other sets of limitations on transportation are the financial and regulatory barriers. Transportation should, however, not take the part of exercise among the aging population. Exercise is very important as it adds numerous health benefits to the aging population. The old could also walk for considerable length of distances as part of their daily exercise.
The use of innovative solution in transportation can help ease these problems. The innovative designs encompass the use of pedestrian-friendly designs, mass transit systems and improved street signs and lighting. Additional suggestions were prescribed for meeting the transportation needs of the elderly like using established school bus networks to improve on the strategies used to better transportation option for the elderly (Minnesota, 2006). The foregoing initiative would have the advantages of using and already established system and also offer an opportunity for inter-generational activities between the old and the young. Additionally, more suggestion of transportation options are called for in a bid to increase the access to transportation by the aging population in Minnesota.
Access to Technology among the Older Minnesotans
Technology can improve the well-being of the aging population in multi-faceted ways, for example, in improving connectedness and diminish seclusion among the older people. In Minnesota, there exist a very dire need to develop technology in the communities to add on to the very significant factors responsible for developing healthy aging population. According to Minnesota (2006), the areas that could tremendously improve the provision of healthcare service provision include tele-health, electronic health record keeping and safety and quality inventions. There are also big gap for high speed internet in rural areas of Minnesota. High internet connectivity is needed for increased connectivity and research and connectivity and interoperability between different systems. An example of the interoperability and interconnectivity is seen in the synchronization of health records at the clinics, hospitals, homecare agencies and other larger healthcare systems. Increased interconnectivity of healthcare allies such as discharge planners and nurses from parish can be achieved through putting additional efforts on formal health connectivity initiatives. The state of Minnesota is set to benefit from such efforts following the ongoing E-health initiative of the Department of Health of Minnesota (Minnesota, 2006).
In conclusion, the state of Minnesota has 5.3 million people of which 9.7% are over 70 and 3.9% are over 80 in age. Older Minnesotans are less likely to commit suicide than people from the rest of age sets. 20 percent of men aged 50 years and above in Minnesota reported binge drinking compared to only 12.3 percent of the Minnesotan women within the same age bracket who reported binge drinking Most people in Minnesota agree that transportation must be numbered amongst the greatest challenges thwarting the efforts advanced to ensure that the older people live a life of a better quality. Technology can enhance the well-being of the aging population in vary many ways, for example, in enhancing connectedness and reduce isolation among the older people.
Recommendations
It is recommended that the state, the healthcare committees, community members representatives and other stakeholders work together to build the stronger synergy required to sustain a healthy aging population in Minnesota. The recommendations target both public and private policy makers in the state, community leaders and individuals and their families.
There is need to develop an elaborate community assessment and planning process that is sustainable for creation of healthy and old-people-friendly communities in Minnesota. Transportation options for the elderly in Minnesota should be improved by identifying and using collaborative efforts for finding remedies to gaps, barriers and assets. This would support care delivery, participation in community activities and access to information by the aging population.
The policy makers are supposed to support infrastructure development, education on health promotion, self-responsibility and culturally appropriate and competent disease self-management among the elderly.
Mental health needs must be addressed among local, state and national aging population in addition to educating them on retirement planning and responsible use of the available resources. The care-giver education system ought to be friendly to the elderly and should include essential elements such as means of access to the available resources.

References
Minnesota Population Administration on Aging (2012). Minnesota. Policy Academy State Profile. Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/AoA_Programs/HPW/Behavioral/docs2/Minnesota%20Epi%20Profile%20Final.pdf
Minnesota. (2006). Creating Health Communities for an Aging Population: A report of a Joint Rural Health Advisory Committee and State Community Health Services Advisory Committee Work Group. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Dept. of Health, Community and Family Health Division.
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Writing Guide:
The paper “Community Assessment for the Aging Population in Minnesota” focuses on the aging population in Minnesota, which is over 5.3 million people, with over 32.3% being 50 years or older, and 18% being 60 years or older. The number of aging people in Minnesota is constantly increasing, and by 2030, it is estimated that over 23% of the population will be 60 years or older. The purpose of the assessment is to develop a healthy aging community in Minnesota by addressing the specific needs of older Minnesotans, such as access to health services and social engagement. The definition of a healthy aging population is sustainable optimal social, physical, and mental well-being.
The paper highlights the fact that older Minnesotans have a lower suicide rate compared to the rest of the age groups, and the rate is lower than in most states. The paper also mentions substance and drug abuse, particularly binge drinking among older Minnesotans, with men reporting higher binge drinking rates. The effects of binge drinking include serious health issues like liver disease, high blood pressure, and cognitive decline.
The paper highlights the need for the development of health aging community programs and services to promote the health and well-being of the aging population in Minnesota. The paper also mentions the need for further research to be done on the aging population in Minnesota, specifically on their health and social needs, to develop better and more effective programs and services for them.
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Study Notes:
Community Assessment for the Aging Population:
Introduction:
The aging population is a growing concern in many communities worldwide, with increasing numbers of older adults reaching retirement age.
It is important to understand the needs and challenges of the aging population in a community in order to provide appropriate services and resources.
Definition:
Community assessment is the process of collecting, analyzing, and using information to understand the strengths, needs, and resources of a community.
Purpose of Community Assessment:
To identify the needs and challenges faced by the aging population in a community
To gather information on existing resources and services available to support the aging population
To assess the accessibility and effectiveness of these resources and services
To identify gaps in services and resources for the aging population
Methods for Community Assessment:
Surveys and questionnaires: Surveys can be administered to the aging population and their caregivers to gather information on their needs and challenges.
Focus groups: Focus groups can be held with the aging population and their caregivers to discuss their experiences and gather feedback.
Key informant interviews: Interviews can be conducted with community leaders and organizations that serve the aging population to gather information on available resources and services.
Secondary data analysis: Existing data sources such as government reports and demographic data can be analyzed to understand the needs and challenges of the aging population.
Data Collection:
Data collected through community assessment should be relevant, reliable, and valid.
Data should be collected from a diverse range of sources, including the aging population, their caregivers, community organizations, and government agencies.
Data should be analyzed to identify patterns and trends in the needs and challenges faced by the aging population in the community.
Use of Community Assessment Findings:
Community assessment findings can be used to inform decision-making, planning, and resource allocation for the aging population in the community.
Findings can be used to prioritize areas for improvement, such as increasing access to services, improving transportation options, or addressing social isolation.
Community organizations and government agencies can use the findings to develop programs and services that meet the needs of the aging population.
Conclusion:
Community assessment is an important tool for understanding the needs and challenges of the aging population in a community.
Through community assessment, communities can gather information, identify gaps in services and resources, and prioritize areas for improvement to support the aging population.
Kim, H., Choi, H., Jung, Y. I., Kim, E., Lee, W., & Yi, J. Y. (2023). Evaluation of a technology-enhanced, integrated community health and wellness program for seniors (HWePS): protocol of a non-randomized comparison trial. BMC Public Health, 23(1), 25.
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