Getting The Most Out Of Public Health Services For Your Senior Loved One
Are you aware of the public health services that may benefit your senior loved one? A Pegasus caregiver in Agoura Hills and elsewhere knows that a variety of services are available. We can help you with getting the most from them.
Public health encompasses a wide array of services. The CDC defines it as “the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities.” The goal is the prevention of health problems.
Public health professionals work worldwide in communities, regions, and countries. They monitor and research disease. They also work to ensure the safety of food and water.
Their educational programs help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Other experts strive to keep quality healthcare accessible to everyone. Their training programs enable local authorities and agencies to provide the best services.
Public Health Services Overlap Private Healthcare
Personal healthcare providers usually treat you or your loved one for sickness. You’re receiving individual care, whereas public health focuses on the community. That doesn’t mean there aren’t overlaps or coordination.
For instance, your provider may suggest that you stop smoking. A public health agency is the source of a smoking cessation class. Other professionals work with legislators to mandate smoke-free facilities.
Who Provides Public Health Services?
Public health services professionals that are familiar to most people include:
- First responders
- Health educators
- Public health doctors and nurses
- Restaurant and health inspectors
- Social workers
Others that many people don’t immediately think of as public health specialists include:
- Community planners
- Health researchers and scientists
- Occupational safety and health specialists
There are very few areas of an individual’s life that aren’t touched by a public health professional.
What Do Public Health Workers Do?
The work of public health specialists is often categorized into groups. These are described as “ten essential services” and include the following:
- Assess and monitor the health of a community to identify problems quickly
- Assist the underserved and at-risk individuals in accessing equitable personal healthcare
- Build and support strong organizations and public health infrastructure
- Communicate in ways that inform and educate
- Develop and implement policies, plans, and laws that support community health efforts
- Develop a skilled and diverse public health and personal healthcare workforce
- Diagnose and investigate health problems and hazards in the community and address the causes
- Evaluate the effectiveness of health services to improve quality and accessibility with fresh insight and innovations
- Mobilize and support communities and partnerships to identify and solve health problems
- Utilize and enforce existing laws and regulations designed to protect health and safety
Again, there are overlaps and coordination with services provided by your healthcare provider. Your provider may give educational materials to you that was developed by a public health expert. A social worker might assist your loved one in obtaining supplies or equipment recommended by their doctor.
Public Health Resources
How can you access the public health resources that will benefit your senior loved one? You may need to spend time researching the various agencies. We have compiled the following list to get you started.
- California Department of Aging: There’s a lot of information here on COVID for the elderly and their families. There are also details on community services for assistance with food, transportation, health care, utilities, and other essential needs. Help is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1. The Department also coordinates senior services in communities through Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). You can find the AAA closest to you by calling 1-800-510-2020.
- California Department of Health Care Services: They maintain a page dedicated to services for seniors. It features resources for seniors needing special care and other services. Their services include the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP). MSSP is dedicated to helping elderly and frail individuals live at home. They will “arrange for and monitor the use of community services to prevent or delay premature institutional placement” of seniors.
- National Institute on Aging: If you want to learn more about a particular medical condition, click on their alphabetical list of health topics. It’s comprehensive, with definitions, prevention, and care tips. It also has information on clinical trials should you or your loved one wish to participate in one that focuses on the elderly. You will find complete nutritional information, including sample menus. You can order free publications in English or Spanish on a variety of health and aging subjects.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Service: They have links with information on subjects that include insurance, prevention, and health services, among others. If you click on their featured topics link, you’ll find links to resources for specialized information. Topics include vaccines, mental health, opioids, substance abuse, and similar subjects.
An internet search by the specific name of a medical condition will often yield helpful resources. For example, you can find information on diabetes that includes tips for seniors.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. A Pegasus caregiver in Agoura Hills or our other locations can network to help you access public health services. Our team of professionals is dedicated to assisting your loved one live independently at home.