Health Risk Assessments

A report published by Reuters Health this week points to the potential effectiveness of health risk assessments in increasing the longevity and quality of life for senior citizens, including residents of senior housing facilities. The report describes the results of a recently completed study, which compared elderly recipients of personalized assessments to a control group and found significant differences in physical activity and acquisition of important preventative medicine.

The assessments are also quite easy to obtain. The report described the use of a questionnaire that takes about an hour to complete, costs about thirty dollars, and results in a computer-generated feedback report that can then be discussed with a physician, nurse, or counselor in order to determine an appropriate course of action.

Surely this is a step that most anyone can take. But it is also one that few seniors are likely to seek out on their own. Caregivers and family members may well overlook it as well, even though it holds the potential to make their interventions easier, more effective, and less intrusive, whether offered in the home or at a senior housing facility or senior rehabilitation center.

Everyone should have a clear sense of their immediate health risks, especially seniors. And by providing this awareness, a health risk assessment can make persons over 65 more likely to seek out and accept help when they need it, but also more likely to take independent action to stave off any problems that might be lurking further down the road of life.

And by keeping on top of such health risk assessments, seniors and their loved ones may be more likely to come to a mutual agreement about when is the right time to make the transition to senior housing, as well as what programs and activities to go on pursuing within that new environment.