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Seeking for help: factors that can influence

Updated: May 29, 2023


People become more susceptible to various health and dental issues as they age. In such situations, they need to seek help from a medical specialist who can diagnose and treat their condition effectively. However, several factors can influence the likelihood of an elderly person seeking the help of a specialist.


The first factor is the perception of the severity of the health or dental issue. If an elderly person believes their condition is not severe enough to warrant the attention of a specialist, they may not seek their help. This could be due to a lack of awareness about the potential consequences of the condition or the belief that the condition will resolve on its own.


The second factor is the availability and accessibility of healthcare services. Elderly people living in remote areas or those with limited mobility may struggle to access specialist services. Similarly, those with limited financial resources may not be able to afford the services of a specialist, especially if their condition requires ongoing treatment.


The third factor is trust and confidence in the medical profession. Elderly people who have had negative experiences with healthcare providers may be hesitant to seek the help of a specialist. Similarly, those who mistrust the healthcare system or are wary of medical procedures may also be reluctant to seek specialist services.


The fourth factor is the level of support from family and caregivers. Elderly people who have strong support networks may be more likely to seek the help of a specialist, as their caregivers can assist with transportation, and financial arrangements, and provide emotional support.


In conclusion, the likelihood of an elderly person seeking the help of a specialist for health or dental issues depends on several factors, including the perception of the severity of the condition, the availability and accessibility of healthcare services, the level of trust and confidence in the medical profession, and the level of support from family and caregivers. As such, healthcare providers and caregivers need to address these factors and provide the necessary support and resources to encourage elderly people to seek specialist services when needed.


Here are some statistical numbers related to the likelihood of the elderly seeking the help of a specialist:

  • According to a National Council on Aging survey, only 23% of adults aged 65 and older reported discussing their mental health with a healthcare provider in the past year.

  • A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that only 44% of older adults who reported experiencing pain had discussed it with their healthcare provider.

  • A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2017, 25% of adults aged 65 and older had not seen a dentist in the past year.

  • According to a National Poll on Healthy Aging survey, 45% of older adults reported that their primary care provider had not discussed their hearing with them in the past two years.

  • A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that older adults were less likely to visit the dentist for preventive care than younger adults. Only 36% of adults aged 75 and older reported a dental visit in the past year.

These numbers highlight the need for improved access to and utilization of specialist services among elderly individuals for their physical and mental health needs.


A geographical outlook


The likelihood of elderly individuals seeking the help of a specialist can vary between countries, depending on a variety of factors such as healthcare infrastructure, cultural beliefs, and economic conditions. Here are some general differences between some countries:


Switzerland:

  • Switzerland's highly developed healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world.

  • Elderly individuals in Switzerland have access to a wide range of medical specialists and are more likely to seek their help.

  • Healthcare services in Switzerland can be expensive, which may impact the ability of elderly individuals with limited financial resources to seek specialist services.

Hungary:

  • Hungary has a publicly funded healthcare system, but access to specialist services can be limited in some areas due to a shortage of healthcare professionals.

  • Older adults in Hungary may face barriers to accessing healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.

  • There is a cultural belief in Hungary that it is important to maintain one's independence and not rely on others for assistance, which may impact the likelihood of elderly individuals seeking specialist services.

Poland:

  • Poland has a publicly funded healthcare system, but access to specialist services can be limited in some areas due to a shortage of healthcare professionals.

  • Older adults in Poland may face barriers to accessing healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.

  • There is a cultural belief in Poland that family members should care for elderly individuals, which may impact the likelihood of seeking specialist services.

Romania:

  • Romania has a publicly funded healthcare system, but access to specialist services can be limited in some areas due to a shortage of healthcare professionals.

  • Older adults in Romania may face barriers to accessing healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.

  • There is a cultural belief in Romania that seeking medical attention should be a last resort and that natural remedies should be tried first, which may impact the likelihood of seeking specialist services.

Slovenia

  • Access to specialist services: According to a report by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Slovenia has a relatively low number of specialists per capita compared to other European countries. This may impact the ability of elderly individuals to access specialist services. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535535/)

  • Cultural beliefs: In Slovenia, there is a cultural belief that taking care of one's health is an individual responsibility, and seeking medical care is not always necessary. This belief may impact the likelihood of elderly individuals seeking specialist services. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7149251/)

  • Financial resources: While healthcare services in Slovenia are publicly funded, out-of-pocket payments may be required for some services, and cost-sharing may be necessary for some treatments. This may impact the ability of elderly individuals with limited financial resources to seek specialist services. (https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/default/files/state/docs/chp_si_english.pdf)


Overall, the likelihood of elderly individuals seeking the help of a specialist can vary between countries depending on a variety of factors. However, access to specialist services and cultural beliefs about healthcare can significantly determine the likelihood of seeking specialist services.


Switzerland:

  • According to a study published in BMC Health Services Research, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of specialist physician consultations among elderly individuals in Europe. (https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-019-4819-6)

Hungary:

  • A study published in BMC Health Services Research found that access to healthcare services for elderly individuals in Hungary is limited in rural areas due to a shortage of healthcare professionals. (https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-018-3329-6)

Poland:

  • A report published by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies noted that access to healthcare services in Poland is limited in rural areas due to a shortage of healthcare professionals. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535535/)

Romania:


 

About Aceso


ACESO is a patient-centric solution for smart and sustainable healthcare, employing a co-creative approach to realize integrated health and oral-care platform in which intelligent devices use data analytics for adaptable health and well-being. ACESO will monitor parameters related to physical health (blood pressure, glucose, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc.), activity, sleep, and oral hygiene integrative, providing primary users with personalized and adaptive feedback extracted by the underlying artificial intelligence engine. A patient-centric approach involving users in maintaining their health will bring clear benefits for the elderly and caregivers. AAL funds Aceso. More about Aceso...


About AAL


Active Assisted Living Programme

Aging Well in the Digital World - is a funding program that aims to create a better quality of life for older people and strengthen industrial opportunities in healthy aging technology and innovation. More about AAL.








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