Arthritis is indiscriminate. Various types of arthritis can affect almost every age group,
race, and social class. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder than can strike any age
group and progressively worsens as a person ages. Osteoarthritis normally affects individuals
who are over the age of 50 and have begun to lose bone mass due to chemical changes in the
body associated with aging. Arthritis patients who are in relatively good health remain active and
use exercise as a way to prevent further bone loss and immobility (“Facts”).
The target demographic is senior citizens over the age of 60 who are relatively active.
While they live on a fixed income, many rely more on pensions than social security although
both revenues make up the bulk of their income. It is estimated 2 out of 3 obese individuals over
the age of 60 have an increased risk of osteoarthritis in their knees as they age (“Arthritis,” 2011).
General Impact Changing Demographics Has On the Health Market
With more and more American citizens reaching the age of 65, the overall increase in the
reported cases of osteoarthritis will rise. Because osteoarthritis is considered a chronic illness,
the cost of continued care that begins with the arthritis diagnosis will continue for the duration of
the patient’s life. An increasing number of individuals will need treatment programs that are
designed to treat various forms of arthritis, as well as other illnesses and diseases associated with
Two Key Health Care Related Challenges to This Population
One of the most important challenges facing elderly arthritis patients is the ever-rising
cost of health care and prescription medications. With many arthritis patients having to pay for
medications and treatments that are not covered by their Medicare insurance. However,
individuals who have other forms of insurance or supplementary insurance may not have to pay
any out of pocket expenses. The fact remains, however, their arthritis will only get progressively
worse. Some may be able to reduce the rate of progression with diet, exercise, and supplements,
but it will continue to affect them for the rest of their lives (“How boomers,” 2007).
Another challenge is the cost of in-home health care as a patient’s health begins to
deteriorate. As arthritis patients continue to age and the disease progresses, in-home care may be
needed at some point if they choose to remain in their own home instead of entering an assisted
living facility. The cost of in-home health care can be expensive, depending on the type of
financial resources they have to rely on. Meanwhile, some insurance carriers opt to limit how
much in-home health care they will pay for.
How a Chronic Disease Wellness Program Affects the Costs for this Demographics
Chronic disease wellness programs may reduce the overall cost of arthritis care for
elderly patients. By teaching patients how to better care for themselves and providing them with
the tools they need to slow the progression of the disease, they are actually improving their
quality of life and reducing the amount of money spent on health care.
The Challenges and Needs of the Demographic
Offering services and programs, such as health awareness and exercise programs
designed to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis, can help meet the challenges and needs of the
growing demographic of elderly arthritis patients. Educational programs where nutritional and
dietary topics are addressed will make sure those who attend the class understand what foods
will help keep them healthy and fit as they age.
One of the most common challenges is making sure elderly patients have the medications
they need. As a chronic disease sufferer, osteoarthritis patients may be prescribed a number of
medications in an attempt to keep them comfortable. However, teaching patients how to remain
active can help reduce the need for excessive doses of medication and thus have some cost-
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