Healthcare & Social Services

Older adults in rural America lack sufficient healthcare access.

Obtaining adequate healthcare and in-home support is particularly challenging in rural communities, where there are 30% fewer physicians and seniors are less likely to have family nearby.

Key Topics

Access to Care

Rural seniors must travel further to access care, and financial pressures on critical access hospitals and other sources of healthcare exacerbate access barriers.

Transportation to Care

Without family in the area or access to public transportation, taxis, or ride-share services, many older adults have difficulty reaching medical centers for treatment.

Financial issues

Most seniors live on fixed incomes. Rising costs of food, rent, prescription drugs, in-home care, and other needs can challenge their ability to make ends meet.

Affordable Coverage

Older adults are especially sensitive to out-of-pocket costs and may avoid medical care for financial reasons.

Opioid Crisis

Aging adults are vulnerable to pain from health-related issues and long-term opioid-based pain therapy can put them at increased risk of addiction.

Improving healthcare access for older adults

Solutions will involve education and awareness, professional training, entrepreneurship and technology, and community-based action.

Economies of Scale

Legislation and policy change can counteract economy-of-scale disincentives to healthcare providers operating in rural areas.

Addressing the physician shortage in rural areas

The shortage of primary care physicians in rural areas of the U.S. poses a critical health policy challenge. The Physician Shortage Area Program (PSAP) was formed to address the problem and recruit doctors to remote towns.

Robots, a new breed of caregivers

As robots change the way we live, work and shop, could they also be trusted to provide care to loved ones? A Big Think article explores the idea of robot nurses and roommates.

Addressing the crisis of rural aging

Today, approximately 25 percent of Americans 65 and older live in rural towns. In this video, Senator Chuck Grassley addresses the challenges of healthcare, social isolation, and the need for solutions in these areas.

Shortage of rural hospitals creates healthcare crisis

Since 2010, 83 rural hospitals have closed in the U.S., resulting in a shortage of critical local care for the most vulnerable residents. This article from the NHRA focuses on the need for regulatory relief and proposed future solutions for stabilizing the problem.

Bringing quality care to remote areas

Tivity Health has partnered with eVillages to help underserved seniors living in remote areas receive the quality healthcare they need. The first initiative: to provide much-needed assistance to 30 counties in Middle Tennessee.

Affordable Care & Coverage

Healthcare market reforms along with alternative solutions, such as use of telehealth and nurse practitioner treatment, can increase access and bring costs down.

Rural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People Behind

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation published new infographics on urbanization and the impact on rural America. People are leaving rural America for urban and suburban areas. Rural counties that gain in population are reclassified as urban. Only 20% of Americans live in rural areas, which accounts for 97% of the land mass.

Rural Philanthropy Media Kit

Don’t know how to develop partnerships with philanthropies? The Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub), in collaboration with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, has released a new Rural Philanthropy toolkit. Learn how to prepare your rural organizations for partnerships with philanthropies, how to conduct outreach, and how to establish and sustain partnerships for long-term success.

Mesothelioma

The Mesothelioma Center is a free service center for sufferers of mesothelioma. Anybody who has been exposed to asbestos is at risk of developing this cancer, especially veterans and people who work or have worked trade jobs. Due to the long latency period of 20-50 years for mesothelioma, seniors make up 80% of the diagnosed.

Bringing compassionate care to Down East Maine

Health eVillages works with Harrington Family Health Center to provide essential healthcare to the poor and elderly in Washington County. The area struggles with high rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Raising money and awareness for the uninsured

Mercy Community Heathcare believes that everyone should have access to quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. To make this possible, the organization is committed to raising $1 million per year.

Putting love at the heart of care

Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence creates a community of care, based in love. It is known for intergenerational living and an attentive staff that provides support for the whole family.

Bringing quality care to remote areas

Tivity Health has partnered with eVillages to help underserved seniors living in remote areas receive the quality healthcare they need. The first initiative: to provide much-needed assistance to 30 counties in Middle Tennessee.

Transportation

Public, private, and volunteer transportation solutions, as well as vehicle sharing and eventually autonomous vehicles, can close access-to-care gaps.

Connecting seniors with their transportation needs

Tivity Health partners with Senior Ride Nashville to connect volunteer drivers with elderly people who no longer drive. This service gives older adults the ability to get around town, foster relationships with community members, and maintain a vibrant mobile well-being.

Volunteer program supports seniors day-to-day

When frail elderly and disabled adults need help with errands, chores, and rides to appointments, Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers are there to lend a hand. The organization is run by 220 volunteers who are devoted to helping seniors live independently.

Professional Education

Medical professionals and others in the provider space need more education in geriatrics and aging issues to better serve an graying population.

Leadership Series Connects Clinicians

The Jefferson College of Population Health offers live educational programs for healthcare professionals. The Leadership Series provides information on population health, value-based care, and more.

Understanding the opioid crisis, from impact to solutions

A report from the National Stakeholder Panel examines the American Opioid Epidemic and how it is affecting population health. It explores the shortcomings of today’s reactive approaches and the need to re-examine well-entrenched prescribing practices.

Treating the rural opioid epidemic

Abuse of opioids has become at top public health issue in the past decade, and its effects on rural communities cannot be understated. There are several treatment of opportunities to remedy this problem across smalls towns in America.

Public Education

Raising awareness and knowledge of aging-related issues among community members can reduce stigmatization and empower neighbors to take care of neighbors.

Seniors and the opioid epidemic

The abuse of narcotic pain pills is not just a young people’s problem. Opioid addiction rates are skyrocketing among seniors, begging the need for treatment options.

Helping Elders Stay Independently Healthy

While living alone raises some health and safety concerns for low-income elders, many still prefer to remain in their own homes. The WellElder Program launched in San Francisco offers seniors the ongoing support and health monitoring they need to make it a viable option.

Mobile Kitchen delivers peace-of-mind for seniors

When money is tight for seniors, they often have to make trade-offs that affect their health and can lead to “food insecurity.” To address the growing problem, the YMCA of Western North Carolina has partnered with a local food bank to provide free and fresh food to needy seniors.