I recently read an article in the British Medical Journal, under the Epidemiology and Community Health section. It was a research report entitled, “Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention in promoting the well-being of independently living older people: results of the Well Elderly 2 Randomised Controlled Trial”. You can download the full text of the research report here. If you are curious about the definition of lifestyle intervention read on.
Lifestyle intervention is provided through occupational therapists in community based sites to assist in diverse aspects of independent daily living such as: bodily pain, vitality, social functioning, mental health, composite mental functioning, life satisfaction and depressive symptomatology. It probably comes as no surprise that the trials found it to be effective at a $41,218 US price tag. What may surprise you is the cost benefit.
By keeping our seniors independent and therefore happy, we save on medical care through doctors visits, medication and hospitalization making the price tag of the program very affordable. Likewise, the need for long-term care facilities is postponed. The data showed this was effect even when 53% had incomes <$12,000.
Given the future increase of baby boomers retiring, nearly doubling that segment of the population and the inverse effect of a smaller tax base this makes sense.
What if we encouraged our governments at all levels to shift their thinking to preventative measures? By funding social programs so that people are happy members of society, imagine the savings in health and correctional facilities alone.
I call on you to talk about this with friends and families, your local representatives, the world at large. Our present system isn’t working and we need to shift spending priorities, not necessarily spend more in all areas.