Engaging Senior Citizens as Community Health Workers: A Three-Step Approach

Source: MS Design

In a recent article in Forbes, Sophie Okolo, MPH highlighted the benefits of seniors working as community health workers (CHWs).

CHWs have played a critical role in public health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the contributions of older adults serving as CHWs often go unrecognized. These individuals bring unique perspectives, wisdom, and empathy to their roles, making them valuable assets in improving the overall health of their communities.

Older CHWs can help tackle ageism and provide support to older patients living alone. They are essential in delivering well-being and health programs at the community level, as noted by Dr. Asangaedem Akpan, a geriatrician at Bunbury Regional Hospital in Western Australia. However, communities are not fully capitalizing on the talents of older workers, who represent a significant resource.

Artist: Jennifer Lamb, PMHNP

To maximize the impact of older CHWs on healthcare, a three-step approach can be implemented. First, recognizing older adults as valuable resources is crucial. Their experience and wisdom can help build positive relationships in the workplace and strengthen patient familiarity and trust.

Second, encouraging collaboration between older CHWs and younger workers can lead to the development of new perspectives and approaches beneficial to society.

And third, providing clear guidance on delivering specific interventions can enable older CHWs to successfully support well-being and health programs at the community level. By supporting older people serving as CHWs, communities can improve the support system for at-risk elders and reduce disparities in health and well-being.

Source: Older Adults As CHWs: 3 Steps To Engage This Demographic, by Sophie Okolo, MPH, for Forbes magazine. Ms. Okolo is the founder of Global Health Aging, a site about longer and healthier lives.

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