In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month in November, Oral Health America (OHA) has launched Older Adults and Their Caregivers as part of its Campaign for Oral Health Equity, as 92% of seniors are aging in their communities with the assistance of a family caregiver, neighbor, or friend who helps them carry out daily activities.
These activities may include bathing and feeding as well as grocery shopping or providing transportation to appointments. They also could and should include helping these older adults in their care to maintain a healthy mouth, especially given the associations between oral health and overall health, OHA says.
With 72.1 million seniors expected in the United States by 2030, OHA reports, Older Adults and Their Caregivers addresses the oral and overall health-related issues that older adults face such as nutrition, medications, chronic diseases, and isolation. The campaign includes caregivers because 42 million people in the United States are providing $450 billion in unpaid care to ensure these older adults are able to age in place, OHA says.
“Through the Wisdom Tooth Project, OHA educates older adults and their caregivers about the impact of oral health on their oral health. We know that older adults can’t always care for themselves, so this campaign allows us to reach out to those entrusted with helping others to age healthily at home,” said Beth Truett, president and CEO of OHA.
“We are grateful that so many family members, friends, and others devote time to help older adults. Older Adults and Their Caregivers allows us to share our resources, including OHA’s toothwisdom.org website, giving caregivers and older adults valuable oral health information and the ability to connect with care through the site’s Find Care tool.”
OHA’s campaign also includes Caregiver Kudos, where older adults and family members living a distance from their loved ones can thank those who help them with daily activities through social media. Entries will be posted on OHA’s social sites. Additional information and resources for caregivers and older adults are available at oralhealthamerica.org/seniors.
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