Older Adults Maintaining Independence

Overview

Funding Goal: To foster optimal health and wellness for Older Adults enabling them to live safe, productive, and independent lives.

PLEASE NOTE: Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis does NOT provide direct assistance to individuals. Funding is provided to area organizations who, in turn, work directly with individuals.

Statement of Need

The number of older adults is rapidly increasing. In the U.S., there are over 41 million adults who are 65+ years old, an increase of almost 20% in the last decade alone1. This means that one in every eight adults2 in our country is considered an “older American”. According to the report Aging 2030, over 15 percent of St. Louis region residents were older Americans3. This number is expected to increase to almost 25 percent by the year 20304.

Due to medical advances and increased commitments to health and wellbeing, Americans are experiencing life expectancies that, at one point, were unimaginable. While many older adults face significant mental and physical health issues, including chronic and degenerative disease, research has shown that disability and decline are not inevitable results of aging5. Now the challenge exists to provide quality services that allow older Americans to receive adequate mental and physical care, services that permit them to age with dignity in their own homes and outlets for continued contribution to their communities long after they have left the workforce.

There are, however, a number of older adults in our area who are heavily dependent upon extensive health care and supportive services. Unfortunately, 15 percent of older Americans live below poverty level, largely due to out-of-pocket medical costs6. Older adults account for nearly half of all hospital stays and primary care physician visits7. Untreated substance abuse and mental health issues also are associated with poor health outcomes for older adults8. Services that provide information regarding nutrition and healthy lifestyles, access to preventative care and opportunity to receive diagnosis and management of chronic health conditions contribute to a comprehensive approach that allows for self management, maintaining independence and experiencing a greater quality of life. In addition to improved medical services, research also shows that older adults with strong positive social connections are healthier9.

Lutheran Foundation seeks to support services which address preventative and continued care, permit functional independence and allow older adults to participate and contribute meaningfully in their congregations and communities. Through grant support, the Foundation will invest in programs and services which foster the optimal health and wellness of older adults in the St. Louis area.

While modeling the healing love of Christ, Lutheran Foundation strives to invest in services that show measurable impact in the lives of hurting people. We aim to support programs and services that are:

  • Comprehensive and collaborative in addressing the complicated and complex needs of the targeted population;
  • Responsive to cultural and gender differences;
  • Family-centered or focused;
  • Evidence-based/informed and/or utilize best or promising practices

 

To learn more about our strategic funding plan, click here.

 

References:

(1) Administration on Aging. 2012. “A Profile of Older Americans: 2012.” Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C.

(2) Administration on Aging. 2012. “A Profile of Older Americans: 2012.” Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C.

(3) Minnesota Board on Aging. 2012. “Aging 2030.” Minnesota Department of Health. St. Paul, MN.

(4) Minnesota Board on Aging. 2012. “Aging 2030.” Minnesota Department of Health. St. Paul, MN.

(5) The Healthy States Initiative. 2007. “Keeping the Aging Population Healthy.” The Council of State Governments.

(6) Administration on Aging. 2012. “A Profile of Older Americans: 2012.” Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C.

(7) Grantmakers in Aging. 2006. "Promoting Health, Strengthening Communities." Grantmakers in Aging. Dayton, OH. 

(8) National Council on Aging. 2012. “Healthy Aging”. National Council on Aging. Washington, D.C.

(9) Grantmakers in Aging. 2006. “Promoting Health, Strengthening Communities.” Grantmakers in Aging. Dayton, OH.