In this 3-Part series, Shane Hull, Director of our Pasadena California Home Care branch, compares the health of our elders to those in other countries around the world.

The Commonwealth Fund’s latest report brings to the forefront the condition of senior health care in the U.S. compared to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As published in Health Affairs, this survey of the health and care experiences among 15,617 adults age 65 or older found the following downfalls for senior health care in the US:

  • U.S. older adults were sicker than those abroad.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses posed greater problems in the United States than elsewhere.
  • Accessing primary care and avoiding the emergency department tended to be more difficult in the United States, Canada, and Sweden than in other surveyed countries.

In her NY Times article, Paula Span (renowned author on senior health care in the U.S.) states, “We still have mortifying lapses and problems, despite spending more on health care than any other country in the world.”

U.S. Older Adults Were Sicker Than Those Abroad.

The report found that adults living in the U.S. lead the list in the proportion of people over 65 who have two or more chronic diseases and who take four or more prescription drugs. In comparison, only a third of seniors in the United Kingdom reported multiple chronic conditions. The survey didn’t include residents of nursing homes or other care facilities.

Why is this? According to Robin Osborn, director of the fund’s International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program and lead author of the study, “One thing we know contributes to this is not having an ongoing, stable source of health insurance throughout your life. Before they became Medicare-eligible, American seniors may have forgone preventive treatments or let conditions worsen because they couldn’t afford care.”

Next week, we will discuss the second main finding from the Commonwealth Fund study: Older Americans still struggle to pay for health care.

At Select Home Care Pasadena, we want to help our seniors live a healthy, long life in the comfort of their own home. Our staff and caregivers want to help seniors overcome the challenges of more chronic illnesses, access to health care and the rising costs of health care. We want elder care in Pasadena, CA and the surrounding areas to be easier for families. Feel free contact us to discuss home health care concerns you have for your senior loved one. Call us at 626-799-4855 or toll free at 888-990-7353.