Issues affecting the health of older citizens: Meeting the challenge

Jill A. Bennett, Marna K. Flaherty-Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The health of older Americans will become a critical national policy issue during this century. As the population of older adults increases dramatically, there are few signs that adequate resources are available to meet the challenge of providing health care and good quality of life for older adults and their families. A fundamental change in the values emphasized in the American culture, and in other cultures, will be required to change the present health care system from one which focuses on diagnosis and treatment of disease to a system that attends to the major issues that affect quality of life of older adults and their families. This article discusses four critical areas influencing the quality of life of older Americans: providing resources to individuals to help manage chronic medical conditions, assuring a sufficient number of primary health care providers educated in geriatrics and gerontology, removing financial barriers to accessing health care and medications, and changing the American cultural value system that emphasizes disease treatment over providing emotional, educational, and support resources. To make these profound changes in the formal health care system, health care providers, health care organizations, and policy makers must commit to embracing the importance of quality of life as an integral component of health care for older citizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalOnline Journal of Issues in Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic disease
  • Family caregivers, quality of life
  • Health services for the aged

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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