Are you worried about the state of healthcare in your community — and what that might mean for you and those you love? If you answered yes to that question, imagine how you might feel when you’re older.

I often hear from friends who are worried about what may happen if they become ill or injured in their 70s, 80s and beyond. Some have chronic illnesses that require monitoring and medication, and others have family members with serious, long-term conditions. Listening to them has made me believe that it’s crucial for any healthcare provider to think about how to address the unique needs of older adults.

My own experience has taught me that the older you become and the more complicated your health might be, the more tailored your healthcare should be to your goals and wishes. As the CEO of Genevive, which provides healthcare to older adults, our goal is to improve the quality of care and decrease the cost. That’s why staff brings care directly to individuals living in assisted and independent living communities.

The needs of older adults are unique and differ enormously from the needs of younger generations. More than half of adults aged 65 and older (54%) report taking four or more prescription drugs, according to research published in 2019 by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Approximately one out of six (16%) emergency department visits by people aged 65 to 74 result in readmission, according to a study published by the United Health Foundation. Readmission rates increase to 42% for those at risk of falling and 63% for older adults with dementia, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Statistics such as those are the reason Genevive was created. One of our clinical objectives is to help decrease admissions and readmissions to hospitals. To achieve that objective, our clinicians meet with residents of senior living communities and take the time they need to examine them and determine their needs.

Getting to know older adults is an essential part of providing quality care. We aim to remove red tape so response times are quicker and clinicians have the time to build relationships and treat everyone like family.

When healthcare providers can spend an appropriate amount of time talking with residents, patients, family members and staff at care communities, it’s much easier to determine what kind of care is needed. It’s also important to reduce the stress of traveling to physicians’ offices by meeting residents and patients in their own homes. Finally yet importantly, being close to residents and patients allow us to spot potential problems before they occur.

The model of personalized care brought to people in their own homes is meant to change the way older adults experience healthcare. Making things easier for the older adults in our lives will give us all less reason to worry about healthcare as we grow older.

Amanda Tufano is the CEO of Genevive, which provides primary care and care coordination focused exclusively on meeting the needs of aging individuals at more than 110 Minnesota care communities in assisted living, skilled nursing, transitional care and home settings. Genevive is owned by Allina Health, Presbyterian Homes and Cassia.

The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.

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