Research shows that oral health is an integral part of an older person’s overall systemic health status. Yet, national and state data reflect that many older adults have poor oral health which impacts their ability to chew or speak, causes undue pain and poor nutrition, is linked to multiple chronic conditions (cardiovascular, pulmonary, osteoarthritis, cancer, others) and can lead to social isolation and depression. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has continued to collaborate in bringing awareness to these oral health issue affecting older adults with the resources highlighted below.
Oral Health and Aging – Information for Caregivers
The number of older adults who are keeping their teeth has increased steadily during the past several decades. Today, less than 20 percent of those age 65 and older have lost all their natural teeth, compared to the early 1960s when almost half of older adults had complete tooth loss. As a result, aging adults who need assistance with other activities of daily living also may need help taking care of their teeth. To help caregivers learn about oral health and how to provide care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a new series of fact sheets titled Oral Health & Aging: Information for Caregivers. The materials were produced by a partnership between the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources & Services Administration, the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging, and the HHS Office on Women’s Health. The target audience for these materials is caregivers (both family members and paid caregivers), and managers/administrators of programs, who assist older adults. There are four fact sheets in the series: Brushing, Flossing, Dry Mouth, and Finding Low-Cost Dental Care.
The fact sheets are available online or in print (free of charge). Feel free to share with your colleagues the link to the fact sheets.
Oral Health America Webinar Series
Filling the Gap in Oral Health for Older Adults: A Community Guide to Program Implementation on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at 2:00 PM Central.
ACL will share information on resources the Office of Women’s Health (OWH) and ACL collaborated on to create publicly available tools for communities which would enable them to start or enhance oral health programs for older adults, including a searchable database of vetted, low-cost, community-based oral health services and a step by step guide on how to develop and operate cost-effective, sustainable oral health programs for older adults.