Office for Aging Research and Health Services

Challenges and Opportunities of Caring for Older Adults


Aging graphOlder adults are the fastest growing segment of the population, and consume the largest portion of health care. The challenge for the U.S., and for the Rochester region, is to develop approaches to their care that yield the best health outcomes, the best quality of care, at equal or lower cost. That is, older adults should expect to get the best value for their healthcare dollars.

"Demography is Destiny!"
~Ben Wattenberg and Richard M. Scammon

A healthy, independent older adult population enriches all of our lives.

In the Finger Lakes Region

This pattern also holds true throughout the Finger Lakes region, where the population ≥65 is expected to increase by 37% between 2007 and 2025, and the availability of informal caregivers—the group that provides at least 80% of community based long-term care—will decline.

Finger Lakes Aging PopulationHealth care costs are expected to grow to more than 20% of the GDP by 2018. In the Finger Lakes region healthcare costs are expected to grow by more than 18% by 2025 while the currently inadequate supply of geriatric physicians, nurses, social workers and other allied professionals is expected to worsen.

While Monroe County has a wealth of expertise and even resources for the care of older adults, those resources are "silo-ed," poorly coordinated, and largely inaccessible to elders, their caregivers, and providers in outlying regions.

The challenge for our health system is clear.

OARHS was created to address this challenge!

Article of the Month

Plasma phospholipids identify antecedent memory impairment in older adults

Mapstone et al, Nat Med 2014

Dr. Mapstone and his colleagues are trying to develop novel and inexpensive ways to detect Alzheimer’s disease for early treatment and testing new interventions. In this study they describe the discovery and validation of a set of lipids found in blood that may represent some of the early biological changes in Alzheimer’s disease.  This finding, if found in other studies may herald a new paradigm for detecting the disease much earlier than is currently possible.  A blood test could be developed which would be easy to administer and inexpensive and may allow for earlier treatments when they may do the most good.


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