She also outlined one tactic for overcoming the geographical issue, a telemedicine program, “because we realized it’s so important to keep in touch with patients.”
Patients in the program receive a monitor, a scale, a blood-pressure cuff and pulse oximeter and, in some cases, electrocardiogram bracelets.
“What that means is we can monitor their vital signs, every day, once or twice or three times a day,” she said. “That helps us intercede before a patient” gets seriously ill.
The panelists also agreed that other issues were more easily tackled.
“What we hear, mainly, as an obstacle, is communication,” Fleisher said. “People don’t hear about things.”
Nationwide, people age 65 and older account for 13.3 percent of the population, according to the most-recent U.S. Census data. For New York state, it’s a slightly higher 13.7 percent. In Ostego County, however, 17 percent of residents are in that age group. In Delaware County, the percentage is even higher: 19.8. That’s 6.5 percentage points higher than the national figure. The percentages for Chenango and Schoharie counties are 17 and 16.2, respectively.
Those percentages are likely to rise, because, as several of the speakers at Tuesday discussion noted, the Baby Boom generation is aging.