How Compounding Pharmacists Can Connect with the Community for Senior Health and Fitness Day
There’s no doubt about the benefits of connecting with the community, yet sometimes it’s hard to find the time. So here’s one solution—dedicate a portion of one day and use it to reach out to seniors and their families. It’s not too late to participate in National Senior Health and Fitness Day on May 25th. Joining the community during Senior Health and Fitness Day gives your business the perfect opportunity to offer expertise, discuss compounded options that benefit seniors and build new clientele, while helping an ever-growing segment of the population.
What Is National Senior Health and Fitness Day?
The National Senior Health and Fitness Day is just one program created and run by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national information clearinghouse for professionals. This year they celebrate the 23rd annual health and fitness day, which is dubbed the “nation’s largest older adult health promotion.”1 More than 1,000 local organizations in all 50 states will organize events at local parks, zoos, museums, sports stadiums, universities, YMCA’s and health care facilities. Seniors can participate in diverse activities:
- Health screenings
- Opportunities to talk with health care professionals
- Organized walks, both leisure and competitive
- Fitness and dancing demonstrations followed by active participation
- Pure fun with socialization, games and karaoke
- Q&A period with health insurance providers
The theme for 2016—Improve Your Health for a Better Self—fits with the knowledge and experience that compounding pharmacists bring to the table. In short, it’s a prime opportunity to connect with a large group of seniors.
How Can You Get Involved?
Compounding pharmacists can host their own event or contact an organization that’s already planning activities for the day and ask to get involved. If you decide to host an event, be aware that you can’t use the official logo unless you pay a small fee and register online.2 Once you’re registered, you’ll have access to free resources to help plan your activity. You can also buy T-shirts, posters, pens, balloons and other promotional items.
Spearhead the effort if no one else is planning activities in your community. Ask assisted living facilities, medical practices or the community hospital to work with you. If you don’t have time to coordinate with other organizations, hold a smaller event at your pharmacy—just be sure to advertise with posters and public service announcements. Ask a library, place of worship or senior center to donate a room to use if you don’t have space at your pharmacy. Then recruit nurse practitioners to provide basic health screening and ask local grocers, bakeries, restaurants and health food stores to contribute snacks.
What Health Topics Should You Discuss?
The heart of the day is simply being available to talk with seniors, so here are some of their top health concerns:3
- Heart disease remains the leading cause of death, which means focusing on prevention or treatment of hypertension, dyslipidemia and obesity.
- Arthritis—the most common cause of disabilities—interferes with normal daily activities in nearly half of the 53 million arthritic adults.
- Diabetes is the primary cause of kidney failure, new cases of blindness and limb amputation.
But there’s a more important piece of information for compounding pharmacists. Many older adults live with multiple chronic diseases.4
Out of adults aged 65 and older:
- 45 percent have been diagnosed with two or more chronic conditions
- 15 percent have hypertension and diabetes—a rate that doubled over the last 10 years.
- 21 percent are diagnosed with hypertension and heart disease.
- 11 percent must manage hypertension and cancer.
While you can choose to focus on spreading the news about pharmacy-specific services—such as the first two items in this list—be prepared to field questions about diverse health issues too:
Polypharmacy: Older adults with multiple health problems end up taking numerous medications. About 36 percent take five or more meds, while nearly half add OTC pharmaceuticals into the mix. As the number of meds increase, so do the risks of adverse effects and a prescribing cascade. Using medication reviews, compounding pharmacists help seniors avoid the challenges presented by polypharmacy.
Benefits of compounding: Your participation in National Senior Health and Fitness Day may be the first time many seniors have heard about compounding. They don’t realize the benefits, whether it’s changing the delivery form, mixing multiple meds into one pill, developing the precise dose so they don’t need to cut tablets or eliminating excipients.
Pain relief: No matter what causes their pain—back problems, neuropathy, arthritis, cancer, or any number of acute and chronic causes of pain—compounded topical treatments are one of the best treatment options. Some seniors may buy topical products available over-the-counter, but they don’t know the compounded options available to meet their precise pain needs. Whether a mix of methyl salicylate, capsaicin and menthol will do the job or they need a topical NSAID, effective pain relief is vital to keep seniors active—and staying active improves their overall health.
Chronic disease: For patients diagnosed with diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease or multiple health conditions, intervention from a compounding pharmacist improves adherence to medications, guides treatment choices, and educates patients about choices they perhaps don’t even know exist. As one example, consider the number of medications that can be mixed together to treat various aspects of diabetic neuropathy. Seniors depend on you to help them navigate the sometimes confusing world of pharmaceuticals.
Trouble sleeping: Older adults often find it difficult to fall asleep and they wake more often during the night, so they don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. Lack of sleep puts them at risk for developing chronic disease. From recommending safe and effective OTC products to compounding treatments using melatonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid, compounding pharmacists can help.
Here’s one final tip if you end up hosting an event: collect brochures from key services in your area and display them on an information table or rack. A few possible resources to consider include:
- Area Agency on Aging
- Mental health providers
- Registered dietitians
- Fitness centers
- Physical rehabilitation centers
Connect with Seniors to Promote Health and Longevity
Experts predict that the number of Americans aged 65 or older will double between 2010 and 2050.5 It’s well worth your time to focus on this group, using the natural population trend to help build your customer base. Connecting with seniors and their families in the community is one of the best ways to make it happen. Don’t forget—many seniors aren’t familiar with compounding. It’s up to you to enlighten them.
Pharmaceutica North America provides bulk APIs, custom compounding kits and OTC dietary supplements that meet the diverse needs of your senior patients and their families. Please contact us today to talk about our products and how we can best support your pharmacy.
- “National Senior Health and Fitness Day,” 2016, http://www.fitnessday.com/sponsor/documents/shfd_fact.pdf ↩
- “National Senior Health and Fitness Day Registration,” 2016, http://fitnessday.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/national-senior-health-fitness-day-registration ↩
- “Chronic Diseases: The Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the United States,” February 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/ ↩
- “Multiple Chronic Conditions Among Adults Aged 45 and Over: Trends Over the Past 10 Years,” July 2012, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db100.htm ↩
- “The State of Aging and Health in America,” 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/state-aging-health-in-america-2013.pdf ↩