We’re getting older. No, really. By 2060, it’s estimated that older adults will make up nearly 25% of the U.S. population, accounting for nearly 94 million Americans across the nation. Though U.S. life expectancy is reportedly declining in recent years, with varying trends across different regions of the country, the overall percent population of adults 65 and older is steadily increasing. And with older age, often comes declining health. According to recent data, most individuals with at least one chronic condition or multimorbidity are between 60 and 79 years of age.
Health coaches can be and are critical partners throughout the aging process, helping individuals adopt healthy habits as they get older to help achieve better health outcomes, manage conditions, minimize pain, and improve mental health. Especially as our aging population grows year over year, it’s never been more important to introduce health coaching to help alleviate the burden …
In today’s blog we take a quick look at what’s in our Healthy & Active Aging Deep Dive, which explores why every aging adult should work with a health coach; the latest data on health coaching interventions for aging populations; and what we’re doing to help.
Why should every older adult have access to a health coach?
As we age, we face more risk factors than ever that threaten our overall health and wellbeing. These might include an increasingly sedentary lifestyle due to reduced mobility; more chronic health conditions; greater social isolation, which can, in turn, decrease cognitive functioning; limited access to healthcare and financial strain; and a lack of purpose or engagement.
What does this mean by the numbers? Over 70 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition and almost half (47%) have at least two. What’s more, up to 25% percent of adults 65 and older are living with a mental health condition like anxiety or depression and around 40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. Health coaches provide ongoing, critical support where it really counts—beyond the doctor’s office. For older adults, this means a steady support system, cheerleader, and health expert who can help them set and track meaningful, holistic health goals. Not only does this help improve health outcomes related to chronic mental and physical health conditions, but it also provides a sense of purpose and social connection which are statistically lacking in the aging population.
How has health coaching already made an impact on the aging population?
Health coaching has already proven its value in supporting older adults. A 2015 study on existing research showcased that coaching, supported by telehealth technology, effectively achieved behavior change among older adults. In the same year, aimed to examine the effectiveness of health coaching self-management programs for older adults with two and more chronic conditions in nursing homes reported positive results. This included a 46% increase in mental stress management and relaxation; a 33% increase in cognitive symptom management; a 28% in exercise behaviors; and more.
More recently, a 2023 study showcased that among adults 50 and older working with a health coach, participants significantly improved their health habits, modifying the risk of chronic diseases when compared to the control group. Health coaching has also demonstrated an impact in reducing non-cancer pain among adults 55+; reducing hospital admissions for patients with heart disease; reducing biomarkers associated with disease (ex. A1C); and more. Though more research is always needed to continue establishing health coaches as core to patient care teams, the existing research is undeniable. Every aging adult deserves access to a health coach as a means to achieving a healthier, happier life.
What is YourCoach doing to help?
Here at YourCoach, we’re the leading organization bringing health coaching to organizations and populations across the country. We’ve cultivated a dynamic list of Industry Partners with whom we work to bring health coaching services to clients, patients, members and talent across all ages. This also means we’ve seen the firsthand impact health coaches have on individuals of all ages. It’s our goal to make health coaching accessible to everyone, always, so their health coach can be the common thread in their care journeys as they age.
We’re looking forward to continuing to champion positive change through our Industry Partnerships, ensuring health coaching is an option for everyone, including our aging population. If you’re interested in learning more about how we partner with companies to deliver health coaching services to your population, contact us at email@example.com.