What is making Ancestry.com, 23 & Me and other Genealogy companies so popular these days? People are searching for connections to the past to discover who they are. As if knowing where we came from offers certainty to life’s trajectory.
No doubt our family history holds many clues to inherited maladies and fortunes. This represents only 20% in the formula of health and aging. The other 80% is called the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). These factors contribute to our life path in revealing ways. SDOH are the conditions in which we are born, live, work and age fundamentally driving our healthcare access, quality and outcomes. Our social connectedness and feelings of loneliness and isolation are another facet of SDOH. And lastly is our sense of personal control over our present situation and destiny.
This is why our present caregiving shortage is a public health crisis affecting all of us. Many of us serve as unpaid family caregivers today saving the equivalent amount of the national Medicaid budget. This free service is running out. Our families are smaller with more miles between us than ever before in our history.
Without the support of family, many seniors lack the financial ability to pay for the level of care needed to remain safely in the community. The alternative is even costlier residential care that is not covered by insurance unless determined to be medically necessary.
This will not be as easy as spitting into a test tube and sending it off to a lab and getting the results in the mail. The SDOH requires all of us to chart a future Long Term Service and Support national strategy. Many of us are sacrificing our own future retirement security to take care of the generation before us. The breaking point is coming fast.