The Rural Healthy Aging Community Model


People aged over 65 years constitute 13.1% of the American population. Over 20% of the elderly live in the areas designated as rural (Mishkovsky, Dalbey & Bertaina, 2010). In my past work as a nurse, I discovered that many elderly people in rural areas were not receiving quality health care. The elderly were being isolated due to their immobility. In addition, the care for the chronic conditions that affected the elderly was fragmented. Current trends show that the nursing workforce has been undergoing changes. For instance, it is approximated that by 2015 there will be a shortfall of between 300,000 and one million nurses. It is also estimated that 75% of the present nurse leaders will have departed the workforce (Norlander, 2011). Therefore, there is the need for the development of a healthcare model to ensure that the rural elderly have access to continuous and quality health care.

The Rural Healthy Aging Community Model

The rural elders deserve the highest level of quality health care within the context of racial and multicultural rural America. The focus should be on management of chronic diseases by application of appropriate modalities that guarantee the elderly to access quality care. Thus, the model will recognize the rural elderly as an asset rather than a resource consuming population. According to Mishkovsky et al. (2010), provision of quality health to the aging community should entail harnessing the time, talent and wisdom of the population. The model will integrate a policy and a group support approach. The policy framework will encompass a comprehensive view of the elderly groups with the aim of preventing the onset and progression of chronic diseases.

Nurse Led and Nurse Managed Health Care

According to Norlander (2011), the future of health care is depended on the ability of nurses to lead a holistic care system. Nurses should innovate from the bedside of the communities they work in by putting in place strategies to address the challenges caused by changing environment. Therefore, the nurse will create a system for policy advocacy and health support for the elderly. The nurse will be in charge of designing appropriate interventions for the population.

Partnerships and Collaboration

According to Martin (2014), there is the need for health and social care agencies to collaborate and partner. This will ensure that solutions to health and social challenges are addressed in a participatory approach. The stakeholders will include the government agencies, fitness and social centers, technologists, and social workers. Continuity of Care across Settings

The elderly who receive health care from different settings are prone to receiving fragmented care (Martin, 2014). As a result, there is critical need to ensure that the elderly receive holistic and quality care. This will be achieved through the collaborations and partnerships that create an aging network in which different care settings understand the needs of the elderly. This will be accomplished by application of technology such as digital records for the elderly. The records will have critical medical information that will be shared across settings.

Development/Implementation Team

The development of healthy aging communities for the elderly should incorporate different stakeholders who understand the challenges the rural elderly face. Thus, the team will include director of culture, head of public transport, healthcare professionals, technologist and social workers at state, county, local and private levels. The director of culture will be in charge of advising the team on matters that relate to culture and how cultural practices contribute to chronic diseases. The role of social workers will be to meet the elderly on a daily basis in order to provide social support at the different administrative levels.

According to Mishkovsky et al. (2010), the elderly are isolated due to the difficulties in movements. Thus, the transport manager will ensure that there is a public transport policy that is friendly to the rural elderly. The healthcare professionals will provide care to the elderly in designated healthcare centers and homes. The technologist will provide technical assistance such as preparation of digital records and communication platform to be used for the model. The people will be integrated through a committee in which the head nurse will oversee its operations. Figure 1 below shows the constellation of the model in order to support healthy aging in the communities.

Constellation of the model
Figure 1: Constellation of the model

In order to ensure cost effectiveness, the model will be designed on a volunteer basis. The elderly will be encouraged to participate in the care process. As noted, the model will utilize talents and experiences inherent among the elderly. This will make the elderly an asset in the care program. In addition, the model will rely on health care workers on government payroll will.

Evaluation of the Rural Healthy Aging Community Model

The success of health care programs can be ascertained through evaluations (Rychetnik, Frommer, Hawe & Shiell, 2002). After the implementation of the model, there will be a continuous assessment process. The indicators to be used for the evaluation will include the number of elderly adopting healthy lifestyles such as exercise, nutrition, and voluntary medical checkups. The other indicators will be the satisfaction level among the elderly, partners and collaborators. The changes in lifestyle will be assessed based on the electronic records for the patients while the satisfaction levels will be measured by use of questionnaires that will be administered on a monthly basis.


Martin, M. (2014). Nursing during an era of change: A challenge and opportunity. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 4(1), 1-14.

Mishkovsky, N., Dalbey, M., & Bertaina, S. (2010). Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities. Washington, D.C: International City/County Management Association.

Norlander, L. (2011). Transformational models of nursing across different care settings: The future of nursing, leading change, advancing health. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine.

Rychetnik, L., Frommer, M., Hawe, P., & Shiell, A. (2002). Criteria for evaluating evidence on public health interventions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 56(1), 119-127.

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