“Dying Before Their Time is a call to action for our region,” said Ronald S. Taylor, president and CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, “and the research confirms that something startling is happening to our older neighbors.” The agency’s signature research report, it finds that in metro Detroit the death rate for adults ages 60-74 is 48% higher than the rest of Michigan and that adults ages 50-59 are dying at a rate 122% higher than the rest of the state.
Commissioned by DAAA and prepared by researchers from the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the recently released report expands upon the original research. It consolidates three studies published between 1999 and 2017 and compares results. It therefore completes a two-decade comparative analysis of why the mortality rate of older adults in metro Detroit is significantly higher than that of the rest of the state – and why it has increased.
“The mortality rate of older adults in Detroit has trended upward over the past 30 years,” said Taylor. “Social determinants of health, such as appropriate nutrition, housing, access to adequate healthcare and social services, environmental justice issues, and overall neighborhood conditions influence 60-70% of the health and wellbeing of an individual and their surrounding community. Working together, our solutions must address these conditions.”
The report’s recommendations include an urgent call for policymakers, stakeholders and service providers to address a combination of conditions identified as root causes for the significant rise in mortality rates among seniors in DAAA’s service area. For example, the lack of health insurance was found to be a major factor contributing to younger residents developing chronic illnesses that go unaddressed, contributing to early death.
To address what they call excessive mortality rates, the report’s authors provide both short-term and long-term courses of action to curb the “excess mortality epidemic,” and to improve the health of an increasingly vulnerable population.
As a partner in progress for Detroit’s seniors, the DAAA is committing to advocate for essential services, including:
• Access to and delivery of ambulatory and primary healthcare services
• Quality health and human services
• Improved health and human service resource integration
• Training and availability of highly skilled healthcare
• Access to quality hospital, nursing home and long-term
To read the full report, visit: www.detroitseniorsolution.org/