DDIA Foundation's Healthy Aging Initiative: Increasing Access to Dental Care
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to care for our teeth and dental health. Fortunately, older adults retain their natural teeth much longer than in previous decades.
However, those who are homebound or reside in a nursing facility may postpone or forgo dental care due to limited access. Currently, data suggests only a small portion of aging Iowans receive dental services.
Thankfully, in 2012, the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation announced an exciting long-term strategic goal focused on aging adults:
Every Iowa nursing home resident and homebound elderly person will have access to oral health care by 2020.
Since then, the Foundation has held three sessions called Educate, Motivate and Activate. All programs focus on dental care for aging adults.
- The Educate session focused on educating dentists, nursing home staff, hygienists, public health, and policymakers where they learned about best practice models found throughout Iowa and the U.S.
- The Motivate session focused on identifying solutions in Iowa that can optimally improve access to dental care for nursing home and homebound seniors.
- The Activate session created a collective action plan on next steps to achieving this goal.
With overwhelming support to develop and implement a collective action plan in a coordinated effort, a statewide coalition and workgroups focused on education and training, program and policy, and older adult oral health coordination were formed. They continue to build support and continue coalition development.
To learn more about the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, as well as its 2020 aging initiative, visit http://www.deltadentalia.com/foundation.