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Health Communications for Active Adults: An Imperative for Older Americans Month (and Beyond)


May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s vibrant senior population. But it’s also an opportune moment for communications professionals to reflect on the challenges faced by this demographic, particularly when it comes to health communication.

Beyond the Scare Tactics: A Shift in Health Messaging

Health communication aimed at older adults often focuses on potential health risks rather than empowering individuals to take action.  By prioritizing positive and inclusive language, we can craft communication strategies that:

  • Empower older adults to become active participants in their healthcare decisions.
  • Enhance their ability to understand complex medical information.
  • Focus on preventive care.
  • Boost confidence in navigating the healthcare system.


Combating Misinformation in the Digital Age

The internet offers a vast amount of health content, but it can also be a breeding ground for misinformation. Older adults can be particularly vulnerable. Here’s how communications professionals can step in:

  • Champion credible sources: Highlight trustworthy health organizations like government agencies and established medical institutions.
  • Debunk myths and misinformation clearly and concisely, without sensationalizing the issue.
  • Promote your experts: Building your brand, including your expert spokespeople across a wide range of communications channels, will advance your position as true thought leader on your issues.
  • Consider community partnerships: When possible, look for ways to share information through trusted partners – whether with physician offices, medical societies or community organizations that can offer in-person guidance and materials.


Tailoring Content for Active Adults and Caregivers

Reaching older adults requires a nuanced approach. We need to consider the needs of both individuals and their caregivers:

  • Develop clear, concise, and visually appealing materials. Large fonts, high-contrast images, and easy-to-navigate layouts are key.
  • Offer information in multiple formats. Consider printed brochures, podcasts, and even video tutorials to cater to different learning styles.
  • Encourage active participation and shared learning. Design content that promotes open communication between older adults and their caregivers.


By championing health literacy for older adults, brands can cultivate trust and loyalty, while empowering individuals to age actively and confidently. This Older Americans Month, let’s pledge to create clear, inclusive communication that celebrates the vitality of our senior population.

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