Category: Health and Health Care

3 - Strategies to Address the Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health for Vulnerable Older Adults

One in three older adults is economically insecure—lacking the resources necessary to meet all of their basic medical and household needs. Low-income older adults are more likely to experience multiple chronic conditions and poor health outcomes compared to those with higher incomes.  For these reasons, access to a core set of benefits that help pay for health care, nutrition supports, and other services can have a profound impact on the health and economic status of older adults in need.

A wide range of Medicare preventive services and evidence-based programs in community settings are available to these older adults. Yet these programs and services remain underutilized. Fostering collaboration between entities that help older adults to improve their health and economic security, i.e., the social and behavioral determinants of health, is essential to assisting these vulnerable older adults with maintaining their well-being and independence.

The National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) Center for Benefits Access provides technical assistance to state agencies and community organizations across the aging network to ensure Medicare beneficiaries, particularly low-income seniors, have access to an array of home and community-based services, including information about Medicare coverage and preventive services. NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging assists aging and public health networks, and healthcare systems to provide older adults with the tools to better manage their chronic diseases, preventi falls and injuries, and increase healthy behaviors through evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs that are available in multiple languages.

NCOA’s Benefits and Healthy Aging teams are collaborating with both health and non-health sectors and diverse community partners to cross-link programs, coordinate messaging, and build solid partnerships for referral. States and local communities through Benefits Enrollment Centers link older adults to vital information about Medicare’s new wellness and preventives services. Seniors who are empowered to take action to manage their health are learning how to access services and how to communicate with their health providers. 


Kathleen A. Cameron

Senior Director, Center for Healthy Aging
National Council on Aging
Arlington, Virginia

Kathleen A. Cameron has over 25 years of experience in the health care field as a pharmacist, researcher and program director focusing on falls prevention, geriatric pharmacotherapy, mental health, long-term services and supports, and caregiving. Ms. Cameron is currently Senior Director at the National Council on Aging (NCOA) where she oversees the Administration on Aging-funded National Falls Prevention Resource Center and National Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) Resource Center. The focus of this work is to support the expansion and sustainability of evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs in the community and online through collaboration with national, state, and community partners.

Ms. Cameron was previously with JBS International as director of a SAMHSA-funded technical assistance center aimed at educating the aging network, mental health providers and policy makers about behavioral health conditions among older adults. Ms. Cameron worked as a consultant to various aging and health care organizations in the Washington DC area from 2005-2014. She served as Executive Director of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation from 2000-2004. In this capacity, she was responsible for successfully directing and securing support for the Foundation's federally and privately-funded research and education programs and initiatives, which are intended to improve the health and well-being of older adults through appropriate, effective, and safe use of medications.

Ms. Cameron received her BS degree in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut and her Master of Public Health degree from Yale University. The topic of her Master’s thesis was medication use and risk of falling among community-dwelling older adults.

Randy Feliciano

Program Manager, Center for Benefits Access
National Council on Aging
Arlington, Virginia

Randy Feliciano, a program management and communications professional with NCOA's Center for Benefits Access, has over 10 years experience in coordinating human services and government programs for older adults. Randy provides technical assistance and support to federal Administration for Community Living grantees and consultants to build capacity toward an expansive, sustainable infrastructure for Benefit Enrollment Centers His duties include tracking, identifying, and fostering use of promising practices related to comprehensive, person-centered approaches to economic assistance and integrated service delivery. He has have designed media campaigns and utilized production tools and other media to enhance community visibility of services available to the public. Randy has a passion for civic engagement and is always looking for creative ways to deliver on that passion. Prior to joining the National Council on Aging, Randy was a recreation specialist with the Area Agency on Aging in Arlington, Virginia.