Providence Hospital
**FILE** Providence Hospital (Courtesy photo)

Since it opened its doors more than 150 years ago, Providence has been a beacon of hope and has remained committed to serving the healthcare needs of District residents. That legacy lives on as Providence reimagines the delivery of care to meet the changing needs of the community.

At the center of this transformation is Providence’s focus on people who are in most need of health care and wellness services, especially D.C.’s aging and elderly population. While the District has seen an influx of young residents over the past decade, the city is also home to a growing community of older adults. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people 65 and older represent more than 12 percent of the city’s overall population.

We know that as we age, our health care needs change, and as D.C.’s baby boomer generation continues to retire, the city must grow its capacity to meet demand for specific services. Consider that of the older adults in D.C., 34 percent live with a disability. What’s more, a 2017 community needs assessment found alarmingly high rates of depression and feelings of social isolation among this population.

All people deserve to age gracefully, happily and with the support of the communities they helped build. That’s why increasing access to high-quality geriatric care is at the forefront of the Providence transformation. The system will invest upwards of $30 million to create a “healthy village” — a community of health care and non-health care partners that support the whole person and every facet of their well-being.

The healthy village will help D.C.’s elderly population access the physical and mental health services they need — all in one place — while providing an opportunity for social, emotional and spiritual growth. For its part, Providence plans to offer coordinated primary care, memory care, independent living, hospice care, and skilled nursing care through its successful facility at Carroll Manor, as well as urgent care services. Providence is hopeful to find like-minded organizations that share our passions and vision to partner with to improve the health and wellness of District residents.

This work is all part of our promise to redefine “health beyond health care” by providing the holistic resources that support mind, body and spirit and help people live their best lives. Perhaps no other population stands to benefit most from this transformation than the older adults who have long resided in and helped create the vibrant, thriving city we love today. For more information on Providence’s transformation, please visit ProvidenceHealthyVillage.org.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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