Gearing Up for Great Health: Men’s Guide to Aging Well

Jun 24, 2024

Americans are living longer than ever, but American men still aren’t living as long as American women. While the reasons why aren’t exactly clear, this trend has been observed throughout all stages of life, with infant boys being at a higher risk of death than infant girls. Perhaps it’s because men traditionally adopt riskier behaviors, or maybe it’s because men don’t really like visiting their healthcare practitioner until their medical concern becomes a problem, often too late. Who knows. What we do know, however, is that men’s health tends to focus on disease events and subsequent disabilities, leading to a shorter lifespan for men compared to women. 

Historically, the approach to men’s health has been reactive, addressing issues only after they arise. This passive, wait-and-see method overlooks the benefits of preventive care, hence, shifting the focus to early intervention and disease prevention can significantly improve men’s quality of life and reduce the societal burden of healthcare costs. As our population ages, prioritizing men’s health through proactive strategies is essential for fostering longer, healthier lives.

As men age, health concerns such as heart disease, prostate health, cancer screenings, and mental health become increasingly significant. Understanding and addressing these issues can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure

Cardiovascular disease is a major issue for aging men, with risk escalating dramatically as they grow older. The American Heart Association reports that about 40% of men aged 40-59, 75% of men aged 60-79, and a staggering 86% of men over 80 are affected by heart disease. This includes conditions like atherosclerosis, stroke and myocardial infarction, which can severely impact quality of life. 

Prostate Health

Prostate health becomes increasingly important with age. Starting around age 25, the prostate begins to enlarge, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). By age 50, many men experience symptoms like frequent and urgent urination, especially at night, and difficulty starting or maintaining a strong urine stream. While BPH is not cancerous, it can significantly affect daily life and requires medical attention to manage symptoms effectively. 

Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the risk rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 prostate cancers are found in men older than 65, making it the second most frequent cancer diagnosis in men and the fifth leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Often asymptomatic in its early stages, prostate cancer may have a slow, indolent course that requires only active surveillance. 

Cancer Screenings

The risk of cancers, such as colon and skin cancer, increases with age, and more particularly in men. Nearly 60% of all cancer diagnoses and 70% of cancer deaths occur in individuals 65 years and older. Regular screenings can help detect cancer early when it is most treatable. Men should prioritize screenings for prostate, colon, and skin cancers to ensure early detection and better outcomes. 

Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing

Mental health and emotional well-being are equally important but often overlooked. Suicide rates among men rise sharply after age 70, with factors such as depression, chronic illness, chronic pain, and social isolation contributing to this increase. Men tend to have smaller social networks, making them more susceptible to isolation and its adverse effects. Addressing mental health proactively, through counseling and building robust social connections, can help mitigate these risks and improve overall quality of life.

Healthy Behaviors ALL Men Should Adopt

Although many factors influence health and longevity, modifiable health behaviors are among the most impactful. Actions such as diet, exercise, social engagement and preventive healthcare can significantly affect outcomes, with research estimating that 50% of morbidity and mortality is due to modifiable behaviors. Below are some of the key practices that can enhance longevity and well-being for aging men.

Support Network

Men who are feeling anxious often struggle with isolation, which can further contribute to the severity of their symptoms. Reminding oneself that it’s okay to feel low and talk about life’s challenges takes time and can feel risky, but it is a risk worth taking. It’s important not to be discouraged if a support network seems absent. Building a support network can start with family members, friends and healthcare professionals who can provide a listening ear and reduce feelings of loneliness. It’s a journey that involves exploring and creating a network that meets individual needs. 

Often, societal conditioning leads men to ignore emotional distress, attributing it to physical symptoms instead. Only after recognizing the true nature of their symptoms do many men feel overwhelmed by stigma, leading to further isolation.

A support network doesn’t need to solve every problem; sometimes, just having someone to talk to makes a significant difference. Moreover, support networks can recommend professional services when necessary, offering pathways to more structured help.

Preventative Care

Men are often less likely to visit the doctor regularly, a trend that starts in adulthood. While boys and girls visit pediatricians at similar rates, this changes as they grow older. According to CDC data from 2018, women visit physicians almost 40 percent more frequently than men; even excluding pregnancy-related visits, women are still twice as likely to schedule annual exams and use preventive services.

It’s time for things to change. Men must be proactive about keeping on top of their health. Regular health screenings are recommended for men at various ages, from 18 to 65 and beyond. Many screenings, such as cancer, blood pressure and depression checks, can be done during routine physicals, while others, like cancer screenings for prostate, colon and lung cancer, require separate appointments

Men’s health screenings should complement personalized advice from healthcare providers, offering essential discussion points during routine medical visits. This way, diseases and chronic conditions can be spotted and managed early, thereby improving overall quality of life.

Exercise and Nutrition

Studies show that engaging in aerobic and resistance exercises can significantly boost testosterone levels, helping maintain muscle mass and overall fitness. For older men, especially those who lead sedentary lifestyles, combining conditioning exercises with high-intensity interval training can lead to remarkable improvements in hormone levels, reduce body fat and enhance overall health. Moreover, consistent exercise over the long term helps lower blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity.

Nutrition plays an equally vital role in maintaining health as men age. Older men often struggle with poor diets, consuming fewer fruits and vegetables, which can impact their overall well-being. To preserve muscle mass and promote health, it is essential to include seafood, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, beans, peas and lentils in the diet. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into daily meals is crucial, and using convenient options like frozen or canned produce can make this easier. Turning meals into social events by inviting friends or joining community meals can not only allow men to build a support network, but enhance the dining experience and improve dietary habits.

Dr. Alina Walden – Vice President Clinical Services

Dr. Alina Walden is a highly accomplished professional with an impressive academic background. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona Honors Program. Subsequently, she obtained her medical degree from New York Medical College and earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix.

With over 15 years of experience in clinical practice, Dr. Walden has specialized in risk adjustment, disease management, and utilization management. Her expertise as a physician executive, combined with an in-depth understanding of the CMS HCC-Risk Adjustment Model and Quality STAR measures, enables her to develop and implement effective population health programs. She is also certified as a Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA), Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO), Certified Professional Coder (CPC), and Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC) from AAPC. These credentials align perfectly with the goals of Adobe Population Health.

Dr. Walden is committed to delivering exceptional customer service to the entire care team, consistently striving to enhance and promote positive patient experiences. She firmly believes that every individual involved in the healthcare process plays a crucial role in advocating best practices. Outside of her professional endeavors, Dr. Walden cherishes spending quality time with her family, which includes her loving husband and four children. Her personal interests include reading and traveling.

Gail Lara – Vice President Strategic Outreach

With extensive experience in healthcare marketing, operations and management, Gail has made a career of developing and growing service lines and businesses from large health systems and specialty practices to wellness and ambulatory services.

As a VP at Adobe Care & Wellness, she oversees outreach to physicians and identifies opportunities for growth that align with the needs of the community and its members.
Gail earned an associate degree in business at Midland College followed by a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Texas. She then worked in operations and business development with a national company upon moving to Arizona and joining the state’s largest urgent care organization where she was instrumental in its growth, identifying new locations, opening clinics, and overseeing licensing, staffing, and compliance. Gail then built and grew service lines at a local hospital group and oversaw marketing and business development for another.

With a commitment to innovative thinking, Gail’s wide range of experience is enhanced by her ability to foster collaborative relationships to achieve goals.

Residents of Arizona, Gail, and her husband have three children. She is passionate about community service, has served on the board of the Arthritis Foundation, and regularly volunteers at The Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Maria Martinez – Vice President Population Health

Maria Martinez started with Adobe Care & Wellness in the call center, making health risk assessment (HRA) calls to members. She soon took on new responsibilities, learning the ins and outs of Salesforce and helping to build the company’s initial technology platform. Maria never expected that her first post-college job would lead to a career in health care solutions. Maria was born and raised in Phoenix and earned a Bachelor of Science in justice studies with a minor in women and gender studies, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She quickly rose to Senior Director of Clinical Services at Adobe Care & Wellness and later to Vice President of Operations. As VP of Operations, Maria oversees the nurse practitioner scheduling and in-home assessments program to ensure members receive the care needed. She is passionate about making health care more accessible to those living in rural areas or lacking the mobility to get to a doctor’s office helping the company grow and expand its ability to help others.

David Heinrich – Vice President, Integrated Care

A Chicago native with more than 20 years of management experience, David began his management career in the retail industry, quickly working his way up to Store Manager and then Regional Manager. While overseeing multi-million dollar retail stores, David felt the pull to venture into the medical field. He began working for an ambulance company providing pre-hospital care to the sick and injured which inspired him to further his education in nursing school. As he earned his degree, David worked full-time doing organ and tissue recovery for one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit body donation programs.

Since graduating as a registered nurse, David has worked in medical-surgical, trauma, and telemetry units as well as in home health, hospice, and nursing education. He has held clinical leadership roles including Clinical Manager and Director of Nursing.

When Adobe Care and Wellness started their Special Needs Plan in 2019, David joined the team and quickly helped grow the program. He was promoted to Director of Case Management and then to Senior Director of Integrated Care. David, who is also a Certified Case Manager, now serves as Adobe’s Vice President of Integrated Clinical Services.

Alex Waddell – Chief Information Officer

Alex Waddell is an Arizona native and graduate of Arizona State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in economics. Alex began his career in IT as a software developer for a home health and case management provider. Over the next four years, Alex took on increasing responsibilities and began earning certifications as a Salesforce developer. In 2018, he was hired as Director of Software Development for Outreach Health Services, where he worked for two years before accepting the position of Executive Vice President of Technology at Adobe Care and Wellness. Alex has continued his drive for excellence and is now a Certified Salesforce Application Architect as well as a member of the Forbes Technology Council. In his current position as CIO,  Alex manages and directs a team of developers and oversees the design and development of the proprietary software that supports the expanding healthcare solutions Adobe Care and Wellness offers. Alex and his department, provide internal staff and external entities with analytics that measures results and helps drives decisions. He and his team also ensure data security for the company’s hardware and software.

Chad Wolver – Chief Financial Officer

36-year-old Arizona native Chad Wolver brings nearly a decade of commercial banking, strategic finance, and management experience to the Adobe Population Health leadership team. Phoenix-based Adobe Population Health ranks 2,271 on the 2023 Inc. 5000 annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

A graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, Chad earned an Executive MBA with a focus in Accounting and Finance. While serving as Vice President at Bank of America, Chad was the banker for Adobe Care & Wellness (rebranded as Adobe Population Health in 2022), which has experienced 242% three-year growth from 2020 to 2023.

CFO since 2021, Chad has managed Adobe Population Health’s strategic financial strategy, overseeing its budget by using technology to create efficiency, synergy, scalability, and deeper insight to grow the organization efficiently as it expands as a multi-state provider.

Chad serves on the boards of some of Arizona’s most well-recognized philanthropic organizations, including Arizona Community Foundation’s Kellenberger + Tollefson Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy Advisory Council and ONE Community’s Millennial Advisory Board. He’s a past board member of ASU Lodestar Center’s Leadership Council, Human Rights Campaign Arizona, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and Phoenix Community Alliance’s Social & Housing Advancement Committee.

In his free time, Chad enjoys traveling with his partner and spending time with their beloved Italian greyhounds.

Challas Ray – Chief Operating Officer

Challas Ray has spent more than a decade building a career in the health care industry. Challas holds a Master’s in Clinical Kinesiology from Eastern Illinois University. After completing his education, he began work with Sara Bush Lincoln Health System, where he helped create and expand an external wellness program for companies interested in providing wellness programs to their employees. Challas is originally from Toledo, Illinois, but now calls Arizona home.  He moved to the Valley of the Sun seeking warmer weather and new opportunities. Joining The Beech Group as a Transitional Specialist, it was there Challas met and began collaborating with Jayme Ambrose. In 2017, he joined Jayme’s team to help launch Adobe Care & Wellness. As Adobe Care & Wellness COO, Challas provides oversight of the operational process to improve efficiencies and conducts the cost-benefit analysis of new and existing initiatives.

Pat Duryea, PhD – Chief Inspiration Officer

Patricia (Pat) Duryea earned her bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from Arizona State University. She then served as a Human Resource Director for nearly six years before returning to school to earn a Master of Educational Psychology from Northern Arizona University and a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Walden University.  Through her career spanning three decades, Pat has worked as a clinical manager, employee assistance program director, an adjunct professor at ASU and she’s owned and operated multiple small businesses. She has extensive knowledge in developing health and wellness programs, and experience in trauma-related counseling. As Chief Inspiration Officer at Adobe Care & Wellness, Pat manages human resources and the development of company culture.  She also serves as the compliance officer, receiving complaints, solving issues and reporting them to Arizona Complete Health.  She works directly with the management team on leadership development within the organization and monitoring morale. Pat’s overall focus is to ensure that employees feel included and valued in their contributions to the company’s success and to provide them with the opportunity to be the best they can be.

Jayme Ambrose DNP RN CCM – Chief Executive Officer

Jayme Ambrose, DNP, RN, CCM, is the visionary Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Adobe Population Health, an Arizona-based company offering an innovative, first-of-its-kind solution to the issue of health equity. Founded in 2018, Adobe employs a technology-driven model for interventional care management and takes a holistic approach to population health by closing care gaps, reducing costs, and caring for the whole person.

Armed with a Master of Science-Nursing from Arizona State University, Jayme was accepted into the Doctoral program for Nursing Science & Leadership at Case Western University. It was there, she developed an integrated case management model, as part of her doctoral thesis, with the objective of addressing the social determinants of health that often contribute to poor health outcomes for at-risk populations. After completing her doctorate in 2012, Beech Medical Group agreed to pilot her model, if Jayme agreed to accept a position as VP of Clinical Services. In 2016, she signed her first insurance company contract and initiated a holistic approach to case management for Medicare members. Her model integrates data analysis and risk assessment with a human touch to deliver proactive and preventative care that improves health outcomes, decreases hospital and ER visits, and reduces overall healthcare costs. In 2018, Beech Medical Group sold the company but not before giving Jayme the opportunity to purchase her division. On that day, Adobe was born with one mission: To positively impact the lives we touch.

As part of an innovative technology platform, Adobe utilizes proprietary risk stratification tools to identify the issues of those at greatest risk including food insecurities, financial hardships, transportation issues and even loneliness. And then through a proprietary and ground-breaking application called MASLOW™, members are invited to answer questions related to social determinants of health and then are connected to for-profit, non-profit, and governmental resources based on geolocation. To ensure impact, a qualified team member through a hybrid care model reaches out to offer assistance, closing the care loop. It is this human touch that sets Adobe apart from other case management organizations. Today, Adobe employs 300 nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, support coordinators, dieticians, care navigators, and transition specialists and serves more than 200,000 elderly and underserved patients across three states.

Jayme has served on several boards including The Arizona Homecare Association, The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and the Case Management Society of America where she is currently a member. She also currently serves on the PAC board of the Arizona Nurses Association. In addition, Jayme is currently adjunct professor for Arizona State University where she teaches RN to BSN and MSN students and develops curriculum.