WSU Study: Rural Elderly Residents Less Likely Receive Needed Services

Photo: WSU

A recent study conducted by Washington State University shows older adults living in very rural settings are less likely than those living closer to urban centers to receive available health, nutrition and transportation services. Raven Weaver, assistant professor at WSU, noted while service disparities between rural and urban older adults are well known, these findings distinguish between different levels or rural. She added while a noticeable difference remains, progress between rural and urban settings has been made.

“The nuance is also where there’s some insight of some progress has been made, but being able to target or tailor services to really reach the populations of rural communities is essential.”

The study concluded older adults, those over the age of 60, living in a completely rural environment, are 2.5 times less likely to receive any type of service. And, Weaver went on, the current COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate the findings of their research.

For those that live in rural areas, or with loved ones in rural areas, Weaver says preventive care is key.

“Being able to know what is available or what could be available and plan for it.  Plan and anticipate future care needs or care changes that could really benefit folks, the individual but also their family, neighbors, friends in support of individuals aging in place.”

Weaver stressed the importance of trying to figure out what services are available in your specific community see whether there are stop gap type programs that could really support and carry over for the long term.

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