230677 Promoting behavioral and oral health literacy in rural communities among older adults

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Elaine T. Jurkowski, MSW, PhD , School of Social Work, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Charla J. Lautar, RDH, PhD , School of Allied Health, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
This study examined health literacy levels among older adults (n=238) who lived in rural and frontier communities in a Midwest from the aspects of behavioral and oral health.METHODS: A survey tool, using the Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioral (KAB) approach was utilized to identify specific strengths and areas for development within the realm of one's health literacy. Subjects (n=238) were selected from Senior Nutrition Sites (N=4) within a thirty one county area within a Midwest state. Respondents were asked questions that related to myths and realities related to oral health literacy, comfort levels related to access and topics for future trainings. FINDINGS: Providers were very responsive as the topics discussed were seldom discussed but critical when working with older adults with chronic health care needs. Survey results indicated that participants did gain some information from the sessions, especially specific to oral health screenings. Findings suggest that respondents were more likely to understand the importance of overall health, followed by behavioral health when compared to one's oral health. This results suggest the need for continued education on oral health topics to improve literacy levels and that older adults do not consider the importance of health issues which are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid (ie: Preventative oral health procedures). Implications suggest that health promotion campaigns need to consider one's overall health literacy rather than merely the programs which can be reimbursed. Policy/program interventions can include expansion to current coverage to prevention and health promotion efforts for older adults.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session, participants will: 1. Describe the perspective on behavioral and oral health literacy in rural communities. 2. Explain areas for behavioral and oral health education targeting older adults living in rural communities. 3. Identify at least one area where advocacy can be used to help improve behavioral and oral health literacy in rural communities.

Keywords: Aging, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized and carried out this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.